Remembering the 9/11 holocaust

Five long years have passed but everyone remembers the nightmare of the 9/11 holocaust inflicted on American soil in 2001 by Osama Bin Laden’s gang of jihadis. In a matter of minutes on that tragic Tuesday, the two 110-floor icons of American democracy and freedom housing big international law firms, banks, insurance companies, stock brokerage and other business houses were reduced to rubble and smoke.

Incredibly, Pentagon, America’s defence headquarters, also became the target of a fuel-filled, fully occupied, passenger aircraft which was inventively hijacked and darted on damaging an entire wing of the world’s most protected structure. The US, for once, had the actual experience of terrorist violence, till date the worst loss of human life in a single incident of this kind.

The enormity of the crisis and chaos arising out of closure of most bridges, subways, tunnels and roads, even if temporarily, is vividly fresh and expectation then that the nemesis of perpetrators of such crimes was imminent attacking America much like Pearl Harbour by the Japanese in 1941, the terrorists, we thought had invited their doom.

I remember President George Bush’s very carefully worded speech broadcast that day which said, “…We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbour them.” The cancer has now spread worldwide and there is no place truly safe from this scourge of our age.


Tackle corruption

The news-item, Outsourcing corruption to escape Vigilance dragnet (Aug 14) speaks volumes for the extent and intensity of corruption in Haryana government offices and how difficult it is to check it. People visiting government offices are harassed and no file moves quickly without greasing the palms of the dealing assistants.

The problem is that officers are cut off from the public. Mostly they are not public friendly. Prescribed procedures even for routine works are cumbersome, complicated and time-consuming. All these problems get simplified once some money is paid directly to the staff concerned or through middlemen.

It is not difficult for the government to check corruption, provided it has strong commitment and political will. The officers should be public-friendly. Middlemen can be rooted out if the top officers are vigilant and take rounds of the office several times and speak to visitors to sort out their problems. The corrupt staff must be brought to book and given exemplary punishment.

Double standards

Israel has set a new trend in fighting terrorism. It bombed Lebanon heavily to flush out Hezbollah terrorists embedded with civilian populations. It is also a warning to civilian population not to entertain terrorists in their midst.

Our Communists, who care more about Palestinians and Lebanese than us, had their usual quota of protests. Of course, this time, their protests were “measured’ and “balanced”. It appears that top leaders keep the fate of their relations in the US in mind. Also, the West Bengal Chief Minister wants the US investments and expertise badly.

Stop at Phagwara

Phagwara is an important industrial town of Punjab with over two lakh population. But it has no stoppage for trains like the Malwa Express, the Jallianwala Bagh Express and the Hem Kund Rishikesh Express. These trains must stop here.

The Amritsar-Kalka Express should be restored. The long pending decision of starting the Amritsar-Haridwar Intercity Express should be implemented as a matter of priority.
Hadiabad (Phagwara)


Limits of tolerance

THE middle Tolerance unlimited (Sept 6) was timely and interesting. More so because the controversy over the singing of Vande Mataram is heating up. The Shiromini Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee has also jumped into the fray. Its chief has reportedly asked the Sikh community to refrain from singing the 
national song. 

As for the level of tolerance in Sikhism, Sheikh Farid’s following verse in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (page 1378) is noteworthy: Farida jo tein maaran mukian tina na marey ghum; aapnarey ghar jayey pair tina de chum (says Farid, whosoever hits you with his fist you are not to hit him back, rather go to his abode and kiss his feet!).

The interesting part of the report is that since Vande Mataram invokes Brahmanical references, the Sikhs instead should sing Deh Shiva bar mohey. without realising that the proposed shabad begins with a reference to Shiva, a Brahmanical religious icon! Sadly, while every community claims to have sacrificed for the country’s freedom, no one is ready to accept the country as his own!




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