Friday, December 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Of power and corruption

APROPOS of Mr Hari Jaisingh's article ‘‘Of power and corruption: problem of missing political will’’ (Dec 8), the steps listed by the writer to fight and eradicate the cancerous malaise of corruption from our country should be heeded. Corruption has percolated from the highest echelons to the lowest in almost all government departments, assuming alarming dimensions. It has become an integral part of Indian society.

Our country has made rapid progress in various spheres like agriculture, industry, science, education, technology, etc. At the same time it has not lagged behind in promoting corruption, the bane of our decaying social order. Several scams come to light but nothing is heard of them after the initial hullabaloo as they are swept under the carpet for reasons known to the powers that be. The less said about our officers, the political bosses and their cahoots, the better.

The late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi confessed that corruption was a universal phenomenon, indirectly confessing its widespread prevalence in the country but she did nothing noteworthy to overcome the problem. Similarly, our present-day political bosses keep harping on eradicating corruption but in fact do nothing concrete to tackle the malady. It shows a lack of political will, otherwise it is not impossible to root it out. The complacent attitude of the government gives it room to flourish.



Marxist road to nowhere

Please refer to the article ‘‘Marxist road to nowhere: flawed ideology, misplaced zeal’’ (December 1) by Mr Hari Jaisingh. The author has apparently challenged the communists and the communist parties to answer some specific questions. I think human history has not come to an end and it is wrong to argue that the communists and the communist parties have played out their role in human history.

The author has tried to belittle the role of Mr Jyoti Basu as the Chief Minister of West Bengal and as one of the main architects of the communist movement in India. He never resorted to manipulations to stay in power. The common people of India will always remember him for his simplicity and his unflinching commitment to Marxism-Leninism.

It is correct to point out that the communists have not been able to mobilise the Indian masses in a big way. But the socio-economic and cultural life of this country is different from that of other countries. Our country has a complex society which hinges on casteism and religious obscurantism. Karl Marx says, ‘‘Men make history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.’’

The poor people of India have not refused to have faith in the communist parties. If it were so, nearly 50 members of the communist parties would not have been elected to the Lok Sabha in almost every general election.

It is a wrong impression that the communists take orders from Moscow or Beijing and they never try to enrich the Marxist thought with their own experiences. It is also unfair to opine that they are hostile to Indian traditions. The basic question is: what are Indian traditions? Are M.N. Roy, Abani Mukherji and Bhagat Singh not part of the Indian tradition? Or does the author mean that all Indian traditions are embedded in the Vedas, Upanishadas and Puranas.

The most sweeping inference of the author is "Revolution is change in haste". Revolutions led by the communist parties are never possible in haste. For this, a revolutionary party has to prepare and educate countless men and women for years. Then, people's revolution has many stages. It is not a spontaneous uprising of the masses which can change the system overnight. Revolutions do not take place at the will of some intelligent individuals, but certain historical circumstances force the masses to come to the streets. The presence of strong and disciplined communist parties works as a catalyst for overthrowing the old order.

In India, the communists and the communist parties have yet to play their historical role. Communism as an ideology is quite relevant in present-day India. In the wake of mindless globalisation, the masses of India are going to reel under poverty and unemployment. The contradictions which Marx foresaw in his times are still the hallmark of capitalism. In India, the main contradiction is between the proletariat and the bourgeois-landlord combine. This class antagonism will become sharper as economic crises grow worse in the coming years.

The Indian communists have made mistakes and shown the courage to trace and correct them. But they have made a positive contribution also which their detractors ignore. They have made the poor and the weak realise their rights. Most of them have dedicated themselves selflessly to the cause of the exploited people of India. In fact, their success lies in their sincere commitment to Marxism-Leninism. Their zeal is well-placed and not misplaced as the author tries to prove.




Tainted players

Sports persons are generally frank, enterprising and honest. Terms such as 'sportsmanship', 'sportsman's spirit and 'play the game' denote honourable behaviour.

In this country, cricket enjoys a high degree of public esteem and excitement, especially after the advert of one-dayers. Successful cricketers are placed on a high pedestal and are revered like demigods. ‘Little master’, ‘master blaster’, ‘Haryana Hurricane’ and ‘Royal Bengal Tiger’ are the epithets that describe them. Professional cricketers get a handsome remuneration from the BCCI and some commercial houses for endorsing their products.

The involvement of some top-ranking cricketers in match fixing has shattered the public image of the players. No longer do we hear the anxious query what is the score? In buses, trains, offices and public places even when first class matches are being played.

Hansie Cronje of South Africa has redeemed his public image due to his confession before the King Commission. However, our fallen heroes have not been sporting enough to make bold confessions even when they have been found guilty.

Reports say that the tainted players are planning to appeal to the BCCI and even go to court. It is like a boy who kills his father and mother and then plead in the court for mercy because he is an orphan. It is not important how much cricket is left in them but how soon they make a clean confession, speak the truth and surrender the ill-gotten wealth for a worthy cause.

The role of the BCCI is also questionable. It is unbelievable that this high-powered body has been ignorant of the ugly goings on for over a decade. A radical change in the constitution of the Cricket Board is required to make it more professional and growth-oriented. The BCCI controls huge funds and it should support other sports federations that need funds for growth.


Milk packs

Verka is doing much to supply quality milk to the public. It has been known for some time that polythene bags are injurious to health and the people are reverting to paper bags. Would it not be proper to consider packing milk in card board cartons. Some companies have already adopted the idea and liquid milk in cardboard cartons is available like fruit juice and other drinks. These are more hygienic, and less dangerous than other types of containers.

Moreover, at present only half litre pouches of milk are available at present. One litre, two litre, three litre and even four litre packs can also be considered, depending on the consumption.


Tubectomy deaths

It was painful to read that two patients had died and the condition of many more was serious after undergoing tubectomy operations at a camp in Khanaurin in Sangrur district. The following suggestions may be helpful for the future:

Patients who are not fit for operation are often operated upon at these camps mostly under the pressure of meeting targets. This practice should be abandoned and only fit patients should be taken for surgery.

Sterilisation of the equipment at these camps is often compromised and needs improvement.

Providing the services of anaesthetists at these camps will help in reducing pre-operation complications and deaths.


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