Friday, March 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Facing nation’s stark realities: search within has its own reward

This refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article “Facing nation’s stark realities” (March 22). The writer has correctly avered that the main problem is the poor quality of leadership and that “there is apparently something wrong with the system which puts a premium on mediocre leaders”. But are not “the stalwarts of Independence” responsible for “leaving the field free for crooks, rogues and fanatics” by building the Republic of India on a democratic model not suitable for a multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual country of India’s large size?

They did not realise that a multi-storey large mansion needed a different plan and a stronger foundation than the one for a small single-storey house. There could be no two opinions as regards the urgent requirement of a “shock treatment for the leaders and the led” but you cannot expect the present leadership to do the needful. They are real beneficiaries of the faulty system and you cannot expect them to use the axe on their own feet.

The Ram temple-Babri Masjid dispute at Ayodhya is only about votes and votes alone and it is beyond the capacity of so-called religious leaders to resolve. Mr L.K. Advani, the Home Minister and the BJP Prime Minister in waiting, while addressing an election rally at Faizabad during 1998, said: “The Ram temple has played a major role in building my political status” and that “the issue of building a temple is priority for the BJP”. And this is the major issue in the suspended agenda of the party and would be taken up vigorously in the parliamentary elections in 2004 or earlier. Till then, the Vishaw Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other members of the Sangh Parivar would keep the mandir pot boiling by stocking the fire occasionally.


The vote-bank democracy with religion-caste-based reservations is largely responsible for the economic plight of ordinary Muslims who find major road blocks in the path of modern education and job opportunities. The major chunk of seats in the educational institutions and government jobs goes to Hindu and Sikh reserved categories and women candidates. Even the poorest of the poor rural Muslims have to compete with the non-reserved categories of Hindus and Sikhs, mostly coming from urban and economically richer families. Naturally, they are left behind in the race. This probably leads to madarasa syndrome and the community’s difficulty in going along with the “national mainstream”.

The Muslim community needs to be provided with a proper environment to enable it live honourably as an equal partner. This is not possible under the present system of government. Only switching over to the time-tested presidential system of the US type can provide the right and peaceful environment.


Political mileage: In our country, where religion and not democracy is the basis of determining priorities, political leadership, instead of establishing a humane and civilised order and a social equilibrium, have rather worked towards sharpening the beastly instincts on both sides of the communal divide that the country is faced with. While leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav generally incite Muslims for their casteist-vote-bank politics, Hindu organisations like the VHP have only spread the communal venom in society. And our politicians in all this drama of communal discord, hatred and violence have tried to gain political mileage or tried to cling to power at whatever cost.

Naturally the loser in this dubious and communal strife has been the innocent common man for whom economic revival, eradication of poverty, a healthy infrastructure of roads, education and health care remain no better than illusory dreams of a happy future. It will only be a case of self-deception to believe that the present set of political leaders can deliver goods at the national level. Divided and sub-divided on caste, community and religion, these leaders will keep befooling the masses into hatred and violence till such time when a true education can awaken the people to see through the dubious games these leaders play.


Quit: The persons who are at the helm of affairs and find themselves helpless to govern have no moral right to stay there. They must step down. Leadership should be entrusted to young, dynamic but mature persons. And there is no dearth of such persons in India. The measuring rod that maturity comes only with advancing years is not often correct.

Dr N. K. NAGPAL, Kurukshetra

The divide: The way the mandir-masjid issue has been mishandled and communised shows to what extent our political and religious leaders can go in exploiting and abusing religion in the mad pursuit of their vote-bank politics. Our composite culture stands torn apart and the secular image has been tarnished.

K. L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

Rational commitment

Apropos of Mr Hari Jaisingh’s “Rational commitment to nationalism” (March 15), after Independence it was not a “change of rule” but a mere “change of rulers”. Instead of coming back to the Indian roots and taking inspiration from our rich heritage, we became apes. Instead of becoming leaders with our unique Indianness, we became followers and mimics.

Great political parties have failed to produce great leaders. What we have are rabble-rousers, nurturing and nourishing their vote-banks. For the sake of votes, they divide.

The pseudo-secularism of the political class has miserably failed for it was against the Indian ethos. They were tragically ignorant of the ancient Indian tradition of accepting all faiths as sacred. Spiritual nationalism is what India lived for, Bharat Mata, a united shakti of all Indians that India worshipped. All this has become passe.

A sub-servient police and civil administration has become a source of corruption and frustration. They are serving The Raj.

The minorities have a role to play. They share a common heritage. They should shed their ghetto mentality and jump into the mainstream to build a strong India. Exclusivism does not pay, sharing does. We need to break barriers. Let us have a vision of a better tomorrow.

Sqn Ldr KRISHAN SHARMA (retd), Panchkula

Silent majority: Even after more than 50 years of Independence, the state of Indian society, economy and polity continues to be as precarious as ever. India started reconstructing its economy in 1947. So did Japan after World War II. India’s achievements are modest in comparison to those of Japan. Why have we lagged behind? The fundamental cause of our problems is that whereas Japan ensured active participation and involvement of the majority, in India the silent majority has been left out of development and progress.

Nationalism is the need of the hour. So long as there exists an indifferent leadership, communalism and corruption, India will lag woefully behind in peace and progress.


Humiliated by cops

On the night of March 1 my parents, who are in the evening of their lives, were humiliated by two inebriated policemen of Himachal Pradesh. I met the S.P. (Sirmaur) on whose instructions I lodged a complaint in the police station, but the cops on duty refused to get their guilty colleagues medically examined.

Asking such indisciplined cops just to say "sorry" is to give a wrong signal at a time when the H.P. Police is introducing social-policing.

Dr K. V. SINGH, Nahan

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