In defence of PM’s speech at Oxford

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s speech at Oxford University should be understood in the context he spoke (July 10). If you are visiting a friendly country where you are being honoured, you are not supposed to speak ill of them.

In spite of numerous atrocities committed by the British Raj on Indians to save their rule in India, they have also given us many good things like a democratic set up, freedom of speech, freedom of judiciary etc. as mentioned by our Prime Minister. Even the basic structure of the Constitution was formed keeping in view the British system of working.

Their greatest contribution to India is the unification of all princely Indian states and the end of the era of Rajas and Maharajas under whom the people had virtually no rights. We should learn from the British how we must be dedicated and committed to our work.


The excellent railway network that we boast of today is the British gift to us. The buildings and bridges constructed by the British are architectural marvels. Even if they committed atrocities on Indian people fighting for Independence, they have left behind a good heritage which should not be forgotten. Criticism of Dr Manmohan Singh’s speech at Oxford University, therefore, is totally uncalled for.



During his speech in Oxford, the Prime Minister has spoken of the free press, rule of law, and the British Indian administration. It amounts to his confession that his administration is not beneficial for the people who voted him to power.

As for the press freedom, many freedom fighters- cum-journalists of yore, such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak knew well what freedom they enjoyed. The editor of the Punjabi newspaper was imprisoned for six months because he had published a report that an Englishman murdered a native.

They did not spare even their kinsmen. Mr James Routledge, Editor of Friend of India, Calcutta’s reputed newspaper, was forced to leave India as a punishment for publishing a report on the Kuka executions of January 1872 and defending the victims. Over 300 natives attended his farewell party, but not a single Englishman was seen.

It was also the British administrators of justice who declared the people of Punjab as liars. I wish our worthy Prime Minister could have read history too in addition to economics.

SWARAN SINGH SANCHI, Shahpur (Phillaur)


The Prime Minister rightly mentioned at Oxford the contribution of the British Raj for good governance, professional bureaucracy and police amongst others, as reported in the media. He, however, forgot to mention the most important contribution by the British, the military.

In fact, the military was the first institution the British created which, from its humble origin as sepoys to guard their factories grew into a mighty machine of the Raj, initially under the East India Company and thereafter under the Crown.

The Army united India (by conquest and good administration) and laid the foundation of nationhood out of thousands of big and small states and principalities. During the Partition holocaust, when organs of the state had collapse in United Punjab and the bureaucracy and the police were rendered ineffective, the Army, in the form of Boundary Force, protected and transported millions of refugees, both ways across the Radcliffe Line.

Later, the Army saved Kashmir for India in 1947 and subsequently united Hyderabad, Junagarh and other reluctant states, culminating with the liberation of Goa in December 1961. Was India of today possible without the British Indian Army and subsequently its successor, the Indian Army?

Brig HARWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali


In praising the British Raj in London, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has done a great disservice to those who laid down their lives for the Independence. Even Mahatma Gandhi had been turning in his grave at his utterances. How did the Prime Minister forget the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and other atrocities committed on innocent Indians by the British Raj?

D.V. JOSHI, Bartana (Zirakpur)


After 57 years of Independence, a person praising the colonial rule, in the capacity of Prime Minister, is not only surprising but also dangerous for independence and sovereignty of India. Dr Manmohan Singh is the chief architect of the policy of imperialist globalisation in India.


Question of credibility

Salman Khan’s tapes boasting about his proximity to the underworld are disturbing. Pushing it under the carpet would mean ruling the roost by the underworld through the film industry which has large impact on the people, particularly the youth.

The film industry should unite to fight the menace of the underworld invading them, rather than displaying a misplaced loyalty. It is a question of their credibility. Also, it should be a warning signal to all those who get lured by these dons for reasons of money, muscle power or personal  issues. They must realise that to enjoy celebrity status, they should be above board.

MADHU R.D. SINGH, Ambala Cantt


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