Thursday, November 8, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Dialogue helps, but....

Apropos the editorial "Dialogue helps, but” (Oct 31), ironically when the West is devising strategies of avoiding Pakistani nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of insane fanatic jehadi elements in the contingency of a coup in Pakistan, President Parvez Musharraf wants “to pick up the threads left at Agra”. Perhaps only to divert the public attention from its Afghanistan fiasco! But is it also not painful that instead of helping to curb or rein in cross-border terrorism in Kashmir, the Western leaders even avoid accepting the violent activities, like the suicide attack on J&K Assembly on Oct 1, 2001, as terrorist acts?

If Pakistan has sponsored and perpetrated terrorism, the USA too, for its vested political and economic gains, has encouraged it by making Pakistan a friendly ally in its so-called global war against terrorism. Such double standards only complicate the issues and create new problems for the human race. The present US action against the Taliban and al-Qaida is also headed in such a direction. Sinking gradually into a quagmire of confusing priorities and lack of comprehensive vision, the USA might be repeating another Iraq and Somalia in Afghanistan. But should India remain a mute spectator and wait for the West to turn to our problems? Why should we not solve our problems in our own way and in the best interests of our people to maintain our national dignity and integrity?


Debt burden

Apropos the editorial "India's debt burden" (Oct 30), it is astonishing to know that India owes about $100.3 billion external loans and about Rs 7 lakh crore internal loans. It is a matter of great concern for every citizen. It is not understandable how and in which manner the country will be able to repay such a huge amount. The debt of the country is increasing everyday. Politicians do not realise the gravity of the situation. If the present trend of borrowing foreign loans continues the nation may become economically slave to lending countries.


The government has allowed the public sector banks to write off corporate loans worth Rs 8,245 crore in the past two years and the NPAs of these banks have risen to Rs 61,416 crore in this year without the inclusion of interest.

The government should publish a white paper on how it will tackle foreign/internal debt. It should also publish a list of companies benefiting from the government writing off Rs 8,245 crore NPAs, besides plans to recover NPAs amounting to Rs 61,416 crore.


Back to Mughal period?

First it was the Punjabi University authorities who committed a blunder by conferring a life-time fellowship award on a so-called Sufi but otherwise Punjabi pop-singer, Hans Raj Hans. That fellowship should have gone to Baquar Hussain of famous Patiala Gharana or to Puran Shahkoti, the guru of Hans Raj Hans.

Now the Punjab Government has decided to honour Hans Raj Hans with the “Raaj Gayak” award. Hans is a fine singer and his singing capabilities are never in question. I am one of his admirers and can claim to be his best friend.

Surinder Kaur, Mohammad Sadiq, Baquar Hussain, Puran Shahkoti, Wadali brothers are thousands miles ahead of Hans. I am not at all hesitant in saying that Hans by no means is serving the Punjabi folk and culture. Lust for money has prevailed upon him, which has forced him to sing very cheap songs like “Main nashai mein talli ho gaya”. He was also seen in a David Dhawan film which had a very cheap number. Surinder Kaur, Puran Shahkoti and Wadali brothers are true to their task and serving Punjabi culture.

“Raaj gayak” or “Raaj Nartakis” used to be found during the rule of Mughal kings and Navabs. After Independence none of the states has ever offered these titles to anyone. While conferring the title of Raaj Gayak, the Punjab Government wants to prove that there is no democratic setup, but it is the rule of some king or navab.

In the name of art, culture and democracy I make a humble request to Mr Badal not to commit a Himalayan blunder. At the same time I expect my learned friend, Hans, to decline this offer.

If still the government wants to go ahead with its foolish decision, then Hans’ latest song “Oh wekho, O wekho, sadhkan te agg turi jandi hai” should be played at the ceremony because this song would add to the glory of the function.

Dr NARESH RAJ, PatialaTop

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