Wednesday, August 15, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Ye woh sehr to nahin...

EVERY year Independence Day celebrations are held. From the Red Fort the Prime Minister delivers a rhetoric speech even though he is aware of the pathetic conditions of poverty, illiteracy and corruption at all levels in the country. The common man is no more swayed by such speeches.

Everyday a cursory reading of newspapers becomes quite depressing: a top bureaucrat getting life imprisonment; breach of faith of millions of investors by UTI; criminals gaining power and respectability; universities losing grace as seats of higher learning by bowing before politicians; bureaucrats indulging in scams and scandals; the country is rated down and so on.

There is nothing to feel proud of. The reader finds the state and society pushed into complete indiscipline by the wily politician.

The scenario reminds me of the lines written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz on August 14, 1947:

Yeh dagh dagh ujala, yeh shab-guzeeda sehr

Yeh woh sehr to naheen jis ki arzoo lekar

Chaley the yaar ke mil jaegi kaheen na kaheen.



Colonial insignia

The President and Supreme Commander has approved the Indian Navy going “swadeshi” by replacing the St George’s Cross on the Naval ensign (flag) by the national emblem, the Ashoka Pillar on an anchor. Why it took the Navy 54 years to do this is another matter.

The only colonial relic still left with our armed forces is the British ranks of Lance Corporal, Corporal and Sergeants in the Air Force instead of the Indian equivalent of Lance Naik, Naik and Havaldar. If our terribly “British” Indian Navy can jettison its colonial relic, I wonder when our Air Force will also follow a “swadeshi” policy.

Brig N. B. GRANT (retd), Pune

Unemployment on rise

The editorial “Unemployment on the rise” (July 21) sounds an ominous and worrying note for the present and coming generations. Especially revealing, though I must say not entirely surprising, is the finding that the unemployment rate increases in progression with higher education amongst the rural youth.

I attribute this unfortunate situation to the fact that those who become a little literate, are enticed by the glitter and glamour of urban lifestyles and being yearning to try out their luck in cities. Insufficiently qualified, they are often frustrated to face the fact that job placements commensurate with their expectations and qualifications are nowhere to be found due to the ever increasing competition posed because of a burgeoning population.

It is a sad state of affairs when even those who have the opportunity to be absorbed in their family trade or with a background of home acquired traditional skills start feeling so ashamed of their background that they would rather live a pitiable life in a city hankering after white collar jobs, when they can profitably help their families run the traditional work. It is sad because having grown up with those skills they are generally much better qualified practically in those trades, arts and crafts.

There is an old saying: “All horses cannot jump”. Our system of education and the youth ought to take cue from this. Not all individuals are cut out to be highly qualified or literate. Of what use is such literacy that cannot endow one with the capability to generate one’s own sustenance or makes one feel ashamed of getting down to an honest vocation? Vocational training, along with traditional educational skills must be encouraged and made more attractive, especially for those with inclination towards such skills.

I know some people from well-to-do families who were fortunate enough to have had access to what is generally considered a good educational qualification. Instead of choosing the expected white collar jobs, they found the courage to knowingly and willingly choose to opt for vocational training, some even after their graduation and post-graduation. I am glad to note that they are not only doing quite well in their chosen professions/vocations, but are also leading rather happy and contented lives.

For how long can people keep relying on the state for jobs to earn their livelihood? This is a grave issue that begs immediate attention. The urgent need of the hour is to encourage small enterprises which can generate their own livelihood, perhaps even be a source of livelihood for other similar minded individuals. Rising unemployment, otherwise, will result in frustration. And this poses the risk of pushing impressionable youth to “meaner pastures of crime” to satiate the fire in their stomachs.



College principals

A survey of some so-called big non-government colleges recognised by Haryana will reveal that far from facing resource crunch, the principals of these colleges are rolling in luxury which they had never seen in their lives before.

Some of these principals (particularly the principals of 13-odd DAV colleges) have chauffeaur-driven cars. Most of them have fully air-conditioned computerised offices. Such privileges are not enjoyed by government college principals. In fact, the private college principals enjoy all conceivable facilities and often these benefits are disproportionate to their demonstrated intellect and work, including management of the college.


Company deposits

I was dismayed to read in "Your Money" (July 30) about "company deposits". The article did not furnish updated information regarding TDS on interest income, which has been raised to Rs 5,000, from Rs 2500.

Again under the sub-heading "Infrastructural bonds" the limit for tax exemption on interest income under Section 80L shown as Rs 9,000 stands raised to Rs 12,000. Such disinformation on the part of an expert reflects poorly on the standards of your newspaper.

Dr JAG BIR SHARMA, Bijhari (Hamirpur)Top

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