Thursday, January 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Women and Indian democracy

THIS is with reference to the news report “Woman panches’ role negligible” (The Tribune, January 7) giving a vivid but gloomy picture of what role the woman members of panchayats in Haryana are playing. Based on the recorded facts, as this report is, one sits cross-fingered to think “what if these illiterate women come to Parliament?”

Talking about women’s understanding of things in relation to men on one hand and the women’s Bill being on the cards on the other, the facts are quite disturbing, and give us a peep to know “why the whole political structure in India is dwindling”.

Women in the urban areas have proved their efficiency in many fields which were earlier monopolised by men only. But what about the rural folk? The figures reveal that only 39 per cent women in our country are literate. To expect of a woman panchayat member or Sarpanch to extend her participation in social, economic, political and judicial activities is only a distant dream, when she is not even able to read or write the word “panchayat”.

  In my opinion, to elect these illiterate women as panchayat members and then use them as rubber stamps is a further degradation of democracy and humiliation of the women folk.

Now the question arises, “where does the remedy lie?” Unless the women are literate and educated and unless they themselves realise their strengths and potential, no amount of criticism and pity can set things right.

In the changing times, the woman must awake from the deep slumber and whatever may be the constraints should show to the world that she can move the mountains. And, of course, she does not need the crutches of “reservation” to come forward.

So, wake up, women! Know your strength and march ahead to give birth to a healthy society!


Justice & PUDA

The Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) has taken a policy decision under an “amnesty scheme” (January 11) to give the last chance to the defaulter-allottees of residential plots to pay their dues to save their property. The scheme covers those allottees also who lost their cases in courts or whose litigation is still continuing provided they are in possession of the property in question.

However, the defaulter-allottees of commercial plots, specially those who purchased their property in open public auction comparatively at much higher prices, feel aggrieved as they have been discriminated against.

The defaulter category of residential plots has been accommodated whereas that of commercial plots has been ignored. Is this justice? Earlier, both categories were being treated on a par with each other.

In the interest of ensuring equality before law, PUDA should treat both categories of allottees as equals and announce urgently the same amnesty scheme for the defaulters of commercial plots also.

S.A.S. Nagar



Pearls of wisdom

If there is a man who truly deserves to be honoured on this Republic Day, it is my cook. Simple and humble, this man demonstrates a wisdom that can put the collective wisdom of the formally educated think-tank of the country to shame. From time to time this man comes up with ideas that sound simplistic but appear to offer practical solutions to some of our national problems that have managed to baffle experts in relevant fields.

For instance, during the recent hijack crisis, he suggested a wayout in order to avoid such situations in future. He simply wishes the government would stop making “board and lodging” arrangements for terrorists in jails at public expense. What is the point in wasting so much money, putting lives of so many good men from the forces and intelligence services on risk to apprehend one culprit, if a bunch of hijackers can get them released so easily. And then they are free to carry on with their dastardly acts of violence against innocent citizens.

My cook’s advice is that if speedy trials and deterring punishment are not possible, terrorists should be neutralised in encounters. In the absence of anything to negotiate for, there will be no hijacking incidents.

Not very long ago, during the season of scams, plenty of public funds were swindled by unscrupulous politicians. Crores of rupees were being unearthed from all sorts of dubious characters. I wish this cook of mine were on the national think-tank. Yet again he seemed to have the perfect solution to the problem of the day. Heeding to his wise counsel would rid the country of swindlers, scamsters, bribe takers and blackmarketeers with one simple stroke. Replace currency notes with coins — huge coins, he recommended. Since it would be very difficult to be able to conceal huge quantities of wealth in coins without being detected, the unscrupulous element would be dissuaded from the temptation of unlawfully amassing wealth for the fear of being detected easily.

He is only 30, this cook of mine. I for one see a bright future ahead for him.



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