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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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M A I L B A G

Politics and religion don’t mix

A J PHILIP, in his article, “Saints and sinners: The twain shall never meet” (Dec 3), has aptly pointed out that by kneading religion and politics together, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is sowing the seeds of discord in his own coalition.

Very recently, the BJP, the Shiromani Akali Dal’s ally, got the power tariff hike in urban areas rolled back. Now, following the announcement of beacon lights for SGPC members’ vehicles and police security to them, the BJP, too, may demand similar concessions for the managers of Hindu shrines. Eyebrows will not be raised if leaders of other religions follow suit. After all, everyone has the right to demand parity from the Chief Minister of a secular province.

Secondly, the issue of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s portrait in the Golden Temple’s Sikh Museum may also put Mr Badal in a fix. As a secular leader and guardian of national integrity, he is bound to declare unequivocally that he would not allow anyone disturb peace in the state. The Chief Minister would do well to read the writing on the wall and announce a clear-cut estrangement with secessionist forces.

PARVESH SHARMA, Chandigarh



II

The writer takes a circuitous route to drive home the point on red beacons, khaki escorts and a portrait in the Golden Temple precincts. Throughout, the fate of the faith has been intertwined with the state. St. Xavier, a disciple of Christ, reached India in the first century to preach Christianity. However, conversions could make headway only with the British rule, 18 centuries later.

In the middle ages, Europe’s Christian kings relentlessly dispatched crusaders to redeem Jerusalem from Muslim occupation. Rome became the Papal headquarters, being the mighty Roman Empire’s capital. The Golden Temple, magnificent Hindu temples of South India and the Jama Masjid of Delhi were all built with state funds. The present-day reservations and economic concessions granted to some castes and tribes of a particular religion tend to be a link of the same chain.

Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, an unlettered village youth, with rustic demeanour and engaged in religious preaching, was sucked into the vortex of national politics through the machinations of wily politicians for the votes of gullible masses. His picture anywhere is inconsequential.

S. S. BENIWAL, Chandigarh

III

The article highlights the practice of divisiveness of the Shiromani Akali Dal as against inclusiveness practiced by the Gurus. The Gurus spread the message of love and harmony in the diverse society. The SGPC is concerned with the control of huge offerings at Gurudwaras. The Akal Takhat Jathedar lives in isolation from the common folk.

Think of Guru Arjun Dev who was an example of unparalleled symbol of forgiveness. Ulahnu mein kahu na deo, man meeth toharo keyo (I blame nobody. I have pleased Thy mind, my Lord).

May Waheguru give the Shiromani Akali Dal the strength to understand the Sikh faith’s true philosophy and live accordingly! Guru Gobind Singh never deviated from the true path of Sikh Panth.

SURJEET SINGH, Mohali

IV

The article is well intended. Though the writer might be right theoretically, in actuality he need not worry about the future eulogising of convicted and hanged persons. For, from where would one get such people?

Whether one attacks our as sacrosanct an institution as our Parliament or keeps unlawfully, like Bhindranwale whom the writer detests, an AK-47, no one is hanged or convicted or punished like Bhindranwale.

BALVINDER,  Chandigarh

Keep criminals off politics

While speaking at a seminar on “Legacy of Nehru” recently, Mr H.K. Dua expressed serious concern over increasing criminalisation of politics. Currently, Parliament has about 130 members with criminal background. Besides, about 700 MLAs in various states are facing criminal charges.

Our electoral system is entirely responsible for this malaise. Jawaharlal Nehru once said that if the people were not vigilant, governance would pass into the hands of the strong-muscled and loud-throated criminals. With time, it has come true. A complete ban on criminals contesting elections is the need of hour.

The Representation of People’s Act (1951) should be amended in a manner that when an FIR is registered for an offence, the person should be barred from filing his nomination papers and contesting an election. Simultaneously, we should make voting compulsory. Above all, there is a need to sensitise society which has lost faith and confidence in the system.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh

 


Bitter truth

Surinder Kumar Garg’s letter, “Corruption in the Army” reminds one of a bill usually found in the buses plying in Rampura Phul area. It read thus:

Rishwat lai te Riswhat dey, maujan kar te dab ke khaa/ Kar Imandari te Juttian khaa, main bhi khadian, tu bhi khaa. (Take and give bribe, marry and lead an affluent life, practice honesty and have punishment like me.)

O. P. BILLU, Bathinda

ECHS polyclinic

The ECHS polyclinic is an institution where large number of ex-servicemen patients and their families come for medical treatment. It is totally under the command and supervision of a non-medical administrator who is not bothered about medical equipment, diagnosis of the patients and the difficulties faced by the staff. The sufferers are the patients who come from far off places and return disappointed.

The patients keep on visiting the polyclinic many times, but they do not get proper treatment. This deters the smooth functioning in every ECHS polyclinic. The authorities should depute a medical administrator to understand the patients’ feelings so that the department can run smoothly which in turn will help the patients immensely.

RAVESH PARMAR, Gaggal (Kangra)

 






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