Friday, August 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Weak institutions allow dynasties to endure

APROPOS of Mr Mark Tully’s article “Dynasties of the subcontinent” (July 21), Jawaharlal Nehru was a democrat at heart. Direct succession he hated; but as a doting father, he had ample ambitions for his only daughter. He had confronted hurdles and faced challenges; but he never wanted his daughter to face such odds. He inducted Indira Nehru Gandhi into politics by making her a member of the Congress Working Committee. Becoming the Congress President later was not a difficult task for her.

The Kamaraj Plan was made use of in 1963 to remove those who could pose a challenge to Indira Gandhi’s leadership. In 1966, when she was elected Prime Minister, she was “guided by the wishes of the Congress and its President K. Kamaraj”.

“Dynasties persist because there is acceptance of them” is a far-fetched conclusion. Power, pelf and sycophants make dynasties enduring and the people at large accept the inevitable.

Not a whimper was heard when Indira Gandhi became the Congress President. Not a finger was raised against Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency. Then, to say that "dynasties would endure for the simple reason that people appear to want them”, does not sound convincing.

The writer had beautifully summed up his article by saying that weak institutions allow dynasties to endure and not the will of the people. When there is a complete monopoly of the party, the stability of the party system is automatically ensured. For, there is none to challenge.

Sqn-Ldr KRISHAN SHARMA (retd), Panchkula



Mr Mark Tully has rightly pointed out the growing feudal tendencies leaving the common masses at the periphery. A close review of the Indian political system reveals that we have two democracies — discoursed and practised. The former becomes an attractive theme of lectures, seminars and newspaper headlines whereas the latter is the ground reality.

Both these forms possess salient features characterised by an ever-widening gap between the intended objectives of development, socialism, secularism, empowerment and dubious achievements through rampant corruption and manipulation. As a result, on different occasions, we have witnessed the steady erosion of the people's faith in the democratic institutions.

There has been a growing sense of alienation and disappointment as merit, equality and the rule of the law have been thrown to the wind by those who are expected to defend the Constitution. Under such sorry state of affairs, only a strong and vibrant political process involving large sections of society can save the edifice from further deterioration. Our democratic institutions need to be revitalised. They should be strengthened through transparent, inclusive and truly representative electoral methods.


An eye-opener

Air Marchal A.C. Sethi’s article on the MiGs crashing every other day (July 23) should serve as an eye-opener to the government. The emphatic assessment by the writer, who was the Director of Air Safety, Indian Air Force, should be taken in earnest by the government and the AJT, which is the indispensible requirement of the Air Force today must be met forthwith.

The writer’s assertion that with the present rate of accidents, we do not need enemy action or of a formal phasing of the aging MiG fleet is not an emotional outburst but a stark reality.

The lapse on the part of successive governments in the past two decades is really condemnable. The Supreme Court should suo motu take up the matter regarding the unimaginable loss caused to our fighter fleet, as also the loss of human life, owing to the criminal neglect on the part of our political masters as also the bureaucracy.

K.K. SHARMA, Udhamgarh (Jagadhari)


Influx of inter-state migrants

APROPOS of the report “Ludhiana leads in slum concentration” (July 22), there is no way the influx of inter-state migrants into cities could be checked unless strict regulatory measures are adopted and the politicians are kept at bay. Some of the suggested measures to tackle the problem are:

(a) Regulate the entry of inter-state migrants strictly on the basis of job availability, as everyone seems to be running to Punjab in search of a goldmine. When the same is not found, they take to crime.

(b) An undertaking from the employer should be a pre-requisite for entry into the state.

(c) The right to vote should be in their respective states of domicile. This will check vote bank politics which is the main reason for mushrooming of slums. All Akali groups harped on this issue when not in power but they did nothing when they were in power.

(d) There should be no rehabilitation of slums by allotting alternative sites to the slum-dwellers. As far as possible, the employer should be responsible for providing accommodation to its employees.

(e) Several states have laws prohibiting non-domiciles to own property in their states, mainly to ward off Punjabis. Why can't Punjab have such a legislation to discourage the temptation of settling down for good?

(f) The existing migrant population should be screened and those not properly employed should be shown the door.

(g) Strict anti-encroachment security measures should be adopted to check the onset of slum/ unauthorised dwellings.

The second type of influx into cities i.e, people shifting from smaller urban centres/villages, could only be stopped by improving the infrastructure facilities so that all the facilities of large urban centres are available to them either at their doorsteps or are within easy reach.

Lt-Col BHAGWANT SINGH (retd), SAS Nagar


Of harassed husbands

This has reference to the news-item "Coming to the rescue of harassed husbands” (July 26). A group of city lawyers have formed ‘Crime Against Husband Cell’ (CAHC) which will ensure complete protection of the fundamental rights of men. The organisation has felt that crimes against husbands have been increasing tremendously over the past few years.

In 1997, the battered husbands of Kolkata had formed “Pirito Purush Poti Parishad” (PPPP) and decided to take up cudgels to free themselves from the physical and mental agony heaped on them by their wives. They had demanded that divorce proceedings be simplified and a family court be opened. They also demanded that a new section be included in Section 498-A IPC to punish the wives if harassment was proved in the court.

That organisation had also extended the membership to the women. There is difference in both the organisations. One is made by the battered husbands and the other is helping their cause. “How to harass their husband and be happy” is a group in a foreign country. They find new techniques for harassment.

The CAHC says, “The object of amendment of any Act is public good and amendments in the law should be made so as to make it relevant to the needs of growing and changing society”.

M. L. GARG, Chandigarh

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