Thursday, September 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Teachers’ agitation affects students

Owing to the ongoing agitation by teachers and non-teaching staff of the non-government colleges in Punjab and Chandigarh, the college education in the State is in shambles. The teachers are observing a two-hour strike daily while the non-teaching staff strikes work for three hours a day for implementation of their already accepted demands. They have even threatened to intensify their struggle in case of non-implementation of these accepted demands. So much so that even the principals’ association and managements’ federation of these colleges organised a day-long dharna at Chandigarh on September 18 in support of their demands.

The loss of precious teaching hours will have adverse bearing on the careers of students particularly to those belonging to (+2) and BA/B.Sc/B.C.A (final year) classes as they have to seek admission in career courses after their final examinations.

While the students are suffering, the Punjab Government seems to be unconcerned about what is happening to these colleges in the State.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is, therefore, requested to hold a special “Sangat Darshan” for these colleges at the earliest and solve their problems so that the functioning of colleges in the State is brought back to normal and students are saved from any further loss.

Y. P. MAKKER, Malout


Kairon & soldiers

Apropos of the letter on Kairon by Mr M.S. Parihar (Sept 14), I wish to add that Partap Singh Kairon was highly educated with a postgraduate degree (economics) from Berkley University, USA. He had a great vision and wider exposure. He imbibed the American respect for soldiers and the veterans. In 1962 he even donned the military uniform while visiting the troops in Ladakh, which did wonders to their morale. He gave strict instructions for the welfare of the soldiers and made rules to that effect e.g. the rule about unlimited extraordinary leave (without pay) for soldiers’ wives when the former were posted in peace stations. That rule is still valid.

Thanks to his wider exposure, he was a great administrator with a tight grip over the bureaucracy and his Cabinet colleagues without curbing their style. The same can’t be said of the present CM. Just a few examples would suffice. Though the CM wanted to hand over the Defence Services Officers’ Institute [DSOI] to the Army, its right full claimant, quite some time back, yet his Finance Minister [FM] scuttled the move from 1997 onwards and the slothful bureaucracy placed all sorts of obstacles, forcing the members to go to the court. Could it do so in Kairon’s time?

Also the soldiers in Punjab are made to pay additional excise in lieu of octroi on liquor, thereby making it the costliest in the region. The government had accumulated about Rs 45 crore from the military and this money is yet to be refunded to the Cantonment Boards/Military/Air Force Stations. The civic amenities in these stations are pathetic, to say the least, for lack of funds.

Again 220 war widows from Punjab are yet to be allotted the land promised to them.

The present CM is nowhere near Kairon as for as the serving and ex-servicemen are concerned. To compare the former with the latter is to do injustice to the memory of the latter who was a great leader by any standards.

Brig HARWANT SINGH (retd), Chandigarh



Shoddy remarks

I am a resident of Virginia, USA and the incidents of past few days have affected us very much. I feel a deep sympathy for all the family members of those perished in the attacks.

Everybody here is quite concerned about the safety and well-being of Arab-Muslims and Sikhs living here who are being taken for as terrorists for their attire and appearance. The authorities here are sparing no effort in ensuring the safety of each and every individual living here.

In wake of all the measures being taken up and seeing the American culture from so close quarters, I find the remarks of some of my dear friends quite pitiful and shoddy when they say that nature has taken its course by killing so many Americans and teaching them a lesson. The question arises that from whom the nature has taken its revenge, those innocent people who were never aware of any politics or any calculative moves taken by some politicians.

Moreover I would like to pinpoint to those individuals who are making a hue and cry about India’s solidarity and Indian people being attacked back in India that where was this spirit of unity when so many Sikhs were killed in 1984 riots? At least they have caught the man who murdered the person and he will be prosecuted in court and will get the punishment. But it does not apply for people who spread the 1984 riots.

The need of the hour is to forget the petty differences and curb the terrorism by uniting as one as it could affect each and every individual on this planet. And I pray for the well-being and safety of mankind from such beasts as Osama bin Laden. Long live humanity.




Eliminate evil

Mahatma Gandhi was a great human being, and his philosophy of non-violence gave the world a way out of madness when we needed it most. But how would he respond to the terrorist attacks on America?

I’m not an expert on Gandhian philosophy, but I have studied him and his beliefs for several years. Gandhi believed non-violence would even work against the worst kind of evil, like Adolf Hitler. But does it work against an invisible enemy? Does it work against a handful of people who are willing to die for their cause?

Normally, I would be against violence of any kind, but I have to think Gandhi’s theory of non-violence would not work in this case.

These people have to be eliminated as soon as possible so the people of the world can feel safe again. But I fear such an effort would produce more terrorism and more violence.

As an American, I have faith that this effort will succeed. And I would like to thank the people of India for their great support of this worldwide effort to eliminate evil.

BRIAN GOODELL, Des Moines, Iowa, USA


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