Saturday, September 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India



A track tragedy buried deep in history

In this era of loot maar, some people in every walk of life strive to maximise their personal gains. Whenever their ego is hurt, they look for sympathy. It is unfortunate that the media obliges them generously.

There are others who have, in their own way, served the country, but have remained passive in projecting themselves. The media is not bothered, the government has ignored them and the people have forgotten them. The new generation needs them to emulate. The media must work hard to find such positive personalities for the benefit of the upcoming generation. I have one such sportsman in mind.

He was the first and the youngest Indian athlete of free India to be one of the finalists in the track event of Olympics. He was the Indian athlete who, in spite of having the best performance in the world, returned empty-handed from Olympics. His was the first track tragedy of free India in Olympics. He is Henry Rebello, a product of Loyala College, Madras, who participated in the 1948 Olympics, held at London.

Henry at the age of 17 cleared 50 ft 2 inches at the National Sports Meet held at Bangalore. This record remained intact for a quarter of the century till beaten by M.S. Gill in 1971. At that time the Olympic record was no where near it. He was the sure Indian gold medal hope in the 1948 Olympics. The world athletes were dazzled to see his run-ups. Six feet three inches tall, handsomely built, Rabello was the darling of many eyes in the Olympic village. He could reach the final with ease.


During the final, as he started his run-up, Queen Elizabeth entered the stadium and the run-up was interrupted. By the time the event was resumed, he had not warmed up himself adequately and found a hamstring breaking as he began the run-up. He could not take further part, and with tears in his eyes, returned crest-fallen without the gold he was sure to win. Many more eyes were wet in the stadium and in the country.

Rabello joined the Indian Air Force as a logistic officer and retired as Wing Commander. A soft-spoken, unassuming and smart officer. Very few of the young officers, who worked under him, knew that their boss was once the national hero. Never did he mention the incident, as if trying to forget a bad dream.

I am sure the people of the locality, he resides in, if he is alive, I wish he is, may not know that the old man once met with a tragedy too deep for tears.

S. S. RANDHAWA, Chandigarh

Army & logistic support

Apropos the write-up by Generals Sandhu and Agarwal (Aug 15) it is pertinent to mention that the adverse comments made by the CAG on logistic support provided by the AOC miss out on some crucial points.

First, before Ordnance can start the procurement action they must receive from the General Staff certain vital inputs on policy parameters. Delay in receipt of this information has a cascading effect, in that no demands can be generated in time and consequently no stores are received for issue to troops.

Secondly, after the demands are placed on the sources of supply and necessary time is given, certain vital and critical stores do not materialise in time, particularly from the Ordnance factories and the defence public sector undertakings. No provision exists for levying of liquidated damages or imposing penalty on them as in the case of private firms.

To remedy the situation, it would be necessary that the agencies responsible for providing policy inputs and other guidelines to Ordnance to initiate procurement action work on a time-bound programme. Further, the Department of Defence Production should closely monitor that activities of the Ordnance factories and defence PSUs to ensure that the demands placed by the Army are accorded high priority for supply.

Lt-Gen VIRENDER PARTAP (retd), New Delhi

Militancy and amnesty

The editorial “Militancy and amnesty” (Aug 21) is timely and a treasure of true events in Punjab. During the height of militancy there was no trace of people’s representatives, politicians, court officials, civilian officers, public intrerest litigants and the so-called human rights champions.

Only the will of the militants prevailed. Most police officers, using their political influence, managed to get transfers to safe shelters for fear of militants.

In the process of protecting the integrity of Punjab, 1,424 security personnel lost their lives. But the restoration of law and order in Punjab cost these brave officers the best part of their life behind the bars. Mir Taaki Mir — wrote a verse in 1810 and inscribed it on the grave of a brave person:

Kehne laga ke dekh ke chal raha be-khabar

Mein bhi kabhi kisi ke sar par garoor tha

The government must restore the dignity and honour of all such police officers who had fought the militancy for protecting the integrity of the nation.


A pattern: There is an Urdu couplet:
Baghban bhi khush rahe
Razi rahe sayyad bhi.

Your editorial “Militancy and amnesty” is a typical example of it. But you are not to blame. This is the working pattern of every government in our country which has brought us to the present pass.


Have to be stern: Apropos Justice Rajinder Sachar’s “Amnesty proposal not constitutional” (Aug 22), human rights agencies are meant for looking after the interests of a civilised society against injustices perpetrated by the state agencies, but when the civilised society itself is endangered by the outrageous activities of the outlawed, such outlaws have to be dealt with a stern hand.


Vehicles misused

Official Gypsys and Ambassador cars are frequently used to take children of officers from their residences to their respective schools/colleges daily and then bring them back. Family members of officers also usually go to the market in their official vehicles. Can someone up there stop it?

VINAY KUMAR, Chandigarh

PGIMS courses

The news item “Appointment row in PGIMS” (July 31) points out that certain postgraduate degree courses at the PGIMS, Rohtak, are not recognised by the MCI. We, the students who have joined these courses, appeal to the authorities concerned to get these courses recognised. These course were started with the permission of the MCI. Immediate action is the need of the hour, otherwise students will take legal action.

Dr RAMESH KUMAR, by e-mailTop

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