Thursday, June 1, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



State of Sino-Indian relations

I READ with keen interest both articles of May 27 on "Sino-Indian relations" by Mr T.V. Rajeswar and Mr Arvinder Singh.

The Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 was, in fact, a brief encounter in the long history of friendly relations between the two countries. In the period until Mao's death, there was hardly any attempt by either side to touch the border problem. China was quite happy with what it had acquired through use of force while India was still sulking. The Chinese leaders, even after Mao, were in no mood to make up with India. However, when Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister he visited China — 34 years after his grandfather Pandit Nehru had been there.

It was as a result of Rajiv's visit that the two sides agreed to take some steps to lessen the tension along the border. It was agreed to appoint working groups who which meet from time to time alternately in China and India to not only ensure peace along the LoC but also to try to settle the border problem peacefully. As that was likely to take time, it was agreed to improve bilateral relations in the fields of trade, culture and agriculture and cooperation in science and technology. Some improvement was made in these fields but not enough to encourage the two sides to settle the border problem.

  It was partly because the Chinese side, instead of trying to settle the problem, made fresh claims on India's Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. This was perhaps a tactic by the Chinese leaders to tell India: "Either accept the LoC as the international border or we can lay claim to other areas also.”

Anyhow, it would not be in the long-term interest of either India or China to keep the border problem unsettled. China has already settled its border with the Central Asian republics although it had questioned these previously on the plea that the border were forced on China by "unequal treaties" by the Russian Czars.

The world is bound to move from a unipolar to a multipolar one where China and India are likely to be two great powers because of their huge potential. Neither America nor the Western world can ignore either China or India. Also we cannot ignore each other for long because each of us will have to deal with possible threats of domination by outside powers. It would be in our mutual interest to combat and prevent such threats through bilateral understanding and cooperation.

Both India and China are nuclear powers. Both together could exercise a healthy influence on the other nuclear powers to make some progress through such discriminatory proposals as the so- called nuclear weapon-free zones from which the five great powers are excluded, or the NPT and the CTBT, which may give the illusion of greatness to them. These are dangerous doctrines that can threaten the peace of the world in future. Can India and China afford to ignore it?


Appalling conditions in zoo

Just pay Re as the enter fee and see for yourself the degrading, dirty and appalling conditions under which birds and animals are kept in a mini zoo in Amritsar. The management is callously ignorant to the needs of the captive birds and animals. What to speak of timely feed, even clean, cool and fresh water is not made available to them in the blistering heat. Dirty water is seen in never-cleaned earthen pots, and most of the pens are without feed or with foodgrains scattered on the dirty floor.

The floating of stenching garbage on the surface of water in the pond meant for the swimming of ducks is an egregious lapse of the management. The birds in pens have the strength but not the dignity to fly.

In a zoo, dwellers must be kept with facilities similar to their natural environment so that it can be of educational value and not a place for amusement like a circus. Birds and small laboratory animals are normally not kept in a zoo. Then why are they being sentenced here for no offence?

The management of this mini zoo should be compassionate enough to condone the "life imprisonment" of these birds and animals before they succumb to the sizzling environment in the pens. These can be sent to a sanctuary or left open in their natural ambience in consultation with the Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi. This is not a criticism but a mercy appeal.

Animal Production Specialist

Salt and ageing

On the Health Tribune page dated 24-5-2000, there was a small report, "Salty food is bad for eyesight", in which it has been stated that "those who most frequently added salt to their food suffered from cloudy lenses twice as often as those who consumed less salt".

As a matter of fact, excessive salt accelerates the process of ageing, which does not include only harm to one's eyesight but also all the faculties and functions of various organs.

Harmful effects of excessive salt eating are specifically mentioned in Charak Samhita (Sutra-Sthana, chapter 26, passage 62), the oldest and the most authentic text on Ayurveda. It says that salt, if taken in excess destroys vitality (Punstvam) and teeth, causes grey hair, wrinkles on skin, falling of hair and impairs the functioning of various organs, etc. These are certainly signs of ageing.

I myself stopped taking of salt altogether for seven years, starting at the age of 25 years. (I am a retired person) I even now take much less salt than an average person. I am inclined to confirm that what Charak Samhita says is correct. It would be good if a study is conducted on the ageing process in relation to the consumption of salt.



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