Corruption: Its global dimension

Corruption is not purely an Indian phenomenon. It has been growing in the West also and has been axiomatic with the “government for sale” philosophy of economic globalisation. With an increase in outsourcing of government responsibilities, the financial relationships between government and contractor have grown in complexity, and are often protected by “commercial confidentiality” so that any semblance of transparency in public accounting has disappeared.

Ministers have close financial relationships with contractors, then leave office to take up extremely lucrative directorships with them, moving seamlessly back and forth between the role of bidder for and awarder of contracts. The classic example of this is US Vice President Dick Cheney and Haliburton, but in any Western country one could find dozens of similar examples.

This is no “free market” where government buys the “best value” services. Rather than being incidental, this is at the core of globalisation. The whole project has been largely promoted by the Trilateral Commission, an unaccountable nexus of financiers, industrialists and politicians. It has often been joked that “democracy is the best system money can buy”, but in most Western countries, the Trilateral Commission has been able to sponsor its own candidates not merely to lead the government but the opposition also!



Is this a good situation in which to sell all control of government and to take on massive debts “for development”, which will let the lenders dictate future national policy?

Nathan Allonby, Dharamsala


Sadly, corruption among clerks, superintendents, inspectors, revenue officers et al is no more a relevant topic in India. When I asked a primary school teacher on the eve of her retirement whether she would have any difficulty in getting her pension and other retirement benefits in time, she replied: “I have already assured the concerned man in the office that I would pay him his fee.” This, she told me, was a routine affair and has to be done. Our leaders are busy with their vote-bank politics. Whom should the common man look to get his problems resolved?

R.L. SINGAL, Chandigarh

World Asthma Day

Today is World Asthma Day. With the availability of safe and effective drugs, asthma can be controlled and every asthmatic can lead a normal life. However, as things stand today, asthma can be controlled, but not cured in adults. In children, with regular preventive therapy, asthma weans off in a good number of cases.

A vast majority of asthmatics, whether urban or rural and rich or poor, run in search of asthma cure from pillar to post. In the process, they fall prey to quacks in remote areas, who use potent and harmful steroids in the form of powders or injections. Steroids initially act as wonder drug but, in the long run, produce serious and irreversible toxic effects. Ultimately, patients become “addicted” to them, but by then it is too late.

Asthma, like most ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, joint pains is controllable but not curable. However, research is on and the day is not far off when we may be able to cure it. Till then, we should create awareness among the public not to fall into the trap laid down by the quacks. The press and the media can play a positive role in this direction.

Dr. R.S. Bedi, Patiala

Priceless artefacts

It is disconcerting and humiliating to see rare Mughal treasures, taken out from India by Robert Clive about 250 years ago, being auctioned in London by his descendants, at a whopping 47 lakh pounds (April 29). Clive, the then Bengal Governor and regarded as the founder of the British empire in India, was known for resorting to treason and forgery to achieve his objectives.

Sale of such objects in international markets is not an isolated instance. Innumerable relics of India's historic past — reflecting our glory and greatness — seized on various occasions through deceit and coercion by our colonial rulers, are still in the unlawful custody of many foreign countries and their citizens. Ironically the business of clandestinely smuggling out of ancient priceless artefacts from our archives, temples, palaces and monuments goes on unabated even today, at times with the connivance of those who are responsible to ensure their safe custody and preservation. This speaks of abject greed and utter callousness on the part of some of our own people who seem to care little and have no pride in the attainments and achievements of their nation.

Why should we remain mute spectators to continuing despoliation of our heritage? The government must take immediate and firm steps to get back all the prized works of art and sculpture, jewellery, coins, statues and figurines, parchments and potteries as also sundry articles of archaeological significance that rightfully belong to us, but have been pillaged from this country over the centuries.

If other avenues and efforts do not succeed, we should go ahead and make outright purchase of these invaluable objects, whatever be the cost, and bring them back home. We it as much to ourselves as to our coming generations.


In defence of Israel

The editorial “In killing mode” (April 22) paints Israel as the culprit. This is unfair. On cannot ignore the ground reality that Israel has been surrounded by hostile enemies from all sides right since it came into existance as a free nation. It stood up against all odds and fought its way to survival. On the other hand, the inhuman terrorist activities of the Islamic groups have resulted in the death and destruction of innocent civilians including children, women and old people of Israel.

As a matter of fact, Israel has got no other option left with it to prevent the crimes of Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups. The stark reality is that Israel is the only nation which is putting up a spirited fight against the menace of Islamic terrorism . The latter is threatening world peace. The need of the hour is that all the civilised nations including India, should extend full support to Israel against the Islamic terrorism.

A.K. SHARMA, Chandigarh


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