India should remain as India

THIS refers to a letter in response to Khushwant Singh’s article “It is time to revive Hindustani” (Windows, April 3). The author of the letter wrote “Hindustan has been the real name of our country for ages.” It is incorrect to make such a remark. Historically speaking Hindustan was not a country and it most certainly was not a name used for the entire subcontinent. Hindustan is a word used by Muslim armies who hailed from outside South Asia to describe an area of land within this region.

Hindustan as it exists today is divided into three Indian states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Uttaranchal. The British had administered Hindustan as the ‘United Provinces’. The Imperial Gazetteer of British India, history books, and authentic maps confirm this.

India was a word used by ancient Greeks for the largely uncharted lands east of the river Indus. Hence, the term “Indian subcontinent”. Therefore, not only is India a more fitting and appropriate name for this country, it is also neutral and sensitive to Indians who are not of the Hindu religion, Hindi speaking or from Hindustan.

India is a secular country, diverse in racial, cultural, religious and linguistic identities. Let it remain so, in name and spirit.

Akhilesh Soni, Via email



Work culture during polls: Onus on ministers, not officials

Apropos of the article “Why India can’t afford a long 5-phase poll schedule” (Perspective, April 25), Major Vijai Singh Mankotia’s concern is misplaced and unreasonable. First, how can we term our democracy as advanced when booth-capturing in some states has become routine and where a large population is illiterate and is to be persuaded to vote?

The writer’s assertion that “even in normal times, there is an abysmal lack of work culture in government offices and establishments” might be true but quite astonishing. Who is responsible for this sad state of affairs? Of course, not the Election Commission with its code of conduct since it has nothing to do with government establishments during normal times. The onus is on the ministers. They must set the departments on the right track since they are the representatives of the people. Hence, they must perform their duties well and live up to people’s expectations.

The writer holds the bureaucracy responsible for bringing government work to a standstill in the name of the code of conduct. This sounds incongruous. The bureaucracy cannot be held responsible for paralysing the functioning of the government The ministers must instruct, before going to the polls, the bureaucracy to look after the interests of the masses and to attend to their grievances. The bureaucracy must be made accountable for proper functioning.

The code of conduct is enforced in all the states from the date of notification to prevent the misuse of government machinery by the ruling parties. Otherwise, the ruling parties start luring people by showering upon them false promises.

Yes, the writer rightly says that the treasury and the state exchequer will continue to foot the high salary bills of the ministers and the chairman of various boards and corporations.

However, since Major Mankotia himself is a minister, how many of his colleagues are ready to forgo their salaries for the period they were busy in the elections and did not serve their state? The number certainly will be very negligible.

Dr VINOD K. CHOPRA, Hamirpur (HP)

PTV programmes

Apropos of Rashmi Talwar’s article “Villagers partial to PTV” (Windows, April 10), PTV is not only the favourite of the people living along the border areas but also of those living away from Indo-Pak border. I often switch on to PTV because of the sobriety of its programmes. And I wonder which are the families whose staple diet is extra marital.

Moreover, PTV telecasts live hockey matches from any part of the world, whereas DD sticks to cricket only. However, I shun those PTV programmes which indulge in India bashing.

Tarsem S. Bumrah, Batala

Unfair to Tohra

In his write-up He could have been ‘Betaaj Badshah’ (Windows, April 17), Khushwant Singh has done great injustice to Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra by wrongly stating that he confessed to having been involved in killing of an innocent Muslim during Partition. It was not Jathedar Tohra, but late Jathedar Jiwan Singh Umranangal, a senior member of the SGPC and a Minister in the Akali government, who had confessed to having participated in the killing of an innocent Muslim. Subsequently, Jathedar Umranangal also atoned this sin. Jathedar Tohra protected all Muslim families in his village and did not allow them to migrate to Pakistan. All these 47 Muslim families are still living in his village.

Secondly, Jathedar Tohra did not ‘surrender’ during Operation Bluestar as stated by the writer, but was surrounded and captured by the Army along with Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and a few other Akali leaders. In its ‘White Paper’, which was described as a “bundle of lies” by the Akali leaders, the Indira Government deliberately and mischievously used the word “surrender” to denigrate and malign the Sikh leaders, who had neither weapons with them nor were waging a war.

Harbir Singh Bhanwar, Media Adviser, SGPC, Amritsar

Khurshid’s fame

Apropos of the article “Remembering Khurshid” (Spectrum, April 18) by Pran Nevile, singer-actress Khurshid shot into fame when she was paired with K.L. Saigal in “Bhakat Surdas” (1942) and “Tansen” (1943).

In the film “Aage Badho” which was released in 1947, her co-star was Dev Anand. Before migrating to Pakistan, she acted in another film titled “Majhdhar”. A duet of this film, which Khurshid sang with Surendra, became very popular. This duet, “Mera chand aa gaya mere dware” is now rarely heard.

Kamlesh Tuli, Delhi

Gender equality

This refers to Vimla Patil’s article ‘When success does not succeed’ (Spectrum, April 18). While most educated people favour equality of opportunities for women, it is often women who misinterpret the concept of gender equality.

Equality cannot be attained by condemnation of man by the so-called feminist organisations.

Ved Guliani, Hisar

Doc on call

Apropos of the article “Keep date with doc” by Nirja Chawla (Spectrum, April 11), the writer has answered many queries which often disturb women. Such articles help and guide the readers.

Neelam Rani, Sangrur


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