Tuesday, November 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



History is not creative writing

PLEASE refer to the letter “History must not be made a political gambit” (Nov 7) by Dr Sushil Kumar. The writer’s opening gambit in the letter is a direct attack on those historians who do not agree with him. Even the personal views of the Director, ICHR, cannot be and should not be ignored. I feel that a good researcher ought not be hasty in his conclusions. It is very easy to turn vitriolic and abusive than to remain thoroughly objective and dispassionate in a debate. It is certainly a painful job to dig out facts and facts based on solid evidence are the basic ingredients of historical research.

Dr Sushil Kumar refers to two types of historians: colonial and parochial. I know about colonial historians but who are the parochial ones? Perhaps, the writer has indirectly referred to all those who have dared to criticise the NCERT for tampering with the facts of history. A scholar of national repute ought to be liberal and basically courteous towards his own countrymen who have the reasons to differ with him.

I agree with the writer that historical narrations leave an indelible impact on susceptible minds. But history is different from fiction, whether we like it or not. I never feel elated when I read about the three battles of Panipat. We lost those battles. I find myself belittled and hurt as an Indian but I cannot wish away the facts of history.

Some historians want to say goodbye to bitter realities of history and reconstruct them by heavily depending upon faith-based knowledge. Dogmatism is pernicious to historical research, it may be religious or political. It does not allow us to appreciate the viewpoints of others. It closes the door to logical thinking. A dogmatic scholar (particularly a historian) treats his own beliefs as sacred and expects others to accept them without any murmur or dissent. He wishes that the common people and a big nation like India should have a firm faith in legends, myths and accept them as an integral part of historical research.


In the gangetic plains, particularly in our villages, people believe that Prithvi Raj Chauhan defeated Mohammad Ghauri 17 times, though historical research has established that he defeated the Muslim invader only once in 1191 A.D. Patriotic sentiments are very precious but they must not come in the way of appreciating the realities of history. Therefore, dogmatism makes us blind and parochial. This leads us to horrible and unexpected conclusions. I strongly believe that history cannot be treated as creative writing.

Dr R.B. YADAV DEHATI, Fatehabad

Freezing DA to what effect?

A number of CMs are talking of freezing DA and withholding further hike. The question is: Is this being done as a part of the effort to put the state economies on a sound footing? The answer is an emphatic no.

A PM or CM, threatened with loss of power, will expand his Cabinet to a point where the ministers start complaining that they have no work to do. (And thus no benefit to derive). The constitution of a Cabinet is thus based on the principle of expediency. Sound governance and financial management are not in the picture. Unless the CMs reverse this trend and decide to improve the financial health of their states, the freezing of DA will be unjustifiable.

And in case they do make an effort to meet all non-Plan expenditure from own resources, which is the starting point of good financial management, they will find that reforms have to be sweeping in character covering vast percentage of the population and that DA freezing is an insignificant part of that total effort. By itself, withholding of payments due to employees and pensioners is an exercise in futility. Besides, it is very harsh on pensioners because the bank accounts, unfortunately, cannot be carried over to the next birth.

L.R. SHARMA, Jalandhar

HUDA & public money

HUDA floated a scheme for the allotment of residential plots in Sector 42, Gurgaon, and the last date for applications was 1.5.2002. It collected crores of rupees from the public. Even after six months, no draw has taken place till date. HUDA does not pay any interest on the earnest money deposited by the applicants. It takes more than two months for the unsuccessful applicants to receive refund cheques after the draw.

HUDA receives earnest money in cash or through demand draft, but returns money by cheques which take 15-20 days more for payments, besides collection charges. The hard-earned money of the people is used by HUDA without paying any interest for eight to 10 months.

On the other hand, PUDA of Punjab completes all this process within 60 to 90 days only



During my return journey from Dubai, travelling by morning Shatabdi to Chandigarh, the vendor could not provide to me a copy of The Tribune saying the stocks had been exhausted. Being a Tribune addict for the last over 30 years this came as a shock to me because this had never happened before.

As if this was not enough, when I scanned through the pages after buying one, I was surprised to notice that The Tribune, which I always considered a complete newspaper, had stopped publishing TV programmes of many popular English, Hindi and Punjabi channels. This came as a total disappointment to me.

D.B. SINGH, Chandigarh

Ragging in Palampur

Although ragging in colleges has been banned by the Supreme Court, in our town senior students of Veterinary College are putting freshers, particularly the hostellers, to great torture. The innocent freshers are too scared to report the matter to the authorities.

AMAR NATH, Palampur

Delimitation panel

The Delimitation Commission is making major changes merely two months before the Assembly elections which is going to confuse the voter. Such changes should be done at least two years before any proposed election.

Secondly, when the teachers in school are teaching students GK with the 2001 census, our high profile Commission is sticking to the 1991 census. I request the commission to work rationally and leave the red-tape approach.

UDAY, Solan

Green belt

I endorse the views contained in the letter of Mr V.I.K. Sharma (Nov 12). The Ganna Farm, established in 1932 provides a salubrious green cover in Jalandhar. It was got transferred from PAU to PUDA under mysterious circumstances. Its total area was about 165 acres. The suggestion for allowing about 12 acres to continue as a green belt is indeed very genuine.

S.S. SOHAL, Jalandhar

Not a minister

The report “Chandigarh to have Canadian consulate” refers to Mr Gurbax Malhi as Labour Minister of Canada. That is not true. He is only a secretary to the Health Minister. This can be verified from the Canadian consulate in New Delhi.


Registrar of Companies

There is an ill-conceived move by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs to shift the office of Registrar of Companies from Jalandhar to Chandigarh. Jalandhar is not only accessible from all major towns of Punjab and Chandigarh by rail and road but is also equi-distant from both the flanks of Himachal Pradesh viz Shimla side and Dharamsala side.

S.B. SINGH, Jalandhar


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