Army Chief Out Of Step With Modern Times
ARMY chief Gen Bipin Rawat has made an irresponsible statement – he said that homosexuality and adultery will not be tolerated in the Indian Army. He says the armed forces are not above law, but then he reiterates that gay sex and adultery will not be permitted in the Army. His thoughtless remarks are violative of the recent two rulings of the Supreme Court that have decriminalised gay sex among consenting adults, and also struck down the adultery law of the Victorian era. Homosexuality was decriminalised on the principle of equality before law and adultery was legalised holding that the woman is not the property of man. When the highest judiciary of the country has legalised the acts after the issues were debated intensively in the courts of law it is simply irrational for the Army chief to make such outlandish statements, which is tantamount to disrespecting the institution of judiciary. His contention that the Indian Army is not westernised is ridiculous. Western countries have moved ahead changing with the times instead of resolutely holding to the archaic views which were essentially imposed on the people based on the outlook of that time, essentially being rooted in religious beliefs. Even his comment that the Army is not modernised smacks of ridicule. We are accustomed to our politicians making such thoughtless statements, but seeing people holding such high positions finding themselves on the conservative side is painful to digest. If at all Gen Rawat feels that the integrity of the Army would be at stake, he should present the issue before the government for amending the Army Act accordingly, but making such authoritative statement in a democracy smacks dictatorship worthy only of condemnation.
MICHAEL VAZ, MERCES
Allow Tourism Projects Along Beaches
THE sustainable management of coastal areas has always been in the public eye for years now. I am of the opinion that non-polluting tourism-related projects should be allowed along Goa’s coastal belt. Landholders in coastal villages have been at the receiving end of the tenancy act, as mundkars and agricultural tenants got a good deal vis-à-vis the legislation. And to cap it all, CRZ notifications introduced since 1991 brought the coastal lands nearer the sea under the coastal regulation zones, banning development of lands along the shore. However, the draft CRZ Notification 2018 could prove to be a boon for landholders in coastal villages of the state. Moreover, Sagarmala project will facilitate in turning around the declining tourist sector.
CAMILO D’SOUZA, BAHRAIN
The Tale Of Gandhi Cousins
HUMAN relations are both rigid and flexible; blood relations are fluid. ‘Blood is thicker than water’ so goes the saying. Complementing a political adversary is not common; but it is not uncommon either. When blood relatives are opponents in politics, strange things happen. Embarrassments and confusions are the order of the day. The Gandhi family took different directions after the untimely and unfortunate death of Sanjay Gandhi, the son of Indira Gandhi. Now that Indira Gandhi’s grandson Rahul Gandhi, his cousin Varun Gandhi of the BJP is also not too far away. The enigmatic son of Sanjay and Maneka Gandhi, Varun Gandhi expected to see himself as a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet. Varun Gandhi, an MP from Sultanpur constituency of Uttar Pradesh, has been a ‘semi-rebel’ of sorts often hurting his party’s cause. Significantly, Rahul Gandhi and Varun Gandhi fight for contrasting causes, but they have never taken potshots at each other. In fact, Varun Gandhi is often heard praising Rahul Gandhi for his “small-scale industries’ work” in Amethi. In his new book ‘A Rural Manifesto: Realising India’s Future Through Her Villages’, Varun Gandhi has struck a balanced view on the Modi government’s sops towards farmers vis-à-vis industrialists. The agrarian distress and complicated manifestations of a farmer’s anger is said to have been well documented by Varun Gandhi after spending six months in villages. Although taken aback by some of Varun Gandhi’s past rebellious comments, the BJP has taken care to keep him in its fold. It has to be noted that Varun Gandhi has never directly commented on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, speculations are rife that he may join the Congress before the 2019 elections. Known as a firebrand Hindutva propagator, Varun Gandhi’s entry into the Congress will depend on Rahul Gandhi and, of course, Sonia Gandhi. The former Congress president is said to nurture a soft corner towards her nephew. Of course, the educated and hard-working Varun Gandhi could augur well for the Congress party’s think-tank without hurting Rahul Gandhi’s ambitions.
GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA