Saturday, July 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Taking stock of defence research

Continuation of the Trishul as an R&D project after the users have opted for imports was the only alternative after spending hundreds of crores over the last two decades on the missile. Surely, development of complex weapon systems is highly involved and possibly new technologies not available off the shelf will have to be developed after time consuming hit and trials. But then, for every failure, there has to be honest analysis for correction mode. Perhaps this has been our weakest link as there always had been successful firings, obviously for public consumption! There is an urgent need to accelerate the project work now.

In the wake of the Trishul experience, the government should take stock of the entire defence research, production and inspection set-up as has been for the PSUs. Independent review of the projects which have been going on indefinitely is essential to foreclose the fruitless efforts. It must divest progressively from all areas except armaments. Explosive efforts must go much beyond re-mixes.

The best option is to have an integrated approach involving the armed forces, research institutions including CSIR, ISRO, academic institutions and production agencies and not forgetting the private enterprise which has done our country proud in many niche areas. To achieve self-reliance restructuring in the defence set-up is the need of the hour. Perhaps a senior service officer can be put in charge of major projects with rigid time-frames and adequate resources. It would be far better to have lab heads from the services for better appreciation of the users’ viewpoint and proper liaison.


The services would do well to have realistic qualitative requirements and not the best picked up from here and there. There should be national pride in ensuring the successful completion of a project and not sadistic pleasure in the collapse of indigenous effort due to repeated testing till it fails. May be the imported stores manage to get in on the strength of their propaganda or due to better liaison work. The indigenisation effort and collaboration on Brahmos model must get greater impetus.


Importance of Mani Mahesh fair

To promote the local culture and preserve its heritage, the Himachal Pradesh government took a significant decision that all the fairs and festivals being held in the state shall be organised by the respective local bodies, Nagar Parishads/ Panchayats of the area where the venues of such fairs are located. While the decision is hailed in principle, the residents of Chamba district are sore because the Mani Mahesh fair, which is a state-level fair, should have been organised by the Deputy Commissioner of Chamba instead of the Panchayat Samiti of Bharmour.

The Mani Mahesh fair, like the Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir, is a yatra of national importance where lakhs of pilgrims come from all over the country besides thousands of devotees of Lord Shiva hailing from the adjoining parts of Kangra and Jammu and Kashmir, after covering long distances and also crossing high mountains on foot. Over the years, this fair been successfully organised by the state and district administration.

The Mani Mahesh fair starts from Chamba town when two silver maces representing Lord Shiva and Shakti are taken to the Dal on foot by the sadhus of Dasnam Akhada of Chamba. Making six night halts at different stations en route the 98-km long distance, the holy maces, after having the sacred dip in the consecrated waters of the Dal are carried back to Chamba.

This fair is a very popular fair of Chamba district and the state. Restricting it to a sub-division/ tehsil-level fair is but lowering the status and the all-India character of the festival. The Panchayat Samiti of Bharmour, keeping in view its importance as also its territorial limits and powers, rightfully expressed its inability to manage the fair properly.

Keeping in view the all-India character of the fair, the state government should make necessary amendment in its order so that it is organised in a befitting manner by the Deputy Commissioner of Chamba.

HARISH CHANDRA SHARMA, President, Chamba Sahitya, Kala Parishad, Chamba

Unwise decision

Recently the Haryana Government has decided to appoint a Cabinet Sub-Committee to decide upon the memorials submitted by aggreived state government employees against the punishment and penalties awarded to them by their competent authorities on service matters.

Though the state government is fully empowered to take such a decision and there is no question of challenging its validity, the matter needs to be looked from a different perspective. First, the Governor being an impartial authority, is expected to take a fair, balanced and neutral stand on the memorials of employees who may complain of ill-treatment and victimisation by the ruling elite.

Secondly, the disciplinary action against gazetted officials is finalised at the highest level of government and there is no rationale behind approaching the same authorities again for disposal of appeals as the punishing authority cannot be the appellate authority. Moreover, in case of Central Government employees and All-India Service officers, the same power is vested in the President of India.


Clever hits

This refers to Mr Sriniwas Joshi's middle article “Gab of the gifted ones” (July 18). Poet Jur'at was totally blind. One day, he couched a hemistich likening the tresses of his beloved to “shab-e-daijoor” (a pitch dark night). All of a sudden, another jovial poet, Insha, showed up. Jurat said, “Us zulf pe phabti shab-e-joor kee soojhi”. “Andhey to andherey mein bahot door kee soojhi”, Insha quipped.

One day Ghalib visited his friend, Maulvi Fazl Haq, who greeted him with the verse: Baya biraadar; aao rey bhai (Come brother, come brother). Just then, his concubine came there. The poet asked him to complete the couplet by uttering the second line, “Ba-nasheen naadar; baith ree nai” (Be seated Mother, be seated mother).

Seeing a motto in the “pandaal” of a seminar on communal harmony, which read “Mazhab key naam par larna himaaqat hai” (It is a folly to fight in the name of religion), quick-witted poet Majaz Lakhnavi said, “Aur himaaqat key naam par larna mazhab hai" (And it is religious to fight over a folly).

Once, a former Director of AIR, A.S. Bokhari, tried to entertain his teacher Arthur Quiller Couch of Cambridge University, with Indian classical music. Having no taste for such music, he remarked, “Bokhari, only one record was enough to bore me. You have unnecessarily used so many records.”


Review the fee hike

The steep hike in the fee for free seats by Kurukshetra University will prohibit many deserving candidates from joining prestigious courses like MBA and MCA. The authorities concerned need to restore the status quo ante. Otherwise, many students will have to forget the dream of pursuing higher education.

ANKIT GOEL, Jagadhri

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