Menon lived in an unreal world

This refers to “When an Army Chief almost quit” by Brig. C.B. Khanduri (Spectrum, April 16). Field Marshal Montgomery of Alamein K.G. observed, “Leadership is a battle for (winning) hearts of men.”

It can be won only if a leader is a man whom one can look up to, whose personal judgement is unbiased and one who inspires. The caustic-tongued, abrasive, highly arrogant and swollen-headed Krishna Menon did not inspire confidence, living as he was in an unreal world of his own creation.

Decision and action are assets that are not always adhered to by politicians. Unfortunately, relations between the Defence Minister, a statesman and a soldier were a strife of opposites. Undeniably, not being far-sighted and wanting to assert civilian superiority over faujis, with utter disregard for the Army’s opinion, Menon caused havoc in the Army with the disastrous consequences of the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict, thereby letting the country down.

Dear readers

Letters to the Editor, neatly hand-written or typed, upto 150 words, should be sent to the Letters Editor, The Tribune, Sector 29 C, Chandigarh. Letters can also be emailed at the following address: letters@tribunemail.com

— Editor-in-Chief


India learnt the bitter lesson that in today’s world, there is no place for weak nations who cannot resort to military aggression to defend their boundaries.

Roshni Johar, Shimla.


In a democracy there is civilian supremacy but civilian ministers have a limited vision. The disciplined minds of the officers from the defence services can only think on strategic lines. That is what happened in 1959.

The Chinese, rejecting the McMohan Line, declared Tibet as an inalienable part of China and extended their occupation to Aksai Chin, overlooking Chushul and Rezan La.

The then Defence Minister was not a militaryman. He could not understand the tactical issues of defence. Menon, with a different perspective, harped on India-China friendship. He felt no need for the modernisation of the Indian Army. The shameful debacle of 1962 in NEFA made it clear that there was lacunae in our defence set-up. Gen Thimayya, the then Chief of the Army Staff did not press for the acceptance of his resignation on the intervention of Jawaharlal Nehru. Political bosses prefer an officer who is pliant enough to be cultivated.

L.K. MANUJA, Nahan

A landmark Dosti

This refers to M.L. Dhawan’s “Dosti on screen” (Spectrum, April 16). Rajshri Productions’ Dosti (1966) was a milestone in portraying the deep emotional bonds between two friends, one blind and the other lame, during all types of challenges of life. Such was the sentimentality of their friendship that one cried often during the movie. It was also a musical hit with almost every song becoming popular.

Another great movie was B.R. Chopra’s Naya Daur (1957), which brought together Dilip Kumar (Shankar) and Ajit (Kishan) as close friends who later turn foes because of their love for the same woman (Vyjayanthimala). The film was a hit with the masses and had a catchy and lilting musical score by O.P. Nayyar. Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand came together as friends in Gemini’s Insaniyat (1953) where their friendship continued as the thespian Dilip Kumar in keeping with his tragedy king image comes to terms with himself after coming to know that the heroine, Bina Rai, loves not him but Dev Anand.

Brig H.S. SANDHU, Panchkula

The terrorist within

‘The terrorist is inside us’ by Charu Singh (Saturday Extra, April 15) was timely. Such articles are the need of the hour. Atrocities caused by society provoke terrorism, nearly all of us are potential terrorists. It is only a fraction of people who take extreme steps to express themselves.

N.K. SONI, Kasauli

Absorbing piece

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s “Tricks memory plays” (Saturday Extra, March 4). The write-up was absorbing. I saw Shakuntala Devi during college days. She had been invited to showcase her natural gift of memory. One could not help but marvel at how she solved all mathematical problems in a split second.

Most psychologists believe that memory is a native power, which involves learning, retention, recall and recognition. Hence it can’t be improved or trained but the methods leading to memorising can be improved. n

Tarsem Bumrah, Batala

A peerless poet

This refers to the tidings “Ghalib goes Polish” (Spectrum, April 9), Many persons have rendered his verses into English. According to Ralph Russel, an authority on Urdu literature, if Ghalib’s “language had been English, he would have been recognised all over the world as a great poet long ago”. He gave a new direction to Urdu ghazal and declared with genuine pride: Hain aur bhee duniya mein sukhanvar bahot achchhey / kaihtey hain ke Ghalib ka hai andaaz-e-bayaan aur. Yet he rued that his poetry did not receive the acclaim it deserved. In his book Mehr-e-Neemroz he pointed out to Bahadur Shah Zafar that Shah Jahan’s court-laureate, Kaleem, was weighed against gold and silver and he wished that at least his verses should be weighed against those of that poet. He did not consider his kalaam inferior to that of Kaleem. He declared: Shohrat-e-she’ram be geeti ba’d-e-man khaahad shudan (My verses will get world-wide fame after my death). The lovers of Urdu poetry read and hear his verses with keen relish and give vent to their feelings through his couplets even after 137 years of his death.


Dropout problem

This refers to “Fail-safe schools” (Spectrum, March 26). Jaspal Bhatti, in his inimitable humour, has suggested ways and means to stem the rot caused by the dropout problem in the state schools. In an ironic way he hit the nail on the head as the plight of state schools is giving way to the so-called public schools being opened in every nook and corner in the name of giving quality education. Actually their main concern is to make money and let the child get through the examinations by hook or crook.

This is happening because state schools, particularly in the rural areas, lack basic infrastructure. Teachers there don’t teach but indulge in discussing petty politics, eating, drinking and making merry. A work culture doesn’t exist there. So in spite of various student welfare schemes launched in schools, the dropout trend is on the increase because the child, who occupies the central place in the educational process, is being neglected for no fault of his.


Joy and woe

It was exhilirating to read Khushwant Singh’s write-ups titled “Make peace with pain” and “Modern short verse” (Saturday Extra, April 15). I was reminded of what William Blake wrote:

“Joy and woe are woven fine,

A clothing for the soul divine;

Under every grief and pine,

Run a joy with silken twine.

It is right it should be so,

Man was made for joy and woe;

And when this we rightly know,

Thro’ the world we safely go.”

What ananda it will be when we learn to go through the sea of life making peace with pain.

Jaswant Singh Sidhu, Ludhiana

Parliament must have Bhagat Singh’s portrait

This refers to Chaman Lal’s “He left a rich legacy for the youth” (Spectrum, March 19). Shaheed Bhagat Singh by any standard was one of the most determined and daring youths of this country. One is greatly moved whenever one reads about this great son of the soil.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev were sentenced to death in the Lahore conspiracy case and ordered to be hanged on March 28, 1931. But in view of the great upsurge in the country, the British government hanged them on March 23, 1931, at 7.30 pm. The bodies of the three martyrs were cremated under the cover of darkness on the banks of the Sutlej, about 10 km from Ferozepore.

The Tribune was the only daily that did not bend under the pressure of the authorities and carried wide coverage. The Tribune of March 25, 1931, in a banner cried out against the execution of the three young heroes. It displayed the famous photograph of Bhagat Singh in a hat, which was taken in a studio in Chandni Chowk, New Delhi. Jinnah also condemned the execution.

I should like to ask the Indian Government as to what prevents it from hanging a picture of Bhagat Singh in Parliament. After all his contributions are far greater than those whose pictures hang there.



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