First, cleanliness from within

Cleanliness is next to godliness, we are told.  Hence everybody heartily welcomes the Prime Minister’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign. But wasn’t it only yesterday that  then Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had said that toilets were more important than temples and how the BJP spokesman, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, had hit out at this remark  ‘for hurting the fine fabric of faith and religion in the country.’ But during the elections, when PM Modi repeated it, saying toilets took precedence over temples, there was no protest, either from the BJP or the Sangh Parivar.

But sadly, at least in Kolkata, this cleanliness drive seems to have been a one-day affair.  I miraculously escaped being spattered with betel juice by a traveller on a passing bus.  Spitting is seriously injurious to cleanliness. And let’s not forget, cleanliness begins from within. We may have a clean India on the outside, but what about her soul?

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee

Quest for truly Swachh Goa

Nobody is above the law. As a right step towards a truly Swachh Goa, the government, in all its projects, should first lead by example and meticulously follow all the rules and regulations. Over the last two-and-half years, there have been examples galore of gross illegalities and the high-handed circumventing of the law by the Manohar Parrikar Government.

On September 25, the chief minister hurriedly inaugurated Yojana Bhavan, without the building having a valid occupancy certificate. The haste was to dedicate the building to the RSS and Jan Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyaya on his birth anniversary.  Parrikar had promised good governance and total transparency in the functioning of the administration. But starkly, that might is right and absolute abuse of power has become the order of the day.

Aires Rodrigues

Sreejesh was the star

Our yearning for a hockey gold was fructified when India beat Pakistan.  The standalone difference between the two teams was Goalkeeper Sreejesh.  Otherwise, the teams were evenly balanced.  The match nonetheless produced hockey of the highest quality, a treat for fans of the game.

Pakistan’s defence was terrific, not allowing the Indian team to score the winning goal in the specified time. This win was least expected, but let us hope it is just the beginning of several more.  At the international level, the countries hitherto considered minnows, like France, Belgium, Argentina and New Zealand, have invariably given us a run for our money over the last two decades.

India will have to overcome these teams first, before taking on mighty Australia, Germany, Holland and Spain. Well, who would know it better than Terry Walsh?

Ramesh N Hasgekar

Shot in the arm

Nothing succeeds like success, and the Asiad gold after 16 years should propel Indian men’s hockey to a fast-forward mode. The match duration in hockey has been shortened, and the new penalty shootout rule allows the players to dribble from the 23-yard line into the ‘D’. India seems to have adapted well to both these changes. The Hockey India League(HIL) did help players.

A solid admixture of attack and defence, the magical moment when Kothajit Singh scored the equaliser to stop the marauding Pakistan, goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and, of course the penalty scorers, Akashdeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Birender Lakra and Dharamvir Singh—–all contributed to India’s triumph.

With the win, comes the added responsibility of living up to expectations. Coach Terry

Walsh should concentrate on building the team without thinking too much about medal hopes at Rio.

Solid long-term planning, incorporating an

eye for young talent to replace the old stalwarts, state-of-the art academies to compete with the best and inspiring domestic tournaments on astro turf –all this should provide a perfect platform for Indian hockey to revisit its glorious past.

Ganapathi Bhat

Hockey team does us proud

The Indian hockey team, under the captaincy of Sardar Singh, has played amazingly well in the Asian games at Incheon, bagging the gold and a direct entry into the Rio Olympics as a bonus. Coming after its dismal performance

in the hockey World Cup, they seemed to

move from strength to strength, with a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games and finally striking gold.

With back-to-back major wins, the future of the team looks bright. Next,  it must aim for the Olympic gold.

Sanket Pawar

On to the Olympics

This glorious win by the Indian men’s hockey team at the Incheon edition of the Asian Games, after 16 years, was something the entire nation was waiting for with bated breath.

In this thrilling, but nerve -wracking match, India beat Pakistan 4-2 in the penalty shootout to clinch the coveted hockey gold.

The last time India won gold was in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. This triumph ensures a berth for our team at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It is indeed a matter of great pride and a big morale booster for our players. Team India deserves accolades.

We all hope the Olympics will result in another golden glory in 2016 and that the team will work hard in this remaining time to make this goal achievable.

Ramesh G Jethwani

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