L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Onus on the rider, not the horse

Air Marshal R.S. Bedi’s article, “Babus vs netas” (Perspective, Sept 28) proves that he is highly critical of the bureaucracy and has castigated it as indecisive and inefficient. The bureaucracy is an active topic to be broached upon and invites hectic parleys when the question of fixing accountability arises.

The reason for this shift lies in the change in the political class which believes in power maximisation and not in policy maximisation. Sardar Patel had stated that it was due to the bureaucrats’ efforts that the country had remained united after the turmoil of Partition and that the integrity and honesty of civil servants was unquestionable.

However, today, we lack leaders like Patel. It is not the horse (bureaucracy) but the horse rider (politician) who needs a complete overhaul as the politician provides direction to the horse. Some changes as recommended by various committees would make civil services responsive as well as responsible.

These include reducing the recruitment age, increasing objectivity in examinations, stability of tenure, check on politically motivated transfers, giving annual performance targets to departments etc.

A housewife’s work is noticed only when she puts extra salt or chillies in a dish. Similarly, no one notices the work done by the bureaucrats as long as things go on smoothly. Once something goes wrong, they are blamed.



It is a fact that there is degeneration in the delivery system which is tightly controlled by the overbearing bureaucracy as brought out by the writer. There are many reasons for the downtrend, the foremost being the inadequacy in the lawmakers’ knowledge of the portfolio he has to head by virtue of his or her political position.

The lawmaker’s failure to attend to the system contributes to inordinate delay in the delivery system. The lack of control by lawmakers breeds lethargy and tardiness in the system which bureaucrats exploit. Some of them lack moral courage to stand by public interest for fear of retribution.

Some master the art of collaboration, thus damaging public interest. But all is not lost yet, though there is an imperative need to overhaul the system as recommended by various committees.

Needless to say, the bureaucracy is in poor shape. That’s why, numerous magisterial orders on sound and air pollution remain on paper.

All Chief Ministers should commission studies to find out the percentage of implementation of the orders by the District Collectors/ Deputy Commissioners orders and the reasons for their non-implementation. Marching orders should be served on those for proven inefficiency and incompetence.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana

Sufism bears proximity to Bhakti tradition

Sufism is an offshoot of Islam with more amiable face. It seeks spiritual experience by bodily discipline and mystical intuition. (“Mysticism and politics”, Spectrum, Sept 21).

Sufi doctrine is ‘Wahdat-al-Wajud’ which proclaims oneness of all existence. It believes that human spirit emanates from God itself and can find its highest aim in the obliteration of its illusory selfhood leading to absorption into the ‘External Reality’. Supreme mystical experience is thus achieved in union with the God. In this respect, Sufism bears proximity to Bhakti traditions.

Sufis venerate or worship the saint (pir) of their respective silsilas (schools of Sufism e.g. Qadri, Suhrawardi, Chishti, Naqshbandi et al ). However, they observe the five fundamental obligations of Islam and trace their lineage to the Companions of the Prophet, mostly Hazarat Ali.

Sufis’ veneration of their saints (pirs) as intercessors with God to seek favours for their followers (murids) comes in conflict with the ideology of the mainstream Islam but probably they are tolerated due to their popularity and peaceful nature.

To acquire the supreme mystical experience, a mystic undergoes various spiritual stages (maqam) i.e. wajd (ecstasy), hall (transported condition of spiritual exhilaration), fana (annihilation) and wisal (union with God).

Sama, the Sufi devotional music stirs up greater love towards God and helps to attain spiritual vision of ecstasy. In Sama, melody is not to dominate or eclipse the message (spiritual poetry) and divert the attention of the listeners but is to serve as its carrier only. The present day Qawali singing portraying Sama is too loud because of its large ensemble of musical instruments coupled with too much of clapping and gimmickry of the singers, which goes against the spirit of Sama and hence Sufi philosophy.

V.K. RANGRA, Delhi

Gujarat’s gain

Ratan Tata’s project (“Wait for Nano”, Spectrum, Oct 12) has been forced to move from West Bengal to Gujarat due to political intervention and protests backed by Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress. The personal efforts made by the West Bengal Governor and the state government proved futile.

Thus, West Bengal’s loss has become Gujarat’s gain as the project would mean additional jobs for the youth and economic growth. Nano will now roll out from Sanand.

A number of states had requested the Tatas to set up Nano project in their states and even offered a number of incentives. Ratan Tata has taken a wise decision by choosing Gujarat.

M.L. GARG, Chandigarh

Taming the thief

Jaspal Bhatti’s “Classy Thieves” (Spectrum, Oct 5) was not only humorous but also thought provoking. The writer has beautifully brought out the universally true human nature.

All of us, with due apologies to those who may take an offence, are thieves in one way or the other. Actually, we teach our children not to tell lies, not to pilfer, not to cheat and not be insolent but we seldom follow what we preach. We are the fountainhead of a number of vices. That is why, teachers, doctors, engineers, clerks, mechanics, technicians etc don’t hesitate to purloin petty or bulky things from the places of their work.

In fact, everyone has a hidden thief within himself and that very thief ought to be arrested and executed. Therein lies the well-being of society and the country.




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |