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DECCAN HERALD Friday, August 25, 2000


This has reference to your report 'Whether education and modernity have helped reduce caste feelings among people`
(DH, Aug 13). The answer, according to the findings of a study conducted by the Karnataka Permanent Backward Classes Commission is 'No`. Do we need a 'Commission` to do a 'study` and announce its profound 'findings` of such an obvious fact? Continuance of the cursed reservations is proof enough. Some more pertinent and farcial issues must be faced.

Is the 'commission` permanent or the 'backward` tag permanent even if it attaches to the President of India? Are matrimonial advertisements the only index? What about the disgusting clamour from highly educated ones to be listed as backward for making undeserved and unlawful gains of medical/ engineering seats/promotions/ employment/ choice postings etc? if they hate the 'caste system` so much, why do they want to hang on to it calling themselves Dalits/ Brahmins, Christians/ Muslims and nomenclatures like Holaya, Madiga, Mala, Chamar, Chandala, Mochi, Bhangi, Paraya Koraga, SC/ST and so on? It is for them to discard these labels and call themselves the 100 per cent majority i.e. Indians.

Having left the Hindu fold and embracing other religions, why do they go back to the 'Varna` system which they wanted to discard? Are they not equal in the eyes of their newly found Gods? Who failed them? Did the brokers/ agents cheat them?

Our President is a highly educated man and is the sole repository of all executive power in the nation. He resented having been referred to as an 'untouchable in Paris` in the French newspapers. As the top most executive, he can by the stroke of a pen, issue an ordinance prohibiting the use of these ignorable labels forthwith, in public and private transactions and putting a lid on Machiavellian politics of minorityism and vote catching. Education by itself is not enough -- courage, wisdom and will are needed.


I welcome Mr Arun Shourie`s taking over as the country`s new Disinvestment Minister. The immediate and urgent task before him is to speed up the disinvestment programme of the Government which is a part of the second generation reforms package of the Government.

This is one such area, which has to move at accelerated speed. The Disinvestment Commission considered 58 PSUs and recommended 35 to be sold but so far only one PSU has been divested in the last one decade. The need of the hour is to give up the phobia on this point and accelerate reforms especially divestment programme to send a right signal to the concerned and to propel the country on the path of growth, progress and prosperity and thereby pave the way for economic resurgence.

In the fast changing world scenario, the public investment around the world fell in 1998 to 7 per cent of GDP -- the lowest level since 1974. It is high time to unshackle the past and seize the opportunities when a bright future beckons without losing any further time. Statistics have proved that high growth only can bring down the poverty in the country. Wake up before it is too late.


Another authoritative piece on the dimsal situation in Iraq. This bears reference to the article 'A decade of shame for the UN` by Punyapriya Dasgupta
(DH, July 26).

More than 5,000 children and 2,000 others are dying of malnutrition and from the lack of medicines each month in Iraq since a decade. Never in the history of humankind has such a cruel, vindictive and inhumane sanction regime been imposed on any country. And this by the organisation that is meant to uphold human rights and other such fancy terms the West loves to use.

Liberal estimates put the casualties as the direct result of the punitive sanctions at 1.5 million. And this in a country where obesity was a national concern only a decade ago. The Iraqi economy is non- existent -- the Dinar that was worth 2.5 dollars before the sanctions now trades at 5000:1 to the dollar.

And on top of this, the US has now come up with another dirty trick -- charges of war crimes against the Iraqi leader, Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and five others. Granted, President Saddam Hussein is no angel, but if there`s one person who really deserves to be designated a war criminal, it`s Bill Clinton. remember the criminal Operation Desert Fox in December 98?

Meanwhile, hundreds continue to be maimed and killed by the attacks in ''self-defence`` in the ''no- fly zone.`` Phenomenal hypocrisy, indeed! Goodluck to the A6, anyway.


Of late we experience a number of familiar persons or even strangers approaching us to canvass in the name of network marketing. Before even introducing the consumer products dealt by the scheme and convincing us about the advantages derived on quality, quantity and price they ask you to part with Rs 1,500 or so (which differs from company to company). After a persistent query, they show some colourful catalogues with brands of some cosmetic items, while others show some foreign food products. Always, the prices are not only exorbitant, but it is mandatory to buy all the items in a packet and there is no choice for you to reject some items, which you do not want.

Worse, they are not worried about the sales and aim at only collecting the membership amount of about Rs 1500 and urge you to enroll more members. These operators also quote the success stories(?) of many consignee agents, who are able to make a quick huge back in a short time. Generally, people are tempted to remit the membership fee and organise to get as many more persons as possible to cough up similar amount.

No doubt, these members like their seniors will be reaping good returns from the company concerned. But they do not apply their mind on how they are able to receive huge returns without carrying out any sale. Or some do not bother to worry as long as they receive benefits. With membership multiplying at every stage, the amount collected by the company also runs into several crores. First few thousand members would get their pittance from the company by way of monthly income as the membership grows, whereas the company would retain a major share out of the membership amount. On the one hand, these companies do not have modicum of concern for the public. On the other, the gullible people want to make a quantum jump in the incomes. But the logical conclusion is that the moment membership starts dwindling, the company would close leaving crores of people cheated. The items they deal are only a ploy to cheat not only the people but also the law enforcing authorities to escape from the clutches of law. Beware of this neo-cheating.


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