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Pakistan’s “sincerity” doubtful

Raj Chengappa’s visit to Swat valley of Pakistan is a sincere effort to bridge the gap created by unknown fears and mistrust (article “In Pakistan’s wild West”, May 13.) This also exposes the double standards of Pakistan regarding normalising relations with India.

On the one hand, Pakistan is de-radicalising Al-Qaida and Taliban militants of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and training them in various vocations in a bid to bring them back to the mainstream. On the other hand, it is running militant training centres to destabilise India and indulging in all types of subversive activities. Pakistan has become a favoured destination of the world’s mercenaries and terrorists.

The present Pakistan government is untrustworthy; they are harbouring more than 50 most wanted terrorists living in Pakistan who are under the patronage of the Pakistan government and protection of the ISI. Osama bin Laden had been living in the most protected area in Abbottabad for the last five years under the full protection of the ISI. Who can believe Pakistan’s sincerity? The Pakistan army is virtually ruling the country by proxy and the civil government is only a puppet.



The article was interesting. I also appreciate the gesture of the Pakistan government to invite senior journalists to their sensitive areas. Such stories will ultimately help cordial relations between the two countries.

The ruler of Swat allowed Hindus and Sikhs to live freely in the state having full religious freedom. I met a group of 20 Sikh Pilgrims in Panja Saheb Gurudwara in 1970. 

TARLOCHAN SINGH, former Chairman, National Commission for Minorities

Women’s status

The article “Gender questions” (May 2) by Harbhajan Singh Deol was thought-provoking. It is a matter of pity that there has been no improvement in the status of women. It is time that society gave women their due.


Justice for farmers

The editorial, “Wages of acquisition: UP farmers’ stir turns bloody” (May 10) was apt and timely. Though the UP government had almost paid adequate compensation to the  farmers, they seem to have been instigated by the political parties with an eye on the UP state Assembly elections due in 2012.

It is a pity that the politicians take undue advantage of any situation for their personal interests only. They thus incite violence and disrupt the daily lives of the common people. Innocent farmers and policemen pay the price with their lives due to violence and destruction caused by these unscrupulous politicians. Politicians sit in  air-conditioned rooms while the  innocent people lose their lives for no fault of theirs.

The government should take strict action against those who preach violence. When the UP land acquisition policy was formulated last year, many spoke in its favour and other states were being asked to follow the model. Now, what has happened all of a sudden? What deficiency have the political class found in the same policy? Nothing but their own selfish agenda of  seeking undue publicity as the election time is approaching.

R K KAPOOR, Mumbai


Land acquisition has been a contentious issue since Independence. Successive governments have tried and vowed to amend the existing law. They have failed since they did not have the will to break the unholy nexus between the realtors and the government.

In the last general elections, Sonia Gandhi announced that her government would amend the said Act as soon as it came to power. Pranab Mukherjee said in Parliament that the Act would be amended in the Monsoon session.

The legislature has failed the common man. Therefore the judiciary and the media have to guide the government.

Maj R S VIRK, Chandigarh

Design is applied creativity

George Jacob’s lament in the article “Creative cataclysm” (May 11) though a bitter concoction of sentiment, sarcasm and cynicism, deserves to be heeded. However, there is first the need to distinguish ‘design’ from ‘creativity’ as much as ‘fact’ from ‘fiction’.

The quote with which Jacob opens his essay is not an old adage. It comes from Sir Alec Issigonis, a Greek-British designer of cars, who, as an independent thinker, despised convention, and would not take advice gladly believing that what he designed was good enough for everybody. He summed up his mindset in his famous quote “a camel is a horse designed by a committee,” which should be an eye-opener for art-blind patronage.

Design, both as a process and a product, is a basic human activity. When we do anything with a specific purpose, including problem-solving, it is ‘design’. Creativity is an ongoing adventure into the realm of the human spirit. It is primarily distinguished from other forms of human activity by originality, spontaneity, unpredictability, and the transformative power to bring about a qualitative change even in the tangible aspect of life.

These two basic human activities cannot develop as envisaged by the learned writer unless they are first integrated with curricula at various levels of formal education.

This change cannot be hastened, however hard we may try. The modern-day ‘Medicis’ — politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, industrialists, et al — must be somehow forced to learn that it would be to their ultimate credit to leave ‘design’ and ‘creativity’ to professionals so that design for horses produces horses, not camels. People raise memorials to patrons, more frequently than to designers and creators.

Dr SS BHATTI, former Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, Chandigarh



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