Girls cut up
Sir-- Referring to 'Girl's death leads to a ban' (5-11 July issue), we should ask ourselves how many innocent girls have painfully died during the carrying out of this infamous circumcision? Why do mothers feel encouraged and motivated to bring their daughters to the "executioners" who ruthlessly operate on their "unwanted" parts? Why do mothers, who are already genitalia mutilated, dare repeat the same bloody scenario on their hapless daughters?
The bitter answer is that lots of women, even the highly educated, have become so heavily indoctrinated that female genital mutilation is a prerequisite for chastity. This overlooks the grim reality that until the mid 1950s, when prostitution was a legal activity in Egypt and the majority of women were genitalia mutilated back then, this "chastity" operation could have saved many women from becoming professional prostitutes?
The inescapable duty to stamp out female circumcision can only be fulfilled through relentless uprooting of an inhumane, male dominated culture with its insatiable whim to repress women; making poor women all over the country understand that they are human beings; and enacting deterrent laws to criminalise these barbarous practices on women. Otherwise, female genital mutilation will be the inevitable destiny of a large section of Egyptian women.
They don't live
Sir-- I strongly disagree with the letter 'Frankenstein Lives' (21- 27 June issue) which criticises embryonic stem cell research. These cells have no human lives and never will. An embryonic stem cell is not even a fetus. It is a cluster of about 150 cells the size of the period at the end of this sentence. They are currently discarded anyway. Why do opponents of this research think it is more moral to wash stem cells down a drain than to use them to help save and improve millions of lives? You and I have lives; embryonic stem cells do not.
If opponents insist on thinking of embryonic stem cells as having "lives", why not think of them as soldiers who are sacrificed to protect all of us in the war we are all fighting to stay healthy?
No words can accurately describe the horrific symptoms that accompany diseases -- Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and stroke, to name a few for which embryonic stem cell research holds great promise. These conditions manifest themselves with unbearable pain, disfigurement, mental incapacitation and amputation -- lives wasting away. The suffering continues.
Reject Manmohan's plea
Sir-- This [letter] refers to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan's statement that in the backdrop of three Indians allegedly found involved in the Glasgow terror blast, he implored British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to not label the communities such as Indians and Muslims as terrorists because as a Sikh he understands the trauma of being labelled.
Manmohan is obviously referring to the labelling of Sikhs as terrorists due to what happened in Punjab during the 80s which resulted in operation Blue Star (where the Indian military
had to enter the Golden Temple at Amritsar to rescue it from terrorists) and which ultimately culminated in the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh guards in 1984.
Sikhs are easily the most lovable people in India who have never been given their due credit in lieu of their immense sacrifices and hard work in the interest of keeping India and its predominantly Hindu civilisation surviving. At the same time, Muslims are so intertwined in the national life of India that hardly any Hindu Indian can sensibly think of a lively India without Muslims.
But will Manmohan enlighten mankind as to why is it that mainly Muslim and Sikh communities use their religious places to carry out first their political and then ultimately their terrorist activities?
Even Hindus who are alleged to be responsible for killing thousands of innocent Muslims during the 2002 Gujarat pogrom never used their temples for carrying out this terrorist activity but allegedly used their cultural and political organisations for this purpose. Had Hindus used religious places the casualties would have been manifold.
Manmohan ought to realise that religion along with politics/terrorism makes a deadly mix. If he requires any proof that in the contemporary world, state politics will have to be separated from religion then he ought to only look at what is happening in Pakistan's Lal Masjid (the Red Mosque) where Muslim insurgents used their religious place and Pakistan military had to flush them out.
Therefore, Manmohan's plea to Brown should not be taken seriously unless Sikh and Muslim communities take a vow and show concrete proof regarding keeping their religious places separate and free from political and terrorist activities.
Muslims and Sikhs normally advance the argument that it is only a minuscule part of the community which so misuses their religious places. Hence, the entire community should not be labelled as such. But they ought to realise that while they are not guilty of acts of commission they are guilty of acts of omission in preserving and protecting the sanctity of their religious places.
Hem Raj Jain