Thursday, May 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



India’s LTTE crisis

I READ the editorial “India’s LTTE crisis” (May 6) with interest. I don’t subscribe to the view that the Chandrika Kumaratunga government in Sri Lanka has a “strong moral, military and political reason to get” military assistance from India to save its trapped troops facing the LTTE onslaught. As a regional power in the South Asia, India has not only to exercise restraint and display responsibility in matters of another country’s internal affairs, but it must also grow wiser from its past and bitter experience.

We must remember that the Sri Lanka government had double-crossed the IPKF in 1987 by suppling to the LTTE weapons and explosives which were used against our army. India’s impulsive decision of helping the island nation, call it a goodwill mission if you like, turned out to be an “India vs LTTE” affair. Can we forget that in those three years of IPKF operations between 1987 and 1990 about 1200 Indian armymen were killed and about 4000 were injured? Again as a SAARC member-nation, India’s interference in Lanka may not be appreciated by other SAARC members.

  No doubt, the LTTE is a terrorist outfit which has gained leadership role in the North and East provinces by ruthlessly eliminating the democratic elements, and it needs to be opposed in the interest of a healthy democratic set-up in the region. But playing any active military role in Sri Lanka against the LTTE may also create internal problems for India, particularly in southern states like Tamil Nadu.

Therefore, at this juncture India must evolve a long-term strategy and not fall for short-term palliatives.


Poster menace

It is seen to be believed as to how ugly and defaced some of the permanent hoardings, direction-indicating boards, milestones, electricity poles and walls have become in our major cities. Chandigarh is no exception. Sticking bills/posters on the static structures of a city is the most deplorable practice.

These bills are in different colours, sizes and languages. Most of these pertain to welcoming some minister or some MP or some Guru/Acharya, et al.

It is stating the obvious that there is no method whereby those who deface a city can be prosecuted and punished. But those dignitaries for whom welcoming bills have been pasted can do yeoman service to society. If they, instead of beginning and ending pravachans with passages from our holy scriptures, begin and end by strictly forbidding their disciples and followers from sticking bills/posters in their honour. If they are truly gurus — as they claim and enjoy being told — they would contribute much more to society by ensuring that the beauty of a city is not to be soiled by (mis)using their names.

Ambala Cantt

Unrealistic approach

It is ironical that Mr K.F. Rustamji’s (“The big divide in Pakistan”, April 27) still advocates extending help to the countries which have repeatedly backstabbed us. Afghanistan did so when our flight IC 814 was hijacked. They did whatever they could to make the hijacking plot a success.

It would be wasting words if we peep into Pakistan’s record of backstabbing. Our Prime Minister was showing friendly gestures and those people were brewing an assault on India in the heights of Kargil. Sweet gestures are not made everytime. They are made once or twice and then exchanged. But we shouldn’t expect these things from extremist countries. Furthermore, why should we unnecessarily burden our minds with problems of hostile countries?

We have a severe drought in our country. Who has the time to think about Afghanistan? Jinnah once said, “Pakistanis will eat grass but wage a thousand years war against India”, and the Pakistanis have precisely been doing that. It would be foolish on our part if we assume that General Musharraf doesn’t have a nexus with the mercenaries. So, would it be prudent on our part to help him. Instead, we should pressurise him to restore democracy and tell him bluntly that either he should stop the proxy war against India or he would be thrown out.


No cars on credit, please

Urban India’s roads have been flooded with cars. Causing this vehicular flood on roads in tandem with car producers are car financiers. Banks and finance companies are coming out with lucrative and easy finance schemes. Own now and pay later. In the olden times, people first saved and then spent. Now we spend first (from borrowed money) and earn later. Everything, including cars, is available on credit. Credit cards are there, and so are credit cars. Now we can desire what we don’t deserve.

Now this unleashing of cars on Indian roads is having its negative fallout. Roads have become congested and accident-prone. What is worse, all the smoke emission from cars is making our environment polluted. Pollution caused by vehicular emissions is the main cause of global warming — a global warning.

A car meant for seating four to five passengers is usually used by a single person for commuting between home and office. On the other hand, a bus will be found carrying the passenger-load of two buses. Cars are a luxury on Indian roads; our environment and even our people cannot afford. Even the parking slots are unable to bear the brunt of more cars. It is easier to own a car than to own a place for parking it. The production of more cars means that we are yielding more space to cars. The land we yield to a car is forfeited from human being. We are depriving our children of precious place to play. Public transport should have precedence over private transport.

How to check this mad mushrooming of cars? Here is my suggestion: ban car loans. Let a person first earn, save and then buy a car. No credit cars, please. Financiers may please provide credit to agriculture, industry and other productive sectors. Let finance help produce food rather than poison. BAN CAR LOANS.


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