Monday, October 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Last prophet of people’s power

Mr M.G. Devasahayam in his article rightly maintained that JP is “needed today like before” (Oct 13). The nation is locked in communal violence, caste conflicts, cancer of corruption et al. JP was too big for any political office. A man who could have become India’s second Prime Minister became the second redeemer of the nation, liberating the country from the stranglehold of the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in a neurotic bid to keep herself in power.

JP saw life in all its shades. Marxism, Gandhian ideals and Fabian socialism interested him as he grew up in a country in British bondage. Ram Vriksha Benipuri, the irrespressible romanticist, called him the “people’s pathfinder”. People called him Loknayak. What a correct prophecy about a great man! JP completed his life cycle from October to October from 1902 to 1979, making history. People called him a second Gandhi — some even called him a super Gandhi.

JP had no likes and dislikes. He stopped the Janata government from proceeding ahead when a question of enquiry on the treatment meted out to him during his solitary confinement in the PGI arose. He virtually apologised to Sardar Patel in his writing in a journal. Wrote JP: “We socialists thought Nehru was a socialist which he never was. We thought Sardar Patel was a reactionary which he never was.”

JP called upon the chosen representatives of the people “to purify even the gangotri of corruption”. When they failed him, he — a broken man bleeding on the thorns of life lived in a faith — recalled the efforts at Bhoodan, Jeevandan, Sarvodaya, Antodaya — the national evolution and the Total Revolution. He was the last prophet of people’s power.


A new wave of turbulence is again in the political air — and this time with a greater velocity, with a greater ferocity. Will anyone swearing to oppose, rise and rule, remember these lines, the contents of which sustained JP in his despondent hours?

All nature is taught in radiant ways to move. All beings are in myself embraced.

A fiery found less heart of joy and love. How art thou beating in a mortal heart?

S.S. JAIN, Chandigarh.

Towards total freedom

This has reference to Mr M.G. Devasahayam’s article on JP (Oct 13). JP had fought and died for independence and the triumph of freedom in the country. His last battle for freedom was against the authoritarian rule of Indira Gandhi when she imposed Emergency in 1975. As freedom was his passion of life, he fought back and restored democracy in just 21 months. He wanted to make elected representatives accountable to the people who elect them. But today every leader preaches that others should be made accountable.

JP died as a broken man in October 1979 because he had realised that he had nourished power hungry hypocrites during his pursuit for freedom. Though JP is not with us today, his ideals cannot die. On the occasion of the birth centenary of this great man, we should think of freedom from the present ills of our politics. The only solution lies in making our leaders accountable to the people by compulsion. To achieve this goal I put forward a new concept of “sampooran azadi”.

On an average one member of Lok Sabha represents about 20 lakh people. He/she cannot speak or vote freely because of the party whip. Those who are rejected by the people but are popular with the boss, they get berths through backdoor. The Rajya Sabha should be abolished so that backdoor entry by rejected leaders is blocked.

There should be no ruling and opposition parties. The demarcation between treasury and opposition benches should be abolished in Parliament. Members should sit in an alphabetical order and everybody should participate with a free mind and should not be ruled by whip. Party affiliations should be left out of the august house and should be confined to party fora and to make electoral strategies. Members should be taught in party fora about the policies to be adopted but members should not be coerced in the House.

Once the election din is over, the President should call the House and ask it to elect its leader by secret ballot. The elected person should be sworn in as Prime Minister and subsequently asked to select his council of ministers. Once the process of formation is complete, the ministers should not be subjected to remain as bonded slaves of the Prime Minister. They should be allowed to work independently and should remain answerable to the House. If Prime Minister is unhappy with some minister and wants to remove him from the office, he should come to the House and explain the reasons and seek the approval of the House.

On the completion of every year in the office by the government, the House should vote by secret ballot to the effect that the present government has worked rightly and enjoys the confidence of the House. There should be no discussion before the voting because every member has been observing the performance and has been discussing in his party fora. If the government enjoys majority support it should continue its good work. Otherwise, it should resign and new team should be elected. There should be no place for mid-term poll except in extraordinary conditions when the House has not been able to elect its leader.

TIRATH GARG, Ferozepore

Coalition to fight terrorism

Now it is the turn of Afghanistan. From Vietnam in 1957, the USA has travelled a long distance via Grenada, Persian Gulf, Operation Desert and Somalia. In between, it had to face bravados like Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro. The centuries-old proverb ‘might is right’ has been repeated again. It is nothing but a show of force and arrogance on the part of the USA. It is strange that a superpower needs the help of 100 nations to capture one terrorist. Also it is paradoxical that it has taken the help of a terrorist nation like Pakistan to fight terrorism. Pakistan has ingratiated with the USA only to serve its vested interest and has no interest whatsoever in anti-terrorism campaign and will ditch it in midstream.

Fire with fire and eye with an eye cannot solve any problem. Retaliation and revenge have been termed as justice of jungle. Don Marquis has rightly said that ours is a world where people don’t know what they want and are willing to go through hell to get it. One has to go to the root of terrorism, which springs from injustice, oppression and exploitation. Non-violence is the only answer to this problem. Mr Nelson Mandela has won the freedom struggle with this principle. Gandhian principles and that of Panchsheel — five principles of peaceful coexistence can only bring world peace to the mankind.

American Gandhi, Martin Luther King has very aptly said that non-violence is a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later, all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace and thereby transform this pending comic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. The tortuous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama to Oslo bears witness to this truth.

India has been facing the problem of terrorism since last two decades losing thousands of lives and rendering thousands as orphans, widows and motherless but no nation came forward to show its empathy leave alone any condemnation and action. Even the UN turned a blind eye to such a grave situation. Even now the so-called global coalition seems to be not very serious about Indian concerns and is paying only lip-service.



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