Monday, January 31, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



The USA and human rights

I AGREE with The Tribune on the double-standard practised by US governments when it comes to human rights violations. Even when you have legal papers such as the Green Card, the immigration authorities can be quite rude when you enter the country. However, this has more to do with racism than with human rights violations.

Indians do not understand that racism in the white world is endemic irrespective of which country you are living in. Having said that, you cannot compare the disappearance of people in the USA, which routinely practices state terrorism and then has the arrogance to justify it, with the arrest of 40 Indians the other day.

Americans could not care less about India and Indians. I can say that categorically after living for nearly 30 years as an adult in this country. It is about time Indians, who are rushing here, realised this.

Amherst (USA)
(Received in response to The Tribune’s Internet edition).


How Urdu was saved

I read the article “Urdu an ignored language” by Mr Mohammed Ayyub Khan (Education Tribune, December 28, 1999) wherein the writer has stated that after Partition, Urdu was “reduced to secondary status in some states of India” for reasons of adoption of the three-language formula. This has led him to remark that Urdu at present is “an ignored language”. He has made a fervent appeal that “before the demise of Urdu” the government should help “revive” it.

I am afraid the state of affairs is not as dismal and gloomy as has been highlighted.

There is no denying the fact that before Independence, Urdu, for reasons of its sweetness, mellifluous and suave nature and style, was the most popular and eagerly sought after language of the subcontinent. It was one of the major Indian languages, spoken and cultivated from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Peshawar to Calcutta. No wonder, an extremely excellent and estimable literature emerged from this glorious language, particularly from Punjab province, which dominated the literary scene in the pre-Partition era. Besides, Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Patna, Calcutta, Bhopal, Bombay, Kanpur and Lahore were the main literary centres in those days.

Consequent upon the Partition of the country in 1947, the language, no doubt, suffered a set back. It became a victim on the chessboard of politics. Realising the gravity of the situation, Pandit Nehru and Maulana Azad did their best to turn the tide of events. The first concrete step taken in this direction was the inclusion of Urdu in the VIIIth schedule of the Constitution. Thus, Urdu was provided with all the constitutional rights to grow and develop, like all the other 14 languages of the country. This laid down the foundations for accelerated growth and development of the language in future.


This business of secrecy

This has reference to article “The business of secrecy: Kargil report demands discussion” (January 14). Clever politicians talk of transparency and open government but do the reverse.

While referring to the report on the 1962 debacle remaining unpublished for 38 years, the writer was generous in conceding, “I can appreciate non-publication of the report for a decade or so but not thereafter.” I, for one, will grant them not even a day. Why should the guilty be allowed to enjoy the fruits of power for another decade? They should be hanged by the first electricity pole that comes their way.

Politicians are too cunning and scheming. They excel in committing blunders and then readily agreeing to have commissions of enquiry to ward off the immediate heat. Come reports and they start quoting national security to keep the reports under wraps of secrecy. I am afraid the Kargil report will meet the same fate — a grand burial.

I have nothing but scorn for the crafty politicians. None of them is worth my vote. But, bound by the constitutional duty, I join other helpless citizens to elect the best from the worst and thus become unwilling tool in packing Parliament with third-rate representatives.

I see no hope for our once great nation, which has been taken over by rogues.

Wg Cdr C. L. SEHGAL (retd)

Proxy war must end

After going through the article “Proactive package” for Kashmir by Mr Hari Jaisingh I want to say that a lot has been talked about the Kashmir problem and its possible solution. But it is time now to take an aggressive and tough stand to end the ongoing proxy war from across the border.

Needless to say that every Indian, regardless of the part of the world he/she is staying, feels the need to take strong and firm steps against militants. Speeding up the trial of the hardcore terrorists in jails and well-equipped and well-trained paramilitary forces to combat terrorism are of utmost importance to bring normalcy to the state.

But, above all, genuine efforts are required from the Centre to ensure the well-being of the people of Kashmir, putting the economy of the state back on the rails and wiping out the feeling of alienation among the disgruntled Kashmiris. This will make them feel the proud residents of India’s most beautiful state.


Unfair to TRAI

The decision of the government to disband the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) does not seem to be a sound one. It is to be remembered that TRAI came into being with an idea to promote and regulate the smooth functioning of the Telecom Department. Besides the executive powers conferred on this authority, judicial powers to settle disputes were also given.

During its tenure TRAI functioned on the executive as well as judicial side quite in consonance with the provisions of the Constitution of India keeping in view natural justice and equity. It is also to be remembered that TRAI was constituted after long deliberations in both Houses of Parliament. Making law, no doubt, is the prerogative of its makers. But it is to be assured that once the law is made, it has to be given due respect.




Millennium 2000

Dear millennium, you are a special year,
People are feeling thrilling cheer.
You were being eagerly awaited,
With your engagements anticipated.
For the millennium, I have many a plan,
Which I shall complete, If I can.
I shall start an anti-smoking campaign,
To liberate the smokers from this bane.
I want my city to earn the renown,
As being the first smokeless town.
I shall reserve rupees two thousand,
For small donations as occasions demand.
May the millennium bring happiness,
Peace, prosperity and progress
The world is holding hopes high,
I think and hope it will not belie.


Need for concrete action

The Republic Day message by the President of India has clearly summarised the socio-economic conditions in the country after 50 years of Independence. The problems of over-population, corruption, illiteracy, economic inequality, absence of public hygiene, maltreatment of women and social injustice are all very visible to every political leader and civil servant. But who is interested in taking action to solve these problems?

It is time Indian parliamentarians woke up to the needs of the country and its people. There is an immediate need to establish fast-track decision-making commissions to take action in each area to solve problems. Rhetoric and empty talk will take the country nowhere.

Dublin (Ireland)


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