Saturday, February 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



How Gandhi failed to prevent partition

This refers to D.C. Jha’s article “How Gandhi failed to prevent partition”. Mr Jha’s argument is that Gandhi had tried to prevent the partition of the country at the last stage but Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru did not listen to him. According to him, Gandhi proposed that the Congress leaders should resign from the interim government in 1946 and hand over power to Jinnah in order to run the country independently of the Congress. This move, Jha thinks, would have mollified Jinnah and won his heart, and he would have given up his ideal of Pakistan and the country would have remained united. There are too many suppositions in such a proposition! The contention is that with a blank cheque in his pocket, Jinnah would have seen the light of reason, and given up his idea of partition.

I think Jha does not understand the Jinnah of 1946-47. The idea that the British had wanted the division of the country and that Jinnah could be persuaded to give it up does not stand the test of scrutiny. By 1945 the idea of Pakistan had caught the imagination of the Muslims.

The Muslim League had set up its party government in five of the provinces. Communal riots had flared up, and there was continuance fighting between the Congress and Muslim League leaders in the interim government.

Mr Jha completely ignores the political reality of the situation and indulges in pious hopes. The assumption that Jinnah was to change his heart and give up his ideal of Pakistan is a cry for the moon.


Thank God, Patel and Nehru did not listen to Gandhi in 1947 as I fear that the entire Punjab and Bengal might have gone to Pakistan. Jinnah was marking time. By no means this is to diminish Gandhi’s greatness, but history is a scientific discipline determined by a rational mode of thinking and analysis in which platitudes and worn out phrases have no place.

V.N. DATTA, New Delhi

Don’t say ‘militant Islam’

It is because of exploitation and defamation of Islam that Mr G. Parthasarthy in his column on “America and the Islamic world” uses the expression “militant Islam”. I request not only Mr Parthasarthy but also the people of other faiths not to correlate one’s actions with his religion. Such misuse can promote religious intolerance and hence prove hazardous for communal harmony. A responsible citizen should try to boost co-operation by resounding the human core values.


Violation of law

This is in response to a comment on “Doctor-patient relationship” with respect to the kidney racket by Dr B.S. Shah of DMC, Ludhiana (Feb 1). I totally agree with the last four lines of the author. But only with those four lines. The author has forgotten that in a civil society once a law is made, all citizens have to abide by it, whether they agree with the law makers or not. The more responsible citizens are expected to be more law abiding — both in letter and in spirit.

I can’t imaging the “middle men” operating for this kind of activity without the active connivance of the surgeon. Merely completing the mandatory forms, paper work and permission on the strength of fee sharing is a clear violation of the spirit of the law as well as the spirit of the Hippocratic oath.

Such a conduct may be acceptable from a businessman, but not from a professional. The author’s laudatory comments in favour of the “genius” surgeon may be acceptable from a trade union but not from a responsible member of the medical fraternity.

Dr P.K. KOHLI, President, IMA, Haryana, Sonepat

Call for ‘rasta roko’

This refers to the news item “prepare for rasta roko, Badal tells cadre”. Mr Parkash Singh Badal once again seems to be at his immaturish best when he gives a call for “rasta roko”, especially after having failed to raise public emotions during his “operation jail bharo”.

People of Punjab understand Mr Badal’s anxiety to come back into the limelight but at the moment he cannot do anything especially in the face of the anti-corruption campaign unleashed by Capt Amarinder Singh.

Col KULDIP SINGH GREWAL (retd), Patiala

New airport

A new airport will be built on the Noida-Agra road to ease congestion at IGIA. It makes me wonder why this airport is not being built in Punjab when more than 50 per cent of the passengers arriving/departing from IGIA, New Delhi, are NRIs from Punjab.


Writers’ demonstration

The Tribune ignored the demonstration by a huge group of writers in front of the residence of the CM at Patiala on February 2. Was this lapse a policy matter?

Dr (Capt) MOHINDER SINGH, Patiala

Marks card in Punjabi

G.N.D.U. issues marks sheets in Punjabi for all its academic courses. This, however, poses a problem for students who want to go abroad for higher studies. It should issue an English transcript of the marks sheet also.


Gita vs Divine Comedy

In the writeup “Gayatri mantra: a song” (Jan 23), the author V.N. Dutta by stating in the opening para that the Gita is a great philosophical poem comparable to Dante’s Divine Comedy has set into motion a debate on the subject. In all literary critiques over the centuries on Dante’s epic book, there is virtually a consensus amongst great minds of literature that Dante’s book is his supreme work of fiction which was inspired by Dante’s love for Beatrice whom he sublimated from the image of desire to angelic status. Therefore, comparing the Gita to Divine Comedy is comparing the uncomparables.

As to author’s observation that Bhagwat Gita is a great philosophical poem, we do need to remember that philosophy means “philo” (love) plus “sophy” (knowledge).

This love for knowledge is fulfilled through development and enrichment of mind. The spiritual goal of all Eastern religions is to go beyond mind by transcending it. Patanjali in the opening stanza of his epic “Yog Sutras” has said that yoga aims at cessation of mind.

On the other hand, the growth of philosophical throughts over the centuries has brought philosophy to the stage of studying gloom, doom and despair starting from Schopenhauer to existentialists like Kierkegaard and Sartre creating their tributaries into literary realm through literary figures like Camus, Proust and others espousing the central theme that there is no pursuit that the man engages in with more dedication than the pursuit of unhappiness. Philosophy has brought multitudes of minds to where Arjuna was at the commencement of the Gita.

R.C. KHANNA, Amritsar

Water crisis

Dharamsala town is facing an acute shortage of drinking water due to the prolonged dry spell. The IPH Department, which is supposed to manage the resources properly, is grossly mismanaging the supply system.


Noise pollution

Mini buses passing by the side of the girls school and the Civil Hospital at Bhucho Mandi cause hell of a noise with shrieking horns.


Bhucho Mandi, (Bathinda).

Appointment of Lokpal

The previous Lokpal of Punjab expired about a month ago. The government has not yet appointed his successor. Why?


Role of Governors

This is with reference to the editorial “Role of Governors” (Jan. 14). In India, the Governor is like an appendix — useless when inactive and liable to be removed if active.

K.J.S. AHLUWALIA, Amritsar

VIPs & commoners

Some time back I was in Oslo (Norway). We were at an Indian store to buy provisions. There came unannounced on a bicycle the Home Minister of the country with no security, not even a cop in tow. No traffic was stopped, no shop was closed. I introduced myself to him, and had a brief tete-e-tete.

This is in sharp contrast to what happens in India.

Once Reynolds, a famous painter of the 18th century and a wit of Dr Samuel Johnson’s circle, was walking down a narrow lane. From the opposite direction ambled slowly a tall, bulky Lord. Both met in the middle of the lane. The question arose as to who should give the way. Piqued at the audacity of Reynolds, the Lord said: “I never give way to a scoundrel,” “But I do, sir,” retorted Reynolds. Obviously, the week always go to the wall.

Dr C.D. VERMA, Faridabad



Education for ‘our’ & ‘their’ kids

Many children, owing to the remoteness of their villages or the economic hardships of their parents, do not have the privilege of studying in institutions providing wholesome education. They do not have educated parents to help them with their homework. A further blow has been given to their aspirations towards a meaningful, practical education by the recent decision to revert to the old system of introducing English at a very delayed stage in government schools. Such a decision, even if it does not block all educational and professional avenues for the underprivileged altogether, certainly results in creating insurmountable obstacles on their way to more satisfying careers and lives. And this has been amply demonstrated by the chequered educational past of Punjab.

Anyone who has ever given a passing thought to the vast unevenness in the educational patterns of private and government schools in terms of affordability and non-affordability of quality education) must have felt cheated for the sake of all those innocent unprivileged children.

Isn’t it the height of absurdity, and a crying shame at that, that our educational mandarins chalk out one system for their own children and grandchildren, and quite a different one for the children in government schools? Why these different yardsticks? Why this policy of “education for our children, excuses for others”?

YUBEE GILL, GND University, Amritsar


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