• Good liquor is slow poison; bad liquor can kill instantly. Its ironic that hooch has claimed over 100 lives in Ahmedabad,in a so-called dry state. Such cases prove time and again that prohibition as a policy is foolish. Prohibition only drives the liquor trade underground,and those consuming cheap,spurious country liquor are endangered. This is the plight of millions of poor across India but it makes news only when sufficient numbers die of it. In place of prohibition,what we need is a massive public awareness drive about the hazards of drinking.
Vinod C. Dixit
• The Ahmedabad hooch tragedy might have been avoided if the government had a pragmatic policy in place instead of the farce called prohibition. The hypocritical policy of prohibition helps neither individuals nor society as a whole. Instead,all across the country,prohibition allows unscrupulous policemen to extort lakhs of rupees. Gujarat has taken a lead in many social issues; its time the Gujarat government stopped acting as societys moral guardian.
• The violence in Chinas Xinjiang province proves that no country is beyond the reach of extremism and exploding minority grievances. It doesnt matter how such violence is termed and explained. The Uighurs probably have genuine complaints against the Han Chinese and Chinas state policies. However,Indias job is to closely monitor what unfolds in China and subtly use the riots and the army crackdown to push the Peoples Republic towards taking an unequivocal stand against terror everywhere. Enjoying Chinas embarrassment and rubbing it in will backfire. If Chinas says
Al-Qaeda had a hand in the violence,India should agree,and diplomatically begin to drive a wedge between China and Pakistan.
Fears of Maya
• No one can disagree that Mayawati may be building her innumerable statues because she is preoccupied with her own fragility and insecurity. But it would be naïve for Mayawati to believe that she alone represents Dalits and all backward castes in India. If that were so,she wouldnt have suffered her reversal in the 15th Lok Sabha elections that has shaken all her electoral mathematics to the core.
She too is vulnerable to the vagaries of the political weather like any other leader. Its time for Mayawati to come out of her shell and concentrate on governance so as to live on in the hearts of her constituents.
n The cat is out of the bag with Asif Ali Zardari admitting that Pakistan nurtured terror for years for short-term political ends. Long before 9/11 India was consistently pointing out Pakistan as the native land of all militancy. Zardaris admission is a vindication of Indias stand. However,are the big Western victims of terror listening?