Saturday, March 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Economic growth and welfare of the poor

The Dalits, the farmers, the civil servants, and the politicians are all sucking the state dry. That "poverty cannot be lessened by doles and subsidies" is admitted by all; and yet these continue. Why?

"Management accountability", the second point stressed by the author, has also to start with the Council of Ministers because it is they who manage the state. Yet none of the PMs or the CMs has ever resigned for messing up the state finances or administration.

Mr Hari Jaisingh wonders why "people tolerate such leaders." The reason is that we are timid and selfish. We have always needed a Krishna, or a Buddha, or a Gandhi to inspire us to fight the evil; let us hope one of them decides to come back. Or will The Tribune gather the Pandavas under one roof and lead the fight?

L.R. SHARMA, Jalandhar

Poll promises: I agree with the writer's observation that "promises made during election times are hardly honoured since electioneering these days is based more on rehtoric then anything else". For instance in Uttar Pradesh, all political parties have made tall promises to the electorate but after the results, they will behave like cleaver traders ready to strike unprincipled alliance even with their ideological foes. The most relevant issue of the development of the state will take the backseat. First, they are worried how to manage a majority and then how to survive for five years.

The economic policies of the present central government do not reflect the hopes and aspirations of the common people of India but only of the elities.



Governance hit: Corruption is taking its toll on governance. The first casualty is the rule of law and in such a state of drift shady characters with money and muscle power are easily coming to the fore to the disadvantage of the honest common persons. Governance has come to mean making money by way of job appointments, effecting transfers, interfering in school and college admissions, cornering seats in institutions of prestige for favourites etc. thereby putting a full stop to the realisation of the welfare state objectives of the nation.

Who is responsible for this sorry state of affairs? The answer is both the government and the people, the former for its lax attitude and its policy of appeasement towards the tainted politicians and the latter for not raising their voice against the corrupt political leaders and bureaucrats.

Maternity benefit

This refers to the news item “Maternity benefit” in the Briefs column (Feb 22). What a stupid idea to distribute money under the National Benefit Scheme in a country whose population is already crossing the farthest limits. After reading this news item, many poor families would like to avail of this benefit. The right approach is to give money as incentives to the people opting for various family planning schemes. Please think twice before printing such news.

V.K. SHARMA Shimla

Prisoners and Pearl

Since 1971 as many as 54 Indian soldiers have been languishing in Pakistani jails and our subsequent governments have done nothing concrete to get them released. The indifference to the plight of PoWs and their relatives is deplorable. The attempt to draw attention to the issue, by the teachers and students of Panjab University by organising a seminar "Project PoW: in search of missing soldier" is laudable. The least we can do for our valiant heroes who fought for our motherland, is to mobilise public support for their release and pressurise the government to take immediate action.

It is surprising that one American journalist, Daniel Pearl, killed by Islamic militants in Pakistan is being given such extensive media coverage but our own missing soldiers rarely get any mention in the media. The death of Daniel Pearl, prompted President George W. Bush to furiously vow to step up war on terrorism but different Prime Ministers in the last 30 years have done precious little to get Indian soldiers back. Is An American life more precious than Indian?


Of forgiveness

The brutal killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is heart-rending. His wife, Mariane’s earnest and urgent request to his ruthless captors to release him for the sake of their urborn child went unheeded. She is also a journalist and pregnant with their first child.

Gen Pervez Musharraf, instead of getting Pearl freed from his captors, brazenly charged Indian agencies with his kidnapping. It is hoped that the reality has now dawned upon him, but I doubt that he will feel the qualms of making a false statement.

Mariane has called Pearl’s killing an “act of barbarism”, but dismissed the idea of revenge.

Display of forgiveness is one of the highest attributes of humanity. Magnanimity is the basis of this quality. Only great-minded people show a forgiving spirit. “Revenge”, it is said, “is the naked idol of worship of a barbarous age”. Mariane’s wonderful gesture of forgiveness has reminded me of an Urdu verse: Koi had hi nahin is ihtiraam-e-aadamiyyat ki/Badi karta hai dushman aur ham sharmaaey jaatey hain.

Mirza Ghalib said: Rok lo gar ghalat chaley koi/Bakhsh do gar khata karey koi. Mariane has virtually forgiven the killers of her husband. Now it is for General Musharraf to bring them to justice and set an example for those, who may be thinking of committing such acts in future.



A pamphlet issued by the children of an independent candidate carried an appeal: Bahron chon laran aaye uclan noo bhajao, saade daddy dee jaan bachao.

P.N. GUPTA SangrurTop

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