Sincerity needed for better Indo-Pak ties

I agree with Mr Dua that people-to-people exchanges and the Balle-Balle mood have only a limited impact and that the people involved are not policy makers. But common men are the best ambassadors to spread the message of peace far and wide. We Indians are warm and peace-loving. Pakistanis visiting India have told the media that the love and affection one got here cannot be expected elsewhere.

Some have even said that they did not feel like returning to Pakistan. The bonhomie so created will help people on both sides to live in peace as they have had enough of tension and trouble. This may, at an appropriate time, force the policy makers on both sides to see reason and channelise their energies towards nation building. Let’s not lose hope and look at this new sunrise as a sign of harmony and mutual prosperity through peace. Amen!

Lt-Col BHAGWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali


Apropos of H.K. Dua’s “Balle-Balle is not peace” (Nov 20), both governments—India and Pakistan— have their own local political limitations for which no solid decision can be arrived at. To start dialogues as Balle-Balle is a good gesture, but strong will and sincerity are essential for fruitful and everlasting decisions.

S.K. MITTAL, Talwara Township



Zero or five?

Figure this out. Approaching Jalandhar City from Rama Mandi Chowk (Jalandhar Cantt), one passes through a hoarding installed by the authorities that says the city is 5 km away. Fine. Right next to this hoarding is another concrete milestone painted yellow and white that says the distance to Jalandhar is 0 km. So, which is it? And how did the milestone-fixing authorities arrive at there two separate distances?

It’s like the old joke about watches: a man who owns one watch knows the time; a man who owns two watches only has a choice of opinions.


Trained teachers

This refers to The Tribune report “Move to continue service of para teachers opposed” (Nov 18). The post-statehood era in Himachal Pradesh has witnessed appreciable expansion of the network of educational institutions. Sadly, however, the quality of education has progressively registered marked deterioration thanks largely to the mindless policies adopted by the successive governments to recruit teachers, the kingpin of the educational set-up, to man the temples of learning.

Rather than appointing trained teachers—available in abundance—on a regular basis against the posts, the state government, curiously enough, has been experimenting over the years with a queer variety of teachers—voluntary, contract-based, vidya upasads, para teachers, etc. The disastrous consequences of thoughtless experimentation on the vital front are there for all to see.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s reported statement that henceforth trained graduate teachers (TGTs) would be recruited strictly on a 50-50 basis—50 per cent batch-wise and 50 per cent on merit—is encouraging.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Sikh pilgrims

We have the Commission for Minorities to look after the interests of the Sikhs so that they should also bask in the warmth of democracy. But the astute way of Dr M.S. Gill, a Rajya Sabha member, highlighting the hardships faced by the Sikh masses in general and devotees in particular, seeking visas to visit Pakistan to pay obeisance at gurdwaras is noteworthy.

I do fully concur with the former Chief Election Commissioner for treating the Sikhs on a par with Muslim brethren as far as the matter of pilgrimage is concerned. There is need for the policy governing the Sikh pilgrim (jatha) visa to be amended to fulfil the desire of every Sikh to have a glimpse of the shrines they have been separated from.


The system is to blame

Your editorial, “Benighted state” (Nov. 20), very aptly sums up the present sorry state of affairs in “Lalooland”. The most tragic part of the episode is that the whole nation is tolerating all this anarchic misrule of the Laloo-Rabri duo with impotent and mute helplessness.

The downfall from the glorious Magadh days to notorious Bihar is most unfortunate. Actually, illiteracy and poverty due to an unbridled increase in population are the main reasons for this sad plight of the people.

As a matter of fact, nothing better can be expected from our prevailing electoral system in which the value of the vote of a scholar is equal to the value of the vote of an illiterate person. Such a rotten system is bound to give rise to Laloos, Rabris, Mayawatis, Mulayams, Paswans, etc. Under the circumstances whatever is happening in Bihar is quite natural.

A.K. SHARMA, Chandigarh


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