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Arup Chakraborty

Raising wall

After the recent communal riots in Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh, the administration has built a wall between two colonies in the city where two communities live. The officials justify the action, saying that the wall has been built to stop clashes as well as to fulfil the residents’ demand for it. The district is hobbling back to normal after the communal violence. Locals say the fire may have died down, but the embers are still glowing. Only a spark would turn those burning coals into a blaze. But, instead of mending the wall of mistrust between the two neighbours, the administration has raised a fence.  Though such a wall is necessary, it comes in the way of building trust. Another view says that as well as bolstering confidence, a barrier prevents conflicts between two neighbours. A professor of English literature at a college in Bhopal has said the officials of the Khargone district administration have either forgotten Robert Frost’s Mending Wall or they have never read that poem. Frost says:

My apple trees will never get across

And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

The administration has, nonetheless, followed what the poet’s neighbour says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

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Untie knots

The country is in a pickle. Yet the popular media houses give a wide berth to discussing it. Aside from that, those media houses are out to show the opposition leaders – especially those of the Congress – in a bad light. Had the opposition been in power at this juncture, the Bharatiya Janata Party would have toppled the government by raising a hue and cry over the administration’s misdeeds as they did before 2014. That way, the opposition seems to be weaker than the ruling party. Mere blaming the corona pandemic for all ailments the country is now afflicted with is hardly going to serve the purpose, says an economist. The country’s economy has begun to wobble since demonetisation in 2016. That, along with the corona-induced lockdown, has given off unemployment which the government has failed to tackle. Inflation is at an all time high, and the rising prices have broken the back of the common man. Besides, the Central Government’s Agnipath scheme for temporary recruitment to the armed forces has triggered protests across the country. Still, the government has done precious little to douse the flames of anger among the youth. The share market is hobbling and the gold prices have declined. As the shortage of fuel is looming, the government has cracked the whip on private fuel retailers by bringing them under Universal Services Obligation (USO). The retailers are, however, charging higher rates to discourage the sale of fuel. The government has been mandated to weather any storms and to untie any knots.

Savage blade attack on woman

The number of teenagers, indulging in sexual assault on elderly women, has shot up in many cities across the country. The capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, is no exception. A recent incident of sexual assault on a 40-year-old woman, a mother of three, was so barbaric that the woman’s face was slashed with a blade and nearly 100 stitches were needed to seal the cuts.  As the woman was waiting for her husband at TT Nagar area in Bhopal, three teenagers began to hurl obscene remarks at her. No sooner had she protested and slapped one of them than two others attacked her and slashed her face with a blade. The way they assaulted her indicated that the trio committed such a crime earlier, because only a habitual offender can attack someone in that manner. The house of the main accused in the case has been demolished. But, at the outset, the police did not register any case of molestation and that of savage blade attack against the accused. The cops swung into action only after Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan met the survivor and ordered for severe action against the culprits. The family is still in shock. A psychiatrist says teenagers are indulging in sexual assault on elderly women because of porn sites.

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Illustration By Hasan Zaidi

A resident of Lucknow was preparing for the wedding ceremony of his only daughter. Just a few days before the wedding, he said to his would-be son-in-law, “Dear son, do you want anything special?”

The would-be son-in-law said, “Dad, as you are giving the hands of your only daughter, I have nothing to ask for. Yet if you wish, you can give me a bulldozer to scare others.”  

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