Apropos the story ‘Gates foundation, Rotary give anti-polio battle a $200 mn shot’ by John Donnelly, Mint, 28 November, it’s time we took stock of the measures needed to eradicate polio. We need to learn from polio-free countries and adopt new remedies, one of which could be inactivated polio vaccine. So far, the government has not made it a part of the national immunization project due to high costs. With funds from both Rotary and the Gates foundation, this can be done. Health experts recommend it, as it provides better humoral immunity than the oral polio vaccine. We must make the right choice that would make our country polio-free.
I read Amit Varma’s ‘Beating terrorism’, Mint, 22 November, where he attempts to deconstruct and reinterpret perceptions relating to the problem of terrorism in the post-9/11 world order. A part of the problem with terrorism is that the world over, there is no consensus in defining terrorism, one that is understood globally.
Terrorism was used as a term in the colonial era and people who used violence, against perceived colonial oppression, were termed terrorists and their acts were dubbed terrorism. But what appeared to be terrorism for the colonizer was seen in a different light by the colonized. Their term was “revolutionary insurrection” and the persons engaged in armed action were “freedom fighters”. This understanding of us vs them continues to this day.
Varma referred to the occurrence of terrorism in various parts of the world due to the non-availability of political expression for people in those societies. He then concludes that despotic military regimes and corrupt developing nations have become breeding grounds of terrorism. If so, what explanation will Varma give to the armed insurrection in developed countries such as Spain, Northern Ireland, Muslim rebels in Chechnya etc?
It has been argued in a section of the media that fewer textbooks will help the environment. I wish to state that no forest is being cut to make textbooks. The Indian paper industry has adopted a system of social forestry. Under this, the industry provides seedlings, fast-breeding clones, fertilizer and extension services to marginal farmers to enable them to derive economic benefit out of their degraded land. The farmers have the responsibility of protecting the trees which are harvested upon maturity and sold at market price to paper mills. The rotational planting pattern provides green cover in what is, otherwise, arid land. It is a myth that trees in forests are cut to make paper in the country. That fewer textbooks can save our forests is a misconception.
—R. Narayan Moorthy, secretary general, Indian papermanufacturers association
It’s unfortunate that young, educated Adivasi students’ just demand to include Santals and tea tribes in the list of scheduled tribes met with crude retaliation in Guwahati. This deserves to be condemned. One wonders where all the right thinking people in Guwahati have gone. Officials claim that Adivasis invited retaliation by breaking the security cordon and by going on the rampage. This made local people angry. Why didn’t the police take adequate measures when they knew that a rally was under way? It’s a pity that we are progressing economically but in terms of social awareness and civilized behaviour, our elite and middle class are yet to demonstrate progress.
—Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee
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