Monday, May 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Fixing accountability of returning officers

The editorial “Rein in returning officers” (May 10) has rightly emphasised the need for a proper system of checks and balances to monitor the performance and decisions of the returning officers and for fixing of accountability on them for their acts of omission and commission. In the case in question, the RO was out to please the party in power in Haryana. That was the sole reason behind the RO’s decision to reject the nomination papers of Mr Kamal Sharma. He was a very potential candidate in the election.

It is noteworthy that after the RO rejected the nomination papers of Mr Sharma, he petitioned the Election Commission which set aside the order of rejection and directed the RO, under Article 324 of the Constitution, to reconsider his decision and take action in the light of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in a similar case. However, the RO rejected the directions of the Election Commission. For this act of obliging the ruling party, the RO was adequately rewarded by his elevation to the IAS.

Now that a byelection has been ordered it will be appropriate if the Election Commission asks the RO concerned to pay the costs of the byelection so that the tax payer is not made to pay the costs due to the wrong action of the RO. Such a step will act as a deterrent for other ROs from acting in an illegal and improper way while discharging their quasi-judicial functions.

VIJAY KUMAR, Chandigarh


Service before self

Recently a severe squall struck the Abohar belt, hitting Jhandwala Mirsangla village. It caused colossal loss to the property, life, crops and animals. The roofs of the houses were blown off, walls caved in, the household wares lay scattered hundreds of meters away and even the heavy vehicles like tractors were airlifted. Villagers badly shaken, helpless and hapless as they were, had to spend days and nights open in the fields without shelter and food for days together.

The chieftain of the Sirsa Dera Sacha Sauda, Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh called upon his followers to come to the rescue of the poor by making two dozen pucca houses on the debris and the ruins. Within a record time of few weeks, the kar sewaks accomplished the work with zeal, joy and all smiles. Previously also, I was witness to the despatch of the first wagon load of ration to the earthquake victims of Gujarat by the same Dera Sangat. My salutations to them.

It would be most unfair not to highlight the nobility of the nobles and to deny the due to the deserving. Let the other social, religious organisations and NGOs take a cue as to how best the suffering humanity can be served.


Kaifi: a beacon of light

Kaifi Azmi’s first death anniversary fell on May 10. He had declared loudly and boldly: “Meri duniya mein na poorab hai na pachhim koi/Sare insaan simat aye khuli bahon mein”. The bedrock of his poetry, thus, was the brotherhood of man, a kinship and oneness of mankind.

As the last of the progressive poets, he, thus, constituted a mine of socially and politically broadbased, radical, catholic and cosmopolitan ideas to ameliorate the lot of the suffering humanity.

His nationalism, his catholic sympathies, forward looking and dynamic moral force made him a doyen of an era that gave Urdu ghazal and nazm a freshness and a manoeuvrability of diction.

He spent his entire life in the cause of Urdu, and yet this upfront and a born rebel, turned down the Padma Shri Award in protest against the discrimination meted out to this language which has inherited the mood, the sentiment and cultural inspiration of Sanskrit, the folk traditions from its cousins, the numerous Indian dialects, besides assimilating Persian, Arabic and English vocabulary, and yet maintaining its own identity.

Kaifi, a primary and fundamental mainstay of progressive poetry for about seven decades, spent his entire life remaining loyal to literature and the downtrodden humanity, inspiring them for a socio-politico-economic revolution. He was a beacon of light in the darkness around.

This land of ours, flushed with anger and brimstone, ever flying into communal passions, was filled by Kaifi with courage and fearlessness, capacious and liberal outlook. He was a genius and virtuoso, who used the raw material of words, and made them look like strings of pearls.

Poetry, for Kaifi, was a cry, a clamour, a scream and potent weapon against injustice, oppression, maltreatment and tyranny of whatever kind and wherever it be. His clarion call, full of optimism, was: “Sab utho, main bhi uthon, tum bhi utho, tum bhi utho/Koi khidki isi deewar men khul jayegi”.


Blazers in summer !

During summer in Shimla, it is a pathetic scene to see senior students of local convents wearing blazers and travelling in overcrowded buses with heavy school bags. The scene becomes miserable during the rainy season when the humidity is at its peak. This practice of wearing winter dress in summer should be discontinued as Shimla is not the Shimla of yesteryears.

V.K. SHARMA, Shimla


Izzat factor in Army career

Delivering the convocation address last week at the CHM University, Kanpur, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, was aghast to learn that, there were 14,500 officers short in the Army alone, leave alone the other two Services. He exhorted students to opt for the Defence Services, and wanted to know why they were not doing so. He got his answer, when a retired General Officer Commanding present at the convocation was asked, whether he would like his son to join; ‘No, not my son’, was his cryptic reply.

Since the past six months, large illustrated advertisements have appeared each month in national papers and TV, inducing the youth to join the army, promising them with a good life and total emoluments exceeding even that of an IAS officer. However, all this has not made even a dent in the recruitment pattern. Something was missing – izzat.

Recently, a questionnaire study of graduates of West Point, USA, and the Sandhurst Military Academy, UK, concluded that, honour and prestige were the most important motives for a man joining the forces. Whereas all other countries, including Pakistan, have gone out of their way to foster this, our country has not still grasped the significance of the word izzat, which is the soldier’s most important forte.

Brig. N.B. GRANT (retd.), Pune


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