Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 7, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Corruption-India's problem Tuettfoy, Novembir 7, 1972 THI LETHBRID6I HEtAlD g By Sunanda Dalta-Ray, London Obscrvd: commentator CALCUTTA, In a novel at- tempt to halt the rampant cor- ruption which riddles India's public life, Prime Minister In- dira Gandhi recently demand- ed that people who abused their trust should be "socially boycotted." The plea is no more likely to be taken seriously than an ear- lier West Bengal ministerial resolution to reject hospitality from income-tax dodgnrs. it were, many of the country's most influential politicians, civil servants aid business tycoons might be refused service in res- taurants and hotels, denied ad- mission to clubs, and ostracized at cocktail parties. Indeed, so- cial life would probably pack up altogether so widespread are graft and nepotism al. all levels of the political and bureaucra- tic hierarchies. According to the director of India's Central Bureau of In- vestigation, which is responsi- ble for tracking down bureau- cratic malpractices, official venality costs the exchequer thousands of millions of rupees every year. What has caused preate" dismay, however, is the recent authoritative sug- gestion that corruption is not only the norm, but that it is almost impossible to eradicate. This is the dismal message of a 90-page report by Sub- imal Dutt, now India's High Commissioner in Dacca, who formerly Central Vigilance Commissioner in New Delhi, a post which was created eight years ago to enforce standards of integrity. He complains that the public does not differentiate between money that is honestly and dis- honestly earned; that corrup- tion is "fairly widespread among public servants; and that those who enjoy "the right kind of especially political patronage, are exoner- ated of charges supported by irrefutable evidence. Mr. Dutt writes v.Hlh the measured circumspection ex- pected of an elderly. British- trained civil servant. But those who need ration cards, driving licences, industrial permits or building permission know to their cost that the majority of officials are at best lazv and inefficient; at the worst, they will perform their normal dut- ies only for a consideration which is nowadays euphem- istically described as "speed money." The term may be new, but the practice has existed as long as it has lain in the power of an individual to grant a petition. While Mrs. Gandhi is worried about the effect of this deterior- ating morality on public confi- dence, Mr. Dutt frankly admits that his office has barely touch- ed the fringes of the problem. Remedial measures were pro- posed 10 years ago and a com- mittee on the Prevention of Cor- ruption set up: its recommenda- tion for a chain of vigilance commissioners in New Delhi and the states was accepted, but the government flatly re- jected the second part of the report which would have put ef- Book Reviews fective teeth into the anti-cor- ruption machinery. This sug- gested that ministers should also be subjected to vigilance, and that the commissioners should be empowered to innitiale and conduct probes, call for evid- ence, and decide on punish- ment. They now enjoy only an advisory role. The much publicized mis- appropriation of relief mater- ial meant for Bangladesh ref- ugees is one result of this chaos. But, again, this is by no means new. Funds earmarked for East Pakistan refugees in 1947 found their way into other pockets; in one notorious case, a prominent civil servant was successfully prosecuted for de- falcating compensation money for Indian evacuees from Bur- ma; and blankets and tinned food sent from the United States for Tibetan refugees were openly sold in the baz- aars of Kalimpong and Darjeel- ing in the sixties. A bill which has been hang- ing five for at least three years might enable stricter control all round, but New Delhi is not, apparently, in any great hurry to see it entered into the stat- ute book. Nor does the govern- ment see anything sinister in the fact that the number of sen- ior officials charged with mal- practices increased from 353 in 3967 to 541 last year. In this all pervasive atmosphere of moral turpitude there is a cer- tain honor among thieves: a vigilance commissioner's efforts are usually frustrated because the guilty can expect protec- tion from their departmental superiors. Several cases are cited in which allegations against an in- dividual have been forwarded to his boss with the necessary request for evidence and wit- nesses. Such requests are often ignored and even proven cases glossed over; the old boy net- work is too strong and intri- cate to permit an individual member to be penalized for what everybody else does. Since the commissioner enjoys no statutory power, this blank wall is the end of the line. In his shrewd prescience, the author of Arthasastra was aware of this immunity. "Just as fish moving under water cannot possibly be found out either drinking or not drinking wrote the sagacious Kautilya, "so government ser- vants cannot easily be found out while taking money for themselves." The morals of In- dian life have obviously chang- ed little in over two thous- and years. Reason for measured hopefulness "Only One Earth: The Care and Maintenance of a Small Planet" by Barbara Ward and Rene Dubos (W. W. Nor- ton and Company, 225 pages, distributed by George J. McLeod, Among all the books dealing with the state of the earth none can compare with this one in comprehensiveness or consens- us. It was commissioned by Maurice Strong, the secretary- general of the United Nations Conference on the Human En- vironment, to provide factual background for the conference held in Stockholm last June. Although this is not a report approved by the delegates to the conference it was checked for accuracy by a panel of 152 consultants. World famous political econo- mist Barbara Ward and re- nowned scientist Rene Dubos have produced a highly read- able book with an astonishing amount of Information. Some of the information is depressing but there is other material that tells of encouraging develop- ments. There are dozens of lick marks in the copy of the book I read things that struck me as worth reporting or comment- ing upon. Since it is impossible in a brief review to deal with all these things I will merely quote a passage of particular interest to peope in this area. It comes from a section de- scribing some reassuring tilings in man's use and abuse of land: "In the great plains of western Canada, annual varia- tions in seeds and types of plants, coupled with careful at- tention to the timing of farm operations, lessens the risk of mounting attacks by predators or pests on a single, repeated crop. Moreover, in the whole of North America, an exceedingly vigorous extension service, backed by a good deal of on- going agricultural research, provides a background of moni- toring, care, and feedback which, in a sense, puts back into the system some of the complexity that has been taken out." When I finished reading this book I had a feeling that only a quick and collective action by the nations of the world could save mankind from the impending disaster, despite all the good things that are being done. And the impression I had that the Stockholm conference had been a failure left me in a state of great discouragement. It happened that almost im- medLalely after reading the book I was at a seminar in New York City where a speak- er from President Nixon's en- vironmental agency took a crack at the North American press for a poor job of report- ins the Stockholm conference. Me said the reporters concen- trated on the conflicts and missed the agreements. When I asked the head of the press services, during a visit to the United Nations headquarters, about this he said Maurice Strong was very happy about the outcome of the conference he got everything he want- ed: agreement to ask the UN to set up a permanent agency; to seek funds to work with; to get authorization to proceed with certain projects. While it em- barrasses and saddens me that the peculiar preoccupation of the press with conflict prevent- ed the recognition and report- ing of matters of more sub- stance and enduring conse- quence I was happy to learn of the prospects for creating a more livable world. With this information, future readers of this fine book will be able to accept its measured hopefulness, Doug Walker Books in brief "The Fenokee by Roy Lewis (William Collins Sons and Co. Ltd., 181 HPHE Fenokee Project is a suspense novel of a suc- cessful building contractor's in- vestigation of the circum- stances surrounding his wife's death seven years before. Suspecting murder, he en- gages the help of an enquiry agent and becomes entangled in the vast and questionable business projects of a million- aire tycoon. Much of the action in the book takes place in central Al- berta in the Red Deer area, complete with the usual bliz- zards for excitement. The Fenokee P-oject makes an evening's engrossing read- ing. It Is a particularly inter- esting and action-packed ver- sion of the typical crime-sus- pense novel. MARLENE COOKSHAW There aren't many places in the world schedule. With hospitality and service that's tougher to fly into than Resolute Bay, Northwest made our name a byword in the North. So is it Territories. Nearly 3000 miles north of Vancouver, any wonder more and more people are countin" with a single runway in the middle of nowhere. But we get in and out of here on a regular on us to get more places throughout Western Canada and the world? JUST ASK ANYBODY WHO'S BEEN TO RESOLUTE. count on us. PRUFIC UJESTERH AIRLINES "The Carlton Trail" (West- ern Producer 115 the growing interest in western Canadian early development this book, which was first published in 1955, should be an excellent guide for history buffs. The author, whose father honiisteaded in Saskatchewan at the turn of the century, was always intrigued by the trails the settlers took through the prairies before the days of roads and railways. The Carl- ton Trail, which wound from Upper Fort Garry through Manitoba to Fort Qu'Appelle, Batoche, to Fort Carlton, was a well travelled route which guided Mounties. traders and doughty pioneers to a new promised land. MARGARET LUCKHURST "Finlay's River" by R. M. Paterson. (MacMillan Co. of Canada Lid. 315 pages. R. M. Patterson, surely of good Scotch stock for who else would mention Sir Harry Lauder's walking stick has resided in Canada since 1924. He has divided his time be- tween farming, hunting, pros- pecting and writing. His book, Finlay's River, was first pub- lished in 1968 and deals with a niggel river in north-central British Columbia and the peo- ple who have travelled it and have resided on it over the years. There are many strange, of- ten eerie talcs in the book but (lie most enjoyable ones come from Patterson's own experi- ences rather than those of oth- ers. He has a marvelous feel- iiif; for the country Ire writes about. It is a history hook In one sense, as it traces the routes of Black, Butler and Swanncll, among others, through an area filled with picturesque names like Bad Luck Mountain and Deserter's Canyon. Finlay's River is a welcome addition to any library concern- ed with the wilderness and Can- adlana, GARRY ALLISON When the tomcat has kittens By Eva COUTTS Always an optimist, I deter- mined that "Now that fall is here, I was going to lock up my typewriter and throw myself whole-heartedly into my autumn hobbies. "I'll believe that when the Tom cat has said my husband, not very flatteringly. "The day you don't see or hear something fascinating enough to grab your pen and put it down on paper, I'll start worrying about you." Perhaps he knows me better than I know myself, for the very mention of "Tom cats having kit- tens" reminded me of a discussion with a distressed young lady. Baby in arms, she had come a long way just to talk to somebody. Her husband did not agree with her going to work and farm- ing out their baby. Instead, he had taken on a second job in the evening to earn enough for them both. "What does he do alone in that filling station at she sobbed. "Who does he talk to and why does he come home so animated and cheer- ful unless he enjoys himself with some- body? You'll see, he will leave me. We fight all the time now." Whatever words of consolation one could offer, would do no more good than scat- tering seeds on a windy day. Hopefully, one or two might germinate and someday flour- ish. To tell her that love demands trust or that a man who cheats is not worth tears was useless. Instead, we talked about "womens" liberation" of which in theory at least, she is an ardent supporter. "If ever I get she had said, "I demand the freedom to continue to work and should we have a baby, my husband will have to take his turn at baby-sitting. I have as good a brain and education as he has and nobody can force me to waste it." While I agreed that women are still far from having achieved justice and the cessation of unfair discrimination, Womens' Lib. is going to extremes that would rob her of all the joys of being a woman. Demands for abolishing all time-honored bonds and obligations are, in my opinion, too extreme and result in nothing but broken homes and emotionally disturbed children. There are enough of both al- ready without women necessarily adding to them. I rebelled, too, I told the girl, when u a yoimg wife, before the first general election in Britain in which 1 was allowed to vote, I was told by my father-in-law: "No woman in my family votes anything but Conservative." That was enough to make me vote for the Opposition. And when my mother-in-law took the shoes I was pol- ishing out of my hands: "Let me show you the kind of shine my men I de- termined that I would never shine shoes again for anybody. There is nothing wrong with men polishing their own. However, when it comes to handing over a baby and going out to work, I draw a line unless there is an absolute necessity for doing so. It is not the man's biological function to feed a newborn infant anymore than it is for the Tom cat to have kittens. If my brain needs exercise and being a housewife bores me, there are a hundred and one activities open to me to prevent the "waste of education." It costs me no sleepless nights to ignore housework and apply myself to whatever interests me more at the time. If earning money is essential there are a number of ways wom- en can earn it at home without having to go out into a competitive world and de- serting their young children. "I said my young visitor, "but I am bored to tears staying home." I ex- plained that a woman who does not enjoy her own company would not necessarily be happy with people outside the home. Wom- an should be a slave to no man but, by the same token, she must respect his right to the freedom she too is demanding and the trust should be mutual. This kind of partnership keeps love and marriage alive and exciting for a life-time. None of us can have our cake and eat it too. "Don't you relize, you are a kept wom- the young Women's Lib supporter argued accusingly. "Haven't you the faint- est idea of the struggle we have to get what we want? You just whisper a request and your husband gives you the earth within his she graciously qualified. she added forgetting her own troubles, "is the kind of degradation we want to liberate you from." St. Columba's College By Louis Burke RATHFARNHAM On a hillside covered demands a strong -sense of public spirit, of in multi-green, overlooking a city seaport, with a new of the dark bay below such is the poetic setting for St. Columba's Col- lege, one of (he brightest beacons of Pro- testant education in Catholic Southern Ireland. Tile school, though called a college, is a liberal comprehensive high school for 180 students from points worldwide, including Canada. Nor is religion a barrier to entry. Though Anglican in origin and preference, there Ere six Irish Catholics attending this year. Also among the student body are 10 senior girls and some 12 juniors including a Nigerian prince. Awogboro by name. The fee is the real barrier, however. It is per year for seniors and for juniors. In either category, there is the possibility of paying an extra two or three hundred dollars for other things such as carpentry, music, golf or swimming. Nat- urally, parents can afford the money. The school is partially supported by the Irish government who contribute their full share on a per capita basis as they do for all other establishments. But this is not enough to keep 15 full-time teachers and five part time staff. To do the job properly, St. Columba's College lias a ratio of less than 12 to one an ideal for educators to strive for, no doubt! St. Columba's has a strong tradition, says Mr. F. M. Argyle. Anglican priest and Warden of the school. It is based on British "public" schools such as Eton, Har- row and others founded at the beginning of the last century. This is also part of a colonial-wide system linking with Upper Canada College, Toronlo. Budo, Uganda, Prince of Wales, Nairobi, Kenya and a few dozen more in India, New Zealand and Australia. It is a system now Irang imitated by the Russians in their attempt to produce elite Communists. The Warden, or principal, Mr. Argjie, order and of discipline from his students. He has been in charge of St. Columba's for 23 years. On matters political, he feels his school is in no way threatened by Irish problems and has many boarders attend- ing from Northern Ireland. One of his for- mer students, in fact, was Mr. Brian Faulkner, one-time Protestant leader in the six north-eastern counties. The plant itself is a mixture of old and new: the old in granite; the new in con- crete. Dormitories are quite military bare, or perhaps, monastic warm might best de- scribe them. The chapel, where the body of teachers and students pray together once daily, is cheerful and was decked for the harvest festival the day I visited. The curriculum Is similar to other shools, being rather narrow and academ- ic. Students are expected and do take Gaelic as well as English if they wish to prepare for the Irish leaving certificate and enter Trinity College, Dublin, where most of them go. Some study for outside examinations such as the British "0" level and "A" level tests. A very wide range of physical activities and games are engaged in rugby, soccer, field hockey, swim- ming, tennis, cross-country running, climbing, gymnastics, basketball and oth- ers. It is a well-rounded student who leaves the establishment if one believes in elitist education. Protestant education in Southern Ireland has a network of small primary schools topped by a dozen secondary ones, and crowned by Trinity College, a university as old as Oxford and Cambridge. Of the four new comprehensive schools build in Dublin by the Irish government, two of them were placed in protestant hands this fall. How- ever, it must be remembered that the gov- ernment only builds schools, it never runs them. THE CASSEROLE Ixical residents who allow weeds to grow rampant on their property and refuse to cut thorn down are a miH.ince to their neighbors, most of whom have plenty of pests of their own to look after. Com- plaints can bo directed to the city parks department which will nolify the offending party, without of course divulging the source of the information. If Ihcre is no response within a short limp, Hie parks de- partment will do the clearing job, and bill the offender. That's fair to everyone. Hut there is another nuisnneo ;i.q.iinst which properly owners have little rct'ourfe. Some, unfenced back yards have become dumping grounds for rusting useless car bodies, machinery, junk of .ill kinds a hideous sight. At the, present time there Is nothing thnt can be dono by law to forco the owner to clean up his own back yard. Householders who allow their discards to bo on viow have no public pride or conscience. H's time they acquired both. Not infrequently fail to put suffi- cient postage on letters or parcels. They Ere infuriated when the mail is held up even if I he fault is their own. Nowadays the post office sends out blue cards to those who h.ivo. placed return addresses on their m.iil, inainning tho sender in polite terms thst the on-red po.la.M has broii r.doioJ, r.nd rkiir; if will be kind enoufih to drop ui and the difference. It's a welcome service to the public, and n pleasure lo hand a bouquet lo the office so often tho object of brickbats Instead.