The secular image of armed forces

The editorial “Forces of integration” (Feb 17) has upheld the secular and apolitical composition of our armed forces. Even during the British Raj, it was the fighting quality of our citizenry which determined entry into the Army. Even then, there were “mixed regiments” where a healthy, competitive spirit prevailed.

Post-Independence recruitment was opened to citizens without any discrimination. We are a proud Army which is secular and apolitical. No other country can boast of similar openness in their armed forces.

The Defence Minister’s categorical statement that our armed forces would always maintain their secular identity is welcome. Those who are seeking numerical division, singling out one or the other community ought to know that there is no other country which can compare itself with this great democracy in the world.

Brig H.S. CHANDEL (retd), Una

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The exercise was aimed at creating a Muslim vote bank for the ruling dispensation. But Muslims are no fools. Look how they have thrashed Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav in Bihar despite his Muslim-Yadav Bhai Bhai siren song!

Right from the first Indo-Pak war of 1947-48, Muslim troops have always fought valiantly. Who can forget Havildar Abdul Hameed who died for India in the 1965 Indo-Pak war? On a proposal for quotas for the SC/ST, Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram firmly held that merit alone is the mantra for the forces. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw too stoutly opposed the reservation move.

Hopefully, the concluding words of the editorial, “The least the political parties can do to the armed forces is to keep them above petty political controversies” will drill sense into the heads of our power changing netas.

S.S. JAIN, Chandigarh


The fact that retired soldiers including three-star Generals came out on the street in protest against the head count proves the secular character of the armed forces. An Indian solder fights for the motherland irrespective of his religion.

During my 40 years of service in the Indian Navy, we never believed in one God except the god of guidance to serve the motherland and lead us to victory. Of course, everyone was free to worship during off hours on board a warship without a mosque, temple, church or gurdwara. This makes the service one family, one faith and one God.


A tale of two friends

During my visit to Chandigarh recently in connection with the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, I was thrilled to meet my friend, Justice M.M. Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Justice Kumar has been my close friend since 1980s when we were doing LL.M in the University of Birmingham (UK). We virtually lost contact with each other since then. We had a great reunion at Chandigarh. It was a tale of two friends who departed and then reunited.

There is no alternative to peaceful coexistence. As people of both India and Pakistan are interested in improving bilateral relations for development, Islamabad and New Delhi have to translate this into reality. Let us shun all prejudices, bitterness, hatred and acrimony and usher in a new chapter for a better and brighter future. May God help us in this noble pursuit.

Dr SHAUKAT HUSAIN, Advocate, The Supreme Court Of Pakistan, Lahore


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