Retreat from Karachi

H K Dua, in his front-page editorial “Retreat from Pakistan” (June 12), has rightly said that Mr L.K. Advani went to Pakistan in an upbeat mood “for a makeover” but returned with a hangover which is going to haunt him and the party forever.

Mr Advani’s gimmick having boomeranged with the experience of hindsight, it is clear now that he not only “liberally used religion for politics” but literally misused it during his Rath Yatras by polarising people on communal lines to gain power. By his latest somersault, Mr Advani has cast himself in the true mould of an Indian politician secularising, self-aggrandising and politicking.

But I do not concur with Mr Dua’s contention that the RSS’ concept of Hindutva is opposed to the concept of plural society which India has been. Hindutva is simply the Hindi version of Hinduism which is a philosophy, a way of life, characterised by liberalism, tolerance, assimilation and thus free from dogmatism, sectarianism and fanaticism.


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Mr Advani’s statement on Jinnah seems to be correct as no party — the Congress, the RJD, the Samajwadi Party or the BSP — has contradicted him by saying that Jinnah was not secular. Since Independence, the Congress has been appeasing the Muslims, especially in Jammu and Kashmir. Also Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav and recently Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, all are pleasing the Muslims for votes.

S.K. MITTAL, Talwara, Beas Dam


I really don’t understand who was Mr Advani trying to please in Pakistan by calling Jinnah a secular leader. Pakistan is an Islamic nation. So being secular is certainly not considered the best asset of a leader in that country.

Pakistan’s rulers have always taken pride in calling themselves Islamic. If Mr Advani was trying to become the darling of Pakistanis, I don’t think he chose the best way to do so.



What was wrong with Mr Advani’s remarks? After all, he could not quote Gandhi or Nehru in Pakistan. There is a saying in Hindi, Mian ki juti, Mian key sir. This was the most befitting way of telling the truth, without drawing any adverse reaction from Pakistanis. He further told them that in India we call it secularism which we are following. Mr Advani deserves appreciation from all sections of leaders for his statesmanship.



Mr Advani visited Pakistan with éclat and a mindset to re-emerge a liberal. Visting the mausoleum of Jinnah, he showered immeasureable praise on him forgetting that he had brazened the two-nation theory resulting in Partition. He misread the Sangh Parivar compass, trespassed the mandate and has returned with a politically bruised image, but survived with favourable stars. Watch his political journey.

V.I.K. SHARMA, IAS (retd) Jalandhar City


The fiasco has sullied Mr Advani’s fair image and, as Mr Dua has aptly remarked, it will take him and his party a long time to recover from the trauma triggered by his pro-Jinnah rumblings in Pakistan.



A deft politician that Mr Advani is, he will certainly succeed in striking the right balance between the hardliners and the liberals in the BJP for the ultimate good and triumph of the party that he heads. He has also the added advantage of support from stalwarts like Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr Jaswant Singh and others.

SHIV K. SHARMA, Jalandhar


Punjab needs N-power station

Prolonged power cuts will hit the economic viability of small-scale industries. The increasing use of diesel generators in commercial complexes adds to the burden of crude oil import and health hazards. Electric power needs to be rationalised. Its wastage in marriage halls, hotels and dhabas should be curtailed. Similarly, the use of air-conditioners must be regulated.

Setting up of a nuclear power station in north Punjab would be an ideal solution to the power crisis. Have surplus power and the state would definitely develop. A mix of hydro, nuclear and thermal power stations would lead to progress.

BALVINDER SINGH, Malhipur (Ludhiana)

Senior citizen’s age

The Punjab Government has lowered the senior citizen’s age from 65 to 60 years. Consequently, this will increase the total number of senior citizens in the state. However, since they do not get benefits like free medicare, free rail and bus travel and good old age pension, there is no use of lowering the age.

All states in the country should follow the international norm of 65 years for senior citizen status and provide them maximum concessions as in the West.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana


The qualifying age for senior citizen status is not uniform in the country. For most government departments and even for bank deposits, it is 60 years. It is unfair to keep it at 65 years for purposes of income-tax benefit.

After retirement, a person is not left with enough resources to bear the burden of income-tax. The government should give it a second look and reduce the age from 65 to 60 years for senior citizens status.

J.C. SHARMA, Panchkula

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