Wednesday, April 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Of birds, trees & corruption

I would like to congratulate the Vigilance Department for breaking the nexus of evil being run by PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu.

I appeared for the interviews for the posts of DSP, BDO and lecturer (under Roll Nos 52248, 40126, 72012, respectively) in the months of January, February and March, 2002.

In the first two interviews, a number of irrelevant questions were put to me like “names of five birds, five trees, five rivers, the month in which roses are pruned etc.

In the interview for lecturership, I was asked just one question by the Chairman and two questions by the expert. My interview did not last even five minutes. The expert was also kind enough to tell me at the end of the interview that I did not possess deep knowledge of my subject. And this despite the fact that I am a gold medallist and university topper in my subject (Public Administration) and I have also done BA Honours in it. I have not only cleared the UGC NET but also UGC JRF and that too in my first attempt and I have taught for almost six months at Punjabi University, Patiala. I have also won Panjab University colour, a number of prizes and certificates in extracurricular activities and two scholarships.

In view of the gross irregularities in the selection procedures by the PPSC, all appointments made by the commission in the last few months should be scrapped.


I also request you to initiate inquiries against the members of the PPSC as it would be naive to believe that Mr Ravi Sidhu was running such a huge racket without the active connivance of at least some of the members.

Please do look into the recent recruitments of JBT and B.Ed teachers as we all know and perhaps even you are aware that a large amount of money has changed hands during these recruitments.


He polluted society: Though basically a journalist, he had turned so much stone-hearted that he cannot think of the number of lives he had spoiled and in turn given to society such a lot to sit at the head of them for a number of years to further pollute society. No punishment in such a case can meet the ends of justice and can undo the harm this so-called gentleman has given to the society.

While thinking about this gentleman which he does not seem to be, mind travels to Sardar Harcharan Singh Brar, the then CM. I don’t think anybody would differ if I say that he happened to be the last word in honesty. He must be cursing his stars as his name also comes up when the episode is discussed in buses, offices and every corner of the state where two people get together to share the morning news.

Instead of demanding special treatment in jail, he may lessen his sin by demanding exemplary punishment for himself which could be a lesson for the future successors of his position and other likewise positions of such nature.


Revamp the system: There is a clear nexus between politicians and their such corrupt appointees. The ruling parties never want to take drastic steps. Even the arrest of Mr Ravi Sidhu and the current investigation seem to be done to score a point that the previous regime was corrupt. But just remember who appointed Mr Ravi Sidhu.

If all this drama ultimately leads to a total revamping of the selection system, only then will it be worth keeping track. Otherwise, it will be back to business after a few months.

Dr A. S. NAGPAL, Ludhiana

Restructure PPSC: The huge assets amassed by the PPSC Chairman by auctioning top posts is only indicative of mind-boggling corruption in high places. Crores of rupees now being recovered from bank lockers show the fraud of selection procedures and could be just the tip of the iceberg. But the candidates who proferred up to half a crore as bribe money to get posts for which they were not otherwise suitable are equally, if not more, to blame. Mr RPS Sidhu is deservedly behind bars — while at least some of the undeserving who got over the selection process through the backdoor are ruling the roost — to recover their investments many times over.

The government must review the selections made during the auction period and cleanse the Augean’s stable of corruption left behind by the Chairman. The PPSC must be revamped and perhaps a person of high professionalism who would not be pulling political strings be brought in to make the selection process as impartial as possible. Perhaps the PPSC can emulate the armed forces selection process to make selections based on merit rather than money or influence.

Air Cmde RAGUBIR SINGH (retd), Pune


We in India have a unique democracy. When persons found of flagrant violations of law, rape murder, illegal deals and stacks of money are caught, they inevitably get away after a few days in jail. When they are tried in courts after several months and in some cases years, they modify the evidence, buy witnesses and buy out or threaten the judicial system and seldom if ever get punished. Not a single person was ever sentenced in the hawala scam, fertiliser scam, Bofors scam, fodder scam, electricity scam, just to name a few. Such persons should be put on fast-track trials in special courts and by special judges so that they do not have time to modify the evidence and temper with law to suit their cases.



Of misers

Apropos of Mr Darshan Singh Maini’s middle “Portrait of a miser” (April 15), the sparing, stingy character of a niggard is depicted in an Urdu saw: Chamri jaaey par damri na jaaey (A miser will prefer being skinned to parting with even a “damri” — a small coin, fourth of old paisa). A miser lives meanly in order to amass wealth little realising that hoarding of money at the cost of one’s own comforts brings misery, not happiness. Yet many people live meanly so that they may die rich.

Not to speak of common people, even some great rulers were extremely stingy. Croesus (popularly known as Qaarun), the last King of Lydia, was noted for his immense wealth. Yet he was so miser that he did not pay “zakaat” (religious tax) even at the behest of Moses. Shaikh Saadi said: Qaarun halaak shud ke chehal khaanah ganj daasht/Nausherawan na murd ke naam-e-niko guzaasht (Croesus died although he had 40 treasures. Nausherawan is not dead — survives in the memory of the people — as he had left a good name behind him).

There are many anecdotes about the miserliness of the last Nizam of Hyderabad. Despite there being a big crack in his walking stick, he did not discard it. Instead, he told the British Resident that he was thinking of getting it feruled.

Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi was a meanly covetous hunks. He asked poet Firdausi to write a poetic account of the feats and grandeur of the Persian Kings and promised to pay one “ashrafi” (gold coin) for each couplet. The poet wrote Shahnamah of 70,000 couplets. But the ruthless plunderer of the most splendid temple of Somnath went back on his promise and declared to pay ordinary coins instead of “ashrafis”. The self-respecting poet, though he lived in penury, refused to accept the same.

On the other hand, a grandee of Akbar’s court, Abdur Rahim Khan Khanan, known as Mun’im Khan, was very generous. On his way to Burhanpur, a dervish appeared in his seven successive camps and recited the verse: Mun’im ba koh-o-dasht-o-bayaabaan ghareeb neist/ Har ja ke raft khaimah zad o baargah saakht (Mun’im is never a stranger in any mountain, forest and desert. Wherever he goes, he pitches tents and erects a palace of audience). Mun’im gave him Rs 1 lakh each time. Thereafter, the friar did not turn up. The Khan remarked that he had set apart Rs 27 lakh to be given to him at his 27 camps.

While a miser lives miserably and is despised and taunted by the people, a generous person is blissful and admired by all.


Azad’s assessment

It is a shame that Ghulam (of the Congress) Nabi (who thinks he is) Azad is saying that while the November 1984 riots lasted only three days, the Gujarat riots have lasted more — hence are worse than 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

It is a matter of shame that such Ghulams are weighing human misery and saying that their party gave less misery than the BJP and hence is a better party. Shame!

My brother and grandfather were killed in front of my eyes in Kanpur and I survived three gunshots and my mother lost index finger of her left hand (which was paralysed). What I have written is based on my personal experience and was not dictated by my party President!


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