Open your hearts
Recent newspaper reports on the Sardar Sarovar project throw light on the fact that rehabilitation measures taken by the state government are nowhere near being satisfactory. According to me, the fact that many families have been fragmented is proof of the authorities' unconscionable and inhuman attitude.
It is surprising that no social service institution seems to have taken up this valid cause by starting a fund for these dislocated people. One wonders why the people who would finally benefit from the dam should not participate in the rehabilitation of the oustees by contributing their mite in cash and kind.
The recent Kargil tragedy brought out the best in us and people from all walks of life, overwhelmed by the supreme sacrifice of our jawans, contributed with great magnanimity. A tragedy moves people beyond words. It is high time people realise that they do not have to wait for a major mishap or a disturbing event to occur in order to become generous.
Generosity and a sense of social justice should spring naturally from the depths of their hearts. Hence, it would be highly inappropriate to leave the Herculean task of rehabilitation to the government alone. In my opinion, the future beneficiaries of the dam have a moral responsibility to provide monetary contribution to express their solidarity with the tribals. The unending fight put up by the Magsaysay award winner Medha Patkar should find an echo in the collective consciousness of the common folk. The government, on its part, should take steps to provide Income-Tax exemptions for the donations to this cause.
The river Narmada which was once the fountainhead of prosperity to those living on its banks has become a source of distress, deprivation and acrimony among the people of the state.
Latha Chandrasekharan, Mehsana.
Prez bashes Prez
Your editorial 'Dateline India' put President K R Narayanan's controversial remarks in a better perspective. As has been pointed out by numerous 'expert' observers, he did exceed his brief in delivering the rebuke at an occasion when only niceties and homilies were in order. Although Clinton did not acknowledge it, he must have been perspiring under his black tie, and why not? In this euphoria generated out of our penchant for hero worship, when MPs jostle each other to shake or merely touch the hands of the visiting dignitary, Narayanan did the right thing. He did, in my opinion, what the head of the government, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee Vajpayee, did not have the courage to do. If India is being touted as the other superpower, why can't we behave like one? The press corps accompanying Clinton insists on calling this tour the 'South Asian tour', afraid lest they should give more importance to India. We have extended all the courtesies due to a visiting head of state. We have gone out of our way to make accommodations for their security personnel and sundry other officials. Being a guest does not give them the right to talk down to us, especially after making remarks such as Kashmir being nuclear flash point public. And, yes, Kashmir is a flash point. Go tell that to that man next door.
Navendu N Yajnik, via e-mail
No Biblical Adages
Apropos the news 'George predicts hot summer' (TOI, March 14), glancing at the chronology of events it is saddening to see our deteriorating relations with Pakistan. Our budgetary provisions for defence highlight our preparedness for a befitting reply, if need be.
I was impressed I G Patel's views in 'Shades of Grey' (TOI, March 11). The article reflects the seasoned academic in the author. I certainly feel that instead of taking a tooth-for-tooth and nail-for-nail stance we should go little more than half a way to extend the handshake of friendship. This is because no person - or for that matter no country - is very good or very bad and everything depends on how you comport yourself. After all, trust begets trust and as Patel puts it "We have to engage them, argue with them and remember that there is always some open space."
US President Bill Clinton's visit can provide the platform to apply the finer nuances of diplomacy.
Nirav Wostan, via e-mail