Our politicians’ short-cut to gaining power

This refers to Mr H.K. Dua’s article “New role for Hema Malini: A film star comes to aid of the party” (Oct 21). Our political leadership across the board has preferred short cut, howsoever dubious and questionable, to gaining power. They make false statements, employ musclemen, capture booths and even force officials to temper with records and documents to tilt the results in their favour. Naturally bringing in the Bollywood glamour in election rallies, meetings and processions is nothing extraordinary if it can ensure electoral gains.

Gone are the days when political leaders believed in hard work, sacrifice and idealism as means of winning public confidence. Nor do they believe in convincing the masses with their achievements in public welfare and personal example of honesty and dedication to duty. Now elections have to be won even if it is through mafia and other corrupt and illegal means.

No wonder, political parties have launched Bollywood heavyweights in politics to pull crowds at election rallies. If the Samajwadi Party can boast of Amitabh Bachchan as its ‘Brand Ambassador’, the BJP has Hema Malini, Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha to carry the ‘Lotus’, while the Congress can boast of the 'Hand' of Rajesh Khanna. With due regard to these tinsel personalities and their illustrious contribution to the cine world, one wishes to ask what contribution of public welfare have they made to run for votes in elections?

Political parties turning to the tinsel world should realise that the size of the crowd at an election rally is no criteria of their success as people come only to see these actors and actresses. The lasting impact on the masses is through a sincere and dedicated development of public welfare and not through a glamorous Hema Malini or the Big B.




I found Mr H.K. Dua’s article “New role for Hema Malini” (Oct. 21) as an extension of his previous article “Who is to govern India?”. His concern for the sharp decline in value-based politics is understandable.

While I agree with Mr Dua in principle when he says that politicians want to gain from the reflected limelight of the cinestars, I find nothing wrong in them joining politics. At least it is much better than criminals becoming our leaders.

Any why grudge Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu enjoying the company of pretty Hema Malini! Most of us will love to get photographed with her. Like humour, glamour is also the spice of life. And what is Parliament without spice!

Even if Hema Malini does not speak a word (I am sure she will) she would have made her contribution by taming the criminals in Parliament with her charming looks.

MADHU SINGH, Ambala Cantonment


Apropos of Mr H.K. Dua’s article “New role for Hema Malini” (Oct 21), I agree with his view that people nominated to the Rajya Sabha in this exclusive category normally do not take the oath as an MP in the morning and join the political party in the afternoon. It may have suited the BJP’s convenience in an election year, but has not really helped Hema Malini to have reached 11, Ashoka Road, via Parliament House. The journey should have been the other way.

I think, perhaps, this may be the only case when a nominated member reportedly joined a political party after his/her nomination. This is not good for the exclusive club of nominated members. They are supposed to be independent in their views and actions. Still, though it depends on the individual member, it would be better if they do not join any political party, though they may love to campaign for the party of their choice. Using film stars for wooing voters shows the extent of bankruptcy of our political parties.



Mr H.K. Dua article “New role for Hema Malini” (Oct. 21) depicts a very interesting picture of the need of film personalities for politicians to gather crowds. No doubt these politicians give good sermons and promises at the hustings but everybody knows the hollowness of those commitments. The result is that both politicians and people know that no one believes them and none is interested to hear them.


Silence zones in Shimla

The Shimla District Magistrate has notified seven roads in Shimla as Silence Zones under which no vehicle driver plying on these roads can blow horn. But will this help educate people about their duties while driving? For Shimlaites, it implies a big restriction. They are used to press horns so much that they can’t allow others to pass through even while maintaining their own driving pace.

While it is a big jolt to their driving skills, for officers’ drivers, it is a personal offence if the right to passage is legitimately used by other drivers going uphill. For many teenage drivers, it is a big brake on their sizzling and soaring spirits, which define their age and exuberance. How are they going to hold their inner silence now when you deprive them of their right to show their urgency and speed by sounding fancy horns? Moreover, these users are going to miss the cacophony of musical and varied types of horns. As these roads are already special/VIP roads, they will look silent, unexpressive and indifferent. Shimla’s District Magistrate has to take tough decisions if he really means to put some traffic or road sense among these always-in-hurry people.

Singapore, a small country of 30 miles radius, has shown the world that if you feel strongly about traffic hazards, you have to check your speed and accept that any four entries of wrong doing means cancellation of your driving licence. Shimla is also a small town. It has too many vehicles with limited road capacity to allow high-density traffic. It is time to initiate a few steps and show them the road map of traffic rules. Enforcement is another question. Are they going to learn on their own? No body is giving them a helping hand; they have to help themselves.

Dr Rama Gupta, Shimla

Factual error

Apropos of Punjabi University Registrar P.B.S. Sidhu’s letter “Clearing the stables” (Oct 10), I never applied for the post of Chief Editor of the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism. Mr Sidhu should have cross-checked with me or the official records whether I have ever applied for the post.

Prof NIRBHAI SINGH, Senior Fellow, Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi

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