Choosing Kalam’s successor

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s term is fast drawing to an end. Reportedly, a couple of knights-at-arms from politics are burnishing their armours to jump into the fray for the stint of the first citizen.

According to the Constitution, this office is purely ceremonial. In his monumental treatise, The Republic, Plato had made a provision for the Philosopher King, for the tallest of the tall. In the wake of India’s entering the threshold of freedom, we had some heads of state who could measure up to Plato’s concept of a “State Guardian”. Dr C. Rajagopalachari and Dr S. Radhakrishnan were philosophers who could prophecy events. Dr Rajendra Prasad tried to bring distinction and grace to this august office. Dr Kalam is a scholar scientist.

The President can exercise a sobering effect on the executive by timely advice to the Prime Minister and reconsideration on controversial legislation. Dr Kalam had matured constructively and continues with an unsullied image. A second term for Dr Kalam would have created a healthy precedent, but this may not be possible now. He is a fine specimen of an open-minded, liberal Muslim, with a genuine secular face. A President who is apolitical, liberal, broadminded, erudite and above political affiliations will symbolise the state better.

V.I. K. SHARMA, IAS (retd), Jalandhar


Big B’s greed

Amitabh Bachchan has earned name and fame. He was adjudged the Star of the Millennium. Films, ads and KBC made him one of the world’s richest men. His son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Ash are top actors. His wife Jaya occupies a unique place in Indian film industry. He is a billionaire who pays income tax in crores and easily tops the list of tax-payers.

Where is the need for more money? (Editorial, “Big B as farmer”, June 4). But lure for lucre did not spare Big B even. His greed for more material wealth brought him sheer disrepute. Politics never has been his cup of tea. He defeated H.N. Bahuguna to enter Parliament, but had to resign. His relations with Gandhi family soured. He went to Amar Singh and Co. who helped him to acquire the status of a farmer from Barabanki (UP) which proved to be fraudulent with the change of government in UP.


Review policy

Some days ago, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) advertised for allotment of plots exclusively for defence and paramilitary forces in Sector-4, Rohtak. One of the eligibility conditions for the applicants is that he/she should not have been a plot holder in any of the urban estates. This is unjust and unfair. The condition should be that if a person has acquired a plot earlier in any urban estate taking the benefit of this reservation, he won’t be eligible for applying.

For instance, according to the existing condition, a person who has acquired a plot by paying a hefty premium, after failure to secure one through the reservation scheme, becomes ineligible for applying for a plot. This is unjust. Such a person should be eligible to apply for a reserved category of plots. And in case he succeeds, he can dispose of the earlier plot and thus compensate the loss he has incurred by paying the premium. The HUDA should reconsider this eligibility condition on grounds of justice, fair play and reasonableness.



Need for introspection

The expulsion of MPs in 2005 in the cash-for-query scam is a watershed in parliamentary democracy. Nowhere have so many elected representatives been expelled from Parliament for misdemeanour by a vote of the House.

Four MPs have been suspended from the House due to irregularities committed by them in executing the MPs’ Local Area Development Scheme. There are several other telling examples of our worthy legislators. It’s time we stood up against money power and muscle power being used by MPs and MLAs. We must stand up against the people of questionable conduct. Parliamentary democracy would begin to wilt if Parliament loses public trust and did not function effectively.

Parliament is a law making body, but our present-day MPs have turned this temple of democracy into a fish market by paralysing its functioning now and then through walkouts, rushing to the well of the House and so on. We must do some soul-searching before it is too late.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

The supreme irony

The term “pedagogical stupidity” should be suitable to describe English-teaching across the spectrum extending up to undergraduate classes. There is an absurd emphasis on the word-for-word translation, the non-applicability of which led to my rejection at an interview some 15 years ago.

This still disturbs me. The classic B.Ed method in which I used to teach poetry to Standard X students was mocked at by the Principal who was a teacher of another subject.

There is a supreme irony in making B.Ed a mandatory criterion for a teacher’s job. But there is a more tragic aspect to the cavalier attitude shown towards the formal methodology. It is not often realised that its jettisoning leads to a profound effect on the child at an intellectual level. It stunts the flowering of the child’s crucial thoughts.

AKHILESH,Birampur (Hoshiarpur)

Child labour

We often see children in the 4-10 age group working in the factories, dhabas, households and hotels in pitiable condition to earn money for their families. Their parents say, abject poverty forces them to send their wards to work.

They think that the more the hands, the more will be the income. That is why they go in for bigger families.

The government will have to take steps to correct this wrong impression among such people and enforce the Child Labour Act strictly.

It must also provide free education to such children along with technical assistance to the families so that they are not encouraged to expand their families and push the children as earners.




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