Bhagat Singh, a legend

V N. Datta’s Symbol of courage and patriotism (Spectrum, March 18) reflects a growing feeling of the people of India that even 75 years after his death, Bhagat Singh remains relevant to modern India. For a youth in his twenties to mention in his prison diary, “Social progress depends not upon the ennoblement of the few but on the enrichment of democracy; universal brotherhood can be achieved only when there is an equality of opportunity in social, political and individual life” strengthens my belief that his thoughts, ideology and actions if applied in the modern context can change the face of modern India.

Heroism, sacrifice, political clarity and ability to catch the imagination of people contributed to making Bhagat Singh a legend. I strongly feel that Bhagat Singh emerged as a symbol of the most radical nationalist movement against imperialism and colonialism. Propagating his ideas and thoughts, a legend of our freedom movement, should be our national priority.

It will enthuse the nation, especially our youth. I think media has an important role to propagate the legacy of our revolutionary freedom fighters to build a powerful movement against the corrupt, shameless and selfish rulers, both politicians and bureaucrats.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda



While the article is informative and well written, there are two factual errors. V.N. Datta writes, “Taking him for Scott, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Chander Shekher killed Saunders, a police head constable. It was Rajguru and not Chandra Shekher at that time with Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev.

Secondly, Saunders was not a head constable but an Assistant Superintendent of Police of IP cadre. My late grandfather who was an inspector of police at that time used to tell the details of the incident. On the fateful day Scott happened to be on leave and in his place A.S.P. Saunders was on his way riding a motorcycle to check the police stations when he was shot.

His orderly head constable Chanan Singh ran after the three revolutionaries but could not apprehend any of them. Later I confirmed these facts from the history books.

V.P. MEHTA, Chandigarh

Shades of unreason

In his write-up Many shades of unreason (Saturday Extra, March 3), Khushwant Singh has mentioned some Indian astrologers’ predictions, which turned out to be false. I mention predictions of three famous astrologers of other countries, which did not come true.

On the eve of 1996 Lok Sabha elections, Erika Cheetham, a leading authority on Nostradamus, perdicted that the then Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, would emerge stronger than before. However, the Congress did not fare well.

A Tunisian astrologer, Hassen Charni predicted that Pope John Paul II would die in August 1998, and the world would be shaken by nuclear warfare on July 17, 1999. Neither of the two things happened. The Head of the Russian School of Astrology, Alexander Zarayev, predicted that Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, would be killed by one of his closest allies in December 2002, and the possibility of US-led military operation in Iraq was small. However, not only the US captured Iraq, even Saddam was deposed and executed.

Napoleon had unflinching faith in astrology. Humayun, too, believed in it. He was conversing with astrologers on the roof of his palace library, when he heard the call to evening prayers. While descending the stairs he fell down and died after a couple of days. No astrolger foretold the fate that awaited him.n



Agriculture as a commercial proposition

DR P. S. Rangi’s comments in his article on agriculture are timely (Perspective). In addition to his suggestions, what we urgently need today is a genuine new, dynamic and competitive commercialisation of agriculture and allied rural activities.

This requires adoption of holistic knowledge-intensive integrated-farming systems approach and integration of agro-productivity with economics. Future technological recommendations to the farmers should be based on extra productivity and monetary returns per unit to financial investment or per unit of applied input (seed, water, fertiliser etc.) Social scientists need to look at agriculture as a commercial or business proposition and carry out analysis of different agriculture-related technology and policy issues to bridge the gap between farmers, technology (generation and adoption), market and agro-profitability. It is time to increase public-private partnerships and investments for generating agro-production, value-addition/processing industry driven rural-economy.

To achieve this, a network of public or private-funded small and medium sized commodity-specific agro-processing enterprise clusters should be developed in the rural areas. This will ensure sustained increase in job-led rural agro-economic growth and decrease in urban-rural economic gap.

For agro-commercialisation, we must modernise the existing outdated market infrastructure and support services and adopt a “total market approach” (right from the sites of production till the product reaches the consumer).

Dr M. S. BAJWA, (Former Director, Research, PAU), Mohali



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