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No sympathy for these hapless kids

AJ. Philip’s “Breaking out of despair” (Saturday Extra, April 28) was heart rending. It should wake up our political leaders from their deep slumber.

They should see for themselves the miseries and misfortunes of the children of drug addicts. These children have nobody to look after them. Is it not the duty of the government to ensure a better life for these children who often do not get even one meal a day?

The writer deserves credit for highlighting the plight of such tormented children who lack even in the basic minimum needs of life.

MULTAN SINGH PARIHAR, Jalari-Hamirpur (HP)


 

Nothing personal

B.N. Goswami’s article, “Universities under stress” (Perspective, April 15) is timely. The principles underlying the concept of the university can be ignored only at the cost of our mental and material growth. No sound-minded academic would dispute the need for autonomy of the higher centres of teaching and research.

Unfortunately, heavily camouflaged under these high sounding cliches is a partisan view of the current situation in Punjabi University, Patiala. The eminent art historian has either not cared to reach out to the facts of the case or willfully ignored them.

We have nothing personal against the present Vice-Chancellor. Our fight is against his willful indiscretion and flagrant violation of the university calendar which are being presented as inadvertent mistakes. The fact is that his style of functioning is a result of his non-academic background and highly politicised mindset.

I suggest that for forming a balanced opinion about the sad situation in Punjabi University, a perusal of our memorandum to the Chancellor will be helpful. The students, the teachers, the employees and not only the Vice-Chancellor are the stakeholders in the university. Hence, the need for this perspective also.

Prof MANJIT SINGH, Patiala

 

The drama of Partition 

In “Drama of Partition on stage” (Saturday Extra, April 14), Khushwant Singh says: “Name any of the leaders of the time. The verdict will be guilty with the sole exception of Mahatma Gandhi.” I am afraid this is belied by the well known facts of history. The Mahatma unwittingly gave a great boost to the forces seeking the division of the country. He gave undue importance to Jinnah and behaved meekly before him. This sent wrong signals and hardened the attitude of the other side.

The Mahatma had been proclaiming all along that Pakistan would never come into being. “Pakistan hamari lashon par banega”, was the assuring slogan (which lulled the minorities in Pakistan into complacency and for which they had to pay dearly). But when it came to the crunch, the Mahatma was a different man.

RAM SARAN BHATIA, Faridabad

II

Khushwant Singh has held everybody guilty of the Partition, except Gandhi. It is strange that given the reality of the Partition, no one has become wiser. First, under the circumstances, there was no other alternative. Therefore, no one should be blamed. Secondly, people like Lala Lajpat Rai accepted the fact that unity between Hindus and Muslims was not practicable.

Dr Ambedkar went a step further and suggested that it was in the interest of Hindus to accept the Partition, with complete exchange of population. This he wrote in his book Thoughts on Pakistan, which was published after the demand for Pakistan was raised by Jinnah and the Muslim League in 1940.

In fact, Jinnah was very reasonable to Hindus/non-Muslims, because he clearly and categorically stated that after the creation of Pakistan, Muslims of India would have no claim over a truncated India.

Gandhi did not feel any responsibility for the safety of the Hindus and Sikhs left in Pakistan. He told a deputation of refugees from West Punjab that they should die bravely, and that no training was required for dying. Had we followed Jinnah, Dr Ambedkar and Lala Lajpat Rai, lakhs of people would not have been slaughtered, exchange of population would have been peaceful and orderly. Above all, there would have been no communal and terrorism problem in India.

ANAND PRAKASH, Panchkula

Of idol worship

In his article (Sunday Oped, April 22), Simranjit Singh Mann has rightly observed that the purchase of the bust of Maharaja Duleep Singh by the SGPC would not have amounted to idol worship and on this pretext the SGPC’s move not to purchase the bust was an illiterate, misleading and unhistoric approach to the Sikh religion.

I, however, disagree with his observation that by placing a model of Darbar Sahib at Rajasansi Airport and printing and display of Guru’s pictures and photographs by the SGPC lead to idol worship in Sikhism.

If this concept is agreed upon, then what will be the fate of hundreds of murals depicting Sikh Gurus painted during the 19th century Punjab and still surviving in Sikh shrines and other edifices? And what about the excellent repouse panels, art of embossing on brass, illustrating Sikh Gurus, affixed on the walls of may Sikh shrines including that of Gurdwara Baba Atal Sahib at Amritsar? Let the visual arts remain out of political wranglings.n

Dr KANWARJIT SINGH KANG, Mohali

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