SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI
O P I N I O N S

Editorials | Article | Middle | Oped | Reflections

EDITORIALS

Charter for democracy
Will Army loosen its grip on Pakistan?
Pakistan’s two former Prime Ministers, Ms Benazir Bhutto and Mr Nawaz Sharif, living in exile, deciding to jointly launch a drive against Gen Pervez Musharraf’s rule may influence considerably the course of politics in India’s neighbourhood. 

The Netaji mystery
Good for the nation to just cherish his memory
The Mukherjee Commission’s findings on the disappearance of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose – which have been rejected by the Union Government – should give the quietus to the controversy, though the mystery of his end remains unresolved.



 

EARLIER STORIES

Pakistan’s MFN fears
May 18, 2006
Rite of passage
May 17, 2006
Not by lathi blows
May 16, 2006
Demolishing the law
May 15, 2006
North-East revisited
May 14, 2006
No interviews
May 13, 2006
TN rejects Jaya
May 12, 2006
No pullout, please
May 11, 2006
Ex-MP Jaya Bachchan
May 10, 2006
Powerless in the North
May 9, 2006
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Three-in-one doctrine
Joint operations are key to winning
The Kargil war not only made it clear that no single Service can win a war on its own, but also that the three Services together can reduce costs — in terms of lives, material and time — and show better operational, tactical and strategic results.

ARTICLE

Events of national shame
Mumbai to Purulia to Srinagar
by Inder Malhotra
LAST week, amidst nationwide excitement over the outcome of five state assembly elections, there took place at least three unspeakably reprehensible events that ought to make all Indians hang their heads in shame.

MIDDLE

The black dahlia
by Harish Dhillon
Bhuri Singh impressed me with his quiet efficiency and the dignity of his bearing. He won my affection for introducing my children to the joys of gardening – though this joy appeared to be limited to dousing each other with the hosepipe or running off with Bhuri Singh’s galoshes.

OPED

News analysis
A winning script
“Artist” Karunanidhi outperforms “Amma” Jayalalithaa
by Arup Chanda

Muthuvel Karunanidhi has succeeded in ousting a chief Minister who distributed largesse like a princess and should have won this Assembly election like a queen.

Russian school siege
Victims’ kin demand revival of death penalty
by Kim Murphy in Moscow

Prospects of a guilty verdict in the trial of the only surviving hostage-taker in the 2004 Beslan school siege have now turned the debate here to Russia’s 10-year-old moratorium on the death penalty.

Full utilisation of river Ravi
by G.S. Dhillon
Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, India is entitled to full utilisation of flows of the three eastern rivers of the Indus Basin — Sutlej, Beas and Ravi.


From the pages of

 

 REFLECTIONS

 

Top








 

Charter for democracy
Will Army loosen its grip on Pakistan?

Pakistan’s two former Prime Ministers, Ms Benazir Bhutto and Mr Nawaz Sharif, living in exile, deciding to jointly launch a drive against Gen Pervez Musharraf’s rule may influence considerably the course of politics in India’s neighbourhood. The “Charter for Democracy” they signed in London on Sunday indicates that the forces opposed to the General’s continuance in power with his uniform on will put up a serious challenge to his authority during the general elections due next year. Ms Bhutto and Mr Sharif represent the two largest political formations in their country — the People’s Party Parliamentarians and the Pakistan Muslim League (N). If they finally come back to Pakistan to lead the movement for democracy, despite the threat of landing themselves in jail, they may get the kind of welcome from the people which men in uniform may not relish.

Obviously, General Musharraf will do everything he can to prevent the two popular leaders from reoccupying the political space they have been dispossessed of. He has responded to their seemingly well-calculated move by saying that these leaders are only interested in saving “their own future and re-enter power corridors”. One of the General’s ministers has described the “Charter for Democracy” as “unnatural and unethical”. The General may now publicise the corruption charges against Ms Bhutto and Mr Sharif to belittle their campaign aimed at ending the rule of the military with a façade of democracy. When he had grabbed power in 1999 through a bloodless coup, General Musharraf had, in fact, used such tactics to discredit the entire political class.

However, those were different days. Today he, too, has lost some of his élan, having failed to produce the promised results on corruption, law and order and in many other areas. The aftermath of the 2001 terrorist strike against the US has transformed his image among the people into that of a puppet of Washington, and not a “benefactor” of the people of Pakistan as he has been claiming. This factor may help Ms Bhutto and Mr Sharif also to get the support of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the conglomerate of six religious parties led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman. But before jumping on to the their bandwagon the willy Maulana may try to ensure that there is no American hand that has brought the two political adversaries together. The run-up to the next year’s elections in Pakistan is going to be closely watched by the rest of the world, although few believe that the Army will loosen its stranglehold on the country. 
Top

 

The Netaji mystery
Good for the nation to just cherish his memory

The Mukherjee Commission’s findings on the disappearance of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose – which have been rejected by the Union Government – should give the quietus to the controversy, though the mystery of his end remains unresolved. Although the reasons for the government’s rejection have not been spelt out in the Action Taken Report tabled along with the commission’s report in Parliament, it is obviously because the conclusions do not conform to the official version that has prevailed so far. The accepted position so far is that Netaji died in a plane crash over Taiwan in 1945 and that his ashes are kept in the Renkoji Temple. Two earlier commissions of inquiry set up in 1956 and 1974 had reinforced this conclusion. However, the speculation — not only over Netaji’s death but whether he is at all dead — continued to thrive given the enormous appeal of the nationalist hero in the public mind.

In fact, the more it was asserted that he is dead, the more it deepened the mystery. There have been suggestions that the great leader was a victim of a conspiracy and that official India was unwilling to take the lid off it. So when the NDA government appointed the Mukherjee Commission in 1999, it was expected that this being an initiative by a non-Congress government, the mystery would be cleared. The commission even had to deal with questions of a mystery man who was sighted in Faizabad, and died in 1985, being Netaji in a different guise. The Mukherjee Commission has concluded that Netaji is dead, though he did not perish in the 1945 plane crash; and that the ashes in the Renkoji Temple are not that of the INA hero.

There may be reasons to disagree with the commission’s findings, but there appears to be no shred of evidence to persist with the belief of his having been alive for decades after India’s Independence. Historians are free to keep researching and coming up with varied explanations. But with this commission, the government must disengage itself from any attempt to further investigate the matter. History is replete with secrets and sometimes, as it should be in this case, it is best to let them lie rather than keep reviving them, at public expense, in one form or another to add another twist to the controversy. It is not fair to Netaji’s memory which the nation will always cherish. 
Top

 

Three-in-one doctrine
Joint operations are key to winning

The Kargil war not only made it clear that no single Service can win a war on its own, but also that the three Services together can reduce costs — in terms of lives, material and time — and show better operational, tactical and strategic results. Indeed, joint operations, where the assets of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy are deployed in combat in an integrated manner, can make a difference in war, especially given the extremes of climate and terrain that the Indian armed forces have to contend with — both in a limited conflict and an all-out, conventional war. The first step towards such a joint capability is the development of a true, “joint doctrine”, which has been long over-due.

The release of such a doctrine at the Unified Commanders Conference on Wednesday is a culmination of an exercise undertaken by Headquarters, Integrated Defence Staff. All the three Services had already promulgated their own doctrines, and it is good that the new doctrine is intended to be “dynamic in nature and subject to review.” In fact, the immediate need is for all three Services to review their own doctrines to make sure that it conforms to the goals of the new doctrine.

Technology has been a key driver in various nations’ moves towards joint forces doctrines. There is need for the creation of networks where targets can be acquired and precision fire-power directed towards them, from long distance, stand-off range, in near real-time. Such a battlefield scenario calls for synergy between air, sea, and land-based assets. What is more, the very goals of military engagement are changing: India should even be thinking of winning without fighting. Concepts and goals have to be translated into realities on the field jointly. We have a working example in the unified command in the A&N islands. The Army and the Air Force are currently engaged in Sanghe Shakti, a joint exercise in Punjab. More joint thinking and planning will be required in the future.
Top

 

Thought for the day

A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of hell. 

— George Bernard Shaw
Top

 
ARTICLE

Events of national shame
Mumbai to Purulia to Srinagar
by Inder Malhotra

LAST week, amidst nationwide excitement over the outcome of five state assembly elections, there took place at least three unspeakably reprehensible events that ought to make all Indians hang their heads in shame. The first was the jailing for one month of a senior Congress minister in Maharashtra, Mr Surupsinh Naik, for committing contempt of the Supreme Court, no less.

As serious as his defiance of the apex court’s directive to appear before it was his original offence. Though duty-bound, as Minister for Forests, to protect trees, he gave a favoured contractor a virtual licence to fell trees in the forest’s heart. He and his “partner in crime”, a senior IAS officer, Mr Ashok Khot, also awarded the same sentence, symbolise the growing nexus between unscrupulous politicians in power and equally crass bureaucrats.

In this case, the babu has grossly outdone the neta. The minister was quick enough in resigning from the Maharashtra ministry and surrendering to the police. The erring civil servant — an additional chief secretary, in fact — has been proclaimed as an “absconder”. This calls for the most stringent and immediate action.

Coinciding with the dismal drama in Mumbai was a bigger outrage at Purulia in West Bengal. The Left Front leaders were busy exulting over their landslide victory, for the seventh time running, when one of their comrades, Mr Mahto, a Forward Bloc MP, was sentenced to long imprisonment for a rape he had committed many years ago. Strangely, there hasn’t been a word of condemnation from the Left Front. No political party or coalition is embarrassed by even the worst crimes of its leaders or cadres.

Indeed, the more horrific such crimes, the more thundering the silence on it. The reason for this is not far to seek. It is difficult to keep count of worthies who are charged with most heinous crimes but have not been convicted, thanks to law’s convenient delays. Many of them adorn not only Parliament and state legislatures but also Union and state council of ministers. To pursue questions about them to the logical conclusion would mean that several governments, including that of the UPA in New Delhi, would melt away. “Innocent until proved guilty” has become their shield.

There is another deeply disturbing element in this situation underscored by the Purulia case. During the last year or so courts of law in some states have managed to complete the hearing of rape cases in record time and meted out just deserts to the culprits. However, in all these cases the victims of the savagery were foreign women. Is the privilege of speedy justice in cases of rape to be reserved for foreigners only? Must the Indian victims of this dastardly crime be deprived of this right by incompetent investigative agencies and the slow-moving judiciary? To say this is not to pretend that rape cases in which foreign women were targeted have not dragged on.

It is in this context that the third shameful, indeed chilling, episode has yet again set ablaze the terror-ravaged state of Jammu and Kashmir. A sex abuse scandal had gone on in the sensitive state for years. Its kingpin, a woman named Ms Sabeena could run an efficient prostitution network with impunity because she had powerful patronage. So much so that she could publicly slap a SHO of the police and get away with it. The story that her principal victim, aged only 15, had to tell the police investigators was hair-raising. The intelligence wing of the J & K police presented a full report on the horrendous state of affairs to the PDP-Congress coalition government as far back as October 2004. But it was assiduously suppressed because ministers and legislators belonging to the ruling coalition, senior and junior officers of the police and security forces and rich and influential businessmen were involved.

And suppressed this egregious sex scandal might have remained but for two developments. First, some elders of Srinagar received CDs showing little girls of their locality in the nude. It transpired that to first drug these girls and then blackmail them was Ms Sabeena’s modus operandi. Secondly, an enterprising journalist got hold of the story and splashed it. Thereafter, all hell broke loose. Violent protests against the scandal and its perpetrators assumed wide dimensions. A mob attacked Ms Sabeena’s well-appointed house and partially destroyed it.

It was at this stage that the new Chief Minister, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, who might or might not have known all the ramifications of what had gone, handed the matter over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, with instructions not to spare anyone, however, high he or she might be. Ironically, the High Court has had to upbraid the CBI for being slow in exposing the guilty.

This having been said, one must hasten to add that the situation, though extraordinarily ugly, is not as simple as it might seem at first sight. It is highly complex and, therefore, rather difficult to deal with though dealt with it must be with adequate firmness. There is not the slightest doubt that powerful people have used their positions to sexually exploit innocent women, including minor ones. Their conduct has been vile and vicious beyond words and cannot be overlooked, leave alone forgiven, for any reason. They must be awarded exemplary punishment as speedily as possible. But then there is also the flip side of the picture.

Those understandably protesting against the scandal have used the occasion for their own purposes, not all of them above board. For instance, some of the protesters have assumed the role of the moral police. They have forced restaurants to dismantle cubicles meant for couples. They have closed down beauty parlours, and at their behest cable operators have found it safer to stop telecasting TV channels other than Doordarshan. Religion has also been pressed into service cynically. Militants of all hues, including Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Faith), have jumped into the fray with abandon because they have their own fish to fry. The question does arise: why should those rightly running down prostitution, obscenity and immorality find it necessary to shout anti-Indian and pro-Pakistan slogans that must have warmed the cockles of the ISI’s hearts? Several religious leaders have started the canard that Kashmir’s Islamic ethos “cannot be safe in India’s secular milieu”.

Since this unhappy pattern has prevailed in J & K for much too long, it should have made the state government particularly sensitive to it. Sadly, the situation is precisely the opposite.

Top

 
MIDDLE

The black dahlia
by Harish Dhillon

Bhuri Singh impressed me with his quiet efficiency and the dignity of his bearing. He won my affection for introducing my children to the joys of gardening – though this joy appeared to be limited to dousing each other with the hosepipe or running off with Bhuri Singh’s galoshes.

He kept his distance and I learnt little about his personal life. But I did know that he was extremely fond of his grandson: every time he was given something to eat, he would wrap it up carefully to take home for the child.

Once someone gave me a few bulbs. One of these bulbs produced the most extraordinary dahlias – as big as cabbage heads and of a maroon so deep, they were virtually black. Mysteriously they did not bloom the second year.

“They were very old bulbs,” Bhri Singh explained patiently. “They must have decayed and disintegrated”.

Aunty Tutu, the Bursar’s wife invited me to tea and proudly showed off “her” black dahlias.

“Bhuri Singh is a marvel,” she said. “I don’t know how he managed it.” Later, Bhri Singh justified what he had done. “She does so much for my grandson, I felt compelled to do something in return.”

On my last teaching day in School, before I moved to another school as the Principal, Bhuri Singh, now retired, marched into my class, his grandson in tow, and emptied out a bagful of lemons on my table, scattering the lemons all over the room. The children enjoyed the break as they helped me to retrieve them. Sometime during this operation, Bhuri Singh and his grandson quietly slipped away. I tried to finish my lesson with some semblance of decorum — the all-pervading smell of freshly plucked lemons did nothing to help.

Years later, when I returned to my old school as the headmaster, I received an urgent call. It was from Choudhry, one of the cooks in the dining hall. His son had been bitten by a snake and been brought to the CRI for treatment. But he had come too late. Choudhry requested the use of my vehicle to take his body home.

We collected the body from the CRI and it was only when we had almost reached Jabli that I remembered that Choudhry was Bhuri Singh’s son – that the body was of the child he had so doted on. I was uncomfortable at the thought of witnessing the grandfather’s overpowering anguish and grief but it was too late to turn back.

He sat huddled in one corner, still and lifeless. I put my hands on his shoulders and he looked up at me. His eyes were blank. There was no trace of recognition, no memory of the years that he had been with me.

There was no acknowledgement of the strong, fresh smell of the lemons he had brought for me, no acknowledgement of the ‘black’ of the dahlias he had exchanged for benefits for the boy who now lay, dead, at his feet.
Top

 
OPED

News analysis
A winning script
“Artist” Karunanidhi outperforms “Amma” Jayalalithaa
by Arup Chanda

Muthuvel Karunanidhi has succeeded in ousting a chief Minister who distributed largesse like a princess and should have won this Assembly election like a queen.

Many political pundits had predicted that Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa would romp home very easily particularly after she distributed relief in cash and kind to the tsunami and flood victims only a few months before the Assembly elections.

Ms. Jayalalithaa started her poll campaign much before M. Karunanidhi. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) manifesto did not mention many of the poll pledges which she announced later.

Mr. Karunanidhi, who is 20 years older and frailer than “Amma” could not tour the whole state of Tamil Nadu but instead explained in detail in the DMK manifesto how he could offer rice at Rs 2 per kg instead of Rs 3.50 which is the current price at which rice is sold through ration shops, and also provide colour television sets to the poor.

Mr. Karunanidhi took pains to explain to the electorate that it was possible to provide rice at the rate of Rs 2 per kg which many did not believe. He said that at present 1.5 crore families were receiving ration rice at Rs 3.50 a kg and reducing it to Rs 2 would mean the state government would have to bear an additional burden of Rs 540 crore a year.

Similarly, he argued that there was a way to distribute colour television sets to 53 lakh families who were classified as “below poverty line,” which would cost the state Rs 1060 crore, and said that in the present day world television was an important medium to educate the poor.

The AIADMK manifesto mentioned nothing about rice. To counter Mr. Karunanidhi, Ms. Jayalalithaa made fun of the DMK’s poll pledge about rice and said, “The price of PDS rice was raised by the Centre. However, the government headed by your beloved sister has not hiked the price in the state and is providing the rice at Rs.3.50 per kg.”

Realising that her logic was not being well taken by the electorate she announced that those who would buy 10 kgs of rice at the rate of Rs. 3.50 would get another 10 kgs free. The people did not buy this offer.

Another important factor which went against Ms Jayalalithaa is her arrogance. During her five-year regime she rarely met the media and even her body language when she did “namamskaram” to her party members exuded arrogance.

Industrialists and businessmen might not like a particular politician or a party but they rarely say it openly. Such was Ms. Jayalalithaa’s arrogant behaviour even with local industry people that the President of the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. S. Rethinavelu, who is not known to have any political affiliation, openly issued a statement after the elections stating: “The failure of the Chief Minister lies in not interacting with people and knowing about their problems.”

He went on to say, “Jayalalithaa took all the decisions by herself without consulting the affected people. A pro-active Chief Minister should be accessible.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa tried to copy Mr. Karunanidhi much later during her campaign offering bicycles and computers but failed miserably. After all, Mr. Karunanidhi had been a famous script writer while Ms. Jayalalithaa had been only an actress who would perform according to the instructions of film directors.

Ms. Jayalalithaa’s freebies worked only in the coastal districts of Nagapattinam and Cuddalaore, which were ravaged by tsunami. The AIADMK certainly improved their performance remarkably.

Mr. Karunanidhi’s game plan was meticulously chalked out. He combined chemistry with mathematics – a lethal combination. 

He reminded the electorate about the “misdeeds” committed during the Jayalalithaa regime highlighting the crackdown on striking state government employees in 2002. Politicians might think public memory is short but those employees who were hounded by the police at night, arrested and dismissed from service did not forget those “black days”. Tamil Nadu has the largest number of state government employees in the country numbering 12 lakhs and even if half of it was translated into votes along with their family members it can swing the electorate and that it did.

Many DMK leaders were worried when Marumalarchi Dravida Munnnetra Kazhagam General Secretary Mr. Vaiko left the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Allaince (DPA) at the last moment and joined hands with Ms. Jayalalithaa.

But the patriarch of Tamil politics was cool and calm. Mr. Karunanidhi knew that MDMK’s share in the total vote bank in Tamil Nadu was only four percent. The DMK’s share in the total vote bank in Tamil Nadu is around 28 percent, the Congress’ 20, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK)’s eight, and the two Left parties’ two, which adds up to 58 per cent.

But what is noticeable is the entry of Vijaykanth, actor-turned-politician, armed with his barely nine-month-old Desiya Murpokku Dravidar Kazhagam (DMDK), which battled it out alone and made heavy inroads into the vote banks of major Dravidian parties.

He was the lone man to get elected though he fielded candidates in all the 234 constituencies. But he also succeeded in spearheading his party to emerge as the fourth highest vote getter, just behind the Congress, polling around 8 percent of the total votes polled in the state.

The other significant factor is a new party which can be described as a tiger cub and in the coming years might be a “tsunami” for the two Dravidian parties of which the electorate has become tired and frustrated. Much to the surprise of established parties, the fledgling “Lok Paritran”, a party floated by former IIT-ians, has managed to make inroads into the vote bank of other party candidates like Arcot Veerasamy (DMK) and S. Ve Shekar (AIADMK) both senior politicians.
Top

 

Russian school siege
Victims’ kin demand revival of death penalty
by Kim Murphy in Moscow

Prospects of a guilty verdict in the trial of the only surviving hostage-taker in the 2004 Beslan school siege have now turned the debate here to Russia’s 10-year-old moratorium on the death penalty.

A judge in southern Russia has been asked by prosecutors and relatives of the victims to ignore the policy and impose a death sentence in the attack, the worst case of terrorism in the nation’s history.

Such a decision would pose political difficulties for Russia, which is scheduled Friday to take over the chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s steering committee. The 46-member organization has urged Moscow to adopt the group’s protocol against capital punishment.

The court also must weigh demands from some of the victims’ families, who insist that Nurpashi Kulayev may still have information about who organized the attack and what touched off the deadly shootout in which 371 people died, including 31 attackers.

“We don’t have all the information about this Beslan tragedy, and we have reason to hope that if Kulayev remains alive, that he will reveal more information. He hasn’t told everything that he knows,” said Ella Kesayeva, head of the Voice of Beslan, whose brother-in-law and two nephews were among the victims. The attack in Beslan, a city in North Ossetia, was the worst in a wave of violence in Russia’s North Caucasus region, where growing Muslim and anti-government militancy has spread from Chechnya.

Susanna Dudayeva, head of a group of Beslan mothers who have supported the prosecution’s push for the death penalty, said terrorist attacks against schoolchildren warrant the ultimate punishment.

“I believe that a person who intentionally, as a gang member, goes out to kill, whether it be to a school or anywhere else, should be killed himself,” she said in a telephone interview. “I’m by no means bloodthirsty, but I believe it’s pointless to try to re-educate or reform terrorists. They simply need to be annihilated.”

The former Soviet Union executed an average of 730 people a year from the 1960s to its dissolution in 1991. In 1996, Russia imposed a moratorium on the death penalty, and three years later, the Constitutional Court formally barred death sentences. Lower court judges since then have ordered the death penalty in a few cases, but it has not been carried out.

Russia has not adopted the Council of Europe’s protocol abolishing the death penalty, despite increasing calls from Europe to formalize the ban.

To the contrary, several legislators this year have talked of reinstating capital punishment, in part citing overwhelming support in opinion polls and a wave of terrorist bombings and hostage-takings that have left hundreds dead across Russia.

No case is more incendiary than Beslan, where a group of mainly Chechen and Ingush militants held more than 1,000 children, teachers and parents in a gymnasium for three days, before a massive series of explosions and gunfire erupted that left all but one of the hostage-takers and hundreds of their captives dead.

— By arrangement with LA Times-Washington Post
Top

 

Full utilisation of river Ravi
by G.S. Dhillon

Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, India is entitled to full utilisation of flows of the three eastern rivers of the Indus Basin — Sutlej, Beas and Ravi.

After the passage of 33 years, in 2006, can we say that we are making full utilisation of the flows?

The answer is “Yes” for the Sutlej and Beas but “No” with regards to the Ravi.

The Sutlej and Beas rivers have their confluence at Harike, where a barrage has been built; a number of off-take canals deliver the allocated share to the different states. When “leakage” and “seepage” occur from the Harike Barrage, the escaping water is collected at the Hussenawala Headworks (Ferozepur), a component of the Sutlej Valley Project, which has been renovated to deliver the water to the Eastern Canal and the Bikaner Canal. Whatever runoff joins the river between Harike and Ferozepur, is also “tapped”.

Only during the flood season, when it cannot be helped, are the gates of the two barrages referred above opened to let flood waters flow to Pakistan. So there is no hesitation in certifying the near full utilisation of the waters of the Sutlej and Beas rivers.

The Ravi river has a number of ‘flashy torrents’ namely Ujh, Bein and Bantar, which flows from the right bank area, and have out-falls between Madhopur and Dera Baba Nanak (DBN). The “seepage” and “leakage” taking place from the Madhopur Headworks is not utilised and flows to Pakistan. So there is scope for taking structural measures, in the reach of the river, where both the banks lie in India, to affect utilisation of the river flows.

At present, when a large number Confidence Building Measures with Pakistan are being planned, we should consider one more such measure.

The boulder and gravel reach of the river Ravi comes to an end some distance above Dera Baba Nanak (DBN), and this location and some reach of the river downstream falls in Indian territory. With the good-will currently prevailing, India can build a barrage cum bridge.

Construction of such a structure would not violate provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty and Pakistan would also be benefited by this works, as floods to the right bank areas of the river Ravi, below Dera Baba Nanak, would be prevented.

This structure will be located in the ‘gravelly reach’ of the river and will help “recharge” the groundwater resource and this benefit would extend equally to both the right banks area of Pakistan and to the Indian area.

In addition, it would provide a “crossing” for pilgrims visiting the Sri Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, which is considered the Second Nanakana Sahib by the Sikhs.

The Old Railway Bridge built during the British rule stands damaged and there is no plan for its restoration. Any fear of causing “flooding” of downstream areas can be set at rest by providing joint control over outflows from this structure located near the International Border.

This structure may be termed Baba Nanak Lake and would serve as an example of friendship between the two countries. In its construction, public participation in the form of “kar sewa” would result in cementing people’s faith and confidence in this multiplex CBM, making it a most effective and lasting one.
Top

 

From the pages of

August 15, 1947

India wakes to life and freedom

New Delhi, Aug. 14. Great enthusiasm and scenes which could hardly be forgotten were witnessed tonight when the constituent Assembly held its midnight session for the assumption of power.

Members attended in full strength. The hall was brilliantly flood-lit and the empty panels of the portraits on the walls were covered with bright national flags. Few of the members wore European costume and all where in Dhoti and Kurta or Achkans.

There were traffic jams in Parliament Street and other main roads leading to the Council Hall long before the House met at 11 p.m.

At 11 the President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, dressed in white khadi, took the chair. There was hushed silence and members took their seats. The House was filmed and at 11-50 p.m. Mrs Sucheta Kripalani and Mrs Nandita Kripalani sang the Bande Mataram.
Top

 

Everything is swinging: Heaven, Earth, Water, Fire and the secret only slowly growing a body. I saw this for fifteen seconds and it made me a servant for life.

— Kabir

Why do you cling to what is pleasant or decry what is unpleasant. Not seeing the pleasant can be painful. Just as painful it can be to see what is unpleasant.

— The Buddha

And the recompense of evil is punishment like it; but whoever forgives and amends, his reward is with Allah.

— The Koran

The guru is like a companion who leads you by the hand.

— Ramakrishna
Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |