An unjust suggestion

THE suggestion to set up a council of Kashmir under the aegis of the UN, in which both India and Pakistan are represented but Kashmiris have the dominant role, is unjust. As it stands now, minority communities like Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs have migrated due to the fear of terrorists. In this proposed council, militant Kashmiri Muslims will have a dominant role.

Pandits pulled out of the Valley in large numbers because they no longer felt secure and migrated to Jammu and elsewhere in India. This insecurity was the outcome of the planned brutal killing of the Pandits and destruction of their property by terrorists. This compelled them, even though they had been living since time immemorial in the valley, to leave their home and hearth.

The view that all the three regions being treated as one unit is the legacy of the Dogra autocratic rule, is not accurate. Even before the Dogra rule, Jammu and Kashmir was part and parcel of Sikh kingdom after the collapse of the Mughal rule.

According to the writer, the Kashmiri Muslims like our money but not us. Likewise, some Kashmiris allege that Indians like Kashmir but not the Kashmiris. It is not a matter of liking or disliking. What is of paramount importance is the common history and culture of religious tolerance since ancient times.

What will happen to the unity and integrity of India if Kashmir, the head of the nation, is chopped off and surrendered to militant Kashmiris? As a consequence, separatist elements in other parts of the country will get strengthened. What will truncated India look like? What will be the fate of the national slogan: ‘Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India is one’?



Singing Husainas

An artist in exile” and “Singing Husainas” by Nirupama Dutt (Spectrum, Jan 21) dwells on the artist’s journey from painting cinema hoardings to works of art and his controversial life. The venerable nonagenarian icon has often been embroiled in one controversy or the other, hounded and threatened by fundamentalists, is an affable gentleman. He can take a stand without fear or hypocrisy. 
  Wasim Barelvi aptly quoted an Urdu couplet for a similar situation: Assoolon par jahaan aanch aae, takrana zaroori hai—jo zinda ho to phir zinda nazar aana zaroori ha. (Principles must be upheld at all costs, and one must look like living with a ‘presence’).    Artists belong to the whole world, unmindful of caste, creed and country. They essentially live with universal credentials. Husain’s game starts and ends with brush strokes filled with a riot of colours.
  Husain is not a Casanova, freak or fanatic as he is maligned at times. He is a man of collosal secular credentials like late Nausad and Bismillah Khan. Connoisseurs and commoners of the art world, be it in India or internationally, should work in unison to call Husain back to the country of his birth and dreams. Husain who is an institution in himself deserves the inherited values of love, compassion and tolerance. Above all justice, freedom of speech and expression are the very ethos of our culture and civilisation and we must stand by them.

B. M. SINGH,Amritsar

Tree of Life

This refers to the highly interesting “Mystic Symbol of Life” by B.N. Goswamy (Spectrum, Jan 21).

An ancient coin excavated from ruins of Mohenjodaro of Indus Valley civilisation, bears an inscription of Shakti. Obviously, this civilisation believed in a Mother Goddess cult. From her womb is bursting forth a tree. Is this the Tree of Life symbolising a bond between nature and mankind? Is this also symbolic of continuity, possible only of their mutual co-existence, over which today’s environmentalists are crying hoarse?

Both mankind and vegetation are tied by an unseen umbilical cord as they have originated from a common gene. Undeniably, trees are generators of our lives, our silent sentinels and spectators of our history, outliving us. Joyce Kilmer feels, ‘I think that I shall never see a poem/As lovely as a tree.’

Trees are living objects, sensitive and radiate beneficial energy forces. If trees have respiration, circulation, nervous and reproduction systems, they can speak too. Only we can’t hear them.


Bhagat Singh Chair

I agree with Prof Chaman Lal that a Chair should be established in memory of Bhagat Singh, the great patriot, nationalist and martyr to disseminate his thought, ideas and ideals, but I disagree with him for its placement at JNU (Sunday Oped, Jan 7). I would rather suggest that this Chair be established at GND University, Amritsar or Panjab University, Chandigarh.

My apprehension is that JNU people will distort the history, thinking, ideas and ideals of Bhagat Singh in the same manner as they have done with those of Maharana Pratap, Guru Teg Bahadur Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in their history books. JNU is not a place fit for any objective study on the life and thought of a true nationalist and patriot like Bhagat Singh.

However, the article has served at least one purpose. Prof Chaman Lal has provided a list of those who are presently regarded as who’s who that is ruling the roost in education.




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