Monday, October 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Pindaris back in a new avataar

IT is difficult to answer Mr H.K. Dua’s question: “Who is to govern India?: Threat from mafia is serious” (Oct 7). But it is easy to answer, “Who is governing India?” The answer is, modern Pindaris. As the Moghul empire crumbled, utter lawlessness prevailed and every adventurer established himself as a Raja, Nawab or Zamindar in numerous small states or principalities who were often at war with each other. In that atmosphere of lawlessness flourished a tribe called Pindaris, especially in Central India. They used to loot whomsoever they could lay their hands on. They used to share their loot with the local authorities who were protecting them. Thus they became official looters.

This is exactly what is happening today. The Pindaris are back in a different avataar. As the state is giving them fullest protection, no one has been convicted, innumerable inquiries against them notwithstanding. While the Pindaries of yore avoided looting their own public, the modern Pindaris have no such scruples or compunctions. Of course, the looting methods have now become far more easy and sophisticated. While the old Pindaris suffered the discomfort of operating on highways or countryside on horse back in search of their victims or even faced the prospects of opposition or armed resistance from their victims, the modern Pindaris have no such irritants since they operate from air-conditioned comfort and maintain the “dignity” of the office. All they have to do now is to sit on a file or favour for some time.

Other than the lowest of the low, the modern Pindaris seldom even set their eyes on their victims. They loot directly and indirectly. While direct looting is in the form of so-called corruption and scams, indirect looting implies enjoying enormous perks, privileges, huge bungalows, guards, staff, foreign jaunts etc which would be the envy of a minor Maharaja of bygone days.


As regards law and order, the less said the better. While from 1858 to 1947, “not a shot was fired which escaped cognisance”, it is a different story now. Private armies in Bihar, communal and sectarian riots, violence by Naxalites and other such groups have claimed far more lives than in all the wars fought by Independent India. The internal violence level has gone up from Kashmir to Kohima and Kargil to Kanyakumari, but our political and bureaucratic masters (modern Pindaris) are unperturbed. Nero, the Roman Emperor, who was fiddling while Rome was burning, must be turning in his grave as the modern Pindaris have surpassed him in insensitivity.

brig harwant singh (retd), Chandigarh


Mr H.K. Dua's article “Who is to govern India?” is very timely. The ever-increasing nexus between politicians and criminals is spreading havoc. The role of businessmen and bureaucrats too cannot be ruled out. The leaders in many states depend upon the mafia chiefs for money and muscle power to win the elections. Later, they have to return favours to such mafia men.

Those holding responsible positions are aware of the dangers ahead, but are helpless. The voters change their decision from time to time, but fail to bring about any perceptible change in the scenario. The new faces holding different banners and symbols also prove to be the chips of the same block. People look towards the Election Commission and the Supreme Court for some positive change as governments have failed to perform their duty.

The courts must do something to deter these mafias to rule. The responsibility falls equally on those holding high offices who must do justice to the positions they are occupying. They must listen to the call of their conscience to save the country.

Dr n.k. nagpal, Kurukshetra


In his article “Who is to govern India?”, Mr H.K. Dua has decried certain politicians and political parties as prisoners of criminal groups. No doubt, the criminals and the politicians are acquiring power in states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Crime and gangsterism are spreading in the country.

Mr Dua has rightly said that short of these mafia leaders, it has become difficult for them to govern their states. The mafias and gangsters have made democracy a big farce because these leaders rule by crime and hypocrisy. He has rightly pointed out that these law-breakers have become the law-makers, negating the very concept of democracy.

What is the solution? The real remedy lies in having real democracy, i.e the rule of the people. It has the necessary resilience to eliminate gangsterism.

hans raj jain, Moga


The views expressed by Mr H.K. Dua (Oct 7) in his article “Who is to govern India?” are soul searching for the voters themselves because it is futile to ask big leaders of all the political parties. They have adopted the most convenient method of ignoring the misdeeds of criminals in their respective parties and shudder with panic at the very thought of losing their support.

Therefore, voters should come forward to root out these mafia criminals. They should vote against them rising above caste, creed and religion. Abstention from voting implies their silent approval. So people must go to the polling booths and vote against these vandals who have debased the edifice of democracy.

r.k. malhotra, Chandigarh

Another quota is okay, but...

The Union Cabinet’s decision to provide reservations for the economically backward classes (EBCs) is commendable. But the total reservation should not exceed the 50 per cent ceiling fixed by the Supreme Court. Already reservations in jobs and admissions have dealt a severe blow to merit and efficiency in this country. Reservations in promotions have no basis at all.

In all fairness, the quantum of reservation should not go beyond the 50 per cent ceiling. Otherwise, it will further reduce the opportunities available to the upper castes — the so-called General category. The benefit of reservation to the EBCs should be given by proportionately reducing the quota of categories or castes enjoying reservations for decades.



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