Tuesday, April 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Borderline doesn’t divide artistes

THIS refers to the letters (April 12) on the reported views of ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh about the cultural invasion by Pakistani singers and his demand to ban their visits to India. Keeping in view the taste and temperament of Jagjit Singh, I have my reservations about what has been reported in the media. Some years ago when the then rulers in Pakistan had turned down the request of Lata Mangeshkar to perform a live concert in Pakistan, some politically disgruntled hawks in India had blown the issue disproportionately and tried to make a political capital out of the issue by demanding a total ban on the performing artistes of Pakistan. However, good sense prevailed on he Indian government and artistes like Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan, Noorjehan and Munni Begum were permitted to visit India for live concerts.

Fortunately, despite political and diplomatic rivalry between Indian and Pakistani rulers, the artistes of both countries have always maintained cordial relations. During one of his visits to Pakistan, the late Talat Mahmood was once asked at a public concert: "What would have been the fate of Lata Mangeshkar if Noorjehan had stayed back in India instead of migrating to Pakistan after partition?"

Without mincing words, Talat Mohmood had replied that Noorjehan would have faced tough times because it was Lata Mangeshkar who posed a threat and challenge to the supremacy of Noorjehan as a singer and not vice versa.


The hawks in India as well as Pakistan never miss an opportunity to create a wedge between Indian and Pakistani artistes but good sense has always prevailed and these artistes have even assumed the mantle of cultural evangelists. Before the present issue snowballs into a major political controversy, it is better that Jagjit Singh clears his position so that the politically disgruntled elements do not fan the communal fires.

M.L. DHAWAN, Chandigarh

Intelligence failure?

In spite of having innumerable intelligence agencies from the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the IB to RAW (and what not), why have we never detected or caught alive even one terrorist group planning attacks near the international border or crossing the border before it actually attacks, or even after the strike?

In almost all cases (including the attacks on Parliament House and Akshardham), why do they manage to get away, that too when the Indian defence and paramilitary forces are said to be on the constant vigil and guard the national borders?

Wg Cdr B.S. GAREWAL (retd), Chandigarh

Let us pray for war

"ONCE, high above a pasture, where a sheep and a lamb were grazing, an eagle was circling and gazing hungrily down upon the lamb.

And as he was about to descend and seize his prey, another eagle appeared and hovered above the sheep and her young with the same hungry intent. Then the two rivals began to fight, filling the sky with their fierce cries.

"The sheep looked up and was much astonished. She turned to the lamb and said: ‘How strange, my child, that these two noble birds should attack one another. Is not the vast sky large enough for both of them? Pray, my little one, pray in your heart that God may make peace between your winged brothers.’ And the lamb prayed in his heart."

After reading this piece titled "War and small nations" by Khalil Gibran, I have stopped praying for peace, lest my prayers should make me their next prey! Let us pray for war among all hungry giants!

BALVINDER, Chandigarh



Defence strategy

Lt-Gen (retd) Vijay Oberai, a former Vice Chief of the Army Staff, in his article “Fund surrender despite crunch” (March 28) has succinctly analysed the shortcomings and apathy in our defence budgetary allocations. He has particularly pinpointed lacunae which reflect upon projects of development and modernisation of our defence forces.

Defence functioning cannot be sustained on long delays and red-tapism prevailing at the executional level. We are passing through a very uncertain and fast changing geopolitic-military axis. In addition, our defence forces are involved in conducting anti-insurgency operation. Defence budget allocations are to be need-based and relative to security and threat perceptions.

The Budget for the year 2003-04 presented by the Finance Minister allocated Rs 65,300 crore for defence. Although it shows an increase of Rs 300 crore over last year’s Budget, actually this increase works out to only 0.04 per cent statistically. In modern times a defence budget making exercise calls for openness, forthright observations on the security environment and impending global security-cum-threat intelligence.

How political ideology with ethnic and religious resurgence has caused regional, geopolitical inputs on national security environment! These are important factors which are to be taken into account while going in four budget preparations by adopting an integrated strategy. The messy internal situations, which tend to go out of control continue to occupy our defence forces until they are brought under control by defence forces deployment! Under such trying times the last viable instrument of the state is the defence forces. It speaks volumes about the apolitical nature of our defence forces. Every countryman then begins to appreciate the secular and unbiased role played by defence personnel.

Our defence planning models are archaic. The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament in its report in 1958 pointed out that “Considerable duplicate effort is involved in service headquarters and the Ministry of Defence and the responsibility of proposals emanating from a senior level at Service headquarters being examined by officials in the Ministry who are junior or lack the necessary expert knowledge”.

The present system where bureaucrats act as military constituents is a relevant pointer. They seem to thaw proposals in the triaxis of political, economic and military constituents. There is absence of “professionalism” in defence hierarchical planning. Properly executed plans and programmes are a hallmark of excellence and by applying models of scientific management we can hone our skills and acumen. After all, the achievements of objectives is the quid pro quo of any democratic government.


Heading for debt trap

Apropos of S. Sethuraman’s “New fiscal year begins with clouded outlook” (April 4), it is evident that this year’s Budget is absolutely unrealistic, though, it is certainly middle-class-friendly. There is already a huge fiscal deficit and the expenditure reforms have been shelved for the time being. The subsidy system remains untouched. On the contrary, revenue receipts are bound to shrink in view of cut in duties and the proposed tax concessions.

But the Finance Minister appears unmindful of these pitfalls, and is taking great risks to balance the Budget. Mr Jaswant Singh is banking on a spectacular increase in the government revenues due to the economic growth generated by the increase in demand for consumer goods such as biscuits, soft drinks, foreign liquor, cars, airconditioners, etc. Is not it a risky venture?

If the expected growth rate does not take place, as envisaged, and the actual tax collections fall short of the budget estimates, has the Finance Minister another string to the bow? Is not the country drifting towards a grave financial crisis and a debt trap, Mr Singh?

B.S. SAINI, Hoshiarpur

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |