Letters to the Editor
22 October 2012
When Nehru showed Zhou en-Lai the door
SIR, ~ Apropos Rajinder Puri's well-discussed article ~ as always ~ on the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 (17 October), I should like to submit a few points.
The Indian army has remained ever grateful to China for having initiated the 1962 war because the aftermath saw the start of the army's modernisation process and a whole new assessment of our external security. More fortunately, the three persons responsible for inflicting maximum damage to the army namely, our self-serving PM, his vindictive Defence Minister, and his favourite kinsman, the self-styled "supra general", BM Kaul, were not around during the 1965 Indo-Pak conflict, else this war would have been a cakewalk victory for Pakistan.
While setting its infrastructure, China found it extremely difficult to physically communicate between Tibet and Sinkiang province in the west because one had to negotiate the inhospitable Kun Lun mountains en route. After carrying out a thorough study, China found that Aksai Chin offered the best area for constructing an all-weather highway in this context. Accordingly, the then Chinese PM, Zhou en-Lai, came to New Delhi well before the war to try and work out an agreement on the matter. Aksai Chin is virtually an ice plateau with an average height of about 19,000 feet, an area where not even a blade of grass grows. But Jawaharlal Nehru not only flatly refused but arrogantly showed him the door. The rest is history.
Another problem with Nehru was that he treated the British ~ the same British who had incarcerated him during the freedom movement ~ as God and to him the McMahon Line was sacrosanct whether China accepted it or not. This led to further discord between India and China on the border issue.
However, the army too erred badly when the previous Army Chief, General KS Thimayya, took back his resignation on being chided by Nehru. He had resigned on being insulted by the Defence Minister, VK Krishna Menon. This act by Thimayya clearly conveyed to our political class that the army could be twisted by its tail to suit conveniences.
yours, etc., jayanta dutt, kolkata, 20 october.
Density of Gurgaon
SIR, ~ According to a report in your paper on 11 October ~ “Kejriwal sticks to his guns” ~ the Haryana government is reported to have insisted that the “density of all sectors of Gurgaon” has been fixed at 625 persons per hectare. This converts to 62,500 persons per sq km, which seems to be an improbable figure. The population density of Chandigarh (area 114 sq km, 2011 population 1.055 million) is, for example, 9,254 persons per sq. km, or about 92 persons per hectare. Does the Haryana government intend to congest Gurgaon with a population density as high as seven times that of Chandigarh? In that case, Gurgaon will become too congested to be liveable. Mr Kejriwal’s assertion that the population density of Gurgaon is pegged at 250 persons per hectare sounds more credible. That would still make Gurgaon 2.7 times more densely populated as compared to Chandigarh. Another comparison ~ the average population density of the Union Territory of Delhi (area 1483 sq km, 2011 population 16.75 million) is 113 persons per hectare.
yours, etc., b k roy, new delhi, 13 october.
Ludicrous and hypocritical
SIR, ~ Your editorial, “Far from ‘mindless” (12 October), has correctly taken note of how this government treats the issue of corruption. Till the Supreme Court ordered an inquiry, it was sluggish in its investigation into the 2G Spectrum allocation and the coal block allotment. Mr Manmohan Singh’s statement that his government is committed to do “everything possible to ensure probity, transparency and accountability" sounds utterly ludicrous, even hypocritical. It is he who is responsible for this "negativity" by allowing the government to suffer corruption. Far from being a meaningful concept, his latest reform package is ridiculous. The Congress as a whole and several ministers have been mobilised in defence of Robert Vadra following allegations of murky deals with DLF. He may not be a part of the government, but the charge brings the United Progressive Alliance under a cloud.
yours, etc., rajkumar jain, kharagpur, 11 october.
Taxes beyond law
SIR, ~ There are a range of taxes that one has to pay quite apart from income-tax, municipal tax, sales tax and the latest imposition ~ the service tax ~ that covers a wide field. I live in a cooperative housing society. Apart from what is called a "maintenance tax", I have to pay a "puja tax", and an additional tax if I rent out the flat. And this tax in increased whenever one tenant leaves and another takes occupation. And if I ever sell my flat, an ad hoc amount will be levied by the cooperative society on my sales-proceeds. Clearly, it is the cooperative society and not the government that is the beneficiary. I am a senior citizen who has expended his savings on a roof over the head. How much more can I shell out? This tyranny needs to be dealt with according to the provisions of the law.
yours, etc., p m sen kolkata, 18 october.
Mamata hits back?
SIR, ~ Since I have been deprived of the printed edition of The Statesman during the Pujas, I tried to access the web version, but the web browser claims that the site is compromised, making it a risk to access. My newspaper vendor tells me that the decision not to distribute newspapers on these days is a decree of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The puja week is a critical period for increased advertisement revenue and since most newspapers are critical of her she has hit where it hurts most. The vendors also stand deprived of their commission.
yours, etc., shankar gupta, chandannagar, 22 october.
2 The Statesman site is absolutely safe. ~ Ed. S.