Monday, February 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Valentine’s Day: is that our culture?

As per one of the legends in Rome under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, there was a custom of drawing lots for selecting names of teenaged girl companions for each young man for a year’s time. The society then was against regular marriages as they thought marriage would make soldiers weak. St Valentine, reversing this strategy, secretly arranged marriages and was later beheaded. Valentine’s Day is a commemoration to St Valentine.

On the contrary in ancient India, women were given the right of “swayamwar” to select grooms of their choice. Maintaining the high traditions of human relations and values, Indian culture has always taught each young man to call his wife as “dharm-patni” and each woman to call and treat her husband a “pati-parmeshwar”.

Love as per Indian culture is worship. It is not just a process of selecting a companion to fulfil one’s biological needs but is a feeling of attachment to someone. Eternal love lives of Radha-Krishan, Shiv-Parvati are examples of sacrifice and attachment. Those were much above the usual male-female relationship, a product of human lust. Piousness of Sita and Savitri and “ek-patni dharma” of Shri Ram are the traditional and classic ideals of male-female relationship giving the basic guidelines to the modern Indian youth looking towards western culture for exploring new definitions.

Strategically planned by big business houses to sell their wares such as gifts and cards, occasions are especially invented to celebrate days e.g., mother’s day, father’s day, brother’s day and so on. These business houses are befooling the public by creating hype for celebrating such occasions just for promoting their products. Westernisation of our cultural heritage and forceful intrusion to our traditional values and ethics is being imposed upon us in a well-planned manner and our youth is being swayed through these ulterior plans.


Nothing wrong in adopting some better things from other cultures, but the tradition, which amounts to vitiating our basic cultural values and giving way to crush the human values and undermine the most sacred human relations, will have to be shredded. The way this day is chosen for mass propositions and expression of love towards the fair sex is self-explanatory about the longevity and faithfulness of such relations. Offering and accepting a flower, and that too under chaotic atmosphere is just making a mockery of this great human relation. More particularly, propositions and expression of love thus made on this particular day, as per prevailing practice, have varied choices, which means if the flower is not accepted by one, the offer is made to the second in line or whosoever comes in the way. Is love a bargain or a business proposition?

Or is love a commodity, which can be asked for or demanded by presenting a flower to someone of your choice without knowing his/her wish? No! Love cannot be forced or demanded from someone you think being appropriate for you; rather it is a two-way traffic. Love is honouring the other side’s feeling. Love knows what the beloved desires or needs and not the fulfilments of one’s own aspirations. Sacrifice, thy name is love!

Let us study the footprints of our ancestors on the sands of time; there we come across numerous definitions of this pious word Love. The West has still a lot to learn about the chemistry of human relations from us. They may have attained a lot in the material world, but India has a treasure full of peace, harmony, and love sublime. Nothing can beat our traditional festivals of Holi and Baisakhi in the context of human relations.

R.P. MALHOTRA, Panchkula

Tribune crosses another milestone

I have noted with pleasure the crossing of yet another milestone by The Tribune on February 2, 2003. I have been reading this paper with interest for a very long time and have come to appreciate its commitment to fair, objective and analytical reporting, liberally backed with its courage to remain free from pressure or alignment to any cause or interest.

After The Tribune was launched in 1881 by the noted educationist and crusader, Sardar Dayal Singh Majithia, the newspaper remained committed to the doctrine of Indian nationalism and its role in arousing the fervour and commitment to the cause of freedom of the country from the foreign yoke. Post-Independence, despite having to shift its base, bag and baggage, to the new India, The Tribune created a niche for itself that till date remains exclusive to this chronicle of the past and the present for the benefit of the future.

The Tribune has seen many illustrious editors over the years and I am sure that under your stewardship and guidance as a recognised journalist of high order at the national level, the paper, which has only recently expanded its operations to New Delhi, will become a truly multi-edition publication reaching all corners of the country.

Justice K. JAYACHANDRA REDDY, Chairman, Press Council of India, New Delhi.


Stress busters

This refers to “Making life a celebration" (Jan. 30)” by K.L. Batra in which the writer has beautifully explained the main cause of stress and tension. Many people are seen in the mad pursuit of monitory gains as our needs and desires have increased. Simple living and high thinking have become a thing of the past. This is why we adopt unfair means where there is no place for higher values. So in every walk of life we are in a state of drift. The result is loss of peace of mind and increase of stress.


Mayawati’s POTA

When one politician uses TADA or POTA against another politician, the whole country starts discussing the benefits and shortcomings of the Acts. The Acts and the politician who initiates action become the target of various political groups. TV channels and newspapers raise the issue. Editorials are written and even people like us start writing letters to newspapers.

But when a common man is rightly or wrongly arrested under these Acts, it does not even become a small piece of news. In my opinion, the (mis)use of these Acts against another politician is similar to tactics adopted by businessmen against their competitors. The other businessman is also strong enough to withstand the jolt of such tactics. We should let them fight — in streets or in courts. The misuse of the Acts against the common man should be highlighted as he has little options to save himself. Sadly, no one does anything towards his cause.


Agenda for Amritsar

Amritsar has been decaying over the years. I wish our CM makes a trip in the lanes and bylanes leading to the Golden Temple to see for himself the condition of roads/drains and cleanliness. The narrow roads become slushy with unbearable stench after rain.

A flyover needs to be constructed from the GT Road to Jallianwala Bagh with multiple parking complexes. I request the CM to formulate a crash programme for giving a new look to the old city of Amritsar. Let him do something which even his opponents, the Akalis, could not do.

Brig H.S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula

Need for privatisation

In Malaysia roads are maintained by private companies. They provide facilities like lavatories, drinking water, shady trees etc on the sides of roads, and the condition of the roads is matchless. In lieu of these facilities every vehicle operator has to pay a certain amount as tax. If this method is adopted in India also for roads, sanitation and cleaning work, then the position of cities can be changed totally.


Defence civilians

After retirement the defence civilians are denied the facilities of the CSD canteens and their subsidiaries.

When the pension of both the defence services and the defence civilians is debitable to the same head of account, such denial is not called for and is wholly unjustified and unethical.

J.P. SETHI, Karnal

Misleading statement

I was shocked to read the statement of Major P.C. Thakur (retd) “General Dayal Misleading ex-servicemen” (Jan 24). I am surprised how such a soldier can comment on General Dayal, whose image and integrity during service and after retirement are considered impeccable. No soldier can be misled by any one these days.


Phone charges

This refers to the news item “TRAI raises urban phone rental charges” (Jan 26). This ruling by TRAI defeats the very purpose of TRAI’s existence i.e. regulating the telecom sector in order to protect the interests of the consumers from unfair tariffs or other corrupt and monopolistic trade practices of telecom companies. TRAI should only interfere if the consumer is being overcharged or exploited. As such it can fix the maximum ceiling for the tariffs, but how can TRAI justify fixing the minimum ceiling. It is not TRAI’s duty to maintain profitability of telecom companies.


Stray animals

Apropos Mr S.S. Mann’s call for gaushala funding and a ban on cow slaughter, what does Mr Mann propose to do with thousands of stray male calves released every year? No one wants to rear them as there is no return in keeping them. These stray calves are shuttled from one village to another. They destroy crops and cause accidents. They are a real problem for the Punjabi farmer! In other countries calves are valued for their meat. Surely these should be exported as they are an unwanted commodity here in Punjab.



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