Triumph of grit
THIS is with reference to Ashwini Bhatnagar’s "Triumph of grit" (April 15). Never before in the history of Indian cricket, has one seen such a reversal of events as witnessed recently. Both V.V.S. Laxman and Harbhajan Singh were almost at the same stage of their respective careers and both were not sure if they would play the next series for India. Ironically, it was these two players who dominated the recently-concluded series.
Tendulkar must be feeling relieved in the company of Laxman and newly-revived Dravid. His 126 at Chennai was a masterpiece but had he scored some runs in the crucial Kolkata Test or in the second innings of the Chennai Test, it would have enhanced his reputation. Ganguly’s record against South Africa, Australia, West Indies and Pakistan proves that he rarely scores against pace bowling at Test level. With Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh aiding Srinath and Kumble, Indian cricket is bound to look up and a series win in Zimbabwe will be an ideal start.
India clinched the 3-Test series 2-1 against Australia through sheer grit, laced with determination. It was indeed a fantastic team effort but the ones who played stellar roles in turning the tables against the Aussies were Harbhajan Singh and V.V.S. Laxman.
Harbhajan’s incredible but spectacular haul of 32-wickets in three Tests speaks volumes for his ability, and command and control of his bowling. No bowler in recent times has took as many wickets as he grabbed in three Tests. His was a stupendous feat indeed.
Laxman’s mammoth contribution propelled India’s remarkable success. Laxman, who has been in and out of India’s team, astounded cricket pundits by scoring more than 500 runs in three matches, a magnificent performance indeed.
Their memorable feats will reverberate across the cricketing world for a long, long time.
Tarsem S Bumrah
Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Apropos of various articles by eminent writers on the eve of the bicentenary celebrations of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s coronation (April 8,) it would not be an exaggeration to say that the Maharaja was the real architect of the Punjab of those days. Before his rise, the Sikhs in Punjab had been subjected to untold hardships and sufferings by Muslim rulers for about a century.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh restored peace and order in Punjab at a time of chaos and confusion in this part of the country as a result of rapid deterioration of the Mughal Empire and frequent incursions from the North-Western frontier. Through his untiring efforts he wedded together the discordant elements into a powerful monarchy.
As head of a secular state, the Maharaja earnestly attempted to bring together different races and religions. He protected the legitimate interests of all sections of his subjects and assured them that they would be able to live happily and pursue their activities without any hindrance provided these did not clash with the interests of other subjects. The great Maharaja endeared himself to his subjects by his characteristics of justice, charity and tolerance.
The civil and military administration under Maharaja Ranjit Singh was manned by Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Rajputs, Kashmiri Brahmins and even Europeans. His keen eye looked for talent and merit among his subjects and selected the best person for a particular job. Equal opportunities were afforded to all. As members of various communities acquired a stake in the government under the Maharaja, they served him with patriotic zeal and loyalty.
It would therefore, in my opinion, be pertinent to point out that any memorial proposed to be set up to honour the singular contributions made by Maharaja Ranjit Singh must take into account the secular and national policies steadfastly pursued by him for the benefit of all Punjabis. The memorial should necessarily present the true image of the popular ruler.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh successfully fulfilled the socio-political mission of Guru Gobind Singh. Through his tireless efforts he had created a strong, sovereign and independent Punjab which ensured peace, harmony and honour for all his subjects. The Punjabis would do well to emulate his illustrious example. Whatever the location of the memorial and whatever the form and shape it may take, it should essentially symbolise the ideal of tolerance, secularism and nationalism set by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and unflinchingly practiced by him in word and deed.
Our leaders must follow in the footsteps of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who brought together people of different religions through genuine tolerance. Let our leaders imbibe the personal qualities of simplicity and sincerity possessed by this great Maharaja. V.N. Datta is right when he says that Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Punjab and Raja Rammohan Roy in Bengal will go down as the two greatest Indians of their times.
This refers to Mohinder Singh’s write-up "Jewels and relics from Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s toshakhana".
With regard to the famous Koh-i-noor the writer has failed to mention that when Maharaja Ranjit Singh was critically ill, he expressed a desire to his close relatives and confidants, that after his death the Kohi-i-noor should be presented to Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri (Orissa). The Lahore Durbar, however, did not fulfil the last wish of the Maharaja. Had the Koh-i-noor been presented to the temple of Jagannath Puri, as per the wishes of the Maharaja, it would have remained in India.
Bond’s Indian connections
Apropos of the write-up "No orchids for Mr Bond", by Amar Nath Wadehra and Randeep Wadhera, (April 15), I strongly endorse the views of the writers on Ruskin Bond whom children love for his inimitable style of narrating a story. The celebrated author of childrens’ literature has to his credit, a long, uninterrupted writing career spanning over half a century.
The selfless literary contribution that Bond made all these years to the enrichment of the literature of this sub-continent, has gone unnoticed and unrewarded. He lothes being addressed as a foreigner. Bond’s 50-year long literary journey into the length and breadth of this country proves the point. For Bond, it is an emotional bond with his ‘motherland’ which is explicitly reflected in his literary works. It was nothing else but his unfailing love for the country which made him turn down endless exciting offers, including a highly-lucrative offer from a Hong Kong magazine, that came his way. This speaks volumes for his true love for the land.
Ironically, Bond has been deprived of awards and honours. Perhaps his Anglo-Saxon ancestry is the only hurdle that Bond has to cross to join the ranks of award-winning writers.
"It is better late than never" goes an old saying. Is the Government of India listening?
RAMESH K. DHIMAN