Grand fib: Dr Brahmachari has done a great service by bringing forth the perpetual hoax foisted on us that the Grand Trunk Road was constructed by Sher Shah Suri (Organiser, 4-4-2004). Dr Brahmachari has brought forth excellent evidence and logic based on recent sources. He wonders as to how the existence of all of our ancient and historical evidences have been consistently denied or presented in a distorted context by partisan ´intellectuals´. Swami Dayanand was asked by his blind guru Swami Virjananda to learn and study Panini´s Ashtadhyai to gain a deeper knowledge about our heritage. Sutra 5.1.76/77 of Ashtadhyai says: “Uttarpathainahritam ch.” This refers to the northern route, and as confirmed by the latter Chinese travellers, it had two parts-one connected Vankshu to the Caspian Sea, which connected to Europe through the Black Sea, and by this route Indian merchandise would reach the Western countries. The other part of the northern route started from Pushkalawati, the capital of Gandhar, through Taxila, on way crossing the Sindhu, the Shatudri (Sutlej), and the Yamuna connecting Hastinapur, Kanyakubj Prayag, Patliputra and Tamralipti. On this route, the facilities provided for the travellers included night shelters, drinking water sources and shade-providing trees. There was another eastern part of this route that provided link from Taxila Valhik via Kamboj to Kowsheya to China. This northern route was the principal trade route of the world.
-Subodh Kumar, Ghaziabad
Glorification gimmick: Apropos of Yankee Doodle or Antidote to ´Feel Good´? (Organiser, 11-4-2004). The feel-good factor, the India shining campaign, the boom in various sectors of economy and the outcome of the numerous opinion polls have made life difficult for the Congressmen. They have now begun to realise that they committed a Himalayan blunder by handing over the party leadership to Sonia Gandhi, as the party´s future has gone from bad to worse. And the only ray of hope for them is some other Gandhi, who is Indian in origin but ´foreign´ in thinking. Rahul meets their expectations. So they are glorifying him with grandiose adjectives like ´tech-savvy´, ´info-craving´, etc., etc. This is just another gimmick of the Congress strategists aimed at making their leader a larger-than-life icon and thereby quench their thirst for power. But even this experiment is bound to go phut miserably, in the days to come.
-Hemant Krishna V., Bangalore
Subsidy for Kumbh pilgrims: It is heartening to know that the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Uma Bharti, is personally taking interest in ensuring that pilgrims do not have to face any problem (A confluence of Indianness, Organiser, 11-4-2004). I have a suggestion that the MP government with the aid from the Central government should provide tent accommodation to the pilgrims and food at a very nominal charge. When the Central government alone spends crores of rupees every year on airfare subsidy on Haj, then why cannot the government allocate subsidy to the Kumbh pilgrims?
-Y.R. Minocha, New Delhi
More on Doctorji: This refers to Varsha Pratipada Special of Organiser (21-3-2004), which carried an article on Dr K.B. Hedgewar. On behalf of the readers of Organiser, I request you to kindly publish the life of Dr K.B. Hedgewar in a continuous series in your esteemed weekly. This will definitely benefit many like me by infusing into us a zeal for voluntary work.
-B.B. Rajput, New Delhi
´Saviours´ of ´secularism´: Syed Shahabuddin has joined the Congress Party. He says it is a secular party to combat communalism effectively. Shahabuddin has ´profound credentials´ of being secularist to his credit and the Congress would be proud to have him as his member. Some of Shahabuddin´s secular credentials are: He went to the extent of asking Muslims not to celebrate Indian Republic Day. He opposed felicitation or revering of Bharat Mata. He spoke against singing Vande Mataram. Above all, he named his periodical Muslim India and is proud to be a Muslim Indian. Who else can be more secularist? And he rightly joined the ´most secular party´.
-B.K. Chaudhari, England
Well done Dr Joshi!: This has reference to the commendable decision of Dr M.M. Joshi, Union Minister of HRD, to lower the fee of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) thus opening the gate for the talented poor and deprived students who have been denied the equal playing field with the elites. Few points are worth noting in this issue. (1) It is a fact that the majority of talents come from the middle-class community who cannot dream to pay around Rs 1.5 lakh annual fee apart from the lavish expenses on boarding and lodging. (2) Lavishness on the part of IIMs like Ahmedabad having more than 300 non-teaching staff apart from the huge number of teaching faculty for 400 students is not understandable. (3) In view of the reduction in fee and making up the shortfall by the Union Government will in no way curtail the autonomy of IIMs. See the IITs and AIIMS models, which are fully accountable to the Union of India and yet maintain their quality and high level of standard. (4) English elite media has been biased and has been reporting only the elites´ viewpoints on this issue, neglecting the benefits of the masses. It is highly disgracing.
-Anil Kumar, Jharkhand
NRI remittances: It is indeed gratifying to note that the Indian diaspora has sent nearly $ 18 billion to India as gifts for relatives, for special deposits, etc. Due to the weakening of the dollar against the rupee, the NRI depositors will get more dollars on maturity of their deposits and on conversion of their NRE account deposits back into dollars. Although the foreign exchange reserves of India increase due to the NRI remittances, they push up the external debt liabilities also, which is a little over $ 112 billion. This is indeed worrisome. Hence, it is absolutely necessary that there should be higher export growth and greater FDI inflow, particularly when the trade deficit continues to be very high.
-R.N. Lakhotia, New Delhi
Vote for Vajpayee: At a large public rally held recently in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, Atal Behari Vajpayee declared in the presence of another political visionary Chandrababu Naidu, that if they were elected once again they would undertake the work of linking national rivers. Although this important matter was initiated by the late K.L. Rao, who was in the Pandit Nehru´s cabinet, no progress was made subsequently by the then Congress governments for linking the rivers, which would have improved our economic conditions by this time. We all know that by implementing Vajpayee´s dream projects like building the national highways and linking of national rivers, our country will get immensely benefited and there will be all-round progress. Considering the past track records of the NDA government and its future plans we should all vote for Vajpayee and his allies to bring them back with large majority to power, so that they could take the country to greater heights.
-Ramineni Somaiah, Mumbai
US´ double game: Colin Powell says US will elevate its military ties with Pakistan, making it a major ally outside of NATO. If this becomes true then what will be the future of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), whose Pakistan is still a member? Now strategically, this is a very serious matter in regard to Indian defence because after getting a major non-NATO ally status, Pakistan can get far sophisticated know-how from US in military hardware. No doubt after this status, Pakistan will use the power against India.
-Deepak Kumar Vidhyarthi, Muzaffarnagar