Friday, March 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Missing enthusiasm among people

This refers to the article “Missing enthusiasm among the people” (March 7) by Hari Jaisingh. It is really a difficult exercise to gauge the mood of the Indian electorate. The BJP leaders have apparently failed to replicate Gujarat in Himachal Pradesh. They went to campaign in Himachal with inflated egos and felt shocked when the results were declared.

In fact, the honeymoon of the middle classes (who voted the BJP to power at the Centre) has come to an end. The party with a difference has stopped inspiring them. But as some people believe in our big country, “the Hindutva” ideology has not been defeated. Rather it has caught the fancy of even prominent leaders of the Congress party Mr Digvijay Singh and Mr Ashok Gahlot, the Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, are busy these days raising new “gaushalas” (cow-shelters). They claim to be more faithful and devoted Hindus than the BJP leaders in order to retain power in the assembly elections to be held in November. Ms Uma Bharati has welcomed this change in the Congress leaders with a broad smile on her face: “They are just emulating us”.

Mrs Sonia Gandhi is a powerful critic of the BJP but she does not have any constructive and positive political philosophy for her party men. She is the President of a national level political party but she does not seem to have any control on her state-level leaders who are behaving as regional chieftains and pandering to soft Hindutva line.

The pertinent questions are: How are Congress leaders different from their BJP counterparts? Why should people follow them? Mrs Sonia Gandhi continues flaying the BJP for pursuing a communal agenda but many of her party leaders don’t mind imitating the BJP tactics of winning elections. Then, she herself does not mince her words in defending the disastrous economic policies of the BJP-led NDA government. All this amply proves that she is not a leader of strong convictions.

— R.B. YADAV DEHATI, Fatehabad



Public service

If large sections of the people show little enthusiasm in voting, democracy is in jeopardy. Ideally, the people who stand for elections should do so out of dedication for public service. That was certainly true of the tens of thousands of people who joined the Independence movement and many among them sacrificed their careers. Almost all politicians today look upon politics as a career. They may have proclaimed their adherence to a particular party, but in many cases the choice of the party is dictated not by principles but by the consideration of expediency.

— K.M. VASHISHT, Mansa

The real challenge

In his people-oriented article Hari Jaisingh has objectively remarked that the “present leadership of every political party only manages to hobble along from one situation to another.” They just roll on. It is a dangerous rift. No party works at the grassroots.

Who else can enthuse the people, if not Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, who “is still the best bet available for the country”? Himachal’s secular people frustrated, disillusioned him and stalled the Modi-made Hindutva wave. Mrs Sonia Gandhi was projected when the Congress boat was sinking. She possesses no charisma. She too cannot enthuse the people who want action against poverty and unemployment. The Congress is no longer a national movement.

Hari Jaisingh has quoted Gandhi too much. Even Gandhi had failed in 1920, 1930 and 1942. The Congress ignored him at the time of Partition. Even “Bande Matram” could not enthuse the people in 1947 as it did in 1905. Even the National Anthem, Republic Day and Independence Day are reduced to ritualism.

People can come into their own as makers and shapers of their own destiny when a new leadership springs up out of the masses themselves. A rootless leadership cannot meet the real challenge of dynamic leadership. Names of Shaheed-i-Azam Bhagat Singh, Netaji and Sir Chhotu Ram should be invoked to fill the gap.

— HARI SINGH, Kheri Jat (Jhajjar)

BJP’s failure

I read with interest Hari Jaisingh’s article. It seems pertinent to recall that Himachalis at large yearned for a clean administration and good governance when the erstwhile Dhumal government took over. The government not only failed to deliver the expected goods but also allowed, wittingly or unwittingly, the things to take a painful turn. As a consequence, the party functionaries got afflicted with the “get-rich-quick” mania and virtually acted on the dictum “Loot and be happy”! Nepotism and favouritism seemed to rule the roost on the employment front. Little wonder, the people at large were acutely disenchanted with the “party with a difference” and made up their mind to oust the “corruption friendly” party from the seat of power at the first available opportunity.

Whereas in the wider national context the importance of the issue — “widening gulf between the leaders and the led” — raised by Mr Jaisingh is difficult to over-emphasise. It must be noted that Mr Vajpayee, while passing the pertinent remark, simply reacted to the typical situation obtaining in Himachal Pradesh during the pre-election days rather than spelling out his considered view on the subject. Whether Mr Vajpayee shares/endorses the point adumbrated in the articles is a meet point.

— TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Crisis of leadership

Apropos of Mr Hari Jaisingh’s “Missing enthusiasm among people”, the Indian political leadership, instead of ensuring socio-economic justice for the masses, has by and large exploited casteist and religious sentiments to mobilise the votes of the poor and the backward through their repressive feudalist methods. In our politics, religion plays a vital role, not to promote peace and universal love but to encourage hatred and violence.

You are right in your assertion that our political leadership, interested only in short-term vested gains, miserably lacks in all the four fundamental elements of ideal leadership i.e. commitment, credibility, performance and vision. It will not be out of place to say that instead of an honest commitment to the well-being of the masses through an overall agro-industrial development of the country, leadership has not even hesitated in playing blatant frauds upon them through scams and scandals in almost every state and region. And the worst is that instead of discussing the issues in a decent and civilised manner in legislative assemblies and Parliament, our elected leaders throw chairs, mikes and paperweights at one another only to divert the public attention in the most disgusting manner.

What do we expect from such a leadership? And where do we go from a situation, which is not just confusing but also indicative of dangerously catastrophic possibilities? Does a seasoned and widely respected political leader of modern India, that Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee is, still need to ask why the enthusiasm and responsive attitude is missing amongst the people?


Grassroots leaders

I think to generate enthusiasm among the people, there is a need for grassroots leaders who can feel the pulse of the people. They are supposed to be aware of the aspirations of the people. And this varies from state to state. What is cheese for one, may be a chalk for the other. So the need of the hour is that leaders of different political parties should try their best to fulfil the needs of the people.


Befooling people

Our shrewd politicians are always successful in befooling the people by offering various kinds of excuses. To generate enthusiasm for elections, they never hesitate to arouse religious or other irrelevant passions of the electorate.



Sirsa varsity: labour pains

The new university proposed to be established at Sirsa is indeed a good decision as far as the development of this educationally backward area is concerned. But looking at the state of affairs of the politics of populism in Haryana, the university may have to run into rough weather after the change of government as had happened in case of GJU after the tenure of Mr Bhajan Lal. There are basically two reasons for this. The critics have a point that the university is established at Sirsa because it is the hometown of the CM. Secondly, being named after Ch Devi Lal may arouse ire in the minds of some who, when time comes, would try to settle scores on this issue. And who will suffer? The university obviously!

In spite of all for and against arguments, the decision should be looked in the right spirit and be appreciated by politicians of all hues, without indulging into a hairsplitting exercise.

If the university withstands the speculated crisis, as did GJU, by evolving its ways and means, then it would definitely be a boon for this area and the state. The pioneers of this project should look into these aspects and give it an indomitable beginning.

Named after Ch Devi Lal, it must fulfil his dreams and, therefore, should have departments or independent research units on subjects like rural development and rural research, agrarian and peasant movements, women’s welfare, social work and extra-mural studies.

Chairs must be established for study and research on contributions of Ch Charan Singh and Sir Chhottu Ram. Such departments are urgently required in the changed socio-political environment because due to the post-1991 structural changes in the Indian economy, the jobs in the government sector have drastically reduced. Now the merchant has become powerful over the prince. The voluntary sectors have also grown in size and importance. Therefore, our education requires adapting to these changes. There is an urgent need for unconventional courses, which would get jobs to our students in corporate as well as the voluntary sectors.

No university in the state has these departments as independent units except social work in KUK. In MDU, there was an independent department of rural development but it was closed last year due to reasons unknown.

I agree with J.B. Goyal’s views expressed in his letter (March 03) that members of the faculties of all universities may be adjusted accordingly on the basis of their aptitude, merit and achievements.

— Dr D.P. SINGH MOR, Hisar


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