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Thatcher: A towering leader

Margret Thatcher’s death marks the passing away of one of the most towering leaders of the world. Dubbed as the ‘Iron Lady’, Thatcher was a headstrong woman who had unflinching faith in her beliefs.

The three most remarkable milestones of her life and career are: She transformed Britain from a socialistic pattern of society to a free market economy and mobilised the power of the middle classes in trade and development. She played a pivotal role along with US President Ronald Reagan and USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev in ending the cold war. A woman of integrity, she even insisted on paying for her own ironing board at her official residence. Thatcher was courageous and despite attacks on her life, she did not waver from her policies. She narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by the Irish Republican Army at a hotel in October 1984. The very next day she went ahead with her itinerary without making any changes. Thatcher was far-sighted. She realised China’s growing importance and started building bridges with the country.

Her leadership was always characterised by a strong vision for Britain, clarity in her views and an endeavour to transform society. Though she was dethroned by her own party, her legacy of building a strong and independent UK inspires Britons even now, 23 years after she relinquished office.

In an age when politicians are doubted and often abhorred, Thatcher is highly respected.

Meryl Streep’s brilliant role essaying Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” (2011) is a glorious tribute to this imperial but highly effective Prime Minister.


Sack Ajit Pawar

This refers to the media report ‘Ajit Pawar: If there is no water in the dam, do we urinate in it’ (April 8). These remarks were outright nasty and in bad taste. Though Union Agriculture Minister and Ajit Pawar’s uncle, Sharad Pawar, has expressed regret over the comment, the Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister deserves sacking for his act. This is totally insensitive and inhuman on his part to have made these remarks while taking stock of the drought-like situation in Maharashtra. The enormity of his mistake can be gauged from the fact that Sharad Pawar had to come forward to apologise. Ajit Pawar should just quit over his comment and if he does not do so, he should be shown the door. Such heartless people do not deserve to continue in the chair of Deputy Chief Minister of a state.


Quota mess

The government's decision to consider Jats' demand for a central OBC status is not right. The entire situation needs to be understood and put in perspective before it is too late.

A good leadership creates more and more opportunities, but an incompetent leadership creates more and more quotas — a pet policy of the colonial regimes, which kept the subjects divided and under their dominance with an overall environment marked by diffidence.

When a country is in an advancement mode, any situation relegating a community, group or state into backwardness of any type amounts to a contradictory trend that needs to be curbed resolutely so as to be consistent with the declared objective. Agreeing to or encouraging such a situation smacks of limitation of a worst kind which goes against the spirit of the declared constitutional objectives of our country.


Deadly habit

The editorial, ‘Killer habit’ (April 8), aptly points out that an overwhelmingly large percentage of adult office-goers are exposed to passive smoking. The statistics shown for J&K are alarming. The addiction of tobacco is increasing day by day not only in North India but also across the country. Apart from other ailments, smokers are prone to lung cancer. In order to make people aware of dangers of smoking, the Ministry of Health has been continuously issuing warning through advertisements. More taxes have been levied on cigarette, making it expensive. But still there has been not a significant decrease in the number of smokers.

The need of the hour is to launch mass awareness programmes to discourage the habit of smoking among people. Also, tobacco farming should be discouraged and those who earn their livelihood through it should be provided alternative earning avenues.


Taking poor for a ride

While the ruling SAD-BJP government has no money to pay salaries to over three lakh employees, its ministers and legislators enjoyed the exotic locales of expensive Goa. They went there for ‘Vichar Manthan’ (brainstorming session) which was planned in a five-star facility. The ministers stayed in luxury apartments spending lakhs of rupees. In fact, the ruling regime’s leaders discussed the problems plaguing the state sitting in plush AC lounges. Is it justified? The state’s fiscal position has gone from bad to worse during the Akali regime. The Badal government’s populist schemes such as power subsidy and free atta-dal have made the state totally bankrupt. And to add to people’s woes, the ministers are busy taking luxury trips, which will further burden the exchequer.

SAHIL GARG, Chandigarh



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