Saturday, October 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



After Vajpayee, who?

THIS refers to the article “After Vajpayee, who?” by Mr Hari Jaisingh (Oct 19). There is no doubt that Mr Vajpayee’s greatest achievement is running the coalition government with so many divergent partners. We all wish him a long and healthy life.

There is no need for speculation even otherwise. Mr L. K. Advani is already number two in the Cabinet. He is keeping quite fit also. He is equally capable and is expected to have learnt the art of running a coalition government. There are some critics of Mr Advani, but that is a normal thing in a democratic set-up.


NO ALTERNATIVE: Mr Jaisingh has endeavoured to probe the second line of command in the BJP.

Some BJP cadres are unnecessarily throwing open an option for themselves while others are reluctant to discuss the issue. The names of Mr L.K. Advani, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and Mrs Sushma Swaraj are mentioned privately, while the names of some other leaders of the organisation are discussed in public.

Frankly speaking, there is no alternative to Mr Vajpayee at present and the saner elements in the BJP know it.



Tallest leader: Mr Vajpayee is no doubt the tallest leader at present. He has already proved his worth not only by keeping his flock together but also by keeping our national interests intact on all fronts.

So he is our hope and there is no parallel to him at present. At this juncture, the nation is in dire need of his services. We all feel safe and comfortable that he is at the helm.

So this is not the time for raising unnecessary doubts and questions.

Let us all pray sincerely for the well being of the Prime Minister.


Not indispensable: Mr Vajpayee is not indispensable at all in Indian democracy. Prime Ministers come and go, but India goes on as a resilient democracy. So let us not waste time on this debate. As the saying goes, the Hour will find the Man.

Kheri Jat (Jhajjar)

Musharraf’s rants

This refers to the editorial “N-armed basket case” (October 18). Pakistan’s military ruler General Pervez Musharraf’s declaration in an interview with US television channel CBS that his country could use nuclear bomb against India if its security was jeopardised, is certainly one of his most irresponsible statements.

It appears that having failed on all fronts after usurping power through a military coup, he is indulging in wild and extravagant assertions.

India is a bona fide well-wisher of Pakistan and wants to maintain friendly relations with it. But Pakistan has always adopted a belligerent attitude and is hell bent to destabilise India. In spite of Mr Vajpayee’s gesture of goodwill through his historic Delhi-Lahore bus ride, Pakistan pursued its nefarious agenda of armed intrusion in Kargil. General Musharraf was instrumental in planning and executing the same. He clearly said that as Chief of Army Staff he was responsible for whatever his troops did.

Pakistani troops frequently resort to heavy shelling on this side of the LoC to carve out infiltration routes for terrorists, who are provided with sophisticated arms and explosives. Yet the General says that there is no government sponsorship of any kind of militant activity in Kashmir. Is it not a white lie?

Instead of talking of wars and uttering threats of nuclear strike against India, Pakistan should become a peace-loving neighbour. Wars always cause terrible loss and suffering. The wherewithal required to engage in a military conflict should be used for the amelioration of the poor people.




Bias against English

The observations made by Mr M.S.N. Menon in his article, “Will English overwhelm the world languages?” (October 20), are biased against English and misplaced. The regional languages of India, for example, have made little impact to belittle the importance of English. With the advancement of knowledge in science and technology, more and more people have to learn English. English does not pose any threat to nationalism.

I don’t think that without a link language — that English is — we can communicate with each other all over the world. Whenever a foreign dignitary visits India and speaks in his or her country’s language — as Mr Vladimir Putin did — it is translated (or interpreted) into English, and never into a regional language, simultaneously.

In the country’s northern region, recently there has been a spurt of Hindi newspapers — mostly local dailies. But there has been no decline in the readership of English newspapers.

A former Professor of English in the University of Liverpool, Mr Simeon Potter, who has revised the book “The making of English” by Henry Bradley, writes in the chapter “English Present and Future”: “As a world language it is now subjected to many stresses and strains, but there are sure signs that the English of tomorrow will prove yet more efficient than that of today as a means of communication.”

One of the sure signs of the popularity of English is that after India got freedom from the British, English has become more popular with the Indians — as the learners of this language have increased manifold.

Bijhari (Hamirpur)

Aged population

This refers to an article, “Aged population & emerging issues”, by Mr Arvind Bhandari (October 10). Recognising the importance of the growing population of the aged, the UN declared 1999 as International Year of the Old and emphasised the need to ensure quality of life for the aged.

He has also observed that old should not be treated as a burden, irrelevant and redundant by society.

Although the Indian government constituted the National Council for Older People headed by Mr J.S. Verma, former Chief Justice of India, not much headway has been made.


Duty first

This refers to the news item “DTO challans son” (Oct 21).

It is a commendable job that Mr Gurmit Singh, District Transport Officer of Kapurthala, challaned his own son for driving a two wheeler without licence.

There are still such men in the country who do not care for their relationships while performing their duties. Our politicians, bureaucrats and VVIPs should learn a lesson from him.


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