MICHAEL VAZ, MERCES
NO matter how progressive we think we are, there are some deep-rooted taboos and other age-old regressive practices which negate our best achievements and downgrade our global recognition. The misery and hardships of the widows have remained unattended in our country for ages. In this regard the Loomba Foundation, an NGO recognised by the UN, has been rendering yeomen service to safeguard the rights of widows. Speaking at a function on the occasion of the International Widows’ Day, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu highlighted on social restrictions like widow remarriage and denial of inherent rights. He pitched for the remarriage of a widow. It is basically a societal problem and there is a need for the change in people’s mindset. Speaking from the same platform, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad assured the foundation that his ministry would bring in a ‘judicial intervention’ in favour of the right of widows when the matter comes up in the Supreme Court. Social taboos have made the life of women miserable in our patriarchal society and the government should be appreciated for working to uphold the dignity of women. I want to praise the central government for yet another initiative – the Swachh Bharat Mission. The mission, which has been hailed even by the UN, aims to imbibe in our people the importance of cleanliness. It must be mentioned here that in the ‘Swachh Survekshan-2018’ conducted by the central government, Indore, a city in Madhya Pradesh, was reckoned as the cleanest city and Jharkhand as the cleanest state. Some cities have gone down in the ranking and some others have risen higher indicating that cleanliness in India is getting attention. The same survey disclosed that seven of the 10 dirtiest municipal areas are from West Bengal. Moreover, among the 25 dirtiest cities 19 are from the same state, of which Mamata Banerjee is the Chief Minister. She should open her eyes, and instead of labelling the BJP as terrorist organisation concentrate on cleanliness, and put an end to lawlessness and violence which have been a bane of West Bengal.