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Ruskin Bond is romantic at heart

Ruskin Bond’s writings indeed make an endearing bond with the reader (Spectrum, May 17). He is perhaps the only writer who can even make a raindrop look interesting and leave the reader spellbound with his inimitable description of a drizzle on a mountainside.

He captures the fragile beauty of his beloved hills with an uncanny lyrical precision. In fact, his sentences are moist with dew and the mountain air. Always romantic at heart, Bond’s ability to write effortlessly on flowers, rhododendrons, melons and moonbeams, has transformed the face of nature writing in India.

Ruskin Bond’s works are rich in metaphor and intensity and exude richness of experience and maturity of perspective. Nature has bestowed upon him the unique capability to use the simplest of words with extraordinary creativity. Suffused with the quiet charm and intimacy of the hills, his acutely observed stories are gripping and enthralling and reveal the small yet fateful moments that transform ordinary lives.

He takes his characters from quaint little towns and hill stations that never make it to the headlines, yet they are the magnificent evocation of the real India — of quiet heroism and values like honesty and fidelity. His stories breathe simplicity like himself. Bond, the master storyteller, will always be remembered as much as Bond, the romantic.


Hari Singh Nalwa

Apart from being a terror for Pathans and a good administrator, Hari Singh Nalwa ( “A great general and administrator”, Spectrum, May 31) was also a good diplomat.

Captain Wade, in his letter to the Governor General dated March 31, 1831, wrote, “He (Nalwa) was formally entrusted with the government of Kashmir, which he held for two years, proving himself to be one of the most able and popular Sikh Governor.

“His manner of conversation is very frank and affable. During his diplomatic mission to Shimla his conversation with most people consisted of real exchange of ideas. He is well informed about the staticstics of many European states and the policy of the East India Company.”

He further wrote, “Nalwa took a public stand when Maharaja Ranjit Singh named Kharak Singh as his successor by saying that the state belonged to no individual but to the Khalsa commonwealth and the issue of successor should be decided by consensus Gurmata. (A History of the Sikh People by Dr Gopal Singh).


Socrates solicited his own death

Arifa Akbar’s article, “Socrates invited his death” (Saturday Extra, June 13) was interesting and informative. Socrates purposefully adopted a rebellious attitude before the jury because “he believed he would be better off dead”.

During his defence, Socrates made out a case for inviting his avoidable death. He also wished to die because he “actually believed the right time had come for him to die”. The prosecution had asked for the penalty of death and now it was up to the accused to make a counter proposition.

Though a smaller but substantial penalty would have been accepted, Socrates took a strong stand that incensed the court. The self-invited and certainly not accidental death sentence was voted by a majority and he felt well contented.

Socrates courted the death sentence contemptuously, declining the alternative of exile, thereby becoming an ideal of unparalleled attraction to the Greek youth. Before and at the time of his death, he displayed a remarkable presence of mind, coolness, bravery and an exemplary power of endurance.

Socrates, according to Jaspers, solicited his own death; his execution was not a juridical murder but a juridical suicide. In the opinion of the 19th century Danish religious philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, a precursor of existentialism, Socrates’ execution was the inevitable requital for his life, the most interesting incident on earth. The more genuine a man’s life is the greater miseries and pains he has to endure.

GUR RATTAN PAL SINGH, Advocate, Chandigarh




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