Tuesday, February 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Cripps plan and Sikhs

THE views expressed by Prof V.N. Datta during the course of a special lecture on “Partition of Punjab and Sikh leadership” held on February 14 at Punjabi University, Patiala, are factually not correct so far as his conclusion that “the Sikhs failed to cash in on Cripps plan” is concerned.

As per the historical records, the Sikh leadership was not serious about getting an independent Sikh State, and this demand was put forward in opposition to the creation of Pakistan.

The Sikh delegation, consisting of Master Tara Singh, Gyani Kartar Singh, S. Harnam Singh and S. Baldev Singh, told the Cabinet Mission in September, 1946, that the Sikhs were for a united India and were bitterly opposed to the demand for Pakistan. But if the demand for Pakistan was conceded, there should be a separate Sikh State with the right to federate either with India or Pakistan.

  The Sikh leadership as also the British government were fully conscious of the demographic realities as the Sikhs throughout the country did not have any sizeable tract with a Sikh majority population. The only three tehsils — Ludhiana, Jagraon and Tarn Taran — with a Sikh majority were also not contiguous to one another.

These facts are fully supported by the speech of Sir Stafford Cripps made in the British Parliament on July 18, 1946, regarding the position of the Sikhs during the Partition days:

“It was a matter of great distress to us that the Sikhs should feel they had not received the treatment which they deserved as an important section. The difficulty arises, not from anyone’s underestimation of the importance of the Sikh community, but from the inescapable geographical facts of the situation. What the Sikhs demand is some special treatment analogous to that given to the Muslims. The Sikhs, however, are a much smaller community, 5,500,000 against 90,000,000, and are not geographically situated so that any area as yet desired... can be carved out in which they would find themselves in a majority.”

Moreover, during the relevant period, the relations between the Hindus and the Sikhs were extremely cordial and friendly. Master Tara Singh had emerged as an undisputed leader of both communities, whose interests coincided and not clashed with each other.

As the Sikh leadership was fully seized of the factual realities, its role during the Partition days in opting to go with India cannot, on any account, be said to be directionless or faulty.


Row over exam rules

In response to the news item “Has varsity violated Medical Council norms,” (February 15) I have to state the following:

All the health sciences institutions earlier affiliated to Panjab, Punjabi and Guru Nanak Dev Universities were transferred to Baba Farid University of Health Sciences in July, 1999. As recommended by the Academic Council of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, till such time Baba Farid University’s regulations become operative, the examinations of professional courses for each college are to be conducted as per the regulations of the university to which it was affiliated prior to July, 1999.

Of the two issues raised, one relates to the passing of four candidates by the award of grace-marks as per the Guru Nanak Dev University regulations which are clear and unambiguous in not placing any bar for the grant of grace-marks in terms of having to pass a clinical examination compulsorily for availing themselves of the concession. Of the four similarly situated candidates who benefited from grace-marks, interestingly, the internal examiner had repeatedly objected to this in only one case. His objection is based on a rule claimed to have been drawn from the Guru Nanak Dev University Calendar of 1986, which has since been revised several times.

In the second instance, the results of the Eye and ENT departments, Government Medical College, Amritsar, was computed as per the rules of Guru Nanak Dev University according to which the two subjects in the examination are to be treated separately. However, some candidates subsequently represented that their result had to be formulated as per the procedure adopted by Guru Nanak Dev University on previous occasions wherein the result was computed by combining the marks obtained in ENT plus Eye — a statement which was confirmed by Guru Nanak Dev University vide its letter no. 44/R(E) dated 1/2/2000. The Principal, Government Medical College, Amritsar, also confirmed the previous procedure of combining ENT plus Eye for passing the examination though he also held it contrary to the regulations of Guru Nanak Dev University.

In view of the controversy generated, the matter was referred to the Board of Studies (Undergraduate) in Medical Sciences. The board at its meeting on February 8, attended by the Principals of all the Medical Colleges (including the Principal, Government Medical College, Amritsar) and some senior professors, unanimously decided that the practice of combining ENT and Eye followed previously by Guru Nanak Dev University might also be permitted for the Nov-Dec, 1999, examinations of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences as one-time exception which shall not form a precedent and consequently the decision was implemented by issuing a corrigendum on February 10, 2000.

Baba Farid University of Health Sciences


Plea for small tax-payers

This year’s budget will be a very challenging exercise for the government. There must be a number of compulsions on the Finance Minister to reduce the cost of government borrowing or the interest rate. The budget should be friendly towards small income individuals.

The small tax-payers want from the Finance Minister the following concessions:

1. The present income tax exemption limit of Rs 50,000 should be increased to Rs 1 lakh.

2. The existing tax rebate of Rs 14,000 on investments of Rs 70,000 should be increased to Rs 1 lakh.

3. The standard deduction should be raised to Rs 40,000, and a Rs 20,000 deduction should be given to all those whose children go to school, college or a professional institution — “study purposes”.

4. Medical expenses incurred in approved hospitals should be exempted.

5. The exemption on interest of Rs 12,000 should be increased to Rs 20,000.

6. A person having an income less than Rs 50,000 should be exempted from filing the income tax return.

7. Essential commodities of daily use should be exempted from any tax.


Unjustified projection

Captain D. Sharan, Commander of flight IC 814 that was recently hijacked while on its way to Delhi, has been projected as a hero by both the print and electronic media. Thus, in fact, seems to be quite contrary to role played by him and his crew on board.

Since the beginning of hijacking to the release of the passengers and the plane at Kandahar, Afghanistan, at no moment did Captain Sharan act or dare to face the hijackers boldly. Rather during the entire episode he towed the line of the hijackers.

His all actions to oblige the hijackers and misinform the authorities and flying the plane out of Indian territory led to the release of the hardcore terrorists. His total surrender made the hijackers succeed in their mission to internationalise the Kashmir issue and seek the release of the dreaded terrorists.



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