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Silent spectator

Apropos the article “When silence is not an option” (September 24), the phrase “speech is silver, silence is golden” has not proved to be true in the case of Dr Manmohan Singh who remained a silent spectator throughout his tenure as Prime Minister. Indeed, he is an honest person, but honesty does not mean that one allows subordinates to indulge in malpractices and corruption. As PM, he cannot absolve himself of his responsibilities of the misdeeds of his Cabinet ministers. The reason for his silence is not known. The person who stands and merely observes wrong things silently is as responsible as the person involved in any crime. His silence has led some to think that he was crazy for the chair and did not want to leave it under any circumstance.

Rajinder Kumar Arora, via email

Silence them, Dr Singh

This has reference to the article “When silence is not an option” by Kuldip Nayar (September 24). Though often golden, silence is sometimes taken as an admission of guilt or complicity in an unlawful activity. Even his outspoken critics agree that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is himself an unscrupulously honest leader. But his silence, whether forced or otherwise, and his powerlessness or inaction against corrupt deals has failed to silence them. They accuse him of being a weak Prime Minister who compromised his position to benefit powerful politicians and bureaucrats to cling on to the august chair. An internationally acclaimed economist, Dr Singh dominated India’s economic policies for long and helped make India a liberal, global and economically empowered democracy. It is morally becoming of a person of his stature to break his silence and clear his stance in national interest. After the Supreme Court’s cancellation of illegal and arbitrary coal block allocations, the BJP government may order a full-fledged CBI investigation to reach the bottom of corruption scams. Dr Singh should muster courage and expose all beneficiaries involved in looting the country's assets. It will not only debunk his critics but also maintain his popular image of self-respect, integrity and probity.

DS Kang, Bahadurpur (Hoshiarpur)

Unsubstantiated charge

Senior journalist and reputed writer Kuldip Nayar seems to have some grudge against former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He says: “In fact, he wanted to be in the chair at any cost.” He should have given at least one reason in support of his allegation. It is very easy to say something unsubstantiated. He himself writes in the article that it is difficult to say why Manmohan Singh did not act, except that he wanted to stay in office. If he is not sure of the reason, why did he make these allegations on a person of integrity, to which the writer admits? The article is one-sided.

Harish Aery, Hoshiarpur

Bias against Modi

Kuldip Nayar, BG Verghese, S. Nihal Singh and Justice Rajinder Sachar do not spare criticising Modi in their writings. Diatribes against the RSS, the BJP and Modi have been the centre of their writings. Modi’s address to the children on Teachers’ Day had a wonderful impact on the children as they felt proud to have interacted with the Prime Minister. To call it a ‘tamasha’' exposes the hollowness of the argument. Modi’s quick response in visiting flood effected J&K has drawn praise. Let us be rational and not critical all the time.


Rice bucket challenge

The news article “After ice, its rice bucket challenge” (September 2) is further validation of the fact that the social media is a powerful tool. It started with the recent viral sensation — the ice bucket challenge — a fundraiser and awareness campaign for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease. The challenge was simple: once challenged, you have 24 hours to either douse a bucket of ice water over your head, or donate $100 to the ALS association or, both and post your video on a social platform such as Facebook or Twitter. Some people did it for the cause, some joined in for fun and some jumped in to share a goal with the rich and famous. Within days, the campaign accumulated huge donations, including those by such celebrities as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Shakira and Lady Gaga. Striking the emotional chord of the audience, keeping it simple, putting in the fun element and keeping a time window for the multiplier effect was the marketing strategy. Kudos to the Indian activist for inventing the desi version of the challenge and encouraging everyone to donate rice to the needy people.

Dr Kamal Sekhon Randhawa, via email

Memories of Lahore

Apropos VK Kapoor’s middle “With memories of Lahore” (August 13), I have seen Lahore even before the Partion. During the British Raj, it was regarded as the Paris of Asia. There is a popular Punjabi saying: “Jinan Lahore nahi veikhya, oh jammey hi nahin” (Those who had not seen Lahore, were not born). I again went to Lahore as part of a Sikh jatha about two decades ago. On the very first day, someone stole Rs 7,000, a railway ticket and receipt of my passport from my purse. While sauntering in the fort, a lady from Peshawar told me that she had seen the Golden Temple in Amritsar when she was about 10 along with her parents. She was surprised to know that the foundation stone of Harmandar Sahib was laid by a Muslim saint, Miyan Mir, at the behest of Guru Arjan Dev. At the gate of Shahi Masjid, an elephantine Maulana clumsily placing his hands on my weak shoulders asked: “Kahaan sey asey?” “From Qadian,” I ejaculated. “Oh, shahr-e-kuffaar sey,” (Oh, from the city of infidels) he said. It was an innuendo about the Amhadiyyas. When I politely told him that they were as faithful as the other Muslims, he went away angrily murmuring something. Poet Allama Iqbal’s magnificent mausoleum was near the masjid. Some fanatic leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami washed it with rose water, saying that its floor had been defiled by a Hindu’s feet.

When I told an old friend about my theft, he offered some money. I politely declined to accept it. His bubbly wife said: “Bhaji lai lau, ik pulsiya paise dinda hai; eithey pulswaaley paise laindey ney, dindey nahin (Brother, take the money, a policeman is giving to you. Here police personnel take, do not give money). I let out a loud guffaw.

Bhagwan Singh, Qadian

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