A product of lust for power and pelf

KHUSHWANT SINGH may provide some of the readers a bit of titillation, but his views on Kashmir are nothing but farcical (Saturday Extra, Dec 16). His observation that “the Valley has in effect been under Indian military rule ever since” is pathetic.

Any pocket of population does not determine the destiny of a nation. It is the entire nation that formulates national policies. The great Abraham Lincoln had successfully fought the Civil War. He did not let half his country secede. How can India allow the aberration of a few to prevail upon the will of the nation?

The Kashmir problem is creation of a “secular mindset”, which, in turn, is a product of unprincipled lust for power and pelf. The only solution to it is the abrogation of Article 370.

One may be a Hindu or non-Hindu in his home, in the political context he is simply Indian and nothing but Indian. The sooner Khushwant Singh learns this fact the better it will be for him and the nation.




I fully endorse the writer’s view when he observes: “To start with Kashmir was never one unit; it was always three divided by religion, language and perception of the future.” Not only this, the three regions — Leh-Ladakh, the Kashmir Valley and Jammu — are culturally as different they could be. No settlement on Kashmir could be possible without taking into consideration the reservations and aspirations of the people of Ladakh and Jammu regions.

General Musharraf has, no doubt, broken the impasse by declaring Pakistan’s willingness to give up any claim on Kashmir and has scored a point over the inert foreign policy of India vis-à-vis Pakistan but the General’s word has to be taken with a pinch of salt. It would be prudent for the mandarins of India’s MEA to read between the lines before they react to General Musharraf’s move.



A slice of world naval history

B N. Goswamy has given graphic idea of the old maritime images (Spectrum, Dec 10) Indian maritime history predates birth of western civilisation. The Gujarat coast was the first place in the world to have the first tidal dock built at Lothal around 2300 BC (during the Harappa civilisation). Stabilisers were fitted on the sides of the warships to reduce the rolling and pitching caused by stormy waves. In 1292 AD, Marco Polo described the Indian ships built of fir timbers, having a sheath of board laid over planking in every part, chaulked with oakum and fastened with the iron nails. When the Portuguese came to India, maritime power (that started declining in the 13th century) almost disappeared.

Indian maritime interest witnessed remarkable come back in the late 17th century when Sidis of Janjira allied with the Marathas to become a major sea power on the western coast. This led to Shiva ji creating his own fleet with a ship building facilities at Vijadurg. The fleet, commanded by ablest admirals like Sidis Gujar and later Kanhoji Angre, kept the foreign vessels away from the western coast.

To honour the great Admiral Kanhoji Angre, the Indian government and the Indian Navy named a shore establishment at Bombay as INS Angre.

In INS Angre, in the quarter master’s lobby, a board made of brass gives the description of almost 300 years of Indian Navy, formerly known as the Bombay Marine.

Completely forgotten by the Indian government, the contribution in ship-building by Wadias of Bombay is a part of the world naval history. It was in the early decades of the 18th century that the then Governor of Bombay requested Lowji Nusserwanji to come to Bombay from Surat and build ships for the British Navy.

By 1742, the Wadias started building ships in Bombay and according to a British Shipwright “Hillman” and Indian teak-built ship, after performing six voyages was equal to one British oak-built ship after it had performed three voyages.

Another British expert remarked in 1811 that while every British-built ship had to be overhauled completely once in 12 years to prevent total loss, while Indian ships did not require any overhaul even after 50 years and often not even a piece of timber had to be replaced after decades of sailing in tropical seas.

MULTAN SINGH PARIHAR, Jalari (Hamirpur) 


It was a war

Narinder Singh Jallo is incorrect when he says that the struggle of 1857 was not a war of independence (Perspective, Dec 10). Readers of history know that the “revolt” of 1857 was the First War of Independence (See the book of Vir Savarkar). The rajas, the nawabs and common people took part in this war. Both the Hindus and the Muslims participated in it to liberate India from British thraldom.

The sepoys marched from Meerut to Delhi In Delhi, they unfurled the flag of freedom and declared Bahadur Shah as the Emperor of India. There was unity between the Hindus and the Muslims. The Emperor banned the killing of the cows on Bakr-Id. Even the dispute of Ayodhya was amicably resolved by Hindus and Muslims The Indians fought so determinedly that the revolt was crushed only by the British troops from Crimea. n

AMAR JIT SING GORAYA Griffith NSW (Australia)



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |