This is in response to the news report “Abdul Kalam, father of India’s missile programme, dies at 83” (THT, July 28, Page 1). A.P.J Abdul Kalam, former Indian president, was popularly known as ‘Missile Man’. Once Kalam, while serving as the president, had refused to sit on his chair during a function just because it was larger in size than the rest! After reaching Shillong after completion of the road journey from Guwahati to deliver a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Kalam cared to offer thanks to the Meghalaya police constable S.A. Lapang for the latter’s dutiful vigil in the pilot vehicle. This gracious act not only

exemplifies the polite and humble nature of Kalam, but also displays his mindset that humanity should reign supreme. Instead of playing to the gallery or catering to the lowest common denominator by resorting to cheap political gimmicks and exploiting the divisive credentials named religion or race so as to earn electoral dividends, it becomes the responsibility of all Governments to seriously engage themselves in the mission of uplifting the downtrodden perennially plagued by the devils named hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, child labour and devoid of all norms of accommodation, clothing and medical service.

Not garlands, memorials or anniversaries but one and only act of compassion towards fellow human beings will be the ultimate tribute to the great soul named A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Also by drawing inspiration from his declaration “When I die, work an extra day”, the holiday-loving societies should reduce the innumerable holidays in offices, schools, colleges and courts so that

the indolent citizens are encouraged or forced to work and study for real growth of the nation and service to the country.

Kajal Chatterjee, Kolkata

Respect them

The country where women/girls are not respected is certain to remain sick forever. The sickness of backwardness breeds familial, social, cultural, economic, political, and national dysfunctions.

Repeated reports related to violence against women/girls “Man held for uploading video of sex with girlfriend on internet” (THT, July 26, Page 3) and other similar stories are gruesome scenarios seen across the country. It is very sad to hear such stories everyday. The increasing cases of violence against women/girls, whether it be related to cyber crimes, domestic violence, sexual/ verbal abuse, psychological violence, murder, charges of witchcraft, polygamy, trafficking, forced labor or

economic exploitation unfold the inner cry of women/girls who are subjected to male chauvinism. Women-friendly constitutional provisions, their protection and strict enforcement of law are necessary for timely prosecution of offenders.

Without gender justice and their say in power, policy and decision making it is impossible to imagine national development.

Som Nath Ghimire, Kawasoti