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Naipaul: A writer with a difference

The Tribune is generous enough to publish Rajnish Wattas’ article on Nobel Laureate Sir V.S.Naipaul (Spectrum, July 18). He is justified in glorifying Naipaul as a great English prose writer. Indeed, Naipaul has an original sense of language and a lyrical style. His prose is brilliant and his skill in the use and manipulation of the English language is superb, evoking images and glittering metaphors.

Despite his enormous literary output, the question arises what about the thought content and process in his writings? Where are the enlarged and commanding ideas? And where a larger and unique view of life? Isn’t his range narrow and his flight short? Where are compassion, charity, gratitude and a pity for the poor which enhance the quality of life.

K.P.S. Menon, another travel writer, used to say that one of the easiest ways to win applause and commendation in the West is to condemn your own tradition, culture and country. Like Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Naipaul is not a positive writer or thinker in understanding the vicissitudes of human affairs. He lashes and upbraids, but does not construct. This lack of constructive ability destroyed the genius of Alexander Pope, Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byren and Thomas Carlyle.

Patrick French, Naipaul’s authorised biographer tells us in his concluding chapter how after the cremation of his wife, Patricia on February 8, 1996, who bore her suffering with stoic poise, the next day Naipaul celebrated his union with a new lady to be married in April 1996. As for Patricia Naipaul said a Muslim prayer, the Fatiha, with which French closes his biography.

V.N. DATTA, Professor Emeritus, New Delhi

True son of Punjab

M.L. Dhawan’s article (May 2) and Brig H.S. Sandhu’s letter (July 11) show that people of this part of India still love and respect Dev Anand. The contribution made by him in the field of cinema is immense and he has given so much to society by his daring and social reforming themes.

Even at 86, he is still working relentlessly and directing new projects on the latest social problems. His dedication to his profession is a lesson for the new generation. His lifelong services to the public are immense and we should be proud of the true “son of Punjab”. Is this not the right time that the Punjab government should also honour him for his contributions in the world of cinema?

Prof ARUN KUMAR ANGRISH, Chandigarh 

Honouring decorated defence personnel, Railway style

In his article, “Kargil War: The neglected heroes” (Perspective, July 25), Gen V. P. Malik (retd) has mentioned that “the sense of nationalism and pride in the military generated during the Kargil war is missing today”. I do not agree with him. The nation has faith in its military and respects the sacrifices made by its heroes in defending the borders of our nation.

While I was working as Divisional Railway Manager of Palghat Division on Southern Railway, many of the roads of Palghat Railway Colony were named after the decorated defence personnel. Perhaps, it is the only railway colony, rather the only government colony, where the roads have been named after the decorated defence personnel and sportspersons.

I had written about this to Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik and Gen. Deepak Kapoor in November 2009 and had requested them to advise the family members of the defence personnel after whom the roads were named. Though Air Chief Marshal Naik replied to me by acknowledging the gesture of the railway in doing so, I am yet to hear from the Chief of Army Staff.

Just for sake of the information of the relatives of the above named defence personnel in particular and members of the military in general, I am mentioning below the names of those defence personnel after whom the roads of Palghat (Palakkad) railway colony have been named:

Naik Jadunath Singh, CQM Havildar Abdul Hamid, Lt Manoj Kumar Pandey, Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, Capt Vikram Batra, Gdr Yogendra Singh Yadav, Lt-Col Chitoor Venugopal, Maj Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Maj Rajesh Singh Adhikari, Maj Vivek Gupta, Maj Padmapani Acharya, Lt K.C. Nongrum, Maj Sonam Wangchuk, Naik Shatrughan Singh, Maj M. Saravanan, Sub C.A. Madhavan Nambiyar, Col N.J. Nair and Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja.

I request them to visit the Palghat (Palakkad) railway colony in Kerala and feel the sense of pride which the nation has in the military. They should never feel that the heroes of the Kargil War have been neglected.

YATINDRA PAL SINGH, Divisional Railway Manager, Northern Railway, Ambala



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