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Humanitarian aid versus commerce

Last week, India rejected the British-built Typhoon jet over the French Rafale. Britain may have reason to feel disappointed with India’s decision to reject the bid by a consortium comprising the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain for the supply of medium multi-role combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force. But it cannot insist that because it has reportedly been giving ‘massive’ amount of money to India as ‘aid’, the European consortium ought to have been rewarded with the contract. Does aid for humanitarian and social welfare come with commercial strings attached? Does a colonial mindset still permeate Westminster and is independent India not entitled to take its own military/commercial decisions?

New Delhi must assert that such comments are unacceptable. More importantly, it must also affirm that it will not succumb to pressure. Any dithering or second look at the deal on India’s part would let down the military and civilian officials who have processed the purchase this far.

JS ACHARYA, Hyderabad


India should itself decline the UK’s aid with thanks. While we are propagating 8-9 per cent growth of our economy, and also proclaiming that India would be third largest economy after China and the US in near future, it does not augur well that we should receive aid. We should thank Britain for whatever help they have given us so far. We should not appear to be ungrateful.


‘Lit-fest’ quite a ‘fair’ affair!

The middle ‘Jostling with celebrities’ (February 4) was a readable treat for all those who could not make it to the Jaipur literature festival. Although the major attraction of the festival was Salman Rushdie, his last minute cancellation was more than compensated by the organisers’ decision to provide a reading out of some pages of his notoriously famous ‘Satanic Verses’.

The real bonus of such festivals is the interaction, formal and informal, among the crème de crème and by that standard the event was more than successful. It was quite a democratic affair and not a closed one. The writer has aptly summed it up, closed books cannot open minds.

It was news to be reminded by Amy Chau that her parenting ‘manual’ (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom) was, in fact,a light satirical view of a Chinese mother. Most of us had taken it too seriously.

Prof MOHAN SINGH, Amritsar

Temple in Pakistan

Kashmiri Hindus have been eagerly waiting for permission to visit Sharda temple in PoK. The temple is in a dilapidated condition and needs immediate repair so that its lost splendour and glory can be restored. Besides, it will boost bilateral ties between India and Pakistan and also open new avenues for development of tourism as said in the news report ‘Kashmiri Pandits demand to visit Sharda Temple in PoK remains unheard’ (February 3).

In earlier times Kashmir used to be referred to as ‘Sharda Desh’. The famous Muslim scholar, Abu Raihan Alberuni, historian Abdul-Fazil and the king of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin Badshah, have visited this shrine.

The great antiquarian Sir Mark Aurel Stein had also visited the temple in 1892 and had spoken high of the shrine. Famous Sanskrit scholar of Germany, Max-Muller, has mentioned the temple in his work.

Famous saints of India from Bengal and also from southern part of the country including Jagat Guru Adi Shankaracharya (788-810AD) and Vedic philosopher of 12th century Ramanuja Acharya too have visited the Sharda temple. Steps should be taken in practicality, not on paper alone, by both countries to allow pilgrims to visit religious places.




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