The Tribune - Spectrum
 
ART & LITERATURE
'ART AND SOUL
BOOKS
MUSINGS
TIME OFF
YOUR OPTION
ENTERTAINMENT
BOLLYWOOD BHELPURI
TELEVISION
WIDE ANGLE
FITNESS
GARDEN LIFE
NATURE
SUGAR 'N' SPICE
CONSUMER ALERT
TRAVEL
INTERACTIVE FEATURES
CAPTION CONTEST
FEEDBACK



Sunday
, June 30, 2002
Books

PUNJABI LITERATURE
The truth behind terrorist menace
Jaspal Singh

DEHSHATGARDI: America ate Kashmir (Terrorism: America and Kashmir published by Lokgeet Parkashan, Chandigarh) is a collection of 30 articles by Hari Jaisingh, Editor of The Tribune and one of the most perceptive media persons in this region. Recently he was unanimously elected President of the Editors Guild of India.

Most of the articles in this collection (written between 2000 and 2001) directly deal with terrorism afflicting parts of the world, particularly Kashmir, and the approach of the United States of America and Pakistan towards it. Some of the other current problems plaguing the subcontinent have also been sharply commented upon.

A couple of articles are about the Tehelka expose and the endemic flaws in defence deals. There is an insightful write-up about criminalisation of politics and the growing incidence of economic crimes in the country. Even regional politics of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu has been brought into focus in the aftermath of the last Assembly elections.

The author is a keen observer of parliamentary debates and the behaviour of members in the House. He rues the falling standards of parliamentary propriety in the country. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and his antics are dealt with in some incisive pieces. In short, this collection opens a wide window on many current issues that are being deliberated upon by concerned citizens.

 


The author holds that the USA has been maintaining double standards about terrorism. It never took the problem seriously so long as it was beyond US boundaries even though sometimes American interests were marginally hit by terrorists in Africa, Asia or Latin America. Since such acts were not committed on the US mainland, they were conveniently forgotten in the course of time.

However, after September 11, when the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon complex in Washington were directly hit by terrorists, the Americans were shaken out of complacency. The terrorist strikes were so devastating that the American establishment was literally possessed by xenophobia. And as a wounded giant in frenzy, the mightiest nation of the world went berserk like the old Scandinavian warriors, pulverising whatsoever came in the way. Only after this event could the USA understand the agony India had been suffering because of the most barbaric form of terrorism for a long time.

The author asserts that Bin Laden and the Taliban are the products of the CIA and the ISI promoted in order to get the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan vacated. But these Frankensteins set out to devastate all material and moral institutions of civil society, including its democratic structures, secularism, humanism, and ethical norms. Surprisingly, all this devastation was carried out in the name of Islam, a religion that for the first time in the seventh century introduced order, morality and social equality in the semi-barbarian Arabian tribes.

Almost all the pieces in the collection are incisive, analytical and well-organised. The Punjabi version is smooth and elegant like the original. Students of Journalism and mass communications, particularly those doing their degrees in a regional language like Punjabi, can now read them at one place. Also the new entrants to the profession of journalism can learn from their elders and veterans. Needless to say, more of such books should appear in regional languages to provide for the requirements of regional journalism, which has now become a powerful organ of the media.