Friday, May 4, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Hunger for power and pelf

This has reference to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article, “Growing hunger for power and pelf” (April 27). Harsh realities demand harsh decisions. We cannot be emotional about them. Everything has to be tested on the touchstone of the 21st century. Critical issues facing the nation should not be politicised.

The instruments of power provided in the Constitution have become faulty, allowing unscrupulous persons to exploit them to their advantage. New realities arising from a series of fractured verdicts have to be viewed afresh.

The anarchy of the numbers game in the Lok Sabha, manipulative politics and functional stalemates cannot ensure smooth governance. This vicious circle can be broken if we evolve a new work methodology. We can evolve a viable framework which should not only apply correctives to the prevailing distortions but also give the polity a new sense of purpose and direction. At stake is the rekindling of the common man’s faith in democratic institutions. We have to look at the politico-constitutional scenario afresh and redefine the functions of the permanent organs of Government. The conventions on which we have relied have all crumbled. We have to move away from the sterility of the old concepts that are fast becoming irrelevant.

India does need a new dynamic constitution and a new representative constituent assembly to debate, discuss and frame a comprehensive document with an eye on the 21st century’s challenges.



Din in House:
Those who watch the telecast of the proceedings of Parliament are disgusted at the din created by our parliamentarians. Most of these representatives are elected on considerations of caste, class, region, religion, and language. They cannot be expected to ventilate fairly the grievances of their constituents.

The quality of debates in the Houses has deteriorated over the years. There are not many original thinkers among the MPs. They often act and react keeping in mind their vested interests.

If the MPs and MLAs create disruption in the House, it ought to be viewed by countrymen with serious concern. For the first time in our parliamentary history the Railway Budget and the General Budget were passed this year with a voice vote without any discussion or debate. Din and bedlam prevailed in the Houses for many days. No work was done during this period. This should attract the “no work, no pay” rule.


System debased: Our politico-administrative system is in the grip of such a vicious circle that the constitutional institutions of governance seem to have become almost meaningless and redundant. With dubious and vested interests roaming in the corridors of political power, any hope of a systemic improvement and reform is no better than a myth.

A democracy thrives on educated and politically awakened masses and a healthy electoral system. Unfortunately we lack in both. Our gullible and illiterate people have allowed manipulators and criminals into our legislatures, and they have debased the system by exploiting religious, casteist, regional and linguistic sentiments. Ironically, even the bureaucracy has sided with the vested political interests and formed a new type of feudalism.

The only hope lies in educating the masses and not in changing the system from the present parliamentary to any other form of democracy. Unless politically awakened people take a serious initiative to cleanse the system, no constitutional reforms can work. Our politicians will never undertake clean- sing of the system of the dubious and the dirty, which they themselves are.



Self-seeking MPs: Why should a poor country like India spend huge amounts on the upkeep of Parliament. The expenditure comes to about Rs 10 lakh per hour and the total expenditures on Parliament in 2000-2001 was Rs 107.3 crore. The army of politicians (545+250MPs/4500MLAs) has cared only to enjoy the privileges — salary, daily allowance, office expenses, travelling allowance, a house, medical facilities, loans at concessional rates, constituency allowance, income tax relief, a foreign exchange quota, funds for journey in India and abroad, 411 free telephone calls per day, a constituency development fund of Rs 2 crore and then a pension.

An average MP has no interest in parliamentary work. He cannot appreciate the problems of the people. These persons are only self-seekers.

Our Constitution is framed on the models of Britain and France, where the societies are homogeneous. India is a country of great diversities. Here, elections are fought on the basis of religion, caste, region, language etc. For the success of democracy, a review of the Constitution is a dire necessity.

L. K. MANUJA, Nahan

Need for integrity: Mr Hari Jaisingh has doubted the success of the parliamentary system and the ability of the parliamentarians in power to run the system effectively and efficiently.

Parliamentary democracy has reached its perfection in Britain, and it also worked successfully in India during the premiership of Jawaharlal Nehru and some others. Then why it has suffered a setback now.

Today morality has been shaken in our country. Members of Parliament and legislatures must develop a sense of integrity, devotion to duty and love for truth. Elections must be won by honest methods without the use of money and muscle power.



Not for Fourth Estate alone

I must thank you and The Tribune for publishing the review of my book, ‘Financing of universities’ in the issue of April 22, 2001, under the title, ‘Better funding of varsities’.

Please convey my regards and thanks to Mr S.P. Dhawan also for all the pains he took to review the book.

The Tribune has provided me inspiration and encouragement to work harder; unfortunately this spirit is missing in our universities. In our universities only persons who are able to ‘procure’ Vice-Chancellorship for a person or are instrumental in his or her retaining this position get rewards and positions of prominence. Also the chief executive of the university is most of the time busy in pleasing his political bosses. This is largely responsible for the absence of fresh and creative ideas among university academicians. This is also one of the reasons why the impact of universities on policy making in India is astonishingly little. This trend needs to be reversed.

The Tribune is performing its social duty with excellence. But the academicians in around 250 universities (with a few exceptions) cannot leave it to the Fourth Estate alone and live in peace, while the nation faces so many challenges. The academic environment is Indian universities needs overhauling.

Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar


Punjab in new perspective

I wish to express my appreciation for Mr Hari Jaisingh’s “Seeing Punjab in a new perspective” (April 20). The writer has beautifully explained the inseparable bond between the Hindus and the Sikhs of Punjab and the common heritage shared by the two communities. Some of our neighbouring countries have been trying to create trouble in this country by exploiting some ignorant elements in Punjab. Mischievous groups based in foreign lands and financed by our enemies are always ready to create problems in the country. However, an informed public, aware of its common cultural heritage, and a patriotic Press can thwart their nefarious designs.

G. G. SHARMA, Martin (USA)

Let law take its course: It is a well lished fact that if terrorism and militancy are handled with tact and firmness then democratic forces can definitely succeed in prevailing over the dark forces of violence.

It is a matter of great satisfaction that Wassan Singh Zaffarwal wants to lead a peaceful life and has surrendered before the police. But the law must take its course and Zaffarwal should be treated accordingly.


Take lenient view: It is true that 13 years of militancy and terrorism in Punjab have been horrifying. Thousands of families lost their near and dear ones at the hands of the terrorists. Their wounds remain unhealed and no amount of money and sympathy can heal them. The dark days of militancy are still fresh in the memories of the people of Punjab.

Pakistan has been a permanent breeding ground of terrorism as that country has never wanted peace in India and has been the main trouble maker in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

The homecoming of Zaffarwal and his wish to join the mainstream of the country should be welcomed. Though his sins are not pardonable, yet his compulsions to become a terrorist should not be overlooked and a lenient view should be taken while awarding him punishment. This would encourage other terrorists living in India and abroad to leave the path of terrorism and join the mainstream of the country. The Pardoner is always greater than the sinner. This policy can show better results.

D. P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |