Sir — It is heartening to know that the Congress general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, has announced that 40 per cent of seats will be reserved for women in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh polls on the basis of merit and not caste, religion or nepotism (“A radical idea vs realpolitik”, Oct 20). This will go a long way in inspiring women in a country dominated by patriarchy.
In a state where the condition of women is far from encouraging, greater representation of women in politics could well lead to a paradigm shift. It could also boost the Congress’s chances of regaining ground against the Yogi Adityanath government. However, true empowerment of women is only possible when their worth is acknowledged in all aspects of life.
Janga Bahadur Sunuwar,
Sir — The decision of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh to give 40 per cent of the total election tickets to women is unprecedented. The announcement has been welcomed by women. It is likely that they will vote for the women candidates fielded by the Congress.
In the past, most political parties have exploited women for their selfish political gains. But Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has taken them into confidence and given them a greater chance of participating in the democratic process. This will surely bear fruit.
Sir — Making Priyanka Gandhi Vadra the face of the Congress in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh was a wise decision on the part of the Grand Old Party. Likewise, declaring that 40 per cent of the party’s tickets would go to women is a masterstroke. This could lead to change in politics at the national level.
Sir — Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has indeed taken a bold step. But progressive as it may be, there are chances of it backfiring. She has given women a chance to move forward, but does the political class in New India truly want that?
There is another concern. If the Congress truly gives the tickets irrespective of caste and religion, will it really get votes in a state where these issues play a massive role?
Face the fury
Sir — From Uttarakhand in the north to Kerala in the south, nature has unleashed its fury. Mankind has irreversibly damaged nature in a mad rush for material profit. Now it cannot escape the consequences of its actions. What is more worrying is that this may be only the beginning of destruction. All construction activities in the hills must be carefully monitored and vetted by experts.
Sir — Heavy rains in Kerala have caused horrifying flash floods and landslides. Many lives have been claimed, and hundreds have been evacuated. While the government responded quickly, questions arise on the lack of foresight and the failure to implement a long-time strategy to prevent the loss of life and property. Have lessons not been learnt from the devastating floods of previous years?
The lack of political will and money power have led to encroachment of flood plains, building of resorts and human settlements on hills and river banks as well as exploitation of ecologically fragile areas. Illegal sand mining — ignoring the Gadgil committee report was a mistake — must also be stopped. Natural disasters in the state have become an annual phenomenon. Is there no end to this peril? The authorities must answer.
Sir — In a shocking incident, a 17-year-old girl in Karnataka allegedly poisoned four of her family members to death, upset over discrimination in the affection shown between her siblings and her. This is inexcusable.
Such jealousy is not uncommon in families with more than one child. The incident demonstrates how resentment can fill young hearts in a way that they fail to differentiate between right and wrong. Parents should look out for warning signs of depression, listen to their children’s fears and take remedial action before it is too late.
Sir — Spain’s ‘Crying Room’ initiative must be welcomed as it is a giant step towards removing stigma associated with mental illness. The prejudice against mental illness in society is so deep and malicious that it is often treated like crime. The recent spate of suicides in Spain and India must draw attention towards the scale of the problem. The government must conduct awareness drives to curtail this menace before the crisis takes a more severe shape. Every citizen is entitled to live with dignity and as a society it is our responsibility to create a conducive environment for mental well-being.