Saviours of Partition victims

This refers to “Insaniyat amidst insanity” (Spectrum, Oct 16). Usha and Rajmohan Gandhi have aptly described the humane approach adopted by people like Bhagat Saab and Dr Khushdeva Singh whose compassionate attitude during those turbulent times saved innumerable lives. Such people, ignoring their religious affiliations, adopted the religion of humanity and stood out as sentinels of hope.

My grandmother has often narrated to me incidents related to the Partition which describe the benevolent acts of my great grandfather Biswedar Basant Singh, better known as Hakeem ji, during the Partition mayhem. My native village Lakha Singh Wala in Fatehgarh Sahib district had a considerable population of Muslim peasantry.

As the communal hatred spread, Muslims became vulnerable targets. They often had to take refuge in sugarcane fields. Basant Singh personally delivered food and other necessities to the hiding Muslim brethren.

Post-Partition, some of the Muslims regularly corresponded with my great grandfather and expressed their gratitude. I would like to dedicate an Urdu verse to such saviours of humanity: Maine us waqt bhi baanta amrit subko/Jis waqt tha fizaon mein bhi zahar ghula hua (I distributed nectar at a time when even the environs were poisoned to the core).



Future shock

I have read the report “Preventing Future Shock” (Spectrum, Oct 23) with great concern. The prediction of experts that another big earthquake is yet to come makes a strong case to prepare ourselves to face the tragedy. We need not pay merely lip service to such tragedies.

The Union Government, NGOs, international agencies and the people at large should work as a team to evolve an action plan and face boldly natural calamities like the earthquake on October 8. The need of the hour is to train people in disaster management starting from watching weather reports. We need to identify the weaknesses and difficulties in our rehabilitation programmes.

To ensure quake-proof houses, the building bylaws must be implemented in letter and spirit. There are economic implications of natural calamities that affect the lifetime earnings of an individual, leading to slow economic growth besides other fallouts. There is a strong case for evolving a long-term strategy for rehabilitation of the victims.

We need to give economic incentives to the affected like concessions in taxes, subsidies, loans at lower rates of interest and work permits under constitutional provisions. We should evolve a national calamity management policy with guidelines for an action plan to deal with such happenings.

Dr M. M. GOEL,

Kurukshetra University Kurukshetra

Bulkier law books

The write-up “Wounded Innocence” (Spectrum, Oct 9) on child abuse is thought provoking. However, it apparently banks solely upon legislation to fight the menace. This restricts the scope for bringing about any improvement in the worrisome situation.

It will serve little purpose to make our law books bulkier when we have little inclination to go by statutes. In the UK, there are fewer written laws as compared to India. In fact, we have the lengthiest-ever Constitution. The difference in performance, however, speaks volumes about our respect for law.

If the incidence of child abuse is rising, it only means we are regressing morally. It is doubtful whether legislations are of much help in ameliorating the situation. They are meaningful only when law-enforcement agencies perform their jobs effectively. Law in any case is a poor instrument of social reform.

M. P. S. CHADHA, Chandigarh

Progressive poet

This has reference to Khushwant Singh’s “Gogo and Faiz” (Saturday Extra, Oct 15). The couplets attributed to Faiz do not find a mention in any of his poetical works. He was a peerless progressive poet. Because of his vehement criticism of the powers that be, he had to undergo the rigours of imprisonment.

Faiz used well-turned expressions and beautiful similes in his verses. For instance: Zindagi kya kisee muflis ki qaba hai jis mein/ Har ghari dard key paiband siyey jaatey hain (Is life some pauper’s tunic on which, every moment, patches of pain are stitched?).

His verses are full of substance and free from extravagant verbal padding or overarching eloquence. There is no straining for effect at the cost of thought. He also wrote some Punjabi verses and eulogised those of Waris Shah and Bulley Shah.


More the merrier

Vijay Mohan’s “Battling for green cover” (Saturday Extra, Oct 8) is an authentic account of the Ecological Task Force (ETF) of the Territorial Army (TA). The ETF has been trying to curb deforestation and ecological degradation.

While various government departments have failed to conserve natural resources like soil, water and vegetation, the ETF has done a commendable job against all odds. The armed forces have always performed the tasks assigned to them in a professional and a disciplined way, be it the battle against deforestation or coping with natural calamities like floods, quakes and tsunami.

More such battalions of the ETF should be raised and schemes like Hariyali of the Ministry of Rural Development should be handed over to such battalions so that the country can derive full benefit of the huge investments made in such schemes. It will not only produce better results, but also help in providing employment to the youth.



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