India is a peace-loving country

THIS refers to Khushwant Singh’s “We’re hardly peace-loving (Saturday Extra, July 22). One cannot see eye to eye with his views which are rather vague. Undoubtedly, almost the whole world does recognise India as a peace-loving country. The citizens are tolerant, peace-loving and, above all, law-abiding.

The ghastly acts done in the past such as the assassination of the Father of the Nation or Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi (all of whom became victims of violence) were not masterminded by a common Indian. Neither was the orgy of killings that followed these assassinations. Who was behind the homicide that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi or after — whether it was Godhra or Mumbai blasts in 1993?

The author is not unaware of the fact that people behind violence and cruelty are those who have nothing to do with piety. There is no dearth of selfish miscreants who have axes to grind by instigating innocent people to be one another’s foes. They know how to spread hatred and mistrust. A few ghastly incidents can’t decide whether we are peace-loving or not. I am amazed to know how the creator of Juggat Singh (Train to Pakistan), an apostle of peace and goodness, can have such cynical ideas. We should keep in mind the series of bomb blasts in Mumbai last month and the mutual trust and co-operation people of different communities displayed.

Vinod K. Chopra, Hamirpur (HP)

Madan Mohan

This refers to M. L. Dhawan’s “Unforgettable Madan Mohan” (Spectrum, July 9). I should like to point out some discrepancies in the write-up for the benefit of music lovers. It was wrongly mentioned that Sahib Bahadur was produced in 1980; rather it was released in 1977 and was passed by the Censor Board on May 11, 1977. Similarly, Chaalbaaz was released in 1980 and not in 1981 as mentioned in the article.

Besides, Aankhein was released in 1950 and not in 1956, and this was Madan Mohan’s first film without Lata Mangeshkar. I, as an ardent music lover, cannot digest Mr Dhawan’s view that Madan Mohan was an assistant to S. D. Burman in Munimji, which was released in 1955. He was already established as a reputed music director in the film industry by then. He may have joined S. D. Burman in the film Do Bhai as an assistant.

O.K. KOHLI, Chandigarh

Popular composer

I refer to Harihar Swarup’s profile of A.R. Rahman under the title “Life comes full circle for Rahman” (Sunday Oped, July 23). A.R. Rahman is, no doubt, one of the most popular music composers of Bollywood. I had the honour to share the stage with him in the Hero Honda-SKG national music award ceremony at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi, in February 2005. At this function, Rahman was awarded for outstanding contribution to music, and I got the best music critic award.

At a comparatively young age, Rahman’s rise to film music stardom is phenomenal as evident from the number of hit songs to his credit. Owing to his earlier exposure to Carnatic music and subsequently, formal education in western classical music, he seems to be best at creating the background or mood music. His compositions do not appear to make use of Indian classical or folk melodies to the extent maestros like Naushad, Khayyam, Madan Mohan, Roshan did to create some immortal numbers.

Rahman’s music attracts the youngsters who have liking for pop music. His way of rendering Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Mana may not necessarily appeal to people who have traditional sanctity and reverence for the patriotic and national songs.

V.K. RANGRA, New Delhi

No, official notings shouldn’t be shown to public

I have very closely read the excerpts of the interview of Ms Aruna Roy by R. Suryamurthy (Perspective, July 30) regarding the proposed amendment to the Right to Information Act. Her complaint that it would cripple the Act is entirely speculative, imaginary and misconceived.

She is perhaps not realising the damage it would cause to the officials who happen to give free, frank and undiluted views on a particular subject before them in the file notings once their opinions are thrown to the public.

Ms Roy’s claim that file notings must be shown to the public appears to be emotional rather than based on sound reasoning. In case her assertion is accepted, then, no honest and dedicated public servant would like to earn the wrath of the disgruntled elements.

As it is, there is every likehood that the file notings will be made as desired by the Senior Officer and at the behest of the political master. The entire fabric of the official machinery is then likely to become ‘His Master’s Voice’.

It is pertinent to mention that the disclosure of file notings to the public, instead of furthering the object of the RTI Act or the cause of democracy as alleged, may lead to chaos in the official working and utter confusion. Free and frank opinion would be the first casualty and one cannot imagine the loss to the public interest.

Ms Roy’s view that non-disclosure of such notings is a shield for corrupt officials is not only illogical but also utterly fallacious and a figment of imagination.

SOM DUTT VASUDEVA, Additional Advocate-General, Himachal Pradesh, Shimla



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