Tuesday, March 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Violence in the name of religion

Sufi Bullhey Shah’s lines Mandir dhaah dey masjid dhaah dey dhaah dey jo kuchh dhaihnda/Ik kisey da dil na dhaahveen rab dilaan vich raihnda quoted by Mr Pramod K. Chaudhari in his middle “The cycle of hate” (March 11) have reminded me of Mirza Rafi Sauda’s verse: Kaaba agarcheh toota to kya jaaey gham hai Shaikh/Ye qasr-e-dil nahin ke banaaya na jaaey ga (O’ Shaikh! There is no need to worry if Kaaba has collapsed. It is not the palace of heart that could not be re-built). There is no doubt that heart is the seat of God.

Is there any wisdom in hurting the religious susceptibilities of the people by desecrating or destroying their places of worship?

When Aurangzeb decided to demolish the famous temple of Benaras and build a mosque on its site, poet Chandar Bhan Brahman, who had held many important posts under the inexorable Emperor, said in a satirical verse: Ba-been karaamat-e-butkhaana-e-mara ai Shaikh/Agar kharaab shavad khaana-e-Khuda gardad (O’ Shaikh! See the miracle of my idol-temple. Even after its demolition it becomes the abode of God, i.e., a mosque).

Once at a conference held to promote communal harmony, seeing a motto, which read Mazhab key naam par larna hamaaqat hai (It is a folly to fight in the name of religion), Poet Majaaz Lakhnavi quipped: “Aur hamaaqat key naam par larna mazhab hai” (And it is religious to fight over a folly).


One religion is as good as another. All religions exhort their votaries to imbibe the qualities of love, mercy, justice and tolerance. Guru Gobind Singh declared: Maanas ki zaat sabhai ek hi paihchaan bo (Know you all that the caste of mankind is one).

Does the love of God drive the followers of one faith to kill the adherrents of another religion? Are not the people indulging in sanguinary violence in the name of religion irreligiously religious? They are ruthless minions of death and not the bona fide adorers of God. Alas. Khuda key naam par dast-o-girebaan hai Khuda waaley/Bahot hai jis qadr zikr-e-Khuda khauf-e-Khuda kam hai. “Dast-o-girebaan” means engaged in combat.

Communal harmony is the basis of secular democracy. A Persian poet has rightly declared: Hafiza gar vasl khaahi sul’h kun ba khaas-o-aam/Ba Musalmaan Allah Allah ba Brahman Ram Ram (O’ Hafiz! If you want to promote communal harmony and social unity, make peace with the people belonging to all strata of society. Greet a Muslim with the salutation of “Allah Allah” and a Brahman with that of “Ram Ram”.


Chandigarh: City Beautiful?

As an NRI who loves India and comes back year after year, I feel compelled to write the following, not with the thought of trying to be superior but with the genuine desire to see this land impart some of its unique ancient wisdom and fragrance to the rest of the world. I remember our father saying repeatedly that each one of us “foreigners” should bring the best of our spiritual background from India and blend it with the best of the new technology in our new country. Together, we could build a better world to live in.

What is so disconcerting to see is the phenomenal shift to mimicking the West...nay, even beyond! Chandigarh is a prime example. All one hears and reads is “Chandigarh the City Beautiful”. Another person from abroad recently commented, it would be more appropriate to call it the City of Rubbish! For it is the piles of plastic bags and garbage strewn all over the city that strikes a newcomer to this city. One cannot help but wonder that how is it that the citizens of Chandigarh turn a blind eye to this glaring defect?

It is true that many homes and their gardens are on a lavish scale but what about the rubbish just outside their posh homes? Have they no regard for their environment? Have they no concern for the mounds of filthy garbage and the poor, starved and emaciated pie dogs going through to find a crumb to eat. The attitude seems to be: my home is immaculate and who cares about the environment and other life.

Have we forgotten what our scriptures have made abundantly clear: that all life is sacred and that each one of us is only a traveller on this planet and we are only the trustees and not the owners. Therefore, let us remember it is our sacred duty to keep our city clean and to respect and love all life not only in this city but also on this planet earth.


Mining despite ban

The other day while returning from our morning walk on the shooting range road which connects Tuglakabad (Delhi) and the Suraj Kund tourist complex (Haryana), we were disappointed to see mountain piles of silica sand and Badarpur over a stretch of more than a km. On enquiry, we were told that this activity was being carried out under the directions of Mr Kartar Singh Bhadana Haryana Minister of Co-operation. We also noticed numerous trucks with KTC pointed on the tailboard unloading the material. These activities are extremely detrimental to our health.

We believe the Supreme Court has banned mining, stone-crushing and dumping of bardarpur and silica sand in a radius of 2 km from Suraj Kund.


Road divider

On 26.1.2002 at about 9.15 p.m. I met with an accident at Kurali, where my Maruti Car (CHC-9180) hit a road divider which had no illuminator or a reflector or even luminiscent paint on it. Just half an hour ago a new Santro had met the same fate at the same road divider. I was told of many such cases of collision at the site in the past as well. I and my family suffered serious injuries and the car was totally bashed up. Who is responsible for such accidents caused due to governmental lapses and man-made death-traps?

Gp Capt BHUPENDER SINGH CHAUHAN (retd), Dharna (Chamba)

Army uniform

The ban on the sale and purchase of Army uniform in Kashmir is a welcome step. This should not be for a limited period only. Why can’t this restriction be imposed all over the country?

P. C. GUPTA, Kulu

A good idea

The Punjab Health Systems Co-operation (PHSC) has hit upon a good idea: to invite private parties to set up diagnostic facilities in government hospitals. These will include facilities like CT-scan, x-ray facilities, dental units and laboratory facilities. The private parties will charge government rates.


Dirty railway station

Northern Railway took a prompt initiative to name Sandhwan railway station between Kotkapura and Faridkot as Giani Zail Singh Sandhwan during the early eighties. I happen to travel by train on March 4 after a gap of 22 years. The poor upkeep of the station is disrespect to the clean image of the President.

Lt Col DAYA SINGH (retd), Bathinda

Nagar kirtan holidays

In India every other day is a holiday. Now we have devised another way of having additional half-day holidays, that is for participation in nagar kirtans. If we count the number of employees who participate in a nagar kirtan, their number can be counted on fingers but everybody enjoys the holiday in the second half.

Dr KIRTI DUA, Ludhiana

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