119 years of Trust Feedback THE TRIBUNE
sunday reading
Sunday, June 20, 1999

LineFauji BeatLine
Bollywood Bhelpuri

Sugar 'n' Spice
Wide angle
Fauji BeatLine
Laugh LinesLine

Plight of defence forces

This refers Pritam Bhullar’s write up “In defence of defence personnel” (May 30). The writer has highlighted a shocking anomaly which over the years has conveniently escaped the attention of our Defence Ministry and Indian Government. One is highly disturbed to note that as per the existing rules, even an officer’s widow can be given only a class III or IV job whereas if a civilian gets killed, his widow or a dependent son or daughter gets a job of the same status as was held by the deceased. To a retired defence officer like me, it sounds too unfair to be believed !
While our brave defence personnel are engaged in an operation against Pakistani infiltrators on the Kargil front, it is high time that this anomaly in the rules is corrected. And will our Central Government be kind enough to let us know as to why the J&K Government is not paying ex-gratia grant to the widows of the soldiers who were killed in counter-insurgency operations in the state? And why are they not paid as much as is being paid to the widows of police constables in the state? And my head hangs in shame when I am told that nearer home in my own state of Punjab it pays only Rs 25,000 to the soldier’s widow against Rs 2 lakh which the J&K Government is supposed to pay.
I am grateful to the writer for pointing out these highly shocking facts. I would suggest that the Central Government and State Governments take a fresh look at the existing rules providing relief to a soldier’s widow killed in operation — relief must be adequate and timely backed by a mechanism which ensures enforcement of these rules. Proper and honourable re-settlement of a soldier’s widow is the minimum act of gratitude this nation owes to the soldier who lays down his life defending his country.

The valour of Sikhs
Apropos of T.V. Rajeshwar’s write-up “Sacrifice, valour hallmark of Sikhs” (June 6), Sikhism is the youngest and, therefore can claim to be the most modern religion among the practising faiths in the world today. Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539), the founder of the Sikh religion launched his mission with the slogan “There is no Hindu, there is no Mussalman; all are human beings”, thereby highlighting the brotherhood of man. He wanted Hindus to be good Hindus and Muslims to be good Muslims. His successors continued with his mission of fostering Hindu-Muslim amity. The saints turned saint-soldiers dedicated to fighting for fair play and crusading for a just society.
All this led Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru to galvanise the young community with Amrit (Nectar) on the Baisakhi day in 1699. Dedicated to justice and fair play the Sikhs have played a glorious role in India’s freedom struggle from the British rule; courting arrest and laying down their lives for the motherland. Not satisfied with peaceful agitation people like Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh preferred martyrdom.
When it became imperative to accept the division of Punjab between Pakistan and India the Sikhs willingly opted for India. When Pakistan tried to capture Srinagar using tribal hordes, it was the first battalion of the Sikh Regiment which stopped the tribal advance.
In 1961 the Pakistani bid to launch a major operation for capturing Srinagar again by using infiltrator in the valley failed miserably. Gen Harbaksh Singh, Lt Gen J.S. Dhillon and Major Gen Gurbax Singh proved their worth.
To sum up, I would like to say that soldiering seems to be inborn in the people of the Punjab, more so in the Sikhs because of the tradition handed down to us by Guru Gobind Singh over the last three hundred years. A highly patriotic enterprising and hardworking community imbued with humanism of the first Guru and the tenth Guru’s ideals of heroism and self sacrifice, they have made splendid success whenever they have gone, whatever field they have entered into.

Violent generation
Apropos of Aradhika Sekhon’s ‘Generationext, Generation violent’ (June 6), a very fast changing and chaotic socio-cultural value system has perpetuated adolescent violence. No doubt one does not grow violent overnight, as like any other personality trait, this too has a long development process. When the culturally accepted values come in sharp contrast with socially structured difficulties, the youth turns to violence as a solution to his problem. The recent instances of schoolchildren shooting their schoolmates is only a manifestation of such frustration.
Within the family, youth suffers from the parents’ lofty aspirations vis-a-vis limited realistic opportunities. Often parents project their own thwarted ambitions onto the child, which may cause a serious personality dysfunction. Secondly in the fast growing materialistic society, where both parents are busy in their career progression, a child remains ignored, thereby creating a feeling of being ‘unwanted’ in the child.
Parental lack of attention and fast information-technology growth has also resulted in a mindless use of the entertainment media. The child’s exposure to raw and brute violence and liberal doses of sex have only inspired desires and feelings with very few socially acceptable opportunities for their healthy release.
But the most disgusting is the atmosphere of diffused social responsibility and the break down of the traditional value-system. There are no role models to emulate and no means of acceptance of the just and the lawful. There is an absence of national conscience, with the political leadership shielding and encouraging the unjust and criminal elements.


Indeed it is a matter of great pity that children all over the world have become violent. They have been killing their schoolmates and even their parents. The seeds of violence have grown in our country.
The writer has aptly observed that children learn all these habits from their homes. If the atmosphere at home is not peaceful the children acquire violent tendencies and adopt the same attitudes and practices in their dealings with other people.


If the children and youngsters are given the right type of training, there would be no crimes, no indiscipline and no violence.Proper training at home helps develop a balanced personality. This is possible in a happy home and to build such a home both parents must get along with each other. Each must respect the rights of the other and work out their problems without quarrelling and without resorting to violent means, because non-cooperation between the parents affects the psyche of the children and may sometimes lead to their becoming juvenile delinquents.
If their is an atmosphere of love and confidence at home, even the most difficult young person will eventually pass through the turbulent teen years without any permanent harm.

Individual and society
The article under the heading “What society owes the individual” (May 30) indicates the writer’s opinion towards the upliftment of individuals vis-a-vis the society and contains some valid suggestions for this, but the system leaves one at a loss about where to start. What can be expected from a society that has been unable to ensure bare necessities (meals and shelter) even after of fifty years self-rule. Those who have two meal a day, struggle throughout their life for their own house. I refuse to accept the contention that the country is poor. We have the best natural resources, abundant man-power and brilliant brains but no inclination or foresight to utilise the situations and resources optimally.
We consider education a magic formula for getting rid of all our problems but after observing the behaviour of a majority of educationists, one starts losing hope. The way etiquettes, rules and aspirations are flouted by modern teachers and educational institutions is no secret. When the entire educational system itself is beset with all sorts of problems, what can we expect from it? A majority of the educated lot is skilled in interpreting rules to its own advantage. Hence, it is not the education but the way we utilise it that holds the key to success. We definitely lack national character. Our call should be to those persons who feel for the nation but have got demoralised because of the faulty system. Unless such distinguished persons rise to the occasion bravely, neither education nor the system will work.

Home Image Map
| Interview | Bollywood Bhelpuri | Sugar 'n' Spice | Nature | Garden Life | Fitness |
Travel | Your Option | Time off | A Soldier's Diary | Fauji Beat |
Feedback | Laugh lines | Wide Angle | Caption Contest |