CM-Badal standoff hits Punjabiyat

The present standoff between the former and present Chief Ministers is fraught with the danger of striking at the very roots of Punjabi culture. Both have a myopic vision of history. Punjabis have lost much of their social and cultural ethos due to similar contentious situations in the past. Losses to Punjabiyat as a cultural phenomenon in 1947 were colossal.

The Akali leadership is portraying Mr Badal as a victim of political conspiracy. Capt Amarinder Singh is carrying on his mission to cleanse public life. Unfortunately, both are harming the very cause for which they stand. Neither the slogan of Panthic unity nor the crusade for rooting out corruption is capable of helping the poor peasantry or advancing Punjabi culture or advancing the cause of the Sikhs within India.

As a minority we have to be vigilant about not enacting the stereotypes of the majority. We have to recognise that we are not an extension of the nauseating ethnic jokes about Sikhs. The current drama is making a mockery of Punjabiyat—once again Punjab’s cultural heritage is sacrificed at the altar of its leaders’ personal and political dramas and vendetta. And what does the majority think—two hot-headed Sardars doing each other in?

G.S. GREWAL, Mohali


Appeal to Kashmiri NRIs

We are displaced Kashmiri Pandits who were victims of jihadi militants in Kashmir during the eighties and nineties settled in camps and settlements in different states of India. We are running a minority educational institution for training of teachers under the aegis of a registered charitable society. We want to start a multi-faculty educational institution at Jammu, with the highest concentration of displaced (but unrehabilitated) Kashmiri Pandits, serving the urgent but neglected educational needs of our youth, the greatest sufferers of militancy in Kashmir and the communities’ greatest treasure.

We would welcome all kinds of monetary assistance, advice, and help from happily settled NRIs outside India and Sabhas/Associations to set up a multi-faculty institution with particular emphasis on courses in ‘Kashmiriyat’ and ‘Kashmir Studies’. For details, contact: Prof K.L. Dhar, Himachal Institute of Education, Bypass Road, Near Petrol Pump, Solan (Himachal Pradesh).

K.L. DHAR, President, Amar Educational Society, Solan

Targeting Badal

Apropos of “Targeting Badal” (Dec. 2), I disagree with certain assertions made in the editorial. In a veiled hint you have suggested that the corrupt at the top should go scott-free and booking the offenders (here the former C.M. and his son) for an economic offence would generate public sympathy for them. You have also quoted the example of Indira Gandhi, who was prosecuted by the Janata regime and it adequately boomranged. But let me clarify that Indira Gandhi was arrested for the misuse of power and not for an economic offence. It was a case of witch-hunting.

Mr Badal’s case is totally different. Newspapers have carried stories of blatant corruption during his regime. Posts were openly sold and the PPSC scam is a living example of corruption of that period (1997-2002).

Capt Amarinder Singh deserves accolades for showing the world that he has the guts, which most politicians lack because they themselves are tainted, to call a spade a spade. He knows that “corruption is the greatest solvent of public institutions, poverty poses a far smaller danger” (Nani Palkhiwala).

LAKHA SINGH, Sarhali (Amritsar)

Dread of advertising

I read the middle by Mr Ram Verma under the above heading with great concern. Amongst other things which Mr Verma points out, there is this big propaganda about the iodised salt. Mr Verma points out that iodised salt is required only where there is iodine deficiency in water which occurs in only some areas where people draw water from shallow wells or hand pumps. In most other places, particularly where tap water is available, he points out, not only iodised salt is not necessary, but also its use is likely to be harmful.

If this is so, is it not the function of our government and also the professional bodies like the Medical Council of India to bring this fact to the notice of consumers? The government should ban such misleading advertisements so that the public is forewarned about the ill-effects of taking falsely advertised goods.

The same goes for much-advertised products like colas, coffee and fashionable garments. There should be a constant watch on the authenticity of information provided in the advertisements of various products. If any information is found to be misleading, then it must be corrected.


Cycle-scooter stand

The Amritsar Municipal Corporation authorities have created a cycle-scooter parking stand (opposite PNB) on the road just outside the Municipal Corporation office building premises. This road leads from Amritsar Railway Station to the holy Golden Temple. The road remains busy with heavy volume of traffic. Moreover, there is no footpath on both sides of the road. The cycle-scooter stand, given on contract basis by the Municipal Corporation, makes it difficult for pedestrians to cross the road. Is it proper to convert a thoroughfare into an authorised cycle-scooter parking stand?

R.K. ARORA, Amritsar

Heritage festival

This refers to the advertisement about the Amritsar heritage festival. While it was nice to see that very good programmes were presented during this festival, one wonders how the basic heritage of the holy city, the sacred “shabad kirtan”, has been missed out. It would have been befitting to begin the festival with a “kirtan durbar”.

Lt Col BHAGWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali

Sukhna Lake

Apropos of Mr S.P. Malhotra’s letter “Birthday gift to Chandigarh” (Nov 13), he has depicted a very rosy picture for preserving the balance capacity of Sukhna Lake at a nominal cost of Rs 40 lakh. The cost of the project and filter house can be very easily shared by the governments of Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The proposal should be given a serious thought. The technical staff required for this project can be spared by the Irrigation Departments of Haryana and Punjab. Since Mr Malhotra is the most experienced engineer of the Haryana-Punjab belt, his concept should be considered and experience utilised to get this model constructed. Definitely, it will be a unique birthday gift to City Beautiful. Let us wish a bright future for the Sukhna.

D.K. TALWAR, Panchkula

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