Tuesday, February 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Where politicians are not above the law

Noelle Bush, daughter of the Florida Governor in the USA and niece of President Bush, was arrested on charges of fraudulently trying to obtain a prescription drug (Jan 31). Can you ever imagine anything akin to this happening here? In India every petty politician or bureaucrat thinks of himself, his family members and relations to be supreme beings and above the law of the land.

Any state official before proceeding against them for an offence will think a hundred times for fear of himself being victimised. We swear by the ideals of justice and equality but display a strong feudalistic steak in our thoughts and deeds. We still have to go a long way to establish our democratic credentials in actual implementation.

Instead of copying the obnoxious features of the West tainted by the cult of violence, out-throat materialism, sexual promiscuity and unabashed nudity in the name of high fashion, we should emulate some of its strong points like national pride and confidence, disciplined living and diligence, civic sense and community service, and a mature consensual approach to major issues facing the country.

Our political class has to set an example for the citizens who go by what they see their leaders doing. It may sound simplistic but it is true and has been proved time and again in human history.

Wing Cdr S.C. KAPOOR (retd), Noida



It was not only inappropriate, damaging, irresponsible but also impertinent on the part of the Defence Minister to chide the Army Chief for his very forthright enunciation of the considered Indian government policy on nuclear weapons. The Defence Minister must now cease to be a trade union leader since he now represents the unified, committed and disciplined armed forces of the country.

It is highly condemnable because in the force’s ethos you never berate an officer publicly or in the presence of the juniors since this concerns morale of the soldiers. Spending a few nights with soldiers on the border does not entitle the Defence Minister to arrogate unto himself the leadership of the troops. Their natural leaders are their officers.

Let the nation remember that after independence it is the soldiers and their leaders who have not let the nation down, remaining apolitical and professionally competent and committed. It is the soldier who is sacrificing himself daily on political follies despite being treated indifferently.

The Army Chief symbolises the Army morale and thus cannot be subjected to public ridicule by the Defence Minister. By doing this he has inadvertently hurt the feelings of the soldiers and ex-soldiers at such a crucial time. He should apologise for his avoidable unpalatable remarks.

SUDARSHAN SHARMA, retired DIG (SSB), Garh Palampur

Educate citizens

The atmosphere in northern India is highly charged with a war hysteria. Everybody is busy talking about Army movements and subsequent possibilities of war. Our Army is ready for any action but is our civilian population ready to react? Nothing is being said or done either by the administration or by the media to educate the citizens what to do in case war breaks out. Whatever the border area villagers are doing like digging trenches etc., they're doing it with their experience and understanding without any technical knowledge. They're even withdrawing most of the hard cash from the banks from their savings and shifting children and women to safer places. They should be educated regarding war preparedness, and precautions to be taken in case of any eventuality.

The local administration with the help of the police or the Army should educate common people on dos and don'ts in case of war, air raids and ground assaults to save oneself and others in danger. The media too can contribute by carrying small articles on the subject. Schools, colleges and voluntary organisations can arrange small disaster management workshops and first-aid courses so that one can help oneself & others in emergency.


A doctor’s lament

I endorse the views of Dr Ahuja in his article “A doctor’s lament” (January, 29). I can understand his anguish. The medical fraternity in general is facing a similar scenario. The sword of the Consumer Protection Act has further added fuel to the already weakened doctor-patient relationship. Now doctors have to consider their patients as mere customers or consumers and sympathy, care and affection have taken a back seat. A doctor has to charge more and send the patient for expensive diagnostic tests at the slightest indication to save his skin if something goes wrong during treatment. Who knows which patient or his attendant is going to drag you to the courts or abuse/assaults you in your consultation chamber itself.

Every doctor wants his patients to recover at the earliest, so that his practice flourishes as it is said that a satisfied patient sends 10 more patients, while a dissatisfied prevents 100 from coming to you. Who wants to spoil his practice and reputation?

Any mishappening if takes place is often attributed primarily to the negligence of the treating doctor without listening to him and that leads to further deterioration of the situation.

Let’s hope that wisdom may prevail and the patients envisage their doctors as next to God and doctors too listen and treat them carefully, sympathetically & affectionately.


One-sided: It is a one-sided story. While there is no denial that there has been all round degradation in the public eyes of almost all professions — be it a doctor/ lawyer/ engineer/ politician or bureaucrat. The cause is very simple: the greed for wealth in all its forms.

If Dr Ahuja, as he states, has willingly sacrificed all lucrative jobs offered to him at the instance of her mother devoting his services to society, he should not express lament for his decision nor should he wave from the noble cause he has undertaken irrespective of the routine odds.

Dr Ahuja has ignored reports appearing almost daily in the Press that a doctor left the scissors or scalpel in the stomach of a patient when operated upon. Or rackets in which doctors in unison with agents remove kidneys or other organs of innocent patients without their knowledge or for hefty ransom! There is an endless list of unethical treatment meted out to patients.

Doctors wake up. Keep the high ethics of your profession! You will never find a moment to lament!

V. K. SAINI, Pathankot

Primary education

In Haryana many schools have only one teahcer. The strength in our primary schools is also decreasing rapidly. India needs 10 lakh primary schools to impart primary education to children bellow 12. We spend a huge part of our budget on defence. The cost of one fighter plane is equal to the amount required to build 1,000 schools. The budget allotted for education is spent on salaries and corrupt officials grab the rest. So if we want to improve our school education, we have to increase the budget allocation and check corruption.

SANDEEP FOGAAT, Mundhal Kalan, BhiwaniTop

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