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Archive for January, 2011

A ROOF FOR ALL PUBLIC SERVANTS

The major factor fueling corruption is that public servants dread their life after retirement. Remaining honest and depending on their meagre savings and pension means they cannot maintain the same lifestyle they had been leading. Given today’s prices and rents, they are not wrong, their abiding fear of not having a roof over their head commensurate to that what they were used to is more than justified. Present pensions translate into a meagre living, in today’s inflated conditions. Being forced into a diminished lifestyle socially, even below the poverty-line, is a psychological bugbear driving even the most honest public servant into corrupt practices, he uses the present to make his future bright.

With a good salary, boarding and lodging and other perks, the profession of arms may be better paid but soldiers face early retirement, age matters in a physically exacting service. To compensate their “half career”, soldiers are better rewarded than their civilian counterparts in terms of post-retirement inferiority complex. While the officer corps is provided a roof over their heads, nothing similar exists for soldiers down the line. One believes Kayani is now partially addressing this glaring anomaly, or should I say, absolute and abiding disgrace. We only give lip-service to the “glory and honour” of our Regiment (read country) coming first, the “welfare and contentment” of our Command next and our own “safety and comfort” coming last. With most welfare directed towards the upper military hierarchy, a judicious distribution of the rapid depletion of available resources was always on the cards. The Army Housing Scheme was started by Gen Zia in 1985 to enable retiring officers to find respectable shelter to lead their retirement lives. To keep the element of incentive alive, a formal welfare policy was introduced by Musharraf as late as 2005, Kayani restored some balance by making 2008 “the Year of the Soldier”.

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Blasphemy Law

Blasphemy laws in the South Asian Sub-continent are nothing new. While there is no concept of Blasphemy in Hinduism, those in practice during the Moghul Era were repealed by British colonial rule to allow Christian missionaries to proselytize. However in 1860 the Commission chaired by Lord Macaulay made the law again part of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as Section 295, which gave protection to worship places, scriptures and personages of all religions of India.

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