Monday, January 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Farooq Abdullah’s plea for Kashmiriat

YESTERDAY (December 21) I happened to read The Tribune of December 18, 1999. I went through the editorial entitled “Islamic varsity in Kashmir”, a project sponsored by the J&K Muslim Auqaf Trust, of which I happen to be the Chairman.

I have no desire to enter into a debate over the contents of the editorial. But I welcome your call for a wider debate for establishing an Islamic University in the valley as Banaras Hindu University/Aligarh Muslim University in UP.

The debate, I am sure, will clear many cobwebs here and there. It may be noted that the apprehensions expressed by you about its misuse even in the present scenario are not well-placed. I take this opportunity also to assure you that this university will certainly be a seat of learning in the truest of the academic terms and shall not be allowed to be misused for any purpose other than Islamic studies and related research work.

Your concern for “Kashmiriat” as such, I am sure, will continue to persuade you to help us in the battle we are fighting against communalism of all hues everywhere in the country.

Chief Minister,
Jammu and Kashmir


A child’s birth

The parents find themselves in a difficult situation when their little one’s ask them how they were born. The parents, after overcoming their embarrassment, come up with silly answers that the kids readily accept. When I was a kid, I had a similar curiosity.

When I queried my father about my birth, he told me that he was told by the Gurdwara’s babaji that there were three children in the gurdwara’s cupboard. It is needless to say that I was one of them. My parents visited the holy place at his invitation and decided to take me home. I got satisfied with this explanation.

Later on, one day I was even shown the cupboard. To my utter disappointment, there were no children in it at that time. Only some copies of scriptures were lying in it.

When I related the story of my birth to a friend of mine, he too had a tale to tell. He told me that his parents had organised kirtan at their home. This pleased God and He left him on the shamiana as a reward for his parents. Both of us had no doubts about the theories related to our birth.

A few years later, my mom gave birth to my sister. As she grew up a little, she too wanted to know the source of her origin. I thought that we had brought her from the gurdwara. But she was not born like me. My father told her that once God told people that He had a little girl named Neety. All those people who wanted a child could contact him. When my father reached there, he found that a lot of men had gathered to get the child. Everyone was shouting, “I want Neety, I want Neety...” My father said that he grabbed her and ran away. This is how we got her.

Now, when I am 22, I find these explanations very funny. But they are truly compatible with a child’s innocence. A few days back I thought that if my children ever ask me such a question, I would tell them that I downloaded them from the Internet. The cyber age kids surely won’t agree with the “shamiana” and “cupboard” theories. But if such theories become a reality, it will be a bliss for females. Just concoct a funny story and presto! You have a child without the problems associated with pregnancy and labour pains.

Here is a real life example of what today’s kids know about their birth. One day I happened to ask the date of birth of a little child living near my home. He said he was born on August 15. I said to the little one that we got Independence on August 15. What he said in reply came as a shock to me. He said, “Mujhe to mummy ke pet se azaadi mili thi.” (I got independence from my mother’s womb.) The answer was technically correct but not something I was expecting from a four-year-old kid.

Jalandhar City

Gandhi or Einstein?

One of the editorials published on December 28 provides an opportunity for an interesting comparison between two great personalities — Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein.

Einstein widened the horizons of human intellect and helped us understand better the sort of universe we find ourselves in. Gandhi set in motion a process that led half the mankind to freedom. Imperialism and discrimination stand dubbed as “sins” due largely to his efforts.

History will find it hard to believe that a person with a valid ticket could be denied a seat in a train because some people did not like the colour of his skin. And when Dr Radhakrishnan declared “the fact of Gandhi is a challenge to the exclusive claims of Christianity”, he had already raised the Mahatma to the status of the “Person of the Millennium.”

Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not have happened without Einstein, nor would have nuclear energy and space travel been possible but for his imaginative scientific theories. On the other hand, it is the “half-naked faqir” who forced his way to the Royal Palace on the basis of equality, thus paving the way for a black or a brown person to head the UN. The concept of human rights would be hollow but for Gandhi’s fight against slavery and exploitation.

According to me, Gandhi is the “Person of the millennium” while Einstein is the “Person of the century”.




Health services in Punjab

Health services in Punjab are a shambles. The scene in the villages is depressing. Commercial attitude of the doctors has damaged the health scenario in Punjab. Quacks and RMPs are thriving in villages. PCMS doctors do not go to do their duty in the villages and are marked present in absentia.

Quacks are doing a roaring business. When the health of patients deteriorates or when things go out of control, these quacks send them to nearby towns or cities having private nursing homes and get commission.

The only booming field (read hospitals) in medicine is gynaecology, where the number of the children born is limitless. A close nexus exists between nursing homes and testing labs and chemists. There are only a few doctors who charge a low fee and who do not prescribe chemists and test labs along with the medicines.

Plum postings in government hospitals have a price in Chandigarh. If you have a political mai-baap, things are easy.

Wonder of wonders, a new trend is catching up with the chemists in Punjab. They have kept blood pressure equipment and other paraphernalia and are dispensing medicines to the sick.

Another question — is it ethical for the doctors to advertise?



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