Turban is a symbol of honour

IN his article “A matter of honour” (Spectrum, Feb 1), Mr Roopinder Singh has mentioned that Maharaja Ranjit Singh gained the Koh-e-noor by exchanging his turban with that of its possessor. This is not correct. The diamond was presented to the Lahore potentate by the deposed king of Kabul, Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk, as a token of gratitude on being rescued by him from his captor, Ata Mohmmad Khan, Governor of Kashmir. However, there is a legend that as a result of exchange of turbans by Nadir Shah, the Persian victor, and the vanquished Delhi monarch, Mohammad Shah, the Koh-e-noor went to the former in the headgear of the latter.

Turban is a symbol of honour. Sikhs show respect to turban. Rahatnamah of Bhai Daya Singh has specified fine for the Sikh, who strips another Sikh of his turban, and the Sikh, who is stripped of his turban, in a quarrel.

Once an envoy of Maharana Pratap, who appeared before Akbar, took off his turban before paying obeisance to him. He clarified that the turban was given to him by the Maharana, who had not submitted to the emperor. Therefore, in order to maintain the dignity of the turban he removed it from his head before bending it in respect. The turban of a highly learned or accomplished man is called “Dastaar-e-Fazeelat” (Turban of honour).





I agree with Mr Roopinder Singh that the turban has always been a symbol of self-respect and national pride for us. The Indian turban has survived innumerable challenges in many foreign countries. Not only the turbans worn by Sikhs but those worn by people of other states have also undergone struggle.

Mahatma Gandhi while in South Africa was twice asked to put off the turban, first in the Magistrate’s Court and then in the Supreme Court of Natal. In the lower court, he defied the orders of the Magistrate and insisted on putting on the turban because he didn’t want to compromise with the self-respect of all Indians. In the Supreme Court of Natal, however, he agreed to put off the turban, as he wanted to reserve his strength to fight “bigger battles” for equality of Indians in South Africa. Indians fighting for their right to wear turban in France must take an inspiration from this instance in Gandhiji’s life.



Creamy layer polishing off quota benefit 

THIS has reference to the article “Quota politics: Diluting the concept of creamy layer” by Dr V. Eshwar Anand (Perspective, Feb 8). The government has no explicit policy on reservation for the Scheduled Castes. Reservation has been extended by successive governments to woo vote banks. But this benefit is being cornered by the affluent sections among the backward classes, otherwise known as the “creamy layer”.

Why has the government not laid down the concept of creamy layer for SCs and STs as in the case of OBCs? The Centre has been sacrificing the talent of the country by bringing people of low calibre in the professional services. Moreover, it is beyond one’s imagination that when a less privileged person is given a job at the expense of a more deserving candidate, why he is again given the benefit of further reservation in service? This practice needs to be scrapped immediately.

Surprisingly, unlike in the states, there is no reservation for ex-servicemen at the Centre. The ex-servicemen leagues have been harping on the issue of One-rank-one-pension. This has no merit and, if granted, it will have to be for all. In 1988, the Supreme Court has ruled that the qualifying service for full pension should be 30 years when retiring age is 55 years, instead of 33 years. But nobody has taken up the ruling of the Supreme Court with the Centre to make it applicable for retiring ex-servicemen.

Major NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), Mohali

Of faith and trust

The article “So near, so far!” by Komal Vijay Singh (Spectrum, Dec 14) was very touching. The foundation of any relationship is faith, goodwill and most important, understanding which is the shortest distance between the two whether they are so near or so far. Two persons (or a couple), who develop their relationship on the basis of mutual trust, intimacy and cooperation are always so near, though being so far.

ANJU ANAND, Chambaghat (Solan)

Onus always on us

Akanksha’s “Adamantly yours” (Her World, Feb 8) provides a relief to all those women thinking on the same lines but not being able to express. The status of a woman for a man (she may be an executive or an administrator) is the same. It is she who is expected to wake up in the night to change the nappy of the baby.

The writer’s reference to “My Last Duchess” is relevant today as the man has not charged much. Remember the song in the Hindi film “Bobby”: “Hum tum ek kamre me bandh hon aur chaabi kho jaye”? But what if such “no exit” situation happens in case the two people do not share anything in common or simply they hate each other? The “no exit” situation becomes a living hell when one person has a lot to say, a lot to share and no one is there to listen and to share. Thanks to our strong social taboos, such “no exit” type of marriages are still working.

SHIWALI, Dept. of Economics, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra

Stinging satire

Mr Jaspal Bhatti’s “Holy cow” (Spectrum, Feb 15) lacks finesse. His stinging satire on making agarbatis from cowdung do not give credit to him.

The National Cattle Commission has stressed the need to make use of cowdung and urine for the benefit of the public and make the gaushalas self-supporting. This is what Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti is contemplating. Such satires need to be discouraged as cows are already being treated with contempt and cruelty. Research shows that cow urine can cure many diseases. Cowdung is used for the preparation of organic manure, medicines, pesticides, bio-gases etc.


Managing disasters

Apropos of Dr Rakesh Datta’s article “Separate force needed to manage disasters” (Perspective, Jan 11), we should create a National Disaster Management Division in the Home Ministry with a Secretary in-charge. This division should have representatives from administration and police as well as from the Ministries of Health, Food, Telecommunications, Railways, Surface Transport, Civil Aviation and Defence. Similar divisions should be organised in the states under the chairmanship of the respective Chief Secretaries. Instead of rushing for food, medicines, clothing and other relief material, the government should create disaster relief reserves.

The disruption of telecommunications in this age of information revolution is deplorable. Alternative foolproof systems should be organised and kept in operational readiness. There are three modes of dealing with the ills of life: by indifference, by philosophy and religion and by taking remedial action on the basis of experience. It is time we resorted to the last method, moving away from ad hocism and indifference. 

K.M. VASHISHT, New Delhi

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