Thursday, May 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Time to implement the Anand Marriage Act

I read a statement in The Tribune by Sardar Simranjit Singh Mann (MP) on the Anand Marriage Act. It was a very proper and timely statement as the core is the distinct identity of the Sikhs. It is quite ironical that the identity which was accepted by the foreign rulers, is being eroded by the indigenous ones. A disgruntled minority is a potent threat to the unity of the country and health of the national body politic. A satisfied minority is an asset.

Sardar Mann’s efforts should be viewed and assessed in this context. There is a need to rise above party politics and narrow political considerations. Such unmindful politicisation of a nationally important issue does not argue well for healthy political traditions. The Anand Marriage Act should be implemented with sincerity and Sikhs should be brought out of the pale of the Hindu Marriage Act. It is not anything new as our constitution admits and grants distinctiveness to Sikh identity.

Prof S. S. NARANG, Director, Centre for Studies of Punjab Politics, GND University, Amritsar


Mr P.P.S. Gill’s article on the Anand Marriage Act demands the attention of the Sikh community. Sardar Mann’s efforts to focus attention on this Act should be appreciated.

Prof Fuller, a noted jurist of recent times, in his book “The Morality of Law” states that if a law is not duly publicised, the government is guilty of a grave offence. It is for the government to answer why it has not given due publicity to the Anand Marriage Act.


Sikh scholars and legal luminaries should also take note of the fact that even though the Sikh marriage rites are governed by the Anand Marriage Act, a concerted effort is being made to dilute the separate and distinct Sikh identity. By virtue of Section 2(b) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the said Act is made applicable to the Sikhs. The reasons for this move are inexplicable.

Sardar Mann has once again proved that he is the only leader who cares for the interests of the Sikhs.


No pension for jawan

Even though I had put in 32 years of service as an Airman, I have been deprived of my legitimate right for fully earned pension. As my repeated pleas did not evoke any response from the authorities, I had to knock the doors of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi. The NHRC has now directed the Defence Secretary, Government of India, to submit an Action Taken Report on my complaint within six weeks.

I had been in active service for 14 years as against the contract of 10 years. I relinquished the rank of officer and sought retirement as an Airman when I was posted as a Lieutenant. The Army Headquarters and the Air Headquarters had duly recognised my outstanding service as Captain for three years.

When over five lakh ex-servicemen get pension after serving only for two to eight years, why I have not been considered for fully earned pension which is my legitimate right? I hope at least now wiser counsel will prevail upon the authorities. I should get back my pension with arrears.

V. K. ABROL, Home for the Aged, Kathua (Jammu & Kashmir)

A matter of conscience

This refers to the beautiful quote: “There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience” (“Spiritual nuggest”, May 6). According to a religious philosopher, Swedenborg, “Conscience is God’s presence in man”. An Urdu poet, Rahi, calls it “Khuda ka rasool (messenger of God). He says: “Idraak kee hamein ye hidaayat qabool hai/ Insaan ka zameer Khuda ka rasool hai” (“Idraak” means sagacity).

Conscience is the remarkable knowledge within human beings of what is right and wrong. It enjoins us to maintain the moral quality of our motives and behave scrupulously, so that our actions are in conformity with the recognised ethical principles.

I want to mention two incidents from my life, which took place more than four decades ago. In one, I was rewarded for acting conscientiously and, in the other, I had to be remorseful for my improper behaviour.

I used to take tea at a particular shop and pay the bill at the end of the month without checking its correctness. Once, on going through the bill, I found that two rupees had been shown less in the total. Following the promptings of my conscience, I corrected the bill and made payment accordingly. On my way back to home in the evening, I found a 5-rupee note on the desolate road.

One day, I had only one-rupee coin, which I set apart for offering in a Gurdwara. I had to receive my salary on that day. However, on entering the holy place, I changed my mind. When I prostrated myself before Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the coin fell from my pocket and ran straight towards the “golak” (chest). I felt ashamed of not keeping to my solemn promise, put the coin into the till and sincerely apologised to the Guru. Since then, I have never violated any vow made by me.

Unless one follows the urgings of conscience, one cannot have the moral sense of right and wrong as regards one’s motives and actions. I feel that if religious, social and political leaders follow the promptings of conscience and the people take their cue from them, our society can be free from most of corrupt practices.


For painless death

This refers to the report “Law Commission: death by hanging barbaric” . As per the report of the Law Commission, India is trying to evolve a general consensus for abolishing the method and replacing it by safer modes of shooting and lethal injection. The execution of a condemned man by hanging is not only barbaric and painful but also inflicting mental and physical torture to the condemned man.

One fails to understand why this inhuman way of ending the life of a person has not been changed? After all, if a man is to die, let him at least have the option to end his life the way he thinks it fit. This cruel way of ending the life of a condemned man by hanging should be replaced with a painless and peaceful death. The required law should be passed without delay.

Major NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), Kapurthala


Unprecedented fee hike 

The Punjab Government’s decision to hike fee in government colleges is unprecedented. It is deplorable because it will affect the poor students most. There is absolutely no justification for the hike as it ignores the woeful plight of those who will face hardship under the added financial burden.

Clearly, the decision is not based on proper and reliable survey and assessment of the people’s capacity to bear the burden of this kind. Sadly, the cost of education is increasing day by day. Parents are forced to spend a major part of their income on the education of their children. For those of average and below average incomes, it would be extremely difficult to pay the fee. I am afraid, many brilliant and meritorious students belonging to poor families will be forced to abandon their studies due to lack of resources to pay the enhanced fee. A prosperous state like Punjab should desist from going ahead with the hike. While introducing a proposal of this kind, the government should always keep in mind the interests of the poor people and, more important, their affordable capacity to pay. The fee hike should be rolled back and other sources of income explored by the government to meet the revenue deficit.



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