Saturday, June 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Ph.D. case exposes politician-educationist nexus

The circumstances leading to the cancellation of the Ph.D. registration of the Punjab Minister of Higher Education, Mr Mohan Lal, are shocking. But for the differences that cropped up between the minister and the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, the minister would have conveniently got the Ph.D. degree on the basis of a “ghost” written synopsis. It is a matter of shame.

At one stage Mr J.S. Ahluwalia, who had registered for Ph.D the political figure, now a minister, may also have misused his influence to get the “political” post of the Vice-Chancellor, which otherwise should go to an academician on merit. This exposes the nexus between politicians and so-called educationists for their mutual benefit at the expense of the values for which higher education stands.

This also reflects the degree of political interference in universities and degradation of the standards of higher education. Their act has exceeded even Jaspal Bhatti’s imagination on how the Ph.D candidate and his/her guide “exploit” each other for mutual gains. This case is a classic example.

On moral grounds both should resign, from their respective posts.

Interestingly, the Chancellor and the Chief Minister of Punjab are silent spectators to it.

Here I am reminded of Dr Abid Hussain, a former member of the U.G.C. and India’s former Ambassador to the U.S.A. He says, “Of the 25,000 Ph.Ds produced every year in India 22,000 are irrelevant”.


Anyway there is no need for Master Mohan Lal to be disappointed. I will try my best to confer upon him Ph.D. degree for his “contribution” to the field of higher education if he agrees to help me in becoming the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

Then I will arrange a special convocation for this purpose as G.N.D.U., Amritsar, did in case of Premier Dosanj of British Columbia. I would even go to his place to confer this degree as we tried in case of Harbhajan Singh Yogi (but failed because the Governor did not agree to it). It would also help us both in employing our kith and kin in suitable positions.

The role of the high court in the entire episode is worthy of appreciation.

G. S. BHALLA, Amritsar

Octroi vs house tax

There is, at long last, a very sensible statement by the Haryana BJP chief. He says that his party does not mind reimposition of octroi.

In fact, abolition of octroi was itself a thoughtless demand by the BJP. As the benefit did not pass on to the ultimate consumer, it earned the party the opprobrium of being only a traders’ outfit.

Octroi gave the municipalities about 40 per cent of their revenue. Its abolition rendered them virtually bankrupt and hundreds of employees jobless. Consequently, civic amenities went to dogs. The net result was people’s disenchantment with the BJP, which was compounded by the government’s revision of the house-tax formula. This is likely to reduce house-owners to be tenants in their own houses.

In fact, house tax constitutes only about 15 per cent of municipal funds and it has always been in huge arrears which are extremely difficult to recover. Therefore, the BJP would be well-advised to demand abolition of house tax in lieu of reimposition of octroi. On one hand, this would revive the fund-starved municipalities as well as restore jobs to the employees thrown out of job and, on the other, earn the party the lasting gratitude of agitating house-owners because it is a direct tax.




Raise special battalions

Two bomb blasts have taken place in the vicinity of Sena Bhavan and South Block. Earlier a daring attack was made on the Army unit in the Red Fort by Pakistan-based militants. The killing of the security personnel and that of civilians has become the daily drill of ultras in J&K. The situation has been worsening day by day and securitymen are on the defensive. An Army jawan is not trained to fight terrorists.

Intelligence agencies which play a major role in containing militants are almost non-existent in our country. Nothing has been done by any government to work out an effective strategy under which special battalions are raised from among committed volunteers of the Army and other forces. Such persons should be trained by experts in fighting militants. Their pay and perks should be much better than ordinary soldiers and they should be armed with latest personal weapons.

Major NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), Kapurthala

Missing million girls

This refers to “The missing hundred million girls” by A. J. Singh (May 20). If these “missing” girls are to be protected, following steps can be taken.

A woman should own 50 per cent of the assets of her husband and have a right in the property of her mother and father-in-law, not in her father’s property.

In every torture case, a complaint on a postcard should be enough for action. In case of death, the in-laws and husband must be put behind bars till the pendency of the case.

Second marriage is another male privilege. So every divorcee and widower should be restricted to remarry only a widow or a divorcee with children, if any.


Jobless and exploited

I would like to highlight exploitation of candidates applying for various posts in private schools and colleges. While inviting applications, these institutions make it mandatory for the candidates to apply only on the prescribed forms, costing Rs 50 to 200 each. The actual cost of such a form is merely Rs 15-20.

Thus these institutions make huge profits from the pockets of unemployed candidates. Some of the institutions don’t even give prescribed forms and require the candidates to send along with the applications demand drafts of Rs 100 to Rs 300.

DEV KUMAR, Noorpur (Jalandhar)

Black money

One of the easiest channels of ploughing back black money into circulation is bank deposits. But bank channels are being made tighter day by day. The opening of a bank account has been made cumbersome together with income tax responsibilities that even a genuine person prefers keeping the cash at home. The common depositor is not aware of Form 15-H or any other methods of tax savings or planning. If the hurdles for bank deposits are removed, the banks and the government can be flooded with funds, leaving little space for deficit financing.

N. L. GUPTA, Jalandhar

Victory of Left-Right Front

One finds it difficult to disagree with what Mr Hari Jaisingh has written "The new bhadralok at Writers’ Building" (May 18) with regard to the CPM’s new mantra i.e. pragmatism.

The replacement of an Oxonian Kaistha by a lowly home-bred Brahmin and making it a virtue of the necessity was certainly a master-stroke to beat the poor Brahmin, Ms Mamata Banerjee.

However, a couple of other instances would further enrich our understanding of the CPM’s style of developing Marxism.

The share-choppers in the rural West Bengal had been handed over the possession of pieces of agricultural land by launching the much-trumpeted Operation Barga but the titles of those holdings are yet to be transferred in their respective names in full. Any number of conclusions can be drawn from this. One such is to enable the CPM to keep these beneficiaries under perpetual obligation.

In contrast one is reminded of the land reforms carried out by Dr Y.S. Parmar in old Himachal Pradesh, Mr Brish Bhan in Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) and Mr Sheikh Abdullah in Jammu and Kashmir who made tenants as the lawful owners in one go by enacting the appropriate pieces of legislation actualising the slogan of “land to the tiller” of the Indian National Congress and the National Conference.

In Kolkata one comes across hundreds of man-yoked rickshaws as a mode of transport. It is heart-rending to see the two-legged “oxen” bare-foot, with scarce clothing on their persons, in the scorching sun, running at speed to carry “Bhadraloks” to their destination. The comrades there react by derisively saying that these rickshaw-pullers are Biharis and not Bengalis. That amply demonstrates the Left Front’s concern and deep love for the people.

The Left Front victory in the West Bengal is grossly deceptive, illusory and disinformative.

Battlelines between the Left Front and Mamata had been drawn much earlier. In the meantime the Congress also recorded some signs of comeback in the various local body institutions. Mamata had approached Mahajot to rope in the parent Congress along with the NDA to fight out the Left Front which never saw the light of the day and instead created convulsions here and there. Mamata preferred to join hands with Sonia Gandhi and abandon the NDA. How could the BJP stomach this? It made Mamata Banerjee its only target of attack.

A slanderous campaign was unleased against her by none other than Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. The political atmosphere in the state, especially the urban areas, was surcharged with anger. It underwent a qualitative change so dramatically that the fight at the ground level got converted into the TC-INC combine versus the LF plus NDA. In other words, all anti-Congress forces were arrayed against the Mamata-Sonia duo.

So in West Bengal it is not the Left Front which has retained power on the basis of so-called performance but it is the victory of anti-Congressism. To put it bluntly, it was an undeclared, unholy alliance of the Left Front and the rightist reactionaries.

This is the real face of the CPM’s pragmatism. The defeat at Satgachia- the constituency so long represented by Jyoti Basu — and the decrease in the number of seats and votes of the Left Front cannot be dismissed as inconsequential.


Code of conduct for NRIs

I learn from your newspaper that citizens in Jalandhar have organised their own Tehelka brigade. Work being done by “” is commendable. This organisation, run by volunteers, helps Delhi citizens in getting their grievances redressed by municipal officials without paying any bribes.

There are plenty of educated unemployed who may be willing to volunteer for getting trained in collecting evidence against corrupt officials.

I am presenting below a “code of conduct” for people of Indian origin:

While sending money to India, use only legal banks and do not resort to blackmarkets.

Do not rent, buy or watch counterfeit Indian videos and DVDs. Do not copy Indian video and DVD movies.

Do not buy or listen to counterfeit Indian music cassettes. Do not copy Indian music cassettes. Do not listen to Indian music on the Internet in violation of copyright laws.

Do not copy or use pirated software.

Purchase made-in-India products and services as far as possible.

While making purchases, insist on a receipt. Make sure you have paid local taxes.

While visiting India, maintain your civic habits and ethics.

Come up with some business ideas/projects that would help India and its people.

Work towards establishing long-term peace in the region.

Lobby politicians inside and outside India so their policies have long-term benefits for India.

While in India, do not travel without a ticket.

Do not offer bribes to buy expediency or convenience.

Engage only legally registered taxis.

India offers top quality clothing, foods, household goods at very affordable prices. While in India, shop for these needs and save money.


Agriculture education

Students of colleges of agriculture in Punjab and Haryana are on an agitational path for agriculture is being introduced as a separate subject in schools and colleges.

Let there be agriculture teachers in schools and colleges. They can be given a consolidated salary of about Rs 5,000 a month which will be half of what the teachers in other subjects get in the graded pay scales.

These agriculture teachers can be assigned the duty of agriculture extension workers also to cater to the needs of farmers in villages around schools.

A senior teacher of plus two classes draws about Rs 16,000 pm. If one such teacher retries, he can give place to three or four agriculture teachers.

RISHI KUMAR, Khalsa College, Amritsar


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