Monday, October 9, 2000,
 Chandigarh, India



No downfall of Hindi

IN his article, “Factors behind downfall of Hindi” (The Tribune, September 28), P.D. Shastri has once again come out with his highly biased fatwas against Hindi. There is no question of downfall. Hindi is a people’s language and not the creation of clerks. Like all other living languages of the world, it is a precious gift of nature. It is its internal life force that has enabled it to penetrate all spheres of life and has made it practically the real lingua franca of India. If some over enthusiastic and ignorant people have used some difficult and wrong expressions it doesn’t mean that the language itself is deficient and poor. By constant use even the subtle and strange words become familiar.

The contention of the learned writer that the present day Hindi literature is the literature of the hour and not the literature for all times to come, smacks of his ignorance and ill-will. Though we lack in some fields of knowledge, our creative writings have touched Himalayan heights. Are not Zindagi Nama, Maila Anchal, Raag Darbari, Aap ka Banti, Kanu Priya, Andha Yug, Saara Aakash and hundreds of other works the literature of all times to come?

It seems that the writer has never read or heard about Hindi writings of very high merit. Had he any aquantance with them he would not have remarked that award-winning works of Hindi literature are not read by anyone and are dumped in stores to be eaten by white ants and termites. Only a person with highly prejudiced mind and myopic eyes can say that Hindi papers and Hindi speeches and writings are generally read by those whose knowledge of English is inadequate. People read Hindi papers and listen to speeches made in it out of love and natural bent of mind towards their mother tongue and not under any compulsion. How can they afford to throw away the language which is the most precious gift of nature. Our English loving intelligentsia never misses any chance to denigrate and downgrade the national languages. It sheds crocodile tears for the common man and it is this very class which for decades together denied the masses the right to work and express themselves in their own language. Can there be a bigger infringement of human rights than this?




Cheating by touts

NEWS-ITEMS related to rampant cheating by touts in Delhi pains me. Many a times, I too have been a victim of this organised crime. Be it a foreigner or an Indian, he takes along some bitter experience from New Delhi. The IGI Airport is one place where such fleecing can be witnessed.

There are many illegal porters standing outside the departure/arrival lounge, who on some pretext or the other, try to help passengers in loading/unloading luggage and then force them to pay huge fees. Passengers who dare to defy them have to face the music.

Security guards turn a blind eye to such high-handedness. Foreigners who cannot pay in Indian currency are forced to pay in dollars. As “No parking” signal is far away and cannot be seen, so any vehicle parked outside is towed away.

An organised mafia controls this profitable business. Once the vehicle is towed away, it is taken to a corner and not to the parking area. Touts scare the owner here and pocket huge amount to get the vehicle released.

Such a practice goes on unhindered and it cannot be believed that the authorities are not aware of all this. Will the authorities look into the matter or shall we keep on sending wrong signals to the potential tourists? It should be borne in mind that tourism is the biggest foreign exchange earner for India.




Gen Harbaksh Singh’s role

THIS refers to the letter by Mr Subhash Baru, “Investigate Harbaksh Singh’s allegation” (September 30). The writer as a citizen is rightly concerned with the state of security in the country. He pays tax to fund the military.

His observation that General Chaudhuri’s orders to withdraw behind the Beas would have cut off Jammu and Kashmir, is correct. He further adds that General Chaudhuri’s order looks improbable but needs investigation because it carried the risk of losing half of Punjab and the whole of J & K.

General Chaudhuri’s personality-based command has been reinforced by the then air chief, Air Marshal Arjan Singh, who maintains that the Army Chief tended to keep the Air Force out of the plot.

On the Beas controversy, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was Lieut-General Harbaksh Singh’s ADC, has recorded (The Tribune, December 4, 1999) how, following the induction of Pakistan’s 1 Armoured Division into the bridgehead established by them on the Khem Karan flank, Harbaksh refused General Chaudhuri’s order at 2.30 a.m. on the night September 9/10 to withdraw to the line of the Beas. The crisis passed over the next day at Asal Utar where the reorganised 4 Infantry Division and 2 (Independent) Armoured Brigade effectively stalled the Pakistani thrust.

Had Harbaksh followed the Army Chiefs orders, communications to Jammu and Kashmir would have been severed from the rest of India and half of Punjab would now have been with Pakistan, altering the very complexion of the subcontinent’s history.

“Patton’s flop puzzles Army Chief” The Statesman (Sept, 26 1965) establishes that the Army Chief was not in tune with the situation on the Khem Karan front and did indeed get unduly alarmed. It was only because of Lieut-Gen Harbaksh Singh, the Western Army Commander, that the day was saved for India. Sandwiched as he was between a “hot-air” Chief and some “paper tiger” subordinates, Harbaksh led front and inspired his men in battle. Those who dithered in the face of the enemy, Harbaksh did not hesitate to sack. The Tribune (September 22, 1965) gave a run-down on Harbaksh who was “literally always on the move”, inspiring from the front.

It has been rightly said that war is too serious a business to be left to the Generals. It would, however, be wrong to brand all Generals as incompetent. There have been many outstanding Generals like Slim and Eisenhower, who demonstrated faculties and statesmanship of a high order. In India we have had men like Harbaksh, Manekshaw and Sinha, the last of which was prevented from being elevated to the post of Chief because his intellect and integrity made bureaucrats uncomfortable.




Wrong impression

Apropos of the write-up, “University Education: Ivory Tower despite reservation (September 30),” the article gives an erroneous impression that only SC/ST authorities can implement the guidelines of reservation policy properly and effectively. The write-up gives a gloomy picture of bipolar universities and may make backward category teachers confront with their general class colleagues. This may hinder the working of the university and students, irrespective of the category they belong to, may suffer equally.

Caste should not decide the competence of teachers. The idea of teachers being discriminated on the basis of caste should be shunned. Teachers shape the destiny of a nation. How can a teacher, who himself is in the clutches of narrow-mindedness of being an upper / lower class, instil a sense of patriotism among his disciples? A university can maintain the status of highest seat of learning only if the faculty is competent enough in its respective field. Reservation should, in no way, lead to the formation of union and allow petty politics enter the temple of learning.

Ambala Cantt



Time charging

Sentinel (Chandigarh Calling, dated October 2) has done well by pointing out the ignorance of Union Communications Minister Ram Vilas Paswan that the Internet users also had to pay local call charges to access the Net. Private ISPs are accessible in select cities and the DoT/VSNL, which charges Rs 1500 per 100 hours, i.e., Rs 15 per hour, for providing Internet services, covers a majority of towns.

It means that the Internet users in such areas have to shell out Rs 15 for the Internet usage and Rs 25 for telephone call charges for every hour, i.e., Rs 40 per hour to the DoT. India has earned a name in Information Technology at international level. The Internet plays a vital role in the development of the IT and the government should provide all facilities to make the Internet available at the minimum price if we want to continue marching ahead in this field.

There is absolutely no justification for time charging for the Internet usage. The DoT should seriously consider the suggestion of charging one unit for every 15 minutes usage instead of every 3 minutes if it really wants to spread information technology to every nook and corner of the country.



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