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Letters to the Editor: June 29, 2018

1) Kashmir — Perpetually in the news, for the wrong reasons

‘Kashmir is an integral part of India’. I have heard this line parroted by leaders of all political hues. It has always sounded like an arbitrary statement designed to rebuff Pakistan, and to reaffirm India’s military might over a coveted geographical area.

But recently, I came across facts that have changed my perspective on Kashmir totally. Facts that have astounded me. But more than that baffled me, for they reveal glaring lacunae in the history we have been led to believe so far.

Understandable that the British established a syllabus for us that was designed to obliterate our glories and inculcate shame in us for all Indian things. But, 70 years past independence, we are guilty of still toeing their line. Why?????

The facts I speak of are proof that Kashmir is the fountainhead from which flows our culture, in fact, everything that defines our identity as Indians.

Due to my education at an elite school, I had considered myself reasonably well -informed. Yet, I had no clue at all about the significance of Kashmir vis-a-vis Indian history and that it was home to Panini, whose Ashtadhyayi is considered the most scientific and flawless treatise on grammar in the world.

Patanjali, who gifted to humanity his Yog Sutra.

Sharangdev considered the father of both Hindustani and Carnatic music.

Acharya Abhinavgupta, one of the greatest scholars of all times, who wrote 46 literary classics, including the renowned Abhinav Bharti. His principles of ras are being taught in 80 universities around the world.

Kashmir was considered the abode of Saraswati, the highest seat of learning in India and was also referred to as Sharda Peeth. So much so that when students graduated from Kashi, they took four symbolic steps towards Kashmir, denoting their aspiration for higher learning.

Almost the entire body of Sanskrit literature has its origins in Kashmir.

Rajtarangini, an authoritative historical tome on the royal lineage of Kashmir, written by Kalhans in the 12th century, outlines the greatness of King Lalitaditya, possibly the most powerful Indian Emperor of all times, whose kingdom in the 8th century extended from the Caspian Sea in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south, and included Assam in the east.

How many Indians have even heard his name???

How many of us know that Srinagar was established by Ashok?

That Mahayana Buddhism was spread across Mid Asia, China and Japan by Kashmiri monks?

Who are these educationists who are deliberately withholding such vital slices of history from our textbooks?

How will the present as well as future generations realise that Kashmir is the keystone of our heritage through millennia, finding mention even in our oldest scriptures?

It is not a piece of land. It is the abode of the soul of India.

“Kashmir is an integral part of India” now has a new meaning for me. It is no longer a statement, but an impassioned avowal!

– Gaurav Kaul

 

2) Develop car parking subsitute

Subhash Maidaan (Parade Ground) car-parking in walled city of old Delhi was built a few years ago with a provision to hold Ramlila celebrations during Dussehra-Navratras when ground-level parking was closed for those days. A permanent cement-stage was built at ground-level to stage Ramlila-celebrations. But subsequent to an order of Delhi High Court, Ramlila was permanently shifted from the car-parking site to Red Fort ground. Removal of cement-structure (stage) can provide additional car-parking for about 40-50 cars. Moreover, the (kachcha) ground in vicinity of stage is yet not cemented, and big problem is to be created for car-owners during the rainy season.

Now with closing of nearby Gandhi Ground car-parking on June 30, 2018, extra-ordinary additional heavy parking-load is expected at Subhash Maidaan (Parade Ground) car-parking. North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) should on war-footing remove the cement-structure (stage) apart from cementing the (kachcha) floor in vicinity of the cemented structure at Subhash Maidaan (Parade Ground) car-parking in walled city of Old Delhi.

– Subhash Chandra Agrawal

 

3) Greater reforms needed in tax structure

It refers to outgoing Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian suggesting removal of 28 per cent slab and a common cess of 40 per cent on goods requiring tax-rate more than highest GST slab-rate. But these suggestions are non-practical and incomplete. Many items like liquor presently attract much higher tax which if attract maximum 40 per cent cess will become very cheap and causing appreciable loss to public-exchequer. Likewise, removal of just one 28 per cent slab is nowhere near to ideal single-rate GST structure. Even 18 per cent GST slab on service-sector is very high which needs to be reduced at 12 per cent GST-slab with abolition of Input-Tax-Credit (ITC) provision at least from service sector to compensate loss by bringing it in 12 per cent GST-slab.

Ideally, country should have one single 12 per cent GST-slab abolishing all other slabs of 0.25, 3, 5, 18 and 28 per cent. Rather exemption from GST should be altogether abolished. Such a provision will give much higher revenue than in the present system, apart from making system simple. People will be ultimately benefitted by the abolition of 18 and 28 per cent slabs even if they lose exemption on some commodities and abolition of five per cent GST-slab. Cess may be replaced by GST in multiples of 60 to be equivalent to pre-GST tax-structure on costly items to bring uniformity in tax-structure. Even on costly items presently attracting cess.

– Madhu Agrawal

 

4) Germany’s exit from FIFA World Cup biggest shock!

Defending Champion Germany’s shock exit of FIFA World Cup has soccer fans amused as nobody expected the Germans to finish last in their group and bow out of the tournament without a fight. The German side was all and sea in most of the 3 games they played and didn’t really deserve to qualify the way they displayed their soccer skills in the tournament. Germany is known in the World over for their beer and soccer and the cold chimes of Russia seems not to their liking.

Defending Champions have faced tough times at FIFA World Cup and Italy, Spain and now Germany has all faced similar fate exiting in the first round after winning the Cup in their last outing. Messi and Ronaldo are household names in the ongoing World Cup but their respective teams Spain and Portugal have struggled in the tournament so far and these players will have to create a special magic to help their teams reach the semis or finals.

– S.N.Kabra

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