Don’t Attack Hindu Traditions
This is in response to the letter written by Michael Vaz titled ‘Signs of a new renaissance’ (NT January 4). His claims of women fighting for justice as regard to gender equality at the hilltop Sabarimala shrine in Kerala sound fake and dubious. The Hindu temples are not places where anybody can walk in drunk, unbathed or wearing shoes. The Sabarimala temple was built prior to the 12th century. In Hindu tradition, temple of every deity has some specific features and history behind entry to the shrine. Several temples in South India permit only women while preventing entry to men. So basically it is not about suppressing the rights of women. The Sabarimala shrine is an occult temple where certain ‘occult energies’ are present which are harmful to pregnant and menstruating women. Secondly, the presiding deity Lord Ayyappa is a celibate and this must be respected by all those following the tradition since times immemorial. In fact, Vatican City in Rome is the last place in the world that still prevents women from voting; it only allows cardinals to vote when a new Pope is elected. Women are unable to hold any executive or legislative positions in Vatican City elections whereas men can become cardinals. Centuries back, life for women in Europe and America was miserable, while in India women have not only been believed to be at par with men but a step further; they are treated equal to God. It is believed that God dwells wherever women are respected. The number of female deities Hindus worship exceeds the male deities. Even in the Indian strategy game of chess (chaturanga), queen plays a vital role which speaks volumes about the role of a woman in every sphere of life in this nation.
KESHAV K SHETYE, Korgao
Safety Concerns Over New Mandovi Bridge
The photograph appearing on page 2 of ‘The Navhind Times’ dated January 16, showcasing the low parapet wall on the new Mandovi bridge, should serve as a timely reminder to the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) to check whether the parapet wall in question conforms to the design specifications and testing requirements as laid down in the Indian standards specifications. On the face of it, there appear to be some serious lapses due to the absence of guard rails which are usually provided atop the wall to reduce the impact of a collision and prevent toppling over of the vehicle. Normally a parapet height of 1,100 mm (1.1metres) with 2-3 guard rails is sufficient to prevent toppling over of a car weighing 1.5 tonnes with an impact speed of 80-110 kmph. It is hoped that these guidelines are followed to safeguard vehicles and the occupants in the event of an accident.
A F NAZARETH, Alto Porvorim
Tourism Policy Must Augment Tourist Arrivals
The Tourism Minister has been facing flak with aggrieved voices being raised against him from every possible corner for a poor tourism season. Now, with the presentation on the Tourism Master Plan for the state witnessing a turnout of just four legislators, the seriousness of the government in the exercise to which it has committed a substantial amount of public money is being questioned. Time and again the state’s ‘penchant’ for soliciting low-end tourism has admittedly invited visitors to Goa who have had more of nuisance value than anything glaringly discernible about them. As has been rightly observed, the reluctance in enforcing discipline on the roads along the beaches with tourists showing a strong affinity for drinking and eating everywhere but the shacks and restaurants has brought about a situation where the government has become apprehensive about any such actions having a direct bearing on the dwindling footfalls to the state. Considering the trash that Goa has been welcoming to the state in the name of tourism for quite some time now portends a trend where it’s quantitative, and not the qualitative, aspect will gain active endorsement. As it is, the apparent bias shown towards promoting South Goa as an equally vibrant tourist destination has resulted in North Goan beaches featuring as THE face of tourism in the state. With the mad rush witnessed at these places, it was but natural that over a period of years the existing infrastructure would not sustain the tremendous load any further. In this regard, the state tourism ministry has been grossly guilty of overlooking and planning for these eventualities. Moreover, it is equally essential that the stakeholders are taken into confidence while formulating new policies. Carried away by the possibilities of managing tourism-related activities as it is done in some foreign nations, the state tourism department has ignored means to tap local potential and resources. The interference from other departments in the government with some ministers and other MLAs being critical of the manner in which the tourism ministry is being handled, the accusations heaped have caused a snowball effect that has made the department of tourism in Goa the least popular one. A tourism policy that is in sync with the ‘essential features’ of Goa should auger well for the state.
PACHU MENON, MARGAO