Wednesday, February 28, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



After third extension

NOW that all political parties have recommended the extension of the cease-fire, both the Government and the Opposition are on a strong political ground. Should things go wrong, the Government can cite the Opposition for this recommendation, while the Opposition can always put the blame on the Government.

As a condition for the extension, protection of soft-targets has been recommended, and it includes action by the military in self-defence and to pre-empt prospective attacks. Are we to understand that neither the Government nor the Opposition cared for such provisions from the very beginning of Ramzan?

But neither the Government nor the Opposition has recommended any specific noteworthy strategy to make effective use of the cease-fire. And intrinsic element of the cease-fire ought to have been a massive awareness campaign in Jammu and Kashmir (and also in the rest-of-India) to educate the masses about the following:

a) The UN resolutions indict Pakistan, not India. Pakistan is explicitly required by UN resolutions to withdraw all its troops and unlawful entrants from Jammu and Kashmir, inclusive of the region beyond the LoC.


b) The people of Jammu and Kashmir have already expressed their collective will in the ‘State Constitution of J&K’, a non-amendable part of which says that the state is and shall be an integral part of India.

c) Muslims enjoy religious freedom all over India. As opposed to it, Muslims of the ‘Indian’ variety are declared ‘Kafirs’ in Pakistan and are ill-treated.

d) Human concerns in Jammu and Kashmir can be addressed only by attracting human and material investment in the state and for this goal, Article 370 needs to be removed. This Article has not helped the Mulsims of Kashmir and the Muslims of the rest of India.

e) The people of India should be reminded of Parliament’s resolution of February, 1994, about the recovery of PoK.

It is disappointing that none of these suggestions came forth at the all-party meeting. The ceasefire is a wonderful opportunity to undertake such a massive awareness campaign. Every possible medium should be used to spread this awareness.

P.C. DESHMUKH, Chennai

Always defensive: The ceasefire has been extended again. As before, the Pakistani terrorists have rejected it. Politicians have asked the government to maintain the ceasefire but increase the vigil and protect soft targets. Doesn’t extend vigil mean, searching out the terrorists and eliminating them? How long will India keep its forces in a purely defensive mode?

The Indian leadership is confused. Pakistani terrorists will not let up till we give away Kashmir. Defensive ceasefire will not finish the terrorists. Meekly accepting violence from the enemy will bleed us to death.

If India does not actively hunt down the terrorists soon we will be pushed to a corner. The only way out will be surrender or an all-out war. If India does not drop its defensive attitude, we are doomed.


Subsidy on kerosene

Every year the Government of India bear a burden of Rs 12000 crore as subsidy on kerosene and cooking gas. The subsidy on kerosene comes to Rs 3.15 per litre. This is intended to help the poor. But in the prevailing situation, the distribution system has given a bad name to the government. Kerosene, in fact, is not so much needed for domestic use in the prosperous states of Punjab and Haryana. Much of this subsidised kerosene is being used in industry. It also encourages adulteration of diesel and petrol. As the subsidised kerosene goes into the black market, crores of rupees spent by the government on the subsidy goes into the pockets of adulterators and black marketeers. The Government must cast a second look at this subsidy.

B.S. SHARMA, Amritsar

Translating Faiz

In her write-up “Best of Faiz” Humra Quraishi has quoted the English translation of a few verses of Faiz Ahmad Faiz by Prof Shiv K. Kumar, a former Vice-Chancellor of Hyderabad University. He has translated “Tera sutvaan jism” as “This upright body is yours”. “Sutvaan” means “thin and delicate”, not “upright”.

Translating a poetic work is a difficult task. No poetic composition can be translated into another language without losing much of its original beauty and harmony.

Instead of adopting an orotund style, Faiz couched his verses in a simple but impressive language. He used well-turned phrases and rare smiles. For example:

Raat yoon dil mein teri khoi

hui yaad aee.

Jaisey veeraaney main chupkey sey bahaar aa jaaey.

Jaisey sahraaon mein hauley sey chaley bad-e-naseem.

Jaisey beemar ko be-vaj’h

qaraar aa jaaey.


Procurement price

Very soon the procurement prices of wheat and other cereals are to be fixed. Last year the procurement price of wheat was Rs 580 per quintal. Previously, the Central Government has been fixing the procurement price before the sowing of crops, so that there is more land under the wheat crop.

The Central Government is considering some reduction in the procurement price of wheat during the coming marketing season of 2001-2002 — from Rs 580 per quintal as last year’s minimum support price of wheat. The Agricultural Prices Commission too has recommended as such. So far the commission is concerned, it consists of the members who are experts and have agricultural experience. According to one report, the market price of wheat has fallen. It is perhaps due to the reason that a considerable quantity of wheat is available with the Central/state governments involving a huge amount. The poor offtake is affecting the country’s economy.

If the minimum support price is not enhanced, the market price of wheat has no reason to jump.

The minimum support price of wheat was likely to be fixed for the ensuing season on 25.1.2001, but the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana approached the Centre and urged the Prime Minister to increase the price in the interest of farmers. Watching the interests of the common man is also the responsibility of the government. The Punjab Government has never been satisfied with the prices fixed by the Centre. It has been showing resentment while the state’s farmers have nothing to pay for water and electricity. The welfare of other voters should also be taken care of.

P.N. GUPTA, Panchkula Top

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