Friday, July 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India



There are lessons to be learnt
from China

Apropos "The cat that can catch mice (June 29) by Mr Hari Jaisingh, I want to make three points which I think have contributed to China's development:

(a) The Chinese have implemented the "one-child" formula in letter and in spirit which helped them control the population

(b) There are more bicycles in the Chinese capital than automobiles. Thus they save fuel which has significant effects upon their economy.

(c) There is a work culture which is helpful in increasing the earning of foreign exchange.

MOHAN SINGH, Bathinda Cantt

Hard working: The Chinese are very hard working and industrious people while we Indians are easy- going and lethargic. This is the only reason that we have been left far behind China in every walk of life with the exception that we are the largest democracy and they are the totalitarian communists. But our democracy is hollow from within because the rule of law has been replaced by the law of jungle.

Now we require discipline, work culture, honesty, dedication and commitment to our country so that we can compete with China at the global level.

K L. BATRA, Yamunanagar


Pragmatic leaders: The Chinese are hard-headed and pragmatic people. Their leaders are honest and far-sighted. Their sole aim is building a strong nation.

China has controlled its population growth and has developed technologies and infrastructure to manufacture low-cost products.

D. P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

Work culture: We need not compare our economy with China or any other country. Rather we should set our own house in order. We need to tone up work culture of the nation. We should ourselves be the makers of our destiny. There is always a ray of light at the end of a dark tunnel.

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari (Hamirpur)

It's systematic: China makes plans and carries them out to achieve its goals. It works systematically. The rulers there don't siphon off funds meant for economic growth.

In India projects are delayed, leading to cost overruns. In China public servants can't have more than one child but here politicians dither on controlling population.

Funds are misspent here. The Badal government used to say that the Congress had exhausted the state treasury. But from where have funds come suddenly to be distributed at "sangat darshan" functions and that too towards the end of its five-year rule? Isn't it a gimmick to win the coming elections? This is how states function in India.


Result-oriented: The Chinese believe in result-oriented actions. Unlike our leaders, they did not distance themselves from the common man. The Communist regime set certain traditions for the successive governments to follow. The author has aptly summed up the issue: "The economy of this country is run in the interest of political parties and not in the interest of the country or the consumers."




In his write-up, "We can reap only what we sow" (June 28), Mr J. L. Gupta has observed: "Learn to live... within what you have. Satisfied with what He has given you."

The state or feeling of being satisfied without craving for something that one does not need is called contentment. Many decades ago, I had seen a friar, who begged a "chavanni" only considering it sufficient to procure a simple fare for the day. If someone offered him an "athanni", he would give the additional amount to some needy person.

A 13th century mystic poet, Shaikh Saadi, said: "Neem naaney gar khurad mard-e-khuda/Bazl-e-darveshaan kunad neem-e-digar (If a man of God eats half a bread, he gives the other half to mendicants).

Bhagat Puran Singh, the founder of a leprosarium at Amritsar, actually did so. One day, tormented by hunger, he was sitting under a tree. A crow carrying a bread came there. The loaf fell from its beak. Bhagatji ate half of it and left the other half for anyone, who might be in need of food.

Famous Urdu poet Josh Malsiani was a very simple person contented with his lot. He said: "Taaj-e-shaahi ki havas kya main hoon voh gosha-nasheen/Sir chhuppaney ko jagah dhoondhoon huma ko dekh kar" (I am such a recluse, who instead of seeking after a royal diadem, would look for a place to hide on seeing a phoenix). Huma (phoenix) is a fabulous bird supposed to raise to the throne anyone coming under the shadow of its wings.

Contentment is the virtue of a great mind. Those who are contented with their lot enjoy freedom from tension caused by jealousy, greed and selfishness, which destroy peace of mind.



Tribal conflicts

This refers to the news item, Govt, Army locks horns over grazing zones (June 29). There are more dimensions to the problem than merely one of security risk. The Suru valley is inhabited by Shia Muslims and Buddhists; the pattern shifts from Shia Muslims at Kargil to Buddhists as one travels up the valley, up to Pinsila Pass from where the Zanskar region starts, which is inhabited mostly by Buddhists.

The Suru valley is narrow and has limited grazing areas and this is compounded by the fact that the valley remains under snow for long periods i.e. from the end of October to about the middle of May. The yearly arrival of Bakarwals and Gujjars with a large flock of sheep and herds of other animals in the Suru valley has been a source of ethnic conflict whose roots lie in economic considerations.

The locals have been protesting against this yearly influx as it cuts into the very limited resources (grazing areas) which are not even sufficient for the local animals. The state administration has been biased against the Shia Muslims and Buddhists and least sensitive to the needs of these ethnic groups.

While travelling through the Suru valley in 1990, I was stopped by a group of Buddhist monks and local Shia leaders and handed over a petition listing their problems, particularly one pertaining to the ingress of outside grazing animals and depriving them of their limited resources. No civil administrative officer had cared to address their grievances and in fact were perceived to be biased and therefore, they decided to place these before a senior Army officer passing that way. I passed on their petition to then Chief Secretary V.K. Kapoor and later, at a meeting, checked if he had received it and that he had taken the necessary corrective action. He assured me that he had done the needful.

It is our inability to address even ordinary problems and take timely corrective actions that has invariably led to unrest and conflicts in the tribal areas, particularly in the North-East. It is not a question of the government and the Army locking horns, but one of insensitive, biased and inept administration. Finally, while Bakarwals and Gujjars have been pro-India, of late changes in attitudes have been taking places and there have been instances of terrorists from across the border taking help from this group to move into the interior.

Lt-Gen HARWANT SINGH(retd), Chandigarh


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