Saturday, July 14, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



‘Hasten slowly’ for the Agra picnic

There is a Spanish saying: “Hestena lente”, which when translated means “hasten slowly”! Euphoria and too much expectation have a nasty habit of disappointing. There seems to be an undesirable and undeserved wave of bon homie gaining momentum in India in anticipation of General Musharraf’s visit.

How does one explain this silliness of going overboard with the red carpet, and the romantic sight-seeing arrangements for the Agra picnic to the families who lost their members during Kargil conflict?

It would not be naive, but foolish to repose faith in the words of this conniving commando who has been striving ever since Kargil to arm-twist India on the Kashmir issue. This is amply demonstrated through his latest action whereby he managed to so effortlessly outmanoeuvre New Delhi and arrange for a meeting with the Hurriyat. If this is not the height of ungraciousness of a guest, what is? Meek whimpers of protests from the romantic idealists, or shall I say bumbling clowns at New Delhi, must have amused the General no end.

General Musharraf, it seems, is already making the Delhi jokers dance to his tune. Let us be wary of this man driven by a single minded obsession. His whole survival and existence in Pakistan is dependent on this one issue right now. The question is: if Nawaz Sharif lost credibility, ironically at Lahore, which is famous for its hospitality, how can we repose any trust in the General?


At the end of the day, it is indeed high time, both India and Pakistan realised the futility of their unending squabbling. If there is one thing that the two neighbours need to understand once and for all, it is that more than half a century of “tu tu main main” has led us nowhere.

Talk to the devil if it brings peace, for all I care. But please, do not go overboard with the sightseeing and the traditional “aao bhagat”. Let us show some prudent reserve and sobriety in our dealings. The man is coming with all defiance and arrogance of an ungracious guest, not to picnic.


Soldiers in Pakistani jails: It is presumed that some Indian soldiers missing during the 1965 and 1971 wars are still languishing in Pakistani jails. This point has been raised several times by relatives of these unfortunate soldiers.

Some of the prisoners who were released from the Pak jails during the past few years confirmed this fact. This point should be raised during the Vajpayee-Musharraf talks and a thorough search be made in different Pak jails. The Pakistani authorities should not have any difficulty in releasing such POWs on humanitarian grounds.

Let us hope that General Musharraf agrees to do such a pious job.



What an honest, natural and sincere ally the SAD is to the BJP! Is it not behaving like a big brother? In spite of the fact that the position of the SAD is weak in the Lok Sabha and the Assembly, it has not learnt any lesson. It has not shared any seat with the BJP in the human rights commission, the electricity regulatory commission, the public service commission, the school board, the PSEB and various selection boards.

It has ditched the BJP and sided with the Congress in the Chandigarh and Nangal municipal committees and humiliated the government's own Education Minister at the instance of an unacademic, unpopular and controversial VC. The only seat it has given to the BJP recently is of the Rajya Sabha and that too because of the religious and geographical background of the candidate.

The sooner the BJP realises this, better it would be. Otherwise it would meet the same fate as it has met in Haryana.

RAMESH MADAN, Ambala cantt


High drama in Chennai

To call the developments in Chennai as high drama (as the Press has done) is an overstatement. In theatrical terms, it is only a minor scene from a comic farce. Even while she was down and out, Ms Jayalalitha had unambiguously said that she would deal with her tormentors when she came back to power and had more than implied that the things she would do to them would be of crudely surgical nature (a la Zakhmi Aurat).

She has stopped short of that, for the time being, that is. If Mr Karunanidhi was slapped and dragged by the police, it is merely a gesture: more is more than likely to follow, however, concerned the President, the PM and others might seem.

And a good thing too. The public should sit back in front of their TV sets with bags of potato chips and enjoy the sitcom. The present day Indian politicians, personified by people who often pluck mikes from their tables and use them and other articles of furniture as missiles to be hurled at their adversaries are only an unruly mob with no sense of decency and decorum.

They play their games by turns and set the rules of the game themselves. There is a war on — a personal one — and everything is fair. One does not accuse one's enemy of dropping more bombs than one had done. Mr Karunanidhi will have to swallow whatever is dished out to him and wait for his turn.

In any case, which politician has ever shown enough grace that he or she can be disgraced? Therefore, the noise being made about the treatment meted out to Mr Karunanidhi and co is entirely misplaced injured innocence: all politicians richly deserve what they get from one another.

There is no need to get worked up over the crocodile tears being shed by a group of politicians because of the impropriety of Ms Jayalalitha's conduct. Are politicians the only people who should be treated with courtesy by the police? Thousands of ordinary, respectable people, the children of a lesser god, bear with these indignities day in and day out.

However, if there is a lesson to be learnt, it is for the civil servants, senior police officers and subordinate judicial officers. No politician will ever accept responsibility for their conduct. They should try to maintain their neutrality and some semblance of rule of law. Scores of people were hanged who were just acting under orders. In Europe. At Nuremberg.

Dr R. P. JINDAL, Amritsar

National integrity: History is a frequent witness to the fact that whenever the central authority has weakened and failed to apply the unifying force or a healing touch, divisive anti-national elements have exploited the prevailing conditions and resorted to oppressive ways in the country.

We must guard against these pernicious developments in the interest of national integrity and the overall well-being of the people by incorporating suitable provisions in the Constitution. In the ultimate analysis, though, it is the mutual goodwill among the citizens, love and pride for one's motherland, enlightened mainstream thinking, unalloyed commitment and sustained effort that form a durable basis for the strength and glory of a nation.

We have not paid adequate attention to these areas and taken substantive steps although there has been no dearth of pompous talk from our “netas”. Catch phrases like "unity in diversity", "composite culture", "pluralistic society" etc, however, well enunciated, do little to enthuse the masses for long.

Alexander Pope, an English poet, has rightly said: "For forms of government, let fools contest/Whatever is administered best, is best". You may have the best of constitution, yet a most inefficient, corrupt and callous government.

Wing Cdr S. C. KAPOOR (retd), Noida

Getting restless: The sordid drama of political vengeance has been enacted in Tamil Nadu and as usual highlighted in the media because thedramatis personae are the same politicians. The nation watches them trading charges of blatant misuse of power and indulging in corruption.

Indisputably, they all indulge in corruption and misuse power. Therefore, both are correct when they level such charges. The only difference one can observe now is that in order to settle personal scores, they are getting restless and do not wait even to allow the law to take its own course. They are caught in a vicious circle nurtured by them only.

The entire episode should serve as a reminder to these politicians of the plight of ordinary citizens of this country. It is common knowledge that day in and day out people in this country are taken in custody flouting the Supreme Court guidelines in this regard and thousands in this country are languishing in jails without trial. This is an opportunity for these politicians to introspect as to how far they have been able to guarantee the citizens equality, liberty and fraternity as enunciated in the Constitution by which they swear day in and day out.

D. S. MATHUR, Ambala cantt

VIPs & the law: The release of Mr Karunanidhi (78) on humanitarian grounds without any bail raises many questions. A criminal is a criminal and must be dealt with under the law. Are Chief Ministers and other VIPs above the law and be given preferential treatment even in criminal cases?

D. P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

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