Questions that Sangma must answer

APROPOS of Mr P.A. Sangma’s exclusive interview (Jan. 25), he lacks clarity in his political vision. He says he has no problem with the policies of the NDA government. Then he must tell “what was the problem that he waited for such a long time to associate with the NDA”?

He says that he won’t join the BJP in his life-time, will he specify the reasons? Further, will Mr Sangma tell “why is he stressing on the projection of the prime ministerial candidate even before the constitution of new Parliament after elections?” Does not he know that in a parliamentary democracy, the members of Parliament select their leader? Should the personality cult not be curbed?

Parliamentary democracy does not revolve around one or two personalities. Elections in a parliamentary democratic setup are fought on the basis of policies and programmes of different political parties. Mr Sangma can surely become Chief Minister of Punjab if he is elected an MLA of the state. The point is, if someone serves people and the people accept him (or her), then how can he or she be stopped from becoming the Leader of the House?



Mr Sangma must remember that Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi are not only the daughter and the son of the Congress President, but also the daughter and the son of Rajiv Gandhi, who laid down his life for national unity and integrity. Besides this, the two children are grandchildren of Indira Gandhi, who also sacrificed her life at the alter of national unity. If the two children want to serve their motherland, they should be welcomed.

The question is not of electoral victory of the party. Both children are going to tread a path on which their father and grandmother were eliminated by the antinational forces. This shows the courage and zeal on the part of the children.

I request Mr Sangma, whom I always considered a secular and progressive person, to secure an assurance from Mr A.B. Vajpayee that the BJP does not believe in “cultural nationalism”, etc. Mr Sangma must know that regionalism is developing more and more under the NDA umbrella. The recent clashes between Biharis and Assamese were the outcome of such an approach. Then, the Shiv Sena, which strongly believes in the “sons-of-the-soil” theory, is also there. Regional parties joined the NDA merely on the condition that the Central Government will do the best for their respective regions or states.


A father scorned

This one brave nation did I fondly sire;

Fine daughters and sons blessed I all above:

Unbent had they remained, ’mid strife and fire,

Torchbearers of freedom, armed full with love.

What’s it they learnt? Humility? Tolerance

Of faith? Vowed they to forgive every slight:

Pledged all. Viewed means, ends with pure moral sense;

Charted new routes austere, yet shining bright.

My children are grown, but strange is their note!

Eldest cuts throats, and pockets too. So leads.

The younger stores morsels in banks of vote:

The state one serves in words, but self in deeds.

A father’s fault perhaps. Where did I wrong?

That acts so weak should shadow thoughts so strong.

RAJAN KASHYAP, IAS (Retd) Chandigarh

Being uncomplicated

Apropos of Taru Bahl’s “Blessed to be uncomplicated” (Jan 25), healthy and lasting human relations are developed and groomed on the sound foundations of patience and perseverance. There is no denying the fact that even members of a family are temperamentally different and may even be opposed to a particular style of life. Their ambitions and aspirations often bring in controversies and differences. Very often a small ego problem may grow into the root cause of the whole disruption in the family setup.

It is at such times that one’s patience and tolerance are tested. It is not necessary that only the young ones or women should be called upon to make adjustments or the seniors to make a sacrifice. But to attain peace and lasting joy it would be immaterial who shuns his/her intellectual pride and ego and offers to compromise without any pretensions or even emphasising the fact of any sacrifice being made.

Unfortunately, in our so-called modern living and self-dependence, we seem to have lost the sense of belonging and the virtues of humility and appreciating others’ problems and points of view. Our personal vested interests have even ignored the age-old cultural values of family ties and a protocol of age, sex and relation. That is perhaps why we fail to enjoy “small pleasures” of life that are a source of lasting peace. While we may have amassed wealth and luxuries, we still remain deprived of the bliss that is conveyed through the twinkle of an eye and the glowing blush on the cheek.


Punjabi love poetry

In the Spectrum (January 11), Meera Malik has rightly put a question mark at the end of a platitude belonging to a long-cherished but now eschewed value system of our polity. Her write-up on the tragedy involving Satyendra Dubey is heart rending and thought provoking.

Under “Signs and signatures” Darshan Singh Maini has provided a bird’s eyeview of Punjabi love poetry. His succinct but scintillating account of the three doyens of Punjabi poetry is worth reading. However, Shiv Kumar Batalavi’s passion and fervour for an intense expression of pangs of separation in love is unparalleled. The author could not sufficiently dilate upon the qualities of his amorous poetry, perhaps due to the limitations of journalistic writing. On the whole, the writing makes an exciting reading. The spellings in Roman of the titles in Punjabi are flawed at places, maybe partly due to some oversight in proof reading. The Tribune must maintain the standard in being accurate as it has always maintained.


Death for rapists?

This refers to the article by Nanki Hans, Spectrum (Jan. 4). Rape cases continue. Time and again the death sentence has been demanded for rapists. Even the Deputy P.M. had suggested this in the Lok Sabha on November 26, 2002, when a student of M.A.M.C. was gang-raped. The rape of a Swiss diplomat and that of a minor student in Budha Jyanti Park by the President’s bodyguards is quite fresh in people’s mind.

Rape is a serious crime as it culminates in a trauma for the victim all her life and is often destructive. However, the Supreme Court has observed in the case of Bachan Singh of Punjab (1980-Cr. L.J. 636 (80) that the death sentence may be awarded in the rarest of rare cases of “exceptional depravity & brutality only.”

It is suggested that Section 376 (2), IPC, may be suitably amended and the death sentence may be awarded for custodial rape, child rape and gang-rape where charges are proved beyond doubt. True, the death sentence will prove deterrent.

However, eminent jurists have contended that there are chances of misuse of the death sentence as some unscrupulous persons may falsely implicate their adversaries out of enmity. Experienced officers not below the rank of Inspector, who should be assisted by a lady officer, may do the investigation of such a serious offence. We should, therefore, tread with due care and caution.

H.L. KAPOOR, New Delhi

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