Friday, November 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Terrorism-infested paradise: time for USA to review policy options

This refers to "A terrorism-infested paradise" by Mr Hari Jaisingh (Nov 2). It would be unfair to blame the USA for the problems we are facing now, which are basically our own creation. Due to false notions practised by our rulers and a policy of appeasement, India has been rendered a very soft state and become incapable of facing day-to-day problems.

Why India has become a soft state? Who has made it soft? Is the USA responsible for it? Why we do not accept that Gandhi, Nehru and their followers who ruled India for half a century are squarely accountable for it. India is a soft state due to the constitutional, administrative, and socio-religious set-up, given to it by Gandhi, Nehru and their followers.

Nehru let down India by delaying army help to J&K, then further spoiled it by ordering a unilateral ceasefire when our forces were advancing very fast, and further made it chronic by offering referendum. Is the USA responsible for it?

Again, Lal Bahadur Shastri failed India in 1965 by returning all the areas to Pakistan captured by our armed forces which included even those areas liberated in J&K and India had a legitimate right over them, and even a Hindu-majority district of Tharparker in Sind, which Pakistan as an Islamic country had no business to retain.

And Indira Gandhi released 93,000 criminal PsOW, after feeding them with nice food, without in return asking Pakistan to vacate occupied Kashmir. How is the USA responsible for it?


Blood-shed in Kashmir: It is paradoxical that we 100 crore Indians are being taken for a ride by Pakistan having a population of just 14 crore through a proxy war in the name of so-called jehad for the last 15 years. Militarily as well as numerically, we are many times stronger than Pakistan but still we continue to get bashed up by Pakistan and in the bargain our people in J&K are the victims of Pakistan terrorism which has been now fully exposed after the September 11 terrorist attacks. How long willthis bloodshed in Kashmir continue?


Our leaders practically take no concerted action against Pakistan misadventure in Kashmir other than verbal rhetoric and lodging complaints with the USA and international forums.

This reflects a defensive mindset of our government and failure of our cool foreign policy which has emboldened Pakistan to continue its game plan of terrorism in Kashmir. It is well known that offence is the best form of defence when dealing with an enemy.

The present military regime in Pakistan has been advocating that the Kashmir issue has become a nuclear flashpoint. In other words, Pakistan has been threatening India with its nuclear weapons. India must convey to Pakistan that we too possess nuclear arsenal, which must be kept in high state of combat readiness under the present circumstances.

Since J&K is an integral part of India, we must convey to Pakistan that we are ready for bilateral talks under the Simla Agreement so for as these are related to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) only. Further, if Pakistan does not stop cross-border terrorism, India should launch concerted attacks on terrorist camps in Pakistan & wipe them out. We have to fight Pakistani terrorism on our own.

The need of the hour is a strong political will and change of mindset for offensive and proactive action against terrorism. Folded-hand policy and verbal statements will not pay any dividends.

Wg Cdr GURMAIL SINGH (retd), Chandigarh

Indo-US ties: The USA should now measure men and moments and see India as a reliable and responsible friend in its fight against fundamentalism fathered by the ISI. But the survival of General Musharraf depends upon the survival of the Talibanisation all in the name of religion, a religion that exists no where else in the world other than Pakistan. The mind of General Musharraf is like that of Jinnah who, when suggested by the late Field Marshal Montgomery to avoid partition, came up to say, "How can that be, the Hindus worship cows and we at them".


Harsh reality: All democratic regimes like India, the USA and Russia have had a bitter taste of terrorism. Had the USA not patronised Pakistan and instead heeded to India's saner voice, many incidents of terror could have been averted. This harsh reality must be highlighted at the global forums. We need to strengthen our diplomatic front. American leaders, instead of guiding us to practise restraint in dealing with Pakistan, must see the writing on the wall and render this sincere advice to Pakistan.

K. L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

Power hike in Himachal Pradesh

Apropos Mr S.P. Sharma's report on the power hike in H.P and your editorial on the subject, it is sad to notice how the HPSEB and the electricity regulatory commission (ERC) are operating from their high pedestal, neither having thought it fit to have the decision of power hike published in the leading newspapers of the region as a consumer-friendly measure. The hapless consumers are left to fend for themselves and to infer from the newspapers how much is going to be the additional burden of the power hike on their purses.

What prevents them from informing the public through the media about the changes made and the rationale for having done so thrice during the last three and a half years? From the newspaper reports one concludes that the hike in rates would be 21.4 per cent in the 1-45 consumption slab and rising to 60 per cent in the 151-300 units slab. This would be apart from the 25 paise per unit winter surcharge for five months. It is clear that this latest hike would by no means be a modest one.

It was expected in this context that working within the framework of power-sector reforms, the ERC would stand up for the consumers and ask the HPSEB to, first of all, try to reduce some of its expenses, as any commercial enterprise would be expected to do. There would be no point for the board to say that it is a government corporation and not a commercial enterprise. The former will be sooner or later overwhelmed by the winds of privatisation to mend its ways or to quit.

The causes of high cost of supply of electricity in the state are already identified: an unjustifiably large work force, loss of power through inefficient distribution and its theft, and so on. Most people in the state also know that the HPSEB, through its cavalier attitude towards public funds, in the earlier years, had built almost three-star hotel like facilities at its guest houses in different parts of the state. Having perpetrated such profligacy, why not think of renting out such accommodation to tourists when these are not needed for official use. Other similar measures can be thought of to improve efficiency and generate adequate income to close the revenue gap rather than periodically punish the consumers for the inefficiencies of the board.

L.R. SHARMA, Shimla



Intellectuals & Sikhism

One cannot agree more than what Maj Piara Singh (retd) has said in his letter "Intellectuals have let Sikhism down"(Oct 30). It is not the intellectuals alone who are to be blamed for the Sikhs’ plight, but also Sikh organisations like the SGPC, the DGPC, Sikh institutions, foundations and training establishments for not imparting and radiating the true Sikh spirit.

The Sikhs are basically religious, liberal and secular by nature. In the absence of proper guidance or “dharam-parchar”, they are being exploited by pseudo-saints. The politicians are reaping a rich harvest of their followers' blind faith.

The intellectuals are doing more than their share by holding discussions, seminars and publishing books and articles in the national Press. For instance, the Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, has brought out 17 books on Sikh ethos, tradition, history and philosophy during the last 10 years of its existence, besides publishing a quarterly journal “Abstracts of Sikh Studies", which has a worldwide circulation and acceptance.

What is lacking in the Sikh Panth is the media of its own which, like the Bible societies, can publish and propagate the true Sikh way of life to the masses. If we can somehow stop marbling and gold-plating of gurdwaras by an edict from Akal Takht, crores of rupees can be saved for this purpose and for the welfare of humanity.

As regards Maj Piara Singh's comment that the Sikh intellectual has failed to interpret the Sikh scriptures...... to the fast changing existential needs of mankind entering the 21st century,” It may be stated that since the Gurbani is eternal, it cannot be interpreted differently for varying times and circumstances. Its message is relevant for all times.

Brig HARDIT SINGH (retd), Chandigarh

History of PU

I am writing a history of Panjab University. After shifting from Lahore it found a home for itself in Chandigarh. How did it grow thereafter? What were the academic and research concerns that the faculty and students evolve for themselves? What were their experiences in the teaching departments, their varied academic and extra-curricular activities?

If readers can provide me information about all these and other relevant matter, I would be grateful. The information provided will be used only for research purposes. Confidentiality, if desired, will be strictly maintained and due acknowledgement made in the published text.

M. RAJIVLOCHAN, Deptt of History, Panjab University, Chandigarh

Sehajdhari Sikhs

The word Sehajdhari Sikh is a misnomer. If the distinction has to be made, then it should be — a Sikh and a Keshdhari Sikh.


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