Build a better life for forces

Payback time for armed forces” by Vijay Mohan (Spectrum, July 8) was thought-provoking. It was encouraging to read that the three Service Chiefs have jointly raised their voice about low remuneration, tough working conditions and high risks in the forces. The shortage of officers and men is continuing but the Government seems to be unconcerned.

I was commissioned into the Army in 1948 and retired as a Colonel in 1976 at the age of 50. Throughout my service I was short of money because of low pay and slow promotions. I could not educate my children properly and had to lead a separated life whenever I was posted in a field area. No separation allowance was paid to us when we had to run two establishments.

Because of low pay we had to live a simple life. I could not put my children in a boarding school since I could not afford it. On the contrary, civilians could arrange the admission of their children in the best of schools. Politicians and civilian officials are unaware of the difficulties we face. The country is only safe if it has strong armed forces.

He was treated very shabbily. On his way to India, he was arrested along with his wife and children at Aden on April 21, 1886. Dalip Singh went to Moscow to persuade Russian authorities to invade India.

His wife, Bamba, died and children lived in penury in England. He lived in Russia on the sales proceeds of his jewels. He became paralytic and died in Grand Hotel, Paris, on October 22, 1893. n



Youth have far more facilities and opportunities to get better education in various fields, are getting handsome salaries and can live comfortably with their families. Why would they like to go and join the armed forces? I would like to know how many children of our politicians and bureaucrats have joined the armed forces. How can they understand our problems and difficulties?

We can have motivated armed forces only if soldiers are well paid, service conditions are improved and their grievances are removed. Let the future generations live better than us.

H.S. Mahal, Dera Baba Jaimal Singh


As mentioned, the Third Pay Commission’s suggestion to hear the case directly from the armed forces was turned down on the grounds that the ‘code of discipline’ did not permit this. They (defence personnel) are supposed to accept whatever is given to them without representation.

If the bottomline, “a sepoy in the Army gets less than half the pension of a peon in the government service,” is true, then, where is the gaurav of a Gaurav Senani? The Government of India has redefined the term ex-serviceman as “Gaurav Senani”.

HARBANS SINGH, Ambala Cantonment

For God’s sake

I read with interest the review, “You mean, there is no God?” (Spectrum, July 15) by Kuldip Dhiman of Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion. It is a hard fact that the existence of God cannot be proved or disproved. Of course, faith in God is not a blind leap into the dark.

It is a safe step into a well-lit room where 90 per cent people are already standing. If God does not exist, then, who created the universe? And if he does exist, then, why the ultimate source of the universe could not be the entire universe itself, eternal and without a God? Why does evil prevail despite God being omnipotent and omniscient.

Perhaps the fact that whether God exists or not is beyond human comprehension. ‘From nothing nothing comes’, ‘being cannot come from non being’.


Ill-starred king

This refers to “Dalip Singh, a life in struggle” (Spectrum, July 15) by Kanwarjit Singh Kang. Throughout his life, which bristled with trials and tribulations, an evil star presided over Dalip Singh, the last Sikh ruler of Punjab. He was a tiny-tot when his father died and hardly 10 when he was made a throneless pensioner.


Omar Khayyam’s poetic beauty and aesthetic sense

" Omar Khayyam in Punjabi” by Khushwant Singh (Saturday Extra, June 9) was interesting. His quatrains were translated into English by Edward Fitzgerald and not “Scott Fitzgerald” as stated by Khushwant Singh. Fitzgerald studied Persian at the University of Oxford under Prof Edward Byles Cowell in 1853.

It was Cowell who sent the rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam to Fitzgerald for English translation in 1859. Though many other writers such as A.J. Arberry and Karim Emami also translated the rubaiyat into English. Fitzgerald’s rendering leads all the rest.

It is a free rendering inspired by the spirit of Omar Khayyam’s poetic beauty and aesthetic sense. It is full of ease, charm and grace.

Omar Khayyam’s full name is Ghiyasuddin Abdul Fatah Umar bin Ibrahim Khayyam. He was born at Nishapur, then a Seljuk capital in Khorasan, on May 18, 1045. He was a poet, astronomer and mathematician.

He is also known for the demonstration of problems of algebra, solving cubic equations in the geometric method, calendar reform and astronomical tables.




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