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No change in army’s clout in Pakistan

The Pakistan Army has all along been hostile to India (editorial, “Military in Pakistan”, August 19). Immediately after India’s independence in 1947, Pakistani soldiers, disguised as tribals, attacked the state of Jammu and Kashmir. General Ayub Khan was responsible for the 1965 war. The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front was constituted at the behest of General Zia-ul- Haq, who asked it to raise the slogan of “azadi”.

General Pervez Musharraf was instrumental in planning and executing the nefarious agenda of armed intrusion in Kargil. He glorified the terrorists, who killed innocent people in the Valley, as Mujahideen fighting for freedom, and declared to give moral, political and diplomatic support to them.

The recent Army Chief, General Kayani, often dubs India as Pakistan’s enemy. The Pakistan Army considers the most powerful and ferocious terrorist outfit, Lashkar-e-Toiba, which is recklessly determined to destabilize India, as its asset. The army carries unchallenged clout with the civilian government in Pakistan. The army decides its policy in respect of India. Therefore, there is no force in Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s remarks, “We sometimes overrate the role of military and overrate their intentions, especially when it comes to India.”


Teachers in India

This refers to the article, “Make students good citizens” (August 23). The learned writer has rightly laid emphasis on the real purpose of education, and has tried to motivate the teaching community to impart education in such a way that it brings a complete transformation in the life of students, besides developing their skills.

The basic aim of education is to bring the best out of students, develop their skills and make them good human beings, besides inculcating in them a set of noble and moral values. Most of the teachers are aware of their role, and a majority of them are playing their role with full commitment. A host of factors discourage our teachers.

First, the curriculum is so clumsy, outdated and unscientific that a teacher finds himself in a bind as to what to teach and what to leave untaught. The contractual appointment of teachers is also a big hindrance. The need of the hour is to introduce major reforms in the education sector.


Libyan crisis

While the rebels in Libya have won a well-deserved victory toppling the Gaddafi regime, there is still a long way to go before a democratic government can be established in that country (editorial, “Takeover of Tripoli”, August 24). I was in Libya for a few years, and it looked no different from any other country. But there were strict rules and regulations to be followed. In every country where dictators rule, there is always suppression of civil rights. Libya is no exception. But my worry is, it is easy to topple a dictatorial regime, but it is difficult to replace it with a democratic one.

This is because Libyans have no taste of democracy, and for them to embrace democratic principles may not be all that easy, as the Americans feel. Moreover, how much the rebels are united, is also a matter of concern. The US and its allies will do well not to allow a chaotic situation in Libya.


Drug trials

This is a glaring example of total lawlessness in our country (Indians sitting ducks as drug trials turn fatal, August 8). It is not only the low cost of trials but also the benefits of this lawlessness that is lucrative. Though HPV trials have been halted, the vaccine enjoys unbridled sale and usage in India. Many other expensive and untested vaccines are also being sold in India in collusion with the medical fraternity, without the prerequisite permission of the DCGI.

Doctors have apparently become “paid endorsers”, as many of the Powerpoint presentations shown at medical seminars carry company logos. “Paid endorsement” of any pharmaceutical product is a serious offence, according to MCI’s code of ethics, rules and regulations.

One also doubts the capacity of “normal” Indian medical colleges to conduct new drug trials and research in terms of personnel and equipment. Many of these trials are nothing more than “biased opinion polls” (always in favour of pharmaceutical companies) in the garb of “drug trials”. Death of volunteers during such trials is deplorable and criminal.

The status of reputed medical teachers has been reduced to cut and paste compilers of pseudo-scientific data provided by the pharmaceutical industry, of course against payment of massive “inducements”.


Chairperson, Indian Academy of Paediatrics, Haryana

Farmers’ woes

This refers to the news report, “In Andhra’s rice bowl, farmers on ‘crop holiday’” (August 25). It is a matter of concern that farmers in the fertile Konaseema region of Andhra Pradesh have decided not to grow crops this season.

While they may have taken this step as a mark of protest against government’s apathy towards them, they do not seem to have any other choice. While the input costs have increased, the MSP continues to be low. As a matter of fact, the report suggests, the protest may spread to other areas in the state.

It is a pity that farmers in India have to struggle to get a reasonable price for their produce so that they can continue to work for the next season.


Anna’s call 

This refers to the middle, “Reformers and the revolted” (August 25) by Uttam Sengupta. There are times when I feel our country is full of “armchair cynics”. We have become so much used to consuming nonsense that we cannot distinguish between a farce and a fight for a worthy cause. Our essayists have a passion for writing without verifying facts. While I cannot say much about the various movements the author has quoted in his middle, one thing is sure the author has not taken the trouble of visiting Ramlila Maidan to witness what is really happening there. It is highly irresponsible and insensitive to judge the recent agitation without visiting the venue.

Has Anna Hazare’s agitation any value beyond its immediate goals? What has Anna managed to achieve? Anna has managed to shake the Indians out of their slumber. We have been drugged by our system to believe that nothing can change in this country. Anna has sent a strong message to all Indians to come out of this self-induced hibernation and cynicism, and wage a war against corruption. One is free to criticize him, but we must desist from calling the agitation “too pat, too ‘filmy’ and too ‘TV-genic’ ”.

Dr RAJEEV SHARMA, Chandigarh



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