Friday, August 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Defining political will: time to discard the soft state image

This refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article Defining political will (August 17). Jawaharlal Nehru has often been criticised not only by the author but also many others, including retired Generals, for ordering a ceasefire in 1948 when the Pakistan army was on the run. But what is overlooked is the fact that the area under Pakistani control was inhabited by Punjabi Muslims, who were totally under the influence of the pro-Pakistan Muslim Conference. Unlike the Kashmiri Muslims, they would not have co-operated with our troops and any further advance by the Army would have created a serious political problem for the Sheikh Abdullah government and India. Nehru’s decision was, therefore, politically correct.

Assuming that the Indian Army had been successful in throwing out the aggressor and regaining the lost territory and the Pakistan army had taken it lying down, there still would have been a Kashmir problem and would have probably commenced much earlier than the 1965 India-Pakistan war.

In the modern times it is not possible for any army to hold on to a territory against the willing co-operation of the people. Those who differ with this ought to realise that there was absolutely no problem in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) as its entire territory had become part of Pakistan as a result of partition in 1947. Then why did the East Pakistanis, majority of whom were Muslims, rise against the Yahya Khan government in 1971? It was because of wrong policies followed by Islamabad which further aggravated the problem by trying to solve it militarily and by giving the army a “free hand”. The result is there for all to see.


We often boast of having created Bangladesh out of Pakistan and taking over 90,000 Pakistani soldiers as prisoners of war. But our rulers failed to learn any lessons from Pakistan’s experience in East Pakistan. Had they done so, there would have been no insurgency, including cross-border terrorism, in Kashmir today.

Unless the root cause of people’s alienation is tackled politically, there is no likelihood of the Kashmir problem being resolved militarily. It would be highly fallacious to compare the Kashmir problem with insurgency in Punjab where 95 per cent of the residents were against it. It is the other way round in Kashmir.



A COUNTRY OF COWARDS: While Mr Hari Jaisingh has defined political will in his well-worded article let me, as a retired soldier, do my little bit on the subject. I would confine myself to two daring persons who had not only strong political will but also a political passion that pulled their people towards them.

Let us cheer Sir Winston Churchill who rallied his people with the words: “We shall not flag or fail, we shall go to the end, we shall fight in the fields and streets. We shall never surrender”.

True to his words, he won the war for Britain. Shame on us that our Prime Ministers address the nation from the bullet-proof box. Who would save the life of the audience, including schoolchildren?

The second person was Sardar Patel. A dignified and daring personality. Lord Mountbatten wrote to Sardar Patel in June, 1948: “There is no doubt that by far the most important achievements of the present govt, is the unification of the states to the dominion of India. Had you failed in this, the result would have been disastrous.”

According to Hudson, the author of “Great Divine”, Lord Mountbatten once observed: “I am glad that Nehru has not been put in charge of the new states department which would have wrecked everything”.

For his political will, Sardar Patel was often compared with Bismark, who effected German unification in the late 19th century. Bismark unified only a dozen of states into the German fabric, while Patel handled 561 states of different design and delinquency. Germany had named its battleship Bismark. While India forgot this invincible man of impeccable integrity after his death. Patel had amazing capacity to size up men and movements to strike the iron when it was hot, without a single drop of blood and added 800,000 sq km of land to the Indian Union.

When Churchill tried to complicate the Hyderabad problem by propping up the divisive game of Nizam, Patel responded clearly and firmly: “It is only a goodwill spirit and not on the malice and venom of Mr Churchill’s tongue that an enduring relationship can be built between India and Britain and other members of the Commonwealth”.

Any other politician would have either run to the UNO or bent before Churchill and allowed the will of Nizam to prevail. And when Patel died, his only property was a few dhotis and a kurta. But those dhotis and the kurta were made of steel and not from the wool of the sheep which our present dhotiwallas are wearing.

Today even college students openly speak about the best earning profession. They jokingly say that to earn Rs 50 lakh in five years, be an MLA and Rs 5 crore be an MP or a minister. The only strong will that our present politicians have today is the will to plunder and pollute the country.


SUGGESTIONS: I agree with the author that political will can be attained by studying the problem in a historical perspective. For instance, if Nehru could have used his political will, there was no question of existence of PoK. I wish to make a few suggestions:

1. Vigil on the LoC and the Indo-Pak border should be increased many times, leaving zero chance for infiltration to take place.

2. An effective employment drive should be launched so that unemployed youth are not lured by the ISI.

3. Rules should be relaxed so that people of other states could settle in J&K to relieve the minorities from a sense of insecurity.

4. Better facilities and more sophisticated weapons should be provided to the military so that its morale remains boosted and it feels comfortable in odd working conditions.

Dr JASPAL SINGH, Mustafabad


A PR exercise

Two senior bureaucrats, Mr A.K. Goswami and Mr Harish Gupta, the outgoing and incoming Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh, figured prominently in the features “In the News” and “Regional Potpouri” (August 9). Both write-ups seem subtle exercises in public relations and image-building.

I am curious to know the name of the “89-year-old freedom-fighter” who while congratulating Mr Gupta on his elevation as the state’s Chief Secretary, said: “I only wish if P.K. Dhumal had appointed Harish Gupta as CS three years ago, all development activities initiated by him would have been fulfilled”. How disparaging of the outgoing Chief Secretary! And what a crude way of “worshipping the rising sun”

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)


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