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Discourage the culture of sycophancy

UP Chief Minister Mayawati’s personal security officer Padam Singh’s act of cleaning her soiled shoes with his handkerchief was a disgusting gesture of sycophancy (editorial, “Maya memsaheb”, Feb 10). Also most shocking was Ms Mayawati’s nonchalant attitude. Even more ludicrous was UP Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh’s statement that being her PSO, it was the duty of Padam Singh to protect Ms Mayawati from any harm.

Had the Chief Minister slipped over on mud he should have helped her in standing; but cleaning her shoes was certainly not his duty. The PSO should have maintained the honour of his uniform. It is a pity that many officers shamelessly prostrate themselves even when they are asked to bend slightly, to gratify the vanity of their superiors.



It’s really shameful to see how Padam Singh, a police officer of the rank of DSP, can stoop so low as to clean the shoes of Ms Mayawati in full public view, throwing all rules to dogs. Worse still, Ms Mayawati did not object to it, rather behaved in a way as if her staff routinely does it. The growing culture of sycophancy must be condemned. A policeman is supposed to guard and protect the leader and not clean his/her shoes.


Anti-tobacco curricula

The increasing percentage of students who initiated smoking before the age of 10 is alarming (news report, “Anti-tobacco curricula in schools soon,” Feb 12). The health risks of tobacco are well-known, but teenagers continue to smoke and use chewing tobacco.

Providing information to students about the risks of smoking and chewing tobacco, and establishing clear rules and reasons for them, can help protect them from taking to these unhealthy habits. It is up to the parents to help children understand from an early age that smoking is dangerous and deadly. Parents have more influence on children than anyone else. They must let them know how serious the addiction to nicotine is and educate them about the risks associated with smoking.

The move of the National Tobacco Control Programme to introduce a comprehensive anti-tobacco curriculum and teachers’ guide at the school level across the country to reduce the growing dependence of students on nicotine is really commendable and is expected to bring in good results.

Dr SHRUTI K CHAWLA, Chandigarh

Age for sex

I fully agree with the views expressed in the editorial “Law on child sex” (Feb 7) that the Bill, which is to be tabled during the upcoming Budget Session, needs to answer a few questions. India is among those societies where the age of marriage — 18 years — is higher than the age of consent that is 16 years. It would be much better if the consent of age for sex remains the same — 18 years. The Bill may be amended accordingly.


Raja’s arrest

To say that the Manmohan Singh government has done well not to block the arrest of ex-Telecom Minister A Raja is not true (editorial, “Raja behind bars”, Feb 4). The Prime Minster has protected him for the last three years. Now after public pressure, he allowed the CBI to arrest Raja. Thus the UPA government needs to be criticised not commended.

K C SHARMA, Kapurthala


After relentless pressure from the Opposition A Raja was arrested. It has been rightly said, “You have no right to take cakes when your neighbour is compelled to go without food.” Our law of land is so toothless that any accused can go scot-free.

Corruption, rape, and murder cases should be tried in the fast track courts. A minimum period should be fixed to dispose off these cases. Heavy punishments and fine should be inflicted on the offenders so that others do not dare to commit such crimes.

BANSI RAM, Garshankar, Hoshairpur

Better pay

The middle “Cricket or surgery”(Feb 11), by S M Bose was interesting. The simple piece should be an eye-opener for our bureaucrats and policy makers, The fact is, our doctors, engineers and military personnel should be paid exceptionally well, but alas they are not. The sole reason is that this section of society is not backed by strong trade unions.

Dr V K ANAND, Chandigarh

Mubarak’s exit

To the editorial “Mubarak goes, finally” (Feb 12), I would like to add that the decision of President Hosni Mubarak to step down proves that people are in favour of democracy and against dictatorship. Egypt’s new military chiefs pledged to allow free and honest elections yet it is unclear as to how and whether power might be ceded to civilians after six decades in which the army has been a dominant force.

H. DEVDHARMI, Chandigarh


Egypt, being one of the world’s oldest civilizations, has undergone cataclysmic change at the hands of its people who peacefully forced President Hosni Mubarak to quit. The path of violence is ridden with destruction and by shunning this approach, Egyptians have proved that non-violence marked by strong will and determination can move mountains. The theory of non-violence as enunciated and practiced by Mahatma Gandhi is still relevant



The successful changeover of the well-entrenched despotic rule in Egypt is a clear signal to all autocratic and dictatorial governments. It reinforces the power of the people who cannot be taken for granted. The aftershocks of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions are already being felt in Jordan, Yemen, Algiers and Saudi Arabia and may soon hit other countries in the region. India needs to be more cautious about the type of democracy which has let its people down so miserably. The ever-spiralling corruption, uncovering of mega-scams, unabated price rise, ever increasing gulf between the political leadership and the masses are areas of grave concern.

More serious has been the crumbling of institutions hitherto thought of being infallible. What sort of human right protection or control over corruption can be expected from those who themselves are under cloud?




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