Monday, March 31, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Majha: victim of political prejudices

Majha, comprising the golden triangle bound by Lahore, Amritsar and Gurdaspur, had always remained the crown of the undivided Punjab. After partition, while the Lahore-western segment continued to flourish, Gurdaspur did not change a bit from what Radcliffe had gifted us, and going by the slow or no development, the plight of Amritsar went from bad to worse and is fast catching up with the landscape of Gurdaspur.

Over the last 40 years, barring the days of the late Pratap Singh Kairon, the successive governments did very little to improve the plight of Majha except using it as a battleground to settle their intra/inter-party disputes. There is no denying the fact that Majha had seen the worst of militancy. It is to the credit of the valiant Majhails who not only sustained it but also overcame it successfully. The recent “standoff” with Pakistan further increased its economic imbalance.

One wonders to see phenomenal development across the Beas & Satluj rivers in the last few years, by way of setting up industries and carving of new districts which have improved their economic status. Keeping Majha bereft of such packages is not understood.

The Golden Temple is being declared as a heritage centre by UNESCO. This should serve as an eye-opener for our state politicians to do something, though belatedly, to remove the imbalance. First, to draw full mileage of this rare honour, we must attract pilgrims to the holy shrine and simultaneously offer some tourist packages. The allied infrastructure must come up. The roads remind one of a camel track in the Thar desert, need immediate improvement. Traffic bottlenecks, revival of sick industries in Batala, Chheharta and Verka should be on top of the agenda.


The state government must insist on rail links with the South, the North-East and increased frequency with the West, as also an increase in air traffic, both on national and international circuits.

Majha has another monumental landmark. The Khalsa College, an architect’s delight. Perhaps its vast campus is only one of its kind in the country. A century-old structure made of bricks and lime, its domes stand out in the skyline. Clubbed with Jallianwala Bagh, Durgiana Mandir, Ram Tirath, Rani Bagh Gardens and the gurdwaras at Tarn Taran and Goindwal, it can be developed as a tourists’ retreat.

While we, the Punjabis, feel proud on the move of heritage status to the Golden Temple unless we set up the back-up facilities, it would not serve the rightful purpose. My appeal to the state government and politicians is to shed the Malwa — Doaba centric stance and for the Golden Temple sake, if not more, at least bring it on a par with Majha.

Col RAMESH DAVESAR (retd), Chandigarh

War: dying like a dog for no reason

Apropos the letter by Gurdershan Singh (March 24), the USA is now thinking of the UN Charter when Iraqi TV flashed photographs of captured American soldiers.

Let us have a look at history.

President Bush Jr should recall what Dr Samual Johnson (1709-1784), the great British writer and creator of English dictionary more than 200 years ago, said: “I am willing to love all mankind except an American”.

How far-sighted Dr Samual Johnson was! Writing notes on the next war, Earnest Hamingway had mentioned: “They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

But in a modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.

In May, 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the then US President, had said while giving a chat on radio that “America would not relish the idea of any American citizen growing rich and fat in an emergency of blood and slaughter and human suffering”.

Do you hear Mr Bush? In the present scenario with public protests, the country should be renamed as the DSA i.e. Disunited States of America. 

Dr H.K. LALL, Chandigarh


Happy in sleepy city

This refers to the letter “Paththaron ka shahar”. I am surprised that not even a single person responded to V.N. Datta’s write-up from the city, except two “outsiders” — Mr K.J.S. Ahluwalia from Amritsar and Mr D.R. Chaudhry from Rohtak (March 21). I have been living in Chandigarh for the last 15 years and I feel very sad that the image of Chandigarh, the City Beautiful, has not been put in the right perspective.

Yes, it may be true that a city needs much more than architectural or natural beauty, but what really matters is how much pride the residents take in being a part of this wonderful city. There are a lot of things which give me a sense of belongingness. I feel proud to traverse through broad and clean city roads. I take a lot of pride when I am on the road dividing Sector 16 and 17, or on the road dividing the Industrial Area and Sectors 28-29.

The city is a true symbol of a free, modern and independent India. When I move from the Transport Chowk to the Housing Board Chowk in Manimajra, my arms tend to make a wide swing to engulf the air therein. If the incidents of gang-war, robbery, murder in broad-daylight, cyber crime and indecent night life make a city happening and lively, then I am happy to be a part of this sleepy city, as it is now.

Vinish Garg, Panchkula

Not stone-hearted

I think the letters by Mr D.R. Choudhary and Mr K.J.S. Ahluwalia (March 21) about the character of Chandigarh are highly critical. Mr Ahluwalia termed its citizens stone-hearted but I don’t know what he would say about donations made by them for the treatment of needy patients in the PGI whenever local newspapers highlight their plight. The number of taxpayers in the city is on the rise, which contributes to the development of country.

MANU MOUDGIL, Chandigarh

Vulgar Punjabi music

Through the columns of your esteemed daily I wish to express my sorrow over the vulgarisation of Punjabi music. The other day I was watching the audio-visual of the Punjabi song “Modhe ton tilkda jawe dupatta tera sat rang da” from the album Dupatta on Siti channel and felt ashamed on seeing the scantly clad model dancing to the tune of this otherwise beautifully composed Punjabi song sung by Surjit Bindrakhia. But the visual hardly matched with the composition of the song as instead of a Punjabi girl in salwar-kameez and a dupatta on her shoulders, here was a model with a skimpy dress which revealed her body more than concealing it. Punjabi singers need to do some introspection and give Punjabi music its due grace and respect.

D. Dass, Chandigarh

Going for a film?

A few months ago I went to see the late night show of a movie at a cinema hall in Chandigarh. I handed a 100-rupee note to the booking in-charge. While returning the change, he gave me Rs 10 less than the actual amount payable. When I drew his attention to this fact, he immediately returned the balance amount.

I had almost forgotten about this minor incident until when I went to watch a movie at another cinema hall in the same city where a similar incident took place and the amount which the booking clerk “forgot” to return was, again, Rs 10!

Surprisingly, later when I went to watch a movie at yet another hall in the same city, a similar incident took place. The booking clerk unjustifiably tried to make me poorer by Rs 15.

I am not ready to believe that all this is a coincidence. Since most cinegoers are in a hurry to leave the booking window, the booking clerks might have hit upon this idea to raise their collections. Since the authorities concerned are always busy doing more important things than attend to such complaints, I would request the movie lovers visiting Chandigarh cinema halls to be careful while giving and accepting money at the booking windows.


Telephone tax

The Punjab Government has announced in the Budget for 2003-04 to levy a tax on all categories of telephone rental charges at 12.5% and has not granted any concession to the Senior Citizens. This will break the backbone of middle class people, and make living costlier. Already a service tax of 5% is charged on the phone bill and thus both put together will make telephone services costlier by 17.5%. This much tax is probably nowhere on phone services and will adversely affect the telephone enterprise. TRAI is also planning to increase the telephone rental charges, besides reducing the number of free calls and duration of each call as was announced sometime ago. It will further aggravate the matter.

I appeal to the Punjab Government to withdraw the telephone tax before passing the Budget.

Col. IA.S. DHILLON (retd), e-mail

Security guards at courts

The number of security guards provided to members of the judiciary should be reduced. An army of security guards in courtrooms and around does not inspire respect for courts.

The appeals decided by the high courts used to carry the names of the subordinate judicial officers who had written the judgements under appeal. Now even the name of the district to which the appeal relates is kept a well-guarded secret in majority of cases.

There should be surprise checks on the working of the lower courts. The annual inspection of the subordinate courts by the inspecting judges, now termed as administrative judges, does not serve any purpose. By such inspection I am reminded of my school days. The arrival of a school inspector used to be announced weeks in advance. There used to be fresh whitewash of the whole of the building and new paint was applied to the wooden furniture. All the books in the library used to be placed in well painted almirahs and almirahs used to be placed in the open courtyard.

I was a weak student in the class and was made to sit in between two brilliant students at the time of the inspection. When any question was put, I was supposed to raise my hand to a great height and, against the advice of the teachers in charge, I used to raise both of my hands. One of the two brilliant students around me used to get up hurriedly and reply to the question by the inspector while I used to continue looking at the ground. Of course my hands continued to fly in the air.



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