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Nehru, a prisoner of indecision

Amar Chandel’s book review “Unlearnt Chinese lessons” (Spectrum, Oct 19) was informative. Nehru was widely known as more of an idealist than as a realist. A prisoner of indecision and inaction, he was credulous enough to believe others readily.

Never did he dream of the 1962 aggression from the Chinese whom he continued regarding as friends till the very end. The aggression, besides being an eye-opener for him, was also a stab in his back. So blind was his faith in the Chinese that though he had been suitably forewarned of their expected aggression, he threw India’s dire need for defence preparedness to the wind.

The result was that India had to suffer a humiliating defeat. Nehru did not have much courage and determination. Nor did he have an iron will like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Notwithstanding all this, he possessed many a quality of head and heart and was, undoubtedly, a great leader and architect of Independent India. We can’t forget him or his commendable contribution to India’s progress and prosperity easily.


Defending babus

I read Air Marshal R.S. Bedi’s piece, “Babus vs netas” (Perspective, Sept 28). His assertion that in France candidates are recruited to the civil service at a young age (between 16.5 and 19 years) is factually incorrect. In France, two-thirds of the candidates are those who have completed four years at a university and are recruited through a competitive examination and one-third come from the Class II civil service.

I visited the Ecole Nationals d’ Administration, France in September 1999 and did not find any undergraduate trainee there. In the UK, the educational qualification is a degree with honours or a postgraduate degree, with upper age limit of 28 years. So where is the case for lowering the educational qualification to Plus 2 in India?

The expert committee increased the upper age limit to help candidates from rural areas and those pursuing higher studies compete the examination. As a result, most IAS officers hold M.A, M.Sc., M.Tech or Ph.D degrees. This is important from the candidate’s point of view because if a person wants to leave the service, for whatever reasons, he is qualified enough to pursue another career.

It may be recalled that a Deputy Commissioner of Ropar district (Mr Sinha) resigned from the IAS sometime back. Hence, higher educational qualification and higher age limit are perfectly in order.

Who will be able to compete at Plus 2? Surely, only those hailing from the elite strata of society! That would tantamount to restricting the competition. If that is the objective, the qualification can be further reduced to matriculation.

College education is a must to broaden the students’ mental faculties and this is done better in the colleges spread across the country than in secluded colleges like the NDA, etc. as suggested by the writer.

We should cherish diversity and not regimentation. Whatever the writer desires by way of “indoctrination and tailoring of mind” can be achieved even now by re-orienting the probationary training of recruited officers which spans over a period of two years.

ASHWANI KUMAR, Nurpur Bedi, Ropar

Love at first sight

Embracing affair” by Jaspal Bhatti (Spectrum, October 12) was an excellent satirical piece. Mr Asif Ali Zardari, actually expressed his emotions in embracing Sarah Palin when he met her in the US on his first-ever visit to the country after assuming the office of the President of Pakistan. Jee karda bai jee karda, tenu japhian pavan noo jee karda was the perfect Punjabi number to portray the condition of Zardari in front of Ms Palin.

He was swept over by emotions after seeing the “gorgeous” Ms Palin and conveniently forgot that he was there as a Head of the State. Again the famous comedian and writer summed up the situation in an Urdu song written by Ghalib Ishq par zor nahin Ghalib.

Back home, people in Pakistan reacted violently and counselled Mr Zardari to “marry” Ms Palin to whom he seemed to have lost his heart so instantly. Was it love at first sight?


Smoke shield

I agree with the arguments presented by Khuswant Singh in “I don’t smoke, but oppose the ban” (Saturday Extra, October 18). The killjoys have no moral right to forcibly stop people from smoking. If smoking causes cancer, then butter gives cholesterol, common salt raises blood pressure, sugar leads to diabetes and so on.

Thus, if the argument of the killjoys is taken to its logical end, then man should live only on air as the truth is that almost anything, when taken in excess, causes ailments.

When consumed in moderate quantities, all intoxicants have a soothing effect and give a feeling of elation. Anyway, law must never interfere in the private life of a citizen. People should be made aware of the harmful effects of excessive smoking through intensified campaign.


Playing cop

I read M.L. Dhawan’s article “Cops blaze a new trail” (Spectrum, October 12). There were two actors who were considered real “specialists” in enacting cop roles on the Hindi screen — Iftekhar and Jagdish Raj.

Iftekhar played Inspector Karve’s role in B.R. Chopra’s Ittefaq (1969) with such perfection that he was flooded with offers of similar roles in the subsequent years of his professional career. In fact, in an interview with a reputed fortnightly in the eighties, he quipped that “police uniform is now my second skin”. This became his famous quote.

The other actor who specialised in playing a policeman’s role on the Hindi screen is Jagdish Raj. He enacted a police inspector’s role in as many as 144 movies and this feat earned him a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records. n


Law Commission’s reports must be implemented

V Eshwar Anand’s interview with Law Commission of India Chairman Justice A.R. Lakshmanan (Sunday Oped, October 19) was very timely and exhaustive.

Being a member of the legal fraternity, I share the viewpoint that the Commission, being a recommendatory body, can merely advise the government on law reforms. It must be given a proper status for strict enforcement of its reports.

There is an urgent to need to change the complexion and character of the Law Commission. Its well-researched and adequately debated reports are neither debated in Parliament nor implemented by the government.

Secondly, when there is a permanent body in the form of the Law Commission, where is the need for appointing other expert committees on analogous and relative subjects (i.e. the Malimath Committee on criminal procedure reforms, the N.R. Madhava Menon Committee on national criminal justice policy, the Soli Sorabjee Committee on Police Act etc)?

The Law Commission needs to be made more broadbased by including legal luminaries, jurists and members from the Bar as its members.

The members should be selected in a transparent manner and not nominated arbitrarily. One should not hold the view that the Law Commission is merely a post-retirement hub for Supreme Court judges alone.

The Law Commission reports need to be taken seriously and debated in Parliament with the attention they deserve. They should not be kept in abeyance. Sadly, they gather dust due to the lack of political will on the part of the ruling elite.

There is no rationale in setting up law commissions in the states, as wisely suggested by Justice Lakshmanan, until and unless a proper mechanism is evolved for effective implementation of the reports submitted by it to the Union Government.

HEMANT KUMAR, Advocate, Ambala City



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