Comments on two issues raised in Indian newpapers
An absorbing and interesting leisure activity,which keeps me connected with the world out of the ashram,is reading the daily newspapers.Here we get the more-than-century old (established 1878) and well edited The Hindu, and ever lively The Indian Express.Also delivered are two vernacular newspapers in amrati-shaped Malaylam language,must be sweet,but when being heard seems delivered by a fast-paced bowler.
Two items which caught my attention the most are in today's edition of the Indian Express.
The first is a large three-column wide top to bottom federal government's Ministry of Human Resource Development ad with the slogan "stop ragging on campuses".And it adds "ragging is a criminal offence and lowers standards of education".
In defining ragging the ad explains it is an act which involves mental/physical/sexual abuse,criminal behavior,undermining human dignity,etc.
The ad lists several serious warnings for those who in the name of institutional custom and seeking some fun to tease and exploit new comers to a college,university and even a high school.It says "ragging in any form is punishable".
It lists a 24-hour,7-days a week toll free anti-ragging help line.
Ragging is certainly a worldwide nuisance which sometimes even results in suicidal deaths by the naive tender-aged victims.The Indian government's anti-ragging campaign and tough measures to curb the annual menace is certainly commendable.
The second item, which appeared as an editorial in the Express,deals with,perhaps one of the most basic and pressing problem most Indians face regularly on a daily basis,is access to workable and hygienic toilet.
The editorial with heading "India's toilet revolution remains an elusive dream",gives some convincing statistics. It begins with an interesting statement which states that according to a worldwide survey to find out which invention made the greatest impact on human beings the flush toilet invention was the most favorite one than even electric bulb or steam engine.
In India,the editorial points out,majority of the population,63.8 crore,still has no access to modern toilet facility."they defecate in the open,accounting to 58 percent of the world population,which does so". In this regard India is number two after Ethiopia with no toilets.
It is certainly a national shame when "people easing themselves on railway tracks and along national highways", the editorial asserts.
Attention India,it's government, the ever vocal media and the basic hygienic- lacking educated middle class,the issue of providing toilets is as pressing as Anna's campaign against corruption and much more urgent than the demand for Chidambaram's resignation.
Ask the man at a railway track which issue is more important,corruption,resignation or toilet,and you get the national survey on the issue.