Remembering Social Reformer Raja Rammohan Roy
On May 22, Google doodle displayed the picture of Raja Rammohan Roy. We must thank Google for remembering the Father of Indian Renaissance on his 246th birthday. As a matter of fact, Google reminds me to say ‘Happy birthday’ to the maker of modern India, who took up the gauntlet to fight against orthodoxy, power, religion, prejudices, superstitions, myths and relentlessly campaigned for the abolition of the barbaric practice of Sati. Sri Aurobindo said that when he was writing Yogic Sādhan, every time at the beginning and at the end the image of Rammohan Roy came before him. Raja Rammohan Roy was born on May 22, 1772, almost a century before Sri Aurobindo’s birth (August 15, 1872). It is a shame that religious hatred, prejudices and superstitions are still being promoted as sticking to our eastern identity even 246 years after Rammohan’s birth. On the other hand, liquor and licentiousness have been equated with liberty and as signatures of progressive Western culture. In this hour of tug of war between these two forces, we should learn from Rammohan Roy, who was against the blind reliance on India’s own past or blind aping of the West. He said that India should acquire all that was best in the East and the West. He had great respect for the traditional philosophic systems of the East and believed that Western culture alone would regenerate Indian society. He championed rational and scientific approach and principle of human dignity and social equality of all men and women. He said that the caste system was doubly evil, as it created inequality and deprived people of patriotic feeling. Unfortunately, in modern India, advertisements for black magic engulf our daily space, superstitions are being packaged with ludicrous scientific explanations, hatred is being promoted as self-pride and footloose hedonism is projected as modernity. It is time to rediscover the teachings of Rammohan Roy to save ourselves and our country from going backwards to either dark ritualistic medieval age in the name of religion or dark hedonistic primitive jungle raj in the name of consumerism.
SUJIT DE, Kolkata
Widen Guirdolim Road
The stretch of road in Guirdolim village after the Chandor railway crossing level gate from the junction near the shops to the football ground is very narrow causing inconvenience to motorists and heavy vehicles, as two vehicles are unable to pass each other on the stretch. Moreover, the road shoulders at this stretch are also of an uneven level. As a result, traffic gets blocked on the stretch of road and one can witness traffic jams on a daily basis. People are delayed by half an hour or even more when caught up in traffic jam on this road. The public has been facing this problem on this stretch of road since many years. If steps are taken to level the road shoulders, the problem could be solved to some extent, as the vehicles will then be able to use the road shoulders to allow the approaching vehicles to pass. I hope the village panchayat office of Guirdolim, PWD department and the local MLA look into this matter and solve the problem before things get complicated.
RONNIE D’SOUZA, Chandor
Adopting Cautious Approach To Contain Nipah Outbreak
After the DENV, H1N1, CHIKV, Zika and the Ebola virus scares, it is now the turn of the NiV that has the medical fraternity in God’s Own Country scurrying for cures to contain the deadly effects of the virus that has a high fatality rate. With no known vaccine available, the primary treatment for human cases is restricted to intensive supportive care. Fear grips Kerala as it continues to reel under the effects of the newest virus threat. The Nipah virus is the latest in the series of deadly outbreaks that has exposed mankind’s susceptibility to unknown strains of infective agents which have defied medical evaluation and treatment to pose potential life-snatching threats for humans. For that matter, each virus outbreak, whenever it has occurred, has been testing times for the public with the severity of the epidemic recounting untold misery for one and all. Yet we forget to learn from past mistakes. No sooner is the acuteness of the contagion on the ebb, caution is thrown to the winds with people showing a fondness for returning to their old lifestyles. Medical research has established beyond doubt that each time the lethal effects of a particular strain of virus are contained, it mutates into a new variant which has the potential to cause a deadly pandemic. The Nipah virus is not new to the country. An earlier outbreak was reported in West Bengal in 2001 and ’07. It has now re-surfaced in Kerala! As compared to the earlier times, extensive travel, trade, connectivity and densely populated urban environments have been laid down as the possible reasons for the infectious disease spread. For example, today a traveller can transport a deadly strain of a virus across continents in a matter of hours. When a pathogen is introduced to a new place, the locals there are biologically more vulnerable to the infection since their immune systems have never been exposed to and have no experience warding it off. This is a major cause that helps the epidemic spiral out of control with the health systems totally caught off guard. We now have to accept the fact that man’s relentless war with viruses has reached a stage where living with outbreaks is a part of life. Only a cautious approach will help us fend off the outbreak!
PACHU MENON, MARGAO