Thursday, June 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


Indo-Pak standoff: some hard facts

The standoff between the two neighbouring countries necessitates the acceptance of certain facts by us. First, if the government was not prepared to engage in a war, was it necessary to have such a long drawn out mobilisation of troops? The law of diminishing returns applies to coercive diplomacy as well. General Musharraf’s calculation is that the Indian government does not really have the will to wage war. Secondly, the morale and motivation of troops cannot be sustained at a peak level over a long period of time. Thirdly, post December 13, we had the opportunity to inflict a degree of punishment on Pakistan with minimal casualties. Even now success will be there, but with a higher degree of casualties. The fourth point is an issue of debate: is only the political class sacred? The attack on Parliament merits a war as per the government, what about the thousands of deaths incurred due to active Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and the huge number of refugees and the cost to the economy? Fifth, all systems and procedures for routing compensation quickly to martyrs and the injured should be in place, unlike Kargil. The weapons and systems improvement sought for by the forces should be in place also. Lastly, it is wise to take counsel of one’s fears as also the world’s, but we should not be apparently overcome with fear to arrive at a major decision or in drawing out a plan of action.



Ultimately, we are responsible for ourselves, the world is under no obligation to work for us. We must appear self-confident and upright to the world and this must be projected by the leadership.

MAJ GEN RAJENDRA NATH (retd), Chandigarh

From the border

It has been six months since we were deployed on the border. There we recalled jawans from leave. We endured the cold and now the heat and mosquitoes. To what avail? The junior officers have to bear the brunt of it. Our jawans ask us what have we achieved by not fighting. They do not understand international diplomacy.

We have to fight to attain peace, Chanakya said. It is we, the young officers, who would die. We are ready. The politicians will be ensconced in their cozy homes/ underground HBC-proof bunkers. Why do not they let us loose? If we do not have to fight, then send us back to our barracks. Many jawans have had their marriages cancelled. Many could not be with their families for important functions. Many of us were looking forward to peace tenures after serving in the field. Marital problems are on the rise. The morale is low. Looking at the coming monsoon is dreadful.

A Defence officer from the Punjab border

Vaah Kalam vaah!

The difference between a “scientician” and a politician has rarely been so fully expressed. Lay side by side two high-tech snaps — one of a Gujarati (read Muslim) child being Trishuled and thrown into Saffron ambers and the other of the gleeful face (on the outbreak of presidential news) of Kalam Saheb. The contrast will bring the significance in full glare (glaringly, rather).

Further, try to reflect over what Kalam Saheb is eulogised for — those (in) human obscenities, the nukes. And remember, nukes are no lotuses to be offered to the deity. Neither are they (even thatched) sheds for beaten, raped, parched and ousted Gujarati Muslims. Nor are they cheques for an indebted Punjabi farmer who commits suicide for not being able to marry off his daughter. Nor do they carry protein packets for starving Oriya.

Also reflect over the way the no-scientician “Parvez has called the bluff of Indian “nuklear (read no-clear) power. Also remember Japan, a world power, though not a proud possessor of lovely nukes but of fine (government) schools and glowing citizens in fact. Also let your attention travel a little farther and go to Cuba. Average age of citizens: 70 yrs literacy rate: 100 per cent. No starvation deaths. Now, compare these figures with those of India’s. Now you comprehend the cost of a nuke and (wisdom) of a “nukician”. And remember, Cuba a country of 40 lakh people is only about 40 miles away from the (AL) mighty U.S.A. But it still can stare straight into its star-warry eyes, sans a blink.

And great India, inhabiting every sixth mouth (and brain, perhaps) on earth treats the Assistant Secretary like lady Robin Raphael as if Dharmraj Himself has put His feet on Indian soil. Hail “nuklear” India! Hail her “Nukicians”! Hail secular NDA! Hail the acceptance of presidency by Kalam Saheb from the Sangh Parivar. That is why I respect a politician more than a “scientician”. Of whatever calibre he may be, yet has (at least) a pretension of responsibility towards (his) community, and also humanity.

JOGA SINGH, Punjabi University, Patiala

Rape of rules

The news item “NDA team to assess Punjab situation” (June 16) comes as a shock to the average Punjabi as it gives an impression that the Punjab Government’s crusade against corruption is being equated to political violence and vendetta by the Akalis. The Akali government had patronised corruption and all institutions and the organs of the state had been badly trampled in the process. It was a systematic rape of the rules.

Any sensible and sane government has to reverse this trend and bring economic offenders to book so as to mitigate the hardships of the people of Punjab and to bring the state on a path of economic recovery.

S. C. CHABBA, Ropar

Loss of revenue

A number of persons cultivate the land free of cost in the beds of rivers in Punjab while “theka” of such land in some areas is about Rs 10,000 per acre. After some years of cultivation, such people start claiming ownership and hence press for the allotment of such land in their name for a nominal payment, causing loss of crores of rupees to the government in terms of cost of land. My suggestion is that the government should charge “theka” from such cultivators instead of selling the land.

ER. G.S. HIRA, Mohali


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