The forgotten Quit India Movement

A reading of Wednesday’s and Thursday’s newspapers has caused me both sorrow and anger. On August 9, the Quit India Movement was started by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942.This was the current which ran throughout the nation, electrifying all of us.

The movement has stories of heroism of thousands of average persons in the country inspired by the leadership of Jayaprakash Narayan, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and Aruna Asaf Ali.  But, tragically, there was not even a mention in Wednesday’s papers that August 9 had any special significance for our country, nor did one find any mention of celebration of the event in any of the papers on Thursday at the national level (excepting one which had a picture of MPs purporting to celebrate Quit India Movement Day on the precincts of Parliament). There was no special feature by TV networks.

Have we really forgotten the men and women whose sacrifices have made it possible for us to be proud to live in a free India.  Should not the post-1947 generation (which is about 95 per cent of the population of the country) have the benefit of even a reminder of those glorious days, or is page 3 syndrome the only diet our young are supposed to be fed?

RAJINDAR SACHAR, Chief Justice (retd), High Court of Delhi, New Delhi


Develop this route

The Pathankot- Jawalaji Road- Nagrota- Baijnath- Ropar and Joginder Nagar railway line is perhaps the longest narrow gauge railway track in the world and one of the oldest in the country. During 1959-60, I had the occasion to travel on this route several times along with my friend, who was a Railway engineer.

This route was catering to the traffic needs of the people of Dharamsala, Kangra, Palampur and other places. During that period, the Pathankot-Joginder Nagar and the Kalka–Shimla routes enjoyed equal status, being tourist promotion centres. Gradually, though the Pathankot–Joginder Nagar route lost its significance, the Kalka-Shimla rail link made tremendous progress due to the patronage of both the Indian Railways and the Himachal government. The Pathankot-Joginder Nagar route is a picture of neglect today. The hilly rail link deserves to be developed on a par with the Kalka-Shimla route.

T. R. GOYAL, Chandigarh

The silt effect

The 1500-MW Nathpa-Jhakri project has been closed for over two weeks on account of excess silt concentration (more than 5,000 ppm) in the river flow, causing a daily loss of 36 million units of power. This is the period when the mega project is supposed to run at its full capacity. The planners overlooked the fact that a pondage diversion dam of 200 ft height could not remove silt at all during the peak flow. There are two alternatives to solve the problem. First, the Himachal Pradesh government plans to construct a 900-ft high dam near Khab village in the upstream. Unfortunately, however, the Defence authorities are objecting to the project because of its proximity to the Chinese border. Even otherwise, a project of this scale will take at least 10 years for completion.

The second alternative is to construct a number of check dams of 100-150 ft height across all the tributaries and sub-tributaries of the Sutlej river in the entire upstream region. Such dams will not only check soil erosion and silt flow but also stabilise the flow to prevent instant floods. These dams will also play a complementary role to the construction of the primary Khab project.

RAM NIWAS MALIK, Engineer-in-Chief (retd), Panchkula

Cops must learn to behave

I refer to the editorial “Sorry, Asma” (Aug 5). I very much appreciate Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s prompt apology to Asma Jahangir for the rude behaviour of the Delhi Police. Asma is Pakistan’s noted human rights activist. She also commands respect among the people of this country for her commendable courage to speak the truth and call a spade a spade.

Such incidents can be avoided through better planning and coordination among the officials. The Ministry of Home Affairs should have promptly informed the Delhi Police Commissioner about the safety and security of the Pakistani guest during her stay in the Capital. This would have sent the right signal to the police personnel. In any case, cops must learn to behave.



Unequal war

This has reference to Robert Fisk’s article “Misery and anger” (July 26). Israel has proved Newton’s law of motion that every action has equal and opposite reaction wrong. How? By displaying disproportionate reaction to Hezbollah’s kidnapping of two Israelis.

Morally, Israel is right in reacting. But militarily, the amount of force it is employing is wrong. No doubt, the death and destruction it is causing is unpardonable. Israel’s assumption of wiping out the terrorist outfit, Hezbollah, is misplaced. Efforts should be intensified for a ceasefire immediately.

K.J.S. AHLUWALIA, Amritsar

Bane of dowry

Dowry is a social evil. It is a great insult to womanhood. Young brides are tortured and murdered for dowry. According to a recent report in The Tribune, an Army officer who broke his engagement to a girl because her parents were unable to meet the demands of the boy and his family resulted in the girl’s suicide.

This incident reveals the darker side of our society in the modern age. Dowry is a heinous crime. Dowry seekers should be socially boycotted and given life imprisonment.


Roads as lakes

During rains, most of Jalandhar’s roads are converted into lakes due to the faulty sewerage system. Last year, when there was a heavy downpour one morning, water entered my car, but I could luckily navigate to safety. I could see a couple of cars, abandoned in knee-deep water in Masand Chowk. We are scared whenever it rains heavily. Will the authorities concerned look into the matter and provide some relief during the rainy season?




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