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

Jaya Prada incident reeks of
male chauvinism

The editorial: “Jaya Prada in distress: EC must come to her rescue” (May 13) focussed on the pitfalls a woman has to encounter when she ventures out in public life.

Distribution of CDs by the supporters of the Samajwadi Party rebel, Mr Azam Khan, was in completely bad taste.

It was the worst form of intimidation against the film-star-turned-politician, Ms Jaya Prada, who contested elections from Rampur in UP.

The incident showed the ugly face of campaigning. It also smacked of male chauvinism.

The Election Commission should have taken suitable action. Otherwise, the percentage of women participating in public life may go down.


Education system

The articles “When teachers play truant” by Dharam Pal Mor and “Planting seeds of virtue” by V S Chaudhri (May 5) were enlightening. Education is the backbone of a nation and teachers can play the most crucial role.

Moral education and yoga are the need of the hour and can make students healthy as well as wise. As the saying goes, when wealth is lost, nothing is lost, when health is lost something is lost, but when character is lost everything is lost. Special attention must be paid to streamlining the education system.

LAKSHMI CHAND, Kasauli, Solan

Redeem the image of bureaucracy

While delivering a lecture on the “Role of bureaucracy in democracy”, a former bureaucrat, Mr Maharaj Krishan Kaw, succinctly explained the causes of the decline in the image of the bureaucracy.

The main reason is lack of accountability. People perceive the bureaucracy as callous, corrupt and unsympathetic. Impelled by personal aggrandisement, they are more interested in higher salary, perks, plum postings, extensions and re- employment after retirement.

Bureaucrats succumb to the machinations of political powers. Politicians manipulate democratic values and thus increase the chasm between the public and the bureaucracy. Although the Planning Commission made some suggestions for “Governance Reforms” as part of the 10th Plan but none of the measures was implemented. To strengthen democracy, the common man must have a right to corruption-free services.

In the past, the Centre as well as the state governments have been liberally doling out post-retirement favours to their favoured bureaucrats, thus shaking the faith of the public in clean administration. There should be a complete ban on post- retirement bonanzas.

A comprehensive system of appraisal and screening of the performance of bureaucrats should be put in place. To redeem their self-esteem, bureaucrats should resist political pressures and ensure quick delivery of services to the common man.

K B RALHAN, Palampur

Missing issues

The current elections in India are abjectly lacklustre and have failed to address the pressing problems. General elections have become a game of musical chairs.

Key issues confronting India like security, terrorism, availability of food and water in the villages have hardly been debated. 

Many leaders are vying with one another to become the Prime Minister of India. But none of them has presented a plan of action.

According to UNICEF, “With an estimated 12.6 million children engaged in hazardous occupations (2001 Census), India has the largest number of child labourers under the age of 14 years in the world.”

Again, UNICEF notes, “Of India’s 700,000 rural schools, only one in six has toilets, deterring children, especially girls, from going to school, and if enrolled, in remaining there.” These are critical issues and need to be addressed. No Prime Ministerial candidate has raised or discussed these issues, leave aside making any commitments to find a solution.

Political parties in India rely on caste and religious factors to garner votes. National parties like the Congress and the BJP have failed to rise above petty communal issues. The spirit of national service has been replaced by horse-trading.

The indifference of the electorate to the confabulations of political leaders is reflected in the poor turnout in the elections. This reflects the disillusionment of the common man whose faith has been repeatedly betrayed.


Dynastic politics

S Nihal Singh in his fortnight article “Pull of family in politics: Congress remains a dynastic affair” (May 5) has pinpointed a stark truth. Indeed, it appears that the leading political party has brazenly “married” dynastic rule to democracy.

As per the Indian tradition, a father or a parent wants to give his or her progeny a head-start in his or her chosen profession, as rightly pointed out in the article. So, why grudge the politicians?

TARA CHAND, Ambota, Una


The editorial “Snub to Maya” (May 11) aptly described how our politicians practice politics that often rewards the kind of behaviour we would normally consider scandalous. They exploit the right to freedom of speech and expression to win elections by vilifying their opponents and driving a wedge among the electorate.

Lamentable is their lack of respect for three basic values: civil rights, freedom of thought and a responsible and accountable democracy. What we see around us is impudent populism that must correct itself if parliamentary democracy has to be of the people and for the people.

AJIT SINGH, Windsor, Canada



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