Nizam&’s last laugh
SIR, The Union cabinet, with the tacit support of such allies as the NCP and RLD, which have no stake in the welfare of Andhra Pradesh, is determined to bifurcate the state, in effect betraying and dumping the people of so-called Seemandhra, a truncated Andhra.
The Centre betrays scant regard for the sensitivities of the people. It is rather surprising that a veteran like Dr S Jaipal Reddy of Andhra Pradesh wishes to limit the border of his own State. In the past, the “inner voice” had often influenced Indira Gandhi to take action against the general opinion of her own political party. That “inner voice” appears to have prompted her grandson, Rahul, to speak against the Ordinance that had sought to protect convicted legislators. I hope the present Congress vice-president will respond to his “inner voice” and stop the division of States to benefit vested interests. The decades since Partition in 1947 have confirmed that we need a strong and united India. After the division of Bihar, Jharkhand has been suffering from chronic political instability. Several Telugu ministers in the Union cabinet have resigned. Some Telugu leaders, based in Delhi, are also on hunger-strike. The great Nizam of Hyderabad is having the last laugh.
Yours, etc., Samir Das Gupta, Kolkata, 5 October.
SIR, The report, “Transport department to introduce new bus routes” (1 October) was a heartening piece of news. The scheme will call for route rationalization of various modes of public transport to make them complementary instead of merely competitive. A study is being conducted by the Public Vehicles Department (PVD). The Regional Transport Offices may lack the expertise to address the vital issues of integration of rail, Metro, trams, ferry services and buses. It is the commuter who must be the ultimate beneficiary. One recalls a similar study undertaken by the CMDA in the Eighties under the leadership of KC Sivaramakrishnan.
The situation has changed over time, and a fresh study with the necessary expertise is imperative. The tram service and river transport could play a very significant role in providing a new model of urban mobility.
Bus-free tram corridors are worthy of consideration. In Amsterdam, for instance, there are “tram only” routes with pedestrian plazas. Trams can also run beyond the city limits like for instance in Asansol-Durgapur and Siliguri-Jalpaiguri. This will improve the regional transport network. “Trams in Punjab University” (14 September) was also an interesting item.
Yours, etc., Monideep Chattopadhyay, Kolkata, 4 October.
SIR, Legitimizing euthanasia is a diabolical idea for ethical and practical reasons. What else can we do to lessen the pain of the terminally ill? Everyone has the right to treatment; we must eliminate the suffering, not any mortal who suffers the pain. The confidence in caregivers is very advisable to reduce anxiety. The last hour of life is often de-personalised and de-humanised. In consequence, the terminally sick suffer from a sense of acute loneliness before death. Euthanasia is a medical technology. However, in an ethical society, the solution is not a lethal injection. We must ensure that the serious or terminal sick are respected. Harvey Chochinov, a psychiatrist at the University of Manitoba (Canada), has developed a form of treatment called “dignity therapy”. It identifies the factors that cause grief among the sick and devises aids to thwart it. Hope is essential to reduce pain. Leaving a legacy is also a link with the future. We are mortals in search of meaning. The transition to eternal life is the last great act of existence. A lethal injection represents fast and cheap technology. We have to find a transcendent meaning to life and convey it to future generations. This is a significant reason why euthanasia is banned in many countries.
Yours, etc., Clemente Ferrer, (Independent Forum of
Opinion), Madrid, 3 October.