The essence of Indianness

The letter “What makes Indians so special” (December 2) by Gaurav Julka reveals perceptions that are onesided. These don’t truly highlight “Indianness” in its entirety. Indianness is an amalgam of composite culture; commonality of interests; and accommodation of divergent viewpoints.

It is solely marked by the oriental and occidental outlook and thought. Indian identity epitomises religion, race, culture, ethnicity, shared history and common memory. Its other hallmarks are liberalism, humanism, self-reliance, truth, non-violence and supreme sacrifice. Ego, and slander have no room in it.

Our strength lies in being “Indian” in letter and spirit. We have won laurels everywhere. But we are still struggling to articulate, discover and debate what it means to be an Indian. We must appreciate our unity in diversity.

Jarnail Singh Brar, Bathinda


Second coming

According to M.L. Dhawan, films based on the theme of reincarnation dawned with the movie Madhumati (1958). Mahal (1949) was the forerunner in the genre of re-births. Directed by Kamal Amrohi, produced under the banner of Bombay Talkies, with Ashok Kumar and Madhubala, as the lead pair, it unfolded a saga of three births and was a boxoffice hit. To Madhubala, it bestowed the image of the screen Venus. In films revolving around reincarnation, Nagin (1954) was the second, followed by Madhumati.

V.I.K. Sharma, Jalandhar

Dogged by misery

“Dogged by misery” by Lt-Gen Baljit Singh (retd) (Spectrum, December 2) was thought-provoking and informative.

Paleontologists and archaeologists have determined that about 60 million years ago, a small mammal like a weasel lived in the environs of Asia and was called Miacis, the genus that became the ancestor of the animal known now as canid: dogs, jackals, wolves and foxes. Miacid did not have any direct descendant but dog-like canids evolved from it about 30 to 40 million years ago. Miacis had evolved into the first true dog, namely cynodictis, with a long tail and brush coat. Over the millennia, cynodictis gave rise to two branches, one in Africa and other in Eurasia. The Eurasian branch called Tomaretus is the progenitor of wolves, dogs and foxes.

P.S. Bhatty, Amritsar

Detached observer

The review “Vignettes of life” (Spectrum, November, 18) by Ramesh Luthra of Khushwant Singh’s Collected Stories made good reading. Khushwant Singh might have earned fame as novelist-columnist but in reality it is his short stories, tragic-comic and acerbic, that best illustrate every phase of Indian life with truthfulness.

A brilliant observer of life, Khushwant Singh challenges our political, social, religious and cultural beliefs with wit and empathy. Structured with lively satire and humour, Singh’s stories expose the typical hypocrisy of Indian society in treating the topics of religion and morality and invariably prove the point that there is whatsoever no correlation between the two.

His stories are interesting not just because they expose embarrassing contradictions in our established social mores and challenge widely held assumptions on various subjects, but because they assimilate the facts of life and portray emotions — love, lust, jealousy and hatred in raw form.n

Gaurav Julka,  Ferozepore


Flawed market mantra

Ash Narain Roy’s review “Flawed market mantra” (Spectrum, November 18) of the book State, Markets and Inequalities: Human Development in Rural India made good reading. Economic liberalisation has no doubt resulted in an unprecedented growth that has made the rich and prosperous more rich and prosperous. However, the brunt of the adverse effects of these policies had to be borne by the poor, especially the rural poor who have the least sustaining power. The reality is that growth is simply bypassing rural areas.

The biggest and the most visible failures of the reforms period are the rapid rise in inequalities and the sharpening of the urban-rural divide. Wrong policy priorities, coupled with inadequate allocation of resources to the needy sectors, have precipitated this divide.

Take the case of the agriculture sector. While 58 per cent of the Indian labour force is engaged in agriculture and allied occupations, it shares barely 22 per cent of the output in terms of GDP. Even worse is the fact that although agriculture accounts for over 20 per cent of the GDP, the budgetary allocation for all the rural ministries put together is less than 15 per cent. The declining share of agriculture in GDP has led to the present situation — over 75 per cent of those below the poverty line live in rural India where agriculture continues to be the predominant source of livelihood.

Any strategy that aims for inclusive and sustainable growth would necessarily need to encompass rural India and growth in rural India can only accrue through adequate investment in the agriculture sector and related industries

Gaurav Julka, Ferozepore





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