Saturday, September 30, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Investigate Harbaksh Singh’s allegation

THIS has reference to Lt-Gen Harbaksh Singh’s allegation in his autobiographical book “In the Line of Duty: “A Soldier Remembers” that the then C-in-C, Gen J. N. Chowdhary, “panicked so badly, he ordered me to withdraw to a new defensive line behind the Beas, thereby conceding half of Punjab to Pakistan”.

This is a most serious allegation and hence debatable because no four-star General worth his salt would panic so badly to defend about 100-km-long border from north of Atari where the Ravi enters Pakistan to Kehri Karan west of Hari-ke-Pattan where the Sutlej enters Pakistan.

It is because the Ravi makes international border from south of Kathua in Jammu up to north of Atari making it safe to defend it. Similarly, mighty Sutlej too (originating from Mansarovar in Tibet it has huge catchment area laden with heavy Himalayan snows) makes international border from Kehri Karan to Fazilka in Punjab, very safe to defend. If these rivers could not make it safe to defend the borders then how could the Beas be safe from Mukerian to Hari-ke-Pattan as the second line of defence? Was it right then for General Chowdhary to ask his GOC-in-C to withdraw behind it? It looks improbable but definitely invites investigation.


Withdrawing behind the Beas would have left J&K vulnerable as its ground supply lines would have been cut. Pakistanis would have put in their reserves to attack Jammu behind our troops by entering Kathua. The 100-km tarmac road to Jammu was open for them. Our troops were already harried by the heaviest Pakistani attack through the Chamb-Jourian sector in Akhnoor. They wanted to capture the Akhnoor bridge, then the sole lifeline of Poonch and Rajouri districts separating Kashmir and Pakistan. Akhnoor town had already been vacated. There was heaviest bombardment on Akhnoor bridge.

After capturing Jammu, road to Kashmir through Banihal Pass would have been clear and Kashmir too would have fallen along with Ladakh. It does not look possible that a four-star General could not have seen this on the map. Or else the poor selection process for selecting the Generals earlier responsible for selection of Lt-Gen B. M. Kaul as theatre commander of NEFA in 62 continued to remain faulty under Jawaharlal Nehru to have selected General Chowdhary as C-in-C if we are to believe Gen Harbaksh Singh’s insinuations!

Any Indian would rather die facing the enemy rather than to withdraw ignominiously. General Chowdhary could not have ordered such an ignominious withdrawal at the risk of losing half of Punjab and the whole of Jammu and Kashmir. There must have been some staff officers in such an important meeting at Ambala. Their testimony is required to confirm this huge allegation! Or did it personally transpire between Singh and Chowdhary?

Jammu Tawi

Futile decision

The Maharashtra Government has decided to debar those politicians from contesting elections who have more than two children. Such decisions would make no dent on the abnormal population growth, as it is the poor, unprivileged and illiterate who are mainly responsible for the multiplication. The real progress of a country could be judged not from its progress in the field of atomic energy and software but from the standard of basic education, primary health care, hygiene and sanitation, family planning, clean drinking water, corruption free administration, and the condition of the roads. But unfortunately in these fields of real progress we are among the bottom 10 countries of the world.

Mr A.J. Coale and Mr E.M. Hower, the propounders of the theory of “Demographic Transition”, mention three stages of changes in birth and death rate in connection with economic development of a country. In the first stage the birth and death rate in a poor country is very high. In the second stage death rate falls due to progress in the field of health care. In the third stage both birth and death rates fall.

But, unfortunately, due to eyes of all the politicians on the votes of the poor, we are still passing through the second stage as we have not bothered to enforce the rule or passed the law to have a family of two children only. Unless that is done India would remain among the poorest and most corrupt countries of the world.

Major N.S. JALLO (retd)

Restricted period

Recently, the SBI has introduced a special loan scheme. This scheme is offering loan on special reduced rates of interest (as per advertisements flashed in media). The repayment period has been fixed rather restricted to three years only. This restricted period seems to be a one sided diktat. The period is short and the consumer has to pay bigger amount of instalment by way of repayment. If the repayment period is fixed taking the consumer into confidence it will be better and beneficial to the consumers.

Otherwise also, the repayment period should be a minimum of five years so that the consumer is in a position to pay the repayment amount in easy instalments. If the repayment period is fixed or restricted to just three years, the consumer will be reluctant to take loan from the SBI and the scheme as such floated by the prestigious SBI will flop. And the consumer will not be benefited in any manner and the huge amount accumulated by the SBI in its chest will remain unutilised.

I, therefore, appeal to the SBI bosses concerned to liberalise the repayment period from just three years to the period which is mutually agreed to between the consumer and the SBI because in the long run it is the SBI which is going to benefit by way of getting interest on the loan amount. And the only relief for the consumer will be to repay it in easy instalments if the period is extended to more than just three years.


Good concept

This refers to “Development without Damnation” by Jeet Malhotra. I feel that architecture should follow the diktats of environmental morality. Whenever man moves against nature it leads to disastrous consequences. There is need to be eco-conscious when world is facing the danger of depletion of ozone layer. The concept of EPUs given by Mr Jeet Malhotra to maintain balance between environment and development is highly impressive.

At least one EPU should be implemented on an experimental basis.



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