Friday, July 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Wages of politics sans principles

THIS refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article “Of five blindmen & the elephant: wages of politics sans principles” (June 30). If democracy has a few virtues, it has vices too. If we equate members of legislatures and Parliament with the Maharajas of feudal India, it would not be overestimation. The former outnumber the latter. The latter were less expensive. The salaries and allowances of the former are a huge burden on the national exchequer. The author rightly points out: “They spend lavishly like the Maharajas of feudal India, the class they used to publicly decry to enlarge their vote bank.”

Politicians discredit the prevalent “isms” publicly, but in practice they largely depend on them for their electoral successes. It is the politicians who have divided the society on the caste, sex, region and communal lines. Dependence on these “isms” is witnessed now more than ever before. These have set in motion the divisive trends in the modern society.

Corruption has survived (and also thrived!) more in the democratic setup. There is corruption in high places. Transparency and accountability have suffered most after India gained freedom from the British. One is yet to see a corrupt politician get punished. Either the law of the land lacks adequate teeth or majority of the politicians being corrupt — one covers up the misdeeds of the other — as all are chips off the same block.


The stalling of business by members in Parliament and the state legislatures by creating din and unruly scenes is an open display of nuisance. It is a mere wastage of time and public money in the august houses. It is nothing more than hooliganism and sheer nuisance. How shameful it is that some of our elected representatives depend on the nuisance value they often manifest instead of playing valuable role they are expected to.

In the early days of our democratic setup, we had leaders possessing the qualities of head and heart. They were great visionaries and statesmen. A good number of them had fought for the country’s freedom. That is why debates in the early days after Independence use to be lively and left an indelible imprint on the people’s mind.

Bijhari (Hamirpur)

Suggestions: The commission which has been set up for review of our Constitution may consider the following points to be included in the list of suggestions which shall be forwarded to the Government of India for consideration and implementation:

Total number of political parties in the country should be maximum three i.e. Communists, Capitalists and the Socialists. All regional and religious political parties be abolished.

The political parties should form the designated Cabinet and nominate their candidates for election. People are the actual masters of this country and they should judge as to whether a particular candidate is a fit person to hold the office of ministership of a particular department.

The candidate nominated should be a graduate, within age group of 40-65 years, should possess a good moral character which should be verified by the District Magistrate, should possess a sound health and health certificate should be issued by the civil surgeon of the district and only party-nominees should be allowed to contest.

That political parties should see that they shall be appointing ministers only those persons who have got expertise in the subject of the department which they shall hold so that the present bureaucracy could be tooted out.

At present political parties are being established like cooperative societies. This trend must go.

The political parties so formed should function as per principles internationally recognised and the present system of ‘shoshebazi’ should end because of this ‘shoshebazi’ we could not solve problems of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment which are the base of all the evils in this country.

Assets of all the ministers whether dead or alive, be probed and surpluses confiscated to the state exchequer to be refunded only on furnishing true and satisfactory accounts. This shall prove deterrent to scams, scandals, muddles, bribes, corruption, sale of jobs, sale of positions, sale of quotas and sale of licences.

To avoid monopoly in services, we should introduce one-cadre system for each type of services in a state and only joint seniority list be maintained so that people serving in different departments should get equal chances of promotions. This system shall reduce chances of corruption and bribes.


Police highhandedness

I was coming from Ludhiana the other day and I was stopped at a check post at Sohana (Mohali). The officer incharge checked my bikes’ documents (insurance, pollution, licence). As everything was okay, he told me to go. But one of the policemen on duty told me to leave him at police station, Sohana (Mohali). I gave him lift to the police station. There were many drunkards and others to be convicted persons there. He told me to stand there. The policeman there told me that I could not leave and took me for medical checkup to Mohali with the other offenders and the doctor told me my report was fine. I was not drunk. But the policemen left me only, when they got the report. I was not under the influence of alcohol and I pleaded with them for four hours. They let me go at 4 a.m. When I asked why I was stopped for so long, they threatened me as they were under the influence of alcohol themselves.


Honest teachers

In his letter (Editor’s mail”, June 24), Mr Akhilesh has observed that during the period of about 13 years, he has taught in various schools, he never met a truly honest teacher. According to him, most teachers seem to be corrupt.

There is no doubt that quite a large number of teachers are nonchalant towards the pious profession of teaching and do their job just perfunctorily. They are not well versed in their teaching subjects and do not attend schools punctually. They encourage students to use unfair means, like copying, etc, in the examinations. Once, while travelling in a bus, I heard a couple of passengers talking about some teachers, who allegedly indulged in misappropriation of funds, drinking bouts and gambling sprees in a school during working hours. Now and then, reports about the teachers, committing rapes on girl students, appear in newspapers.

Do such teachers deserve to be called nation builders?

However, there are still quite a few conscientious teachers, who regard schools as sacred temples of the goddess of education.

One of such teachers, I know, is Mr Kulwant Singh Randhawa, who remained Headmaster of the Government High School, Butter Kalan (Gurdaspur) for over two decades and retired as a principal. He was a truly honest teacher and a stickler for strict discipline. He never indulged in any malpractice. Because of his upright behaviour and religious devotion to duty he was so popular in the area, that no teacher or student of his school had a fear of any terrorist during the height of militancy in Gurdaspur and the institution functioned normally.


Biased views

Panjab University has been in the news a lot. So far the media has been instrumental in projecting only biased views of the detractors of the authority, which are always many because of various political considerations. Of these the Senate and Syndicate being most potent, with teachers, students and non-teaching staff not lagging behind in indulging themselves in self-serving politics ultimately. These people are least bothered about welfare of the university, and its community, whom they claim to serve. They serve only themselves.

Though this type of dirty politics is present throughout, it gains momentum and becomes maximum as the term of a Vice-Chancellor comes near its end. The detractors are interested only in that the V.C. does not get extension, because many of the former are in the race for the post. They do not hesitate to use whomsoever they can: politicians, bureaucrats, teachers, students and all. There are many who have personal scores to settle. So they join the bandwagon of opposition. They see to it that their propaganda overshadows the achievements. So number one enemy is the politics.



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