22 Letters

posted Aug 29, 2018, 9:40 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 9:40 AM ]

Coming together in moments of crisis

Sir, I would like to commend the efforts being made to help the people of Kerala who have been affected by the flood. It is amazing how we all come together in moments of crisis.

However, I would like to share with you a message I received a few days ago from Dinesh Bhat:

"Prof. Madhav Gadgil warned about the destruction in the Western Ghats, but he was hounded out! My friend Prakash Ramanathan writes: Prof. Madhav Gadgil, the environment scientist... does the name a ring a bell? He was called in by the social forestry department by the then government to study the impact of deforestation in the Western Ghats. The illegal quarrying, the illegal occupation of forest lands, sand mining from rivers, the filling of paddy lands... he cited all these, and said Kerala in the long run will see devastation of unimaginable proportions - landslides will be there in every hilly region, the rivers will flood since there is no sand in its bed and the riversides have illegal constructions. This professor gave a 2000+ page report, and urged the government to take action, but he had to leave in disgrace; the Left, the Right, all in unison, called him names and conducted marches in all the hilly districts. He left silently, and now the most literate state is gasping for air, looking for help from every possible agency and from the Centre."

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Religious places can aid Kerala

Sir, 'God's Own Country' is in dire need of aid to rebuild the lives and homes of its people, ravaged by devastating floods. But who better than God Himself to come to the aid of His suffering people?

The state of Kerala is blessed with a large number of temples, flush with donations from devotees, including the 'Richest Temple in the World' worth US $21 billion (Rs 1,20,000 crore). A small donation of just 1% will translate into a humongous donation of Rs 1,200 crores. In addition to this temple, there are innumerable large and small temples in Kerala, some world famous.

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Ensure freedom from hunger

Sir, With reference to Bishop Percy's excellent letter titled 'Freedom from hunger' in THE EXAMINER dated August 25-31, 2018, hunger can also be curbed by requesting non-political social workers to set up food kitchens and housing shelters in every nook and corner of our city and our country, and also communes to ensure that poor people do not remain hungry and homeless.

Food wastage in any form for whatever reason is a sin, and must be thoroughly curbed through courses in ethics and etiquette and finishing courses.

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Rebuilding Kerala

Sir, The calamity of the worst floods in the century hit Kerala hard. Fortunately, the government and the people rose admirably to the situation. Fishermen, able-bodied men, bent down to permit people to stand on their backs and enter the boats. The Central government pooled in with an initial contribution of Rs 100 crores, followed by another 50 crores after the Prime Minister visited the affected area. Some state governments like Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal have also pooled in.

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Training Laity a Priority

Sir, For Laity, it is Family First. When we involve both husband and wife for a task, it could be accomplished. So we need to identify well groomed, educated, committed couples for engaging in any developmental activity.

Provide them opportunities to learn, to equip, to demonstrate, to perform and to complete a project. In the process, there will be competition, failures, frustration, yet it is a learning experience for all of us.

People feel not accepted, recognised, complimented. Reward them in cash and kind, appoint them to key posts, delegate powers to function authoritatively, monitor them for any deviations, gently throw light on how the task could be handled creatively.

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Misplaced priorities

Sir, Bain & Company's 'India Philanthropy Report 2017' projects a financial shortfall of $8.5 trillion if the country were to accomplish its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) even by 2030. "It needs significant additional funds, along with systemic changes at the policy and service delivery levels, to achieve these goals," the report mentions. While the Union Budget for 2017-18 lavished $42 billion on defence, public health was granted $7.5 billion, alongside $12 billion for education, $28 billion for women and children, and $29 billion for agriculture.

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No Altar servers

Sir, This is with reference to the letter in The Examiner dated July 28, 2018 titled "No Altar servers at communion" which is thought-provoking.

The writer has rightly pointed out the concerns of shortage of altar servers holding a plate while distributing Holy Communion. Yes, there is every chance of the pieces of Communion falling on the floor, and with people continuously moving, unknowingly stamp Jesus who is present in the Holy Eucharist.

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