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The endless pangs of Partition

Sagas of Partition” (Spectrum, Dec 21) reminds one of the never-healing wounds inflicted on the people by power-hungry politicians who thrust the Partition on us. This writer met some Pakistani sailors in Sri Lanka during a joint Naval exercise conducted under the command of a British Admiral in 1950s.

These men, who had migrated to Pakistan after the Partition, broke down while talking about their native places in India. So was the case with Indians who had to leave their homes in Pakistan. Communal harmony prevailed in the country before this division based on religion was carried out. Hindus and Muslims had jointly fought against the British. The united India was a country of courageous people. In the armed forces, too, right from the time of the East India Company, they were known only as Indian soldiers and not as Hindus or Muslims. If Mangal Pandey shot dead a British officer, a Muslim soldier, shot and seriously injured a British Army officer in Lucknow in 1857. Both Mangal Pandey and his Muslim friend were hanged. They sacrificed their lives to get rid of slavery and to get freedom for India. They were all Indian soldiers first and Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims later. They fought together only to see India independent.

During this writer’s posting in Port Blair, he visited the famous Cellular Jail at least twice a week and saluted those great sons of the soil who had died for our country.

The Partition has given us nothing but hate, bombs and bullets and a fear of war against each other.


No resolution

No new year resolutions (Saturday Extra, Jan 3) by Khushwant Singh is inspiring and interesting. The author has been making resolutions on moral calibre though these were of casual nature.

Now the author has pledged not to make any New Year’s Day resolutionprovided the fate of his pledge will not meet the same end of his earlier promises made.

Rikhi Dass Thakur, Palbhu (Hamirpur)

A diary of stray thoughts

Nandan Nilekani’s book, Imagining India (Spectrum, December 28) stands out for its high quality of writing. The comments on various issues are incisive, enlightening, penetrating and refreshing.

Two examples will suffice. “Our universities are no longer ivory towers. They were meant to remain above politics but are instead at the very centre of it”.

“We are a country propelled forward by crisis. We make tough policy changes only when faced with emergencies.”

However, writing a book is a big art. It could have been compressed easily without losing the sting, theme, import and details. The author has written more like a historian than an engineer or IT czar. He has failed to crystallise his ideas and build a continuous theme. It is strenuous for the reader to separate the grain from chaffe. It looks like a diary of stray thoughts than a compendium. Yet, it is quite readable.

The author has consulted 300 references to do the book. Looking at the storehouse of his knowledge, it appears that the author is a diminutive reincarnation of Lala Hardayal (Hints For Self-culture).

Unfortunately, however, the author does not dilate on the core issues facing the nation i.e. water resources development, reducing oil import and recession.


Better schools

Soldiering on” (Saturday Extra, Jan 3) was a thought-provoking article. It is a pity that very less number of boys from Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh have cleared the National Defence Academy entrance examination in the past few years.

Now 31 per cent of the students are joining the NDA come from Sainik Schools. This percentage had dropped to 20 per cent before 2004.

These schools should be given more grants to enable them to have better infrastructure. After all students from these schools have to serve the nation. The Centre and the states should work jointly for their development.n




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