24 Letters

posted Sep 6, 2018, 9:02 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 6, 2018, 9:07 AM ]

Weakening our democracy

Sir, During the past few days, the newspapers have been carrying reports on how prominent intellectuals and human rights activists have been arrested in a nationwide swoop, and their residences raided. Reports say intellectuals from across the country have protested angrily against this development. Writer Arundhati Roy says, "The simultaneous arrests are a dangerous sign of a government that fears it is losing its mandate and is falling into panic." Without going into the merits of the case, one is tempted to ask—is this good for a democracy? Citizens are not being permitted to voice their opinion. Where are we headed? Is our democracy being shredded to pieces?

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Turn problems into potential

Sir, Life offers us many opportunities often under the guise of problems, illness etc. We can either get bogged down and succumb to them, making ourselves and others miserable, or we can accept the situation, face it squarely with élan, and turn it into potential for experience and learning, prodding our inner and outer energy and strength to function more creatively. In the process, we become experts in the art of remaining relaxed, alert, present and ready to activate our brain cells in positive and useful ways to face any challenge thrust upon us.

The Kerala floods have shown us the way to re-balance key pathways using innovative interventions –top-down, bottom-up and horizontal brain processes to actively engage brain structures to effectively manage crisis situations. Keralites have thus earned new admirers for the manner in which they have faced the devastating flood fury. Using implicit and explicit memories and experiences, local fishermen, volunteers and rescue personnel evacuated residents using ordinary fishing boats. After the worst battering in nearly a century, Kerala's path to recovery is sure to be long and hard.

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Vasai-Virar on brink of disaster

Sir, This refers to the article 'Manmade Disaster in Vasai' (Examiner, August 18, 2018). It is true that builders, both local and outsiders, have made Vasai-Virar almost a cement jungle. Till 1980, the population of this area was 2.41 lakh, as per the 1981 Census. At the same time, the local population started decreasing, and people from other states (as well as from Mumbai) started pouring in. Most land in the area was owned by locals, including Catholics. Most Catholics began selling their land as family size dropped. Today, Catholics in the area number less than 50,000. Most Catholics have modern facilities and huge bungalows, but one finds only elderly persons occupying the houses. How can they save the green belt?

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India wins highest tally of medals at the Asian Games

Sir, The Indian contingent will return in a blaze of glory after outstanding performances in most disciplines at the recently concluded Asian Games. In the past, Indians won medals mainly in shooting, boxing, wrestling and if luck favoured, in hockey. This time, they won the highest ever gold medals and total medals too.

At these Asian Games, an outstanding feature was the winning in athletics and table tennis. Dream catcher Swapna won the women's heptathlon, with a gold which was the first ever by an Indian. Swapna won her event, despite being in pain; she has six toes on each foot, and shoes are made keeping in mind five toes. Arpinder won the gold in the triple jump; India won this gold after a gap of 48 years.

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Pope: Parents first example of faith for children

Sir, Pope Francis spoke on August 25, 2018 at the World Meeting of Families, in Dublin's St Mary's Pro-Cathedral. He recalled a time when he was a young child, and he saw his father kiss his mother after he returned from work: "What a beautiful thing! May your children see you like that, kissing and embracing each other. This is how they learn!"

A recently married couple asked him for advice on how to teach the faith to children. Some excerpts from the Pope's speech:

"The first place children learn the faith is in 'the home'; through the quiet daily example of parents who love our Lord and trust in His Word. The family is the 'domestic church'! It is where children learn integrity and sacrifice, and how to love God and the Church."

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