Friday, September 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



PM’s visit a solidarity symbol against terror

The front-page write-ups “PM’s visit a solidarity symbol against terror” (Sept 11) and “Rein in Pak” (Sept 13) by Hari Jaisingh on the occasion of the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist mayhem were read with feelings of anguish and rueful sigh.

Going back to the time immediately after the terrorists managed to demolish those twin towers in New York epitomising the epicentre of corporate culture nurtured in democratic traditions of America, President Bush declared before the entire world with utmost emphasis at his command to go after the terrorists no matter where they were and also declared his unequivocal intention not to spare even those abetting and harbouring the terrorists.

The first caveat that President Bush issued was to President Musharraf to either fall in line or to face the music and Musharraf readily agreed to be his Man Friday sheerly out of expedience and without an iota of conviction. The entire world knows that Pakistan is a country with their militarists and Islamic zealots had allowed to be converted virtually into a composite madarasa to indoctrinate fundamentalist Muslims from all over the world into the Taliban culture and its backyard of Afghanistan into a diabolic laboratory supervised by Osama bin Laden at his Al-Qaeda for training assassins and arsonists to wreck carnage in the name of Islam. So President Musharraf, who at the relevant time was the foreman of this diabolic death factory, changed jobs without a second thought. Sadly enough, he has been successful in ingratiating himself even with the establishment Press of America and Britain. According to The Economist, “To the West President Musharraf is an indispensable man”. Time has recently put him on its cover with a laudatory heading of a man with the world’s toughest job. It is not hard to see that the political stock of Musharraf in Washington and London is quite bullish at present. Therefore, if India seriously contemplates to depend solely on America to solve the proxy war of Pakistan in Kashmir, it might prove to be jumping out of a plane without a parachute.


The American government will reflect on what some visionary brains like Selig Harrison say only after the policies of brawn and manipulation come a cropper. Right now American interest in Kashmir is merely to use the festering problem as a carrot and stick proposition to tame both India and Pakistan till its own self-interest has been fully serviced.

No doubt Brajesh Mishra has got it right when he admits that we will have to manage things ourselves in Kashmir. There must be a paradigm shift in India’s Kashmir policy vis-a-vis Pakistan. We must bring ourselves to that state of preparedness when we can go with guns blazing at Pakistan with the unflagging dead him if they try to cross the rubicon with all those high-tech killer machines America looks prepared to supply to Pakistan. We must fix placards all across the Indo-Pak border bearing John Dryden’s quotation “Beware of the fury of a patient man.”

R.C. KHANNA, Amritsar

One-sided solidarity: Thousands of Kashmiris have been done to death by Pak-sponsored terrorists in the Kashmir valley. The number of those killed in the September 11 carnage is much less. The USA has not reciprocated the Indian gesture in clear and forthright terms.

The USA has not only lifted the sanctions imposed in the aftermath of nuclear tests — both against India and Pakistan — it gave huge economic aid to Pakistan to bail that country out of the grave financial mess. While doing so, America overlooked the fact that Islamabad can abuse the help to step up terrorist activities in the Kashmir valley.


Air-India’s crew

This refers to the “New York diary” by Hari Jaisingh (Sept 12) in which he is all praise for Air-India’s cabin crew, air hostesses and other members of the staff. The plane carrying Mr Vajpayee, senior government officials and top media personalities will have the best staff members of Air-India and will be at the best of their behaviour.

The question is not how the staff of Air-India does treat the dignitaries, but how a common passenger is treated aboard Air-India.


Vajpayee’s speech a disappointment

Prime Minister Vajpayee’s speech was most disappointing. It focused on the usual complaints and denunciations against Pakistan. He seemed to have ignored the more serious problem of US threats of a pre-emptive strike against Iraq. Not only is such an action against international law, it could very well jeopardise the existence of the UN as pointed out by Nelson Mandela recently.

Further, if Bush along with his lackey Tony Blair go along with it, what will prevent China from invading Taiwan and so on, not to mention the anti-western hatred it will generate? As Chris Matthews, host of the popular news programme “Hardball” said on TV Tonight, “Hatred is the greatest weapon of mass destruction” while referring to the consequences of a pre-emptive war against Iraq.

Mr Vajpayee wasted a great opportunity to lecture racists like Bush and Blair about their responsibilities as world leaders. It seems that Indian politicians and commentators have such a tunnel vision that they cannot seem to look at the world beyond the Pakistan border. It is indeed a reflection of absence of intellectual and progressive thinking.



Casualties — here & there

Indian politicians’ concern is more for the casualties that occur in foreign countries. If calculated honestly, every month there are killings equal to those at Ground Zero. People are killed by criminals, rioters, police atrocities or due to negligence on the government’s part such as the recent Rajdhani Express train disaster. Woes of the sufferers are the same. First set our own house in order, then share the grief of others.


Telephone numbers

The DTC, Phagwara, has changed some telephone numbers without prior notice or information to subscribers. When one dials the previous number, the coded message asks him/her to check the number dialled. However, this serves no purpose. It would be better if a system is devised as to provide the caller the changed or the new number, when dialled.

The Telephone Exchange at Phagwara seems to be least concerned about the inconvenience to the subscribers. How can one inform all concerned about the new number? NRIs face an acute problem in case of emergency. Will the authorities please do the needful?

R.K.NARANG, Phagwara


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