Smart City project

Editor,

I would like to congratulate Dr TV Krishna Murthy CEO for Shillong Smart City Ltd’s suggestion about the implementation of the Smart City Project of our city. In my opinion there should be a three or four tier approach to the project.

  • From Grass Roots level onwards – This will include sanitation, drains, water pipes open defecation, roads particularly those running within the town.
  • The Municipal Board should be stronger to carry out the basic amenities.
  • There should not be any interference in the working of the project from any quarters. Although five years have passed but till date no steps for implementation of the project have been taken.
  • Smoking in public should be tackled with a strong hand. Some public toilets should be constructed in the main market area.

After completing the basic amenities the project long term plans can be made. Finance will also be a big problem for the State Govt. as the project will be on 50/50 expenditure sharing basis. The Govt has  already sincerely started and steps to augment the finances will and should be the first priority.

I am only expressing my views to the Project CEO and the State Govt. The two should put their leads together for the better future of the state.

Yours etc.,

SL Singhania,

Via email

Of priests and marriage

Editor,

Pope Francis has rejected a proposal made by bishops at a landmark meeting in October last year to allow the ordination of married men in remote areas, a potentially momentous change that conservatives had warned would set the Roman Catholic Church on a slippery slope towards lifting of priestly celibacy and the trashing of church traditions. It may be recalled that in October last year, a synod of 184 bishops met at the Vatican to discuss the future of the Church in the Amazon. It was argued that older, married men should be allowed to become priests. However, they would need to be men who are particularly well-respected and would preferably come from the indigenous communities where they intend to work. It is estimated that at least 85% of villages in the Amazon are unable to celebrate Mass every week as a result of a shortage of priests. Some are said to only see a priest once a year.

The controversy about married priests is one of the longest-running debates in the history of the Catholic Church. Priestly celibacy was introduced about 900 years ago and before then clergy were often married. St Peter, who considered being the first pope, was a married man and many early popes had children.

Many see celibacy as a key part of being a Catholic priest, one who is supposed to devote himself to the Church and not be distracted by what some consider being worldly concerns like a wife or a family. Thus, it might be convenient to conclude that Pope Francis’ decision not to accede to the request from bishops is a victory for his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and those traditionals who regard him as their standard-bearer.

Apart from this, the Bible clearly speaks about this in Mathew 19:11-12. Jesus mentions various types of eunuchs including eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. This has generally been understood to include individuals who deliberately remain celibate. The very mention of celibate individuals from the lips of Christ is of great comfort to those who face this as a daily reality. But more than anything else, the very fact that Jesus was celibate himself should open the eyes of those who speak against celibacy. Jesus never married or had sex, and yet he embodied what it meant to be truly and fully human more than any other person who has ever lived.

Thus, with the rejection of proposal on married priests, Pope Francis has unequivocally put an end to the controversial proposal seeking approval for married priests, put forward by the bishops last year. Celibacy will continue and remain intact and unchallenged in the church because it was proposed by God and it cannot be disposed of by men.

Yours etc.,

TK Nandanan,

Via email

Cycles of human culture

Editor,

 Professor Edward Tylor compares human culture with an old lady who is on a long walk. Sometimes she walks forward, sometimes she takes rest and sometimes she even walks backwards to sit under a tree or to fetch water. Her speed is so slow that sometimes it cannot be determined whether she is at all moving forward or not. But if we take into account her position much before where she is at present then we will realise that she has indeed walked forward some distance. Some sociologists describe social change as rhythmical as that of a pendulum clock that goes from ‘A’ to ‘B’ and gets rhythmically back to ‘A’ again. Some describe it as cyclical, some as spiral and some like Vico and Bossuet as unilinear.

 On the other hand, Marx has taken the model of rhythmical progression. But it is not like from ‘A’ to ‘B’ and again to ‘A’ of a clock pendulum. His is a three way rhythmical progression from ‘A’ to ‘B’ to ‘C’ and again to a better ‘A’ to ‘B’ to ‘C’ – thesis to antithesis to synthesis. Whereas Marx had taken the improved model of rhythmical progression from Hegel to analyse the historical progress, Sri Aurobindo had adopted the spiral model and gave it, as it were, a shape of an ascending spiral coil spring. According to Sri Aurobindo, the cycles of evolution tend always upward, but they are cycles and do not ascend in a straight line. The process therefore gives the impression of a series of ascents and descents, but what is essential in the gains of the evolution is kept or, even if eclipsed for a time, re-emerges in new forms suitable to the new age.

No one can deny that there is a general upward movement in historical evolution from slave societies to feudalism, from capitalism to modern welfare states. But the Holocaust and similar incidents also show that this upward movement is not at all unilinear. Indeed, several times history has witnessed descents when fascist or religious intolerance or greed generated inequality totally clouded humanity. However, after that a silver lining of a more sustainable synthesis or re-emergence of a new form took human society to a new ascent while saving the gains of evolution within its fold.

Yours etc.,

Sujit De,

 Kolkata

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