Saturday, November 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Democratic reforms

THE Delhi High Court’s judgement directing the Election Commission to compulsorily provide information to the voters through the media about the criminal background of the candidates contesting parliamentary and assembly elections is laudable. The court has also directed the Election Commission to provide other information to the voter like assets possessed by the candidates and their dependent relatives, educational qualification of the candidates, whether the candidate is accused of any offence and any other information considered necessary by the commission to enable the voter to assess the suitability of the candidate.

It is ironical that in a country where even a candidate for the lowest paid government job has to furnish several particulars to assess the suitability of his candidature, candidates for parliamentary and assembly elections, who eventually become the law makers and thereby guide the destiny of the nation, do not require to give full particulars.

Voters have a right to know the credentials of the candidates and the High Court judgement has upheld this right.

The Election Commission should make a standard format giving all the relevant details, so that the voters can make a comparative study of the worth of different candidates and thus make a judicious choice.

Edapal (Kerala)


Culture confusion

Apropos of M.S.N. Menon’s, “Contradiction and confusion”, the writer himself has expressed views which are paradoxical at times.

Depicting the heritage of one’s country through folk dances, skits, plays, musical instruments, etc, is only one aspect which is aimed solely at the audiences to bring about an awareness about the same. To do this is one thing and to work towards the protection of one’s culture is quite another. It is here that the RSS steps in. Leaders are not necessary to promote everything, ordinary people can do it as well. RSS full-timers (Pracharaks) fit the bill here.

The difference between nationalism and patriotism is talked about by the author but he fails to tell us what this difference is. Perceptionally, both are feelings and with a difference of degrees, they are identical pieces of thinking. To quote practical examples Gandhi was a staunch nationalist whereas Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and the likes of these were downright patriots.

To learn from history and take corrective measures for the future is valid and there should be no exception taken to it. Yes, trying to turn the wheel of history back can sometimes prove counter-productive.



The concept of speed-breakers on roads is very good, but only if their maintenance is possible and looked after regularly, otherwise their very purpose is not only defeated but also the reverse is true. They are liable to cause accidents.

If the authorities can not look after their upkeep and maintenance speed- breaker should be avoided. What happens is that after speed-breakers are put up and white lines painted, the white paint fades away after a few days and then the speed-breakers are not visible. This causes sudden jolts to the occupants of vehicles leading to accidents and injuries, more serious in the case of two-wheelers.

Either do not have speed-breakers at all and there will be fewer accidents. Or have them proper and only if they can be maintained in one of the following ways — they should be of white material — white cement, and if possible some lucent material which is visible from a distance at night.



In view of our dismal performance, may I suggest that for our cricket team Sharjah should henceforth be referred to as “Harja” (get defeated)!




Children’s Day

INDIA has celebrated golden jubilees of her Independence Day, Republic Day and Promulgation Day of the Constitution. A similar national commemoration awaits Children’s Day on November 14.

We have entered the third millennium with more than 400 million illiterates with about 100 million children of the age less than 10 years not attending any school. At the time of Independence, 23% of 6-14 years age-group children attended any primary school. Then came the Constitution of India, Article 45 of which reads, “The State shall endeavour to provide free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years.” This provision made it obligatory to achieve this target within 10 years — by the end of 1960.

Many primary schools were opened and teachers appointed. During the next 10 years the percentage of primary school going children had a rise of 17.3%, far below the target of cent per cent enrolment.

The UN proclaimed Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. It ensures right to education for everyone.

Our own Constitution made it obligatory to universalise elementary education within a period of 10 years. Alas! This target could not even be approached half way by the end of the 20th century.



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