How our new nawabs keep India shining

I was elated to read the report Rudys, the new Nawabs of India (Feb 15). The report brings out another skeleton, after the Goa hotel bill payment controversy, from the cupboard of Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Union Civil Aviation Minister.

When a politician becomes a minister, in most cases, his lifestyle changes to that of a modern nawab. He and his family must stay in a superstar hotel room with a tariff as high as Rs 64,000 a day. He must get his office and bungalow renovated and refurnished every now and then. He needs a chopper to hop from one place to another. He must go to a foreign hospital for treatment of even a minor ailment. He must be provided with a battery of bullet-proof cars with security. And all this at the cost of the public exchequer!

The work culture in our government functioning has so developed that bureaucrats (with a few exceptions) and ministers take decisions according to their whim, little caring for rules and regulations. Both seem to care a fig for the country.



Is this the example of India shining by our new nawabs? Did we strive for this kind of democratic setup? It is time our new nawabs, the likes of Rudys, were checked and shown the door, if necessary.


DAV College, Malout

Exploitation of the weak

The article Who is afraid of the immigrant?: Much maligned, but wanted (Dec 15, 2003), highlights the oppression and exploitation of the weak and the vulnerable. It may be the Shiv Sainiks harassing the “Madrasis” in Mumbai or the neo-Nazis who deny the Turks the comforts after getting all the menial works done by them, all prove his point.

I would compliment the writer. The official apathy and connivance in some cases add fuel to the fire. As there is an unhealthy nexus for this purpose, unless some one raises his/her voice, the situation will continue. I am reminded of a migrant labourer, Som Nath, from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, who lost his hand while working in a factory in Jalandhar. In accordance with the Workmen’s Compensation Act, he was to get compensation. But it was not going to be so because the FIR was false.

Posted at Jalandhar Bishop’s house and holding the social work charge of the Diocese (1988), I challenged the authorities by writing a new FIR. I had to work hard to force the authorities and the factory owner to reach a compromise and to pay Som Nath his due compensation of Rs 23,500.

The silent cry of the oppressed goes on unheard, calling on our responsibility. Perhaps, you and I can play our role to make it heard. Otherwise, we might have to share the blame of tacit supporters or silent approvers of a wrong system.


President, Roshni, Rajpura

Common voters’ list

Electoral rolls are a big political muddle. I don’t know why there should be three different voters’ lists for elections to panchayats, municipal councils or corporations and Assembly/ Parliament. (I do understand the logic behind a separate voters’ list for the SGPC and DSGPC elections). It’s all a sheer waste of manpower, money and resources. Various agencies are involved in these exercises and different contracts are awarded for printing and revision of the electoral rolls.

All this creates a political muddle as the party in power enlists bogus voters of migratory labourers and foreign nationals, creating ethnic and social tension which ultimately becomes a law and order problem. Hence, there is need to have only one common voters’ list for panchayat, municipal, Assembly and Parliament elections. A single agency should be made responsible for the correctness of the rolls and the expenditure incurred on it.

Only original citizens of the state with permanent home address be enlisted as voters. Electoral rolls should be updated every alternate year. Retired Central government employees and defence personnel could be involved in the enumeration of new voters.

Lt-Col DAYA SINGH (retd),


In defence of fee cut

The slashing of IIM annual fee from Rs 1.50 lakh to Rs 30,000 would be a great relief for about a thousand students who are likely to get admissions into these institutes. There are thousands more who get admissions in other private management institutions where they have to pay exorbitant fee. They are being charged something between Rs 4 lakh and 2 lakh. This also needs to be slashed.

If the IIMs are made to reduce their fees, so should other professional institutes. There are many who do not apply for admission because of the hefty fee in the professional institutions. The logic should be that the money raised from the industry as well as government subsidy should not be a monopoly of the elite only.

There should be an all-round reduction in the fee structure so that poor students otherwise brilliant and having impeccable records may be able to get higher and professional education on the basis of their competitive performance. Poverty should not be a stumbling block in one’s way to get professional education. At the same time, the standard and quality of education in these institutes should not be compromised.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh

Indo-Pak relations

The Indian economy is at its best. For the first time, it seems possible for India to think about surpassing developed countries and China. Having seen positive signs in our economy and long-term prospects, many countries including the US and the EU are taking interest in India.

The latest revelation of Pakistan’s irresponsible nuclear trade by the Western intelligence, which they should have been knowing for quite a long time, signals a marked change in the attitude of the West towards South East Asia.

As Pakistan is feeling the pressure to start a positive dialogue with India, India should tread with caution. Pakistani politics is very unstable and divided. Many powerful groups in that country don’t want good relations with India. Therefore, India should not make long-term commitment without serious thought and proper safeguards. India should take lessons from the past. It is in an advantageous position and must avail itself of the opportunity to resolve problems with Pakistan.

Vikas Garg & Vipul Aneja,

NIT, Allahabad

Sonia as PM

Is there no other person in the Congress than Ms Sonia Gandhi who could be projected as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate? She addresses meetings by reading out prepared texts. It will be in the interest of the country if Ms Sonia Gandhi herself projects an able Congressman as the future Prime Minister of the country. This will enhance the image of the Congress before the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.


Why not annually?

Keeping an eye on the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Central and state governments have announced various welfare schemes for farmers and weaker sections, concessions to the industry and business community and bonanzas to the employees and pensioners. Why not make elections an annual affair?

M.L. MONGA, Dharamsala


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