Wednesday, March 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi

E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


Sincerity is missing
henever Pakistan brings out a peace pipe, it is not meant for smoking but only for striking a congenial pose before the West. Since sincerity is missing, it ends up being an exercise in futility. In the beginning, India used to take these pious words seriously and responded suitably to the overtures.

New phase in Afghanistan
HE American intervention in Afghanistan has moved on to another decisive phase in which US troops have been in the thick of the battle with Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in eastern Afghanistan. 

Eradicate superstition
either Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi nor anyone else would have noticed the report about the killing of an old tribal couple in Jharkhand on suspicion of practising witchcraft. Dr Joshi would say it is none of his business to investigate ritual killings.




No globalisation for Asian workers
White bastions defended with force
Sunanda K. Datta-Ray
alking from El Paso in Texas to the Mexican town of Juarez nearly 40 years ago no one even asked for my passport. On the way back, however, US immigration was mightily offended because I had left behind in my room the white card that I had been given on landing at Boston. 


Yummy talk
Raj Chatterjee
he telegram had been handed in the previous day at P.O Kavali, which is (or was) in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. It was signed. “M. David” and to make sure that I knew who the sender was he had added “son of M. Philip”. That’s how it is in the south. A son is not usually known by his father’s name.


Gujarat carnage: let us be on our guard
he Godhra carnage of February 27 will go into history as the ugliest episode of the 21st century. As an aftermath of the carnage, violent communal riots broke out across Gujarat. All sane citizens of both communities should condemn such inhuman acts. This has cast a slur on humanity and our great nation, which believes in secularism.




Sincerity is missing

Whenever Pakistan brings out a peace pipe, it is not meant for smoking but only for striking a congenial pose before the West. Since sincerity is missing, it ends up being an exercise in futility. In the beginning, India used to take these pious words seriously and responded suitably to the overtures. Rather, it launched many concerted initiatives of its own to mend the fences, but all that it got in return was a bloody nose. Bitter experience has made it wiser. It no longer succumbs to empty rhetoric. This hardening of attitude is all the more noticeable after the attack on Parliament and it is in fitness of things that it has dismissed Islamabad's offer of an extradition treaty. After all, there are enough provisions in the Simla Agreement and other protocols in existence between the two countries for the latter to act on the Indian list of 20 fugitives. If it does not honour even Interpol requirements, where is the guarantee that it will abide by an extradition treaty? Obviously, it wants to delay the whole process. Earlier, it tried to muddy the water by coming up with a list of its own. When that stratagem did not work, it came up with proposals like the signing of an agreement to the effect that the two neighbours do not use their territories for cross-border terrorist activities against each other. What General Musharraf does not realise is that clever one-upmanship does not constitute responsible diplomatic policy. He got a fair slice of publicity by televising a private breakfast meeting with editors at Agra in a clandestine manner but this "master stroke" has been bad for Pakistan in the long run. Delhi is now wary of his little tricks and tends to take his theatrics in its stride. There is some risk that Islamabad's repeated public relations exercises might get some attentive ears in the USA and elsewhere but seen in totality, that chance is well worth taking.

In any case, its actions on the border do not match its words. It has had to concede that it had fired at an Indian plane two weeks ago, which had allegedly crossed into its airspace. The allegation is bizarre, considering that the plane was being flown by no less a person than Air Marshal V.K.Bhatia, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Air Command (WAC) and there was no question of intrusion. It is another matter that the whole issue has become controversial following the publication of certain news reports attributing the firing to the Indian Army troops stationed in the region. Even here, the Pakistani admission is part of a political gameplan. It has tried to give a convenient spin to the firing by saying that such incidents will happen once you get forces so close to each other. The idea is to somehow make India pull back its forces. 


New phase in Afghanistan

THE American intervention in Afghanistan has moved on to another decisive phase in which US troops have been in the thick of the battle with Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in eastern Afghanistan. Even as troops are being withdrawn after ninth day of fighting, Operation Anaconda continues as solders encircle and stifle Taliban forces, just as the deadly snake Anaconda would. The USA has suffered casualties as its solders fought alongside Afghans and other coalition forces, in Shah- i-Kot, a hostile terrain where they met with strong resistance in their efforts to flush out well-entrenched and well-armed remnants of Al Qaeda sympathisers. The battle has gone beyond the enormously destructive "daisy cutters" and other aerial weapons that allowed the American forces to stay a safe distance away. Now they are at the forefront of the fight, with attendant dangers. The stated intention is to flush out die-hard terrorists, the unstated one is to kill or capture senior Al Qaeda leaders. It has been, indeed, quite galling for the USA that it has not captured major Al Qaeda or Taliban figures, who have made good their escape. However, this is not surprising. Various anti-American figures, who have been branded "evil" from time to time, have displayed remarkable longevity-Fidel Castro, Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, to name a few. The list is long. The USA has not been able to show a sustained will in tackling its adversaries. It has relied more on massive destructive, largely aerial attacks, where it has always had an edge.

It is, however, a known fact that while aerial combat may cause destruction, and even flatten cities, ground troops are needed to hold on to captured territory. Though the USA and its allies hold the capital and its surrounding areas, there are still elements of resistance in other parts of the war-torn nation, especially in areas that were Taliban strongholds. The Hamid Karzai government has not been able to assert itself in all of Afghanistan. In fact, one of the problems with the regime in Kabul is just that-a regime that will face increasing challenges as it seeks to assert its will on the far-flung areas of Afghanistan, where the writ of warlords runs far more effectively as compared to that of the government in Kabul. It is ironic that the humanitarian and other aid that has been offered for the reconstruction of Afghanistan is but a fraction of what is being spent on the war effort. What the country needs is the healing touch, the infrastructure to provide amenities that are considered basic and necessary, food, clean water, power, roads, and jobs. Terrorism is evil and needs to be dealt with sternly. At the same time, it has been noticed too often that it flourishes in areas that are going through deprivation and where basic civil order has broken down. Afghanistan has had a long history of fighting foreign forces. It remains to be seen if it can yet emerge from its embattled and impoverished condition with its national dignity intact. It can do it if it successfully combats the enemy within.


Eradicate superstition

Neither Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi nor anyone else would have noticed the report about the killing of an old tribal couple in Jharkhand on suspicion of practising witchcraft. Dr Joshi would say it is none of his business to investigate ritual killings. But he cannot deny that promoting the study of science and inculcating the scientific temper in the future generation are among the many tasks he wants to accomplish as HRD Minister. For this reason alone the killing of the tribal couple should be as much his concern as of all those countless self-proclaimed rationalists. The 65-year-old man and his 57-year-old wife were killed by villagers because of rumours that they were practising witchcraft. The villagers went by the word of the local "ojha". He convinced them that the only way to get rid of the evil spirit that had possessed the village was by killing the elderly couple. Of course, belief in superstition is not confined to the tribal belt of Jharkhand. In a way, it is a universal phenomenon. In January the London police was stunned by a rare case of witchcraft death reported from a suburb. A male infant was used as the human sacrifice for appeasing the gods.

What happened in London was not a routine occurrence. However, in India the evil practice of human sacrifice has not yet been uprooted. There is hardly a region where women are not branded as witches and killed by the community members. India has many faces. Most of them are attractive because they represent the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of the country. But the one that should make every civilised and rational Indian hang his head in shame is the one that still believes in black magic, sorcery ad witchcraft. It is evident that the latest incident is part of a larger malaise. It has not received the attention it deserves. It would be instructive to find out the measures the state governments and the Centre have taken for eradicating superstition. Social reforms have been introduced in many fields. For instance, the diabolical system of sati has been abolished and laws have been made for dealing with demands for dowry from the bride or her family. Faith in superstition is also a serious problem that requires drastic measures for India to take its rightful place as a civilised nation in the evolving global village.


No globalisation for Asian workers
White bastions defended with force
Sunanda K. Datta-Ray

Walking from El Paso in Texas to the Mexican town of Juarez nearly 40 years ago no one even asked for my passport. On the way back, however, US immigration was mightily offended because I had left behind in my room the white card that I had been given on landing at Boston. When I tried to explain that I had done so for safety because the airport official had stressed the importance of handing over the card on my departure from the USA, and that I should have been warned in the morning, the man jerked his thumb towards the Rio Grande to exclaim: “Who cares who goes to Mexico. It’s coming here that matters!”

It matters even more today. The world is on the move, and the white nations are in a blue funk, witness the recent conference on people smuggling, the first of its kind, in Bali. Ironically, one of the two sponsors, Indonesia, is thought to be the operating base of some of the most daring and defiant traffickers in human cargo. The other, Australia, with 5,869 clandestine migrants in 1999-2000 against only 1,712 in 1997-1998, sees itself as the target of hordes of illegal Asians.

Though never myself tempted to migrate, I cannot but see the rank hypocrisy of the threat of strong measures to stop this worldwide traffic. It is glaringly inconsistent to pressure vulnerable nations to permit the free entry of goods and services that devastate economies while forcing their citizens into the straitjacket of passports, visas, work permits, immigration quotas and racist checks. If globalisation is the mantra of our times, it must apply as much to human beings as to commodities. The only way of effecting this is to set up a parallel World Migration Organisation which cooperates with the World Trade Organisation in creating a borderless world.

That will not happen so long as the status quo serves the interests of entrenched powers. Vigorously leading the campaign against migration, Mr John Howard, Australia’s Prime Minister, was caught out in two deceits. First, his government misrepresented the kind of Iraqis and Afghans seeking refuge in Australia as a potential burden on the state, if not downright criminals, in order to rally resistance and play to the racist gallery inpreparation for his country’s November elections.

This common trick was exposed last year when a British Home Office survey found that Asian settlers use free welfare services far less than the rest of the population. Then the Howard government invented the tale of Afghan refugees marooned in their ship throwing their children overboard. The purpose of this lie, which, too, has been nailed, was to present the applicants as inhuman to the point of barbarism.

Australia, New Zealand and the USA are immigrant nations that are to the fore in barricading further migration. Experts who analyse community psychology might make something of this paradox. It is commonplace in Singapore, another immigrant nation, to blame “foreign workers” (usually Bangladeshis, but often Indians too) for all crimes. I have known liberal Chinese appealing to their prosperous compatriots not to forget that they, too, came as refugees fleeing famine and civil war. I have also hung my head in shame hearing a middle class professional from Calcutta trying to curry favour by raucously taking up the cudgels against foreign workers, especially from his own community.

Singapore’s ethnic composition places it in a special category. The thousands of Albanians who are taken across the 42-mile stretch of Mediterranean to Italy by the skafisti (speedboat smugglers who charge $500) are also an exception to the ethnic rule. Otherwise, the challenge is clear: the black, brown and yellow races are laying siege to powerful white bastions. America and Australia were the favoured destinations but today’s preference is for the European Union which receives 400,000 illegal immigrants annually against America’s 300,000, according to the Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration.

Turks, including Kurdish victims of discrimination, lead the more than four million people who cross borders illegally every year, out of the nearly 200 million seeking to do so. Chinese come next, ready to go, as they say, wherever there is land and water. An illegal Chinese immigrant pays as much as $25,000 to get to Britain and $40,000 and more for the EU. It was reported 18 months ago that more than 50,000 Chinese were hanging about the 
Balkans waiting for a chance to cross into the EU. They were mainly from Fujian province where some villages have lost 10 per cent of their inhabitants. Iranians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Iraqis follow in that order.

Demand creates supply as restrictions force the traffic underground.Mr Pino Arlacchi, the Italian sociologist who heads the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, thinks that manpower smuggling is the fastest growing criminal activity. More profitable than trafficking in drugs, says Britain’s foreign secretary, Jack Straw. Hong Kong “snakeheads”, Nigerian prostitution syndicates, Iraqi blackmarketeers, Indonesian pirates and some 50 criminal gangs in Western Europe are not the only operators. Two years ago Chandrika Kumaratunga cautioned Sri Lankan parliamentarians who were suspected of charging up to Rs 50,000 per head to include potential emigrants in official delegations to Cyprus, Japan and the Scandinavian countries. Most illegal emigrants from Sri Lanka are, however, Tamils who are a rich source of revenue for the Eelam Tigers.

Traffic is growing phenomenally. Though its popularity is declining, the USA nevertheless registered an 80 per cent increase between 1997 and 1999. Arlacchi reckoned that the 58 dead Chinese who were found suffocated in a closed truck at Dover in June 2,000, represented only the tip of the iceberg. Overall, the industry is assessed at an annual $11 billion.

That speaks of an ingenious, resourceful, streamlined and adaptable worldwide network. It is no accident that two-thirds of the asylum-seekers who are rejected in Britain vanish before they can be deported. Nor do all illegals blend with the native population: reports speak of black prostitutes in Milan and of East European languages being more common than German on Berlin building sites. Nearer home, Thimphu crackles with Bangladeshi dialects.

Not all borders can be sealed, not all seas policed and landfalls watched. Migration reflects hope; migrants cannot be bombed into extinction like Al-Qaeda terrorists. The world must find some other solution for a situation that parallels the great movements to America and Australia. In fact, many regard the latter as illegal occupation of aboriginal land. The world has always needed migrants — Chinese to build US railways, Japanese to tend Hawaii’s pineapple plantations, Indians to grow sugarcane in the West Indies, Fiji and Mauritius and rubber in Malaysia, Jamaicans to run Britain’s buses and Indian doctors to keep the health service going.

With Europeans both ageing and becoming more affluent, the EU will need 35 million “extracommunitarians” by 2025. Like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Brussels might then decide to turn a blind eye to essential workers without legal papers. Or it might agree that the entire question of legality is subjective and irrelevant. Canberra called at Bali for “a strong, synchronised regional and global response” to the barbarian at the gate. The most enduring response would be to let the men go where the jobs are. Globalisation demands no less. 


Yummy talk
Raj Chatterjee

The telegram had been handed in the previous day at P.O Kavali, which is (or was) in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. It was signed. “M. David” and to make sure that I knew who the sender was he had added “son of M. Philip”. That’s how it is in the south. A son is not usually known by his father’s name. My mind went back 70 years as I stared at the pink piece of paper announcing the death of an old friend.

It was my last year at school. Someone, one of my teachers if I remember correctly, had asked me if I could help a South Indian boy who had come to him seeking a job.

He was about five years older than I but looked as if he hadn’t had a square meal in days. He had a slight stammer and spoke no Hindustani. He said his name was “Yum Philip”. “Yum?” I asked, suppressing a smile, “is that a South Indian name?” “No, no” he said, “the letter yum, before “yen” it stands for Matthew, my grandfather’s name”. Then he told me his story.

His father was a village schoolmaster in Ongole. He had borrowed money to pay his fare and the advance fee for a six months’ course in wireless telegraphy at an institute in Nai Sarak, Old Delhi, only for his son to discover, when he arrived in Delhi, that the institute did not exist.

He couldn’t go back and tell his parents that he had been duped by the advertisement, in the local paper. He had to find a job and earn enough to repay the loan taken by his father from the local bania. But first, he needed a roof over his head. Somewhere he could live cheaply and cook his own meals.

My parents were a little sceptical when I repeated the story to them. But one look at Yum Philip’s face was enough to make my mother change her mind. There was a spare room in the courtyard of our house and he could have some of our kitchen utensils. He had only one of his own, a brass coffee percolator that his mother had forced on him along with a course woollen jersey she had knitted for him.

It wasn’t difficult 70 years ago for government officials to make backdoor appointments. And so, through a friend of ours, a clerical post was found for my protege in the P and T Department on a salary of Rs 60 p.m.

Six years, and he thought it was time for him to get married. So he took his accumulated leave and went home. His father had already chosen a girl for him. On his return to Delhi he and his wife moved into government quarters not far from our house.

After I left home, just before the War I saw him only occasionally and soon after the war he managed to get himself transferred to Madras. I met him there in 1980, the year he was due to retire after several extensions.

Proudly, he held up his little grandson. “Yum Thomas”, he said. When he grows up he will go to you in Delhi. You must get him a job. He didn’t seem to realise that things had changed. Backdoor jobs needed a lot of greasing of palms.

A long time ago, I had given up trying to make him say “em” instead of “Yum”. Like South Indian Coffee I had grown to like the name.


Gujarat carnage: let us be on our guard

The Godhra carnage of February 27 will go into history as the ugliest episode of the 21st century. As an aftermath of the carnage, violent communal riots broke out across Gujarat.

All sane citizens of both communities should condemn such inhuman acts. This has cast a slur on humanity and our great nation, which believes in secularism. Communal peace and brotherhood must be restored to save our nation from falling prey to terrorist activities sponsored by our neighbours to damage and defame our country which is fighting cross-border terrorism. So let us be on our guard.

B. B. AKUL, Ferozepur

It’s sickening

The recent Godhra train attack and its aftermath has shaken my very roots. Seeing on TV and reading in newspapers about what happened and how it happened made me sick of being an Indian. Truly, it is a disgraceful for the nation as a whole. Now both parties will go on blaming each other for what happened there. I was not amazed at hooligans taking control of the situation but what surprised me most is that even the so-called educated and religious people do not shy away from barbarian acts. If this is what religion teaches, I would like to be a man without a religion!

RAJESH MALIK, Sain Dass A.S. High School, Jalandhar

Politicians safe

Can you name any politician or leader killed during the recent riots? It is the man in the street who suffers. I am reminded of Khrushchev's remark that "I have started believing that God exists in India".


Might is right

What has happened in Gujarat is a grave reminder of the 1984 riots in which thousands perished. The administration totally failed then and there has been a repeat performance by the present government. India no longer seems to be a democratic country. Might is right and there seems to be no protection for innocents who get caught on the wrong side.


Newton’s law?

The statement made by Mr Narendra Modi that the Gujarat riots were a case of Newton’s law of “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” was in bad taste.

In such circumstances it is essential to maintain communal harmony. These incidents were a great loss of human lives irrespective of any religion and cannot be and should not be equated as mere statistics.


Disputed site

Today’s state of affairs is due to the misrepresentation of facts by Muslim leaders to the common Muslims who never attach any significance to the disputed site and may be glad to offer this piece of land to the Hindus for a lasting solution of the problem.

A. ANAND, by e-mail

Media hype

I feel that it’s shameless for all Indians and all political parties who without understanding the complicated situation are wasting their efforts in giving lectures on the government’s capabilities. Media hype too is adding to the trouble. This is not the time to hold discussions that what is happening or has happened is due to the failure of government machinery. Rather this is the time when personal grudges should be kept aside to work collectively on an issue.

EKTA ARORA, Jalandhar

CM should quit

The state administration and authorities acted with deliberate slackness and criminal negligence in the grave situation which warranted prompt, impartial and stern action in the matter to prevent the mobs led by hooligans and anti-social elements from doing what they liked. If the authorities could not prepare themselves to deal with the awful situation even after six-eight hours of the first incident, the Chief Minister has no right to remain in the seat of power.


Not a legal issue

The Ayodhya issue is not a legal problem, but a religious and emotional issue. Rather than the Supreme Court, an elected legislature is a better platform for a solution. Earlier also the Supreme Court had refused to answer the Presidential reference about this issue in respect of its advisory jurisdiction. It shows the inability of the judiciary to solve complicated emotional issues.


Exploiting religion

Those who kill each other on grounds of religion are themselves irreligious. There is not even a whiff of spritualism, nor a trace of piety in religion these days, be it Islam, Christianity, Hinduism or Sikhism. Religious heads have used religion to acquire temporal power and all the luxuries of earthly life. “Sacrifice yourself to gain paradise” is the new chant these bigots have given to their followers.

Our politicians have joined hands with the clergy to gain or retain political power. They have fully exploited religion for their own nefarious personal ends. We may or may not believe in the two-nation theory, yet it has been with us for the last more than half a century breeding communal hatred and spilling blood. It is a reality which we, unfortunately, fail to or do not want to discern and face. We are a nation of cowards. We are afraid of calling a spade a spade. The Sept, 11 attack in New York followed by war in Afghanistan makes it abundantly clear that the Muslims in India are first Muslims and then Indians. This is true of all Muslims the world over. It is an uphill task to change the attitude of the Muslim community in India and rid them of the idea of social separation and economic backwardness.

On the other side is the unfortunate emergence of the V.H.P. with its ignorant kar sevaks. These people, bereft of all thinking powers, are trying to create a permanent Hindu-Muslims divide leading to the disintegration of this nation. Fighting for temple and mosque reflects lack of patriotism for the country which is their home. No amount of writing and no amount of suggestions can pull this nation out of the mess it has been led into by our political leaders. Only a revolutionary sweep of events can bring the nation on the right track. Till then it will continue to suffer the pangs of a wounded nation.

V. P. SHARMA, Chandigarh

Real motive

The Hindus as much as Muslims of our country will be failing in their duty to the nation if they tried to settle the Ayodhya dispute through violence or terror. Those who in the recent past showed utter contempt for the law and the Constitution are now suddenly willing to accept and abide by the law of the land. How can anybody possibly guess their real motive?


Lasting solution

Keeping the status quo will not help. Because it will only pacify the emotions but will not change them to an everlasting peaceful feeling. And one day some satanic-minded people will again stir them up to cause another havoc.


End poverty

At this juncture none should indulge in those activities which are harmful to the nation. Rather we should pledge to end poverty, ignorance, disease, communalism, casteism and narrow-mindedness, keeping in view the peace and prosperity of the country.

ARIF QURESHI, Sundernagar


The riots in 1947, 1984, 1992 and 2002 have proved that the biggest democracy in the world is nothing but a mockery of democratic values. It is a country where power hungry politicians exploit religious sentiments of people to secure their vote banks.


Punish the guilty

The Vajpayee government at the Centre and the dispensation in Gujarat, which as we all know is headed by a former RSS Pracharak, have to share the blame in equal measure for the carnage.

Apart from giving India a bad name, it has also exposed our hollow claims on secularism. It is indeed ironical that a regime that moved heaven and earth after the 13th December attack on Parliament failed to arouse itself from its Kumbhkaran like slumber for at least 2-3 days leaving the field open to arsonists.

The least that the Government of India and the Government of Gujarat can do now by way of atonement is to apprehend the culprits and give them exemplary punishment, irrespective of their political affiliations.

M. K. BAJAJ, Yamunanagar


Unless a strong public opinion is built up against the use of religion to stay in power, it appears that the secular fabric woven by our Constitution makers will continue to be shredded further by the fundamentalists in each community conniving with the politicians who play with religious sentiments to strengthen their own vote banks. Unfortunately, the real karsevak, the common man, who has time neither to go to mandir nor masjid and strives to make his both ends meet, continues to be a neglected lot as these fundamentalists and irresponsible politicians seldom think of improving his standard of living.

Let us all rise above the narrow mentality of religion and castism. Lit us all strive to repair and weave a social structure which helps us to enjoy our lives better rather than create avoidable bitterness between communities. A little sacrifice on the part of each community to consider the other's viewpoint can make all the difference to solve even the ticklish problems. Let us give our posterity something to cherish rather than make histories which perpetuate hatred further. The celebration of human life should not be destined to be lost in communal riots.

B. B. GOYAL, by e-mail

Feeling alienated

The act of torching at Godhra, which may be done by hired or communal persons, is strongly condemnable. The Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani has rightly said that persons responsible for this carnage will not be spared. But why is he silent with regard to those who killed innocent members of the minority for days together? They should be given the same punishment which will be given to the train killers.

In 1984 riots (actually communal frenzy because riots are there where both sides are fighting) many Sikhs were burnt to death by placing burn tyres in their necks by tying their hands back. Many Sikh families migrated to Punjab after this inhuman barbarism. These families found solace in Punjab thinking it their own place. Some religious societies and institutions of Sikhs fought for the cause of these distressed people. To some extent they succeeded in getting compensation and pinpointing those who were behind this act of barbarism.

But where should the Muslims of this country go to find themselves safe? Their own country has become alien to them. So far as I think no such society or institution exists which can take up their cause and get them justice.

MOHD. SULEMAN, Ahmedgarh (Sangrur)

Exercise restrain

The need of the hour is to isolate and discourage all those elements which spread communal hatred. No doubt, the Constitution grants freedom of expression but this freedom must not be allowed to be misused. The disputes must be settled either by courts or talks. The uncivilised should not be allowed to have their own way. Law and order machinery must be strengthened to deal with anti-social elements. It will be possible if each of us exercises control and restrain on sensitive matters.

SHUBHAM GARG, (Student of 10+1, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Kurukshetra)

Take swift action

Nobody decides to be born in a particular religion by choice. All religions teach us non-violence. Yet because of the few fanatics the clothes of religion are soaked with blood of innocent people. The responsibility of taking care of the poor and oppressed belongs to all responsible members of society. If the leadership in India remains quiet at this moment and does not take swift action to curtail and condemn the carnage, there will be worst damage to the Indian image of a secular country.

PREM. D. SINGH, MD, Fresno Ca, USA

Of loot & leadership

The whole nation waited with bated breath for two days in the midst of large-scale arson, loot and plunder with the Army ready to be deployed, while the leadership indulged in raising a senseless cacophony of charges. Had the Mahatma been alive today, he would have walked straight to Godhra or Daryapur in Ahmedabad and sat on a fast till people stopped their madness.


Govt inaction

The VHP’s Senior Vice-President Acharaya Girija Kishore can be seen making derogatory remarks almost daily on private TV channels and challenging the government authority but none dares to arrest him.

I think the government should keep in mind that these things are observed by the world media and if something like the 92 riots takes place again, then we will not be in any position to call ourselves a secular, democratic country on a world forum.

MANPREET SINGH SIDHU, BIT IInd year, Hindu College, Amritsar

Build a hospital

Just think for a moment: what does it matter if the masjid and the mandir are constructed in the same complex? The theme of each religion is that we should do good deeds irrespective of the human-being for which you are doing. If the issue defies a solution, then the citizens of India should make an open appeal to the Hindu and Muslim leaders to offer the land in Ayodhya for constructing a hospital with all modern facilities so that the disputed land should start giving lives instead of taking these.

HARISH K. MONGA, Ferozepore

What an irony!

People kill over relics of the past, bricks corroding away but no God or Allah lives in these. God or Allah lives in living beings whom people kill in the name of religion. What an irony!



The Sankrit word for health is very beautiful: the word is swastha — it means to be in one’s self. When you are in your self, there is no ego. The English word “health” also is beautiful from a different viewpoint. It comes from the same root as the word “whole” comes from — “wholeness”. When you are whole you are healthy. When you are fragmented, divided, split, your are unhealthy... The word “holy” also comes from “whole”. When you are really whole, you are holy, you are pure, innocent.

This is the definition of health; that if body is not felt you are healthy. If body is felt you are unhealthy — because only pain is felt. Whenever there is some pain, you feel it. Pain is needed to feel the body and pain is needed to feel yourself. And that pain creates the “I”, that suffering, anguish, anxiety, creates the “I”.

All the religions say: Be egoless. They mean: Be harmonious. Their insistence to dissolve the ego is the insistence to dissolve the disturbance — become a rhythm, become an inner silence. They insist for health.

— Osho, The Supreme Doctrine Life is not living, but living in health— Martial, Epigrams


Table: “Common Places”

No Truth is proved;

No Truth achieved by argument

and the ready-made truths men offer you

are mere conveniences.

— Saint Exupery, The Wisdom of the Sands, 22


We know the Truth, when the Heart is True...

When our soul knows the way....

And when we receive the True instruction.

Truth is obtained when we become pure.

— Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Var Asa MI, p.472


The basis of all health, sinlessness and immortality is the great fact that God is the only Mind; and this Mind must be not merely believed but it must be understood.

Sickness, sin and death being inharmonious do not originate with God, nor belong to his government.

— Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with key to the scriptures, page 1


Charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

— The Bible, James IV, 8

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