Gandhi’s bid to save Bhagat Singh

IN his article, “Bhagat Singh’s trial and execution” (Perspective, Dec 23), V.N. Datta has highlighted Gandhiji’s efforts to save Bhagat Singh from capital punishment. Of course, Gandhiji struggled for India’s freedom from the British rule. He was a staunch supporter of non-violence and this could not fully arouse the countrymen against the British colonisers. As a result, there were revolts and spurt of communal violence. His withdrawal of non-cooperation movement after the Chauri Chaura incident disappointed people.

Consequently, Bhagat Singh emerged as a national hero. He was a great thinker and his views and ideas were crystal clear. He and his companions were never power-hungry; their struggle was for a social system to bring about equality with no exploitation of man by man. They were sentinels of pride; they took revenge of Lala Lajpat Rai’s death. The British were bent upon hanging Bhagat Singh. The situation demanded a struggle to thwart foreigners in their design of killing our hero.

BUDH SINGH, Faridkot-Kotli (Bathinda)



The writer has failed to describe the real cause for Gandhiji’s inability to get the death sentence of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev commuted under the Gandhi-Irwin Pact of 1932. Gandhi tried hard to presuade the Viceroy to commute the death sentences but Irwin was adamant. He plainly told Gandhi: “I am surprised that the apostle of non-violence should so earnestly be pleading for the cause of the devotees of a creed so fundamentally opposed to own. It will be wholly wrong to allow my judgement to be influenced by purely political considerations. The death sentence for killing Saunders who personally did not assault Lalaji was directly deserved.”

Moreover, Irwin confided to some people that even if he had agreed to commutation of sentence, the British government would invalidate his decision. He also told Durga Das: “By not allowing commutation, he has saved Gandhi falling from the pedestal of non-violence”.

On the other hand, Bhagat Singh and his colleagues would not agree for commutation as it would steal the thunder of their supreme sacrifice for nation’s sake. In fact, it has become a fashion for some writers to dig out this controversy. They don’t know that Gandhi did not press for many other important issues for the sake of release of many prisoners.


A heavy price

I endorse Vimla Patil’s views in her article, “Burning out too fast” (Spectrum, Nov 18). Admittedly, people are burning out themselves working hard and partying hard, particularly in the corporate and IT sector. I feel they are paying a heavy price to achieve the date lines, and perhaps the so-called success by way of leading too hectic or too sedentary a life. This kind of life is full of tension. These pay-and-target driven youngsters, often take to drinks out of stress, as also to be in the social circle.

Excessive drinking not only spoils their health but also ruins the family relations and the joy of life itself. The answer lies in maintaining a balance between the work and time for own family.

Let’s not run after the dangling carrot. Let our youth, be they high earning couples, not burn themselves for a few thousands more, or to climb the ladder overnight. Health and family happiness are far more important. They are the wealth of the nation.n

Col R.D. SINGH, Commandant 213 Transit Camp, Jammu

Story of intolerance

I read Subhrangshu Gupta’s write-up “Murder of love” (Saturday Extra, Nov 3).In the past many lovers had to suffer torture over tying the knot without the consent of the parents. Look at the way now in Haryana the gotra panchayats are giving fatwas against the same-gotra couples. Even from abroad honour killings are carried out in India.

The story of Rizwanur and Priyanka Todi is the story of the intolerance of the Todi family. Look at the way they blackmailed the police, including senior police officers, who did not care for the safety of the couple. Youngsters should also realise how difficulties can surface in the aftermath of the out-of-caste and inter-religion marriages.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana


Bollywood’s tryst with Indian Railways

The article “Romacing the train” by Vikramdeep Johal (Spectrum, Nov 25) was interesting. In Devdas (1955), Dilip Kumar travels by train to an endless destination which finally takes him to his final end. The simile of Devdas’ drinking from old pal Chunni Lal and the fireman pushing more coal to increase the fire in the engine was most telling.

Along with Sholey, another unforgettable train scene is from Ganga Jamuna where Dilip Kumar as dacoit attacks the train. The picturisation with moon light effect and parallel running of horses along the rain was great cinematographic effort. Rail Ka Dibba (1953) and Railway Platform (1952) were other movies associated with trains.

In the songs related to trains, the oldest is Yeh Duniya hai Toofan Mail by K. L. Saigal and Uma Devi (Tun Tun). Preceeding Aradhana was Dev Anand singing Jab Pyar Kisii se hota hai (1960) on a car on the same road along the toy train to Darjeeling.

Dev Anand again sang, Apni to her aah ik tofan hai, ooperwala jaan kar anjaan hai in a train scene with Waheeda Rehman occuping the upper berth in Kala Bazaar. In the film Door Ki Awaaz (1964), Johny Walker philosophically sang in the train Ek Musafir Ko Duniya mein Kya Chahaye, bus thori si dil mein jagah chahaye.

Another train song was Dil thaam chale hum aaj kidher koi dekhe by Joy Mukerjee in that blockbuster, Love in Shimla (1959).

H. S. SANDHU, Panchkula





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