Friday, December 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Of democracy & Dec 13: nation pays a heavy price for ‘soft state’ image

The thrust of Hari Jaisingh's argument in his article "Of democracy and December 13" (Dec 13) is that we need right kind of leadership to deal with some of the most serious problems, including terrorism, facing our country. The nation is suffering from a crisis of leadership. Mr Jaisingh has spelt out five components of a viable system of governance. The near absence of these components from our system along with pervasive corruption and general sluggishness exacerbate our problems.

Good governance requires honest and competent leadership. Mr Jaisingh doesn't tell us how we are going to get it. A democratic regime certainly hasn't to be a soft or goody-goody show but "a democratic regime like ours" presents a weak flank to the enemies. The weakness of the brand of democracy we practise in our country is that it is not producing a sufficient number of leaders who can eschew politics of expediency and practise what they preach. The growing criminalisation of politics and the mafia nexus under the very nose of officialdom are the products of the kind of democratic regime we have.

Terrorism is undoubtedly a very serious threat to the stability and sovereignty of our country. We must fight it out with all our might and resources. We need to make our security apparatus as foolproof as possible. Luckily, unlike the LTTE in Sri Lanka, we do not have entrenched terrorism in our country. Apart from some local support in J&K, jehadi outfits have failed to gain hold anywhere in the country. Terrorism is an external threat to us. History is a witness that no country has come to grief from merely external aggression unless it was hollow from within.


Sometimes our problems seem to us bigger than they actually may be. It is always wise to be forewarned and forearmed. We must look hard at the loopholes in our system and make assiduous effort to plug them. Our situation, as Mr Jaisingh rightly says, is not hopeless. By dwelling too much on our flaws and failures we foster a psychology of gloom. All the negative factors notwithstanding, we are a very strong and vibrant nation today and needn't underestimate our potential to give terrorists and their masters a death-blow. The country is already successfully taking on the challenges posed by trigger-happy fundamentalist and militant outfits. The attackers on Parliament, Akshardham and the Raghunath temples had to lick the dust.

Terrorism is now a global phenomenon but by its very nature it is self-defeating. This demon will certainly suck a lot of blood before it is finally slain. In our long-drawn out battle against it, we will have to face many ups and downs. We should neither get impatient nor demoralised. Terrorists target us not because we are a soft state but because in their fanaticism they hit out at whatever stands in the way of their diabolic designs. Israel is by no means a soft state and yet it has neither been able to keep terrorists from mischief nor smash them.

Suresh Dogra, Batala

Shadow boxing: The thread bare analysis carried out by Hari Jaisingh clearly brings out our lack of determination and weak will power to react or act in a moment of crisis. “Shadow boxing” is perhaps the most apt word for our reaction during the last one year and this has rather heightened the presumptuousness of the devil to lofty heights thus daring more and more and to indulge in Akshardham and Raghunath temple attacks.

Had we taught a lesson to the culprit country there and then, not only the Kashmir problem would have been reduced to insignificance but lives of many valiant soldiers and people would have been saved. How does the loss of a few lives matter to those in power as they can always minimise the gravity of loss by projecting the number of lost lives as a fractional percentage of one billion?

Today India, chanting one mantra that “the pressure is working” stands declared a soft and indecisive country who has lost billions in deploying the Army at the border for months together, troubling soldiers and finding no respite from terrorism.

Jagvir Goyal, Chandigarh

A weak system: The article, highlighting the terrorist attack on Parliament a year ago, comes as a painful reminder of the black day. The way the powers-that-be have reacted to the unprecedented happening is disgustingly disappointing. Little wonder that the so-called cross-border terrorism is gaining rapid ground day by day.The reason for the hopeless state of affairs is not far to seek: it is because of our weak system, manned by weak leaders, as the article has aptly pointed out.

The things on the "governance front" seem to have reached such a shocking pass that it appears the situation would not register a turn for the better unless some cataclysmic change takes place or some Messiah appears out of the blue. How sad!

Tara Chand, Ambota (Una)

Offence is best: Your article is an eye-opener to the Indians in general and specifically a challenge to the politicians running the NDA government like eunuchs

About 12-year-old cross-border terrorism, ever increasing in its frequency and intensity from across Pakistan, which had been the part of India till 1947, is being answered by requests and warnings repeatedly, but without any effective and stringent action, to deter and teach a lesson to Pakistan. To impore and expect any effective help from the USA, the sole super power of the world, is also futile and meaningless.

The recent history of India so clearly shows the type of action needed under the present grave situation as was done by Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966 and by Indira Gandhi in 1971. It is futile to talk when prompt and fatal action is the need of the hour. So will the present body of politicians governing India wake up now to inflict as "offence" alone is the best "defence".

B.L.Bansal, Chandigarh


USA & terrorism

This refers to the article "India, USA & Pakistan blessed terrorism" (Dec 6) by Hari Jaisingh. I subscribe fully to the views expressed by the author. India is obviously bleeding and there have been many casualties without war. Whenever India had complained of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan, its complaints were treated in an indifferent manner. When the same lethal force with its roots in Pakistan reduced the WTC to ground zero, America launched war on terrorism with great fanfare. The godmother of terrorism is one and only one but the USA refuses to acknowledge this inconvertible fact. In other words, the USA is playing a dubious role in relation to terrorism.

During these past months and innumerable visits of dignitaries from the West, India has gained nothing but assurances, which in the light of terror and mayhem sound like a cruel joke. We must face the reality of living with the world's super power where attitudes are moulded the way super power thinks, speaks and acts. Perceptions differ. A hardcore terrorist for India could be a key ally for the USA. In this atmosphere of hypocrisy and duplicity, we are alone in our battle of cross-border terrorism, the success of which depends critically on the strength of our national will and solidarity.

Anshulika Chawla, Chandigarh


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