The editorial “Clinical trials on trials”, Mint, 20 August) highlighted an important issue. It’s sad that innocent children had to die in clinical trials. As pointed out by you, India is now the focus of global pharmaceutical companies. With a large, poor and illiterate population, there are bound to be problems: They do not understand the implications involved in such clinical testing. The way AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) has responded to the RTI (right to information) query raises doubts, for the institute hasn’t provided a clear answer or justification. I agree that such trials should be suspended until an inquiry into the matter is completed. Not only is proper staff training required for those who are involved, but they also need to ensure that all parents whose wards are subjected to such trials should be informed and their consent obtained.
— Bal Govind
I liked the very different perspective on the subject in S. Mitra Kalita’s column, “New marketing in Kashmir”(Mint, 22 August).
I agree that with jingoistic slogans such as “Proud to be Indian” and “100% Indian”, the Indian Army is not distinguishing itself in Kashmir, especially if we see them as India’s brand managers talking to a customer who’s not “sold” on you. Many marketing gurus have likened marketing strategy to military strategy, so this discussion is very relevant.
In marketing, there’s a concept of the “lifetime price” of a customer. This is the price one pays over a customer’s lifetime, to acquire and retain (for example, effort, sweat, cost, freebies), which in turn is expected to generate returns many times over.
If the customer does not even match up this cost on an ongoing basis, he’s termed a “bad customer”, and a company is better off without this customer.
An even better idea would be to give this customer to one of your competitors, so that the customer drains them. Over the years, Kashmir has reached that status, so India must let Kashmir go rather than waste precious time, resources and energy on retaining it.
Who knows, it may actually be a better option, both for Indians and Kashmiris. I don’t think Kashmiris ever saw themselves as Indians anyway.
Most Indians have complaints with the government, and rightly so, but unlike Kashmiris, the rest of us don’t talk of secession at the drop of a hat.
They complain or blame the Indian government for everything that’s wrong with them. We’ve never read about any constructive suggestions from Kashmiri leaders, whether it’s the Abdullahs, the Muftis or the rag-tag coalition of Maliks and Lones. Such customers are a constant drag on any company’s resources, with no visible returns, so it’s time we bit the bullet.
— Vipul Bondal
The report, “Religion to slaughterhouses, Jains’ stir raises questions about govt” (Mint, 26 August) raises a vital issue that impacts all citizens of the country.
To what extent should the government interfere in the religious rights of its citizens? Our Constitution says we are a secular democracy, then why do governments go out of the way to appease certain groups belonging to different religions?
Let each religious group practise its own religion without interfering with the rights of other citizens, be they Muslims, Hindus, Jains or others. Non-violence does not only mean not killing animals; real non-violence means having good and peaceful thoughts, honest and soft words and good deeds matched with a compassionate heart.
It may not be out of place to mention that certain persons could be serving their political purpose through such moves.
Religious groups which want a total ban on animal slaughter should first address real and serious issues affecting the community and the country.
Let us understand the meaning of religion — and this applies to followers of all religions. Each religion has a right to propagate its views, but nobody has a right to enforce its views on others, not even the government or the courts. Otherwise, it would amount to forced conversion, albeit for a short period.
— S.D. Israni