Opportunism, learn it from Maya

Apropos of your editorial Maya’s fury (Feb 28), the self-proclaimed representative of the Dalit interests in the country, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati, presents the best example of unabashed opportunism. On the one hand, she is ready for sharing seats with either the BJP or the Congress. On the other hand, her “legitimate” political strategy lies in condemning both these parties for their “Manuwadi” politics.

At one time, Ms Mayawati claims to protect the aspirations of millions of Dalits in the country by getting their quota ensured and enhanced, while at others she compares herself with the South African leader Nelson Mandela and the likes of him. She said she is ready to undergo a 27-year imprisonment like Nelson Mandela. One really wonders whether she realises that Mandela fought for a classless society i.e. to end apartheid in his country.




Pro-VCs as a problem

The Punjab government has abolished the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor from all the universities in Punjab. The Pro-Vice-Chancellors have never assisted the Vice-Chancellors in policy-making or day-to-day functioning of the universities. On the contrary, they were functioning in a manner that they never considered themselves less than the Vice-Chancellors.

This is not to give a clean chit to the Vice-Chancellors. Unfortunately, precious time of some universities was lost because of confrontation between the Vice-Chancellors and the Pro-Vice-Chancellors over each other’s powers and functions. Problems arose when some Vice-Chancellors were not delegating any powers to the Pro-Vice-Chancellors. As a result, the latter remained idle most of the time and indulging in mutual recrimination. In fact, they were working as vigilance officers against the Vice-Chancellors. By abolishing the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor, the state government has given a free hand to the Vice-Chancellors to manage the affairs of the universities.



Of Gardner & London bobby

The middle Ava Gardner and the London bobby(Jan 3) makes very interesting reading but calls for comment on a few small points. It cites an Urdu couplet at the end — “Ab to ghabra key yeh kehte hain ke mar jayenge/ Mar ke bhi chain na paaya to kidhar jayenge” — and attributes it to Ghalib. That, however, is not correct: The poet who actually composed it was Zauq.

In fact, one critic has described it as among the best-known and most popular verses of Zauq. Another very famous couplet of his, which is frequently quoted, is: “Laayi hayat aaye, qaza lay chali chaley/ Apni khushi na aaye, na apni khushi chaley”.

Again, the article mentions that bobbies are on sentry duty at the Buckingham Palace. That too is a slip. “Bobbies” are policemen, whose nick-name has been derived from “Robert” of Sir Robert Peel who founded the London Metropolitan Police. The sentries on duty at the Palace gates are not policemen but are soldiers from the Horse Guards regiment who are known for their distinctive tall bear-skin helmets.

One word more. If Ava Gardner is as particular about the spelling of her name as most foreigners are, she will not be too happy to see it mis-spelt as it repeatedly is in the ‘middle’ — ‘Ava Garderner’. The extra ‘ER’ in it will be taken to be an unjustified liberty with the name.


Spare us the agony

Apropos of your editorial Fodder for thought (Feb 18), besides Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav and Ms Mayawati are also in the queue for the high office of Prime Minister now. While one is under a cloud for her foreign origin and inexperience, the other is known for clownish antics and the third is given to using intemperate language. Pray, spare us the agony of the likes of such worthies!

I also do not agree with the view of some sections that the focus should be on good governance, not the leader’s country of origin. The elderly people say that the British rulers provided much better governance. Should we recall them then? Good governance yes, but not at the cost of dignity.

Wg-Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

Ban on tobacco ads

The entire public, the NGOs, the health-conscious people and the media should welcome the Centre’s decision to ban tobacco advertisements from April 1. George Bernard Shaw, on April 14, 1946, rightly wrote in the “New York Herald Tribune”, “I have never smoked in my life and look forward to a time when the world will look back with amazement and disgust to a practice so unnatural and offensive.”

The public in general and the student community in schools and colleges in particular should be told of the great harm done by smoking as it delivers nicotine to the brain in eight seconds, which results into addiction.

It must be widely advertised that the single most important cause of disease and death is tabacco which causes 10,000 persons to die worldwide everyday. Hence, we call the Press and others to actively support this ban in the interest of a healthy and eco-friendly environment.

R.N. LAKHOTIA, New Delhi

Abu’s extradition

I have learnt from a report (The Tribune, Feb 19) that underworld don Abu Salem has moved the Supreme Court of Portugal against a decision of the High Court of that country which ordered his extradition to India.

Poor Abu! He does not seem to have proper knowledge of the facilities available in Indian jails. If he gets to know about the tales concerning the alleged killers of Beant Singh and Phoolan Devi, he will definitely withdraw his appeal. The “facilities” available in Indian jails, after all, are among the best available anywhere in the world.


Illegal strike

The all-India strike sponsored by the Communist-led trade unions was unjust and anti-people. It is a pointer to the fact that the Communists have no respect for the verdict of the Supreme Court, which has pronounced the strike by the government servants as illegal.

Such strikes hamper the normal life, hit hard the daily-wagers, entails blackmailing the government, causes immense loss to business and to the national economy. Consider the very timing of the strike, just on the eve of the elections. It is of utmost importance that such obstructive actions are dealt with seriously and whosoever joined the strike should go without salary, besides disciplinary action.

J.K. MAGO, Panchkula

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