Friday, October 17, 2003, Chandigarh, India



Where mafia gangs call the shots

Apropos of Mr H.K. Dua’s article “Who is to govern India?: Threat from mafia is serious” (Oct 7), I share his concern that the mafia gangs wield a powerful influence in the country’s present-day politics. They have been successful in some parts of the country to hijack the entire democratic process and traditions. This is a stark reality that several history-sheeters have joined the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh.

In most of the districts of UP, the poor and weak don’t have any say in the local administration. The police stations are virtually run by a nexus of powerful landlords and the greedy men in khaki uniform. The mafia dons have become cabinet ministers. Such dreadful men are now moving in the company of Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav.

But mafia gangs and musclemen have entered almost all political parties throughout the country. Why blame only Mr Yadav? Today’s leaders are not fired by altruism of any type but by materialistic and personal considerations. They seem to be the true disciples of Machiavelli (1469-1527). This famous political thinker of Italy thought that the rulers need not be loved by the common people but they must be feared.

The million-dollar question is: Why do common people send history-sheeters to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies? Why do they vote for mafia dons? Politics has become so cruel that gentlemen now avoid it.

Dr R.B.Y. DEHATI, Fatehabad



Mr H.K. Dua's sense of concern at the criminalisation of our politics (“Who is to govern India?”, Oct 7) is quite understandable, but it is doubtful whether we can do much to effectively stem the rot in the near future. When political and mafia power form a nexus with bureaucratic support, it is a Herculean task, if not impossible, to bring back the democratic norms and ideals in the system of governance.

Once the steel frame of our politico-administrative governance, the bureaucracy today stands rusted, cracked and broken completely. For their vested interests of postings and promotions, the bureaucrats have sided with the corrupt and criminal politicians in providing them the escape routes from the grip of law. This has not only resulted in many scams and scandals but has also emboldened the dubious elements in the corridors of power.

Now when the gin is out and has tasted blood, it may not be easy to put it back into the bottle. Of course Mr Dua’s assertion is right that freedom and democracy cannot be saved without courage, but who will show that courage? The intelligentsia is indifferent and in a miniscule minority. The middle class, who should generally lead movements, if not revolutions, for a change, stands divided on caste, religion and regional basis.



Mr H.K. Dua poses a million-dollar question: “Who is to govern India?” (Oct 7). Well, to my mind, stark criminals unless, of course, the horrendous trend gets reversed either through a cataclysmic change of some Messiah emerging out of the blue and performing the requisite miracle.

Mr Dua’s prescription for correcting the gross distortion in the electoral process can prove a potential panacea provided the people at large, for once, betray the requisite will and go in for the aforesaid prescription decisively. One can hardly do better than praying and hoping for the best.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)


The middle “A recipe for success” (Oct 16) was written by Mr Ram Varma. His name got dropped for technical reasons in some editions of the paper. The error is regretted.

— Editor-in-Chief


Failing health of PGI

Any concerned citizen of north India will wish that the sorry spectacle being played out at the PGI, Chandigarh, will end expeditiously. First, the sending on leave of the Director when he has a full six months more to serve was illogical, even if there were certain charges levied against him. If in this country, Prime Ministers, ministers and just about anyone in power can continue to hold office till the charges against him are proved, I see no reason in the Health Minister sending the present Director into a limbo.

Union Health Minister Sushma Swaraj and her officials should have taken a decision well in time to select and hold in readiness the new Director, if they were bent on Dr Sharma relenquishing charge for good. All this shows a lack of decision making in the Ministry. To compound matters, Prof. Ganguly of the ICMR has been saddled with the additional charge of the PGI. From the evening OPDs of Mr Shatrughan Sinha to this ridiculous move of keeping everyone in suspense, our ministers seem to be outdoing each other in management and stewardship of their charges.

The answer lies in getting Dr Sharma back to work. Heavens will not fall if an inquiry on the charge/ charges believed to be minor in nature, is instituted simultaneously. Factional politics within institutions should be rooted out ruthlessely and a sense of decorum and proper work culture restored.

HIMMAT SINGH GILL, Chairman, Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi, Chandigarh


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