Need to assess the worth of all parties

Chanchal Sarkar’s suggestions in his article “Let elections be tryst with reality” (Sunday Oped, Feb 22) merit serious consideration by all voters who would be wooed by all the political parties offering them the elusive moon. India is better in many ways than ever before, but a lot more needs to be done. The country has come up due to the hard work of the people and in spite of leaders working in tandem with corrupt and divisive politics, barring a few good patches here and there. Our self-serving political system has been holding power by playing caste or religious factors and building up hype on non-issues.

There should be serious thinking on whether we really deserve the type of political system we have. Perhaps there could be an independent appraisal of the political parties and the candidates by a panel of eminent people with impeccable credentials. The performance can be measured possibly on the following broad parameters for the political parties: merits of governance, development work, human development, corruption, right to life and property, promises vs performance, and anti-people modes. Similarly, the candidates can be assessed on parameters like the candidate’s history and geography, turncoats and the net asset value.



Surely, a few good people can make all the difference in the political system. In recent times, Messrs Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh, Jaswant Singh, Arun Shourie, to mention a few, have all done us proud. There are enough honest people in the country that can make an impartial assessment. Will the people heed their advice? Some people may cry foul but there is no harm in trying to reform the electoral process .

Air-Cmde RAGHUBIR SINGH (retd), Pune

NDA vs the rest

Apropos of Mr Harkrishan Singh Surjeet’s interview “NDA won’t cross 200-mark in LS polls” (Perspective, March 7), one must agree with Mr Surjeet that this time the country would witness a keen electoral fight between the secular parties on one side and the BJP and its allies on the other. The BJP, for the sake of NDA’s unity, has put its three main issues — Ayodhya, Article 370 and the Uniform Civil Code — aside. The BJP is pushing forward through the NDA. Why don’t the NDA members expose the BJP on this issue and force it to shun these issues altogether? Where will they stand if the BJP secures a majority in the Lok Sabha?

Mr Surjeet should have made it clear why the secular parties have not been able to forge a pre-poll alliance. What is the problem, especially before the CPM, in this respect? No doubt, the secular parties have their own base and differences among themselves, but why can’t these be resolved by adopting some “common minimum programme” before the elections?


Govt role in IIMs

Apropos of articles by Shastri Ramachandaran, V. Eshwar Anand and Gaurav Chaudhary on the controversy over the IIM fee cut (Spectrum, Feb 22), if the government really wants to help the poor students, it should do three things. First, offer need-based scholarships to them after getting admission in IIM. Secondly, there should be some fund-raising system for those who can’t afford to pay the high fee. And finally, these institutions should have a contract with certain banks so that students from financially weak backgrounds get loans easily after getting admission in these institutions.


Punjabi music in great demand abroad

THIS refers to the article on Punjabi music (Windows, Feb 21), which accuses the NRI community of lowering the standards of Punjabi music. This is not correct. I would like to explain some fallacies in the article.

First, the music emanating from the UK and Canada has great demand from non-Hindi film music lovers. Secondly, the Punjabi NRI society thrives on its identification with Punjabi culture. As a result, Punjabi folk music and pop numbers are in great demand by those yearning for their roots in Punjab.

Our Punjabi and non-Punjabi boys and girls seek bhangra music for entertainment. Even some Englishmen enjoy it. This has resulted in fusion music. The rhythm of the dhol and its up-tempo beat can be mixed well with western music. Thirdly, the UK market is one where audience participation is encouraged. At weddings and parties, you have both girls and older women dancing. They dress up well.

The youngsters who demand Punjabi music are not dressed scantily or in a vulgar manner. Stereotyping is dangerous and the article shows a lack of understanding of the NRIs’ aspirations.



Goldie’s contribution

This is in reference to the article “Goldie: Guide for new filmmakers’’ by Devinder Bir Kaur (Spectrum, March 7). She has pointed out that Vijay ( Goldie) Anand established his acting skills in films like Kala Bazar, Haqeeqat, Double Cross, Tere Mere Sapne, Kora Kaagaz, Main Tulsi Tere Aangan ki and Hum Rahen Na Hum. But she has forgotten to mention Vijay Anand’s first film as a hero Agra Road (1957). He had, of course, acted before in Joru ka Bhai (1955), which was directed by Chetan Anand. He also showed his talent in the highly acclaimed film Ghungroo (1983).



Apropos of the write-up on Goldie Anand, there is no doubt that he was a versatile director who gave many hits that will be cherished by generations of film lovers. He reached his peak with the classic Guide, which had the rare distinction of appearing on the cover of Life magazine in 1967.

In an otherwise informative article, the writer Devinder Bir Kaur seems to have mixed up dates. Taxi Driver was made much earlier in 1951 and, therefore, cannot be considered as his next script after Nau Do Gyarah (1957).

Brig H.S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula

Reduce exam strain

This refers to “Testing times” (Windows, March 13) by Prerana Trehan. The writer has discussed the problem of stress among students and also suggested solutions. Much can be done to minimise the strain of exams.

If a student has been taught properly in class, if his learning powers have been properly honed, if he has imbibed good values, then an examination will pose no threat to him. Students should be made aware of their shortcomings. This means that examiners should be required to give detailed comments on the candidates’ answer scripts. It may be helpful if the scripts of unsuccessful candidates are returned to them so that they know where they have fallen short.


Educative piece

Amar Chandel’s piece on the ill-effects of the use of drugs and medicines (Spectrum, March 14) was educative. Keep it up!

D.K. MUKERJEE, Chandigarh

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