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Rubbing salt on wounds

Kudos to Kuldip Nayar for his rebuttal to the British barb in the write-up “Calling freedom fighters terrorists” (March 12). It is a matter of shame for the British historian that he wishes to pen history but does not know the difference between a revolutionary and a terrorist. It is the British who qualify to be referred to as terrorists for the cowardly acts and misdeeds of their army and police in India, when they tortured and fired at unarmed civilians. Instead of being thankful to the persevering Indians for their generosity in never raking up the past, this so-called global historian has the cheek to term Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Chandra Shekhar Azad as terrorists and rub salt on the wounds of thousands of Indians.

Pakistan and Bangladesh, too, should condemn the claim. Thanks to Mahatma Gandhi, Indians have forgiven the British for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of unarmed and peaceful protesters in the most brutal manner in 1919 and the killings again in 1921 at Chauri Chaura in UP.

My grandfather Bawa Shiv Singh Bedi, who did BA (Hons) in 1919, was witness to developments at Jallianwala Bagh and as a freedom fighter with the INC, he had refused tempting offers to join the British army or police. His write-up published then in The Tribune mentioned British historian Lepil Grephin’s views about the psyche of a Sikh being the same in war and peace: of having the fury of 10 elephants when aroused for self-respect or respect of others and Bhagat Singh was one such leader. I request the British Queen to return our Kohinoor.

Tejinder Singh Bedi, Gurgaon

Struggle was non-violent

Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Lala Lajpat Rai, Udham Singh and innumerable martyrs were imbued with patriotic fervour and had sworn to liberate India from the tyrannical British rule. Theirs was, by and large, a non-violent struggle. The throwing of a bomb in the Assembly hall was just a symbol of India’s resentment of British atrocities, and in no way intended to kill anyone. It was a bona fide effort to awaken the British that time had come for them to quit India. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, being the climax in its form of mayhem, deserved revenge against the perpetrators of the crime on innocent civilians.

It is the weak Indian leadership which has not been able to compel the British government to refrain from labeling our heroes as traitors or terrorists, whose sacrifices bore fruit after their deaths and the British had to bid adieu to India. Rather, it should appreciate that though India became a republic in 1950, taking a step further from the dominion status, unlike Canada, Australia and other countries, it continues to be a member of the Commonwealth.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali

UK view immaterial

The British denigrate our national heroes by calling them terrorists. What else can one expect from people whose ancestors ruled India for 150 years? A revolutionary of one world is a terrorist for another. But it does not matter what the British call them. It’s for us to respect them and follow the path they showed us to make India a better country.

Himanshu Goyal, Sardulgarh

Declassify ’62 papers

This refers to the editorial “No longer a secret: The government must declassify Henderson Brooks Report” (March 20). The report describes the details of the humiliating defeat suffered by India at the hands of China in 1962. Some parts of it were posted on the web by Australian journalist Neville Maxwell, but they are not available in our public domain. The government plea that the report pertains to a very sensitive matter and releasing it may be detrimental to operational secrecy and against national interest is neither cogent nor convincing. Going forward on the China border in 1962 without proper planning, preparation and reliable intelligence inputs proved disastrous, though the troops fought valiantly against heavy odds. Our political leadership, diplomats and top generals did not expect the Chinese to react to this policy. This assessment proved to be grossly incorrect and unwise. The government must let the public know the truth. Lessons must be learnt to make course correction. The top secret documents should be declassified.

Subhash Vaid, Greater Noida

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com



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