Monday, December 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Modi’s victory and future course of politics

Hari Jaisingh’s front-page signed editorial “Gujarat goes the Modi way” (Dec 16) compels appreciative notice for its forthright tone and tenor.

Apparently, the electorate in Gujarat overwhelmingly went the Modi way, thanks largely to the “Hindutva card” deftly played by the fiercely aggressive saffron leader. Mr Modi is undoubtedly the “key player” — overshadowing the party’s national leadership — in the BJP’s “rearing success” in the state, as the editorial aptly points out. He deserves to be richly complimented for performing virtually an “electoral miracle”. Even the devil must be given his due, as they say.

Winning an electoral battle by whipping up the people’s emotions to a frenzy is one thing, tackling effectively the chronic ills — rampant corruption, sickening mass poverty, mounting unemployment, runaway inflation, growing population etc — plaguing the polity is quite another. How Mr Modi and his saffron brigade acquit themselves vis-a-vis the mighty challenge will determine the future course of the country’s politics.

For the country’s badly-splintered secular forces the Gujarat verdict holds a clear and unmistakable message — unite under one banner, preferably under the banner of the historic Indian National Congress, or be prepared to suffer many more excruciating humiliations in the years ahead. The situation hardly brooks any “ifs and buts”.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Hindutva wins

The headline “Hindutva wins 2/3rds in Gujarat” was not in good taste. It carries an element of deliberate sarcasm, castigating the entire Hindu majority of the state as communal.


Let us honestly admit that during the election campaign, the towering leaders of both the BJP and the Congress tried their utmost to exploit the voters to the best of their skill and ability and both the main contending parties were optimistic of their win in the race. The pragmatic people of the state did listen to the leaders but they exercised their right to vote according to their own conscience and judgement and no leader could gauge their mind till the result of election was out. In a democracy it is the overall choice of the majority that counts. To dub the win of the BJP in communal light is not appreciated.

When there is an election fight between two parties, one wins and the other loses. The past record shows that the Congress had ruled the state for nearly four decades. Now when the BJP has been on the winning spree since 1993, there should be nothing embarrassing about it.

K.K. SHARMA, Udhamgarh (Jagadhri)

Brainwashing voters: It was the BJP, a political party, that had won but The Tribune came out with a stunning front-page headline “Hindutva wins 2/3rds in Gujarat” (December 16). Is it a crime if the Hindus put up a united front? Is it against secularism if the Hindus take a common stand? Whose cause would it serve if 80 per cent of India’s population remain divided?

The winning party’s move in trying to unite the Hindus in its favour was perceived to be against the Muslims. Similarly, when the other major party tried to unite the Muslims it was thought to be against the Hindus. Both the parties should equally share the blame for their dubious games. Both should make amends for it.

Campaigning during the Gujarat elections was highly debased. Repeated attempts were made by the parties, through scores of leaders mobilised from across the country, to brainwash the voters one way or the other, virtually preventing them from forming their own free opinion.

Isn’t such persistent brainwashing of the voters through high-voltage campaigning not violative of the concept of free and fair elections?

Wg Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd.), Jalandhar

Gujarat poll & media’s role

The impressive victory of the Narendra Modi-led BJP in Gujarat must not have come as good news for at least the Delhi-based English newspapers. Despite the Press portrayal of Mr Modi as the arch-villain of post-Godhra communal frenzy, refusal of the CEC to fix election dates as per the wishes of the government and the Imami Fatwa asking the Muslims to vote en block for the Congress, Mr Modi accomplished the feat of leading his party to power.

Of particular interest to the reading public has been the role of the media. Time has proved that the Gujarati newspapers were reporting facts in a much more truthful manner than the English newspapers of Delhi. The latter had unleashed a no-holds barred campaign to malign Narendra Modi and had gone to the extent of highlighting/suppressing news to suit the personal views of the editors/managements. All this does not augur well for the credibility of the media. Of course, the editors are free to air their views and so are the columnists, commentators and the general public but for that they have their allotted space, i.e., the edit page. Crossing this Laxman Rekha and spilling over of the personal prejudices into news leads to the manufacturing of news, which is not the journalistic creed. One hopes that the English Press would be wiser after this episode and refuse to be the propaganda tool of any party.


Pakistan Premier

With all due respect for Mr Harihar Swarup, it is pointed out that the name of the Pakistan Premier is Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and not Mr Jafarullah Jamali, as mentioned in his write-up “Jamali: more loyal to the king than all others” (December 8). Likewise the correct spelling of the MMA’s leader’s name mentioned as Fazur Rehman is Fazlur Rehman. “Jabal” is an Arabic word, meaning mountain, and not that of the Baluch language.

The suspension of the anti-defection rules by President Musharraf to enable the 10 renegade PPP (P) legislators to vote for Mir Jamali has reminded me of the verse: “Jab usoolon sey na takmeel-e-gharaz ho Raahi/Log aghraaz usoolon mein badal detey hain” (Raahi. When people cannot achieve their objects through principles, they turn their designs into rules).

President Musharraf wants the Prime Minister to be politically light weight and obedient to his wishes to keep a firm grip on Pakistan and rule the country as he likes. The handpicked Mir Jamali will certainly fill the bill. After the swearing-in ceremony, he not only eulogised the President for restoring democracy in Pakistan but also declared to continue his policies.

There is no doubt that Mir Jamali will allow himself to become the puppet of the ambitious uniformed President.


Insecure old age

Apropos your editorial “Insecure old age” (Dec12), anyone with a little conscience will be moved to tears if asked to imagine the plight of the old retired employees who practically have to survive on air and water in our country today. Old people, widows, senior citizens, retired employee can barely make their both ends meet in today's free India.

Retired people, who are without pension or other source of income, used to eke out their living from interest earned on deposits of their life's savings they kept with banks and other schemes. The government has been reducing the interest rates on bank deposits, at the same time raising the prices of daily use articles. There is no social security for the elderly. Under these circumstances, with lowering interest rates, what are the hapless senior citizens supposed to live on?

Actually the category which requires consideration is the non-pensioner employees e.g. employees of Panjab University and similar autonomous, semi-government bodies.

In this context, through your columns I wish to highlight the plight of retired employees of Panjab University. They include most distinguished teachers of national and international fame, many of them were founding fathers of this premier institution of North India. Due consideration should be given to their right to pension, at least for those few who are somehow still surviving. I appeal to all concerned for thorough and urgent consideration of their case for pension. Inflation is taken care of in case of working employees with the revision of grades every now and then, increase in DA every few months. Has anyone ever thought about the retired employees, ever, honestly?

Widows who do not have any other source of income, except the interest on small savings, also should be considered for higher interest. It is beyond comprehension how do pensioners qualify for this consideration. They have a good source of other income i.e pension, index linked DA leave travel concession etc. The worst hit are non-pensioners old people, whose one and only source of sustenance is from interest on small savings. Even these are too meagre to provide for a decent survival, what to talk of dignity.

PROF H.P. SINGH (retd), Chandigarh

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |