SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
O P I N I O N S

Perspective |  Oped | Reflections

PERSPECTIVE

Human rights 
Justice Bhalla’s mandate is limited
by Ram Narayan Kumar
T
HE matter of enforced disappearances leading to mass cremations in Punjab epitomises a unique combination of the legal process, under the fundamental rights jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and a rigorous documentation of facts of human rights abuses, which the human rights community involved with the case has managed to develop.

On Record
Economy should open up further: Lord Paul
by Prashant Sood
AN harbinger of goodwill between United Kingdom and India, Lord Swaraj Paul has received high honours from the two governments. His life portrays, in many ways, the growth of relationship between the two countries and the place ethnic Indians have made for themselves in the UK.



 

EARLIER STORIES
Mamata relents
December 30, 2006
When fence is a farce
December 29, 2006
Don’t hang Saddam
December 28, 2006
Eenadu under attack
December 27, 2006
Mamata vs Bengal
December 26, 2006
Right at the top
December 25, 2006
Role of religion in world peace
December 24, 2006
Progeny of the mighty
December 23, 2006
Hostile to truth
December 22, 2006
A lifetime in prison
December 21, 2006
PM’s assurance is welcome
December 20, 2006


Rejoinder
Getting to the roots of the problem
by Simranjit Singh Mann
PLEASE refer to a brilliant article “Punjab farmers deserve a better deal” (Perspective, Dec 17) by an upcoming, well educated law-maker, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal. Though I appreciate what he has said of the past I dread to think this young legislator has no ideas and hope for the future. He has been in the ruling party which ruled Punjab from 1997 to 2002 and his uncle Mr Parkash Singh Badal was the Chief Minister.

OPED

Reflections
Lessons from a colloquium
by Kiran Bedi
THIS article is a product of a first-ever colloquium the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), organised in Delhi. The coming together of the brightest and the creative IPS officers was evident that the GenX is taking over the reins of Indian police just like it is taking over in the corporate sector, on the playing fields and everywhere else in the country.

Profile
Merit, hard work his mantra of success
by Harihar Swarup
E
VEN though the Chief Justice of India-designate, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, is a “dalit”, his rise to the top notch position in the judiciary is attributed to merit and hard work. He hardly got the preferential treatment that persons of neglected sections of society usually get. Yet, he became the first “dalit” Chief Justice of India.

Diversities — Delhi Letter
Holiday rush to Goa, Singapore
by Humra Quraishi
AS in the past several years a sort of frenzy is created around this time of the year… as though herds of folks are flying towards Singapore or heading towards Goa. Don’t know how true is all this. What with the dense fog all around and the long list of flight delays, making the passengers cry out. 

 

 
 REFLECTIONS

 

Top








 

Human rights 
Justice Bhalla’s mandate is limited
by Ram Narayan Kumar

THE matter of enforced disappearances leading to mass cremations in Punjab epitomises a unique combination of the legal process, under the fundamental rights jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and a rigorous documentation of facts of human rights abuses, which the human rights community involved with the case has managed to develop.

Yet, the objectives of truth, justice and reparation remain unrealised. Though the facts of abuses have been established and partially acknowledged, the state agencies have found ways to evade the binding obligations of justice under the law and the imperatives of reform.

The matter has been pending before the National Human Rights Commission for a decade after the Supreme Court, in December 1996, mandated it to adjudicate all the issues and to award compensation following a report by the CBI, which disclosed “flagrant violations of human rights on a mass scale” and 2097 illegal cremations at three sites in Amritsar district alone.

After 10 years of litigation, exhausted mainly in futile legal wrangling and denials by the state agencies, the NHRC has effectively disposed of the matter with its October 10, 2006 order that awards arbitrary sums of monetary compensation to 1,245 victims.

The order also appoints Justice K. S. Bhalla, a retired judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, to ascertain, over the next eight months, the identities of the remaining persons cremated in the district. It is ironical that the NHRC should appoint a retired judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to do over the next eight months what it has not been able to accomplish over a decade, that too, without providing clear methodological principles and the necessary powers of discovery.

The appointment is ironical also for the reason that in course of a decade-long engagement with the matter, the NHRC has failed to record the testimony of a single victim family. It refused to go into the systemic patterns of violations and declined to investigate the issues of rights to life and liberty.

Yet, the NHRC’s October 2006 order affirms faith that Punjab and the Union Government will take appropriate steps to ensure that violations do not recur. How can there be a guarantee of non-recurrence when there is no knowledge of what occurred?

Despite this history, this writer will appear before the Justice Bhalla Commission at Amritsar on January 2, 2007 and try to assist it with information and evidence that it will need to resolve the remaining unidentified cremations listed in the CBI’s report.

The state government officials are on the record saying that more than 300 “militant collaborators” who had publicly been killed and cremated got rehabilitated under assumed identities and that they will not reveal further details on how and where these forgeries were actually affected or who were the actual persons killed and burnt in lieu of such “militant collaborators”.

The requirements to fix the true identities of remaining anonymous cremations carried out in three crematoria of Amritsar district oblige the Bhalla Commission to call for information on these admitted forgeries and to clearly determine the cremation grounds at which they were actually carried out.

Other source of information that this commission should avail itself of is in the incident reports of such police abductions and enforced disappearances that occurred outside Amritsar. This writer is able to clearly demonstrate that the police agencies in Punjab operated without respect for the norms and regulations of their territorial jurisdictions and that persons abducted and disappeared in one district were often confined, interrogated and killed in other districts. Many who belonged to Amritsar were abducted, killed and cremated outside Amritsar.

Likewise, many shown to have been cremated as unidentified bodies in the crematoria of Amritsar came from other areas. The task of resolving their true identities requires the commission to investigate and analyse all reports of police abductions resulting in enforced disappearances throughout Punjab and we will be able to assist the commission with methodology and the field work if it is able to take on the challenge.

This writer must also remind the Commission about the cases of 18 persons who Punjab had, in January 2000, categorised as qualifying to receive compensation without admitting liability or the merits of their claims. The families of all the 18 had rejected the offer on the ground that it came without the admission of wrongdoing and was fixed without any reference to the fundamental rights violations they had suffered. These 18 cases were out of a total of 88 claims that the NHRC had received in response to a public notice inviting complaints. Their claims and their objections to the terms of compensation being offered have remained unresolved.

The expert literature on the subject is unanimous in the view that for the concept of reparation to be meaningful, victims must be able to return to the state of being, as close as possible, at which they were before violations occurred. They must receive compensation for physical and mental injury, including lost opportunities, emotional and moral harm and legal costs. Their rehabilitation must include medical care, including psychological and psychiatric treatment.

Justice Bhalla’s mandate is limited and he cannot be blamed for the perversions of the process that have interfered against the case becoming an experiment in social reconciliation through a judicial affirmation of accountability. However, Justice Bhalla can make a difference if he is able to approach his limited but important mandate with attention to the principles and the potential of the case, with the Supreme Court mandating the NHRC to marshal the powers of Article 32 to “forge new tools” in order to do “complete justice”.

If this opportunity is not to be frittered away, under the culture of impunity that prevails, it is also important that the civil society in Punjab, across social divisions, gets involved in developing a climate of receptive dialogue and informed public opinion on the issues at stake. 

The writer is a human rights researcher.
Top

 

On Record
Economy should open up further: Lord Paul
by Prashant Sood

Lord Swaraj PaulAN harbinger of goodwill between United Kingdom and India, Lord Swraj Paul has received high honours from the two governments. His life portrays, in many ways, the growth of relationship between the two countries and the place ethnic Indians have made for themselves in the UK.

Born in 1931, his family named him Swraj (self-rule). In his speech after being raised to the peerage in 1996, Lord Paul, a Labour Party member, emotionally recalled the symbolism of his becoming an MP (House of Lords) where several decisions not conducive to his upbringing would have been taken.

Starting with a small factory, he has built a £650 million international business. Chairman of Caparo Group, Lord Paul is Chancellor of the University of Westminster and is associated with the work for 2012 London Olympics. Hailing from Jalandhar, his charity work includes an abiding interest in improving the London zoo. In an interview to The Sunday Tribune, he lauds the current reform process, which, he says, will “create more jobs”.

Excerpts:

Q: How have the Indo-UK relations evolved over the years?

A: Both countries have the finest relations. There are always ups and downs but the end result is visible. Political relations are growing strong. Both sides are doing their best to promote trade and investment.

Q: Has India progressed at the desired pace?

A: India developed very fast after independence because of Nehru’s vision. However, there came a phase in between when too few people became too comfortable. They started monopolising trade and investment and became cosy with the government. No country can progress without a large number of its people being involved in the development process.

Q: How do you see the future?

A: Unless India opens up, it will remain a developing country. I am glad that good sense prevailed and the leadership decided to open up. The benefits are visible. Personally, I will like to see it open up further. The government should not be afraid that some people may not like such a decision. The right action is that which benefits over one billion people of India. What we really need is efficiency which will come with competition. It means more people can afford more products. The government should not allow abuse by allowing monopolies. That’s why competition is necessary. There is not much difference between private and public monopolies. Reforms do not create unemployment. They will lead to more employment, bring costs down and create bigger market.

Q: Has business environment in India changed over the years? How does it compare to the West in terms of boosting entrepreneurship?

A: Though it is far easier to start a business in India now, there still are plenty of obstacles. Here if you want to start as an entrepreneur, there are no problems. There are delays in India. The attitude should be of help instead of finding faults. Though the attitude of obstruction is changing, I wish it was faster.

Q: How long will it take for India to reach the developed world’s living standards?

A: India would have been at its present stage of development 10 years earlier had it not lost direction. India can be a developed country within the next two decades provided we get over the syndrome that only economic development will solve problems. We should provide better health services as healthy people is the biggest requirement of a developed country. Spending on health and education should be increased so that facilities are available to the common man. Both the government and the private sector have to step in.

Q: Will the decision on Iraq impact Tony Blair’s legacy?

A: It already has had an impact. It is a very sad situation. Mr Blair has been a great PM. Unfortunately, involvement in Iraq was not the right decision. Now there seems no easy solution.

Q: How has the cash-for-honours controversy affected the Labour party’s image?

A: Others too had been doing it. Everything will depend on the outcome of the inquiry. It is noteworthy how the police is doing its task without fear, and has even questioned the PM. It is a tribute to British system.

Q: Why do most people from India support the Labour party?

A: Its policies make them its natural supporters. On issues such as immigration, multiculturalism and social justice, Labour has led and other parties have followed.

Q: How do you look at the measures to control immigration from non-EEA countries?

A: Without controls the country will collapse. You don’t want flood of people as there is a system of providing welfare benefits. But many European countries need services of immigrants to sustain growth of their economies.

Q: What about the representation of Asians at Westminster?

A: Asians are slowly getting into Parliament, but I don’t consider it a question of proportional representation. In the end, it is your ability that matters. Britain is one country, that’s how we look at it.

Q: How has been Caparo’s investment in India?

A: Caparo’s India operations began in 1995 as a joint venture. Today, Caparo Maruti Limited has three manufacturing centres, two in Haryana and one in Gujarat. 

Top

 

Rejoinder
Getting to the roots of the problem
by Simranjit Singh Mann

PLEASE refer to a brilliant article “Punjab farmers deserve a better deal” (Perspective, Dec 17) by an upcoming, well educated law-maker, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal. Though I appreciate what he has said of the past I dread to think this young legislator has no ideas and hope for the future. He has been in the ruling party which ruled Punjab from 1997 to 2002 and his uncle Mr Parkash Singh Badal was the Chief Minister. For the next five years now a defector from the traditional Akalis Mr Amarinder Singh has been Chief Minister.

They have all without exception lived in time warp or gone to sleep like Rip Van Winkle. We know the Green Revolution was a miracle for Punjab. But who benefited from it? The rich farmers who on acquiring wealth left the villages and their farms to live in cities which provided them with worldly comforts of 24 hours electricity, hospitals, schools, shooting ranges and golf clubs. Mr Parkash Singh Badal has been Chief Minister thrice and is desperately making a bid for the fourth term.

What do the Uncle and author hope for the future? Uncle says he will dish out wheat flour at Rs 4 a kilo and lintels at Rs 20 a kilo, which means they accept that over the years they have impoverished Punjab to the point of famine and starvation.

Why is cancer spreading in the rural areas? Because these politicians have not stopped industrial pollutants and municipal waste from entering our river systems from which our canals are fed. We don’t need orders from the Centre to stop this or to make a cancer institute or a PGI in Majha, Malwa and Doaba. Besides, can they point one federal system in the world that awaits with a begging bowl in a province or state a grant or a dole from the Prime Minister? Have they ever seem or read the Constitution and recommended changes?

If the Centre has drained Punjab’s natural resources have they read Article 246 of the Constitution, which puts river waters on the State List and guards the waters from being unconstitutionally drained into Rajasthan and Haryana? Instead both the ruling Congress party and the complaining traditional Akalis have signed the Rajiv-Longowal Accord which opened the SYL canal. What is the point of harping on the Termination Act which the traditional Akalis let pass without a murmur when Section 5 of this Act is ultra vires the Constitution?

Have they ever challenged the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966? Had they done so the Head Works wouldn’t have gone under Central authority or the river waters outside our state which contravene international riparian law.

The author must come to grips with the reality of the current situation. The Indian treasury is flush with foreign reserves. The politician wants money for his politics. It comes from not building a defence industry since 1947 and creating shortages in food grains. Imports of weapons and grains oil our political system. The author’s party and the Congress’ bigwigs are in the dock for such malfeasance. As he must know as a big farmer who maintains a stud farm-money makes the mare go.

To get the farm sector working we will have to do some hard, positive and realistic thinking. We must go back to the villages, give them leadership and make the Constitution work. 

The writer is President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar)
Top

 

Reflections
Lessons from a colloquium
by Kiran Bedi

THIS article is a product of a first-ever colloquium the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), organised in Delhi. The coming together of the brightest and the creative IPS officers was evident that the GenX is taking over the reins of Indian police just like it is taking over in the corporate sector, on the playing fields and everywhere else in the country.

Despite the legacy of colonial administration and antiquated laws, unmindful of the political shenanigans and cynicism of senior bureaucrats, young IPS officers are charting a new path for the maligned police department. Many with degrees from the IITs and IIMs and with laptops under their arms are changing the face of Indian police today.

The BPRD organised a four-day colloquium to showcase these efforts and understand how criminal justice policies must be modernised to prepare India for the new century. From this objective the colloquium was a resounding success. We collectively saw for the first time that a young officer has used computer simulation to improve traffic in Bangalore and achieved remarkable success in a safe school project.

Another presentation from Karnataka highlighted the advances made in crime mapping and geographical information systems. It is now possible to identify, predict the hot spots of crimes and develop preventive strategies. A young officer’s apology for using 2005 data for his presentation took us by pleasant surprise. We need not remain resigned to the notoriety of Indian bureaucracy working with outdated data. A young officer from the Central Reserve Police highlighted the importance of emotional intelligence in managing large police forces while another college presented data to show how Vipassana helps rehabilitate even serious offenders and checks re-offending.

A major point was made regarding the assumptions of police practices. For example, research findings were presented to argue that unintelligent patrolling is not effective in controlling crime. Similarly, placing a large number of armed contingents as mere deployment to the deteriorating crime situation is a mere band aid. And if loosely used loses the bite.

These assessments have major policy consequences. Over the years, the government has been creating more and more armed battalions to maintain order but we alongside also need to examine if this is the appropriate strategy for civil policing. We may be neglecting the civil police and starving the police station at the expense of paramilitary forces, as is becoming the case in the states.

Another young officer demonstrated how police uniform, arms and paraphernalia are now outdated and indeed, cumbersome and outright a liability when on duty. A police officer dons a uniform that cannot hold his glasses, pen and paper and slows him through his large boots, heavy belt and an ill-fitting cap. The training in handling arms is more of a ceremony than an effective way of responding to a showdown.

Despite the passage of more than 140 years, invention of modern garment materials, police uniform has not undergone any change. He also argued passionately that we send our subordinate instructors also for acquiring modern skills rather than only the senior IGs and DIGs who rarely play a role in training.

Furthermore, why do the same senior officers continue to emphasise rigid discipline in the service? Research suggests that in the name of discipline police leadership tends to muzzle dissenting voices and attempts to enforce blind obedience or loyalty. GenX is more qualified and educated than the officers occupying senior positions. They want to question the basis of policing and are eager to search for creative solutions to the problems confronting the police and society.

However, their voices are being drowned in the name of maintaining ‘strict’ discipline regime. This has consequences for an organisation where the personnel are forced to obey orders coming from the top. The entire organisation is likely to become a tool of suffocation and perhaps serve political objectives rather than function according to its mandate. The lesson is clear; police needs thinking officers, those who can find innovative solutions rather than those who blindly follow others. It is necessary that the present-day leadership keep this in mind.

The colloquium was also a success due to the partnership molded between the police and the citizens. Everyone came four half days to the events only by reading the newspaper advertisement. No individual invitations were sent and yet the house was packed to capacity. This has initiated a new trend in building police-citizen affiliation where the problems of Very Ordinary People (VOP) rather than those of the VIPs are given supremacy.

The best example of this came from the exhibition organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) which helped bring under one roof a vast collection of gadgets, equipment and services available for modernisation of the police. Already some police forces such as Rajasthan have started utilising the computer aided dispatch system that can quickly direct a patrolling vehicle to respond to a call for service. It is now possible to record all calls made to the police control room and thus keep track of information provided by the citizens.

Now, it is not necessary for the citizens to go to a police station for they can use their cell phones to call for police help directly. This will revolutionise the police function, as it will reduce the discretion of station house officers. This is also the face of modern police, which goes to the citizens rather than demanding that citizens come to them.

However, the presentation by Rohit Baluja, a one-man army in road safety surpassed everything. Almost single-handedly he is fighting to reduce traffic accidents and has devised a unique vehicle fitted with cameras that can help collect evidence from the accident sites. Even though Rohit is being invited all over the world to educate the police and urban planners about traffic management, police departments within the country have not cared enough to utilise the expertise of a globally renowned expert. One wonders why?

So much from Colloquium 2006! Let us look forward to the next one in 2007…Till then here is wishing you all a very happy new year.

This piece is in collaboration with a former IPS officer, currently Assistant Professor at the Indiana University, USA.
Top

 

Profile
Merit, hard work his mantra of success
by Harihar Swarup

EVEN though the Chief Justice of India-designate, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, is a “dalit”, his rise to the top notch position in the judiciary is attributed to merit and hard work. He hardly got the preferential treatment that persons of neglected sections of society usually get. Yet, he became the first “dalit” Chief Justice of India.

He has come up in life the hard way, having struggled through the rough and tumble of life. Talent does not recognise caste and community divide. Genius is god-gifted; a prodigy can take birth in a hut. Such a person knows the meaning of life better, is more compassionate, humane and pragmatic. Justice Balakrishnan is one of them. He knows what it means to be poor, more so, a “dalit”.

There are some little known facts about Justice Balakrishnan. He was second among the eight children that his father, A.K. Gopinathan, struggled to bring up at a very meager salary he earned as a copyist in a local court. He wanted to go to a school but told that Dalits were not particularly welcome those days in most local schools. Gopinath had to change his name to a Christian one to get into a mission-run school. Borrowing books from his schoolmates, he cleared his first school examination and became a matriculate.

Justice Balakrishnan had his own share of such problems but he learnt quite early to take things sportingly. Times have changed since his father’s days. He was lucky in the sense that people of all communities helped him throughout his career. His father died a couple of years back.

There was time when Balakrishnan had to trudge more than five km to reach his school but such was his dedication and hard work that after having completed his primary education, he joined Maharaja’s College at Ernakulam where he obtained the Bachelor’s degree in Science. He then took the BL degree from Maharaja’s Law college, enrolled himself as an advocate in the Karala Bar Council in 1968 and pleaded both criminal and civil cases. Simultaneously, he continued his higher education in law, having completed LLM with first class.

He was appointed as a Munsif in the Kerala Judicial Service in 1970 but, later, resigned from the service to practice as an advocate in the Kerala High Court. The breakthrough came in 1985 when Justice Balakrishnan was appointed Judge in the Kerala High Court. He became the youngest judge of a High Court. He was 40 then. Subsequently, in 1997, Justice Balakrishnan was transferred to the Gujarat High Court. He became Chief Justice in Gujarat in 1998 and in 2000 elevated as the Supreme Court Judge.

Unlike many of his predecessors, Justice Balakrishnan will have a tenure of three years and four months. Outgoing Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal had a 14-month term and his predecessor, Justice R.C. Lahoti, had a 17-month stint.

Justice Balakrishnan, who takes over on January 15, holds definite views on several current controversial issues. He feels that the CJI’s post can also be brought under the ambit of the Judicial Inquiry Bill which is pending before Parliament. “My actions could be scrutinised. I don’t mind”, he has reportedly said. He is of the view that the arbitration system in the country should be improved to dispense quick justice to the aggrieved parties. The Right to Information Act, he is quoted as saying, comes to the aid of the common man when even the media is not serving the true facts and people are being misled.

On judicial activism, Justice Balakrishnan says, “activism is alright as long as it goes in the right direction. But judges should not appear to be running the country”. Also, when laws passed by Parliament are not enforced, he feels, the courts can give direction. No court will interfere in the day-to-day functioning of the legislature.

On judicial scandals, he said that efforts were being made to correct them. Two or three judges had been asked to resign when scandals broke out in Delhi, Rajasthan and Karnataka. “I do not feel there is any serious problem with the Indian judicial system. It is working perfectly well, though we can improve the system by hard work and dedication by judges and cooperation of lawyers”.

Justice Balakrishnan is known as a humane judge. His advice to members of judiciary is: “Every case that comes before a judge is a human issue, not a technical question. Judges should try to help the affected, and speed up disposals”. A memorable order he delivered as the Supreme Court Judge in 2001 had given him great satisfaction. He and a fellow judge ordered all state governments to provide free mid-day meals to poor school children - 300 calories and up to 12 gm of protein a day for a minimum period of 200 days in a year.

Another order of Justice Balakrishnan as a High Court Judge will be long remembered. He ordered a ban on the bandhs that Kerala had been notorious for.

Top

 

Diversities — Delhi Letter
Holiday rush to Goa, Singapore
by Humra Quraishi

AS in the past several years a sort of frenzy is created around this time of the year… as though herds of folks are flying towards Singapore or heading towards Goa. Don’t know how true is all this. What with the dense fog all around and the long list of flight delays, making the passengers cry out. In no mood to dampen your enthusiasm, the truth lies in the fact that most venture out not too far from their homes.

And yet, the frenzied build up. Almost provoking you to go tearing through the fog and traffic snarls, to just about anywhere, as senseless versions of enjoyment and fun are hitting commercial heads! A few exceptions alright, with some daring to say that they do nothing exceptional on the new year eve or welcome the year in subtle ways.

As I have been mentioning all these years, SAHMAT does start the year on a different note. Right from News Year’s Day noon till late into the night, there is a continuing round of classical music and all that goes that strain. As there are no tickets, families come in great numbers to sit and sway with the flow of the classical.

Shiv Kumar’s latest novel

As the year ends and paves way for the next, one continuing factor — at least on the circuit here — will be more books hitting the stands. All set to be formally launched is Professor Shiv K. Kumar’s latest novel, Two Mirrors At The Ashram (Penguin). It’s waiting to be formally released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. As Kumar had mentioned in a recent interview that he and Dr Manmohan Singh were colleagues in Punjab University.

I quote him from that interview, “Manmohan Singh was an old colleague of mine. He had joined Punjab University as a lecturer of Economics and since we were the only two Cantabrigians (from Cambridge University), he came to see me…” Though I have met Hyderabad-based Professor Kumar just about twice, each time he left an indelible impression. For one, he spoke out and did not camouflage upheavals on his personal front and then he hasn’t let these affect his writing prowess.

Through those long decades of teaching English literature, he has been writing and translating. Small wonder, he received the Sahitya Akademi award for his poetry and later also the Padma Bhushan.

Moving on, more Hindi and Urdu books are getting translated into English. And as I have been repeatedly saying that this is indeed an extremely healthy trend. On January 4, S.R. Faruqi’s Kai Chand the Sare Aasman will be launched by Penguin Books India and Yatra Books at the India Habitat Centre, by two well known academics who are heading two universities of the capital.

Inter-faith dialogue

Though social chaos reigns in everyday living, there are few who are trying to combat this and more. New Delhi-based academic and Member-Secretary of the Foundation for Unity of Religion and Enlightened Citizenship (FUREC), Sudhamahi Regunathan had begun by holding inter-faith discussion groups with special emphasis on students participating and seeking answers to the misconceptions and myths about different faiths.

Religious scholars and academics had been invited to discuss and take up all possible queries put forth by the audience. And now she is moved a step ahead, if I may so put across, by inviting scholars to deliver talks not about the particular faith they practice but on any aspect of any other faith.

Two such talks were held here at the India International Centre. Bangalore- based sufi scholar Mumtaz Ali dwelt on the Upanishads and Bishop Thomas Dabre spoke on Tukaram.

Some more lectures are coming up along the same strain where a Hindu academic will dwell on Islam or Christianity and so forth.

Of women and adultery

Whilst this latest doing the rounds that women are also likely to be punishable for adultery, there are these particular lines of Khalil Gibran: “If any of you would bring to judgement the unfaithful wife,/ Let him also weigh the heart of her husband in/ scales, and measure his soul in measurements/ And let him who would lash the offender look unto the spirit of the offended./ And if any of you would punish in the name of/ righteousness and lay the axe unto the evil tree, let him see to its roots/ And verily he will find roots of the good and the/ bad, the fruitful and the fruitless, all entwined/ together in the silent heart of the earth/ And you judges who would be just /What judgement pronounce you upon him who /though honest in the flesh yet is a thief in spirit?”


Top

 

Turiya is represented by AUM. Though indivisible, it has three sounds.

—The Mandukya Upanishads

Ishwara sends devas as his messengers to the world from whom good accrues to humanity.

—The Vedas

The leaders must believe in the cause for which they are fighting. Without belief, they will have no inspiration. Lack of inspiration will be reflected in their behaviour and will demotivate the troops.

—The Mahabharata

Oh friend, hope for Him while you live, know while you live, understand while you live; for in life lies the secret of deliverance.

—Kabir

If he wants something to be done, He will give us the means.

—Mother Teresa

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 |