UN resolutions haven’t lost their validity

Now that the talks between the Government of India and the Hurriyat leaders have started, it is relevant to recall your editorial “Acknowledging realities” (Dec 20). Though you have put up a very good defence and argument for General Musharraf renouncing the 1948 demand for a plebiscite in Kashmir, I disagree with you. Plebiscite, referendum, recall, election, and the right of self- determination are age-old recognised democratic practices, which I cannot, with a strong belief in parliamentary democracy, denounce or reject.

As such, how can you pontificate that “UN resolutions had lost their validity when Pakistan itself had refused to comply”? These democratic institutions are so sacrosanct that even if Pakistan and now India discard them for reasons of realpolitik, the value of these is so great that they will survive, whereas by discarding them India and Pakistan will die a moral death. No one will call them democratic.



The Tribune has great sagacity. How the UN will be able to settle contentious disputes in the world without these democratic institutions? These are the only weapons in the armory of the UN to settle issues peacefully. It has just settled the racial dispute in East Timor through the right of self-determination.

True, India and Pakistan are committed to settling their bilateral dispute through the Simla agreement. I saw this agreement from very close quarters, as I was then ADC to the Punjab Governor. As a young officer then, and as a student of history, I had great doubts, and they have been fortified since then, events having proved me right, whether an unequal agreement between two, the vanquished and the victor, could ever bear fruit.

We all know of the Treaty of Versailles after World War I. It was similar to what the Pakistanis were made to sign in Simla. Did the Treaty of Versailles, which humiliated Germany, keep Germany in check? Similarly, by signing the Simla Agreement has Pakistan’s belligerence become less or has it been stopped from becoming an equal nuclear power as India is?

Amongst nations, there must be equality. We can bring lasting peace to South Asia through adherence to this principle, practice, and blind faith in democratic practices.


Old Punjab hamlet at GNDU

I was happy to know about Guru Nanak Dev University Vice-Chancellor Dr S.P. Singh’s plan to recreate an old Punjab village at the university. To further enhance the value of this project, I propose that we should landscape the village by using the old flora of Punjab which has nearly vanished from the sight. The trees and shrubs that come to my mind are: Tahli, Kikar, Jand, Sarinh, Franh, Van, Toot, Beri, Pipal, Barna, Borh, Karir, Malah etc. To further finetune the work, we could go into having specimens of old wild-growing annuals like Chibbarh, Tumma, Bhakhkhra, Karela, Karund, Bathoo, Kararhi, Maina, Dodhi and the like.

The wholesale destruction of the old flora has been agitating my mind for many years but I did not know what to do about it. The idea of the village is commendable. And I am sure that the patronage of GNDU, the great institution, will ensure its success.

Maj PARAMJIT S. PAMMI (retd) Shrewsbury (USA)



Gratuity for teachers

This has reference to the news-item “Teachers not entitled to gratuity: SC” (Jan 15) and your editorial “Gratuity to teachers: They too deserve social security” (Jan 16). The Supreme Court has ruled on strictly technical grounds that teachers are not entitled to gratuity. I endorse your view that this judgement is bound to create ripples in the vast teaching community in the country. But at the same time, the court has rightly acknowledged the services of the teaching fraternity by noting that teachers are engaged in a “very noble profession”.

The court has advised the legislatures that they should enact special laws to extend the benefit of gratuity to the teaching community. Teachers should not suffer for want of proper legislation in this regard by the respective states.

The legislatures should enact laws so that teachers get some social security.

Prof N.K. GOSAIN, Bathinda


I was shocked to read the Supreme Court’s ruling against payment of gratuity to teachers. Teachers need the right skills to impart the best guidance for future rulers of the nation. And they are, certainly, skilled in letter and spirit because they are appointed on the basis of a specialised training course meant for teaching posts (especially in schools).

Primary education needs the best teachers because they shape the future generation. Their role is more important after the parents. If these teachers are not considered skilled by the Act, then, definitely there is a need for the amendment of the Gratuity Act, 1972. Moreover, the Supreme Court should not leave such an important matter at the discretion of the legislatures.



The old days of “Gurukul” system are now over. At that time, only “dakshina” was given to teachers instead of salaries. In modern liberalism, economic benefits have served all except the teaching community in the country.

The Kothari Commission (1964-66) had recommended the best possible pay and perks for the teachers. The Operation Black Board Scheme, the New Education Policy (1986) and (1992), the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, the Mid-day Meal Scheme and so on have shown the importance of efficient and qualified teachers. To attract best talent, the government will have to sanction all benefits such as pension and gratuity to teachers.

V.K. HEER, Chakmoh, Hamirpur

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