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Pakistan needs to be tackled

Whenever our diplomats have given the impression of India being a soft state, Pakistan has, wittingly or unwittingly, indulged in military adventurism and escalated terrorist violence (G. Parthasarathy's article 'Why composite dialogue?', February 14).

As a result, the peace process has often suffered a serious setback. There is no need to display any gesture of unwarranted goodwill and bonhomie by inviting Pakistani politicians to witness cricket and kabaddi matches or to participate in academic and cultural programmes. Given Pakistan's emerging relationships with Iran and China, and its suspected role in developing North Korea's nuclear weapon capability, the scenario of international politics may undergo some changes during Barack Obama's second Presidency.

India must take a tough stand and send Pakistan clear signals of its zero tolerance to ISI-backed terrorist activities. Also, it should make all possible efforts and persuade America to pressurise Pakistan to act against the perpetrators of militant violence. Unless Pakistan changes its dubious mindset, the much-hyped and much-touted "composite dialogue process" may not achieve the desired goals.

DS KANG, Hoshiarpur


After the US departure from Afghanistan, in all likelihood Pakistan will try to upstage Afghanistan President Karzai and rule the roost in the country (Inder Malhotra's 'Obama's second term', February 15). In this situation, India's interests are bound to suffer. That the US will come to India's rescue is anybody's guess.

The US has started mollycoddling the Pakistan army so that it does not create problems after the US troop pullout from Afghanistan in 2014. India no longer figures in the US's post-pullout scheme of things. It is no secret that for the US nothing is more important than its own interests. It is used to leaving even its friends and allies in the lurch to wriggle out of a bad situation. India should, therefore, follow a foreign policy which serves its interests best. In any case it should avoid biting off more than it can chew.


Short-term gain

The heritage buildings in Patiala constitute a magnificent variation of Sikh architecture, delicate and winsome (news report 'High Court seeks explanation on sale of Patiala's heritage buildings', February 15).

In this light, the averment of Punjab and Haryana High Court that "The heritage buildings cannot be vandalised in this manner by not maintaining them or by demolishing them and selling the land over which buildings stand..." is of far-reaching consequence and exceptional professional value. The government's plan to become richer by Rs 1,500 crore is myopic. The value of the demolished heritage buildings can never be retrieved, they are priceless. The historical monuments belong to the people as a whole, not to a certain political party in power running the government.



In this regard, I am reminded of one of the episodes in Mahabharata, in which Yaksha put a few questions to Yudhishtir to reply. One question out of these is very relevant today. The question was: Of all the wonderful things in the world, what is the most wonderful thing in the world? Yudhishtir answered, "That no man, though he sees people dying all around him, believes that he will die one day". Why we mortals fear death? Our scriptures make us realise that this is due to an inherent subtle tenacity of body attachment. The strong body attachment persists as the last remain embers.

P L SETHI, Patiala

Eternal reality

The epitaph, quoted by Pritam Bhullar at the outset of his middle ' It's nature's law' (February 1) reminded me of the verse: Habaab dar-asl zindaganni nigaah-e- beidaar main hai faani\Adam mein jaaney ka gham na karna chalo tum aagey, ham aa rahey hain (Habbab, in the discerning people's eyes life is fleeting. Do not worry about going to the next world. Go ahead. We are also coming).

Death is an eternal reality. Yet even a nonagenarian at the last gasp mumbles that he does not want to die. Poet Zauq rightly said: Ho umar-e-khizr bhee (very long age) to ho maaloom vaqt-e-marg\Ham kya rahey yahaan abhee aaey abhee chaley. We should regard life as a great gift of God. He has created us as the most eminent of the created beings. We should trust Him, submit ourselves to his will, do virtuous deeds and sing his praises. Instead of being fake, perverse, arrogant and egoistic, we should lead a simple, pious life and love fellow beings. A man is great by his deeds and no by immense riches.


Is this RTE?

The Right to Education Act (RTE) came into being with the right intent, but has turned out to be an academic catastrophe. The students up to Class VIII have to be promoted to the next class without any formal examination. The students and the concerned teachers have become careless.

In rural government schools a lot of students remain absent from schools. Their names cannot be struck off from school registers as per the RTE Act. A large number of such students, thus, get promoted year after year without knowing the ABC of any subject. The Act seems to be work done in a hurry; it sure needs some amendments, changes and a relook.




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