The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, April 22, 2001

An excellent issue

I must praise you for bringing out the special supplement on Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Never before has such a good coverage been given to this son of Punjab who brought so much honour to the state.

Vice-Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, New Delhi


The special supplement was excellent. It was a treat to go through it. My heartiest congratulations.



The special edition dedicated to the 200 years of Maharaja Ranjit Singhís coronation (April 8) is a praiseworthy effort. It is relevant for present-day politics, statehood and communal harmony.

Socio-political life in the 18th century was dominated by exploitation, plunder, inhuman practices and forced religious conversions. Maharaja Ranjit Singh established his political power and aimed at creating a vibrant social order, strong enough to withstand oppression. His was a polity of complete freedom of expression and worship. Sher Shah Suri and Akbar before him had also practiced secularism, but for them it was a political compulsion. Ranjit Singh not only ensured tolerance and peaceful co-existence of all communities, but he also had a fine sense of justice.


It was due to his spirit of forbearance that despite inimical neighbours and minimum industrial activity, he not only united Punjab but also extended his reign, without causing terror or indulging in religious discrimination, to Kashmir, Peshawar and Afghanistan.


Emergence of PMO

Apropos of T.R. Ramachandranís article "PMO calling" (April 1). The Prime Ministerís Office (PMO) did not come up in a day. The office became a larger-than-life institution in the days of Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi. In the days of Jawaharlal Nehru, there was no PMO as we know it today.

Nehruís aides did not display the trappings of being all-powerful. The opposition was weak and the Congress freely flaunted its name to enjoy the power-cake. The strongest reason, however, was the presence of heavy weights like Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and Rafi Ahmed Kidwai by Nehruís side.

How could Nehru then opt for a strong PMO? Today Brajesh Mishra and N.K. Singh even over-rule senior ministers at times.

Lal Bahadur Shastriís rule was just a passing phase in Indian history. While Indira Gandhi ruled with Kashmiri aides like P.N. Haksar and D.P. Dhar, the PMO slowly but surely sought to acquire sweeping powers. It had emerged as the centre of power or the supreme decision-making body in the government, making a virtual mockery of collective decision-making.


Making mice of men

This is with reference to the article "Rituals that make mice of lions" by K.K. Khullar (April 1), in which the writer describes how the inflexible official rituals reduce officers to mere caricatures.

The ACR was actually meant for maintaining discipline, serving as motivating factor for working harder and for eventual improvement in performance in the field concerned. Sadly enough, we have turned it into a curse by mishandling it, very frequently by using it as a stick to browbeat the juniors with. An officer with an opinion that clashes with that of his seniors or endeavouring to take a stand against injustice of any sort is usually bulldozed and gets superseded.

Doing everything through the proper channel, was also meant to maintain decorum and discipline. We seem to have turned this into a jammed road that hardly anything can move. Excessive red-tapism sometimes defeats its own purpose.

A far as the discipline in the working lunches and dinners is concerned, despite looking too stiff, they are certainly much better and cultured than the dinners in some private functions like weddings etc., in which the attitude is disgusting. Famished crowds surge towards the tables, endeavouring to reach the tables at the same time, that for a majority it is impossible to even get a plate, let alone start filling it or having food in peace. It is very important that we should be able to have our food peacefully. At such times one feels it is much better to have stiff discipline during a lunch or dinner where decorum is observed rather than partake of it in an atmosphere of chaos.


Call it love

This refers to Kuldip Dhimanís write-up "Call it love if you like" (March 25). Love is also a basic value. The meaning of love is restricted to "friendship" for teenagers nowadays.

Love has different meanings for men and women. Men always want and are in search of a first love but donít have the capacity and will to make it last. Women always pray for long-lasting love and always try to make it better and stronger.

It was written that some people try to prove their love by harming themselves and committing suicide and women take this behaviour as a sign of true love. This is wrong. I donít agree with the writer. Women donít actually take it as such. She wants a partner who is strong not only physically, but also emotinally.

Moreover, the idea that we could produce children and take care of our family without being in love is wrong. Actual care and devotion is only provided by the bond of true love. It is also very true that the feeling of love is stronger than sex. Love persists for long even without sex, but sex persists only on the basis of love.

Love is an eternal feeling, has a meaning in itself. It is faith, devotion, supereme emotion, gift of God, a bond which binds man to man and man to God. Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.


Nowhere in the article I have proposed that we should have children without love or marriage. The suggestion was only posed as a question, and in response Dylan Evans said it was not in the interest of human species to do so. Let us not confuse scientific investigation and value judgments. Since the article was about what science has to say about love, it would not have been right to bring ethics and morality in.

Kuldip Dhiman

Walk to stay fit

Apropos of Amar Jitís article "Get more zip out of your walks" (April 1). The writer is silent about benefits of a morning walk and an evening walk.

A walk in the morning is enjoyable and pleasant. The cool and fresh air invigorates us. The sight of green grass and brightly coloured flowers fills our hearts with joy. Dew drops on the blades of grass and leaves of tiny plants look like pearls. The sweet smell of flowers serve as a tonic for our brain. Regular morning walks make us healthy and keep us cheerful throughout the day.

A walk in the evening is wholesome and refreshing. It is welcome after a dayís hard work. It affords a pleasant relief from worries and is as important as a morning walk, to keep us healthy. It makes us enjoy a sound sleep at night.


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