Friday, June 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Sending soldiers to Iraq

Rightly there is lot of discussion in the media about sending troops to Iraq. The fact remains that deploying troops is our compulsion and America’s strong requirement.

As ours is one of the countries which can be forced and has disciplined and reliable troops to be deployed, our economic conditions — specially requirement of oil and gas — are our compulsions. Now Americans are the only people who are in a position to meet these requirements, because they are surplus. Moreover in the coming years they are likely to have control over 80% of oil and gas installations all over the world, including Central Asian countries. They have offered us 15% share of gas pipeline connecting central Asian countries with Gwaddar port of Pakistan. Needless to mention about the control of the USA over West Asia. This is the time that we are in a position to strike a bargain about putting pressure on Pakistan about abetting terrorism in J and K.

We must not forget that the US requires Pakistan more than India because they do not want their men to get killed by fundamentalists. The problem of Al-Qaida-Taliban etc is going to exist for decades to come. Hence, the US requires someone to do guard/policeman duties, on the ground. The reasons are obvious. To be very frank why should they get their men killed when someone else is available for the same?

Decision in this regard has already been taken. To be more precise we have been ordered to do this duty. Only befooling and bargaining exercise is being carried out by the politicians. About the casualties to be suffered by our troops, I keep my comments reserved.

Commandant Rashpal Singh (retd), Chandigarh


Qualification difference

Bank employees are among the highest paid employees of India. Banks give many facilities along with excellent chances of promotion to their employees.

Eligibility conditions to appear in bank test for clerical cadre is graduation in any division and for officer cadre it is graduation in first division. In India there is no dearth of highly educated people. Then why should not this condition for officer cadre be postgraduation, may be in first division or with minimum 55% marks? After all, there should be some difference in the qualification of officers and clerks.

Mohinder Kumar, Sirsa

Unfair criticism of BJP

It is an apolitical letter apropos of a purely political writeup, “BJP has besmirched itself”, by Inder Malhotra (June 12). Many prominent journalists who have made a fetish of wearing the liberal labels have been wailing like witches of Macbeth every since the BJP has come to power at the Centre that four horsemen of Apocalypse are going to descend on India wreaking all kinds of death, destruction and pestilence. Nothing of the sort has happened except for the natural calamity of an earthquake in Gujarat and we know earthquakes shook up many secular and nonsecular countries indiscriminately. Droughts and floods have been our fate in all the political seasons. Narender Modi after looking hideous before the klieg lights and getting far too many raps on the knuckles has receded to the backstage.

Now what is wrong in using embellished words like “Vikas Purush” or “Loh Purush” for its leaders vis-a-vis sycophancy extraordinaire of the Congress party for equating the name of its leader with India? What is the political impropriety in announcing the name of second-in-command whereas it is a common happenstance in the Congress to announce every child born in the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty as a political messiah? What is wrong in having a wordy skirmish with the Press at a time when even The New York Times has been shown to be fallible?

The BJP deserves at least a left-handed compliment for allowing free reins to the CBI to bring out to the public view all the grime and filth in every scandal. Even the ministers and legislators were not sheltered from being exposed.

All the political pundits know very well that Prime Minister Vajpayee has the knack of turning the political market bullish for his party at the appropriate time.

R.C. Khanna, Amritsar

Future of IIAS

History tells us that the majority jury of Athens judged that Socrates was wrong and he be allowed to drink hemlock for his insistence on truth claims. That jury is now rescinded to oblivion but Socrates is still alive amongst us. However, the European civilisation paid a price for that judgment. The history finally was plunged into the Dark Ages for at least one full millennium when it was rediscovered by the Renaissance movement. We in India have reached a point where the pillars of institutions are giving in to the test of its own moral code.

Otherwise, why the lawyers had to come to the streets to book their own failing “Lords”? If the lawmakers would start hiding from the law, who will deliver justice to the civil society! There is also need to learn from the failings of the West and from the words of wisdom of Indian sages. The most important one is that everything cannot be put to sale, particularly the formal legal code and the informal moral code. They are web and weft of any society.

If the institutions of discovering truth also become porous to let penetrate the fangs of greed and material allurement, it is sure sign of entering into a phase of serious social crisis. The force of the rising storm of suicides is not strong enough to shake the humane conscience. The rot perhaps is too deep. And the decision to vacate the IIAS from the present place of Summer Hill is nothing but to pave the way for the five-star hotel companies.

For the hotel industry the institute was always an eyesore. I only wish that dimness of the picture that appeared on the pages of The Tribune is not symptomatic of the future of the Mecca of Indian intellectuals.

Manjit Singh, Chandigarh

Death-knell to clubs

The proposal to shift age-old clubs from Ram Bagh Gardens, Amritsar, by invoking provisions of The Punjab Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archeological Remains and Sites Act, 1964, has come as quite a rude shock to the members in general and public at large. The moot question that remains unanswered is the object such a legislation is likely to achieve.

In fact, these heritage buildings, or what remains of them, owe their survival to the discipline and decorum maintained by these clubs by restricting the entry of unwanted elements who are seen loitering at odd hours of the day indulging in drugs and other unsocial activities. The greenery and the flora and fauna of the area owe their existence to these clubs. Rather than shifting them outright it would be more pragmatic to involve these clubs into maintenance of these heritage buildings by invoking the provisions of Section 6 of the Act.

Subash Khanna, Amritsar

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