Tohra’s life was a saga of sacrifice

Apropos of the editorial “Tohra the titan” (April 2), Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s life was a saga of sacrifice. A member of the Rajya Sabha and President of the SGPC for a record time, he was a symbol of honesty. Not even his critic could raise a finger towards his sincerity of purpose and integrity.

Tohra inherited no property and left nothing behind. He took part in the Parja Mandal agitation in the erstwhile Patiala state before Partition. During the last 60 years, he was imprisoned for more than 14 years before and after Partition. He never compromised on principles and ideals for personal benefit.

Now that Tohra is no more, there is an onerous responsibility on the part of the Shiromani Akali Dal in appointing a person of high integrity and moral values as the next SGPC chief.

Major NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), Mohali





The death of Gurcharan Singh Tohra has created a vacuum which might never be filled up. This is not only because of his indispensable contribution to various movements in Sikhism, but also his impeccable personality. Such a flawless character is very hard to find.

Tohra was a role model and an ideal for the rest of us. His death is an irreparable loss for all of us but death is the ultimate destiny of human beings. It is an inevitable reality one has to face. We can only get inspiration from his towering stature. There is a lot to learn from his life and his achievements. I cannot help but say:

His Life was gentle, and the elements

So mix’d in him, that Nature might stand up

And to say to all the world, “This was a man!”



The BBC said on the death of Chairman Mao on September 9 ,1976: “It seems as if the Himalayas have fallen down”. The same may be said about Tohra in the context of the Sikh politics. He was a toiling Sikh like Bhai Lalo and worked hard in the fields with his own hands. After a long innings in politics, he had the same small piece of ancestral land and a small house. This is a rare instance for an Indian politician.

A leader of the masses, he was accessible to all. It goes to the credit of Tohra that he never bowed before any Sikh leader, whether it was Barnala or Badal or anyone else. He always stuck to the principles.

I pay my humble tributes to the departed leader on behalf of the Australian Sikhs.



Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s ceremony was marked by simplicity and this indeed needs appreciation. We need to let the world know that rituals are for the weak people and brave people follow examples of their leaders and that is the best tribute to a departed leader.

As far as “Panth Rattan”, I don’t think he is a candidate. Only exceptionally well political leaders should be given that status. “Panth Rattan” is mainly for social reformers and those who have no interest of their own. Although in Sikh politics, getting involved politically and providing motivation as well as leadership is also very much considered a part of Seva. Nawab Kapoor Singh is the best example: he was involved very much in militancy but had no interest of his own.

AMAR S. DUGGAL, Atlanta Ga


SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s demise is a sad occasion. He was reportedly air-lifted to Delhi in a critical condition against the medical advice of the local hospital where he was undergoing treatment. May one ever know the exact basis on which the Shiromani Akali Dal President accused the local doctors for “not providing proper treatment” to the deceased?

BALVINDER, Chandigarh

What the common man wants

These are election times. Every leader, big or small, is wooing voters in their own way on the basis of caste, community, religion and region. No one is bothered about what people want. None wants to face the stark reality.

We have come a long way since we attained Independence, but a lot more needs to be done to ameliorate the sufferings of the common people. Why don’t political parties and leaders exert themselves to solve the burning problems of population explosion, illiteracy, unemployment, corruption and law and order problem? They should come out with concrete plans for solving these problems on a war footing.

Our leaders move in tight security. They do not know or understand the plight of the common people who are not sure of their safety because of the deteriorating law and order situation. Newspapers are full of reports of rape, theft, corruption and murder. Was this the country for which our illustrious sons laid their lives? I will exhort people to vote for candidates with an unblemished record in the coming elections.


Indian Airlines fares

Indian Airlines and other airlines operating in the country are on a price war. They are reducing the fares and alluring the customers with discounted fares, if booked in advance.

To the disadvantage of the senior citizens, a decision was taken by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to allow discount to them subject to fulfilling three conditions: the booking has to be done seven days in advance, the return ticket will have to be taken (validity for one year) and he/she must stay at least for eight days at the destination.

While arriving at this decision, the authorities overlooked the fact that most senior citizens have to travel only during emergencies like illness, attending to social obligations and the like. The authorities concerned should do justice to senior citizens by lifting the three conditions.


Toll exemption

Apropos of the report “Defence personnel exempted from toll” (Feb 4), the writer mentions that the defence personnel and private or government vehicles accompanying them are exempted from paying toll tax while passing through any road or bridge. It quotes the directions of the Union Ministries of Surface Transport and Law and Justice in this regard.

Even though I am attached to the Army Headquarters Liaison Unit, Station Headquarters, Delhi Cantonment, I am forced to pay toll tax everyday while proceeding for work. Will the Union Ministries concerned please intervene and stop this harassment?

The government has no right to collect toll tax from defence personnel like me when the Centre has exempted us from such levy.

Capt JANESH MALHOTRA, Delhi Cantonment


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