Thursday, June 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Misuse of MPs’ discretionary fund

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has rightly turned down the MPs’ demand for increasing their discretionary fund from Rs 2 crore to Rs 3 crore (May 21). There are reports that the funds lapsed as some MPs have failed to utilise the money within the stipulated time. Also some made a dump of the funds in a particular pocket of their constituency and some doled out the amount for the venture which hardly helped the poor people.

I am aware of a few projects in Ferozepur district where an MP generously gave donation for the construction of the community centres, dharamshalas, entertainment parks for the kids and the like. However, by doing so, the very purpose for which the fund was created has been negated.

The authorities should release the instalments from the development fund only after thorough scrutiny and ascertaining the proper utlisation of the last allocation. A close and consistent check of the accounts and vigorous follow-up of the incomplete projects alone can serve the purpose of the allocation of the development funds. The emphasis should be on equitable and balanced development of all the constituencies cutting across party lines.

The rationale behind the introduction of the MPs’ Local Area Development Scheme was to enable the members to take up some urgent works in their respective constituencies without burdening the state governments. Any discussion on the MP’s fund should not overlook this fundamental truth.



Mockery of devotion

The devotional songs set on film songs’ tunes has become a trend for the last decade or so. This is ridiculous. Such cassettes are easily available in the market, that too, recorded by some well-established companies. Unfortunately, there is no check on this disturbing trend. It is a fact that no religion has been spared from being commercialised.

Such songs should be aesthetically and liturgically composed with original sound tracks. Otherwise, time is not far when the devotional songs will be picturised in a garden with characters running around trees or under waterfalls or even in a night club.

Religious bodies should come forward and condemn this practice. The music companies should also refrain from recording such compositions. The authorities concerned should ban such cassettes to maintain the sanctity and dignity of a religion in the public interest. The singers and the general public should shun devotional songs of this kind.

VIPIN SEHGAL, Ladwa (Haryana)

Exploitative behaviour

The editorial “Torture, not honour” (May 20) revealed the callous behaviour of those who sought publicity on the pretext of honouring Nirmala Devi. May be, she realised that it was far easier to tackle wild animals like leopards than wily and crafty people.

The Tribune had prominently displayed Mr Bitta honouring the courageous Nirmala. Instead, the camera should have zoomed on her after the function when she stood alone, feeling cheated, confused and hurt. The media does not need to promote manipulative and self-seeking individuals. This unethical and exploitative behaviour of the organisation needs to be unequivocally condemned.

Whisking an injured and bed-ridden Nirmala away from hospital and subjecting her to a gruelling journey and then not even giving her proper treatment is really a “torture and not honour”.

I fail to understand how the nurses for whom she was apparently called to inspire could have remained so unmoved and impassive to her plight.

DR UPNEET LALLI, Deputy Director, Institute of Correctional Administration, Chandigarh

Importance of English

Apropos of the write-up “Khichdee Linguist”, it is rightly said English is one such language that is used frequently in our multi-linguistic country. People speak in three languages, write in two, think in one and English is one out of the lot as it comes very easily to everyone, especially when it comes to writing.

Many are critical of English as it is not out of the multi-linguistic slew. But there is no harm in using this language if one feels comfortable with it. Like any other language, English is also one form of human speech which should not be barred.

SUMIT GULATI, Chandigarh

Insurance problem

Nowadays, we see a large number of private life insurance companies. The people have certain genuine apprehensions following their sad experience with them, including the Unit Trust of India. Has the government taken care of the safety aspect before allowing them to do business? How do they compare with the LIC in terms of safety? Will the government or the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority guarantee repayment on death or on maturity to the policy holders? These and other relevant points need to be clarified by the government. Assurances by the companies are not enough to allay the fears of the common man.

Wg-Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Talat gets raw deal

The release of commemorative postal stamps on singers like Mohd Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar and Hemant Kumar is welcome. However, it is sad that the legendary singer Talat Mahmood has been excluded from this honour. In fact, Talat deserved this honour more than anyone else. With his first song “Ay dil mujhe aisi jagah ley chal jahan koi na ho”, Talat zoomed to the top. He achieved the stature of a ghazal icon with “Sham-e-gham ki kasam”, “Zindagi denewale sun” and “Mohabbat hee na jo samjhey”. With a natural treble in his valvety voice, Talat elevated his love-lorn songs and ghazals to an art form.

As a super performer in richer realm of private ghazals, Talat immortalised Ghalib, Mir, Jigar, Shakeel, Majrooh, Firaq Gorakhpuri etc by rendering their ghazals in his inimitable voice. Each ghazal that Talat sang was dainty in tone, pleasing in timbre and gilded with hypnotic freshness. Ghazals such as “Tasveer teri dil mera behla na sakegi”, “Hangama-e-gham say tang aa kar”, “Koi din gar zindagi aur hai”, “Koi arzoo nahin hai” etc brought a rare tear to the eye and a nostalgic lump to the throat. Such was Talat’s vocal virtuosity that he could build a good following for his ghazals in an age when Saigal, Begum Akhtar, Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali ruled the roost. His expressive style, impeccable diction, emotional nuances and languorous lilt set Talat apart from other singers of his day. Jagjit Singh says that Talat Mahmood was the original ghazal king and all who followed were inspired by his style and idiom.

With sonorous sad songs and ghazals and, more important, hypnotic geets, Talat cast a magic spell. “Ro ro beeta jiwan sara”, “Sagar kyon hai aaj aadheer”, “Mera dukh ambar mein chhaya” etc raised Talat to the crest of popularity. To ignore such a versatile singer from the honour of a commemorative stamp is highly unfair and discriminatory on the part of the powers-that-be. Music lovers want a fair play and no favour for Talat Mahmood. Will the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government please recognise his contribution to music and release a stamp in his honour?

M.L. DHAWAN, Chandigarh

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