An unrecognised queen of melody

Suraiya had nursed a feeling of despair in not getting the right kind of recognition by the people in power. Neither the Government of India nor the Government of Punjab ever bothered to recognise Suraiya’s contribution to music. Her contemporary in Pakistan, Noor Jehan received the official recognition of “Malika-e-Tarannum”, her contemporary in India, Surinder Kaur, received the recognition of “Punjab’s Folk Voice of the Century”.

Lata, who came on the stage later than Suraiya, has been awarded the Bharat Ratna and Dada Sahib Phalke Award. Suraiya never received her proper place in the galaxy of all-time great artistes. Talat Mahmood was another great maestro who never found his proper place in the form of official recognition.

Harjap Singh Aujla, New Jersey, (USA)

“Awaaz de...”

Apropos of V. Gangadhar’s write-up “Best-ever singing heroine” on Suraiya (Feb 1), the song “Awaaz de kahan hai” has been wrongly attributed to the late melody queen, Suraiya. In fact, this famous duet was sung by Noor Jehan and Surendra.




Atrocities under Niazi

Bravery, valour and loyalty to one’s country are not enough to make a person a good human being. Or, it may be that there are times when the best of men, driven by God-only-knows-what, leave aside their humanity in the name of what they believe to be a higher cause.

In the case of General Niazi that happened when he was made the martial law administrator of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971. In a span of nine months the soldiers under his command heaped some of the worst atrocities on the unarmed people of East Pakistan. Rape and murder became common place. The students and professors of various colleges, but especially of Dacca University, were targeted for demanding the establishment of a duly elected government. The fleeing Hindus from that land found shelter across the border in what then was known as West Bengal.

Finally, Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, had the Indian Army intervene in East Pakistan. Essentially the India Army worked in coordination with the guerrilla fighters from Bangladesh. This came to be known as the Indo-Pak war of 1971. It began on 3rd December. On the 16th General Niazi was forced to surrender along with 91,000 of his troops, to Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora of the Eastern Command. General Aurora and Niazi had been batchmate. Perhaps that would explain the gentlemanly treatment that was meted out to him by the Indian Army.

M. RAJIVLOCHAN, Department of History, PU, Chandigarh


Vedanta in daily life

In the present times of gloom and doom, when values are declining and morals are reclining and the celebrated values like honesty. integrity, nobility, morals, ethics, virtues, justice and righteousness are proving hollow giving way to corruption that has impoverished the whole societal set-up, solace lies in spirituality.

Spirituality brings out the divinity in every individual. It is a love affair with God. It focusses a person’s attention on the divine effulgence radiating from one’s own heart. God is not something external, he is inside us. The mind is the key instrument in a human being’s body, a proper regulation of which, with meditation and spiritual guidance, can help one evolve spiritually to the highest. Only spirituality can initiate the process of inner expansion and eventual freedom from finite existence and supreme self-realisation. True spirituality can be achieved through selfless service to humanity and leading a life on righteousness.

Social studies reveal that high spiritual and emotional quotient are normally associated with a high degree of integrity. Honesty, responsibility and care and concern for others accounts for nearly 70 per cent of overall rating.

Social analysts Francis Fukuyama and Robert Putnam say that societies with a high level of trust, where people are honest, adhere to promises and respect contracts, tend to prosper. So, faster growth is not just a consequence of appropriate economic policy, savings rate, human capital and fiscal deficits but, somewhat surprisingly, the level of honesty in the citizenry.

Nearly 83 per cent of the world’s population adhering to some religious or spiritual belief system, religion and spirituality would be the dynamic force in the days to come.

Dr B. L. TEKRIWAL, Mumbai

Priyanka and Rahul

Your editorial “Family first” (Jan 26) speaks volumes of anguished thoughts that the “Congress still believes that the family is all that matters, irrespective of what happens to the party”. Even Sonia Gandhi’s Italian charm has failed to entice the voters. This is evident from the debacle the Congress faced in the recent assembly elections.

The sudden “appearance” of Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi on electoral stage seems nothing short of manna from heavens for a disjointed and ailing Congress party! The only qualification they have is that they are the Nehru-Indira Gandhi siblings.

The Congress is full of praise for Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi, projecting them as future leaders, if not Prime Ministers yet! Have they been active in any socially relevant event before, forget active politics?

R.L. Stevenson has aptly said: “Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.”

D.V. JOSHI, Bartana (Zirakpur)

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