On Gandhi, Bhagat Singh

I READ Prof V.N. Datta’s interesting and analytical article on Gandhi and Bhagat Singh (Dec 24). I agree with his opinion that Lord Irwin’s hands were tied and could not act freely to commute Bhagat Singh’s death sentence. There were factors and forces that compelled him to do what he did. The following excerpt from The People (Lahore, March 22, 1931), perhaps, explains his position clearly:

“Perhaps it goes without saying that some Punjab officials were pressing Lord Irwin to let the condemned be executed. It is said some police officials even threatened to resign if the sentences were commuted. We fail to understand the reasonableness of such an attitude. The condemned persons undoubtedly stand convicted of having murdered two policemen. But if they are saved from the gallows, nobody would say they got off very cheap. Add up the sentences of imprisonment awarded in this case, and the total would be in the neighbourhood of two hundred years if the death sentences are changed into those of life imprisonment. You don’t call that cheap! And the police does function in countries where the penal system rules out the capital sentences.

Though we do not understand the reasonableness of the attitude ascribed to Punjab officials, the reason thereof is easy to see. They are perhaps the very people who have all along fought against peace. They are wroth with Lord Irwin. They want neither him nor his peace”.

Dr K.C. YADAV, Professor of History, Gurgaon



In his historically revealing article, the writer has tried to save Gandhi’s image as an apostle of non-violence and a sincere freedom fighter. He has also admired Bhagat Singh’s foolproof patriotism even though sullied by the pistol-ideology. Gandhi took to his spinning wheel while Bhagat Singh took his pistol to free India.

Bhagat Singh frankly confessed the murder of Saunders and even asked his father not to try to save him from the gallows. Clearly, if Gandhi had made commutation of Bhagat Singh’s death sentence a condition of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, he would have become the hero of revolutionary youth and both Gandhi’s non-violence and Bhagat Singh’s Inquilab would have forced the British Raj to quit quietly and would have forced the communal and caste forces to join the national mainstream.

Prof Datta has rightly concluded his article with the apt remark that Bhagat Singh was a flower which fructifies daily in the hearts and minds of the Indian youth to make India in their Hero’s vision.

Prof HARI SINGH, Kheri Jat (Jhajjar)

Hafeez Jalandhari

I read the letter, “Hafeez Jalandhari” (Perspective, Jan 6). Khushwant Singh has often said that he cannot read Urdu-Punjabi and Hindi. Every time he translated Iqbal or other Urdu poets into English, others assisted him.

If he had read Iqbal in totality, he would have known that Iqbal’s ancestors were Kashmiri Brahmins who converted to Islam over 300 years ago. They migrated to Punjab. Khushwant Singh himself acknowledged this recently.

It is time he admitted that he is only familiar with Abhi to main jawan hoon. Perhaps, Khushwant hasn’t heard of Prakash Pandit who has written about Hafeez Jalandhari and many Urdu poets. This he did for Dina Nath Malhotra’s Hind Pocket Books. Since 2001, Kaleem Anand has written similar books for Manoj Publications.


Mc Mahon Line

In her column, regarding the electronic media, Amita Malik has mentioned about the IB with China in the North East. Let me add that the correct name and manner of spelling is the Mc Mahon Line. The Mc and Mahon are written separately and not as McMahon or MacMahon. Of course, as Amita points out, the Line is certainly not named after our own common Indian name of Mohan! Our TV channels do need to spell out the names correctly.

Maj-Gen HIMMAT SINGH GILL (retd), Chandigarh

Adopt stray dogs

The write-up “Dogged by misery (Spectrum, Dec 2) is conspicuous by the absence of any relevant suggestion. Myths about dogs are in sharp contrast to real-life episodes. Due to apathy of human beings and the high reproductive potential of dogs, the stray dog population has grown out of proportion.

Without providing food and shelter, it is meaningless to preach compassion for stray dogs. ‘Adopt a stray dog’ should be a motto to promote compassion. Rehabilitation of stray dogs in houses, factories, and in police stations as watch dogs is the key to compassion. Andhra police has done so.



Clearing the backlog

In his article, Burden of backlog (Sunday Oped, Dec 30), R.D. Sharma has suggested measures such as filling up of vacancies at all levels, responsibility of the bar and the bench, simplifying the court procedure, and prompt rulings to cut delays.

However, introspection and self-correction by judges themselves is the need of the hour. Judges of the higher judiciary take long summer and winter holidays which need to be checked by the judges themselves in view of the hugebacklog of cases. Since the vacations have, certainly, a bearing on the rising trend of backlog of cases, this British legacy should end.

Last year, the Supreme Court worked only for 176 days. The US Federal Court judges need not adjudicate more than 150 cases. Yet, they hardly have about three months of holidays in a year.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh



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