Pak Ministers should know how to behave

THIS has reference to the interview of Pakistan’s Information Minister Sheikh Rashid (Perspective, Nov 16). Exactly in the shoes of his master, General Pervez Musharraf, Rashid, who was in India recently to invite Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the SAARC Summit, used every available forum for denigrating our country through snide remarks about our leadership and diatribe about armed forces. As show-cased at Agra by General Musharraf, the Pakistani leadership lacks the necessary courtesy, behaviour and diplomatic niceties desired of a distinguished guest.

Our TV channels and the print media are also responsible for providing the platform to the Pakistani Minister for his aggressive rhetoric laced with blatant lies, unpalatable accusations and devoid of any positive and friendly gesture.

The pertinent question is whether an Indian Minister on visit to Pakistan shall be provided with similar free access to TV channels and other forums for a right reply to the anti-India propaganda?

J.K. MAGO, Panchkula



What ails Kashmir

This has reference to Mr David Devdas’ article “No innovative ideas for Kashmir’s economic growth” (Sunday Oped, Nov 9). In my letter (The Tribune, May 5, 2002), I had offered suggestions for creating an atmosphere for economic growth in Kashmir. These are still valid today.

The Kashmiri people appreciated the offer of a Punjab khadi organisation to buy, through the Khadi Board, handicraft items from the industrious Kashmir people and sell in the various khadi stores in Punjab and Haryana. I headed the delegation in this regard. Most Kashmiris have a mini home cottage industry which is spread over the entire Valley. However, due to decline in tourism, the articles prepared in the houses do not have many buyers. Consequently, most Kashmiris face deprivation and suffering.

The success of the cottage industry depends on tourists visiting Kashmir. For centuries, this industry has been one of the many attractions for tourists. But if tourism is on the downhill slide, who will buy the articles prepared in the houses of the Kashmirs?

I, therefore, suggest that government agencies such as handloom emporia, cooperatives and their showrooms and branches should send their representatives directly to those Kashmiris’ homes who have prepared handicrafts such as shawls, embroidery articles, waltnut room furniture, paper machine products and other articles. This will definitely bring smiles to Kashmiri faces and alleviate their suffering to a great extent.

K.M. BANSAL, Chandigarh

Don’t impose half-baked ideas on the child

THIS has reference to Ms Taru Bahl’s article “Smothered by concern” (Nov 2). Feeling responsible and performing one’s duty seriously is one thing but asserting one’s views in an arrogant and bullish manner definitely amounts to interference and assault on one’s individuality and genuine freedom.

Upbringing of a child does not mean imposing one’s do’s and don’ts on child behaviour to the extent of turning him into an introvert personality and crushing the creative instinct and talent.

It is really painful that we are, during the course of our formative education, never advised on a healthy upbringing of our children. Hence, in most cases, we are either overprotective or extra-liberal. And in the case of a girl child even the enlightened parents in the urban and liberal social set-up decide every petty thing about the child including her dress, toys, study material and even the type of friends.

This decidedly takes away the initiative of making decisions and facing the problems of life because the child develops a lack of confidence, fear and uncertainty. When we try to probe every activity of the child and assign to it our own interpretations, we are assaulting her privacy and independence instead of waking her up against abuse.

As parents, we must guide and enlighten the child about the possible pitfalls but let us not impose our half-baked and ill-conceived arbitrary ideas on the child. Let them live their own life and be prepared to bear the consequences boldly. Being with the child in times of its difficulties may be desirable but forcing a child to move in a particular direction is totally violative of human values and freedom of thought and action.



The hidden beauty

I appreciate the hidden beauty and wondrous meaning of the column “Life ties” in Spectrum. I regularly read it and make it a point not to miss it. Relationships are like space — the more you try to explore, the more you find yourself lost. Life lies has uniquely dealt with one or the other aspect of relationships each time. Every new story highlights a hidden aspect of my life. The horizon is wide and hazy, there I stand like a marvelling child trying to uncover many mysteries.

Life ties has indeed helped me peep deeper into my relationships and uplift their importance in my life. My heartiest congratulations and sincere gratitude.


Office romances

Mrs Vimla Patil built her castle “Office romances are a no-no for young people” (Spectrum, Nov 2) on the strength of a survey and her interview with some women. Romances emerge from heart, not head. As Acharya Vinoba Bhave wrote in his Gita: “When there is a conflict between head and heart, heart always dominates the head”.

Office romances among colleagues, bosses and subordinates have to go on. Even arranged marriages are a passport to success. In a public school at Solan, a highly qualified woman teacher fell in love with a BSF constable. They later got married and are doing well. Having worked in three offices at Shimla, I can cite a number of cases where romances never interfered with careers. A top Indian Audit and Accounts Officer (since expired) fell in love with a batch probationer. He, however, could not marry her and remained a bachelor throughout his life. Both retired at the level of Accountant-General.

I saw four cases where romances were successful with no problems. So were a few cases of successful marriage and career advancement in the Accountant General’s office among staffers belonging to different castes, regions and religions. Suffice it to say, it’s all a matter of luck.

S.S. JAIN, Chandigarh

Saigal, superstar

Mr Pran Nevile’s article “Hindi cinema’s first superstar” (Spectrum, November 9) was good. Even though the epithet “superstar” was first used for Rajesh Khanna in the seventies, undoubtedly, K.L. Saigal was the first film personality who really reserved the title. So strong was the magic of his voice that every singer wanted to become a Saigal those days. If one listens to the earlier songs of Mukesh and Kishore Kumar, one would find how desperately they tried to sing like Saigal. In fact, listeners often mistake these numbers as being Saigal’s.

Mr Nevile has stated that “it will always remain a mystery whether he (Saigal) sang better with or without the influence of liquor”. It may be recalled that when Naushad was signed to compose music for “Shahehan”, he made Saigal render five songs after allowing him to take liquor. Later, he recorded the same songs without allowing him to consume liquor. It is said that Saigal himself found the versions which he had rendered without consuming liquor better than the other ones! Alas, Saigal did not live long after the above incident.


Befooling people

Apropos of Mr Khushwant Singh’s article “Astrological falsehoods”, astrology has its origin in the Vedas. In all, 165 verses in the Atharva Veda have been devoted to it. Millions have derived benefit from this unique blend of science and art, and will no doubt continue to do so in the future.

Mr Khushwant Singh is known to launch trade against astrology from time to time in different forums. However, his credentials are limited to being a self-proclaimed Hindu baitor, atheist, agnostic and promotor of bawdy humour and cheap taste.

Cheats are in every profession, astrology included. But that does not belittle its importance and usefulness in our day-to-day life, nor does it detract from the astrounding accuracy of astrological predictions.

LT-COL ABHAY RISHI (retd), Chandigarh

It’s a deterrent

The article “Death as penalty” by S.P.S. Mann (Windows, Sept 27) is an exhaustive study of capital punishment. But I do not agree that death penalty is a controversial issue. Rather it is a deterrent.

Birth is not a right; it is a privilege by virtue of the biological process. Death is certain and inevitable. After birth, one has every right to live but with certain checks and balances. One’s indulgence in crime is never acceptable. The question is only as to how you spend this long or short span of life between birth and death and you are likely to be remembered as per your acts and deeds during the intervening period.

Capital punishment is the demand of the time especially when crimes are on the rise. At the same time, equating human beings with animals is not good as the former are the only creatures on this planet earth who can think about the happenings around them and can analyse the pluses and minuses.

HARISH K. MONGA, Ferozepore

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