Integrity: PM leads by example

This has reference to “Aam aadmi is better off today” by Khushwant Singh (Saturday Extra, Aug 12) wherein he lauded Manmohan Singh for not appointing a single friend to an important government post. This cannot be said about a single Prime Minister of the many we have had since Independence.

In this context, it will be pertinent to recall the comments of Dr Bhagwati, who teaches at an American University, made by him on the eve of appointment of Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. According to Dr Bhagwati, he has never heard Manmohan Singh to say anything mean about any person for the last 50 years of their friendship. Further, regarding the integrity of the Prime Minister, he observed that Manmohan Singh is perhaps the only Indian father who would not recommend his children for any favour.

When Dr Singh’s daughter, Amrit, came to pay her respects to him only then he learnt that she had got a Ph.D scholarship in his university; her father never rang him up to help her secure admission.

According to Rita Devi Bhim Singh, a well-known social activist of Assam, “The hospitals and hospices for the terminally ill that I run in my home state of Assam survive because of two Sikh gentlemen — Khushwant Singh and Manmohan Singh. If they had not been supportive and helped out at every stage, I would not have been able to run these hospitals”.




The article is far from the truth. Khushwant Singh has himself written that there is still a lot of poverty, impoverished peasants under debt and millions of educated youth who are unemployed. The fact is that the aam aadmi is hard pressed due to abnormally soaring prices of essential commodities. Besides there are long and frequent power cuts to bear with. The common man is badly off today. It is only the rich class and the politicians who are better off these days.

N.P. SOOD, Hoshiarpur


Is aam aadmi really better off today? Let us examine the balance-sheet provided by the writer. He mentions “Still lot of poverty, impoverished peasants under debt, jobless millions, more corruption in all walks of life etc on one side and more cars, more people flying, more shopping malls, more shoppers with more money to spend on food, drinks, cellphones etc. on the other.” We cannot conclude that aam aadmi is better off than ever before.

On the contrary, the common man has come under greater hardship and harassment under the UPA rule. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is honest and sincere, but he doesn’t seem to have much control over some of his wayward colleagues.

C.L. SEHGAL, Jalandhar


Of what use to the aam aadmi is the personal stature, sagacity, and un-impeachable integrity of our Prime Minister when there is rise in corruption, poverty, rape, sky-rocketing inflation and unemployment? It matters little to the common man if he has not shown any favours to persons near to him.

People want the felony of the ruling elite to be curbed but the rot is too deep and cannot be stemmed by merely shuffling the political pack of cards available with him.

There is hardly any landmark achievement to the credit of his government comprising politicians of different hues. The brighter side of life highlighted in Khushwant Singh’s write-up is the outcome of rampant corruption in our system.

The aspirations for latest amenities, social obligations, sky-rocketing prices and huge cost of children’s education cannot be taken care of by the aam aadmi by an ethical way of earning one’s livelihood. The common man has no option but to resort to unfair ways of making money. 


Allama Iqbal not against pluralist society

This refers to Mr Bhagwan Singh’s letter “Allama Iqbal and composite culture” (Perspective, June 25). He has tried to prove that Iqbal was not an advocate of plural society. He has stated a couplet of Iqbal in which Iqbal feels ashamed of being called a pandit.

I put a question to Mr Bhagwan Singh. The Sikhs are enraged when they are called a part of Hindus, because they think of themselves as a separate nation. But they can’t deny that they were actually Hindus before their forefathers converted to Sikhism.

Similar is the case with Dr Iqbal. His forefathers, who belonged to a Sapru Brahmin family, migrated to Sialkot from Kashmir and adopted Islam 250 years ago. Now Dr Iqbal is no longer a Hindu. Therefore, he does not like himself to be called a Brahmin or a pandit because Islam strongly negates casteism.

Again Mr Bhagwan Singh says that in supersession of Taraana-e-Hindi, Iqbal wrote Taraana-e-Milli. In his opinion this was a negation of composite culture. The writer forgot to quote the first line of the couplet. The complete couplet is: Cheeno Arab hamaara, Hindostaan hamaara, Muslim hain hum, watan hai saara jahaan hamaara. It clearly conveys the idea and theme that being Muslims we consider the whole world as one.

Though I have no prejudices in favour of Iqbal, yet I think that he was not against a plural society. The fact that he favoured a two-nation theory might have been a product of his political prejudices, and not an outcome of religious fanaticism or bigotry.




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