Reflection of self-critical approach

THE “Self obituary” of Mulk Raj Anand (Spectrum, December 12) reflects the self-critical approach of the novelist towards his own life and works.

Mulk Raj Anand was a dispassionate observer of the life. He dared to stare in the eyes of death. He had the capacity to laugh at his own ideological angularities and flaws.

The literary piece would guide creative individuals of all ages.


Unending ties

This refers to Vimla Patil’s “India’s affair with India” (Saturday Extra, December 4) on the grand-daughter of Lord Louis and Lady Edwina Mountbatten who was named India due to their emotional links with the country.

When Lord Curzon, Viceroy of Imperial India, visited Naldehra, 21 km from Shimla, the summer capital of the Raj, he was so fascinated with the place that he re-christened his youngest daughter Naldehra. She was later known as Lady Alexandra Naldehra.




New destinations

Apropos of “Students seek new shores” by Vibha Sharma and Manoj Kumar (Saturday Extra, November 20), India can emerge as an alternative destination for foreign students. This, however, requires better infrastructure, quality teachers and development of spiritual quotient in addition to employment-oriented and cost-effective courses. Universities here should provide online admission guidance to them and make available scholarships for conducting high quality research. Teaching should be student friendly and in accordance with the principle of NAW - need, affordability and worth of the education.

Prof M.M. GOEL, Kurukshetra,

Actor’s actor

Apropos of M.L. Dhawan’s “Monarch of acting” (Spectrum, December 5), Dilip Kumar got under the skin of the character. One cannot forget his intense acting while expressing his love for the heroine to his mother in Naya Daur, or the scene in Devdas where he hits Paro on the forehead, more as a self-punishment. His intense portrayal of the tragic hero in films like Mela, Deedar, Daag, Andaaz and Devdas earned him the sobriquet of “Tragedy king”.

His versatility and class were evident when he overshadowed the likes of Raj Kumar in Paigam and, later, Amitabh Bachchan in Shakti. He could slip into varying roles with the same ease as films like Azaad, Kohinoor, Leader and Ram and Shyam prove. His performance in his own production Ganga Jamuna remains a landmark in the Indian cinema. Dilip Kumar also sang a duet with Lata in Musafir.

Brig H.S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula

Population growth

Seema Das Gupta has rightly pointed out in Need to contain India’s expanding population (Nov 7) that a steep population growth not only negates the achievements but also puts tremendous pressure on our already overloaded system. People should be educated about the benefits of small families. Those following small family norm may be given suitable incentives so that others may follow them.


Noor Jehan’s appeal

THIS refers to Pran Nevile’s “Noor Jehan lives on in her songs” (Spectrum, December 19). Thirtyfive years after Partition, she visited India in February 1982. Noor Jehan, the legendary singer during the pre-Independence period, rode on a crest of nostalgia that swamped a packed Shanmukhananda hall in Mumbai.

The occasion was a mammoth celebration organised by Siddharth Kak’s quarterly, Cinema vision India and the music director’s association.

Those who pined for Noor Jehan’s visit here included playback singer Lata Mangeshkar and Naushad.

She arrived 40 minutes late. However, no one complained and not a look or word of reproach from the audience who were eagerly waiting for her. On repeated appeals to sing, she replied “Yeh aapke pyar ka sabut hai”.



Prem Chand’s realism

Apropos of Saroj Sharma’s Hindi review “Unusual gift” (Spectrum, Sept 5), Munshi Prem Chand captured life ‘in its raw form’ in his stories. He brought realism to the art of short-story writing. His canvas is wide and he highlights the conflicts between classes, castes and creeds, gently probing social complexities to seek their resolution.

His oeuvre reveals, apart from patriotic fervour, a progressive evolution of art and thought from reformism to revolution, from Gandhian idealism to Marxian realism. His characters are vividly drawn from the milling crowds. He paints nuances of village life in its unsullied purity, lives of widows and early marriages, and above all inequality of social order. His call is to the collective consciousness of his age. He weaves his plots with artistic accuracy.


Sylvia’s inner war

This refers to ‘Fury of a tormented poet’ by Darshan Singh Maini (Spectrum, Nov 28). Among the American poets of the post-war generation, such as Robert Lowell, Richard Wilbur and John Berryman, as well as poets of the Black Mountain School such as Denise Levertov and Robert Duncan, Sylvia Plath easily stands as an idol and an icon.

She asserted herself in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and created an emotional impression with her tragic poems like Tulips, Ariel, Gigolo, Daddy and Crossing the Water, to name a few.

Sylvia Plath, like Gregory Corso, was a poet of the individual “I” in whose world-view and psychological reactions one can see the features of individual personality types formed by our age. Her poetry is an “extension of inner war” of a woman, who suffered at the hands of her father and husband.



This refers to the article “Reservation in Private Sector- A Social Necessity” (Dec. 19) by Sushil Kumar whose views are totally biased and can damage the social fabric of our country as reservation in private sector is not a social necessity but would be a social evil, social injustice and national disaster because quality, merit would be the greatest causalities. 

Already, public sector has been in the red and in a mess due to its inefficient handling by those who lacked talent due to caste-based reservation system.  Meritorious wards of so-called upper castes and classes who got no chance in P.S.U.s are attracted to the private sector which continues to flourish.  Now such talented youth would get no opening at all and this way quality in private sector would also deteriorate.

 The argument of the writer that no political party has opposed this idea of extending reservation to private sector is baseless as all this is vote bank politics being practised by all political parties who are following the policy of appeasement to inflate their vote bank. 

Even framers of our Constitution never intended so and this reservation was for a very short period.  In the process so-called forward classes have become the most backward as their most talented wards are on the roads and their talent is getting rust and unutilised.  We must learn to honour merit that need not be compromised at any cost.  Let us not allow mediocrity to prevail upon meritocracy.

Dr Adarsh Batra, Bangkok

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