Celebrating Freedom in True Sense
INDIA recently celebrated its 70th anniversary of its freedom from British rule. But what kind of freedom do we celebrate when people in this country are killed for eating food of their choice? After 69 years of freedom, do we have freedom to eat food of our choice? What kind of freedom do we have when people are termed traitors and asked to leave the country for voicing concern over their safety. Are we free to speak our mind? Do the women of this country have the freedom to wear clothes of their choice without getting raped, if they venture out late in the night? Do we have the freedom to protest peacefully without getting lathi-charged? Let us take time to ponder over the words of the then prime minister of Britain, Winston Churchill, on giving power in our hands. “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight among themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles. A day will come when even air and water would be taxed in India.” Now let us think over whether he was not far from the mark!
VALENT MASCARENHAS, CALANGUTE
Making Sports Officials Accountable
CASH, accolades and praises have been pouring in for the two Olympic medal winners with PV Sindhu winning a silver medal in badminton and Sakshi Malik winning a bronze in wrestling in the just-concluded Rio Olympics. These two ladies deserve all the attention and focus they are enjoying. If not for their efforts, India would have drawn a blank in the 2016 summer games. But in all this excitement, let us not forget another Olympian who almost lost her life. Marathon runner O P Jaisha reportedly collapsed during her event at the Rio Olympics as there were no Indian officials present to provide her water and energy drinks at refreshment points as she ran under the scorching sun. Imagine running a marathon of 42 km without having water to drink. It is understood that though there were officials from all other countries to provide refreshment to their runners at designated points after every 2.5 km, according to the runner herself, there were no Indian officials at the designated points and the desks were empty. This is a pathetic state of affairs. It must be said that several officials accompany the India athletes when they go to participate in the Olympic Games and it is the duty of these officials to look after the needs of the respective sportspersons who they are in charge of. There could be instances wherein the athletes are abandoned by the officials accompanying them as these officials go sight-seeing, shopping or to explore the place. Thankfully, Sports Minister Vijay Goel has reportedly set up a two-member committee to probe into the allegation. The government needs to get to the bottom of the problem so that such incidents do not occur in the future.
ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO