Hooda must strengthen panchayats

Dr Raj Kumar Siwach’s article “Tasks before Hooda govt: A blueprint for progress” (Perspective, March 13) was interesting. However, I have reservations about his views on Haryana panchayats. It is not fair to criticise the panchayats without analysing the root cause of the problem.

First, it is too much to expect panchayats to provide sanitation, safe drinking water, literacy, social justice and economic development without devolving functions, sufficient finances, powers and a fair chance of governance.

Secondly, the panchayats are not corrupt but the system has made them corrupt. A Sarpanch, for instance, cannot get his work done or get any grants from offices without 4-5 rounds and a cut. It is an open secret that the Sarpanch has to purchase books, contribute for political rallies and oblige all the visiting dignitaries/officials, which he/she cannot do from the pocket every time.

Thirdly, the Sarpanch does not get positive cooperation from the bureaucracy and technocracy for technical supervision and measurement of the works done by them, which is deliberately delayed to harass the honest and dedicated.

And finally, sufficient attention has never been paid to build the capacity of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). For example, in some of the areas, the VDCs did fine job initially but their success created a fear psychosis among the technocracy of their survival. Therefore, the withdrawal of VDCs was the culmination of a vilification campaign by vested interests against them.

I am convinced that these institutions of decentralised governance can provide a better alternative for rural uplift and need a fair chance to prove their might. Therefore, the capacity building of PRIs, immediately after their elections, should be the agenda of the new government through a specially designed training module. The bureaucracy should also be sensitised to accept that PRIs are the pillar of local governance and are not their rivals.

PURAN SINGH, Asst Professor, Haryana Institute of Rural Development, Nilokheri (Karnal)




Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s assumption of office as the Chief Minister of Haryana is a re-assertion of the social and historical values of Haryana society in general and the Jat community in particular. As a student of history, I regard the emergence of a member of a nationalist family as the beginning of a healthy trend.

Haryana has witnessed changes from the traditional and medieval patterns of the ganas, janapadas, republics, sarvkhaps and khaps to the modern ways of democratic system. The leaders of the state including Ch. Chhotu Ram and their contemporaries contributed to the change in political system and values. Their role in the development of the art of governance for the benefit of the people was both historical and pragmatic.

The family to which Mr Hooda belongs has been in the thick of political struggles for the betterment of the people. Ch. Matu Ram, his grandfather, entered politics in 1923. The torch of service for the community was kept high by Mr Hooda’s father Ch. Ranbir Singh, a freedom fighter. The Hooda family has, thus, been aligned with the Congress. Mr Hooda can legitimately be proud of the values and national outlook inherited by him from his family and forefathers.

There is another important aspect of the new development. Ever since the formation of Haryana as a separate state, it has been ruled by the Chief Ministers hailing from the western districts (Hisar, Sirsa and Bhiwani). It is for the first time that southern districts (Rohtak and the districts adjoining Delhi) got their due. Democracy survives when power gets decentralised. It is hoped that Mr Hooda will usher in an era of progress, development and freedom from social evils like casteism, corruption and unemployment.

SHIVA N. MALIK, Librarian (retd), Chhaju Ram Memorial Jat PG College, Hisar

Watch K-word

These days ‘K-serials’ dominate the small screen. They are being premeried at prime time on Star Plus and have virtually made the viewers addicts. These serials have gone in so deep into the psyche of ‘fair sex’ that they miss their routine activities, to watch their favourite characters playing dubious roles.

These serials project a negative image of women. They show them as concubines and conspirators, driven by the force of money and lust alone. They are also projected as women of easy virtue who relish extra-marital relations and establish them with impunity.

K-serials have been projecting women, supposed be the lifeline of a family, taking sadistic pleasure in engineering family feuds. Interestingly, women’s organisations are not protesting against this negative portrayal.


Surely the Badshah

Attending a Shah Rukh Khan concert recently at Mumbai was a new experience for me. Shah Rukh was so warm and friendly. I have always been a big fan of his but when I saw him in person and saw him communicate with his fans, my respect for him increased. Now I know why everyone calls him the Badshah of Bollywood.



Vegetarian diet a preferred option

The write-up “Models for veggies,” by Vimla Patil (Saturday Extra, March 19) made for delightful reading. Veggies are now trendy and vegetarianism is catching on as a popular movement of the world with a huge population in Europe, Britain and the US are going in for vegetarian diets as a preferred option.

The world over film stars, models and sportspersons are turning vegetarian. They claim that a vegetarian diet offers more variety, energy and longevity.

‘Vegetarian’ was coined by the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom, around 1847. The word does not come from vegetables, as is generally believed, but is derived from the Latin word ‘vegetarian,’which means to ‘make more active and cheerful.’ Many noted philosophers and religious teachers persuaded their followers to keep clear of meat. Brahminism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism recognised the need to live without causing suffering to any living being.

There are different types of vegetarians; vegans are strict vegetarians who do not eat any animal byproducts, lacto-vegetarians eat milk products, vegetarians who eat eggs as well as fish-eating vegetarians. The belief that nurtritionally adequate proportions of protein are found only in animal food is erroneous.

Of the 23 amino acids, the essential components of proteins needed by the body for its normal functioning, only one has to be supplied by the diet, because the body synthesises the remaining.



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