Monday, September 10, 2001, Chandigarh, India


Roads to villages are badly damaged

In our lower classes we used to read stories about the kings of our golden era, who would take on the common man’s attire and visit their kingdom to know the problems and difficulties that the general public was facing. Hardly would any premier follow these steps now; can’t say whether problems have grown into too many or the concept has grown too old or is it that concern with the common man’s problems is nobody’s concern.

There has been a hue and cry over the issue of infrastructure. What has been done over the years is beyond the grasp of the common man; he does not know which part of the highway is being built up, but he knows that the road outside his home, the road that links his place with other important points is filled with digs and pits. When we say that India lives in villages, we must see that life of India is linked to the mainstream of economic activity. It is all the more important now when we are attracting foreign investment, we must ensure that our “India that lives in village” partakes in it.



Infrastructure is a priority area and most of the trade and transportation in India takes place on roads. If we wish to develop and match with developed nations it must be ensured that roads are built on international standards. People should not be made to waste their time in driving very slow where the roads are badly damaged (We can see badly damaged road signs everywhere) and then driving rashly to make up for the lost time, causing risk and even loss to life.

It should be ensured that roads built survive for their full life period a good condition. We often see roads unable to beat the first rain. The firms building such roads should not only be blacklisted but also penalised for endangering precious human lives. The name of the builder who makes the road should be displayed at certain specific points along the road. Let his name take the reputation for building the road. It will make the builder more responsible.

A few years ago our Prime Minister wished to build a super highway connecting the East with the West and the North with the South. Progress watched in early years over this project will help deliver the things as desired. How good will it be if the Prime Miniser takes the route suggested by our golden era kings and tour India on roads. Maybe he says: Roads to dreams are badly damaged.”



Confusion over uniform

The recent problem about the uniform of the nursing officers of the Military Nursing Service (MNS) and ensuing confusion is the Army’s own creation.

Till a year ago everything was fine, with the MNS nurses happily wearing the traditional white dress. The Army in its wisdom decided to change their uniform to olive green (OG) akin to that of regular officers. However, the Army soon noticed that with the change in the dress the nurses often get mistaken for doctors or regular women officers, thus creating embarrassing situations. The Army made a clumsy attempt to overcome the problem by introducing a white gown to be working over the OG by the nursing officers which was contested by them as being impracticable and was ultimately withdrawn.

The best solution to the problem would be to revert to the good old widely accepted white dress for the nursing officers and be done with the OG once for all.

Wg Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar


Army takeover?

Apropos the article Political insensitivity towards military by Mr Rakesh Datta (Sept 4), the author is very right in observing that “ever since Independence the political leadership of the country has lived with the imaginary fear of the military staging a coup and thereby casting a direct aspersion on the credentials of the most loyal, faithful, obedient and disciplined force. It is the same inbuilt fear which has put the Army in a state of constant alienation.”

All tottering regimes are scared of their military. The world history is replete with such examples. Before the Battle of Palassy (1757) Siraj-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Bengal, kept his army away from his capital (Murishdabad) for months on futile marches due to the imaginary fear of a military coup against his misgovernance. When this neglected and distrusted army took the field, its tens of thousands of men just could not match Robert Clive’s 250 European and just about a thousand well looked after native soldiers. Even the German army, one of the best in the world both professionally and in terms of loyalty, was not trusted by Hitler which prompted Field Marshal Irvin Rommel to write to Hitler, “...we are expected to have faith in you when we are not even trusted” (BBC serial — The Commanders).

It is time the Indian politicians shed their imaginary and totally unfounded distrust of the Army. The Indian Army is too mature and realistic to enter into the political arena. During the Emergency, as per the Time magazine, Indira Gandhi wanted the Army to intervene and the then Army Chief, General Raina, refused.

Even if “ordered” to “take over”, the Indian Army will not do so. Who wants to take over a tottering system? Never “reinforce failure” is one of the cardinal tactical principles. So let our worthy politicians relax and look after the Army to enable it to look after the security of the country. No one knows when the next “Kargil” may occur.

Brig HARWNT SINGH (retd), Mohali

Why this photograph?

The Tribune has printed a photograph (Aug 29) of wailing relatives of Fayaz Ahmed Dharma, zonal commander of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, who was killed in an encounter. Is this a tribute to the zonal commander of the separatist group or the innocent people killed by him?

AJAY JOSHI, Mandi Gobindgarh

Terrorist glorified: By publishing the photograph of certain wailing relatives of a terrorist on the front page, (Aug 29), The Tribune has tried to glorify the dead terrorist. In case your paper is under any pressure from terrorist organisations to publish such photographs, you should also publish write-ups about his victims.

S.S. MONGIA, Mohali

Victims ignored: Militants are daily killing innocent civilians and security personnel fighting for the integrity of the country. Photographs of their aggrieved relatives have never been shown by your paper so prominently.



I have been misquoted by your correspondent Monica Sharma in her write-up on preference for lecturers' job over school teachers by meritorious people. The statement attributed to me seems to have stemmed from my anti-tuition stance.

I, undoubtedly, am against the practice of tuitions and teaching academies, but it is not the college lecturers who are responsible for the present situation in which teaching shops thrive. The bulk of the tuition activities involves teachers even from schools, and otherwise also those people who have nothing to do with the noble profession of teaching are running tuition shops.

I am extremely pained over the derogatory remarks about college teachers attributed to me. I have the highest regards for my profession and all those talented college teachers who are holding high the banner of values.

R.C. JEEWAN, Principal, DAV College, Chandigarh

Principal R.N. Mehta

Countless of his students in India and abroad, are grieved over the passing away of Principal R. N. Mehta at Faridabad on September 2, 2001. He was on the founding faculty of D.A.V. College, Amritsar, when that college was started in 1955. It was a pleasure, nay sheer bliss, to attend his chemistry class. A difficult subject indeed. A teacher par excellence and a strict disciplinarian. That was Principal Mehta. An institution in himself. With his qualities of head and heart, he endeared himself alike to the students, parents, and his own colleagues. He was the right hand man of Principal B.S. Bahl, the founding Principal of D.A.V. College, Amritsar. Both of them stewarded the college to the pinnacle of glory. In due course he became the Principal of D. A. V. Colleges at Amritsar and Jalandhar, and played his innings very well.


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