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Unforgettable pain and panic of 1984

The pogrom against innocent Sikhs that was committed less than three decades ago (editorial “Victims of 1984”, November 1) is still fresh in the minds of the affected families. In contrast, the holocaust against the Jews was perpetrated seven decades ago. Still the European authorities continue their search to nab former Nazi officers and if found, make them go through a legal trial and sentence them. Neither the crime’s distant past nor the ripe age of the culprits acts as a bar to forget the barbarity perpetrated by the Nazis and forgive them.
In contrast, have all butchers and philistines of New Delhi, Kanpur or Bokaro been awarded punishment? Have all the affected persons been adequately compensated and rehabilitated? Certainly the answers are in the negative. India just cannot afford to forget 1984.



The editorial “Victims of 1984” (November 2, 2012), rightly opines that a period of 28 years is far too long for the matter to be in a limbo. Almost half a dozen commissions were appointed for pinning down the culprits of the anti-Sikh riots that took place after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984.

It becomes difficult to hold anyone responsible whenever there is mob frenzy, but why could not a single person be pinned down and brought to book even after a quarter of a century? Similarly, Narendra Modi has not been nailed for instigating post-Godhra riots. All cases regarding caste, communal, regional and linguistic riots since Independence should be probed through separate special courts.

HARISH K. MONGA, Ferozepur

Questioning loyalty

Harihar Swarup’s profile on Saadat Hasan Manto (“Owned up, finally”, August19) mentions that “Manto was bitterly opposed to Partition” which is neither historically correct nor psychologically plausible. An incursion into the art and mind of one of world’s greatest short story-writer would reveal that Manto’s loyalty to Pakistan, like Faiz Ahmad Faiz, his teacher was unquestioned. He like Faiz, had great regard for Jinnah on whom he wrote a brilliant essay entitled “Mera Sahib” published from Pakistan during his lifetime. Unfortunately Manto’s intense nostalgia for Bombay has been grossly misunderstood as his opposition to Partition.

Most critics forget that Manto was basically a writer, not a politician. As a writer he was shaken to his roots at the holocaust that followed Partition. He did not react when the Partition plan was announced. According to Ismat Chugtai, another great story writer, after having migrated to Pakistan, he even invited her to the ‘land of promise’.

The writer has also mixed up Manto’s chronology. At one point, he says Manto left India in 1947 and in the same breath he writes that Manto lived in Bombay till January 1948. It is also wrong to say that sub-standard liquor killed him. It is the six court cases on the charge of obscenity that killed him. Neglected by his friends and foes alike, he died young at 43. For death makes no conquest of this conqueror for now he lives in fame.


Lessons in history

History has lessons for those who have the courage to confess and learn. Wrong perceptions, one-sided agreements like Panchsheel, sentimentalism, ignorance of void of ground realities and misplaced confidence played havoc with our national integrity in the 1962 Indo-China war. Defence and development must go hand in hand. Above all, the man behind the machine matters the most, which was visible in the superior US Army’s defeat in Vietnam in 1960-1970s. Give the soldier his due and boost his morale, financial implications notwithstanding. An unquestionable rapport between the civil and military heads is the dire need of the prevailing security scenario of the country.


Losing steam

India hosted F1 for the second time and how many Indians enjoyed the sport was visible at the stands of the Buddh International Circuit where just 65,000 seats were occupied compared to about a lakh last year. F1 doesn’t suit Indian sensibilities. Another reason was the money factor. The cheapest ticket was worth Rs 2,000. This was expensive for even our urban population. Formula One is a corporate event and has nothing much to offer for majority of Indians. Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya’s team did not have even a singe Indian in the race. Formula One is a combination of sport and entertainment, merely a symbol of elitism.


Imprudent choice of words 

More people have been hurt and bruised by an imprudent choice of words than by any natural calamity (Bharat Hiteshi’s middle “Landing in Trouble”, Oct 17). That’s why Chesterfield said, “It is by vivacity and wit that man shines in company; but trite jokes and loud laughter reduce him to a buffoon”.

In the light of politicians involved in name-calling, it must be kept in mind that witticism is never agreeable when it is injurious to others and excessive loose talk does not mean communication. Therefore, one should talk less and say more that is sensible and prudent as words spoken out of bitterness can boomerang and cause irreparable damage to the speaker and the addressee, too.

Humour that involves sarcasm to make fun of others is in poor taste. It is well known that an injury is forgotten more easily than an insult. Dorothy Nevill said, “The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment”.




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