Thursday, April 27, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



National security: unhealthy exercise

WITH reference to the editorial “Group for group’s sake” (April 20), is it not ironical that our government prefers to set up “ministerial review groups” and committees to study the suggestions and recommendations of even high-powered commissions of enquiry? Instead of accepting the simple and cost-effective strategies and plans, we — particularly our bureaucracy and the entire political class — believe in “paper schemes” which appear to be idealistic but are impracticable.

It is perhaps this attitude that sums up all our debacles at the regional and national levels, be it the question of survival for the people in the face of frequent droughts, famines and floods or as serious a case of national security as Kargil.

It is being indifferent to the question of national security that the Central Government has formed a ministerial group, which does not have even a single expert on defence matters, to “further review the security system”. Without disrespect to any of the members of the group, one wishes to know how much expertise our ministers have in matters of national defence.

One really wonders whether Mr L.K. Advani, Mr George Fernandes, Mr Jaswant Singh and Mr Yashwant Sinha will be able to add even one additional point to the suggestions made by the Kargil Review Committee headed by Mr K. Subrahmanyam.

Instead of indulging in a politico-bureaucratic exercise, which is time-consuming, expensive and merely an eyewash, we seriously need to tackle the security threats which are constantly increasing. Let our political leadership realise that during last year’s Kargil experience we stood exposed for our glaring failure of intelligence. Apart from an inadequate battle preparedness, we practised an unpragmatic diplomacy which resulted in the loss of hundreds of precious lives. Therefore, we should not only display a strong political will and develop a coordinated intelligence system but also discard the old habit of going in for time-consuming politicised review in matters of national security.


POWs: India’s mistakes

I read the report “Roop Lal met 150 POWs”, (April 20). His observation that “it is better to die than be alive in a Pakistani prison” tells the bitter truth about the unhuman behaviour our men receive there.

One may ask as to what Indira Gandhi did for the release of our POWs while releasing about one lakh Pakistani POWs — all guilty of heinous crimes in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). This was not only a case of appeasement of Pakistani criminals but also a sinful neglect of duty on the part of India’s Prime Minister.

We could have claimed CHT (Chittagong Hill Tract) from East Pakistan, being predominantly inhabited by Buddhist Chakma tribals, who had met Sardar Patel even in 1947, a couple of days before August 15, 1947, for the inclusion of CHT in India. We could have also forced Pakistan to settle the Kashmir issue.


Denying justice to pensioners

In his letter published in The Tribune on April 21 Mr C. L. Rajput has rightly focused the attention of the Himachal Pradesh government on the outstanding demands of pensioners. The Kangra District Pensioners Welfare Association, Dharamsala, fully supports the demands.

We would like to add that those pensioners who were allocated from Punjab to Himachal Pradesh at the time of reorganisation of Punjab in 1966 are being discriminated against. It is not only a case of denial of justice but also against service rules.


Electoral system

Mr K.B. Sahay has raised a very vital issue in his article, “Criminals in Parliament” (March 28). Indeed, criminalisation of politics in our country is a curse. But, I think, the writer is expecting too much from the voters — the majority of whom are illiterate — when he asserts that they should reject the criminals seeking election to Parliament or various state assemblies.

How could the illiterate voters, who generally vote on caste, religion, region or monetary considerations, be trusted to make the right choice?

In fact, the fault lies with the electoral system and not with the voters. The blunder committed by our Constitution makers, who failed to prescribe any minimum educational qualification to be an eligible voter or a contestant, is the cause for the sorry state of the nation.


Inland letter

The middle on the virtues of the inland letter (April 18) was interesting, but it dealt with only its literary aspect. It did not appreciate its beneficial aspect on the economy.

The inland letter’s use results in much saving in the cost of correspondence for every institution.

Its redesigning is essential. I have already sent suggestions on it to the postal authorities but without any response.



O cricket

Apropos of the editorial “The Cronje effect” (April 15), I wish to express my views with the help of a poem:

‘Howzat ...?’
O cricket!
You are stumped by the googly of match-fixing;
Yorked by the reverse swing of betting,
Or run out by MONEY?
Once a gentleman’s game,
You are now Mammon’s Dame;
Played not by players
On the ground,
But by saleable commodities
In hotel rooms
By the bookies
Who actually hold the bat
And bowl every ball.
With their invisible hands,
They hold the string
Of the puppet players
And make them dance
To their tunes.
Yes, MONEY makes the players go,
The titans fall, and
The giants look punies.
When a match is played,
Thousands watch it on the ground,
Millions are glued to the TV sets
With emotions unbridled
And temper unchecked
To shout “HURRAH” all are keen,
But there is a game
That goes behind the scene.
Who will win? Or who will lose?
The answer to this lies
In the wallets of the bookies.
Once a game of chance,
Of glorious uncertainties;
Now a game
Of shameless certainty,
For MONEY holds the key
And decides defeat or victory.
Isn’t it all “TAMASHA”
Made by those who throw the “PAISA”?
But CRICKET is too good a game,
Too great an institution
To be corrupted like this.
The show (read the investigation) must go on
Till the bookies be brought to book
And reveal the true faces of all the crooks
Let justice’s finger go up,
And show them the way
Not “back to” but “out of” the pavilion.
Their exit must be hooted and booed
To save the noble game
From the clutches
Of the immoral “market forces”.

Dept of English,
D.A.V. College

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