Saturday, May 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



How will a lathi rally help people?

Apropos of your editorial Laloo’s lathi rally (April 30), politics is being reduced to the level of cheap gimmicks and nautanki, embarrassing the common law-abiding citizens. The real issues of state policy like providing basic facilities and improving the infrastructure are being ignored by the powers that be. Our politicians have been making calculated attempts to polarise society on caste, regional and religious lines and passions of mistrust and hatred have been aroused only for their dubious and dirty vote-bank games.

One is pained to find even intellectuals and the media being completely indifferent to this. They do not ask these leaders in what way will the Lathi Rally, Rath Yatras, Jagran Rallies, Trishul and Sword Dikshas, lavish birthday parties and so on help the common man. Instead, our media, electronic in particular, gives wide coverage to such ludicrous political shows as the most important events of the time. It speaks of our political bankruptcy and a lack of decency when we enjoy watching a scantily dressed politician talking nonsense on the television channels. Instead of awakening the masses, the media are highlighting the loss of man-hours in the offices, educational institutions and industry as also the inconvenience and harassment caused to the business community on account of such rallies and processions. This does not serve the people in any manner.


Our economists and policymakers stress the need for utilising the scant natural and human resources judiciously for balanced development of the country. However, the ruling parties at the Centre and in the states indulge in extravagant shows and rallies at state expense. How can people put an end to this?

Ved Guliani, Hisar


Can I become a doctor?

I am a student of Class VIII. My aim is to become a doctor. I was shocked to read in The Tribune that there are 2,47,743 students appearing for PMT examination as against 2,200 vacancies. But those who studied so hard may not pass or get the degree because the children who are from richer families can afford to dish out Rs 8 lakh or more to get entrance test passed even without making a serious effort to study. Those who really deserve to pass may be left out because their parents are not in a position to spare that kind of money.

My father is an army officer who can shed his blood for the country but cannot afford to give consideration money. Isn’t this partiality? This is because of corruption in our system where even education has not been spared. Those children who deserve a degree will not get and the undeserving will fill the seats. Will this system ever change for good? Will the deserving students ever get recognition?

Amrita Singh, Chandigarh


Timely exposure

This has reference to a public notice (April 25) and a letter by Mr Rama Sharma, PRO of CBSE, Delhi (April 29). The writer has been faithful enough to write in favour of her bosses without whose collusion such a scandal could not have passed unnoticed for so many years. The facts mentioned in the enquiries in The Tribune on various dates cannot be ignored or taken as lightly as the PRO has stated. The leakage of papers has been selectively going on and no beneficiary would admit of any such offence.

I have been teaching students for PMT/IIT for a number of years and have found that honest and diligent students are happy that the affluent persons who had been contemplating getting admission to PMT through the backdoor have been disappointed, at least for this year, due to timely exposure of the scam by The Tribune. The notice or a letter by the PRO of CBSE finds no substance as some high-ups of the board are understood to be involved in the scandal unless an impartial inquiry finds it otherwise.

T.R. GUPTA, Pathankot

Of obituaries, bhogs etc.

In his middle article Of funerals, bhogs and vanity (April 14), Mr S.P. Dhawan has rightly remarked that death is “an eternal reality and inevitable end of all forms of life.”

Guru Nanak said: “Kis naal keejey dosti sab jag challan-haar” (Who should be held dear? The whole world is transitory). Yet even a nonagenarian at the last gap will grumble that it is not the time to leave the world. I am reminded of an urdu couplet: “Ho umr-e-Khazr bhee to ho ma’loom vaqt-e-marg/Ham kya rahey yahaan abhee aaey abhee chaley” (“Umr-e-Khazr” means a very long life).

In the obituary notices and “bhog” cards, a line from Gurbani — “Ghalley aaey Nanaka saddey uthi jaaey” (O’ Nanak! when God sends us into the world we take birth. When he calls us back, we die) — generally finds a mention. Poet Zauq also said: “Laai hayaat aaey qaza ley chali chaley/Apni khushi na aaey na apni khushi chaley.” In other words, it is the omnipotent God, who is the Creator and Destroyer of everything in the world. Yet in the obituaries, people remark: “with profound grief and sorrow we regret to inform the sad demise of ...”

On hearing the news of someone’s death, Muslims invariably utter a Quaranic verse: “Inna allah o inna illeh raaj’oon” (God’s are we and to Him are we to return). Yet they observe mourning and express grief by weeping and wailing.

Sometimes very apt lines from Gurbani and verses are quoted in the obituary notices and “bhog” cards. For instance: “Keil karendey hans nu achintey baaz paey” (Hawks swooped upon the frolicking swan unawares); “Sajjan merey ranguley ja suttey jeeraan” (My lively friend is sleeping in the graveyard); “Vich supney tuseen aaey asaadey asaan tha galvakri paai/Nira noor kuchh hath na aaya saadi kambdi rahi kalaai” (You came in my dream and I hugged you. You were composed of light. I could not catch you. My wrist trembled); “Sab havaaen ley gaya merey samundar sey koee/Aur mujh ko ek kashti baadbaani dey gaya” (“Baadbaani kashti” means the boat driven by a sail) and “Daaman kisee ka haath sey jaata raha magar/Ik rishta-e-khayaal hai jo toot-ta nahin.”

In the obituary notice of an Army officer, who laid down his life while fighting with the enemy, Kabir’s line — “Soora so paihchaanyey jo larey deen key heit” (Recognise him a brave man who fights for the cause of a helpless person) — found a mention. The couplet “Khil key gul kuchh to bahaar apni saba dikhla gaey/Hasrat un ghunchon pe hai jo bin khiley murjha gaey,” is quoted on the death of young children.

Sometimes, quotes are not apt. On the death of a man, who throughout his life perpetrated heinous crimes, the line “Gurmukh janam savaar dargah challaya” (After passing a higher life, the pious man went to the court of God) looks odd. Below the portraits of some late people are written the words “Shabi-e-mubaarak ... Khuld-aashiyaani (firdaus-makaani) taab saraahu” (Auspicious portrait of ... with his abode in heaven. May his grave become fragrant), even though they might have become denizens of hell because of their abominable sins and evil deeds.


Review protocol rules

After reading the report on how a Major General was not allowed to see the Supreme Commander of the defence forces by a bureaucrat, I was surprised. The younger generation is asking why should one join the defence forces when, despite a protocol requirement, a very senior serving defence officer is not allowed to meet the Supreme Commander by a bureaucrat.

It appears that the official concerned is ignorant of the customs and etiquette followed in the armed forces. The behaviour of such a bureaucrat should be condemned by all.

The gradual downgrading of the defence personnel vis-a-vis the civil officers is deplorable. The Warrant of Precedence needs to be reviewed immediately.

MAJOR P.C. GUPTA (retd), Kulu

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