Tuesday, July 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Operation cover-up lets down people

The news of “operation cover-up”, which the Editor has put up as a red alert in a well-reasoned front-page editorial (June 29), is a big let-down to the surging hopes of the people. It is a well chronicled fact in press reports that it was the Intelligence Department, which had dug out the keys to many cupboards wherefrom the skeletons came hurtling down. Again it was due to the efforts of the same department that the best stool pigeon was caged that started singing like a canary the names of all the unholy among the holy cows. Our CM is now advancing a specious plea that the Intelligence Wing is a faceless department of the government.

It looks like, as rightly pointed out in your editorial, that some influential lieutenants of the Captain’s army have prevailed upon him that enough sleaze has been oozed out to last as political advantage till the next elections. Or, is it because of the caveat issued by the ex-CM that chickens can come home to roost for the Congress when his party returns to the driving seat that the new government developed the cold feet?

Now if this reverse gear is not reversed, the public will again revert to the abysmal sense of cynicism and apathy and will start strumming this couplet as an elegy to “operation clean-up” “Shareeke jurm yahan har bashar ka chehra hai, Kiska insaf kis-se karaya jai.” (Every face here is blemished with some criminality; so where does one go to get justice against the criminals?)

R.C. KHANNA, Amritsar


Five Cs: Is it not interesting that your front-page editorial on “operation cover-up” and Khushwant Singh’s write-up “You don’t always reap what you sow” should appear in the same edition (June 29)?

The PPSC scam took a wrong turn the day the candidates were considered as the bribing party. How can a candidate pay “tens of lakhs, even crores”, as you say? Their dads paid the bribe and they should have been suspended and proceeded against. Besides serving as an eye-opener, the step would have cleared the way for an impartial and speedier justice. Suspension from service is not a punishment, and the government need not produce evidence for the act of suspending.

But then who can lay hands on these present-day gods who adopt all the three Cs of Khushwant Singh, namely, “chalaki, chaploosi and char-sau-beesi”. “Chori” and “Chakri” are their additional qualifications.

The five Cs sound better; don’t they?

L.R. SHARMA, Solan

Corruption at lower levels

This refers to “It is a clean case of operation cover-up” by Mr Hari Jaisingh. He has brought out this thoughtful bold article at a very appropriate time when the crusade against corruption by Capt Amarinder Singh started slipping out of his hand. The exposure of Ravi Sidhu’s case has had some effect on corruption at the higher echelons of administrative machinery but bribe is still flourishing at lower levels. The loopholes in Sidhu’s case expose the prosecution agency to public criticism. As “too many cooks spoil the broth”, the involvement of more than one master prosecutors will not bring the case to a logical end. But the question remains whether the Intelligence officers were really responsible for the cracks in the case or Capt Amarinder Singh has faltered on the advice of his loyalists.

As far as I know Capt Amarinder Singh is a well meaning person who sincerely wants to get rid of corruption from our system. On this count the public is with him. To be successful in his mission he needs to stand clean of his advisers with dubious credentials.




Of distilled fire

Syrus’s remarks that “Wine has drowned more than the sea”, quoted by Mr I.M. Soni in his middle article “Is there a devil in every grape” (June 21) have reminded me of Allama Iqbal’s verse” Kya dabdaba-e-Nadir kya shaukat-e-taimoori/Ho jaatey hain sab daftar gharq-e-mai-naab aakhir” (Whether it is the majesty of Nadir (Shah) or the grandeur of Timur, all such things are, ultimately, destroyed by wine).

In view of the tumults, often caused by unscrupulous boozers under the influence of distilled fire, Zauq said: “Dukhtar-e-raz ney utha rakhi hai dunya sir par/Khair hee guzri jo angoor key beta na hua.” In Persian poetry, wine is metaphorically called “dukhtar-e-raz”, i.e. daughter of vine. Jahangir called it Ramrangi. He had great fondness for wine and often declared that he had bestowed sovereignty on his queen, Noorjahan, and needed nothing more than a quart of wine and a pound of meat.

Excessive use of wine has cut short the lives of many great people and famous Urdu poets and writers. Sa’adat Hasan Manto, an eminent short story writer, Akhtar Sherani, the author of the poem “Ai ishq hamein barbaad na kar”, sung by celebrated Malika Pukhraj and her daughter Tahira Sayed, and Majaz Lakhnavi, known as Keats of Urdu poetry, died young as a result of intemperate indulgence in wine. Jigar Moradabadi remained a guzzler for many years. At times, he forgot some hemistiches while reciting his verses in poetical symposia because of immoderate quaffing of wine.

Once in a drinking bout, Josh Malihabai said that he always kept a “ghari” (watch) before him while taking wine. “And if it were in my power, I would place a “ghara” (wine pitcher) before me, Majaz shot back.

Saroor Jahanabadi’s fatal fascination for wine spoiled his health. Doctors advised him not to take even a drop of liquor. A few moments before his death at the age of 37, he asked for wine. His attendant gave him water. The poet murmured: “Bajaaey mai diya paani ka ik glass mujhey/Samajh liya merey saaqi ney bad-havaas mujhey”.

Ghalib was also fond of wine. He said: “Phir dekhiyey andaaz-e gul-afshaani-e guftaar/Rakh dey koee paimaana-o-sahba merey aagey” (Someone should place a goblet and wine before me and then see the elegant style of my sweet speech). However, he always took wine in the evening and his potations were moderate.


Average Punjabi dismayed: The transfer of Mr A. P. Bhatnagar, ADGP/Intelligence, and his team has caused a lot of dismay to an average Punjabi. I remember a very upright and diligent CBI officer, Mr K. Madhvan, was shifted in midstream of Bofors investigations and the result is there for everybody to see. Such changes do affect the morale of the upright people everywhere and in the facts and circumstances of this case, the inevitable conclusion is that the investigations will be derailed.

S.C. CHABBA, Ropar


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