Patel didn’t ask Gandhi to step aside

THIS has reference to V.N. Datta’s article “The Partition Controversy” (Nov 5). He has underplayed Jawaharlal Nehru’s role during and immediately after the partition of India. Datta says that Patel asked Mahatma Gandhi to step aside. No one can buy this argument. Patel was in no position to ask a leader of Mahatma’s stature to step aside. Both Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru were the undisputed leaders of the masses.

Nehru had instant appeal to Indian intelligentsia for his scientific and modern outlook. Besides, Nehru had personal charisma which had great appeal for the masses and could influence Lord Mountbatten as well. It was due to Nehru’s influence that Mountbatten advised the Indian princes to acceed to India.

Datta’s another contention that but for the intervention of Patel and Menon, the whole of Punjab, Assam and Bengal would have gone to Pakistan is factually wrong. Of course, Jinnah did make such a demand, but it was summarily dismissed. How could vast area of East Punjab, which at that time included Haryana and Kangra district, Shimla and Dalhousie where non-Muslim population was overwhelming in numbers, could be given to Pakistan?



Moreover, at that time the bulk of the Indian army was recruited from this area and it was the home of the soldiers. Under no circumstances this area could have been given to Pakistan. Similarly, Hindu majority areas of Bengal and Assam could not become part of Pakistan as the division of the country was done on the basis of religion.

V.P. MEHTA, Chandigarh

Election gimmick

This has reference to the editorial “Chautala’s sops” (Nov 3). I agree that the timing and the motive of such moves are questionable. How can a Chief Minister make such tall promises without prior budgetary sanction?

As it is, the financial position of the state is not sound. The government seems unable to pay the sugarcane price to the farmers who have been agitating for their dues for many years. Municipal employees did not get wages for many months and retired employees are not given pension and other dues.

The monthly allowance of Rs 100 to every unemployed youth is purely an election gimmick. The Chief Minister’s sops would be appreciated if he announces them after clearing all the arrears of the employees.

N.M. BAKSHI, Badah (Kullu)

Architect of Barog tunnel

IT is heartening to note that the year-long centenary celebrations of the Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge railway track were celebrated on a grand scale by the Northern Railway since November, 2003. A lot of events were drawn up to commemorate the event. The people of the region were also included in the celebrations which concluded on Tuesday.

Ironically, however, the organisers failed to remember British engineer, Barog, the man behind the original Barog tunnel. The tunnel could not be completed due to a wrong alignment. This was the longest tunnel on this rail line. He was so committed to the cause that when he was fined Re 1 for wasting government money in the tunnel, he committed suicide. His unmarked and ill-maintained grave can be found near the government-run Pinewood Hotel, Barog.

Creditably, The Tribune carried an article under the caption “Man behind Barog tunnel lies forgotten” in its Sunday magazine (June 15, 2002). The railway authorities have failed to remember the engineer even after this important fact was brought to light in the newspaper. I hope the authorities will duly recognise his sacrifice and services by holding an appropriate service in his memory.

GURPREET SINGH JOHAL, Mundiani (Ludhiana)



Laudable, but…

This has reference to the report, “CM for speedy redressal of public grievances”. A laudable objective indeed. The Chief Minister referred to is Mr Virbhadra Singh of Himachal Pradesh. It seems he does not practice what he preaches.

Over the years, I have more than once drawn his personal attention to the hardship faced by the residents of Malela village (under the Irrigation and Public Health sub-division at Kotgarh) on account of suspension of the drinking water supply for the last 15 years. The last two complaints addressed to him by name are dated June 10, 2004 and Sept 20, 2004. None of the representations (including those submitted to the local MLAs from time to time) has evoked any response, leave alone any relief.

D.C. CHAUHAN, Melala, Kotgarh (Shimla)

Not all that rosy

Komal Sandhu’s letter (Nov 4) on Kasauli gives a pleasant idea about this small hill station. There is no denying that Kasauli is quite picturesque and green. It is a nice place for a day’s holiday, but this charm is fading away with passage of time.

As a frequent visitor, I have seen a sea change in Kasauli and its surrounding hill stations. The vegetation in and around Kasauli is threatened. Illegal constructions have come up like anything and the hills have become dirty. One can see polythene bags, empty liquor bottles and other rubbish scattered throughout the Dharampur-Kasauli drive. The government has not developed even a single picnic spot for the visitors.

The tourists have to pay thorough the nose for food and snacks at private restaurants. The parking charges at the Kasauli bus stand are also exorbitant. On weekends, hooligans and tipsy drivers add to the woes of many a tourist. The drive is unsafe and does not have any police post and a petrol station.


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