Tuesday, September 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Haryana: why this cultural decline?

MR D.R. CHAUDHARY’s characterisation of Haryanavi culture seems to suggest that the ideology containing the activist dimension of culture has not evolved despite the prosperity it recorded in the agricultural field. The deterioration of moral and ethical values, no doubt, is a cause for worry because deeply entrenched caste politics has not allowed the secular, democratic and liberal ideology to be part of the value system in Haryana. Moreover, there is a plebeian response to this dangerous situation.

The middle class that has emerged in Haryana is just not willing to promote and allow secular values to grow. The bogey of caste, region, kinship came handy in establishing the people’s privileged positions. Be it job, transfer, promotion or posting, the open loot perpetrated by those at the helm of affairs has undermined the democratic credentials of the institution.

The absence of culture of protest in questioning the unjust practices, taking a stand on the issue of crime against women, weaker sections and minorities are the problems never debated at public forums. The so-called activists in the fields of culture and politics believe in maintaining silence on political defection.


These tendencies are likely to create further tension in the times to come. The situation may lead to further degeneration of Haryanavi culture if the hypocrisy in public life is not brought to an end. To expect politicians to preserve secular values and develop a sense of culture is simply foolhardy.


Rural health services

THIS has reference to the news item “quacks thrive in govt docs’ absence” (August 28). Barring a few exceptions, the deficiencies observed in the health care units located in the border belt of Amritsar district can be safely generalised for the whole state. Although there has been a lot of expansion in the health facilities over the years, people are not happy with the quality of services available to them.

It is common knowledge that people, especially in the rural areas, have no option but to patronise local quacks, simply because the government-run institutions are either non-existent nearby or have nothing much to offer. They are poorly staffed and ill-equipped, and invariably starved of medicines.

Under the circumstances, there appears to be no immediate solution for ending the menace of quackery. The only feasible solution, though a long-term one, is to wean the people gradually from unqualified, “doctors” by strengthening the existing primary health care system which unfortunately happens to be fairly weak. Many health care units have very limited accommodation. Even wherever government residential complexes are available, they are hardly put to use as the staff prefer to commute daily from their home in nearby towns.

The key posts are lying vacant at many places. Where such posts are filled, the staff remain absent. Even if they care to be present, the people are in no way benefited since the necessary inputs like medicines and equipment are either inadequate or non-functional.

It is indeed a painful situation. Not only this, the department, in its wisdom, has put square pegs in round holes by posting postgraduate (MD/MS) doctors in peripheral health care units where they are proving misfits, having nothing much to offer to patients. Obviously, this is a sheer waste of trained manpower.

The state government should now concentrate on bringing about a qualitative improvement in the total health care delivery system, particularly at the primary level. The least that can be done immediately is to ensure cleanliness and curb absenteeism among doctors and the paramedical staff.


A sad situation

VEERAPPAN, the dreaded dacoit, is in the news these days. Today every Indian knows who Veerappan is.

As a matter of fact, the whole story about Veerappan is a sad development and a black spot on the face of the governments in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as also the Centre.

India has got at its disposal a large force comprising the Army, the IAF and the Navy. Besides it has got many paramilitary forces plus a special task force to deal with such problems.

One fails to understand how the two state governments and the Centre have failed to bring the forest brigand to book.


Right to vote under threat

VOTING for the municipal elections in Mohali were held on August 29 and the Punjab government had declared it a holiday for all offices and schools, etc, in the state to enable the employees to exercise their right to vote. However, the UT Administration did not do so for its employees residing in Mohali.

Earlier when elections were held in Panchkula, the UT Administration had declared it a holiday for its employees from Panchkula. But it did not do so in the case of Mohali. However, the employees of the UT Administration hailing from Mohali who exercised their right to vote could not attend their offices. They are being threatened with disciplinary proceedings by their bosses. This amounts to the forcible denial of a constitutional right.



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