L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

One more

Apropos Khushwant Singh's Over ninety-and going up (This Above All, April 15), I would like to add another name to the short list of nonagenarians mentioned in his column — Padma Shri K.L. Zakir, who is a prolific and celebrated writer, having penned more than 130 books in Urdu, Hindi, English and Punjabi. He is above 93, and still working as honorary Deputy Chairman of the Haryana Urdu Akademi.

Mohinder Pratap 'Chand', Ambala City


I read Khushwant Singh's column with a lot of interest. Smitha Verma’s project is indeed commendable. It was inspiring to read that Zohra Sehgal is still so active. Besides other names such as Khushwant Singh, Alkazi (87), Ravi Shankar (92), Mahasweta Devi (86), K G Subramanyam (88), I am sure Smitha can include people like Manna Dey (93), Fauja Singh (100 +) and Dilip Kumar (touching 90) too in this project. One also wishes the “younger ones”, such as Lata, Asha, Dara Singh and Milkha Singh, too join and expand the 100-plus-and-working club in due course.

Tejinder Singh Bedi, Gurgaon

White elephants

Apropos The ‘token’ woman President by Kishwar Desai (Fifity Fifty, April 15), the President as well as the governors of states — who have to act on the advice of the government — are white elephants living off taxpayers’ money. Maya’s “stone” elephants, though unpardonable, were only a one-time expenditure. The President, not competent to discuss or decide policy matters, should limit her trips abroad to the bare minimum. We may even consider abolition of the post of governor, and put the Raj Bhavans to some good use. Even if we do not abolish the post of President, we should at least curtail his or her luxurious living.

Wg Cdr C.L. Sehgal (retd), Jalandhar


The article reflects the sentiments of many Indians. Though a constitutional head, yet the President is the flag bearer of the country, and therefore has to have exemplary traits and character. Any controversy over the chair is unfortunate, and lowers the prestige of the country. Thinking people in this democracy must maintain their vigil to ensure no undeserving person is imposed on the nation.

Kiran Verma, Faridkot

A beginning

More gate, less way (Perspective, April 15) by Perneet Singh underlines the imbalance of trade between India and Pakistan. India has made concerted efforts to improve trade ties, but radical elements across the border have opposed it. Though the present list of 137 items allowed by Pakistan for import will not meet the expectations of our trading community, the massive infrastructure created at Attari will be useful in future when hurdles in trade are reduced through talks. The leadership in Pakistan too realises the benefits of improving trade relations.

S.C. Vaid, Greater Noida

Nur of Punjab

This has reference to Balwinder Kaur’s book review titled The power behind the throne (Spectrum, April 15). On becoming Emperor, Shah Jahan confined Nur Jahan to a comfortable mansion for the rest of her life, where she composed poetry under the penname ‘Mukhfi’. She died in 1645 at the age of 68, and was buried by the side of Jahangir at Shalimar Bagh, Lahore, on the banks of the Ravi. Noting the darkness around the grave, Urdu poet Tilok Chand Mehroom penned a poem with the opening verse “Din ko bhi jahan shab ki sihayi ka saman hai/ yeh khwabgah-e-Malika-e-Nur-e-Jahan hai (where even during the day there is the darkness of night, is the resting place of Empress Nur Jahan (Light of the World). Punjab has the honour of being associated with Nur Jahan. Her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg on his journey from Tehran to Delhi stayed in a serai of a town that bears her name, Nurmahal.

V.K. Rangra, Delhi

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