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Sunday, October 21, 2001
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The Afghan trap

Osama bin LadenTHROUGH his write-up "The Afghan trap" (October 7), Himmat Singh Gill traces the chequered history of Afghanistan. Indeed, much of what is wrong with the region today — especially the barbaric rise of Taliban — is the consequence of superpower rivalry in the eighties. Over the winter of 1979-80, the Russian army entered Afghanistan. It was a foolish decision and the US was quick to see that the situation had the potential to grow into the Soviet Union’s version of the Vietnam war.

President Reagan decided to tie the Russians down in Afghanistan by financing, arming and organising resistance organisation using Zia-ul-Haq’s Pakistan as a staging post. The General was delighted. Not only would his regime have access to American arms and funds, he would also win the undivided attention of the White House.

Over the next decade, the US poured billions into Afghanistan through the Pakistan funnel. Since there were no ideological issues involved, the resistence was organised on religious lines: the soldiers of Islam (the Mujahideen) fighting their jehad against the godless Russian communists.

In the short-term, the strategy worked. The Afghan war sapped the Soviet Union of money and morale. Eventually, the Russians withdrew in disgrace. But in the long-term, this strategy devastated the region and eventually rebounded on America.. Every single party involved in the battle paid a heavy price. The people of Afghanistan, of course, suffered the most. Ever since the Russians left, they have gone from one unstable regime to the other, ending up eventually with the barbaric Taliban drawn from the ranks of the Mujahideen trained in Pakistan under the auspices of the US.

 


The people of Afghanistan recognised that their country was no more than a theatre for the American war against Russia and hate the US for it. This hatred is epitomised by the very Mujahideen that the Americans created out of nothing. The Americans now tell us that these people are dangerous. They frown at the term Mujahideen, once glorified by them and say that jehad is a global menace. They declare that the very acts they once trained the Mujahideen to perform in Afghanistan — blowing government buildings, taking out inconvenient politicians etc — are in affront to civilisation. What logic!

K.M. VASHISHT, Mansa

 

Guru Dutt

Apropos of M.L. Dhawan’s article "He made films with passion, not money" (October 7), Guru Dutt was as good an actor as he was a filmmaker, though he never thought of himself as such. After shooting two or three reels of Pyaasa, he grew doubtful about how his voice sounded on screen and invited thespian Dilip Kumar to play the role he was playing. It is only when Dilip Kumar declined the offer that he decided to continue to act in the film. Aar Paar had been started with Dev Anand. For Kagaz Ke Phool, he had approached Chetan Anand who demanded a price which Guru Dutt could not afford. After the debacle of Kagaz Ke Phool, he had no money to engage a big star in Sahab Bibi Aur Gulam. It is indeed ironical that today these film are remembered for his sensitive and subtle performance.

I beg to differ with the writer that Guru Dutt did not create cinema like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen etc. From 1951 to 1964, Guru Dutt made only eight films and in Pyaasa, Kagaz Ke Phool and Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam he was on a par with the best in the world.

I deeply appreciate and applause the efforts being made to keep alive the memories of Indian movies and movie makers through this column.

M.L.SHARMA, Chandigarh

Patel’s legacy

V.N. Dutta in the article "Patel’s legacy" (September 30) threw light on Sardar Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru. Sardar Patel had tackled hard nuts like the Nizam of Hyderabad. Nawab of Junagarh and many more Muslim rulers whose loyalty lay with Pakistan.

Sardar Patel was a man of courage and was devoted to the welfare of India. East Punjab and West Bengal are the Sardar’s gifts to India.

S.S. JAIN, Chandigarh.

 

Marital blues

This refers to "Have separate loos, avoid marital blues" by Mohinder Singh (October 7). If the logic behind having separate loos for husband and wife is accepted, then they should also have separate drawing rooms, separate bed rooms, separate lawns, separate family friends so on and so forth. For that matter, every member of the family should have each and every item of the household to himself or herself. In short, each one should have a full house. Can anybody with even a bit of intelligence agree to this proposition? And , further ,is it possible to do so? Land is the aloofness that is implied in this scheme of things desirable and healthy?

CHAMAN LAL KORPAL, Amritsar

 

II

Smooth marital relations do not depend on having separate bathrooms. It can be achieved when husband and wife learn to tolerate emotional qualities peculiar to each, to do things together, develop similar interests, be quick to praise each other, be quick to admit mistakes, discuss problems and interests, express appreciation of gifts and above all avoid quarelling on minor issues like bathrooms.

Both the partners should try to discard their negative views and ignore minor irritants like tidiness or slovenliness of each other.

O.P. SHARMA, Faridabad

A genuine partnership

This refers to the article "When partners turn strangers", by Taru Bahl (September 30). Partnership during old age is not confined to only physical needs but it is more specifically moulded for deep understanding, caring ways and compromises. Age brings more responsibilities and complications in life. Instead of blaming each other for negligence both partners should share duties. It is the time when one has to re-start one life with strong bonds of affection, understanding and genuine partnership.

POONAM, Faridkot

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