LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR THE ISSUE DATED 5TH OCTOBER 2019

Pick Up A Cloth Bag And Honour Gandhi!

Launch OF CLOTH BAGS: Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant along with Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH Shripad Y Naik launched cloth bags with ‘150 Years of Celebrating The Mahatma’ printed on them on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary celebration of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, observed at Gandhi Chowk Old Goa on October 2, 2019. Also present on the occasion were MLA & chairperson of GHRSSIDC Ltd Pandurang Madkaikar, ZP member Daku Madkaikar, sarpanch of VP Se Old Goa Janita Madkaikar, collector of North Goa R Menaka, ex-minister Nirmala Sawant, ex-MLA Dharma Chodankar and others…

 UNEVEN POPULATION?

THE article titled ‘Uneven Population of India’ is by the Governor of Goa — an accomplished author. Therefore, the article must be well researched. However, there are many discrepancies which need to be set right.

She states that the Chinese govt adopted the one child norm for the couples but withdrew the ruling after only five years, realising that one child norm was not proper for the suitable development of a child’s personality and also society. This is a very grave untruth. The one child ‘norm’ per couple — this was not a ‘norm’ but a well enforced diktat/law — came into being in 1980. In 2013, the Chinese govt decided to relax the same to ‘two children’ which ultimately came about in 2017 with retrospective effect. This is not a span of five years but three decades! The reasons provided by the writer as being that of the Chinese government are actually her own reasons. The question is, why has the writer erred on both these counts?

Even under the one-child policy, relaxations were there for ethnic minorities — deliberately not mentioned in the article. Further, they found that one child was left to attend to two parents and four grandparents — hence in 2009 they allowed couples to have two children if both parents were single — only to share responsibility for parents and grandparents — nothing to do with child’s personality development!

The writer then says she is not convinced by single-child parents giving reasons such as country’s overpopulation, high costs etc — she did not mention no jobs in India. (Recent news shows two Indians from Punjab languishing in jail in the USA for illegally crossing over from Mexico! Imagine taking this route!)

Correctly, she says it is her ‘opinion’ that the parents are lazy: but this does not make it the ‘correct reason’.

In 2013, I asked English-speaking locals in China, what would be their reaction to a two-child rule? They clearly said that they would not go in for the same as education costs were very high! We all know, the Chinese are not lazy. Who is better equipped to answer the question: the writer or the Chinese?

The Governor’s next issue is that the family is the first school where a child learns good habits and therefore siblings are necessary. If this is so, why do we have the current ‘calibre’ of politicians? Are all the numerous politicians with dubious characters and pending criminal cases from single-child families? Recently, the Goa government itself stated that Goa is Open Defecation Free — when everyone knows otherwise! Single-child families? Goa wants to have Blue Flag status for Miramar. One condition is no pets are allowed — since they defecate and dirty the beach. No mention of cows (which are not pets) defecating on the beach. What about humans defecating there?

Further, she says one can imagine how  an only child behaves in society — selfish etc. Parenting blogs refute this. There are many famous only-child personalities. She then speaks of ‘more and more couples’ having 10-12 children! When we say ‘Indians habitually spit everywhere’ it is because a vast majority of Indians do this. There cannot be a ‘vast majority’ having 10-12 children. We need to stick to facts. Definitely, Indians from lower strata of society from all religions, tend to have 4-5 children. This, we learnt even in schools — now, since I mentioned this, perhaps they will change the syllabus — is because they want more hands to work and feed the families. A problem of governance. The solution here is to properly enforce the law of not using children for work. In India, this is a major reason for overpopulation. More than 60,000 children go missing in India every year, 4,000 in the capital alone! In three decades, this works out to 18 lakhs! So, another 18 lakh children were produced. Almost all will be from the poorer class: will this not encourage them to produce more? Many of the missing children end up in illegal factories and prostitution. Should not these be the areas to be addressed to curb over population? Clearly, a case of very poor governance.

If we want to overcome overpopulation we need to tackle poverty, education for all, enforce ban on child labour, ensure no missing children and encourage adoption. Adoption is the best solution today! The present government has now interfered in the adoption process fearing that the adopted children are made to follow a religion other than Hinduism! And here lies the main reason.

— R Fernandes, Margao

NO EXCUSES, PLEASE

NOW that a very dry spell has set in Goa it is absolutely incumbent for the government to move swiftly and ensure on a war footing that all pot-holed roads across the state are repaired and restored better than before. Those very lame excuses that work will start in November and that by Christmas the roads will be tarred anew because tar has to be imported, etc, is not acceptable.

 The horrified people of Goa have suffered enough on account of pathetic roads and over the last months several fatal incidents have taken place because of — potholes. Does this insensitive government need to be reminded that safe motorable roads are a fundamental right of every citizen?

The authorities are duty bound to ensure that every road, street and lane is  freed from the menace of potholes, as also stray cattle, dogs and pigs. How many lives will have to be sacrificed before the government wakes up from its slumber to the reality that Goa is no longer safe on public roads either for Goans or tourists?

— Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

MODI’S PRIORITIES

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi (ironically whose party inwardly sympathises with Mahatma Gandhi’s murderer, Nathuram Godse and which still believes in giving full backing/support for those spreading communal hatred on caste/religious lines, who lynch innocents in broad day-light playing cow politics, who indulge in rapes of young girls etc) was heard advising everyone to follow the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary recently.

   It should be noted that the same Narendra Modi unleashed the much-hyped “Swacch Bharat’ campaign a couple of years back with the sole intention of somehow slowly cancelling the Gandhi Jayanti holiday (which luckily he has failed to do so till date) to erase Mahatma Gandhi’s name from history books completely by forcing school/college students, government employees/officials etc to compulsorily come in large numbers and to carry out their so-called ‘cleanliness drive’ bullying everyone in the name of cleaning India.  

   Well, forcing adults to indulge in such cheap gimmicks every year for political gains is fine, but why is Mr Modi hell-bent on making even our school-going kids (who are supposed to be in classrooms studying) to take part in such drives in hot sun with placards making them shout patriotic slogans? 

As far as we know, Mahatma Gandhi was not just a great freedom-fighter but a sincere honest Indian leader who never believed in self-publicity but who believed in Hindu-Muslim unity, who also wanted people of all religions to live like one united family as he always followed the principles of truth, non-violence, tolerance, peace and freedom. 

   I therefore feel if Mr Modi really wants others to follow the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi then instead of forcing everyone to take part in some stupid ‘time-pass’ type mindless exercises called ‘Swacch Bharat” annually for publicity, he should take serious action against those who are still hell-bent on spreading communal hatred/violence or committing crimes against women, by giving instant justice without any discrimination, allow people of all faiths to follow their respective religions, eating habits, customs, languages freely, and to live in peace/communal harmony as truly free-born Indian citizens. 

Last but not the least, if Mr Modi wants to make India a plastic free country (as he claims of late to distract people from his own failures) then without finding any alternatives for replacement of all types of beer/soft drink cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles/bags/cups/plates/straws/ milk sachets etc, he should stop coming out with his own unbelievable new ideas and dreaming, (forget of making plastic-free) but of turning India into a 100% clean country in the world even in the next thousands of years….

— Jerry Fernandes, Saligao

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