Tuesday, September 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Craving for an end to terrorism

The introduction of cellphone connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir is yet another step to enable the people of the terrorist-hit state to lead a normal life like other citizens in the rest of the country. This will, in turn, not only remove any feeling of discrimination that they might have been harbouring on account of the absence of the facility but also reinforce their craving for an end to terrorism.

Judging by the tremendous response from the people to the decision, the urge for leading a normal, terror-free existence, first demonstrated by the massive turnout of voters in last year's Assembly elections in the state is overwhelming. The trend was further confirmed on Independence Day this year when the official ceremony to observe it, held at the Bakshi Stadium, Srinagar, was attended by as many as 15,000 people, the largest gathering on such an occasion since 1990 when cross-border terrorism first hit the state. This was in sharp contrast to such gatherings in the intervening years which were attended mainly by officials and a handful of political activists and held indoors on several occasions.

Also, by making not only people-to-people but business and professional communication easier, mobile telephony is likely to give a boost to economic activity which is further bound to make for the rejection of cross-border terrorism. Understandably, some precautions have had to be taken because terrorism continues and Pakistan shows no desire of curbing it.

Applications should be carefully screened to make sure that the connections do not go to the wrong people. Also, only post-paid and not pre-paid SIM cards will be available. Moreover, the service, initially limited to 14 major towns in Jammu and Kashmir and the whole stretch of the national highway from Pathankot to Jammu and the latter to Srinagar, will not be available within 10 km of the border with Pakistan and China.


While one hopes that continued improvement of the situation in the state will soon permit the withdrawal of these precautions, the very introduction of mobile telephony underlines the government’s success in its war against cross-border terrorism and its confidence in the ability to deal with the situation.


All for the sake of art

I have enjoyed reading the article “Rejecting babudom for the love of art” by Mr Roopinder Singh (Aug 9). Being a contemporary, I do admire and respect Prof. Goswamy as a brilliant student, a scholar and an intellectual at Panjab University’s college at Hoshiarpur.

His work “Pahari Masters” and the years he had spent in trekking villages in remote areas in search of relevant material on painters, spending days and nights at the village habitats, working in candle light all these years after relinquishing a cosy job as an Indian Administrative Service officer at Gaya in Bihar speaks volumes for the meticulous work he has brought out with dedication and devotion.

One would agree with him for not settling down abroad because of the cultural problem. He had stayed on along with his family in Punjab in the darkest days of militancy despite threats. His command over English and Urdu languages is simply to be heard and believed. He remains an honest and upright teacher.

How I wish Prof Goswamy had not chosen to keep himself aloof from the art of politics of the country — a price which we are all paying and perhaps will continue to pay.

N.S. KAPUR, Delhi

Of “anchal” & border

Mr A.J. Philip’s middle “When the cry is heard” (Aug 14) was interesting. I compliment him for knitting a readable story out of commoners, writers, preachers, translators, administrators, etc and also topping it up with a ‘Rakhi’ on the wrist of a victim.

I, however, disagree with the writer’s use of the English word ‘border’ as equivalent to the Hindustani term ‘anchal’. This Indian word has several meanings, but not ‘border’.

Phaneshwar Nath Renu appears to be a known author. But I have not been lucky to read any of his writings. Nevertheless, he appears to have used the words ‘Maila Anchal’ like a well known Punjabi title ‘Maili Chadar’.

Literally, ‘anchal’, stands for ‘chadar’ — more a woman’s veil. A woman covers with it her torso, especially head. Nursing mothers tend to cover with it a suckling infant.

K.L. NOATAY, Shimla

Minjar fair

The report “Minjar fair damp squib” carries the criticism of Mr D.N. Pradesi, President of Chamba Retired Employees' Welfare Association, of the local administration for selling the entire Chowgan to the local party who earned heavy benefits by re-selling it to individual shopkeepers.

In fact, the entire management of the Minjar fair was a fiasco. For about a decade, the Minjar fair has lost its cultural character and it has now taken shape of a trade fair. The lush-green Chamba Chowgan is put to suffer because of all types of commercial activities during the fair. Not a single inch of space is left for the people to sit and relax during the fair.

Though the local administration is earning huge money by the sale of the green chowgan, it is unfortunate that not even a rupee is spent on the repair and maintenance of the Chowgan after the fair is over.

RAJNEESH, Chandigarh

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