S.K. Sinha

S.K. sinha.jpg

The author, a retired lieutenant-general, was Vice-Chief of Army Staff and has served as governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.

Anatomy of a riot

There were no communal riots in India during the medieval period. Also very rare in the 19th century, they became common in the 20th century. In the previous centuries, communal atrocities were committed by rulers or invaders but there were no communal riots as such.

Death of politics

Politicians focus on next elections, while statesmen on the next generation. Our political leaders — under Mahatma Gandhi and for over a decade thereafter — were statesmen who dedicated themselves to the service of the nation.

Feudal democracy

Before Independence there were two Indias — modern and feudal India. British India comprised 11 provinces and Native India, as the British called it, 500-odd princely states. The same individual wearing two hats was the supreme authority for both — governor general for the provinces and viceroy for the states.

No. 13 is lucky for Pranab

Our Republic will soon have our 13th President installed in the nation’s highest office. Thirteen is supposed to be an unlucky number but not so for the most likely winner in the current presidential sweepstake. Let us hope that under the 13th presidency, the nation stuck in the quagmire of moral and economic decadence, can be extricated and led to a great future.

Strong Centre, strong states

The recent Assembly elections have been an earth-shaking political event. Mandalisation lost ground in Uttar Pradesh to development, as it did in Bihar last year. The Bihar election saw the eclipse of one national party and the Uttar Pradesh election the virtual annihilation of both national parties.

The making of generals

For the last few months, an unfortunate controversy has been raging over the date of birth of the Army Chief. This should have been resolved long ago. Gen. V.K. Singh is a competent general and known for his integrity. This case is now in the Supreme Court and, being sub judice, it should be left to that apex body to decide. Gen. Singh has recently clarified that by getting his wrong date of birth corrected, he is not trying to stay longer in his office. It is ridiculous to compare Gen. Kayani going to the Supreme Court in Pakistan with Gen. Singh doing so in India. The issues involved are entirely different.

The inheritance of maladies

Liberty, equality and fraternity are the hallmarks of democracy, while feudalism is its antithesis. The founding fathers of our Constitution chose a democratic polity. Lately, we have been shedding democratic values both in letter and spirit. Our MPs have demanded red lights atop their cars and the protocol status of Chief Justices of high courts.
During the British rule, red lights atop cars or car flags were restricted to the head of state, the viceroy at the Centre and governors in provinces. Generals and their equivalents in the other two services flew car flags and had red beacons on cars.

Kashmir’s faultlines

The Kashmir Valley has been burning for three months. Over 100 stone-pelting youth have got killed. Thanks to a governance deficit, both in Srinagar and Delhi, the situation appears out of control.

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