Champion of tiger conservation

Ullas Karanth’s profile by Harihar Swarup (Sunday Oped, Oct 8) was significant on two counts. First, it was a befitting end to the National Wildlife Week 2006, always celebrated in the first week of October. Secondly, of the two Indian NGOs devoted to nature and wildlife conservation and four living Indians in the forefront of tiger conservation, Ullas Karanth is one among equals.

The international recognition of Ullas Karanth has come not a day too soon and let us hope that this will spur him to put in place, fail-safe mechanisms to save the tiger and the rest of India’s wildlife in viable numbers at least up to the 22nd Century AD.

Karanth’s profile justly credits him for using camera-traps for conducting census on tigers. Readers of The Tribune might be interested to know that the man who first introduced camera-traps as a photographic science and art-form on the sub-continent and on the Asian mainland was F.W. Champion.

Champion, from the Imperial Forest Service, retired from the United Province (today’s Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal). His book With A Camera in Tiger-Land (1927) is an all-time classic. The two black-and-white “self” portraits of the tiger are inimitable.

Lt-Gen BALJIT SINGH (retd), Chandigarh


Caste into a mould

This has reference to Khushwant Singh’s Caste into a mould (Saturday Extra, Oct 7). Khushwant Singh writes, “With the Hindus it was sanctified by our sacred texts. The Bhagavad Gita warned us against mingling of castes because it would lead to chaos”. One wonders from where Khushwant Singh has read it.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that people take up their occupations according to their gunas (qualities), karma, the type of work they can do and subhau, i.e. their nature or inclination. Nowhere in the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says that the caste is determined by birth. It is in fact Arjun who says that after the war there will be so many widows that they shall have to marry men of different classes. To this assertion of Arjun, Krishna says that he need not bother about it.

Khushwant Singh also adds that Manu codified it. Sanskrit scholars and philosophers are of the opinion that there are so many interpretations in the ancient texts that sometimes one doubts whether these texts were written by one man or by different men under the same name. Manusmriti is particularly full of contradictions. There are many aberrations in this otherwise good text.

V.P. MEHTA, Chandigarh

It’s Geeta Dutt

Commenting upon my article Evergreen Asha (Spectrum, Sept 10), H.S. Sandhu says in his letter (September 24) that with her coquettish number Mera naam chin-chin chu baba chin-chin chu from Howrah Bridge, Asha Bhosle created a niche. Geeta Dutt in fact sang the number under the baton of O.P. Nayyar.

Her Navrang number Aa dil se dil milalo, Oh rasia man basia was composed by C. Ramchandra and not by Vasant Desai as mentioned by Mr Sandhu. Vasant Desai had composed music for V. Shantaram’s Jhanak Jhanak Paayal Baaje (1955).

M.L. DHAWAN, Chandigarh

Impressive singer

Pran Nevile’s write-up, Master Madan (Spectrum, Oct 1) was a whiff of fragrant zephyr. Master Madan has been one of the most impressive singers.

However, what a pity that in the welter of noise called music, today, the child prodigy has been consigned to limbo.

In fact, all the great singers of yesteryear like K.L. Saigal, Shamshad Begum, K.C. Dey, Anna Durrani, C.H. Atma, Mukesh, Suraiya, et al have been forgotten.

It is bad that our present generation has grown on garish and vulgar western tunes. Rather our young boys and girls have been fed on hogwash for a long time and their souls have been stultified.

It will be good if our intellectuals make concerted efforts to revive the lilting music of the past. Classical music, too, needs to be propagated intensively and extensively. The memory of Master Madan and others of his ilk must be resuscitated. n



Changes in the Radcliffe Award

As appears from V.N. Datta’s letter (Oct 15), there is considerable misunderstanding among the correspondents about how last-minute changes were made by the authorities in the Radcliff Award.

The changes, apparently, were basically two in number. One, Ferozepur and Zira were shifted from West Punjab (Pakistan) to East Punjab (India) for considerations which were quite unconnected with Jammu and Kashmir.

In fact, it is clear from the physical location of these two areas that no question of the former providing any link to India with the latter could have arisen.

The second change that was made was regarding the allocation of Gurdaspur district. It was included in West Punjab (Pakistan) initially but a day or so late — its four tehsils were divided between India and Pakistan. One Tehsil, Shakargarh, was given to Pakistan while three tehsils (Gurdaspur, Batala, and Pathankot) were included in India.

Because of this change, the Pakistan flag was hoisted at Gurdaspur one day while the India one replaced it the following day.

It is a matter for conjecture why this change in the allocation of the tehsils of the district was made but there seems no doubt the change did take place.





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