Tribute to brave soldiers

PAYBACK time for armed forces,” by Vijay Mohan (Spectrum, July 8) is a tribute to the brave, disciplined and dependable officers and men of the Indian Armed Forces.

The Sixth Pay Commission should not lose the opportunity to end all inadequacies and anomalies by accepting proposals jointly submitted by the three service chiefs. The nation has the wherewithal to remedy the discrepancy. Psychologically satisfied soldiers are the most strategic investment these days.

D.S RAI, Ludhiana

Oh God

The review You mean, there is no God? (Spectrum, July 15) by Kuldip Dhiman of Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion made interesting reading. The notion of God being a delusion is only as much true or false as the argument that the evidence of God’s presence far outweighs the proof of His absence. Philosophically, atheism is no more rational than theism.


The popular opinion that religion espouses morality is simply a white lie. All through the march of civilisation, unimaginable wrongs have been committed in the name of religion. History is replete with instances of barbarism practised behind the shield of religion. A rigid and dogmatic approach to religion is always accompanied with intolerance and persecution.

The question of God’s existence is beyond human comprehension. Logic demands that we accept the limitation of the human faculty in this matter. To quote Bertrand Russell, a great philosopher and a dissenter from all known religions, “If only men could be brought into a tentatively agnostic frame of mind about these matters, nine-tenths of the evils of the modern world would be cured”.

GAURAV JULKA, Ferozepore

Shocking truth

The article titled The Naked Truth (Spectrum, July 15) is a sad revelation regarding mal-functioning of the premier investigating agency of the country. When the key officials of the CBI are themselves victims of a character crisis, the probes conducted by them or under their supervision are a mere travesty of facts. Such probes are a conspiracy to deny the common man justice.

The sole purpose of these investigations seems to be to spare the honourable accused at all costs and catch only the small fry. Should the Prime Minister, well-known for his impeccable integrity, remain blissfully ignorant of the murky goings on in the agency which directly functions under his chairmanship?

O.P. SHARMA, Ambala

Integrated system

V.S. Mahajan’s article, Let farmers look beyond rice and wheat”, (Sunday Oped, July 8) focuses the picture in Punjab. The rice-wheat sequence has been followed by the farmers right from the onset of Green Revolution in Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar and many other states.

Farmers expect scientists to help sustain this system rather than look for too many alternatives. Crop sequences like cotton-wheat, sugarcane based on crop husbandry in Western UP and horticultural systems are of permanent nature and researchers should examine their sustainability.

We must adopt an integrated intensive farming system approach with focus on crop husbandry, horticulture, bee-keeping, fisheries, dairy, poultry, piggery, mushroom culture, vermiculture, forestry etc. We must focus on producing more and more food per unit area and per unit time to meet the increasing demand. n

Dr V.P. SINGH, Former Director of Agricultural Research, Chandigarh


Tracing Iqbal’s ancestry

IN The little-known side of Iqbal (Saturday Extra, June 30), Khushwant Singh has mentioned that Kanhaya Lal was the poet’s grandfather. His son, Rattan Lal, converted to Islam and was named Nur Mohammad.

Famous poet, writer and journalist, Abdul Majeed Saalik, remained very close to Allama Iqbal for more than 25 years.

According to him, about three centuries ago, one of Iqbal’s ancestors embraced Islam at the hands of a Sayyad, who visited Srinagar, and was named Saaleh.

The Sayyad married his daughter to him and because of his virtuous behaviour, he was called Baba Saaleh. His mazaar is somewhere in Kashmir.

After the political upheaval of 1857, in view of the atrocities perpetrated by the rulers of Kashmir, some Muslims including the descendants of Baba Saaleh moved to Sialkot.

Iqbal’s grandfather, Shaikh Mohammad Rafeeqa, popularly known as Shaikh Rafeeqa, settled there. He had two sons — Nur Mohammad, father of Iqbal, and Ghulam Qadir.

Iqbal was never proud of his Brahmin descent. He said that his ancestors were iconolaters —Main Asal ka Somnaati/Aaba merey laati-o-manaati (Laat and Manaat were the names of two images) and was ashamed of himself when called a Pandit: But prasti ko merey pesh-e-nazar laati hai /Yaad-e-ayyaam-e-guzashta mujhey sharmaati hai/Hai jo peshaani pe Islaam ka teeka Iqbal/ Koi Pandit mujhey kaihta hai to sharm aati hai.

Bhagwan Singh, Qadian



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