Tallat Azim The double whammy in this case is that his last name is Ranjha, with nothing in common with the romantic, flute-playing, dreamy eyed Punjabi folklore hero, and that he is a brigadier too, albeit retired. Hopefully, he does not have much in common with the many other retired and serving brigadiers either. One is reminded of another famed Musharraf defender, ex-law minister Wasi Zafar, who had developed quite a reputation for himself for punching people and for using crass, unsophisticated language. To come back to this particular case, it has brought to the forefront so many aspects that have to be corrected, because they went awry over so many years of institutions not functioning in their allocated areas. Retired and serving army officers have no training for statesmanship and governance because it is not a requirement of the career they have chosen for themselves. But every time an army chief has taken over the country, countless army officers of all ranks have performed tasks which they had no idea about. This has led to so many of them to actually believing that they know better. This is the kind of intolerant streak displayed by the brigadier when he wilfully beat-up a civilian professor at NUML, a university that employed them both. The retired brigadier, working as the Rector of the University of Modern Languages, got very angry with the professor when, in a discussion, he questioned the role of former President General Musharraf brokering a deal with the PPP through the NRO. The ex- brigadier accosted the professor 45 minutes after the argument was over, apparently with the blessings of the Rector, another retired brigadier, who also did not much care for the professors open questioning of irregularities, and gave it to him well and proper. As if there was no law in the land, the ex-army officer was also able to prevent the injured professor from registering a criminal FIR when he tried to do so. As an explanation for such uncivilised behaviour brigadier Ranjha said: If someone disgraces the institution of the army, what should I have done? It speaks of a mindset, that it did not occur to him that his behaviour, following the argument, did more PR damage to his parent institution than any difference of opinion could possibly have done. Even though he has been made to resign, after days of protests by the students of the university as well as the negative press coverage, it will be some time before people forget this story. This incident has probably been disliked by the present army high command too, given the fact that they have studiously and deliberately avoided the 'udhar tum, idhar hum attitude. They are fighting a war which has earned everyones respect and admiration, while also remaining within their allocated constitutional role. Violence is becoming all too prevalent in all avenues of our society. One saw horrible examples of it in Karachi recently as well as the shoot-out in NA 55 which killed three people. It stems from the intolerance and hate that has been bred, for the different 'doctrines of necessity, by the various regimes in power in recent years. All the accusations and the counter accusations lead nowhere and all of us, the hapless citizens, continue to live in and witness the constant madness all around us. This sorry situation can be put right a few years down the road provided the government of the day got just one thing right in its term. It should fix education. It should appoint a select group of people, with proven track records, like Mahtab Rashdi, Kushbakht Shujaat, Arifa Syeda, Shoaib Hashmi and others of their ilk to review and redraw the entire education syllabus taught to our children, across all divides. Whatever language they are taught in, our children must be spared indoctrination of hate. If it was up to me, I would make a request to H H Prince Karim Aga Khan to take over the education system of this country and put it right. The various organisations run under his name manage to turnaround and restore even the most hopeless situations with dedication and commitment and I am quite sure they would be able to do the same to our educational system. Postscript: February is that idyllic time in the Punjab when spring is in the air. It is when all eyes turn to the city of Lahore and people from every other place want to flock to it to celebrate Basant and kite-flying with the Lahoris. I love the kite-flying festival because it is a sport that is affordable for everyone and is enjoyed equally by all classes. It has brought much economic benefits to the city too and almost its entire populace has opened up its hearts and homes to the descending visitors during the Basant weekends in the years past. It is a great shame that a ban has been imposed on this festival, depriving people of some good, clean fun. While it is true that some precious human lives have been lost because of the unethical practice of putting glass on the dor, surely more is needed to be done to stop that rather than ban Basant. It is unnatural to do that. And how ironic is the fact that our indigenous, traditional festival is under a ban but Valentines Day is being celebrated with fervour and passion It is also Faiz Ahmed Faizs 99th birthday today. Faiz is the foremost poet of recent times and his poetry depicts our sentiments as well as our aspirations. His love poems are as appealing as his political poems. They are for everyone and for all seasons. As the week long events held to recall and celebrate his life concludes, heres to Faiz Ahmed Faiz: Gulon mai rung bhare baad-e-nau bahar chaley Chaley bhi aao kai gulshan ka karobar chaley Qafas udaas hai yaaro, saba sai kuch tau kaho Kahin tau bahr-e-khudaa aaj zikr-e-yaar chaley The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: tallatazim@yahoo.com