Wednesday, November 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Democracy in dire straits

While Robert David Merchant from New York (Editor's Mail, Nov 20), showing apprehension regarding the decline of democracy the world over, has praised the gleam and sheen of the shell of the egg of the smug Indian democracy, Mr Bhim S. Dahiya has stirred its rotting yolk in his article “Democracy in dire straits!”

The former Vice-Chancellor has aptly stated that “we have evolved a system of democracy where form is maintained right up to the grassroots level and yet it is entirely empty of the spirit of democracy.”

Whatever the claims of the segments of the ruling elite class, the present system of democratic governance in this country has hardly affected the lifestyle and destiny of the majority of common people. It has indeed given ample opportunities to black-marketeers, swindlers, plunderers, dacoits and other anti-social elements to rise the achelons of power. The hapless common man is carrying the burden of greedy politicians, contemptuous bureaucrats, an indecisive judiciary and a cynical Press, the four pillars of democracy.

It is beyond my comprehension, why Mr Dahiya seeks a remedy to these problems by changing the present system of parliamentary democracy to the Presidential form of government when we know that the President, even if elected directly by the people, will have to depend on the same set of public servants to deliver the goods.


The most distressing aspect of the present scenario is the discernible apathy of the intellectual class. It seems to be disillusioned and helpless. After all sacrifices were not only needed to liberate the country from the foreign rulers, but are also required to maintain the freedom gained. It is the urgent need to expedite the distribution of social justice and alleviation of economical direness to save the liberal political system of the nation. It is a herculean task beyond the means of individuals. It requires collective, concerted and sincere efforts by all sections of our society to accomplish the task.

Dr PARSHOTAM SHARMA, Hiranagar, Hamirpur


Lessons from students

Students too can teach their teachers. It is an established fact now. It had happened to me. Once teaching in a +1 science class, I asked my students about their future plans. Everybody expressed his or her desire of either becoming a doctor or an engineer except two students. They said something strange. Their words taught me something new which I would remember till my end.

The first student told me that she (note the sex) would like to become a merchant navy officer. When her claim to be a merchant navy officer was disputed by me on the ground that girls were not recruited as officers, particularly in the Navy, she retorted, roaring like a lioness, that she would force the government to change its rules. Her unflinching confidence in herself forced me to award her the title of “Rani of Jhansi”.

The second student (again a girl) told me that she would like to be a good person first. Career was secondary to her. Her statement moved me. I salute the glorious spirit they have.

RAJAN KAPOOR, DAV College, Nakodar


Road accidents

Babu Ram Dhiman in his letter (Nov 17) has rightly suggested that newspapers can help to some extent by reserving some space on a daily basis where small educative slogans about the grim situation of road accidents could be carried. In this connection, I would like to share with the readers a few useful slogans about safe and accident free driving:

* Rash drivers break more than just rules.

* Drunken driving can get you an entirely different set of wheels and will give a lot of rest.

* What does the speeding motorist say to life? Farewell.

* People who jump traffic lights often meet a dead end.

* It is better to be late, Mr Motorist, than to be the late Mr Motorist.

* Without a helmet, you could be a hell-mate.

* When you don't follow the road indicators, you don't leave a good impression behind.

* Paidal chalne walon se (pedestrians): "Aye bhai, zara dekh ke chalo. Aage he nahin peeche bhi."

O. P. SHARMA, Faridabad


Punishing cops

The photograph in Ludhiana Tribune (Nov 21) showing a police personnel being punished by his senior officer, who made him stand on all his fours outside Guru Nanak Dev Stadium, Ludhiana, the venue for the 31st National Games, gives a clear reflection of the inhuman attitude of the senior officers towards their subordinates. Did the offence committed by the cop deserve such an undignified punishment?

SUNNY, Ludhiana

Intellectuals & Sikhism

Every Sikh concerned with the deteriorating plight of Sikhs will largely agree with the views of Major Piara Singh (retd) and Brig Hardit Singh (retd) expressed in their letters (Sept 30 & Nov 9)

All this is due not only to poor and improper “dharam parchar” but also mainly due to vested personal interests. The SGPC spends huge amounts on dharam parchar. All the efforts and money put into this goes waste as the preachers themselves are not model Sikhs. They themselves do not adhere to the Sikh Rehat Maryada. They have been treating their duty very lightly and not in right earnest. They are not even properly trained for the job.

Sikhs have been and are being exploited by various so-called saints. Their deras are mushrooming and are being patronised by politicians to enlarge their vote-banks and gain popularity.

The Sikh institutions, the priests and the managements of many gurdwaras, which are supposed to uphold the true Sikh spirit, act in subordination to political powers, while it should have been the other way round. Thus the political leadership is doing immense harm to the Sikh cause by knowingly or unknowingly compromising the high moral values of Sikhism.

The media is also eating into the roots of true Sikhism. Whatever good work is done by Sikh intellectuals in the form of seminars, discussions, publications of books and articles etc. reaches a few selected individuals.


MBBS admissions in HP

I would like to point out that of late Himachal University has become a major centre of chaos and inefficiency. Every year there are several writ petitions concerning admissions. Right from the entrance test questions to the merit list, everything becomes debatable. The latest is the admission to the MBBS course. Though the merit list was out on October 3 and counselling held on October 15, still no admissions have been made. There seems to be a nexus among the university, its legal adviser and the complainant.

It is evident from the way the HPU advocate has been helping the complainant by absenting himself from court hearings. It appears HPU is least concerned about its own reputation and students’ future. All across the country classes for medical courses have begun. It may be possible that the delay is being made by HPU so that it can make some backdoor entries. More delay could lead to scrapping of the first year batch and in that case all the affected 115 students should have full right to sue the university and its advocate to claim monetary compensation.

AJAI MITTAL, by e-mail


Guess what new meaning the USA has acquired since the September 11 terrorist attacks?

Answer: Unsafe States of America!

K.J.S. AHLUWALIA, AmritsarTop

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