Army canteen not being misused

This refers to the letter "Army canteen misuse" (Nov 24). While there may be some cases of misuse, it is not to the extent mentioned by the writer (at least 50 per cent).

There is another aspect, which has been reported to our organisation. It is a common perception in the minds of civilians that items sold through Army canteens are not only cheaper than those available in the market, but also of "superior quality". This "perception" has been used by some unscrupulous manufacturers and shopkeepers to their advantage.

They stamp their substandard goods in such a way that they appear as if they are from the CSD. They thus exploit the gullible customers who easily get carried away by the impressive CSD markings.

The ongoing controversy over the alleged misuse of Army canteens appears to be blown up out of proportion, which has adversely affected the impeccable reputation of ex-servicemen.

On the other hand, it is very difficult to collect CSD items from each individual buyer (ex-serviceman), transporting and stocking them and then selling to various retailers. Such a network/organisation does not exist at all, but may be only in the fertile imagination of the few.

Brig HARWANT SINGH (retd), President, All-India Defence Brotherhood, Mohali



Bid for Security Council

I congratulate T.P. Sreenivasan for his excellent article (Nov 2). However, I am unable to agree with his approach suggesting that India should wait for some more years before it claims the permanent membership of the Security Council. India has made strenuous efforts and campaigned hard for the seat. As the proverb goes, it should strike when the iron is hot.

Even if India has to accept high-level panel's recommendations as a last resort, it can do so with the modification that India's claim for permanent membership of the Security Council would be sympathetically considered and the decision reviewed after, say, 10 to 15 years. It is better to lay the foundation for permanent membership than forego the claim altogether. I do not see any harm in a step-by-step approach.


Developing nations

With Mr George Bush's re-election to the White House, it is likely that in various international fora pressures will be mounted on developing countries in the sphere of economic policy.

As it is happening in the ongoing WTO negotiations, India will have to strengthen its efforts for a unified resistance by developing countries. The G-20 and other such mechanisms must be strengthened to ensure the protection of economic sovereignty of independent countries like India.

Power is not just about arms and armies. It is about economics, organisational skills, a matter of national spirit and, above all, a sense of purpose. The only way to express itself is to develop your potent resources as China is doing so skilfully and silently.

India's destiny lies in emerging as the champion of the developing world and that will only happen if we desist from linking our destiny with that of the US.


Yeoman service

This has reference to the report “Row over Sir Chhotu Ram’s belongings” (Nov 21). The Haryana government has done a laudable job in bringing Sir Chhotu Ram’s belongings from Pakistan. Sir Chhotu Ram rendered yeoman service to the toiling peasantry of pre-Independence Punjab by emancipating it from the clutches of the moneylenders.

Such noble souls belong to the whole humanity and not to a political party or even to a nationality. No political party should try to take advantage of that. In this context, the well known Urdu writer Sadat Hasan Minto has satirised in one of his short stories how political parties use cheap tactics to gain popularity.

V.P. MEHTA, Chandigarh


A few days ago, I got a chance to watch the movie Mughal-e-Azam in a theatre. What an experience it was! One is sure to be spell-bound by the ravishing beauty of Madhubala, perfect acting by Dilip Kumar and Prithvi Raj Kapoor, enchanting music by Naushad, enthralling dialogues and super cinematography.

As a whole, it is surely an epic in the history of Indian cinema as it is called and, of course, the best movie I have seen. The modern film industry, though equipped with latest gadgetry, digital techniques and lots of Aishwaryas and Karina, can produce nothing like what K. Asif had done 44 years ago.

I hope the trend would continue and more of yesteryears' films like “Pakeeza” will be reprocessed and shown on the big screen so that today's generation like us can have a glimpse of the golden era of Indian cinema.


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