Friday, April 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Wages of life without principles

IT should cause little surprise if some gentlemen like Hansie Cronje among Indian cricketers too are caught in the match-fixing net, particularly because corruption in the country has infected almost every sphere of human activity (“Wages of life without principles” by Hari Jaisingh, April 21).

The author aptly turns the thoughts of our present generation to Mahatma Gandhi who struggled hard to put some character back into us. But we have recklessly cast away whatever little we had gained. Public morality has touched a new low. Conscience is no longer troubled in doing something wrong. There is no sense of shame in being found out. Status and position today are determined not by the character, calibre and culture of an individual but by his wealth, irrespective of how he amassed it. Unbridled pursuit of money and power has consequently become the be-all and end-all of all activity.

The country faces a strange paradox. On the one hand, there exists a real potential for it to emerge as a super power within a decade. On the other hand, there is a real danger that our system may collapse.

There is growing demand for purposive and principled politics. But the high priests of politics have a set formula : the results are important, not how you achieve them. The unscrupulous politicians’ increasing dependence on mafia dons has made politics a cesspool of crime and corruption. To break the stranglehold of this unholy nexus and clean-up public life, it is time the intelligentsia bestirred itself.

All in all, political harlotry must not be allowed to play havoc with India and its polity any more.


MORALITY IN INDIA: In India, there is a crisis of character in every walk of life. Morality, which ought to be the foremost quality of human character, has met its waterloo. I doubt moral education in schools can revive morality in our students. In books, printed words pertaining to moral education can much less make the students moralists.

An individual starts grasping morals right from birth (or from the moment of conception in the mother’s womb!) The innate morals of teachers matter to make the students moralists. Moral education ought to create practical wisdom in an individual.

The Constitution of a nation is meant for the country men. After all, its makers are human beings, so they are prone to commit errors. We have 50 years of experience with our Constitution. May be, initially, the Constitution served the country’s purpose well. But now, with the changing times, it is failure to deliver the goods. So it needs to be reformed.

Bijhari (Hamirpur)

NEPOTISM & DISHONESTY: Corruption, nepotism and dishonesty have affected every segment of society in the country. Documents and office files do not move unless we grease the palm of the official concerned. One cannot get the official copy of a court judgement unless one pays Rs 20 to the typist in addition to the official court fees. One can get one’s seat in a train booked easily if one is prepared to pay an extra amount to the booking clerk.

An honest person’s application is subjected to delay by red-tapism. People are beginning to take corruption for granted. Of course, there are laws to eradicate corruption in our country. They are well defined in the words of J.J. Roche:

The net of law is spread so wide,
No sinner from its sweep may hide.
Its meshes are so fine and strong,
They take in every child of wrong,
O wonderous web of mystery
Only big fish alone escape from thee


MYTH EXPLODED: After a long rule of the Congress, we felt perhaps the country may get deliverance at the hands of the BJP-led regime — believed to be a party of people with high principles. For many years we had continued to nurse a myth that we would have a new Pandit Nehru and a new Sardar Patel. But these “leaders of principles” turned out to be “Kursi Premi Netas”. The shine of both Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr L.K. Advani has gone.

The unemployed youth were promised more employment avenues in the government’s open agenda. The BJP-led government did just the opposite of this promise, under its hidden agenda. It raised the retirement age for government employees from 58 to 60 years. Thus even normal job avenues were choked for two years.



Gender issues in Army jobs

Mr Pritam Bhullar in his article in The Tribune of April 19 seems to be playing to the gallery when he writes that girls may be recruited as officers in the Army. He should be well aware that service officers also have field tenures. When lady officers would be posted to administrative base units, this would certainly impact adversely on male officers getting these postings after completing their field tenure.

Just because a concept is in fashion, we need not subscribe to it. We can watch and learn from the US defence forces’ experience and then go ahead with any such plan in India. In addition, vast cultural differences exist in India between the ranks and officers — it takes time for such issues to be resolved.

The three Chiefs apparently took the decision to recruit lady officers so as to please the women’s lobby as also to make up the shortfall of officers.

With India’s vast Army of the unemployed, it would be better to improve service conditions so as to attract better male officers — there will be too much of outcry if a female Army officer is ever captured by militants/enemy forces and treated with indignity.

New Shimla


Loss from holidays

The revelation of Ms Vijay Kalantri, President of the All-India Association of Industries, is that the national exchequer incurs a loss of Rs 2,700 crore due to various kinds of holidays. This is a mind-boggling figure.

The economists would know better, but why can this colossal amount not be utilised in some purposeful way by reducing holidays by the encashment of the unnecessary holidays as is done in the case of earned leave. This would be extra money earned through honest means.

I know of Indians going abroad and doing more than one shift to earn extra money. We should have only Sundays as off-days and two national holidays. Even casual leave and medical leave should be made encashable to increase productivity.


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