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Treatment of soldiers then & now

The heart-rending article by Lt Gen Baljit Singh (retd), ‘‘Let’s keep our soldiers happy’’ (Spectrum, June 27) gives an example of the enormous and extraordinary goodwill the British officers had for the Indian soldiers who served under them. The testimonial given by the Commanding Officer to Subedar Kaka Singh of 54 Battalion in 1908, and preserved by his family, speaks so highly of that goodwill that it would create a sense of pride among today’s ex-servicemen and the readers also.

Compared to that period of pride that the Indian soldiers enjoyed under the British officers, I, as a retired soldier and a senior citizen, can easily say that today we have the modern maharajas who dictate terms and conditions to the Indian soldiers. And our most faithful admirals, generals and air marshals follow their terms and conditions without raising even an eyelid.

Multan Singh Parihar, Hamirpur

Debonair Dev Anand

Mr M.L. Dhawan has given a graphic account of the actor, “King of Style”, in Spectrum of May 2. Dev Anand has had the longest innings as an actor and filmmaker, among the trio of himself, Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor, the reigning idols during the period from the fiftees to the seventies.

Dev Anand’s earlier films became hits not only because of crisp and tight plots but more so due to their melodious music which is popular even today. He reached the height of his career with “Guide” (1966), made also in English with screen-play by Nobel Laureate Pearl S. Suck. The then international magazine “Life” had his photo on the cover page with a six-page article in 1967. He also showed his acting talent in the double role of “Hum Dono” in which he left a mark, especially in the role of Major Verma.

He appeared in a contrasting shape as a sword-wielding village rebel adoring earrings in the hit movie “Insaniyat” (1953) with no less than Dilip Kumar and Bina Rai as his co-stars. In “Patita” (1953), a film based on an offbeat topic of widow marriage, he played the hero. “Funtoosh” (1955) saw him act a sad song “Dukhi man mere, sun mera kahena” sung by Kishore Kumar, who was earlier known only for light songs. He played the role of an alcoholic in “Sharaabi” (1964) which saw him away from his usual flamboyant image.

His “Nao Do Gyara” (1957) and “Kala Pani” (1958) were other notable films, the first one with Kaplana Kartik as his heroine whom he had married after “Taxi Driver”. “Pocket Maar”, “Manzil” and “Baarish” were a few other films of the actor. However, after giving many hits he lost the Mida’s touch after 1980 and churned out very ordinary films.

In spite of being the heart-throb of millions, his name has remained free from any scandal which in itself is a great attribute in the film world.

Brig H.S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula

Unfair review

Apropos the review in the Spectrum of May 30, the reviewer has not correctly assessed the book of Jagmohan, titled Reforming Vaishno Devi and a Case for Reformed, Reawakened and Enlightened Hinduism. The book is interesting and deals with the reforms of the Vaishno Devi Shrine undertaken by Jagmohan, which are historical and outstanding.

Jagmohan had promoted the improvement of the entire 14-km-long route from Katra to the shrine. It was widened, made pucca and 10 lakh tiles were laid on it. For the pilgrims’ comfort, 26 shelters and 14 shelter-cum-cafeteria units were set up in the Mata Vaishno Devi complex.

If such reforms are undertaken all over India, then, besides undermining the forces of obscurantism, crores could be channelised for environmental, social and economic advancement.

Gopal Bhargava, Delhi

Mythology misinterpreted

In the article ‘‘Single Chance’’ (Spectrum, June 20), writer Shoma A Chatterji has expounded views about premartial sex and given examples of sage Visvamitra, Shakuntala, Kunti, the mother of Pandavas, et al. The writer has tried to prove that these cosmic personalities were also involved in premartial sex relations. The depth of knowledge of the writer pertaining to Hindu philosophy and cultural values appears to be shallow. Great personalities in Hindu mythology had supernatural powers due to which they could create many living or non-living things with their eternal vision and power.

Lt -Col Kirpal Singh ( retd), Chamba




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