Wednesday, April 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Kashmir: need for a new approach

APROPOS the article “Summer in Jammu and Kashmir” (March 22) by Gen. V.P. Malik, the General has not outlined any new military approach to deal with the ongoing proxy war by Pakistan. And now comes another carnage of helpless Kashmiri Pandits in the valley. In response, we will have the usual series of meetings in Delhi and Srinagar, condemnation statements, visits to the site and empty rhetoric by the political leadership.

How long will India continue to bleed in this proxy war and only keep on reacting rather softly to their assaults, in one form or the other, not only in J&K but also in other parts of the country? It should be clear to the authorities that Pakistan will not understand any language other than force. That force need not be a direct attack across the LoC or the IB. Keeping the Army at the border for about a year has yielded no significant results.

A time has come when we must adopt a different approach. Let the military intelligence and other agencies involved in meeting the challenge work out a plan to deal with Pakistan.

And let us not bother about American and others’ reaction as it is our battle and we only have to fight it out. Let us for a change surprise our adversary.

Brig H.S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula


Permission to kill

This refers to Mr L.K. Advani’s reported statement on the Nadimarg killings that “nobody will be allowed to kill innocent persons and create terror in the valley”. As if someone is coming up with a written application requesting the government to allow him to kill innocent persons and spread terror.

This reminds me of a story. A fellow visiting an office had an urge to smoke. He asked the person sitting at the counter: “Can I smoke?” “No you cannot. Don’t you see the signboard where it is written “No Smoking”, came the reply. “But here are many a cigarette butts lying”, protested the visitor. “Oh, these are of the persons who never asked”, came the curt reply.

Moral of the story: terrorists can continue to massacre innocent people and spread terror at their will. But they will never be allowed to, if they ever asked our leaders.


Reception banners

Putting up of cloth, metallic, paper hoardings and banners across a road is an offence as per the Supreme Court guidelines. The banners tend to distract drivers and jeopardise safety. But daily the court orders are flouted. Big reception gates are put up on main roads of a city in honour of new ministers or VIPs or for religious congregations like Jagrata, Ram Lila and for social functions like marriages or parties.

The roads are blocked and damaged with impunity in addition to inconvenience to the public. The authorities should curb this menace.


Unfair means

A number of engineering colleges have mushroomed in Punjab over the last few years. On the other hand, due to an unprecedented increase in the fees, engineering education is going beyond the reach of the middle class. This has brought the problem of a number of seats lying vacant in the colleges, and thus the competition among the colleges to attract students hots up.

As it happens in India, one must beat the competition by means fair or foul. One method being adopted by the colleges is that during counselling the parents are told that students in their college are given high marks in the sessionals (internal exam) compared to the other colleges and so their wards will get better percentage at the time of deciding division and merit.

This is a trick most foul and not in the interest of the community and Punjab as such. There are instances where students were given 70 to 80 per cent marks in sessionals but failed to pass the terminal exam conducted by the university. It will be worthwhile to do such a study and find the real truth.

I suggest that the sessionals marks should be limited to 5-10 per cent above the marks obtained in the final exam of the university and if a student fails in the terminal exam he should be given just pass marks in the sessionals. Alternatively, we should delete the sessionals completely and marks obtained in the terminal exam only should be considered.

Lt Col S.S. KATHURIA (retd), Ludhiana

Gender equality — their style

GOD forbid if women ran the world, if men would let them in the first place that is! And for a moment even “if wishes were horses...”, they would bang into someone as soon as they got into the driver’s seat, that is for sure (Pun intended, no malice though).

On a serious note though there is an aspect of equality of genders that is slightly irksome: they want to have their cake and eat it too. Take the ubiquitous separate queues for men and women - banks, post offices, railway stations, bus stations, be it anywhere you will find them. I was rudely jolted out of my chivalrous gesture twice at Cambridge, England, where I was a research student. Once when I offered help to a young female colleague at the college to lift a heavy baggage. She gave me a stern look, simultaneously rudely refusing to accept help, she heaved it upstairs to her dorm all by herself. (Later I came to know that she was a young armed forces recruit from the USA on study leave to Cambridge).

Another time I was standing in queue in the local corner post-office shop, when the lady standing in front of me left the queue for a second to have a look at some picture post-cards. When she returned to the queue I made place for her in front of me where she earlier been standing. The lady was so abruptly rude that her stern warning still rings in my ears: “there is no sex discrimination here.”

I am still wondering as to what did I do wrong, all I did was offer her place back to her. But she went to the end of the queue and took position there. Frankly, in my scheme of things this is what gender equality should be all about. To be fair, however, I am compelled to concede that the lecherous atmosphere that prevails at most places in our country especially, may make separate queues practical impossibility as yet.

Was it Mark Twain who quietly observed: “Women, can’t live with them, can’t live without them.” Churchill, had his own observations on the better-half of the gender equation: “There can be no winner in the battle of the sexes. There is too much fraternising with the enemy!”




Breast problems

This refers to the article “Breast problems during pregnancy and lactation” by J.D. Wig (March 19). It is a very informative article but certain facts are misrepresented and I have certain comments to make to avoid confusion in the public mind. The most important and common cause of cracked nipples is nipple confusion because of bottle feeding along with breast feeding and the improper positioning in which the infant does not “latch” on the breast properly and not only due to the neglect of hygiene of the nipple as stated in the article. To promote healing of the cracked nipples, the breast should not be frequently washed and cleaned and no soap should be applied (apart from daily bath) and the breast should be exposed to air. Similarly no antiseptic creams should be applied. Instead the hind breast milk which is rich in natural fats should be applied to the nipple and areola area.

There is no need to rest the breast for 24-48 hours as stated in the article, rather frequent suckling/feeding should be encouraged for effective evacuation of the breast. Bottle feeding should be avoided and proper positioning of the baby should be done for proper healing of the cracked nipples.

Dr V.K. AHUJA, Sangrur

E-governance in HP

I agree with the views in the letter “Revamp HP machinery” (March 28). For revamping HP machinery, Info Tech is the cheapest tool available to bring transparency, improve efficiency in administration, management of finances, making information available to everyone and involving public in development programmes.

Infrastructure like video conferencing facilities at district headquarters, computers with peripherals and Internet connectivity are available up to the subdivision level and in various institutions. The district headquarters are linked to the Information Centre, Shimla, through VSAT.

Information in the form of data, graphics and video can be communicated between departmental heads and officers at the district sub-division level. Thus, expenditure involved in organising conferences can be avoided and time can be saved. At present these resources are not exploited due to lack of knowledge and resistance to change. If the new government wants to minimise corruption, improve efficiency and the economy, it should switch over to e-governance at the earliest. The government must make a policy of making use of e-mail for communication and storing of information electronically. All this can be done by utilising existing facilities without any major expenditure involved. Therefore, Himachal must go in for e-governance.

Lt Col RANBIR SINGH THAKUR (retd), e-mail

Medical teachers

The exodus of teachers from the medical colleges is justified because even when there are vacant posts and eligible incumbents, they are not promoted for the reasons best known to the authorities. Promotion delayed is promotion denied.

Consequently, a smaller number of medical teachers results in the reduction in seats for the postgraduate courses, a drastic increase in the workload of the existing staff and affects patients adversely.

Dr P. MENON, Amritsar

IGNOU’s erratic service

Six months ago, I had registered myself for IGNOU’s course of D.C.E. (Diploma in Creative English Writing). But till today, I have not been provided with any study material by the university.


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