Friday, May 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



UN Security Council seat for India

THIS refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article, “UN Council seat for India: time for USA to see reasons”, April 28. Often international proposals involve the attempt by a majority to impose upon a large minority results which the minority feels to be unjust. The smaller nations value peace, justice and liberty.

They rely more on moral than on material force, perhaps because they have less of the latter. But the great powers cannot get anywhere in the United nations Assembly except through proposals that appeal to the basic instinct of those who make up the numerical majority.

Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. The “same thing” in the United Nations is anti-terrorism, which is the majority viewpoint represented by perhaps most of the smaller states. By providing India a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, the United Nations will further serve its task of being a centre for harmonising. Often, indeed, usually a frank and full discussion discloses merit in the other person’s viewpoint that has not been appreciated.

  Another intangible asset of the United Nations is its capacity to expose hypocrisy. India has full proof which can expose the hypocrisy of the rouge state of Pakistan. India has always respected the views of the UN. It would completely be wrong to compare India with Pakistan. Like France, the other countries will have to change their mindset about India. If they do not, it will be like showing one’s back to the rising sun.


SIGNIFICANT ROLE: It would be pertinent to mention here that as an independent nation, which became a member of the UN as early as 1945, India has always played a significant role whenever and whereever the world body required its services as a member-state. As a member of the Nonaligned Movement (NAM), India has been a leading-light to avoid aligning with any of the power blocks in the world.

For maintaining peace in the world, India has remained a front-runner by sending its forces in the strife-torn parts of the world. It would at once be out of place to see the conflict between India and Pakistan as a stumbling-block in our race for the Security council seat. nearly 55 years of our role in the UN has been outstanding. It cannot be overlooked that India’s role as a member of the Commonwealth and SAARC has also been notable.

Moreover, India is a country of over one billion people. It will have the grace of representing this large population. in the post-Pokhran-II era India has explained to the world the reasons for achieving the nuclear-power capability, as a deterrent to meet the likely security threat from its next-door neighbour, Pakistan. The war in Kargil was a striking example to show the world that to acquire the atomic potential is our necessity. The world has appreciated our restraint despite provocations of war by Pakistan against this country in Kargil and elsewhere in the past decades.

As an old member of the UN, India merits to be a member of the Security Council. In this regard, the virtual assurance by President Clinton to vote/support India during his recent visit to this country, and other friendly nations is no less important.

Bijhari (Hamirpur)

Law and the common man

In The Tribune of April 29 three different news items, different in content and dealing with different persons, seem to convey the same message — in India there is one set of laws for the common man and another (or perhaps none) for politicians and other influential persons.

The first news item reads “3 ex-PMs face legal action”. During their tenure as the Prime Minister of India Mr Chandra Shekhar, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao and Mr H.D. Deve Gowda used the Defence aircraft for non-official purposes but have failed to make the payment which amounts to Rs 11.80 crore. During all these years, no government has made serious efforts to recover the dues (not to talk of the interest which must have become more than the principal).

But can an ordinary person dare to withhold the payment of even an inflated and unjustified electricity, water or telephone bill? One is made to pay the penalty even when the bill has been delivered late, and very often the supply is disconnected for such non-payment.

Another news item is titled “Dawood among 100 top income-tax defaulters”. Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha (on April 28), the Minister of State for Finance, Mr V.D. Kumar, said that as on december 31, 1999, Harshad Mehta owed the government, Rs 2,423.2 crore on account of income tax. Some others in this list of defaulters are Hiten Dalal (Rs 1403.75 crore); Bhupendra Dalal (745.45 crore); Amitabh Bachchan (Rs 11.09 crore), Jaya Bachchan (Rs 3.11 crore), et al. A thorough and analytical study of these defaulters will definitely disclose a politico-bureaucratic link and support.

But if a law-abiding salaried class tax-payer fails to attach even a house rent receipt (though one must be living in some rented accommodation if one does not have a self-owned house), such a deduction is disallowed and one is even made to pay a penalty on thus inflated amount to income tax.

Going by such a widening gap between the “influential political elite” and the common man, one wonders whether we have a democracy where all are equal before the law.


Ghalib’s Haryana connections

This has reference to the report “Ghalib’s wife was from Haryana” (April 30), wherein it has been mentioned that the Haryana Urdu Akademi, Panchkula, has “dug out” details of Ghalib’s links with Haryana, such as his marriage to Umrao Begum of Firozpur-Jhirka (Gurgaon district) and a host of his “prominent disciples” such as Altaf Hussain Hali of Panipat.

Ghalib’s links with Haryana by way of marriage and through his disciples such as Hali and Mir Mehdi Majrooh (both from Panipat) are already well-known to all erudite students, scholars and lovers of Urdu literature, and the write-up adds nothing new to what is already known.

As a person, Ghalib, born in Agra in 1797, traced his lineage to Saljuqi kings of Turkestan. When barely five, he lost his father. His uncle took him in his care, but he, too, died after four years. Ghalib was, consequently, forced to take shelter in his maternal house in Delhi.

While still in his teens, he was married to Umrao Begum, a devout Muslim, who believed in the sanctity of prayers and abstinence. In one of his letters, Ghalib, a romantic, sensuous and liberal, described his marriage as the second imprisonment after the initial confinement, that was life itself.

However, this marriage withstood all strains, presumably because in his heart of hearts, Ghalib respected his wife’s piety and fidelity, and she, too, must have learnt to accept, in course of time, the romantic foibles of her husband as natural aberrations of an artistic mind.

Ghalib’s is a personality of diversities. Though a Muslim, he had warmest relations with persons professing other faiths. A great poet, ahead of his times and a man of intrinsically optimistic outlook, his spontaneous, fresh and intense lyricism changed the prevailing mood or Urdu ghazal. His disciples like Majrooh, Hali and Mehr picked up the thread, and became the harbingers of the new sensibility.


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