Restore Ganga’s glory

ViBHA SHARMA’s “A river gasps for life” (Spectrum, May 20) is a timely warning to the powers that be. The exhaustive write-up is an exhortation to rouse them from inactivity before it is too late.

The Ganga, a sacred river of India, occupies a prominent place in Hindu mythology. People, irrespective of their caste, creed and religion, swear by it. Preservation of its sanctity is the most burning problem of today. The river is crying for survival but in vain. Even the faithful have no compunction in throwing corpses, carcasses, idols, trash, chemicals and effluents into it. That speaks volumes about their superficial faith.

Efforts should be made sincerely to restore the Ganga’s pristine glory. It is our sacred duty to preserve it for our own survival. The need of the hour is to infuse new life into the sacred river.




Wastewater from factories (especially leather factories), corpses and carcasses unabatedly flow into the Ganga, revered by generations of Hindus across the world. The leather industry has gained notoriety for being least eco-friendly. Pollution of environment, soil, rivers and canals in the vicinity of any tannery can be taken for granted.

The Norwegian Institute for Water Research has given a shocking report on water collected from the Ganga near the Combined Effluent Treatment Plant (CEPT). The report highlights the pollution of the Ganga by toxic tannery effluents discharged by CEPT. Likewise, another report on the Ganga water discloses the presence of transformed sulphur and chrome. These toxic chemicals are detrimental to the humans and animals of that area.

Skin diseases and gastro-intestinal ailments assume epidemic dimensions in the affected areas. There is hardly any report to controvert these findings. The ground water near tanneries is reported to contain lead, cyanide and formaldehyde. The suffering of animals in India who are killed for their skin defies description. Our country has attained the dubious distinction for cruel transportation and slaughter of thousands of cattle daily mainly for leather, ignoring the devastating impact the leather industry has on environment.


J.P. Saunders

It has been mentioned in “Symbol of Courage and Patriotism” by V.N. Datta (Spectrum, March 18) that Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Chandra Shekhar killed J. P. Saunders, Head Constable, on December 12, 1928. However, on page 16 of The Tribune dated March 23, 2007, it has been written that Bhagat Singh shot Saunders, Additional Superintendent of Police.


J.P. Saunders, at the time he was shot by Bhagat Singh, was Additional Superintendent of Police, Lahore. The error is regretted.

— Editor

Golden era of Punjabi films

The early 1950s were a golden era of Punjabi movies (“Punjabi cinema: In search of a bigger role” by Randeep Wadehra, Saturday Extra, May 19).

The earliest one was Mangti, which created a record in the pre-Partition days with its many evergreen songs.

Besides Posti, other movies that did good business those days were, Madaari, Jugni, Chaman, Kodey Shah, Chhai, Lachhi, Vanjara and Do Lachhian.

These films mostly had music by Hans Raj Bahl and Sardul Kawatra, who embellished them with lilting songs like Chan kithe guzare-e-raat ve from Chaman, Chaam-Chaam kardi gali de vichhon langdi, ve saade sajna di daachi badami rang di from Kodey Shah.

Mohammad Rafi sang Darh vat zamana kat bhale din aawange from Jugni as well as Munda moh leya taweetan wala te damari da sak mal ke from Chhai which became a craze.

In films like Madari, Kodey Shah, Vanjara and Lachhi even Lata and Talat sang some of the hit songs besides Mohammad Rafi and Shamshad Begum.

Brig H.S. SANDHU (retd),Panchkula

Lure of maqtal

The write-up on Sukhdev (“Mark of a martyr” by Aditi Tandon, Spectrum, May 13) was informative. While referring to the song of freedom by Jagdamba Prasad Mishr, an error has crept in. The word, to be used correctly, was maqtal and not matkal. Maqtal means the place where people go voluntarily to go to be killed/slaughtered or to be hanged for a purpose.

The reference here is to the freedom fighters who sacrifice their lives for their country. Ram Prasad Bismal has beautifully used the word maqtal in his famous poem Sarfaroshi ki tamanna… as Kucha-e-Qatil. Kheench kar lai hai sub ko qatl hone ke umeed / Ashiqon ka ek jamghat kucha-e-qatil mein hai. As grand is the use of the word maqtal by Faiz Ahmed Faiz: Jis dhaj se koi maqtil mein gaya, woh shaan salamat rehti hai / yeh jaan to aani jaani hai, is jaan ki yaro baat nahin.

So, what an allurement maqtal has. It beckons.

S. P. KANWAL,Ludhiana



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