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Babus' rehabilitation

The politico-bureaucracy marriage of convenience has thrown all propriety to winds. Apropos “In Hooda land, his favourite bureaucrats don’t retire” (January 2), this practice is causing damage to society, resulting in the moral degradation of civil servants and putting a financial burden on the state exchequer. It is prevalent in most states and the Centre. The civil servants should come together against the politicians who dole out favours, caring a fig for justice and jurisprudence.

Dr. K D Lakhanpal, Bilaspur

‘Babu’ a derisive word

The English, in the early nineteenth century, started a plan for educating the Indians through the English language. It aimed at producing English-knowing native subordinates for tightening the colonial grip. The educated, by and large, began to mimic the western mode of life, thus losing their native identity as well as self-respect.

The epithet 'babu', still used in India to address the superiors and elders, has its origin in this voluntary game of being robbed of self-respect. The East India Company started annexing Indian territory from its camp office at Calcutta (Kolkata) in the eighteenth century. The native clerks, when summoned by their English bosses, would go donning a coat, despite the local humid climate. They would be derisively addressed as ‘baboons’, due to their mimicking behaviour. As the last letter in English is not stressed while conversing, the sarcastic mode of calling a junior as ‘baboon’ was misunderstood as an applauding epithet ‘babu’. Thus, a derogatory word began to be accepted as a sort of recognition by the foreign superior. There could be no other degrading illustration of losing self-respect than thus, feeling elevated in being called a ‘babu’.

Prof Hazara Singh, Ludhiana

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Wages of subservience

This refers to the editorial, “Wages of subservience: Post-retirement appointments push limits of legitimacy” (January 3). It is a shame that politicians get wrong things done through some bureaucrats by giving them all sorts of protections from inquiries. And the bureaucrats oblige their political masters by becoming their ‘yes men’ in the hope of getting plum jobs after retirement from service. If some serious illegality comes to the notice of the public, an eyewash commission of inquiry is set up, which is again headed by those retired officers who had obliged the politicians during their service tenures. With time, the matter is forgotten by the public and brushed under the carpet.

R K KAPOOR, Chandigarh

Nurture sanctuary

Apropos the report “State govt begins leopard census for first time” (January 2), it is a welcome, though belated, step to preserve the fauna of the environmentally blessed Punjab. The Takhni-Rehmapur Wildlife Sanctuary in Hoshiarpur district has been described as a good site to spot various wild animals and biologically rare plants in the state tourism website. However, on reaching the sanctuary, we found the main gate locked and no guards/personnel present to guide us, though it was a working day. A walk around the sanctuary revealed that the barbed boundary wire was missing at many places. It is imperative that such sites be nurtured and developed as wildlife tourism-friendly places. The danger of animal poaching in such an ill-managed sanctaury cannot be overstated. It should be seen as a responsibility so that our future generations are not deprived of this rich legacy.

Dr Pushpinder S Khera, Jodhpur

Pull up patwaris

Most patwaris have corrupted their post. One cannot get work done without greasing their palms. You have to give thousands of rupees to get copies of mutations. They often remain absent from their workplace. I have seen people running around to locate them. The patwaris have hired private people to do their work and take bribe money. They are not accepting promotions because they do not want to give up this lucrative post. Their superiors are doing nothing to control them. It is time to consider the Justice Kuldip Singh Committee report and think about an alternative, such as giving their powers to the panchayats.

Ramanjeet, Ludhiana



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