Media must focus on development

This has reference to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s address to the Kolkata Press Club under the caption Media as partner: Giving positive thrust to development (Perspective, July 17). Dr Kalam has very rightly stressed that the media should widely cover innovative developments at the grassroots for the benefit of the nation. Such achievements need emulation elsewhere in the country.

By giving some concrete examples, Dr Kalam has shown how these positive grassroot-level developments are good for the country. The support of the media is a must to realise the cherished dream of India becoming a developed nation before 2020.

However, the chances of the media following this sane advice seem remote as some media houses are guided more by the commercial interests. There is also the space constraint.

When market forces are prevailing over many of our actions today, the first choice for the media seems to be advertisements and then, the news content.




The media is like a mirror which reflects the image of the country. It can play a major role in national development. It can change the mindset of common people and motivate them to work towards growth.

The media should be geared up to make people aware of our limited national resources. A few days ago, when the BJP tried to politicise the terrorist attack on Ayodhya, the media reminded its leaders about the terrorists’ attack on Parliament, Akshardham and Raghunath temple when they were in power.

India cannot become a developed nation before 2020 without the help of the media. That is why our President has rightly appealed to the Press to make India free from corruption.

Kokowal-Mazari, Garshankar


Dr Kalam has rightly mentioned that “a nation without vision is like a ship in the ocean without an engine for powering and sails (rudder) for direction”.

The media persons should undertake the task of motivating every citizen of the nation, especially the villagers. Instead of indulging in biased writing about the politicians, emphasis should be laid on success stories in rural development.

The media should highlight the poor condition in the villages and the lack of basic amenities like shortage of pure drinking water, education up to grassroots level and so on from a positive angle.

Talwara Township

Koh-i-Noor: Some facts

With reference to I don’t think India will ever get the Kohinoor by Kuldip Nayar and “Jewel chase” by K.R.N. Swamy (Spectrum, July 17), Koh-i-Noor was presented to Maharaja Ranjit Singh by Shah Shuja-u-Mulk, deposed ruler of Kabul, as a token of gratitude for securing his release from Ata Mohd Khan, Governor Kashmir, who threatened him with death to extort this matchless jewel.

Visitors to the Lahore Durbar saw it in the shape of a small hen’s egg, “set as an armlet with a large diamond on either side of it.” In reply to a query by the Sikh sovereign, the Shah said that the real value of the diamond was that whoever held it was victorious over his enemies, negating the legend that it brought ill-luck to its possessor.

Article 3 of the Treaty of 1949 (Annexation of Punjab) treated the diamond as private property of Maharaja Dalip Singh, who was about 10 then. The then Governor-General, Lord Dalhousie, took it personally from Dr Login, who held charge of the toshahkhana. It was presented to Queen Victoria in 1849.

After her first meeting with Dalip Singh on July 1, 1854, she mentioned in her journal: “He was beautifully dressed and covered with diamonds. The Koh-i-Noor belonged to and was once worn by him”. It adorned Queen Mary’s state crown at the coronation of King George V.

It is said that Maharaja Ranjeet Singh intended to bequeath the diamond either to Jagannath Temple at Puri or Harmandar Sahib, but Beli Ram, who held charge of the toshahkhana did not give it. It is not clear which of the two religious places it was actually meant for.


Jumping the queue

Khushwant Singh’s column (Saturday Extra, July 16) was thought-provoking. In this transient world nothing is certain except death.

Particularly poignant was the writer’s reference to the graves of British children in cemetries. The death rate was high because the climate did not suit the children. Emotional inscriptions on the graves reveal the suffering at the death of the young ones. An example is an epitaph at the graveyard situated near St. Bede’s College, which reads:

Oh, traveller, tread gently on this sacred spot, here lies the soul which is not forgot.


Faulty representation

This refers to the Revolt of the Cannon Fodder,” (Spectrum, July 10). The facts mentioned in the book do not seem to be convincing.

The recruitment during World War I from Punjab was not manipulated, as alleged in the book, but was entirely voluntary.

It is an exaggeration to say that 3.5 lakh soldiers were drafted from Punjab and sent to Europe to fight the war.

No expert on military history has ever accepted the versions that the soldiers were to fight in Europe under the ‘’incompetent Generals who knew little about the modern warfare and were eager to press their soldiers to the front, to die in the barrage of machine gun fire.”

Indian soldiers suffered major defeat on the Mesopotamia front when the Commander of these forces, General Townshend, had to surrender to the Turks at Kul-el-Amara.

Making sweeping statements that British Generals were incompetent and knew nothing about the modern warfare is nothing but mischievous.


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