Friday, March 16, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Fanaticism at war with human values

Mr Hari Jaisingh’s ‘Fanaticism at War with Human values’ (March 9), is a forthright condemnation of the destruction of Buddha statues by the Taliban.

The Taliban seem to have indulged in the annihilation of this heritage of mankind, perhaps in league with some undefined agencies. They have destroyed the symbols of transcendental or mystical experience of religious enlightenment which is universal, and which is fundamental to Indian identity. There seems to be a deep-rooted conspiracy of forces suffering from Indophobia. Professor Samuel Cantwell Smith has referred to such an anti-India sentiment prevailing in the region in his classic study, ‘Islam in Modern History’ (1969).

The destruction of the statues is not an attack on idolatry but on the ideals which the Buddha represented. It is perhaps a misplaced hope of creating a future unrelated to the past. For that, the libraries of the world will have to be destroyed.


Crime against humanity: Mullah Muhammad Omar has prompted a spirit of vandalism which is no less than cultural genocide and a crime against humanity. By destroying the statues, the Taliban have gone back to the middle ages when reason, philosophy and science were discarded for intolerance and extremism of the worst kind. The misguided fanatics are trying to rewrite history, little realising that they have isolated themselves from the civilised world.

But more shocking has been the silence of the international community, particularly the UN and the big powers. The Taliban factor has posed a serious threat to the socio-cultural, political and peaceful existence of humanity. They have exposed the impotence of the world’s democratic forces and above all they have also challenged the relevance of UN agencies which often swear by human values and are said to be devoted to the preservation of common human heritage. Had the Security Council issued a warning, would the Taliban have gone ahead with their cultural carnage?




Pak should apologise:
Mullah Muhammad Omar, the man who ordered the destruction of the statues, does not understand the value of the heritage of art and culture. The barbaric act of the Taliban underlines the basic hollowness of what the gun-toting Jehadis propagate.

The Taliban leaders have achieved nothing by destroying the statues. They have done this in frustration. In fact, Pakistan should apologise for this act of the Taliban who are the creation of Pakistan.


Bad for global health: The barbaric act of Taliban speaks of their total disregard for faiths other than Islam. Call it vandalism of the stone-age, or of the middle ages or give it any other name, it makes no difference to them.

Unesco and the secular and Buddhist countries are being foolish in thinking that their pleadings will have any effect on the fanatics. The seeds of Talibanisation were sown by Pakistan and the day is not far when it will boomerang on it.


Not a ‘mullah’: By demolishing the priceless but defenceless Buddhas of Bamiyan, the Taliban have shown the height of barbarism. Mullah Mohammad Omar, who ordered the annihilation of the harmless statues in a fit of fury and hatred, has no right to be called a ‘mullah’, a word that denotes a teacher of law and religion and not a fanatic. The mullah is mistaken if he thinks that this act of fanaticism will earn his regime international recognition. It has further alienated Afghanistan from the international community. He may think that he has rid himself of the fear of the idols but the fear will haunt him for ever. His action may provoke a backlash all over the world, especially in India, the land of the Buddha’s birth.


Silence will not help: Demolition of the statues is an uncivilised and unpardonable act. Future generations of the Taliban will identify their forefathers as killers of cultural heritage and be ashamed of them. The act has not been sufficiently condemned. A large number of world leaders, saviours of cultural heritage, human rights protagonists and intellectuals have not opened their mouths. If we remain silent, the fanatics will not mend their ways.

A. P. Gupta, Muzaffarnagar

Global Impotence: By demolishing the statues, the so-called jehadis have shown utter disrespect to finer human values. Global impotence, to which the writer has referred, is the cause of the rise of such barbaric forces.

It is high time all such evil forces were flattened through a united effort at the world level. Since no religion preaches parochialism, no one who tries to promote hatred in the name of religion should be spared from a resolute rebuke at the outset. No amount of reasoning can justify any kind of demolition, whether in Afghanistan or in India, of human sentiments that enhance the quality of life.


Babri analogy: The barbaric acts of the Taliban are more often than not, guided by casuistry, rather than concern for humanity.

However, such vandalism has been a part of life throughout history. But our Prime Minister has no face to reproach the Taliban. Did he not call the construction of a Ram Mandir on the ruins of the demolished Babri Masjid a ‘national sentiment’?

Babri Masjid destruction cannot be defended by equating one wrong with another.


Disability pension

Armed forces personnel who retire or are invalided out, with a disability are entitled to a disability pension consisting of a service element and a disability element.

Though the service pension was revised in 1998, according to the recommendations of the Fifth Central Pay Commission, a decision regarding revision of disability pension has not yet been taken.

As this pension is to be revised with retrospective effect from January 1, 1996, there has, already been an inordinate delay in implementing this recommendation of the Pay Commission. Any further delay will be without any valid reason.

Major MEWA SINGH (retd), Rampur (Ropar)



Teachers' transfers

The Government of Haryana plans to hand over 45,000 teachers of middle schools to the administrative control of Zila Parishads.

Teachers who are on extended service or are left with less than two years' service should not be moved from the places of their present posting since formalities regarding their retirement benefits are supposed to be in the pipeline during this period.

The transfer policy of the state government also says that teachers should not be transferred in the last two years of their service. The authorities concerned should ensure that the spirit of this rule is maintained to avoid unnecessary harassment to these senior teachers.


Aircraft carriers

India should rethink its decision to build aircraft carriers. The American defence establishment considers the newly commissioned aircraft carrier, Ronald Reagen, to be the last of the US-built carriers. Due to the fast developing missile technology, a bulky aircraft carrier has become a “sitting duck”.

Besides, aircraft carriers are extremely expensive to maintain and operate. Pakistan now has Exocet missiles that are capable of sinking an aircraft carrier. Recently, Pakistan test-fired these missiles from its Agosta class submarine and the Atlantic aircraft.

Pakistan’s entire landmass is reachable with the existing Indian aircraft inventory. One may say that India needs aircraft carriers to give it a reach in the Indian Ocean and prepare for tomorrow. Long-range bombers are a much better option to patrol the ocean.



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