Saturday, August 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Strike by professionals: the other side

A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held the strike by professionals like lawyers, doctors and chartered accountants as unethical. The interest of the common man seems to be the only concern in the minds of the judges. But who will look after the concerns of the professionals?

A single word against the judiciary is taken as contempt of the court, but what happens when a professional is assaulted, his premises are ransacked and his/her honour is looted. It is all dumped as mob fury and the professional is left to lick his wounds. How can we always expect concern for the common man from those who have their life, liberty, property, prestige and honour always at risk from some lumpeon elements in society?

The court has not clearly focussed on the deep-rooted curse responsible for strikes by professionals. It is the general decline in the cultural, moral and social values which is reflected in the behaviour of the various sections of society. The professionals are not immune to these changes. We are also a product of the same society. Once the whole tree is rotten, one or two branches cannot remain olive green.

When the government is aroused from deep slumber only by high-pitched slogans, the police acts only on the politician’s dictates and sadly the judiciary also sometimes remains a mute spectator, then which door should the professionals knock at? Strike is the only resort left in such situations.


However, they are not very happy to go on strike themselves because they are the losers — goodwill as well as practice is lost. Being activists of the Indian Medical Association, we know how difficult it is to organise even a protest march by doctors, leave aside a strike. Often professional dignity, concern for the sick, and a fear of adverse publicity force doctors to lie low and swallow the insults and suffer infringement on their rights silently. But there is a limit to everything. A time comes when patience and concern for the common man are no longer able to hold back the simmering anger, frustration and feeling of being treated unjustly from bursting out in the form of agitation. Sadly again, in our country, those who suffer silently are thought to be weak and are not taken note of. The only remedy to get justice and one’s due is to get together and shout at the top of your voice and create nuisance, then somebody in the corridors of power may listen to you.

Ethics can only be practised when your honour and rights are protected. It cannot be a one-way phenomenon. Until the government, the polity and society do not stop perceiving the professionals as the only ones responsible to uphold the high traditions of values and morals, unethical strikes will continue to remain an avenue for redressal of grievances and release of pent-up frustration and feelings.


Why Bitta’s pictures?

Readers often feel intrigued by the frequent publication of news reports and photographs of Mr M.S. Bitta in The Tribune. Mr Bitta is a self-proclaimed chairman of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, which exists only on his pad papers for seeking cheap publicity, generally through The Tribune. Indian Express has done commendable work in exposing the integrity and credibility of several prominent political leaders through investigative journalism. I think it should not be difficult for The Tribune to find out the antecedents of M.S. Bitta, who is well known in Amritsar, as an unscrupulous urchin having no public support in any section of society. However, his gimmicks enabled him to come close to some senior Congress leaders and thereafter he has successfully misused The Tribune to stay in the limelight by presenting awards to some prominent persons.

I have nothing personal against Mr Bitta. In fact, I have never met him. However, I have written this to highlight that the frequent publication of his photograph showing him presenting awards to some persons or meeting a Governor or a minister creates a bad impression of The Tribune among its readers.

R.S. MALIK, IAS (retd), Panchkula

Feeling independent

When I was a child and gained contact with the world, I saw a limitless horizon with a sky so blue, the fields so green and the variety of creation so vast in various species, shapes and sizes. I heard the melodious song of the gentle breeze as it moved over the lush meadows in tune with the chirping of birds, the humming of bees and the trinkling of the stream. The taste buds too were in ecstasy with the purity of His presence. Waking, dreaming and sleeping, His love enveloped me. All was One and One was all.

As I grew, I became aware that the horizons were limited as was the joy and laughter and the freedom of sharing and belonging. I was no longer a human being, The son of God. The emperor of all manifested and unmanifested levels. I was an Indian, north Indian, a Punjabi, brown in colour and limited in thought. I then learnt that I was a Sikh and that too a Jat Sikh. My family was limited, so was the generosity, love and sharing. Subsequently I became aware of my insecurity both in the outer and inner world. Man killed, burnt, looted and used any and all means to terminate, grab and pollute what he could, when he could and to the level he could. There was no longer peace, tranquility, harmony and well-being but fear, disease and anxiety.

Is this the Independence that humanity has created for itself? Is this the purpose of life? On introspection I found that this is not what was His intention nor my true nature.

In desperation I sought to re-establish contact with Him and moved from ashram to ashram, centre to centre, sage to sage. One day I made a bonfire and burnt all. I walked away free from the past. As I crossed a barber’s shop I cut my hair and became only a human being. Sitting silently at the feet of the Guru, I was liberated and dissolved in the oneness of the Creator and the Created. With overflowing love towards all, I now live in my true nature of bliss and harmony. I now know the meaning of the word Independence for this day was my “Independence day.”

Lt Col S.S. DHALIWAL (Retd) Patiala

Land & BJP politics

The “Himachal Pradesh regularisation of encroachments on government land and disposal of government land rule, 2002,” as notified on July 2 states that an area of about 25,000 hectares will be regularised at prices ranging from normal to double of those prevalent in the land market. Those failing to avail of this opportunity up to August 15 will be evicted forthwith.

The BJP is confident that this tactical stroke will not only enable it to win Assembly elections in February next, but also lead to its entrenchment in Himachal politics like the Marxists in West Bengal.

The government has decided to part with 10 per cent of the land lying with it. And that part of it which is already being cultivated by kisans, over which they have built houses and farm sheds and planted fruit orchards. The government may or may not regularise this land, the cultivators are not going to vacate it. That much is certain.

The BJP government, if it really wants to help the kisans, must distribute free of cost the remaining 90 per cent of the 2,37,499 hectares of land being held by it. The kisan organisations are preparing to launch an agitation demanding regularisation of this encroached land free of cost. Their contention is that when the state government has leased out more than 7000 hectares of land to foreign tea planters at the rate of Rs 12 per hectare for a period of 99 years, then it is immoral on the part of the state government to force its own kisans to purchase their own land at prices which are far higher than those prevailing in the market.

And that too accompanied by many harsh conditionalities and encumberances. These conditions are to apply for regularisation before August 15 to make full payment within 15 days of the sanction of the patta failing which the entire encroached land can be sold in open auction. Moreover, there is a total ban on the resale of lands regularised in this way.

KULDEEP SINGH GHUMAN, Kumarhatti (Solan)


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