The Tribune India : Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

False accusations against India

Sep 28, 2023

Refer to ‘Political convenience cannot decide terror response: EAM’; the Saudi Arabian government’s response to the diplomatic rift with Canada in 2018 was swift and robust. It asked the Canadian ambassador to leave within 24 hours, recalled its ambassador to Canada, discontinued all flights, froze all investments and business transactions, withdrew Saudi students in Canada and relocated them to other countries for further studies. To make matters worse, the US refused to take sides. We have not gone that far yet, but reserve the right to do so if false accusations against India persist, indicating the unwillingness or inability of other nations to curb terror modules that promote hostility and hatred against India from their territory.


Shortage of good varsities

According to a statement issued by the US mission in India, a record 90,000 student visas were sanctioned this summer. Earlier, students mostly went abroad for higher education, but the trend has changed; now they go after completing their school education. This could be attributed to the shortage of good universities in India and lack of job opportunities. All this results in a significant amount of foreign currency leaving the country. According to Canada-based businessman Sukhi Bath, Rs 68,000 crore is being pumped out annually from Punjab to Canada.

Bhupinder Kochhar, Panchkula

Bolster Urban Cooperative Banks

Apropos of ‘RBI’s note of caution’; the words of the RBI Governor are significant, particularly considering the backdrop of mega scams that have rocked the banking sector. Such scams have the potential to erode a depositor’s confidence in these financial institutions. Banks have a fundamental obligation to safeguard customers’ deposited funds, while also providing accessible loan facilities to them. Given that the majority of the population resides in rural areas, it is imperative that these financial institutions operate effectively to meet the current needs. Cooperative banks’ role in bolstering the growth of the rural economy should not be underestimated.

Ravi Sharma, Dhariwal

NDMA’s report on Joshimath

Refer to ‘Learn from Joshimath’; the National Disaster Management Authority’s post-disaster report on Joshimath underscores that we are at a critical juncture concerning the development of the Himalayan states. The issue of land subsidence in Joshimath has brought the development policy into sharp focus. Given that Joshimath has significantly exceeded its carrying capacity, it would be advisable to refrain from new construction in the area. It is essential to periodically review all principles of town planning in the Himalayan states. However, governments must maintain share details with the people since they are the most crucial stakeholders.

PL Singh, by mail

AIADMK’s exit

Apropos of ‘Jolt for BJP as AIADMK quits NDA’; the AIADMK’s exit from the NDA is expected to have an impact on the BJP’s political strategy in the southern region. In the five southern states, there is no NDA ally that appears to be in a strong position. Even in Karnataka, where the BJP commands a presence, the state unit is in a disarray. In states such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, the BJP remains a minor player. Considering that a substantial portion of the southern vote has remained largely unchanged during the BJP’s two terms at the Centre, the party must continue to focus on safeguarding its strongholds in the north and northwest regions.

MS Khokhar, by mail

Prevent reckless borrowing

Apropos of ‘Govt to borrow Rs 6.55 lakh cr in H2, launch 50-year securities’; laws of economics, even if inconvenient, can be ignored or repealed only at our peril. Borrowings by the ruling dispensations to finance freebies may be good politics, but it is bad economics. The growing loan burden, which affects many citizens, doesn’t seem to be a matter of concern for anyone. While borrowing can be essential for economic development and business growth, it is crucial to exercise restraint at both the Central and state levels to prevent reckless borrowings and the issuance of post-dated bonds that can shift liabilities to the future.

Richa Sharma, Zirakpur

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Moody’s report on Aadhaar

Sep 27, 2023

In a world increasingly reliant on digital identities, India’s resolve to uphold the credibility of Aadhaar is unwavering. The recent Moody’s report, questioning Aadhaar’s reliability, has elicited a swift and sharp response from the Centre. Aadhaar is not just a number; it’s a lifeline that binds an individual’s identity to his or her biometrics. Moody’s concerns regarding service denials and biometric reliability, especially in challenging conditions, are duly noted. However, the government has clarified that essential schemes like MGNREGS disburse funds directly into accounts without the need for biometric authentication, addressing the issues raised.

Gurpreet Kaur Rosy, Mohali

Feeble response

Refer to ‘Spoilsport China’; this isn’t the first time that China has been discriminatory towards athletes from the northeastern state. In a retaliatory step, the Ministry of External Affairs has registered a strong protest, and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has opted not to visit China. However, these actions are a rather feeble response to Beijing’s high-handedness. In July, India withdrew its entire wushu team from the World University Games as China had issued stapled visas to three athletes from Arunachal Pradesh. Unfortunately, the government has not taken such a tough stand this time. By participating in the Asian Games without the three players, we have surrendered our sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh to China.

RN Malik, Gurugram

Warning to students

Apropos of ‘Students mustn’t go to Canada till they have Rs 50 lakh to spare besides fee’; NRI businessman Sukhi Bath has done a commendable job by shedding light on the real picture of Canada for aspiring students. The trend is worrisome as most of the students in Punjab aim to go abroad. When asked about their field of interest, most of them are clueless. While unemployment may be a driving factor for migration, the majority of the students demonstrate a lack of interest and dedication when it comes to taking competitive and recruitment exams here.

Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar

Eye-opener for Punjabis

Refer to ‘Students mustn’t go to Canada till they have Rs 50 lakh to spare besides fee’; the report is an eye-opener for the Punjabi parents who are hell-bent on sending their wards to Canada. Businessman Sukhi Bath has shown the mirror to both parents and students. There is no difference in rental costs and job opportunities between our country and the ‘dream’ country of the students. Why go to Canada if the youth will encounter the same problems as they are facing here? Punjabi youths should not fall prey to fraudulent travel agents. A wrong decision can lead students into depression and financially burden their parents.

Faqir Singh, Dasuya

Technological leap forward

Refer to ‘IAF inducts first C-295 aircraft’; the introduction of this aircraft not only represents a technological leap forward, but also holds considerable promise for improving the IAF’s operational efficiency. This is a critical milestone in our military services’ modernisation efforts and will have a substantial influence on our nation’s defence capability. The aircraft has a wide range of functions, including personnel transport, cargo transportation, medical evacuation and disaster relief. This versatility will enhance the IAF’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to a wide array of domestic and international crises. The aircraft is capable of performing special missions as well as disaster response and maritime patrol duties.

Shipra Kumar, Chandigarh

Encourage brevity

Refer to ‘Cut legal jargon’; the Supreme Court Judge has acted wisely by requesting all parties involved to simplify the legal points, making them accessible to everyone without the need for specialised skills to decipher them. While it’s important to ensure that every point is addressed without ambiguity, documents that run into hundreds of pages become unwieldy for the average citizen to read. Brevity should be encouraged in the legal language. Artificial intelligence can be used to reduce the complexity of legal arguments.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit.

These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Much-needed crackdown

Sep 26, 2023

The Centre’s move to cancel the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards of pro-Khalistan activists and seize their properties in India is a resolute step in the interest of national security. The National Investigation Agency’s swift action against Sikhs for Justice chief Gurpatwant Singh Pannun is commendable. This two-pronged strategy — targeting wanted individuals and their sympathisers globally — sends out a strong message. It’s heartening to see the government’s unwavering commitment to protect its interests, even beyond its borders. As the list of identified individuals grows, India’s stance against extremism remains unyielding.

Amanjot Kaur, Mohali

Canada visa row

Apropos of ‘Redress concerns of Punjabis on Canada visa row: SAD to Centre’; Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal has lost no time in asking the Central Government to immediately address the concerns of the Punjabis in Canada, but he has no time or any piece of advice for the elements responsible for the state of affairs. A sensible and responsible approach would have been to ask the Punjabis settled in Canada to confine themselves to matters concerning their adopted country.

DV Sharma, Mukerian

Take strict action

Refer to ‘Shocker in House’; the communal remarks passed by a ruling party MP expose the hollowness of the ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ slogan. Will Parliament accept such behaviour from an elected representative? There is a need to take strict action against MP Ramesh Bidhuri for hurling communal slurs, and that too in the new temple of democracy. If exemplary action is not taken against him, it may embolden other members to follow a similar path in the future. All elected representatives have equal status. Members of the majority community or those with a majority in the House should not have absolute rights to make derogatory remarks against other members or their religions.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

MP has disgraced Parliament

Apropos of ‘Shocker in House’; a mere show-cause notice from the BJP will not suffice. Just as the Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was suspended from the Lok Sabha by the Speaker, MP Ramesh Bidhuri should also be suspended as he has disgraced Parliament with his utterances, which were completely uncalled for. During the inauguration of the new Parliament building, the PM had emphasised the importance of MPs’ good conduct. However, a member of his own party has caused embarrassment to him. Hopefully, the Speaker would set a right precedent by acting against him too. Our leaders must know how to behave in Parliament.

Bal Govind, Noida

Attributes of a good leader

Refer to ‘Lessons for our leaders from CO Saab’ (Spectrum); it is very important for a good leader to possess the attributes of loyalty, morality, integrity and probity. A good leader must also lead by example in challenging situations and set high standards for his or her team. This not only inspires confidence but also fosters a sense of unity and purpose among the followers. Another force multiplier is effective communication, which keeps him connected with his team members. It is imperative to win the hearts and minds of the people in order to keep a check on anti-social and anti-national elements.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

AI not favourable for India

Refer to ‘Artificial intelligence has prospects and perils galore’; AI, which involves machines performing cognitive functions, has some advantages, such as reducing human error. However, it may not be favourable for a country like India due to the pitfalls of over-dependence on technology, increased human passivity, and, most importantly, the risk of job loss and displacement. India’s youth are already under immense strain due to high unemployment. At present, AI is untrustworthy and difficult to control. We urgently need to create more jobs, not reduce them.

Puneet Mehta, Patiala 

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Khalistan row

Sep 25, 2023

Apropos of ‘The made-in-Canada Khalistan fracas’ (Nous Indica); the description of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau — ‘He was playing the knave’s role assigned to him by the Five Eyes’ — has hit the nail on the head. Those who are trying to push India to the wall should be aware that in the realm of geopolitics, unexpected and potentially drastic events can happen. Don’t they fear the possibility of a close alliance or partnership between Iran, Russia, India and China? If it were to happen, it would pose significant challenges or threats to the interests or objectives of the Five Eyes.

GS Anand, Panchkula

Will affect students, migrants

The deteriorating relations between India and Canada can have serious repercussions for the students and migrants from India who are living in the Maple Country (Nous Indica). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acted unilaterally, citing the principle of the rule of law. Punjabi families make huge sacrifices, such as selling their properties, to send their children abroad for higher studies. However, the youth live in unsafe conditions and work as labourers there. Both countries should work towards resolving diplomatic issues through dialogue to minimise adverse effects on students and migrants.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

US stands exposed

Refer to ‘Look who’s talking’; one wonders how India is carried away whenever the US extends its hand of friendship, though only for its vested interests. Failing to see through the calculated and sinister design of the US, India falls into this trap, only to be disillusioned later. The US has been aiding and abetting Pakistan and its terror outfits to weaken India, and now wants to use India against China by pretending to be New Delhi’s strategic and most reliable partner. Backing Canada’s efforts to vilify India over allegations of its involvement in the killing of pro-Khalistan terror accused Hardeep Singh Nijjar, America’s insincere friendship with India stands exposed.

Roshan Lal Goel, Ladwa

Ensure fair distribution

Refer to ‘Quota in SC quota’; the proposal to implement a quota within the Scheduled Castes reservation to ensure a fair distribution of benefits is seen by many as a positive step and a response to a genuine demand from the historically oppressed categories. Some individuals or groups within the SC category, often referred to as the ‘creamy layer’ or the affluent sections, avail the benefits of reservation, while the economically and socially disadvantaged individuals within the community do not receive the intended advantages. This injustice needs to be rectified.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Bidhuri’s derogatory remark

Apropos of ‘BJP notice to Bidhuri for anti-minority talk’, the BJP action of issuing a notice is akin to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Lok Sabha member Ramesh Bidhuri’s derogatory remarks against BSP MP Danish Ali have been expunged from the official records of the House by the Speaker. Instead, Bidhuri’s religious slur should be kept in the records of Parliament so that future generations would know how low political leaders stooped during debates in Parliament. This shameful act happened in the new Parliament building. We need new MPs instead of a new building.

Arun Hastir, Gurdaspur

Withdraw entry tax on vehicles

Refer to ‘Tourism hit hard in Kangra by entry tax on vehicles: Hoteliers’; this tax on vehicles, especially tempo travellers, has hit the tourism industry in entire Himachal Pradesh. Rates for hiring such vehicles have doubled. Himachal has seen a steep downfall in tourist arrivals after heavy rains. The imposition of entry tax on vehicles with all-India permit is atrocious and against the guidelines of the Central Government. Instead of curbing the movement of illegal Volvo buses in the state, the government has imposed a tax on all passenger vehicles. People of Himachal sorely miss visionary leaders like GS Bali, who did commendable work in the transport sector.

Nitin Bhalaik, Shimla

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit.

These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Curb migration

Sep 23, 2023

Refer to ‘India ups the ante’; Canada has been a popular destination for Indians for several years. Young immigrants bring energy, skills and a desire to build their future in Canada, and their contributions can have a long-lasting economic impact. The two governments should settle their disputes through diplomatic channels rather than indulging in one-upmanship. People from India have been migrating to other countries because of unemployment, poor health infrastructure and no social security. We need to improve the standard of living for citizens to reduce migration. We have been losing highly skilled individuals to developed nations due to the lack of employment opportunities and poor infrastructure.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

Indo-Canadian ties

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s allegation that the Indian Government is involved in the assassination of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar has triggered a huge diplomatic row and sent relations between the two nations plummeting. Both have expelled each other’s diplomats and it is unclear how they will pull back from the brink. The dispute will adversely affect the lives of Indian students and people who are aspiring to migrate to Canada. The two nations have shared historically strong bonds, and the presence of a significant Indian diaspora in Canada has played a pivotal role in strengthening these ties. It is time Trudeau chose between his pro-Khalistan vote bank and Canada’s relationship with the world’s largest democracy.

Ishita Katoch, Chandigarh

Enhance transparency

Refer to ‘Recruitment scams’; technological advancements have led to new and more sophisticated ways of cheating in exams than a leak of question papers. Intense competition, irregular and unpredictable recruitment schedules, especially for government jobs, create a difficult environment for job-seekers. These challenges, along with a desire for stable employment, make some individuals commit fraud. The government must address these issues effectively to maintain the integrity of the recruitment process. The authorities should increase the number of chances that a candidate gets to appear in an exam.

Harsimranvir Singh, Patiala

Women’s Reservation Bill

The passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill is a historic and positive development for the country. It will promote gender equality and empower women in the political sphere. India’s citizens wishfully hope that the unanimity exhibited by the MPs, cutting across party lines in the new Parliament building may become a trend of sorts for passing other Bills pertaining to public welfare. While the aspiration for unanimous support on such Bills is commendable, it’s also important to recognise that robust debates, discussions and dissent are integral to a healthy democracy.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

EC’s welcome move

Refer to ‘Aadhaar not a must for electoral rolls: EC’; the Election Commission’s clarification that Aadhaar details are not mandatory for voter enrolment is a welcome move. This is a victory for democracy and individual rights, and it will ensure that no one is denied his/her right to vote simply because he/she does not have an Aadhaar number. It is important to remember that Aadhaar is a unique identification number and as such, it should be used with caution. Linking Aadhaar to voter registration could have led to mass surveillance and disenfranchisement of marginalised groups.

Gaganpreet Singh, Mohali

British preserved ecology

Apropos of ‘Tunnels showcase the right vision’; the British deserve appreciation for preserving and caring for the ecology and natural environment while developing infrastructure in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. This reduced the risk of man-made disasters. Several disasters in recent years have been attributed to unplanned development. The authorities have realised the importance of sustainable infrastructure development too late. A cautious approach to future projects, with a focus on minimising the loss of nature and promoting sustainability, is imperative.

Saurabh Bhakri, by mail

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Giving women their due

Sep 22, 2023

Refer to ‘Women’s reservation’; the near unanimity in the passage of the quota Bill must pave the way for giving women their due at the earliest by delinking it from the Census and delimitation exercises. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. The earmarking of constituencies to be reserved for women doesn’t need an assessment of parameters such as concentration, which is imperative in the case of SC/ST seats. Every third constituency listed in the alphabetical order can be reserved for women. Their reservation needs to be implemented in all impending elections to the assemblies and Parliament without an indefinite wait.

Richa Sharma, Zirakpur

Quota Bill in limbo

Apropos of ‘454 vs 2: LS passes women’s Bill; Shah says to be effective post 2029’; the timeline can even go beyond that due to several reasons. Census and delimitation are time-consuming exercises. The latter is tied to the amendment to Article 82 and redrawing of constituencies that will involve the approval of all states. The Bill should be implemented in the General Election next year. Otherwise, governments can change and unexpected new dimensions can delay the Bill indefinitely. Things are already becoming complicated due to the demands for OBC and Muslim sub-quotas.


Travel advisory by India

Refer to ‘Exercise caution: MEA to Indians on Canada travel’; the relations between the two nations have deteriorated to such an extent that India had to issue a travel advisory. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau talked of “credible allegations” and not “credible information”. The two are different. Allegations may not be authentic, but information that emerges after a probe can be credible. The US ambassador, while asking India to cooperate in the probe, said the investigation had to be completed before any conclusion could be drawn. The Canadian PM seems to have jumped the gun. He may be unable to ignore the pressure from those whose support he needs to stay in power, but he should know that this is affecting bilateral relations.


Hidden agenda

The recent public outburst of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau against the Indian Government has laid bare his hidden agenda. In recent years, if not decades, Canada has openly allowed its land to be used for anti-India propaganda by Khalistani forces. India has been demanding curbs on such activities, but for reasons best known to the Canadian authorities, no action has been taken. While there are no voices in favour of Khalistan in India, we continue to hear something or the other from ‘activists’ living in Canada. Without the support of the local government, this is unimaginable. The doublespeak of the Canadian Government is pretty obvious.

Deepak TAAK, Panchkula

Immunity to lawmakers

Apropos of ‘SC to revisit verdict on immunity to lawmakers’; politicians who ought to be role models for the public should not be allowed to devise ways to circumvent the law of the land. Morality cannot be legislated, but those in public life ought to be above board both tangibly and intangibly. Procedural wrangles and the guile of legal eagles may lead to miscarriage of justice, but it is never too late for the law to catch up with the violators. Constitutional courts are vested with powers to curb any mala fides by politicians while framing laws.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Pseudoscience a menace

Refer to ‘The rise of pseudoscience and the dangers of supporting it’; science always fascinates us, but the interference of myths in scientific research often creates trouble. Science is at the core of India’s education system and this has been well established by our forefathers. Pseudoscience is a threat to the young minds that aspire to excel in the field of science. Why do policy-makers issue statements that cause confusion among the people? The country’s progress depends largely on nurturing a scientific temperament.

Jasvinder Singh Humsafar, Maloudh

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Trudeau’s allegations

Sep 21, 2023

Refer to ‘Govt junks Trudeau’s absurd allegations on terrorist’s killing’; three months after Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed, the Canadian PM is pointing a finger at India; it shows that he made the statement without concrete evidence. The falling popularity of his minority government seems to have rattled him. Nurturing and protecting individuals or groups involved in terrorism can have serious consequences, not only for the countries where these persons are based but also for the international community. Instead of supporting anti-social elements, the Canadian PM should cooperate with the international community to combat terrorism.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

India-Canada trade talks

The recent escalation of tensions between India and Canada has cast a shadow over trade talks, leaving both nations at risk of missing out on substantial economic gains. Canada’s pause on discussions regarding the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement jeopardises the potential $6.5 billion boost in two-way trade and significant GDP growth. Besides, the thriving Indian student population in Canada, the Sikh community there and the remittances complicate the situation. As tensions rise, it’s essential for both nations to find a diplomatic solution that safeguards their economic interests and ensures peaceful relations.

Gaganpreet Singh, Mohali

The dawn of women’s era

India has literally ushered in the era of women’s liberation and gender equality by tabling the much-awaited and contentious Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament. Undoubtedly, 33 per cent share in the Lok Sabha and legislative Assemblies would give women ample confidence to take forward the legacy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. It would not only strengthen their position in Parliament but also set them free to participate in matters concerning the nation. It must be hailed as an excellent step by the government to counter patriarchal dominance in our society. Through this legislation, we may see more women entering politics.

Rupinder Kaur, Ambala Cantt

33 per cent quota

Apropos of ‘33 per cent quota’; reserving 33 per cent of the seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures is a significant and laudable move aimed at promoting gender equality in politics. Women make up around 50 per cent of India’s population. However, there are only 15 per cent women in the Lower House. Several South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal, have made strides in improving women’s representation in their parliaments. Unless women are involved in policymaking, issues concerning them would never get adequate attention.

KR Bharti, Shimla

Women’s Reservation Bill

After the massive build-up and secrecy behind the special session of Parliament, it was disappointing to find the Women’s Reservation Bill presented in the Lok Sabha, albeit with a different name — Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. As 33 per cent reservation will be effective only after the Census and delimitation, was all this drama necessary? In recent times, it has been observed that all political parties are trying to woo women voters with all kinds of schemes and financial benefits. The mindset and attitudes of various stakeholders, including politicians, the public and society at large, can pose significant barriers to the enactment and effective implementation of such a Bill.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

Deep state in India

Apropos of ‘The deep state and its varying contexts’; the deep state is not only in vogue in western countries but also in India. A known or unknown nexus between governments and big corporates poses significant challenges and potential threats in the context of elections and the procurement of military equipment. Political parties require funds to conduct poll campaigns. Wealthy individuals often make substantial contributions. Ultimately, it is the people of the country who suffer. Persons at the helm of affairs must dismantle this nexus.

Col Sajjan Kundu (retd), Hisar

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Historic shift

Sep 20, 2023

The nation has bid farewell to the old Parliament building, which was designed by Edward Lutyens and Herbert Baker. There has been a decline in the productivity of Parliament during the recent past. Continuous disruptions have led to legislative stalemates, preventing the passage of important Bills. There has not been a single session in recent times in which the Opposition did not create a ruckus. The Opposition serves as a watchdog, scrutinising the actions, policies and decisions of the government. However, it’s essential for Opposition leaders to conduct their duties in a respectful manner. Actions like tearing documents or damaging microphones are not conducive to a constructive democratic process. With the move to the new building, citizens are hopeful that all parliamentarians will now work for the betterment of the country.

Rupesh Yadav, Gurugram

Change is the law of nature

The new Parliament building, located adjacent to the old one, is a matter of pride for the nation. There had been criticism of the Central Vista project from certain quarters in the past, but in my view it was ill-founded and without any rhyme or reason. Change is the law of nature. My best wishes and thanks to all those who have been associated with this mega project. Many bitter-sweet memories are associated with the old Parliament House. I hope that the powers that be will take care of it properly.

Santosh Jamwal, Hamirpur

Women’s empowerment

The Union Cabinet’s approval of the Women’s Reservation Bill is a monumental stride towards gender equality. The Bill’s revival on the political landscape ignites hope for greater inclusivity. The recent push from Opposition leaders underscores the pressing need for this legislation. This Bill would not just be a political decision, but a historic leap towards empowering half of our population. It will lead to increased participation of women in politics, which can have a positive impact on policy formulation and decision-making, addressing issues that affect women and marginalised communities.

Amanjot Kaur, Mohali

Nazi atrocities

Apropos of ‘Vatican’s’ silence’; historically, in many societies, the church and the government were closely intertwined. During World War II, the Vatican, under the leadership of Pope Pius XII, maintained a policy of neutrality and diplomatic silence regarding Nazi atrocities. Pius knew about the excesses committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust, according to an article that was recently published in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Humanity suffers when political leaders act as if they were religious authorities, and religious leaders engage in political matters. The truth, even when it is difficult or uncomfortable to confront, should always be acknowledged.

Capt Amar Jeet (Retd), Kharar

Anantnag ambush

The recent killing of two Army officers and a police officer in Anantnag was deeply distressing. Such attacks have a profound impact not only on the martyrs’ families but also on the entire nation. While the nation at large may eventually move on from the tragic event, the families of the servicemen will never be able to forget the loss. The authorities concerned should invest in intelligence agencies and enhance their capabilities to gather, analyse and act upon information related to potential threats.

NPS Sohal, Chandigarh

Standardise phone chargers

Refer to ‘One charger for all’; the initiative taken by the European Union and India to introduce USB-C standard charger for all gadgets is praiseworthy. This will not only reduce e-waste in future but also curb the use of plastic in day-to-day life. Mobile phone companies change charger designs with every new model to make a quick buck. Some manufacturers have chosen to exclude chargers and other accessories from the standard packaging of their new devices. This has been done to increase their profit margins. Standardising chargers across various gadgets and devices would have several significant advantages, especially in public places like airports, railway stations and bus stands where people frequently need to charge their electronic devices.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit.

These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Asia Cup win

Sep 19, 2023

The Indian cricket team crushed Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in the Asia Cup final. Led by Rohit Sharma, India romped home on the basis of Mohammed Siraj’s exceptional bowling performance. Siraj, who took six wickets for 21 runs, fired on all cylinders. He left the Sri Lankan batters clueless. While this win is a good omen for the team before the World Cup, it is expected that the players will do exceptionally well in the mega event. Team preparation, individual performances and strategic planning will play crucial roles in determining how well India performs in the World Cup.

Sheikh Shabir Kulgami, Kashmir

Siraj’s heartwarming gesture

Refer to ‘Fast and Furious’; Mohammed Siraj blew away the Sri Lankan top order with his remarkable display of swing bowling. A thunderstorm was expected to hit the island nation’s capital, but the Sri Lankan team did not know that it would come in the form of Siraj. His 6/21 will be remembered for a long time by cricket fans. His form augurs well for the Indian team ahead of the World Cup. Siraj won hearts as he dedicated his prize money to the ground staff of R Premadasa Stadium. Cricket needs players like him who are not only competitive on the field but also display a strong sense of sportsmanship and generosity off the field.

Bal Govind, Noida

Santiniketan on heritage list

Apropos of ‘Santiniketan makes it to UNESCO heritage list’; the inclusion of West Bengal’s Santiniketan in the UNESCO World Heritage List is a proud moment for all Indians. This affirmation will definitely boost tourism, preservation work and cross-cultural interaction in the area. The architecture of Santiniketan serves as a testament to Rabindranath Tagore’s visionary ideals. It has been a hub of arts and culture. Its distinctive fusion of art, nature and progressive education has had a transformative impact on numerous lives. Let us reaffirm our dedication to safeguarding Santiniketan’s rich history and ensuring that it continues to motivate future generations.

Varshita Bhura, Zirakpur

India-Canada ties

As Canada has indefinitely postponed its trade mission to India, the ties between the two countries has hit a new low. Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised an objection to ‘anti-India’ activities by extremist elements in Canada, the Sikhs for Justice organised a Khalistani referendum in Surrey. Canada should learn a lesson from Pakistan, which is paying the price for nurturing the Taliban. The Indian Government must mull diplomatic measures to isolate stubborn Canada for not following the international conventions on ensuring the citizens’ safety and the sovereignty of other nations in view of offences committed on its soil.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar

Increase reservoirs’ storage area

Apropos of ‘Devise plan to save crops from a watery grave’; in order to save not only crops but living beings from the impact of rainwater, the storage area of the reservoirs has to be increased, which can be done by desilting. Over time, reservoirs accumulate silt, which reduces their storage capacity. If desilting had been done well in time, more space would have been generated for storage, which, though not completely, could have reduced the intensity of the impact. So, the Central and state governments have to make efforts to increase the capacity of the reservoirs as both have to bear the consequences of the devastation afterwards.

Vishal Jaswal, Naya Nangal

Madan Mohan’s magical tunes

Refer to ‘Forever gems’ (Spectrum); unfortunately, the writer has not mentioned Madan Mohan, who was a music director par excellence. His compositions in movies like Woh Kaun Thi? are still cherished by music enthusiasts. In 1970, he composed music based on ragas for Rajinder Singh Bedi’s Dastak and won his only National Film Award for best music direction. His contribution to the world of Indian film music is immense, and his songs continue to mesmerise music lovers. He will be remembered for the immortal ghazals he composed for Hindi films.

JS Wadhwa, Kapurthala

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Television debates

Sep 18, 2023

Refer to ‘From news TV to views TV’ (Nous Indica); the boycott of 14 TV anchors by INDIA, a group of political parties, is shocking. This decision threatens the freedom of the press. Criticism is a part of journalism. Participation in TV debates is usually based on the willingness of individuals, including politicians, experts and commentators. They have the choice to accept or decline invitations to participate, just as viewers have the choice to watch a particular channel or not. There is no place for such a boycott in a democracy.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

Democratise content on TV

Apropos of ‘From news TV to views TV’ (Nous Indica); in a democratic country like ours, the media, whether TV, print or online, plays a crucial role in upholding the right to freedom of speech, promoting diversity of viewpoints and providing space to both the ruling party and the Opposition. The writer rightly suggests that TV anchors ought to look beyond their ideological biases and prejudices. They should give maximum space to reasonable voices for the sake of social harmony and national unity. Efforts should be made to improve and democratise the content on news channels. A free and vibrant media is the lifeline of a democratic country.

Raj Bahadur Yadav, Fatehabad

Encourage constructive criticism

All ruling parties attempt to influence or control media outlets that they perceive as critical or oppositional (Nous Indica). The Opposition bloc has started its innings with a boycott of some TV anchors perceived to be ‘difficult’ by it. Next on its hit list may be reporters of newspapers. The freedom of the press is vital for a democracy. Having a ‘committed media’ is neither good nor desirable. In the olden days, kings used to have a critic in their durbar to pinpoint their shortcomings. We should encourage constructive criticism for professional growth and effective decision-making. The INDIA bloc must immediately withdraw its undemocratic decision of boycotting certain news anchors.


Review strategies

Refer to ‘Anantnag ambush’; it seems there are some loopholes in the standard operating procedures and the intelligence mechanism that must be reviewed. The terrorists may have accessed accurate information about the movement of the security forces and planned the attack. Those who provide shelter and operational logistics to terror outfits should be identified and isolated. It is essential to review and upgrade counter-infiltration, intelligence and counter-terrorism strategies. These strategies play a crucial role in preventing terror attacks, protecting citizens and ensuring the safety and stability of a country.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

Ban criminals in politics

Refer to ‘Convicted lawmakers’; in India, the law is not the same for lawmakers and ordinary citizens. A common man cannot get a government job if he gets convicted and jailed, but there are legal provisions that allow individuals to contest elections after a certain period following their release from prison. It happens because the lawmakers craft laws that benefit them or their interests. The cases involving lawmakers remain pending in courts for years. The recent case of the sexual harassment of wrestlers is a good example; the tainted lawmaker was not arrested even after an agitation by Olympic medallists. Individuals convicted of serious offences should be permanently disqualified from contesting elections.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

Engrossing middle

Apropos of ‘Punjabi from South India’; the writer has presented a very informative genesis of the Punjabi nomenclature of some residents of Tamil Nadu. It’s intriguing to know about the connection between Tiruvaiyaaru and Punjab. This connection highlights the diversity and interwoven cultural threads that exist across different regions of India. Such writings foster fraternity, conviviality and inter-connectedness in society, besides imparting gainful knowledge. Punjabiyat is spread across vast lands. Panjnad, located in Pakistan, holds geographical and cultural importance as it is the point where the five rivers of the Punjab region merge into a channel to form the Panjnad river.

Gurdev Singh brar, by mail

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Army SOPs need review

Sep 16, 2023

Refer to ‘Anantnag ambush’; India salutes the indomitable courage and supreme sacrifice of Col Manpreet Singh, Major Ashish Dhonchak, DSP Humayun Bhat and an Army jawan who attained martyrdom during a gunfight with terrorists in south Kashmir. Though there’s a visible decline in terror attacks in the Kashmir valley, the security forces must maintain a high level of vigil and readiness. Reviewing and updating standard operating procedures (SOPs) for counter-terror operations is a critical aspect of adapting to evolving threats and ensuring the effectiveness of security forces. It’s essential to assess the prevailing operational tactics and strategies employed by terrorists and make necessary adjustments to counter them effectively.

Krishan Kant Sood, Nangal

Situation not so rosy

Apropos of ‘Anantnag ambush’, the killing of two Army officers and a police officer in Kashmir and a simultaneous encounter at Rajouri in Jammu, in which two militants were killed, are stark reminders that despite periods of relative calm and normalcy, the situation is not so rosy in the region. Two attacks within five weeks in the same area suggest that there is an uptick in militant activity in the Valley. Security remains a paramount concern in J&K, given its history of militancy. Attacks like the one in Anantnag underscore the need for creating a secure environment for conducting elections.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Ban all news anchors

Refer to ‘Opposition bloc to shun 14 news anchors’; if all news anchors are banned, it will be so much better for our society. With the arrival of AI-generated avatars, one is not even sure if the anchors are real or fake. Detecting disinformation is becoming increasingly difficult. While expressing their opinions, anchors should strive to maintain journalistic integrity. The volume or intensity of speech does not inherently determine the truth or accuracy of a statement or argument. Political debates and discussions are vital, but sadly we are living in a time when civility in speech has become rare.

HN Ramakrishna, Bengaluru

Special session

Apropos of ‘Govt lists agenda for session: Debate on Parl journey’; it seems that the intention of the BJP government at the Centre is to change the country’s name to Bharat. It is strange that the BJP has developed so much hatred for the word ‘India’ that it does not want it to be seen anywhere. PM Modi himself used the term ‘India’ in various government programmes and initiatives, such as ‘Fit India’, ‘Make in India’, ‘Stand-Up India’ and ‘Digital India’. In case of name change, the government will again have go in for demonetisation as all currency notes and coins have ‘Reserve Bank of India’ written on them.

Vidwan Singh Soni, Patiala

G20 enhanced PM’s stature

Apropos of ‘PM, nation basking in G20 glory’; the resounding success of the G20 summit has certainly enhanced the stature of India and the PM. This comes close on the heels of ISRO’s two successful missions — Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya-L1. Since these landmark achievements have materialised under the leadership of PM Modi, the BJP will benefit in the forthcoming elections. The G20 summit drew accolades from everyone, especially the heads of member nations. The most difficult part of the summit was to reach a consensus on the Delhi Declaration. However, even this task was accomplished by the PM and his team with aplomb.

Ravi Sharma, Dhariwal

Follow rules strictly

Refer to ‘Responsible lending’; the Fair Practices Code needs to be followed strictly. In case of a business entity, the time period of 30 days for returning the original documents related to movable and immovable property is too long. It should be reduced to seven days — and to 15 days in case the documents are to be returned to legal heirs. The introduction of a penalty of Rs 5,000 per day beyond the stipulated time will act as a deterrent against unwarranted delay. The RBI direction of supplying a copy of the loan documents to borrowers at the time of execution is not being followed by all banks. Evergreening of loans should be stopped to prevent an economic catastrophe.

Bhushan Dev Singla, Bathinda

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Salute to bravehearts

Sep 15, 2023

Refer to ‘Commanding Officer, Maj, DSP among 4 dead in J&K gunfight’; salute to the bravehearts who laid down their lives while fighting terrorists in Anantnag district. Soldiers play a critical role in ensuring the nation’s security, maintaining peace and upholding its sovereignty. The Centre and the Army are making efforts to restore peace and normalcy in J&K. However, some anti-national elements, who enjoy the patronage and financial support of Pakistan, are hell-bent on destroying peace and tranquillity in J&K. The government must adopt a multi-pronged strategy to isolate these elements. The locals who see reason and respond positively must be supported. The ultras need to be dealt with firmly.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

J&K needs permanent solution

The conflict in J&K has resulted in the loss of many soldiers’ lives over the years. The soldiers who serve in these challenging conditions demonstrate tremendous courage and dedication to their duty. It is very disturbing to read about these frequent encounters. After the abrogation of Article 370, many big promises were made regarding improved security and stability in the region. No doubt the situation has improved after the removal of Article 370, but we are continuously losing our soldiers. J&K needs a permanent solution.

Rupesh Yadav, Gurugram

Nothing to boast about

Apropos of ‘Reining in inflation’; inflation can be managed by governments through various policy tools and measures. During the Emergency, the rates of daily consumable items were displayed at shops under the Essential Commodities Act and the Price Control Order. The government took several measures to control inflation and stabilise the economy during that time. What is the government doing now? India has the lowest per capita income among G20 and BRICS countries. The country’s position dropped to 107 out of 123 nations from the earlier ranking of 101 on the Global Hunger Index. Many people are living below the poverty line. There is nothing to boast about.

BM Singh, Amritsar

Environmental menace

As Punjab prepares to confront the looming threat of stubble burning, a matter that affects us all, it is paramount that we stand united against this environmental menace. With early paddy sowing this year, the ominous farm fires are set to ignite sooner than usual. The statistics are staggering — paddy sown on 32 lakh hectares will generate over 22 million tonnes of straw. Punjab aims to utilise 16 million tonnes of this straw, but challenges persist. Despite the 2013 National Green Tribunal’s ban, farmers continue to burn stubble. We must all acknowledge the complexity of this issue. The key lies in a multifaceted approach — awareness, incentives and innovative solutions.

Gurpreet Kaur Rosy, Mohali

Respect individual rights

Apropos of ‘Police briefing mustn’t lead to media trial: SC’; while media coverage of criminal cases involving politicians or public figures is common, it is essential for both the media and the legal system to uphold the principles of fairness, justice and respect for individual rights. Excessive or prejudicial media coverage can sometimes influence public opinion and potentially impact legal proceedings, including the ability to have a fair trial. In a democratic system, individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Conducting a ‘parallel trial’ in the media that declares individuals guilty can undermine this fundamental principle.

Capt Amar Jeet (Retd), Kharar

Strengthen LAC

Refer to ‘Dovetail ITBP with integrated restructuring of armed forces’; it is imperative to strengthen the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in a manner that all porous areas are plugged to prevent penetration by PLA troops. China has shown no inclination to resolve the differences on the LAC or initiate disengagement of troops. To counter China’s unpredictable moves, there should be close coordination and cooperation among the Army and ITBP units. The ITBP should be officered by its own staff who are professionally trained to manage the LAC affairs efficiently.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

Trade route

Sep 14, 2023

Refer to ‘Economic corridor’; the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor will not only bring India and Europe closer, but also establish an effective trade route between the two, reducing transportation costs and transit times. It is a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and it means that countries will not fall into Beijing’s debt trap anymore. The corridor will connect rail and port facilities and reduce dependence on traditional sea routes. Around 40 per cent of the total business can be routed through it, making business operations cheaper, faster and more profitable. Expansion of logistics, infrastructure, communication and a green hydrogen pipeline will boost employment opportunities.

Bal Govind, Noida

Will strengthen economic ties

The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor is part of the broader global process of connectivity, primarily focused on facilitating trade and commerce. It would increase prosperity in the countries involved through greater cooperation in the sectors of energy and digital communications. Advanced technologies have the potential to bring about tremendous benefits for humanity, but to realise these benefits fully, it’s crucial to adapt and improve responses and governance structures. The corridor, announced on the sidelines of the G20 summit, represents a significant step towards strengthening economic ties and connectivity between India, West Asia and Europe.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala

Energy ties

Refer to ‘India, S Arabia firm up energy ties, kick-start $50 bn refinery project’; this collaboration underscores the growing partnership between the two nations and its potential impact on the global energy landscape. Not only does it promise substantial economic benefits and job creation, but it also reflects India’s strategic efforts to diversify its energy sources. Furthermore, this project aligns with the global shift towards cleaner energy, with opportunities for incorporating sustainable practices and technologies. This venture has the potential to reshape regional energy dynamics and foster deeper diplomatic ties while contributing to a sustainable way of living.

Lavisha, by mail

Muzzling independent journalism

The FIRs lodged against three members of the Editors Guild of India raise questions about the freedom of the press and independent journalism. In a bizarre case of shooting the messenger, the Manipur police have forgotten that truth cannot be hidden for long. Unfortunately, the role of the national media is also not laudable. Barring a few voices on social media, the majority of them have remained silent. The freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy. It plays a vital role in keeping the public informed, holding those in power accountable and uncovering the truth.

Deepak Taak, Panchkula

Govt action undemocratic

Refer to ‘Quash the FIRs’; Manipur has been burning for the past four months. It is the government’s responsibility to contain violence and restore peace in the state. Instead, it has chosen to curtail the wings of journalists by lodging FIRs against them. Access to unbiased, just and fair news is the right of every citizen, and, at the same time, it is the responsibility of the media and the government to provide authentic, reliable and impartial information to the masses. The Manipur Government’s action is undemocratic.

Ramphal Kataria, Kurukshetra

Empower the poor

Apropos of ‘Graduate from fighting poverty to combating deprivation’; the concept of shifting focus from mere poverty alleviation to economically empowering the poor is a significant and transformative approach to addressing the complex issue of poverty. Providing access to better healthcare, education and skill development opportunities is a fundamental aspect of empowering disadvantaged and marginalised communities. These are essential building blocks for breaking the cycle of poverty. The economic empowerment of the poor will not only improve their financial situation but also enable them to live with dignity and honour. Instead of offering freebies to the poor, make them capable of earning their livelihood.

Ravi Sharma, Dhariwal

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Diplomatic victory

Sep 13, 2023

Refer to ‘India’s G20 coup’; India may have persuaded the West to desist from condemning the Russian attack on Ukraine, but the declaration made a general call to all states to follow the principle of respecting each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. India was able to notch a diplomatic victory as world leaders reached a consensus on a joint declaration. However, the absence of the heads of two important countries cast a shadow on the summit. India’s strategic location, large economy and regional influence make it an important player in international geopolitics. Both the US and Russia want to build friendly relations with India for their respective strategic interests.

Wg Cdr JS Minhas (retd), Mohali

Delhi Declaration

Apropos of ‘India’s G20 coup’; the Delhi Declaration was definitely the icing on the cake as India successfully garnered consensus on a variety of issues, including the Ukraine war. India’s negotiating team took the more considered approach — to achieve consensus on other issues — before tackling the paragraphs on Ukraine. The declaration achieved what’s truly impossible in today’s global polarisation. We are on the path of global collaboration and connectivity, eyeing prosperity for all. It reflects a vision of a world where countries work together to address common challenges and promote economic growth.

Ramesh Gupta, Narwana

Wasteful expenditure

Refer to ‘G20 spend 4 times the original budget: Cong’; it is common for Opposition parties to hurl accusations, but in this case Congress spokespersons have raised well-documented objections regarding excess expenditure compared to other countries which organised similar G20 meetings. They may raise a hue and cry, but who will bell the cat? The G20 summit was well-organised and saw significant attendance from diplomats representing various countries. However, crores of rupees have been spent on just decorations and publicity. Such lavish expenditure is wasteful when crores of people are reeling under poverty. Besides, there is rampant unemployment and corruption.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

Aid for HP schools

Apropos of ‘HP schools damaged’; the dilapidated state of schools indeed calls for immediate attention to compensate for the loss caused by rains and floods. Both the Central and state governments should assess the situation in Mandi, Kullu and Shimla and allot new places to run schools till the time the old and damaged buildings get reconstructed. Setting up temporary learning spaces, such as tents or portable classrooms, can be a practical solution. Besides, free books should be given to all students. In this hour of crisis, the governments of other states should also come forward to offer aid in the form of teaching material and equipment.

Rupinder Kaur, Ambala Cantt

Devastation in Shimla

The recent monsoon devastation in Shimla has brought to light a critical issue that demands immediate attention — poor drainage and inadequate soil retention capacity. The findings of the committee tasked with investigating the causes of landslides in Shimla are alarming. Lack of proper drainage, loose debris and saturated soil retention capacity have played a significant role in this disaster. What’s even more concerning is the discovery that mountains have sunk at 200 points across the state, even where there was no construction. The state government’s decision to engage experts from renowned institutions is a step in the right direction.

Gaganpreet Singh, Mohali

Misuse of choe

The Dera Bassi choe is a flood-cum-drainage channel that runs between two residential societies. This natural drainage channel has been encroached upon by locals. They have created bundhs that impede the flow of water. Besides, area residents dump their waste into it, which further clogs the channel. In addition, this filthy water is used by farmers in their fields. This channel has never been cleaned and is posing a threat to residents’ health. The Irrigation and Drainage Department of the Punjab Government must widen and clean this choe, instead of waiting for a disaster to happen.

Brig Parvinder Singh, Chandigarh

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G20 success

Sep 12, 2023

The G20 summit hosted by India was a resounding success. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership received accolades from global leaders, highlighting India’s diplomatic prowess. Modi’s push for the expansion of the UN Security Council resonated with many, emphasising the need to adapt to the changing global landscape. His announcement of a virtual G20 session in November to review summit decisions displays India’s commitment to inclusive governance. The passing of the presidency gavel to Brazilian President Lula da Silva signifies a seamless transition. As India handed over the reins, we hope that Brazil will also foster global unity and prosperity.

Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Another feather in Modi’s cap

The G20 summit, which was held in New Delhi on September 9-10, added another feather in PM Modi’s cap. India under Modi has shown the world its organisational abilities, warm hospitality, diplomatic acumen, negotiating skills and leadership prowess. The Delhi Declaration acknowledges a defining moment in history and addresses political, economic and environmental challenges. Through this summit, India has shown a new path of global cooperation instead of conflict, ways of consent and consensus instead of contradictions, internationalism instead of nationalism and a holistic approach instead of parochialism. All members of the PM’s team deserve kudos.

Vinay Kumar Malhotra, Ambala Cantt

Big victory for AU

Refer to ‘African Union in G20’; granting the African Union membership of the G20 is a step that recognises the continent as a global power. It is a big victory for the continent’s democracy. Its inclusion is reflective of the growth of G20 in the changing world scenario. For Africa, which is home to a diverse group of nations with varying levels of economic development, having a seat at the G20 table can help represent the continent’s interests. The induction will give more financial heft to the continent.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala

Rahul’s outburst

Refer to ‘Nothing Hindu about what BJP does: Rahul’; it is nice to hear that Rahul is concerned about Hindus. However, he says that 20 million people feel insecure in India. Is it right to sow the seeds of hatred in the minds of the minority community? Does he know that emperor Akbar, along with Ashoka and Chhatrapati Shivaji, featured in the exhibition on democracy during the G20 meet? He laments that the leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha was not invited, forgetting that CMs of all states, including those ruled by the Opposition, got the invite. But Congress CMs chose not to attend. Rahul speaks ill of India whenever he goes abroad.

WG CDR CL Sehgal (Retd), Jalandhar

Dress code of armed forces

Apropos of ‘Decolonise armed forces, but with sensitivity’; the subject is complex and warrants deliberations by the armed forces’ stalwarts, including veterans. Who will benefit from the changes? In the past too, we changed the dress code of nurses — the skirt, blouse, waist belt and cap were replaced by salwar, shirt and dupatta. The cap’s original purpose was to keep the nurse’s hair neatly in place . Will the dupatta not be an impediment while attending to patients? Decisions related to the dress code for the armed forces carry significant historical, cultural and operational importance. Such decisions should be taken carefully.

VK Anand, Chandigarh

IIT Director’s views

Refer to ‘IIT Director draws flak over cruelty to animals remarks’; the IIT-Mandi Director has stirred a controversy after he asked students to take a pledge not to eat meat, while claiming that landslides and cloudbursts in Himachal Pradesh were happening because of cruelty to animals. Landslides and cloudbursts are recurring natural disasters in the state. According to experts, the prime reason for these calamities is extensive cutting of hill slopes for the construction and widening of roads. It’s shocking to know the views of an IIT Director which are contrary to Article 51A(h) of our Constitution, as per which it’s the fundamental duty of all citizens to develop scientific temper.

Balbir Singh Kakkar, Jalandhar

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Respect all religions

Sep 11, 2023

Refer to ‘Dog whistle for caste mobilisation’ (Nous Indica); the article aptly dwells on the genesis of the junior Stalin’s calculated denigration of Sanatan Dharma to gain prominence and political advantage on his home turf. However, this has evoked a strong response from various quarters, which may impact unity of the INDIA bloc. All religions must be respected. BSP chief Mayawati initially gained significant political mileage from her sharp remarks such as ‘Tilak, taraju aur talwar, inko maaro joote chaar’, but later had to do course correction. Politicians always use religion as a tool for garnering votes and support.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Caste politics

Apropos of ‘Dog whistle for caste mobilisation’ (Nous Indica); Dravidar Kazhagam was formed in response to the perceived mistreatment and discrimination faced by backward-caste Tamils at the hands of Brahmins. The statement against Sanatan Dharma by the DMK leader is aimed at consolidating Tamil backward-caste votes against the BJP by painting it as a Brahminical enterprise. BJP leaders and cadres spew venom against the minorities, especially Muslims, in a bid to consolidate Hindu votes. Similarly, self-styled leaders of various ethnic groups try to bolster their vote banks by spreading hatred. Politicians will continue doing this as long as there are ears to hear such dog whistles. Voters must realise that it is they, and not politicians, who become the victims of politics.

HL Sharma, Amritsar

Just a get-together

Refer to ‘G20 presidency has seen India rise to the occasion’; it is difficult to agree with the sentiments of the writer; as far as event management goes, full marks to the Modi government. Unfortunately, the financial costs associated with the summit will have to be borne by taxpayers without getting anything in return. High-level meetings involving influential people have been taking place for quite some time now, but these meetings have not led to noticeable or substantial changes in practical terms. People are looking for concrete and effective actions, rather than vague or ineffective statements.

Anthony Henriques, Mumbai

Wooing industrialists

Punjab’s AAP government has made an impressive move to strengthen its bond with the business community through the upcoming ‘Industry Townhall’. This initiative, led by AAP president Arvind Kejriwal and CM Bhagwant Mann, signifies a proactive approach towards economic growth and development. Pledges of substantial investments raise hopes of a promising future for Punjab’s industrial landscape. This event will serve as a platform to enlighten industrialists about the state’s dedication to revitalising micro, small and medium enterprises and ensuring the successful execution of new industrial projects.

Gurpreet Kaur Rosy, Mohali

Speed up projects along LAC

Refer to ‘LAC infra build-up’; it is a matter of serious concern that India is behind China in creating border infrastructure and may take four years to match Beijing’s level. Keeping in view Chinese aggression, India must speed up the completion of projects in difficult and inhospitable terrain. All requisite initiatives may be undertaken to enhance the operational readiness of the Indian military. External security must get priority since much progress is not achieved through diplomatic and military parleys due to China’s uncooperative attitude.

Subhash Vaid, New Delhi

Freebies vs self-reliance

Apropos of ‘It’s raining sops in run-up to Lok Sabha, Assembly polls’; it is really unfortunate that a large number of freebies are being announced both by the Congress and AAP to woo voters in Haryana. While there may be nothing wrong with the ruling and Opposition parties embarking on massive mass contact programmes, the practice of offering freebies to citizens with the aim of gaining their support for political purposes is not right. The Opposition parties should come out with an action plan to make people self-reliant.

Kumar Gupt, by mail

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India or Bharat?

Sep 09, 2023

The Modi government has triggered a controversy over the country’s name. As soon as the Opposition named its alliance INDIA, the BJP started demeaning the name ‘India’. Isn’t the BJP using the word ‘Bharat’ in its name? If the BJP uses the country’s name, it is okay, but if the Opposition does it, it’s a problem. In the past over nine years, the BJP had never insisted on preferring ‘Bharat’ to ‘India’. The government needs to be reminded of this Supreme Court remark in 2016 when it dismissed a public interest litigation which sought a direction that India be called Bharat for all purposes: ‘Bharat or India? You want to call it Bharat, go right ahead. Someone wants to call it India, let him call it India.’

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

Avoidable controversy

Apropos of ‘India, that is Bharat’; this controversy could have been avoided. The present dispensation keeps criticising the decisions taken by its predecessors. Generally, the Opposition create controversies and the government tries to counter them. But nowadays, it is the other way around, which is unfortunate for the country. There is a set of procedures and principles that governments typically follow when they want to undertake significant changes. It is the government’s duty to convince all political parties and work towards a consensus, but the ruling party doesn’t seem to be working this way.

Satender Singh Yadav, Kurukshetra

Leaders must exercise caution

Refer to ‘DMK provokes again; it’s ‘Hinduphobia: BJP’; the DMK has again hurt the religious sentiments of many people. Why are these people spreading hate in the name of religion? Such remarks incite mistrust, intolerance and violence among religious or social groups. Is there no check in the Constitution on such inflammatory, provocative and derogatory statements? Is this not hate speech? Why is no action being taken against the leaders? It is important for political leaders to exercise caution and engage in respectful and inclusive dialogue when discussing matters related to religion.

Ashok Kumar, by mail

Leaders must show maturity

Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remark on Sanatan Dharma is deplorable and deserves condemnation. However, PM Modi’s guidelines to his party workers to give a befitting reply to the remark are also not in good taste. This will lead to a cycle of comments and counter-comments, thereby wasting the nation’s time. Besides, enmity between various castes will deepen and that may lead to serious law and order problems. In India’s diverse and pluralistic society, it is crucial for political leaders to exercise restraint while giving public statements.

Yash Khetarpal, Panchkula

INDIA to challenge NDA

Refer to ‘Opposition gears up for 2024 battle’; the commitment by Opposition parties to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections together is a significant development. However, the caveat ‘as far as possible’ suggests that while there is an intention to form a united front, there may be practical challenges or differences among Opposition parties that could impact their cooperation. Though the alliance has taken a step forward, internal contradictions and rivalries can make nationwide seat-sharing arrangements difficult to achieve. However, there are signs that the Opposition alliance is serious about mounting a challenge to the NDA. The alliance needs to outline what it stands for and not just who it stands against.

LJ Singh, by mail

Improve educational institutions

Let the people decide whether ‘one nation, one election’ is necessary or ‘one nation, one education’ is. There is no dearth of private schools and colleges around us. But to get admission in these institutions, one has to spend a lot of money. Government schools are in a bad shape, but the poor are forced to send their children to these schools. When education is compulsory for children up to 14 years of age, why is there no good provision for it? The Delhi Government has shouldered this responsibility to some extent and tried to improve government schools. There is a need to raise the standard of educational institutions in other states too and for this, we should implement a ‘one nation, one education’ policy.

N Mateeni, Mumbai

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Let’s not fight over names

Sep 08, 2023

Apropos of ‘India, that is Bharat’; India and ‘Bharat’ are so deeply intertwined that it is difficult to separate one from the other. Having been handed down since generations through religious and historical texts, both names have become a part of our psyche. The issue of naming the nation and whether there should be one official name or multiple ones was debated during the framing of the Constitution. But since the world was more familiar with the name ‘India’, it was decided to carry on with both names. The Opposition should have avoided naming its alliance INDIA; in response, the ruling party should have exercised restraint.

KR Bharti, Shimla

Renaming controversy

It is rare for a nation to be officially recognised by two names, and ours is a country that enjoys this distinction. It is a specialty that is hardly claimed by any other country. This glaring ambiguity in the BJP’s stance, whether deliberate or otherwise, is a recipe for polarisation ahead of the 2024 General Election. The critical question is whether this renaming controversy is a construct of the saffron party to play its polarisation card. If that is the case, it represents a new low in Indian polity.

Jahangir Ali, Mumbai

One nation, one election

Advocates of ‘one nation one election’ don’t seem to have taken into consideration the voters, who would be burdened with issues, candidates and parties. Simultaneous elections may lead to a blurring of the lines between different levels of government (local, state, national) and their respective issues. Implementing ‘one nation, one election’ would require significant constitutional changes. Besides, it would necessitate financial investments, including the procurement of additional electronic voting machines and related infrastructure. One of the fundamental principles of a democratic system is the power of voters to change a government if they are dissatisfied with its performance. Synchronised elections will limit this option.

Kusum Chadda, Zirakpur

Address key issues of prisoners

Refer to ‘Prison reforms’; there are certain key issues that require immediate attention, and prison reforms would surely help address them. Assault on prisoners by jail staff, favouritism towards influential convicts, fights between inmates and lack of space in jails to accommodate all prisoners are the issues that need to be dealt with. Women prisoners, who suffer the most, should be provided with a safe and secure environment. Steps should be taken to prevent abuse, whether by other inmates or prison staff. Recommendations from the Supreme Court panel and other authorities should be taken seriously and implemented in a time-bound manner to improve the conditions of all prisoners.

Bal Govind, Noida

Reform Green Card system

Refer to ‘4 lakh Indians may die awaiting Green Cards’; the heartbreaking truth revealed in the recent study by David J Bier cannot be ignored. Over four lakh Indians may pass away before receiving the coveted document of permanent residency in the US. This figure represents a systemic failure that demands immediate attention. With the backlog being a staggering 1.8 million cases, and 63 per cent of them originating from India, it’s evident that the Green Card ‘country cap’ system is woefully inadequate. The long waiting period and backlogs have an adverse impact on the lives of the applicants. It’s time to reform this broken system, to restore hope and prevent heartbreak.

Sargunpreet Kaur, Mohali

Meek surrender

Refer to “‘No work, no pay’ order withdrawn”; it was intriguing to learn that around 15,000 clerks in Haryana will soon get their salary as the government has withdrawn its ‘no work, no pay’ order, issued in view of their statewide strike. But what about people who suffered inconvenience during this period? While the real reason behind the government’s decision to surrender before the employees’ association may never be known, such a move will undermine its authority and set a wrong precedent. It will also affect the government’s ability to deal with striking employees in the future.

Kumar Gupt, by mail

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

Controversy over ‘Bharat’

Sep 07, 2023

The unsavoury ‘Bharat’/India row is sparked by dirty politics and fuelled by vested interests. The name ‘Bharat’ denotes our civilisational heritage and the name ‘India’, now as much Indian as the English language is, represents a modern, secular and liberal identity, emphasising diversity and inclusivity. Article 1 of the Constitution states that ‘India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States’. This gives the President and the government the right to use ‘Bharat’ in all official documents. The MEA can adopt the constitutional nomenclature of ‘India, that is Bharat’. Any controversial attempt at a constitutional amendment to drop/omit the name ‘India’ should be avoided.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Political stunt

The Central Government’s reported plan to change India’s official name to ‘Bharat’ is more of a political stunt than a necessity. If there were to be a change in the official name of the country, citizens would need to update their government-issued documents, including Aadhaar cards, PAN cards, passports, driving licences and vehicle registration certificates to reflect the new official name. This would involve administrative procedures and potentially incur costs for individuals. Besides, government departments and ministries with ‘India’ in their names would require new signage, letterheads and branding.

Vikramjit Singh, Amritsar

Delhi G20 summit

Refer to ‘The India-US moment’; the star-studded Delhi summit with two stars less would make a visual difference to the platform. Multilateral summits and their outcomes have implications not only for relations between nations but also for the internal dynamics and future prospects of individual countries. A holistic and forward-thinking approach to addressing the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century is crucial. The G20 summit is likely to be remembered not only for its formal outcomes and declarations, but also for the deficiencies that would impact the G20 as an organisation and the globalised world.

Jagvinder Singh Brar, Patiala

Drug abuse

Refer to ‘Drug menace’; Punjab Police’s efforts to combat drug menace are commendable. The seizure of such a significant quantity of heroin by law enforcement agencies is a testament to their dedication. Combating the illegal drug trade is a challenging and critical endeavour, and these accomplishments reflect the police’s commitment to tackling the issue. Seizing 1,400 kg of heroin in 14 months sends out a strong message about the determination to address drug trafficking and its associated consequences. Besides, the police are actively involved in organising awareness campaigns and meetings in rural and urban areas on the ill effects of drug addiction.

Raj Kumar Kapoor, Ropar

CM’s announcements

During a state-level function to celebrate Teachers’ Day, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann made major announcements for the improvement of the school education system in the state. Recruitment of teachers and non-teaching staff, bus service for girl students and hi-tech centres to train students for competitive exams are laudable steps. Though the CM’s intentions should not be doubted, past experience shows that such announcements by politicians in power usually remain on paper. It would be better if the CM directs the officials concerned to start working earnestly to translate these announcements into reality at the earliest. This would not only lend credibility to the CM’s statements, but also benefit the stakeholders.

NK Gosain, Bathinda

Aditya-L1 mission

India has been making significant strides in the field of space exploration and technology. The launch of Aditya-L1 represents a major step forward in the country’s efforts to study the sun. Such missions play a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of space and celestial phenomena. Understanding the sun’s behaviour and the solar corona is essential for various reasons, including space weather prediction and its impact on the earth. After the success of Chandrayaan-3, the launch of Aditya-L1 has raised India’s stature across the world. Kudos to the scientists.

Sulliya Muhammad, Mumbai

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]

DMK leader’s remark insensitive

Sep 06, 2023

Refer to ‘Udhayanidhi’s rant’; DMK leader Udhayanidhi’s remark against Sanatan Dharma smacks of ignorance laced with political venom. Making remarks against any religion without a proper understanding of its tenets and practices can be insensitive and misguided. Since ages, Sanatan Dharma has been a way of life for the majority of the Indian population. It is neither oppressive nor does it promote rigid beliefs or practices. The leader’s remarks are a threat to peace and harmony in the country. Politicians should refrain from using religion for political ends.

Anil Vinayak, Amritsar

Respect all religions

Apropos of ‘Udhayanidhi’s rant’; Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin crossed all limits while giving a call to eradicate Sanatan Dharma. Unperturbed by the condemnation, he reiterated the statement, showing utter disregard for the sentiments of the Hindu community. It’s crucial for political figures, especially those holding constitutional positions, to exercise restraint and promote inclusivity, tolerance and respect for all religions and cultures. Politicians must promote unity, progress and social harmony. When political leaders engage in divisive or inflammatory rhetoric, it can undermine trust in the political process and lead to social tensions.

N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru

Xi’s tactical move

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s decision to skip the G20 summit in India and send Premier Li Qiang in his stead is a tactical move with geopolitical implications. This summit was anticipated as a potential platform for a face-to-face meeting between Xi and US President Joe Biden, a chance to thaw relations strained by trade disputes and global politics. Xi’s absence not only disappoints world leaders but also raises questions. Is this a calculated move to underline China’s focus on its domestic agenda and bolster its narrative of ‘East is rising, the West is falling’? Xi’s recent participation in the BRICS summit may suggest so. His absence could also be a snub to the host country, India, with which China is embroiled in a border dispute.

Sahibpreet Singh, Mohali

Simultaneous elections

Conducting elections (assembly, local and national) together is a sign of a healthy democracy. Discussing this indicates that the country’s leadership is progressive and forward-looking. Not only will joint elections save expenses but also make the candidates work harder. Knowing that an electoral defeat would mean a potentially extended period out of office, leaders may feel compelled to focus on governance and policy implementation. Conducting elections separately at different levels of the government is administratively demanding and time-consuming. Synchronised elections streamline the process, potentially reducing the administrative burden on the election authorities and government agencies.

Sheikh Shabir Kulgami, Kashmir

Introduce ‘one nation, one price’

Before introducing the concept of simultaneous elections, the government should bring in the policy of ‘one nation, one price’ for basic essentials. Prices of vegetables, fruits, milk, grocery and medicines vary from one state to another; they are different even within the same state. Uniform pricing will promote economic equity and reduce regional disparities. Shopkeepers should be asked to display prices of various goods outside their shops, making it easy for consumers to compare rates across different sellers. With clear and uniform pricing, consumers can make informed choices and are less likely to be deceived by unscrupulous sellers.

Puneet Mehta, Patiala

Teachers shape lives

Apropos of ‘A prayer on Teachers’ Day’; teachers have always been an integral part of India’s growth story. They play a vital role in shaping individuals and societies. They are not only educators but also mentors, role models and guides who contribute significantly to character development and the overall well-being of their students. We celebrate Teachers’ Day every year to acknowledge their contribution and some of them are awarded too. We need to do more to support the community which is actively engaged in the nation-building process. Teachers need empathetic treatment rather than a shallow acknowledgement or short-term glory.

Vandana, Chandigarh

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit.

These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]