Wednesday, August 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Indian Idea — towards fraternity

THAT “the longest distance between any two points is the straight line joining them” has once again been proved by B.G. Verghese in his write-up on Indian idea. (Aug 12,13,14). Fraternity of the kind advocated by him is possible in America because America has got only one God — America. India has an Ishvar, An Allah and a Christ and each one of them is stronger than India. That is why we need Hindustan with its “sarv dharma sambhava”. Only Hindu way of life and only Hindu ideology allow “nirvana”/ “moksa” or emancipation to persons who seek truth, consciousness and bliss irrespective of the faith held.

It is, to us in Bharat, inconceivable that Vardhman, Buddha or Samkra could be denied emancipation simply because he was not a Christian. So “graduating from Bharat to India”, as advocated by the author, will mean sending most of us to hell. Mr Verghese himself see “sub-nationalism and assertiveness” resulting if the idea of Hindustan is given up. Hindu psyche, which suffered the worst trauma in 1947 in what Mr Verghese lightly brushes aside as a division of territory, is not ready to take another risk.

“Sarva dharma sambhava”, the author says, “is difficult to practise when so little has been done to teach even the rudiments of the great religious traditions that flourish in the country.” And yet the minority communities themselves raise a hue and cry when an effort is made to correct the situation. Given the breadth and the content, Hindu tradition will necessarily occupy the major part of the curriculum. This happens to be unacceptable to the minority communities, and thanks to the vote-bank politics, minorities have been successful in withholding Indian children from knowing their heritage. It is difficult to see how the author justifies conversions in the light of his above statement. The converted knows little about the faith he converts from, and less about the faith he is converted to.


So the Indian idea floated by Mr Verghese is not very Indian. “Sarva dharma sambhava” is a concept indispensable to a tradition, which encompasses materialism and idealism, atheism and spiritualism, and dualism and non-dualism. It is this concept which enables a Hindustani to bow with equal respect at a temple and a mosque and gurdwara or a church. Buddha is as much a part of our tradition as Brhspati atheist, or Samkra the advaita. This is the “mainstream” here.

And if all of us, irrespective of our communities, could sing with Iqbal, “Hindi hain hum, watan hai Hindustan hamara” a few decades back, why has Hindustan suddenly become foreign to our nature and ideology? Even Iqbal faulted here — and that made the success of the “two-nation theory” possible.

L.R. SHARMA, Solan

A ‘desi’ Nobel Prize

After promoting astrology, priestcraft etc in the name of national revival, HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi has now taken up the “promotion and development of Hindi” to prove his Swadeshi credentials. He is to establish a “desi” Nobel Prize worth Rs 20-25 lakh for Hindi writers.

Many people may not understand that this is rank discrimination against the literature of other languages. No doubt Hindi is an aspiring official language and everything should be done to promote it as an official language. Encouraging public servants to study Hindi, increasingly use it for official correspondence, produce dictionaries of words and phrases for official use, are all needed to promote Hindi as an official language. Though something is being done symbolically in this field, much of the government’s efforts have remained as rituals.

However, every Indian language is a national language and Indian literature has to be judged as literature of all these languages. That is the principle on which the Sahitya Akademi, the premier government-aided institution dealing in literature, was established and is working. Awards of equal amounts are distributed annually to the authors writing in different languages by the Akademi. Even the non-official Janpeeth Award, that can claim to be an Indian literary Nobel Prize, is given away on this principle.

Dr Joshi should be made to understand that promoting language and promoting literature are two different things. Hindi needs to be promoted in the Hindi heartland itself, which is generally backward, and no one will grudge spending any amount to make the people of Hindi-speaking areas literate. But it is rank discrimination to favour Hindi writers with public money over the heads of those creative writers writing in other Indian languages. Will the authorities of the autonomous Sahitya Akademi speak out against the misconceived Swadeshi Nobel? Or will they be silent, tied down as they are with governmental purse strings?

N. KUNJU, Delhi



PSEB’s inefficiency

This refers to the statement of Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, Finance Secretary, Punjab, that the PSEB is a mismanaged board and its employees are the most inefficient who have brought the board to the present crisis.

The PSEB Engineers’ Association condemned the reported use of indecent remarks against the engineers by the Finance Secretary in a letter to the State Regulatory Commission (Aug 12).

I fully agree with the remarks of the Finance Secretary because we see on the ground that in spite of claiming 25 per cent shortage we are being imposed power cuts on domestic meters for 10 to 14 hours a day. The engineer managing the distribution at the district level hardly moves to the field ground and all decisions are taken in the air-conditioned offices. When pointed out that the Chairman, PSEB, had announced a power cut only for 8 hours for the rural feeder, their answer is that it is general guidelines and not in practical.

My village Chukhiara falls under the 33 KVA sub-station at Adampur in Jalandhar district. We have been provided with 24 hrs power supply on 4th wire with four other villages. Since the 4th wire system works for 3-phase supply and single phase supply on the same wire. We are being supplied electricity during day between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. (single phase) and between 9.30 a.m. and 7.30 p.m. with three phase.

The power cut is imposed from 7.30 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next morning. The villagers remain on work the whole day and at night they have to remain under dark. It is happening for one month or so. The cut varies at times without any notice. The situation can easily be managed with the existing resources if proper planning is done but engineers only pass orders without any justification while sitting in air-conditioned offices.

There is no much shortage of power in Punjab and we all are with the PSEB but they should use the existing resources with proper planning which they lack. There is no ground for the engineers’ association to crib against the remarks of the Finance Secretary who is right in pointing out their weakness with such a bold statement.

RASHPAL SINGH, Chukhiara (Jalandhar)

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