Good citizens can ensure good govt

I refer to Gurcharan Das’ article “Contemporary governance” (Sept 6) and the editorial “Free for all” (Sept 8). Time and again, our political masters shed crocodile tears about their concern for people’s welfare. But they put their party and themselves before the state and are far more concerned with votes than with people’s welfare.

How long do we want these rulers to run the country? And how long do we want to remain apathetic? It is difficult to answer because the people have lost their social conscience. In a country where power politics, money power and political clout rule the roost, to expect social conscience to dictate public behaviour is a tall order.

With the loss of social conscience, we individuals cease to be citizens of a cohesive society. Indiscipline is somehow ingrained in our character. The way we behave, the propensity to walk on the road rather than on footpath, indiscriminate honking, using cell phones while driving are some of the regular, maddening manifestations of our total lack of discipline.

Yet, we expect our political rulers to be of vision and wisdom. This is very difficult. For, the state is what its citizens are. We can expect good governance only when we ourselves become good citizens.

P.L. SETHI, Patiala



The only way to improve teaching in government schools, especially in rural areas, is in the hands of the education ministers of every state. Things will improve if they make surprise checks. They must see for themselves how public money is spent on education.

These surprise checks will keep the teachers on their toes. Those who are not performing should be treated as non-performing assets, a burden on the society and be dealt with firmly.

KRISHNA GOEL, Ladwa (Kurukshetra)


The findings of Transparency International on corruption in education are starling. According to a survey, 48 per cent of people label the government schools as corrupt. The decadence in this crucial sector is disturbing. Positive steps may bring some improvement.

To begin with, institutional awards may be introduced for government schools, the parameters of which may be quite objective. These schools may be invited to compete for the coveted awards. The competitions may be held at the block, district, state and national levels.

Group awards are healthier for society than individual awards.

S. KUMAR, Panchkula


The writer has rightly pleaded for teachers’ reforms on priority. There is a paucity of committed teachers. A teacher is not normally disturbed about his low salary when he prepares for his lecture or when he is teaching. The motivation for teaching is not strictly monetary. It is basically an inner phenomenon.

If for some reason, this motivation withers, it is not easy for one to revive it even by financial means. If it did not exist from the beginning, it cannot be conjured up from somewhere. That is why, lakhs of graduates applying for a teacher’s job hardly present a healthy situation.

Apathetic and non-performing teachers can be made to perform by raising before them the spectre of dismissal. But such an approach would reduce teaching to an impersonal process. It would cease to be a joyous experience then.

AKHILESH, Birampur (Hoshiarpur)

Selfless company

I was numbed after reading C.L. Verma’s middle
A Bone Setter”. How can one be so selfless? Instead of appealing for a reward from Maharaja, one seeks the abolition of salt tax!

This reminds me of my professor, Prof A.P. Sharma. When I was a bachelor, he motivated me to improve my English. In return, I used to bring samosas and kachori for him from the market.

Today when I look back, I miss him because I can never have the company of a true and fearless personality. I feel every one of us should think like Bone Setter because we need him in every part of our society.

RAJAN RAI, Toronto, Canada

A rose with an iron stem

Lal Bahadur Shastri’s birth centenary celebrations started on October 2. Except naming Mussorrie’s National Academy of Administration (where IAS officers are imparted training) after him, the Centre has done little to perpetuate his memory at the national level.

Shastri was a leader of high integrity, rectitude and character. His prompt resignation owning moral responsibility (as the Railway Minister) for a train accident is fresh in memory.

Shastri was a man of principles. Throughout his life, he prepared morning tea for himself and his wife. Despite being a rice eater, he stopped eating rice when there was food crisis. He was a great crusader against corruption in public life. Union Finance Minister T.T. Krishnamachari had to quit following charges of corruption against him. Had he been alive today, political corruption would not have been what it is today.

Mohabbat ke liye chand dil makhsoos hua karte hein,/ Yeh who naghma hai jo har saaz pe gaaya nahin jaata.

Shastri was indeed a rose with an iron stem.


Articles sought

The M.R. Pai Foundation was set up a year ago to perpetuate the memory of the late M.R. Pai, renowned consumer activist and public worker who passed away in July 2003. He played a notable role in Forum of Free Enterprise which promoted the cause of free enterprise in India.

The Foundation will bring out a publication recording reminiscences of people about the late Pai. Articles, anecdotes and experiences of their interaction with him may be sent by post to Forum of Free Enterprise, Peninsula House, II Floor, 235, Dr D.N. Road, Mumbai-400 001 or email to ffe@vsnl.net

S. DIVAKARA, Member-Secretary, M.R. Pai Foundation, Mumbai


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