The Hindustan Times
Updated 02:00 IST[Late CityFriday, August 13, 1999, New Delhi


Promoting Urdu

This is in reference to the controversy regarding second language status for Urdu in Delhi and some other states. In all my growing up years I’ve heard Urdu spoken in my family — in Punjabi (my family hails from the Sialkot-Gujranwala region). It is not a different Punjabi than what is spoken in Punjab, but since it is laced with Urdu words, it is very sweet. At a time when Gurmukhi had not yet become the main script, all letters in our family, as also those of the whole of Punjab, were invariably in Urdu, i.e., in the Arabic script, but the pronunciation was all very Punjabi.

I feel that since Urdu, as she is spoken, is basically Hindustani in thought and concept, wouldn’t it be great if spoken Urdu could have the Devnagri script? This would give us a chance to savour the richness of this great dialect. Should this be accepted than the demands of all the Urdu lovers in saving this language would have been met, without having to force people to learn a new script altogether. This is by no means a very big demand, as most of those who are advocating the second language status to Urdu already know Hindi, i.e., is the Devnagri script. And since Urdu is basically Hindustani in the Arabic script (with some Arabic and Persian words) wouldn’t it be more convenient to learn Urdu in the Devnagri script than to have to learn a new script all over again.

Vandana Madra Delhi

Punish the guilty

Your editorial Dismal track record (August 3) is too mildly-worded to denounce the unconscionable (in)human error that has resulted in the latest heart-rending railway disaster. No commissions and no levels of human management, are going to be of any avail as long as the humans behind such fatal errors are allowed to get away with it.

It is time that the mania for speeding up trains was bridled. Notwithstanding high sounding designations and salaries and privileges it has been proved time and again at the cost of more and more human lives that the railway employees at present are not capable of coping with the prerequisites of operating high speed trains. Provision of wireless sets to the running staff to maintain contact with one another as well as other trains is already much overdue. If trains running on double tracks are instructed to follow the simple road traffic principle — keep to the left — collisions between trains at least between railway stations will be avoided. The so-called modern signals should be made bolder and bigger and taller to be easily visible.

K. L. Dutta


Raj mindset

Vir Sanghvi’s article Very important humbug (August 6) in the context of the humiliation of Shreekant Gupta by the police on July 23 for his fault of not being able to get out of the way of the motorcade of the Lt-Governor of Delhi, proves the maxim that sometimes good comes out of the evil. If the present case, the credit for which goes to Mr Gupta, leads to the curtailment of the unbridled powers of the new feudal lords known as VIPs and bureaucrats who have inherited the Raj’s mentality, there will be something to be proud. Bureaucrats will learn their lessons on retirement when they have to come into contact with bureaucrats as ordinary citizens.

V. Sagar


Basis for development

About Arundhati Roy joining Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) to oppose construction of the Sardar Sarovar Project — it feels like yet another celebrity has taken up an environmental cause to reinforce their intellectual status with anti-establishment and a non-conformist way of thinking. It is nice for celebrities to grab international media attention but it is another issue to plan and work with tribals on long-term basis for their development. In an underdeveloped country like India we have to take a balanced view of development. Environmental issues should not strangulate development, as basic amenities like water cannot be denied to the masses.

For us who belong to Gujrat, the Sardar Sarovar Project is a new hope for life. A major portion of the state falls under a rain shadow zone and it rains in plenty in the Narmada valley.The Project was conceived after a long struggle by the peasants of Gujrat who suffer from heavy floods during the monsoons and from dry spells the rest of the year. With this project we can hope to bring another green revolution in the

Ajay Modi


Compensation demand

About the US paying China $ 4.5 million as compensation for NATO’s air attacks against Chinese Embassy in Belgrade resulting in the killing of three persons, India should also raise the question of compensation for the Pakistani misadventure in Kargil resulting in the death of 407 soldiers. India should also raise this question of compensation in the UN and other appropriate forums.

Ram Kishore Bansal



Refer Rizwan Qaiser's article: "Loyalty of Indian Muslims''. It is indeed sad that Rizwan should give a communal colour to an isolated incident of some Bombay Shiv Sainiks demand, in the backdrop of Pakistani treachery in Kargil, that Dilip Kumar should return his Pakistani award of Nishan-e-Imtiyaz.

It is too much to call it "symptomatic of the same mindset where individual as well as the entire community might be asked to give a proof of their patriotism...'' I assure him and his tribe that, had Morarji Desai, the only other recipient of Nishan-e-Imtiaz, lived up to this day, he would have met the same fate as Dilip Kumar, or even worse.

It recently came to notice that during his prime ministership in 1978-79, when Pakistan was in the thick of the uprising in Afghanistan, Morarji Desai had refused to act upon a Soviet suggestion to attack Pakistan. Not only that, he declared that his government would not experiment a nuclear device even for peaceful purposes. Obviously, Morarji Desai did render an extraordinary service to Pakistan at its critical hour. We do not know what extraordinary service did Dilip Kumar render Pakistan.

Ram Gopal

New Delhi.

US goal

S. C. Batra's response (July 27) to Brahma Chellaney's article titled "The Clinton doctrine'', reflects a naive understanding of US foreign policy. To say that the United States in this age of globalisation can be a noble peace maker would be to take a long jump in logic and confuse the fact with the rhetoric.

Washington is desperately trying to project itself as the world's most altruistic gatekeeper. A close observation of world happenings would, however, show that the avowed goal of USD strategy is mainly to create the largest possible number of satellite nations by guaranteeing their protection.

Chellaney's article reflects an astute observation of the world happenings. He has done well by asking the Indian policy makers to tread carefully while formulating US's role in the Kashmir issue. American mediation has so far only produced chaos, the multiplication of conflict and large-scale military intervention world over. India can ill afford to bungle up the Kashmir issue. Moreover, India has the strength and the expertise to solve its own problems.

A. Choudhury

New Delhi.

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