Thursday, May 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Armed conflict disastrous for India, Pakistan

Tension is again rising on the Kashmir border between India and Pakistan. From a distance, we in England can see with compelling clarity that both subcontinent neighbours have a largely similar way of life and a shared cultural heritage. Those of us involved in inter-faith dialogue have come to recognise, often to our surprise, how much our different religions have in common.

Hence, it is much easier here, than in the charged atmosphere of the subcontinent, to recognise the truth of Guru Gobind Singh’s words written some three centuries ago:

“Some call themselves Hindus

Others call themselves Muslims

Yet man is of one race in all the world.”

Those of us living abroad can see all too clearly that an armed conflict between the two countries would be disastrous for both nations, and how ratcheting up of tension for factional political gain can have dangerous long-term consequences.

In short, far from mirroring the sub-continent’s tensions, Hindu, Muslims and Sikhs in this country have a clear responsibility to urge and even broker dialogue and some of us from different faiths have made a start in this in a combined letter of concern to the Presidents of both India and Pakistan.

The Sikh teaching that “False is all love that divides men into warring factions” is a timely reminder that the route to peace is to focus on that which unites us with our neighbour.



Of Punjab leaders

Maj-Gen Himmat Singh Gill, like his father Col. Partap Singh Gill, has shown concern for the future of the Sikhs and want them to do introspection (May 19). History shows they have stopped introspection ever since they became controllers at Lahore, Patiala, Kapurthala, Faridkot etc. His argument that Master Tara Singh was got short-charged by Nehru is like a Jat arguing that he cannot get a good job (IAS etc) because Brahmins/Khatris study more and get good marks and good jobs.

People are recognised by the leaders they choose. We chose semi-literates like Tara Singh, Baldev Singh, Giani Kartar Singh etc as compared to those highly educated in the West like M.K. Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, Ambedkar. The result is before us. Even today our leaders are like Badal, Tohra, Talwandi etc. Our record is that we sent a driver of Sant Fateh Singh to the Lok Sabha, but an intellectual like Kapur Singh lost his security deposit. I am sure if Dr Manohar Singh Gill contests from Tarn Taran, he would not poll more than 5,000 votes.

If the Punjabis want to progress, they must bring forward educated leaders and give our young people the examples of Mohinder Singh Randhawa, Manohar Singh Gill etc and stop misguiding them to “Putt Jattan de bulaonde bakrre” or “Jat is risky after whisky”, Jagge Jat ne maria dakka” etc and check their predatory instinct.

DEEP BRAR, Faridkot

Roads in Shimla

The metalling and tarring of damaged roads in Shimla town is going on at a hectic pace these days. Some of the link roads which had been dug up for laying water pipes are also being remetalled. One such road between Marina Hotel and Portmore School was also in bad shape.

The remetalling of this road was taken up recently and those of us who daily walk down this road to our offices were happy on this development.

But the metalling work was stopped once the house of a Joint Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, who lives by the side of this link road, was reached. The metalling work was not allowed to proceed beyond his house, though the well-known Portmore Girls School lies just 150 metres ahead of it.

Is the public to assume that public funds are meant only to create conveniences for officers of public authorities? The newly elected councillors should wake up and try to rein in such self-seeking officers of the municipal corporation.


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