118 years of Trust M A I L B A G THE TRIBUNE
Tuesday, September 22, 1998
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How companies harass NRIs

  I AM a non-resident Indian residing in Syria. I would like to draw the attention of the authorities concerned towards the harassment of NRIs by public limited companies.

I have experienced that companies in India have made it their routine habit of not paying debenture interest/dividends especially to non-residents. The companies know well that legal recourse in India is time-consuming, and NRIs being away from India cannot pursue their cases easily. Therefore, they deliberately harass them by not paying debenture interest/dividends in time. The so-called market regulatory authorities such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India merely act as complaint redirecting sources.

Another point that I would like to highlight is that of car-manufacturing companies which collect crores of rupees from the general public as the booking amount. Then these companies do not adhere to the requests of booking cancellation, and they keep on delaying the refund of one’s booking amount. It is ironical that one has to fight a tedious legal battle to get one’s own money back, and our government does nothing to curb this malpractice.



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Social progress

The article “Trapped in laws, procedures: decline in India’s public life” (Sept 17) and the letter captioned “Boundless human greed” (Sept 17) prompt me to remark that wealth is a means to an end; it is not an end in itself, for the individual or for the state. It is to be used as the instrument of personality under ones control and direction. It must be limited in quantity according to the purpose that it is intended to serve at any particular time.

It is not true that the state will promote the greatest efficiency and happiness if it produces as many commodities as it can. There are many things that are far more important than commodities. Who preached and taught that the highest happiness is to be attained by the multiplication of goods and material objects and enjoyment? On the contrary, you will realise that too many things may and do crush and smother human personality as a heavy load bends the porter’s back. We need be beware of the modern “economism” in its American version, a curse for mankind.

A person’s daily duty is not merely money-making drudgery; it is his/her contribution to social progress and the path of personal development. Therefore, don’t ask in youth. “How can I earn the biggest salary?” Ask rather: “How can I be truly happy and do most good to society?” You may have less money but more of life and joy. Only then shall the nation progress.



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Efficacy of prayers

In his middle article, “A rewarding recipe” (September 12), Mr J.L. Gupta has mentioned that the prayers of a man healed his child suffering from high fever.

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of”, said Tennyson.

When Humayun became seriously ill, even the learned doctors declared his case to be hopeless. On the advice of a saint Mir Abu Baqa that remedy should be sought from God, Babur fervently prayed that the disease of his son might be transferred to him. He began to sink and died after a couple of months. Humayun recovered.

In 1817, Maharaja Ranjit Singh became dangerously ill and his life was in despair. Sardar Nihal Singh Attariwalla walked round the monarch’s bed and prayed that his illness might be transferred to him. Sardar Attariwalla became ill and expired after a few days. The Lahore King recovered.

God certainly accepts the prayers. However, there must be purity of heart and sincerity of purpose. An Urdu poet has rightly said: “Khuda manzoor karta hai dua jab dil sey hoti hai/Magar mushkil to ye hai ke bari mushkil sey hoti hai.”

Once Nawab Daulat Khan Lodi asked Guru Nanak to join in the prayers. However, when those were being read, the Guru kept aloof. He said that while conducting the prayers, Imam’s attention was focused on his ailing son and the calf, which, he feared, might fell into the well, and the Nawab, though apparently engaged in the prayers, was thinking of purchasing horses from Qandhar. The Nawab and the prelate admitted as true what the Guru said.

What is the use of saying prayers without focusing one’s attention on God? Such prayers are not accepted by Him. He does not like the prayers of those who practise hypocrisy.



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Birth of Ambala Cantt

This is in regard to the claim by the MLA from Ambala that the 1857 revolt started in Ambala Cantt.

I am a native of Ambala Cantt, now living in the USA. The story that I heard about the formation of Ambala Cantt comes from Mr M.L. Kapoor, one of the senior correspondents of The Tribune in the fifties and the sixties and numerous other old-timers. According to them, the cantonment was formed after the 1857 revolt.

The British realised that they did not have enough presence in the strategic parts of Punjab, and started looking for a place where they could set up a big cantonment. They started with Karnal but left it soon; too many British nationals and labourers succumbed to malaria. The mosquitoes were unrelenting. They moved along GT Road and found Babyal (a village) to be a hospitable place. They found that the mosquitoes were not a big menace due to large and numerous mango groves. (Actually the name Ambala came from the word “umb” (mango). “Umb-walla”) to “Ambala”.

At one time, the city “code” assigned to Ambala Cantt used to be UMB.)

The British named the twin city as Ambala Cantt; the current Ambala City used to be simply known as Ambala. The labour brought in to form the cantonment was mostly from Meerut. That is why you see a big difference in the language spoken in the twin cities.

Ambala Cantt was formed in 1759. It will be very interesting if the MLA can factually support his findings.


Potomac (Maryland, USA)

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