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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Reflections On Cow Politics

INSTEAD of mocking and abusing the secular and rational  Indians, it is high time  Who’s Who of the nation learned to introspect on their own faults and that of their ideological camp. No man of even minimum common sense gets shocked on mere harmless utterance of ‘cow’ or ‘Om’! However, when the humble cow gets denigrated as an electoral trump card, exploited as an instrument to spread hatred against certain communities and kill innocent people, only then do the civilised and secular Indians get perturbed and launch protest against these communal antics. In the name of cow worship, certain communities are being deprived of their constitutional right of preferring a diet of choice. The dirty cow politics is the reason behind the murders of innocent citizens like Mohammad Akhlaques, Junaids and Pehlu Khans to name just a few in regular intervals. Is it a ‘sin’ to protest  these brutal assaults on our own brothers? Rather the concerned authorities should have vehemently praised these conscience-keepers of the nation who are always protesting against the assaulters of the idea of India. But unfortunately these  responsible souls are being mocked as “sickulars”, perhaps to hide the communal and fatal antics of the  Hindutva brigade, who should have been rather actually condemned and punished. So in all practical purposes, directing abuses at secular folks is tantamount to social and political sanction of the merchants of hatred and their muscle flexing. Same is the case with ‘Om’. No sane person will have any objection to Om, Ram, Gita or temple! But it should remain confined within the hearts or private domain of Hindus only. The constitutionally secular state of India should have no bearing with these typical traits of Hindus, and also these cannot be imposed at any cost upon all citizens of this multicultural, multi-religious and heterogeneous nation. Lastly, it must also be asked as to why the self-declared pious Hindus get  shock of their lives when it is demanded that they continue to respect and honour their ‘gomata’ even after their milk gets permanently extinguished.

KAJAL CHATTERJEE,  KOLKATA

Remembering Selwyn Pereira

ON his 19th death anniversary, I recollect  very fond and never fading memories of Selwyn Pereira, a jewel Ribandar lost so early. He died  at the young age of 29 in that most tragic road accident in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Highly-talented Selwyn’s debut was with Ribandar’s ‘Purple Rain’, and then he gave birth to his very own ‘Civilians’. He later joined one of Goa’s top bands ‘Big City Band’, and moved on to as a keyboardist playing for Remo Fernandes’ ‘The Microwave Papadams’. I recall  with nostalgic recollections the always happy, warmhearted and very fun-loving Selwyn, who was ready to help one and all. Exceptionally civil in his conduct, the very down to earth and never with  ego, Selwyn was always unassuming. Besides being a very budding musician, he was an outstanding and caring human being, and someone who never stopped smiling.  Selwyn was a great guy, on and off stage. 

AIRES RODRIGUES, RIBANDAR

Inculcate Sense Of Hygiene

I FEEL that viral infections and such other ailments that continue to baffle the medical fraternity are a direct consequence of our misplaced priorities as far as our hygienic outlook and living conditions are concerned. When the government recently declared that all rural and urban areas in Goa are officially open defecation free, what the declaration meant was  that by virtue of having constructed community and public toilets in every nook and corner of the state, Goa is inching further towards achieving a sanitised visage. But is that enough! Even today, the very thought of sanitation being given such top-of-the-order priority is indeed a matter of astonishment for laymen for whom the mere mention of the word conjures up images of toilets and urinals. For the above average, this would mean an aspect of cleanliness helping in the protection of health against dirt and infection, that’s all! What then is sanitation, that it merits such a universal concern? If it was just all about clearing away all the filth and dirt, removing the garbage and giving the surrounding a clean and healthy look, one could have ignored it as another one of those many ambitious programmes of the government that never seem to see the light of the day. Monsoon in tropical countries like India, with its segregation of urban and rural population, brings in its wake a host of vector-borne diseases, as a result of inadequate sanitation and hygiene practices. Open drains and overflowing sewage, a distant characteristic of the urban dwelling of the developing countries, gives one a vivid picture of the importance attached to this health aspect. Piling of garbage with no specific areas demarked for dumping and treatment of the waste has now inevitably become a matter of consternation for the urban development ministry. First and foremost, the general public needs to be educated on the essence of hygiene – living in formally sanitised areas. The need to keep one’s surroundings clean and other benefits that flow from better hygiene and basic household sanitation arrangements should form the crux of the civic educative discourses.

PACHU MENON, MARGAO

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