Wednesday, April 18, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Looking inwards

Mr M.V. Kamath thinks that switching to the presidential form of government will solve our problems of governance. Some people even suggest that only educated Indians should be allowed to vote. These people have never paid attention to the constituents of our political parties — the building blocks of our political system. Once you are the boss in a political party you are there for life. What kind of democracy is this? New blood just does not get in. We need to remedy this. And the best agency to do this is the Election Commission. It should not recognise parties which do not have democracy. Party tickets should be decided by the people and not by the party bosses.

The American system is successful because people choose the candidates in the primaries. This way anyone can enter the election fray. Once the President retires, he is never heard of. So let us take a long and hard look at our parties and throw out the crooks. We should never lose sight of the fact that we are the third most corrupt nation and also about the poorest. It is time we started looking at ourselves more critically.

O.P. SHARMA, California


Pak scenario

Coups in Pakistan have always been initiated at the highest level of the military hierarchy.

But there have been numerous aborted and failed attempts to grab power over the years. For instance, the conspiracy against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1973, the attempted counter-coup against Zia by a general is 1984, and afdin in 1995 by another general against Benazir Bhutto. This leads one to the conclusion that every usurper who seizes power in the dead of night is himself insecure, and does face at least one similar rebellious attempt against him by his own peers.

But in Pakistan there is more to it than simply history repeating itself, if one looks at Pakistan’s political climate with the regime on the retreat on all fronts both domestic and international, and widespread disillusionment among the people after the publication of the 1971 fall of Dhaka report (detailing the failures/excesses and cowardice of the entire officer corps). But the October 1999 coup was just meant to save the chair of one General only, and that has now landed the entire military establishment in troubled waters.

If these facts are looked into, then the counter-coup theory, possibly by the end of the year, by a group of gentlemen who can no longer remain silent spectators to the humiliation and degradation of the uniform they once wore with pride seems a horrific possibility.

If that happens, the entire South Asia will be in peril.


Vedic astrology

This refers to Prof Yash Pal’s article “Vedic astrology in universities” (Tribune, April 12). It is surprising that such irrational views should come from an eminent scientist who, it appears, has not cared to attempt an in-depth study of this ancient subject and has expressed his prejudiced views on the subject. While the rest of the world is benefiting from this artful science, our so-called progressive thinkers are quibbling at the threshold of knowledge still to be further explored.

Astrology aims at edifying and enlightening human beings rather than hoodwinking them. Astrology is about studying and understanding the ‘time-rhythm’ and ‘symphony of spheres’ as related to an individual’s life and environment. It makes him aware of his relationship with the infinite cosmos. The writer mentions Newton who was an ardent votary of astrology. When his pupil, Haley, described astrology as nothing but hocus-pocus, the scientist replied: “Boy, I have studied the subject and you have not”.

K.K. SAWALl, on e-mail

War crimes

The UN War Crimes Tribunal is bent upon trying Milosevic Slobosdan of Yugoslavia for war crimes committed during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia- Herzegovina. Strange as it may seem, at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal set up after World War II, no political leader or military commander of the victorious Allied forces was convicted of war crimes.

All those who were convicted were from the defeated countries. The same is true of the present UN War Crimes Tribunal wherein not a single man from the victorious US, UK or NATO countries involved in the Bosnian war, has been charged with war crimes.

The question is, why do only defeated countries produce war criminals? Why the term ‘war criminal’ is not applied to victorious countries?

BRIG N.B. GRANT (retd), Pune



Ranjit Singh and homoeopathy

The bicentenary of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is being celebrated by highlighting his achievements and contribution to the nation. But a little-known fact about the Maharaja is that he was the first Indian to get homoeopathic treatment for the paralysis of his vocal cords by Dr John Martin Honigberger successfully when all other treatments had failed.

The credit for bringing homoeopathy to India goes to Maharaja Ranjit Singh who popularised this system of treatment. Later it spread to Calcutta and other parts of India.


Denial of interest

The report by B.K. Chum in your Business section "Hindu undivided families denied interest on NSCs" (April 7) is highly disquieting for a large number of Hindu undivided families who have purchased Post Office National Saving Certificates. This step shows the government’s bankruptcy of prudent ideas. The depositors cannot be held responsible for what is now described as wrongful issuance of certificates to HUFs. Now a technical objection has been raised by some officials while the postal authorities have been issuing NSCs to HUFs for decades.

Nowhere it is stated in the NSC that it can be issued only to ‘single’ or ‘joint’ holders and the statement of the Chief PMG, Punjab and Chandigarh, mentioned in the report is contrary to facts and is not tenable.

The government has utilised the depositors’ money invested in NSCs for six years. To deny them interest on this money now will be nothing short of high-handedness. It will go against all canons of natural justice and will amount to unethical conduct.

K.L. MALHOTRA, Chandigarh

Mindset of ‘peace’

The latest intelligence report from Janes says that Pakistan has better nuclear weapons and delivery systems than India. It says that the main reason for this is the political belief in India that nuclear weapons have no military role, as opposed to the practical control of the weapons and delivery systems by the Pakistan Army.

The Indian leadership’s mindset of “peace” and senior army officers’ and politicians’ involvement in corrupt defence deals leave no room for any objective thinking in matters of national security. They have all been busy filling their coffers.

One conclusion that can be drawn from the Tehelka expose is that there will never be a military coup in India, notwithstanding the rot in the political leadership. This is because the military leaders are hand in glove with the politicians in corruption. They merely want to serve out their terms. They just do not have the will to actually do anything.


In defence of PGI

The PGI caters to the needs of a large number of patients from J&K, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and western UP. Many people who throng this medical centre do not mince words to criticise those whose services they seek. A number of provocative reports have found place in the dailies.

As one begins to understand objectively the so-called ‘indifferent’ and ‘negligent’ attitude of the physician towards the patient, one cannot help examining the attitude and expectations of the patients from the physician.

Regard and concern for these service providers is negligible. On the contrary, they are being challenged frequently. The recent report of death by secondary PPH is a typical case. I sincerely share the grief of the family. But I cannot help relate that my wife also developed secondary PPH subsequent to caesarean section and bleeding continued for more than one week. However, faith and restraint on our part helped our physician to take a more responsible approach towards the problem which is not uncommon but is invariably misrepresented.

AKSHAY ANAND, Chandigarh


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