Remembering forgotten soldiers

The tradition of raising monuments to commemorate battles and honour the valorous goes back to the hoary past. Mausoleum, one of the seven wonders of the old world, was built by the queen of King Mausolus after his death. The pyramids of Egypt, built by the Pharaohs of Egypt, are monuments.

France, the Land of Liberty, honoured an unknown soldier, for the first time. The Arc De Triumph was inaugurated in 1836. In November 1923, an eternal flame was lit here. Every evening, it is symbolically re-kindled, in tribute, to the war-dead. Britain too raised a memorial in the Westminster Abbey, followed by other countries.

India’s record, however, is dismal and pathetic in this regard. The India Gate Memorial continues to be the British property on lease with India. So is the Kohima Cemetry, with the immortal adieu, ingrained at the entrance. The Brandenburgh Gate in Berlin flashes Prussia’s national pride. The Japanese hold memorial services for their war-dead in their Shinto shrines.

India may be indifferent because Independence dawned without a heroic struggle. In the wake thereof, the political parties became fiefs, corporate houses of the neo-feudals, more interested in fortifying the same as their heirlooms, the elixir for which was perceived in populist measures and vote-bank politics. So degeneration is spreading in all spheres.

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

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Political solution

The article “Turf war in the valley” by Lt-Gen Sihota (Dec 14) makes no new point. Lack of coordination among security agencies involved in the countering insurgency is stale news. May be, this is so designed by the powers that be.

The problem in most insurgency-infested parts of India is essentially political in nature. It can be solved only through a political process. Expecting armed forces to “eliminate” a political problem is like expecting a painkiller to cure a brain tumor. They can only control or contain it to enable the political process to carry on. Even otherwise, it has never been the Army’s task to check insurgency.

— Col S.S. DHILLON, New Delhi

India’s importance

This has reference to G. Parthasarthy’s article “Changing US perceptions” (Dec 15). The US now rightly recognises India’s significant role in the Indian Ocean neighbourhood. For a stable balance of power in Asia, the major segment of the world, needs the New Big Five — the US, the EU, Russia, China and India with veto power under the UN. The days of India containing the Chinese hegemony in Asia like China containing the Russian hegemony are over.

Iran’s wiping out Israel, China caping and rolling back India’s nuclear programme are boastful utterances. Nuclear catastrophe has now become the bedrock of people-to-people friendship.


The Shatabdi food

The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has reportedly earned Rs 40 crore this year as license fee from the new contracts. If profit is the sole motive of the IRCTC, it should have ‘Please bear with us’ as its motto.

I travel by the Shatabdi Express regularly between Chandigarh and New Delhi. Of late, the quality of food supplied in this train is bad. At times the food is not baked or cooked properly and not served hot. Even tea is not supplied in proper crockery. The Railway Ministry should take note of this.

S.P. SINGH, Chandigarh

NIS at Patiala

The prestigious building of the National Institute of Sports (NIS) for which Patialvis feel proud should not be converted into a defence university. The proposed university can be built at Bathinda, which housed Asia’s biggest cantonment. Moreover, this region doesn’t have any other university. The Defence Ministry need not acquire new land for the university. Bathinda town should not be given step-motherly treatment by the government.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh should use his good offices in developing the Special Economic Zone project of Amritsar and the completion of the refinery project at Bathinda.



Supari — then and now

These days the word supari is being used for political vendettas, murders, evils and the like. It has its own importance in our daily use and even the law accepts its meaning and purpose as legal. In my younger days (now I am 84), I used to accompany my father along with other elders to distribute supari to relatives and friends and invite them to marriages and other functions. Our Panditji used supari during pujas. With the passage of time, invitation cards of various hues and designs replaced the supari system of invitation. Sadly, the blessed supari has been converted into bloody supari. I wonder whether the practice of invitation cards will continue for happy and celebrated occasions or it will also acquire its name as supari invitation cards. Let us all pray to God to bring back the good name of supari.


Congested bus stand

Nadaun, 28 km from Hamirpur, is a small town with trifurcation of roads. The bus stand of Nadaun is located on one acre of land which is not enough to park buses. Long route buses stop here for 10-15 minutes for a break.

The bus stand is so congested that pedestrians cannot move freely. The drivers find it hard to manoeuvre buses as they do not look back and take a reverse in a slipshod fashion. I appeal to Transport and Tourism Minister G.S. Bali to shift the bus stand to another place.

SUBER SINGH PARIHAR, Nadaun (Hamirpur)

No exception

The news-item “Sangma rejoins NCP” (Dec 21) is no surprise. Every politician seems to prefer his own interest first than the electorate on the pretext of one popular issue or the other. They only wait for the right moment to switch sides and Mr Sangma is no exception.

M.P.S. RANDHAWA, Dhapai (Kapurthala)

Budding singer

Rajeev from Chamba in Himachal Pradesh has performed well in the Challenge 2005 contest of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. Trained in the gharana of Adesh Srivastava, his voice is melodious. He sings as swift and smooth as a cascade. He makes us feel proud. He is a real pahari boy from the land of beautiful mountains and rich culture, Chamba.

SHIWANEE, Gargi Girls’ Hostel (HPU), Shimla


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