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US role in cross-border terrorism

At last the USA is veering towards the Indian point of view that it is imperative to tackle the menace of terrorism immediately and with full force. Now when the fire is in its own backyard (Osama bin Laden’s threat), the USA has woken up to the dangers that terrorism poses. So far it had turned an almost blind eye to the cross-border terrorism that India had been subjected to from Pakistan, giving only lip sympathy to the plight of hapless Indian citizens.

And who is responsible for the creation of this monster? It is none other than the US. In its October 16 issue,The New York Times correspondent in Islamabad, Tim Weiner, reported, “for months, Pakistan’s Prime Minister and its top General have been like two scorpions in a bottle. This week they struck. “These poisonous scorpions and, many more like these before them, have brought their country to the brink of ruin. But mostly the target of their insidious and poisonous sting has been none other than India for which they show total and unabashed hatred.

The blame for this situation falls totally on the shoulders of the USA and the Western powers who constantly helped Pakistan with military hardware, aircraft and enormous amounts of money to finance its nefarious designs against India. A case in point is the John Foster Dulles Doctrine which made Pakistan a dangerous state. Dulles had many years ago declared in New Delhi, at the residence of the American Ambassador, on Amrita Sher Gill Marg, that “any country not friendly with America is our enemy.” The message this statement hinted at rather covertly was that India was an enemy country since it did not grovel in front of America for petty favours. If New Delhi had licked American boots like Gen Zia-ul-Haq did when he sold Pakistan to America in exchange for $600 million annually plus military weapons and sophisticated aircraft like the F-16, the picture would have been entirely different. Mercifully, India chose to go its own way, otherwise it would have become a beggars’ democracy just like Islamabad.

Even Taliban is a creation of the misbegotten American policy. The USA encouraged the Taliban militia by conniving with them and giving them every sort of weaponry to boot out the Soviets. Now Taliban has reared its ugly head to play on the nerves of America and has become a terrifying monster. There is a lesson in this for Washington. This is what comes of allying with fanatics and fundamentalists, and ignoring the world’s largest democracy.

Krishan Kumar
New York

Sick universities

The sorry state of affairs at the universities in Haryana is linked with what Mr D.R. Chaudhary (October 21) stated as a “necessary evil of the larger system on which the state politician has no control” and hence the universities have “degenerated into a third-rate government department”

While agreeing with the major thrust of his argument, to me it seems somewhat naive to suggest that the state politician has no control over it. On the contrary, if the state politician decides to clear the muck that has piled up in the universities he can certainly do so. The establishment of universities in Haryana has been caught up in the whirlwind of politics with appointments of Vice-Chancellors being made on caste and communal considerations. Whenever they do not find a suitable candidate there is a tendency to appoint a bureaucrat as Vice-Chancellor or Registrar. With the change of government the change of Vice-Chancellors and Registrars also become inevitable. Since the Vice-Chancellors are appointed on political considerations, the university atmosphere also gets vitiated. Very rarely does a positive discourse get encouraged by the Vice-Chancellors. Sycophancy is rewarded and caste and communal politics is encouraged to lobby for higher administrative and academic posts.

Utter disregard for merit has demoralised the students and university teachers. Motivated decisions to change the Universities Act for appointing Registrars in 1995 also suggests the nature of political interference in the state. Unless the state politicians decide to change their styles of functioning (so far as the appointment of Vice-Chancellors and Registrars is concerned) the universities will remain sick institutions of learning.

Jitender Prasad


Apropos of the write-up “PSTC faces closure”, October 24, we extend our thanks to Mr. Agnihotri, its writer, for sympathising with the thousands of aggrieved employees of the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation.

The fear of its closure has brought nightmares to the large contingent of this Punjab government undertaking whose future has been at stake for some time without any logic.

Punjab, being popularly known as the food bowl of the country, contributes the lion’s share (approximately 60 per cent) to the Central pool which “speaks volumes about the Green Revolution brought about by the brave farmers of this northern state.” The PSTC has contributed a lot to creating an additional irrigation potential in the state by the installation of deep tubewells and lining of water courses which have brought all-round prosperity to the state.

One would like to know the rationale behind the idea of closing down the PSTC by dubbing it as a loss-making corporation which has otherwise emerged as a completely public welfare department like the Irrigation, B&R and Public Health Departments.

Firstly, way back in 1986 the government had remitted a whopping Rs. 300 crore due from the beneficiaries as the recovery for the work done by the PSTC under a World Bank-aided project (phase-I) without providing any compensation to the PSTC in lieu of it. That was the stage when the economic health of the PSTC had started deteriorating. Now the decision of waiving off even the highly subsidised recovery as water tariff due from the farmers (during 1997) by the Punjab government has simply aggravated the situation.

It is time for the Punjab government to review the overall working of the PSTC for resuscitating this “sick unit” before resorting to any drastic step of axing this fully grown tree when it is at its full bloom and also to save its innocent employees from being ruined. The necessary arrangements for ensuring regular pay to the employees may also be made to end the growing resentment among them.


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50 years on indian independence

Promises & performance

This refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s “Promises & performance” (Oct 29). In a very tricky political situation where ideological turncoats treat power more as a means to loot the public than as an instrument of service. It is difficult, if not impossible to hope for rationalisation of the system of governance making it result-oriented, accountable and transparent. With an unpredictable George Fernandes, infuriated Mamta Banerjee and ambitious Hegde, how can Mr Vajpayee act decisively, deliver the goods, gear up the pace of development and improve the quality of governance?

One can also draw conclusions about the quality of future governance from the very first major legislation taken up by the new government — the extension of caste-based reservations for another 10 years. Ironically the Bill was passed unanimously and without any meaningful debate. Perhaps the readers would remember that it was the BJP, which had opposed Mr V.P. Singh’s implementation of the Mandal report. In fact, no political party wishes to lag behind in encashing the caste-card. No one dares to utter even a word that would annoy one’s vote-bank. One only wonders how our policy-makers expect to achieve the goal of speedier socio-economic justice without affecting merit and justice.

Ved Guliani

Exemplary punishment: Every government assures the people that to root out corruption and to give a scam-free administration would be its priority. But one is yet to see a politician involved in an economic scandal punished. Exemplary punishment awarded to a single politician involved in a scam can restore the otherwise eroded faith of people in the law of the land. When they find politicians who are scandal-mongers going scot-free, they cry in disgust: “There are two sets of laws — one for the common man and the other for the high-ups and the politicians.”

The right to information must be included in the Indian Constitution (unless, of course, it does not jeopardise the country’s unity and integrity through an amendment in it). The rate of literacy has shown a rising trend in India. Moreover, India of the 21st century, after all, will not be India of the medieval ages. Transparency and accountability in the modern age is the need of the day.

Parliament has given its accent to extend reservations to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes till the year 2010 much in advance. Vote-bank politics is playing havoc with this country. This needs to be debated thoroughly. Well, those who favour these reservations outnumber those who oppose them in Parliament. To oppose this policy we require men of Himalayan courage and conviction, who in all fairness may put aside their personal and political interests.

Iqbal Singh
Bijhari (Hamirpur)

Govt’s basic duty: No doubt the task before the Vajpayee government is tremendous. “It is easy to fall” is the law of the nature. No efforts are required for it. But it is quite difficult to rise. It needs determination, vision and action. In a democracy, it is ultimately the people who have to elect the right leadership to lead the nation. I believe the voters have made a correct choice this time.

In my opinion, the basic duty of the government is to protect the country from external aggression and maintain internal law and order.

Anand Prakash

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