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Parochial, not patriotic

This refers to “This is not patriotism” by Khushwant Singh (Saturday Extra, March 1) Bala Sahib cannot be faulted for admiring Adolf Hitler. The Fuhrer was, after all, an intense nationalist who built up his nation from scratch into a strong country. Anyway the Thackerays’ stance is nothing but provincial and parochial. The “secularism” divides the nation into a majority and the minorities. Thackerays divide it into Maharashtrians and non- Maharashtrians. However, to call Bala Sahib a “second-rate cartoonist” shows poor breeding.


Not noteworthy

Jaspal Bhatti’s article “Note worthy” (Spectrum, March 16) was timely. In his inimitable, humorous style the writer beautifully highlighted the genuine problem of fake notes being faced by many a gullible person.


Sometime back two of my colleagues withdrew their salaries from their bank, the one in 1000s and the other in 500s. But much to their chagrin, one of the notes of Rs 1000 denomination and the other of Rs 500 were found to be fake when they tried to spend them. The next day they took the notes to the bank which blandly refused to exchange them saying it never issues fake notes. Nothing happened even after a lot of pleading and haggling. Consequently, they destroyed those notes. But they were robbed of their hard-earned money for no fault of theirs. There should be some mechanism by which lay men can distinguish between a fake and a real note, particularly of a higher denomination.

The Reserve Bank of India should initiate a campaign to make the people aware of how to differentiate a fake note from a real one. After all people accept notes from banks in good faith.


Flattery, not praise

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s article, “Politics needs good orators”, (Saturday Extra, March 22). He finds Rahul Gandhi a better speaker than his father, mother, a lot better than his grandmother and certainly a class above his great grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru. The columnist has picked three mediocre speakers and compares Rahul Gandhi with them. Comparing him with his mother (a reader, now a speaker) amounts to saying the boy tops in a class of one student.

This is a flattery, not praise. The latter requires genuine understanding and appreciation of one’s talent (if any) and performance. Rahul Gandhi is yet to be tested on both counts. However, it is easier to flatter than praise . Sadly, flattery encourages mediocrity to flourish.

IM SOMI, Chandigarh

Avadh Punch

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s write-up “Best cartoonists” (Saturday Extra, February 23). Humour was unknown to Urdu literature, when Munshi Sajjad Husain (not Hasan) started his Akhbar — Avadh Punch. Distinguished writers contributed their pieces to it. Sajjad Husain himself was a humorist par excellence. However, neither did he overstep the bounds of decency nor did he poke fun at his rivals to humiliate them. The side-splitting write-ups, published in the Akhbar, sent readers into peals of laughter. Husain’s two novels — Haji Baghlol (Respectable-looking fool) and Aihmaq-ul-ligi (Errant fool) — also made readers burst into guffaws. Husain, a selfless writer and proponent of communal harmony, never used the Avadh Punch for personal benefits.


Beyond the waiver

This refers to the timely and informative articles, “Beyond the waiver” by Yoginder Gupta (Spectrum, March 16), featuring the farmers’ joy and confusion about the loan waiver announced in the Union Budget. Sounds very convincing when says, “Though, he wants to avail of the opportunity, yet he is shy of disclosing to his community that he is a defaulter. He wants to keep his identity a secret at least while talking to unknown newsmen who want a quick quote from him”.

It is, indeed, true that peasants are self-respecting and don’t like to share family problems with strangers. This loan waiver will certainly alleviate the sufferings of millions of small and marginal farmers. I don’t appreciate those who don’t see any ray of hope in this positive move.

This is the biggest loan waiver since Independence, and it would be our callousness if we don’t applaud the UPA government’s thoughtful largesse and sensibility towards the rural population. This positive gesture in the Budget (which is certainly tilted towards agriculture) can act as a creative and futuristic signpost for budgets in the coming years.

It is true that the waiver alone is not going to revamp Indian agriculture decisively. It will take many months before this waiver comes into force. The word “overdue” will continue puzzling the authorities who are mandated to implement the scheme. Mr P. Chidambaram should clarify as to what he exactly means by this amorphous expression “overdue”. Unfortunately, the high-sounding policies and slogans formulated by the different governments at the Centre take a long time to show their “trickle-down” effect. If we wish to arrest, without further delay, the rapid migration from rural areas to cities, we have to address the problems of peasantry and agriculturists on a priority basis.




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