The creative gift of Steinback

This refers to "Of Mice and Men" by Lovelina Singh (Spectrum, Aug 29). John Steinbeck ranks among such master American prose writers as Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Sherwood Anderson, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. Indeed, the countless images of human beings created by him in his works have entered the consciousness of readers throughout the world.

He took his native state of California as the background for his early novels and short stories, and described the life of those working on the land with perfect realism and intimate understanding. As a young man, Steinbeck worked as a casual labourer, and some of his finest fiction, such as Tortilla Flat (1935), a quasi-bucolic tale, and Of Mice and Men (1937) are based on his encounters with the migrant workers of California’s farming valley.

Tortilla Flat (1935), his first success, depicts a fantastic world. This tale of anti-bourgeois romanticism suggests an early stage in Steinbeck’s development towards The Grapes of Wrath, which was his masterpiece.

Similarly, Of Mice and Men (1937) established him as one of the most interesting writers. Indeed, Steinbeck’s creative gift must be assessed as great and enduring as of any serious scholar of American literature.




Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, neatly hand-written or typed in double space, should not exceed the 150-word limit. These can be sent by post to the Letters Editor, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160030.

Letters can also be sent by e-mail to: letters@tribuneindia.com 




An apocalyptic thriller

This refers to Shastri Ramachandaran’s review of Is New York Burning by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins, (Spectrum, Sept 5).

I disagree with him when he calls the book “meatless pulp”. Surely, this apocalyptic thriller wasn’t created to presage September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. Rather these most tragic happenings inspired political fiction warning the world about the great dangers of escalating terrorist acts. The exciting and interesting facets of the world’s most advanced anti-sabotage technology and gadgetry, which was used to foil the plans of the frenzied perpetrators of jehad have been overlooked.

It may be wrong to call the book pulp fiction. The novel grimly highlights the dangers which the followers of Osama bin Laden pose. The recent incident of savagery at Beslan in Russia, where 340 children and adults lost their lives is a point in case.

The pace of narration is breathtaking and the story has a chilling effect. In the end, one may conclude that the book dramatically reveals the showdown between democracy and terrorism to a thrilling finish, which makes it a compelling two-hour read.


Unique Pran

This refers to Kuldip Dhiman’s article on Pran (Spectrum, Aug 22). There is no doubt that he is one of the best actors in the world. He has a style, which is unique. The way he speaks and reacts in his movies is a treat for all movie-lovers. Pran changed the concept of acting from the theatrical to the cinematic. When Pran is in the frame, everybody’s eye and attention settle on him.


Guru’s bani

This refers to Roopinder Singh’s “The word of faith” (Spectrum, Sept 5), on the Guru Granth Sahib. The writer has incorrectly mentioned that Guru Granth Sahib contains the bani of 17 bhattas (bards).

The holy text contains the bani of 11 bhattas, six Gurus, 15 bhagats and four other Sikhs.


Contract marriages

This refers to Usha Raman’s write-up “Arabian Knightmare” (Spectrum, Aug 22). The writer has drawn our attention towards the growing percentage of contract marriages which ruin the lives of young Muslim girls. Undeniably, illiteracy leads to such marriages. But it is also the rising percentage of NRIs that is causing harm to the lives of young girls.

It is important that the age limit for marriage should be fixed. It should be made mandatory to get a licence for marrying outside the country. Illiteracy must be rooted out. Marriage over telephones and with parda pratha should be banned. Those indulging in the sale of girls should be put behind bars. All qazis (clerics) and marriage brokers indulging in such practices should be fined heavily.


What makes a leader

This refers to Kiran Bedi’s column on the theme “Let’s demystify the roots of leadership” (Sunday Oped, Sept 12). She has highlighted what makes a great leader. A nation is known by the contribution of its leaders. A true leader can give a new turn to history.

Not one but diverse qualities of honesty, simplicity, integrity, dedication, commitment to high moral values, courage of conviction, truthfulness in thought, word and deed, fearlessness, vision and willingness to lay down one’s life for noble causes and concern for the poorest of the poor will go a long way in making a true leader. A true leader will win the hearts of the people.

Mahatma Gandhi is called Father of the Nation because he followed in letter and spirit moral values, truth and non-violence. Through Ahimsa or non-violence, he not only brought freedom to the country but also set a noble example of austerity and spirituality in politics which is worthy of emulation. He showed how a leader should conduct himself in public life. Thus, Gandhi is more relevant today than ever before if human race is to survive.

Prof K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

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