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Festival on celebrated columnist

The Khushwant Singh Literary Festival being celebrated at Kasauli is welcome at this juncture to honour the nonagenarian columnist who has donned many literary robes in his long career (Roopinder Singh’s article ‘’With a bit of malice and loads of fun’’, October 12).

Khushwant Singh has deftly used his craft of writing to portray himself as a candid writer through gossip columns. He showcases himself as an agnostic but devoutly wears all religious symbols of Sikhism, the religion of his provenance. On the other hand, he does not hesitate to raise a question mark on Sushma Swaraj or Brinda Karat supporting a large bindi on their foreheads while himself he wears a ‘kara’. He has been in the habit of making some nasty remarks in the obituaries of celebrities, subtly hidden in the litany of praises, which the gossip-loving readers pick up more easily than the rightful praises.

He is clever enough to find out which side of the bread has a smearing of butter. He would shower praises on some issue or personality in the garb of candidness to derive the hidden meaning. When the same issue or personality draws flak from the public, he would comfortably switch sides and find out something suitable for his pen at that moment of time.

One facet of Khushwant Singh, that of being a gossip columnist, dominates the rest in him. But in this genre too the cunning in him would never touch the extreme as late R K Karanjia used to do. He would always leave some chink for himself to wriggle out. He is neither bold like M F Hussain nor erudite like Salman Rushdie. His prose is neither lucid like R K Narayan’s nor intense like V S Naipaul’s. He is one unto himself.

KIRAN SHARMA, Sundernagar (HP) 

White collar fraud

The editorial “Corporate corruption” (October 12) is apt and the proposal for extending the anti-corruption laws to punish bribery in private sector will definitely help to curb corruption. It has also been rightly opined that battle against corruption will begin with electoral reforms.

Politicians should not be allowed to spend any amount on election campaign; rather the government should float the candidates’ manifestoes in the print and electronic media, besides ensuring implementation of accountability with severe punishment so that the common man does not get an opportunity to think of bribing anybody at any level.

HARISH K. MONGA, Ferozepur

Not an autocracy

Unethical political parties like INLD support the concept of Khaps only for votes (News report “Chautala seeks special Assembly session, supports Khaps’ move”, October 11). Chautala cannot compare the atrocities of autocratic Mughal kings with our democratic governance where there is freedom of expression with enshrined in the fundamental rights without any exploitation in the name of gender, cast or creed. Gone are the days of king’s atrocities, we live in a democratic environment, where no one can exploit any one. The marriageable age is fixed at 18 years giving due consideration to certain important physical constraints of a girl child.


No change

No matter what Pakistan does to name or re-name a chowk after Saheed Bhagat Singh or things of the sort, Pakistan has no intention to be friendly to India. It has shown no sign of change of heart directly or indirectly. It would be foolish, rather suicidal for India to believe any of Pakistan’s gimmick.

Since 1962, the United States has had no ties with its neighbor Cuba, why does India care so much to be friendly with her hostile neighbour Pakistan, whose only objective seems to be destroy India at all costs?


PSPCL in soup

The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) awarded a Rs 350 crore contract to Mumbai based firm SPANCO for networking in 47 towns. The networking services provided by the Mumbai firm have proved to be a failure. PSPCL did not provide electricity bills to the consumers for six months, when the bills were ultimately given they were faulty and inflated. PSPCL’s financial position is critical and to top it, electricity bills were not issued in time to collect the billing money.

When the collection system is so poor, how will the corporation survive? It will become difficult for the middle class to pay up the large amount in one go.


Looking beyond Bollywood

In the light of the outpouring on Amitabh Bachchan’s 70th birthday, I have a question for all cine fans and the general public. When was the last time we celebrated birthdays of real heroes of this country? Does anyone know when Field Marshall Cariappa was born? Besides Punjab, how many other states actually commemorate Bhagat Singh’s birthday?

We have several heroes of the Indian Army like Capt Vijyant Thapar, Capt Anuj Nayyar, Capt Anmol Kalia and Maj Acharya who sacrificed their lives selflessly for India. Can anyone tell me why the nation doesn’t commemorate their birthdays? Capt Thapar in his last letter to his parents reminded Indians that “they are sacrificing their today for our tomorrow”. The Indian media and the people fail to go beyond three topics — politics, sports and Bollywood.




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