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Bring reforms to empower the electorate

Many countries like Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada, Uganda, and Germany have already made provisions in their respective constitutions for right to recall in varying forms. Our Constitution, however, does not say anything explicitly about such a provision. However, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh states have permitted recall of corporators in their respective states.  This decision gives the power directly to the electorate. If two-thirds of the registered voters of a particular constituency sign a petition, the government can take steps for the removal of the corporator.  Currently, those who are elected for five years, barring exceptions, care little about going back to their constituencies to find out the problems being faced by the people there. They, therefore, lose the confidence of the electorate. Many of them do not even dare to contest election from the same constituency because of their past dismal performance.  This situation leaves the electorate helpless for five years.  Thus, this is a sheer wastage of time and money, besides hampering the development of various constituencies.  The much-awaited reforms, if introduced, would go a long way in strengthening one of the features of direct democracy.

S K KHOSLA, Chandigarh

Political harmony

This refers to the news item, “Riots spread in UK” (August 10). Social harmony and political unity are not possible without a common philosophy that trains all citizens to strive for the same goal and work in the same spirit.

John Dewey deplores the spiritual chaos of modern civilization in these words: “There is no such bond of social unity as once Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, and the Catholics of medieval Europe. There are those who realize what is portended by the loss of religion as an integrating bond.”

As the population of Great Britain consists of Zoroastrians, Catholics, Protestants, Baha’is, Moslems, and Buddhists, it would be impossible to secure political harmony even in such a patriotic nation as Britain.

Without the strong cement of a common philosophy, the State would be like a tower of bricks without mortar.


Tolerating violence

This refers to the article, “Violence most foul” (September 2). Women have been an object of amusement for men since time immemorial. No one is concerned about their emotions, feelings, pains and sufferings. Rape is something that can cause permanent damage to one’s life. But our government is least bothered about women’s protection. There are many welfare associations, which come forward to help rape victims.

But financial help is useless because society’s mindset is very narrow. Rape victims undergo psychic trauma, which kills them within. Even after so many rules and regulations, rape cases are increasing every year. Women, in general, have to fight against atrocities committed by men.


Duronto Express

The people, nay common passengers, of the region are shocked to note that the much-awaited Amritsar-Chandigarh Duronto Express is not the common man’s train.

Sad to say, not even a general category coach is included in it. For example, the Kalka-Amritsar Mail, now withdrawn, would charge just Rs 65 from Chandigarh to Amritsar (via Ambala Cantt station). Comparatively, the Duronto Express is charging the general category passengers Rs 157 for the Amritsar-Chandigarh travel. Shockingly, the Railways failed to keep this fact in mind when fixing the fares. The common man cannot afford it.

Has the Railways started this train to cater to a small number of elite passengers? What would the Railways do to make arrangements for the rest of the passengers to avoid its own losses or to make profit?

Also, the Duronto Express will not run on Fridays and Sundays, which is another blunder. Throughout the year, a large number of followers of the Radha Soami sect visit Beas for three days (Friday to Sunday) for their satsang programmes.  If the Railways includes six to seven general category coaches in the Duronto Express, it will surely earn more passengers.


Neonatal care

The news item, “Highest number of newborn deaths in India: WHO study” (September 2), was shocking. That India ranks first in neonatal deaths, and 9, 00,000 newborn babies die annually in India alone, which is 28 per cent of the global total, is alarming. As mentioned, pre-term delivery, asphyxia and severe infections are the responsible factors. Besides, unhygienic conditions, untrained nurses or quacks and a lack of basic knowledge, are also responsible. The Haryana Government is already offering “free delivery” scheme for pregnant women along with ambulance services at all government hospitals under the supervision of professionals.

Monetary benefit is also provided post-delivery. This scheme should be launched at the national level to check neonatal deaths. Healthy generation means wealthy nation.


Teacher’s role

The middle, “My teacher, my friend!” (September 3) by Archana R Singh, was very interesting.

The writer has beautifully delineated the great contribution and role of a teacher at primary, secondary school and college/university levels.

In fact, after parents, a teacher is the only person who is elated by the progress made by his/her students. Even brothers, sisters and other relations can become jealous of this progress, but not a teacher.

A teacher should be a multifaceted personality. From a pedagogue of yesteryears, he has to be a modern day educator, performer, patron and an affectionate disciplinarian.

At the primary level, a teacher has to perform the task of both parenting and teaching. At the high/secondary school level, he has to deal with the slippery stage of adolescence. At the college level, he has to do gentle policing for some problematic youths, and at the same time, impart scholarly and inspiring knowledge to the students. As WJ Berrill says, he has to be “a spark plug, not a fuel pipe”.




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