H C Singh

Appreciation and comments on Shashi Tharoor’s Book INDIA: From Midnight to The Millennium and Beyond

There is absolutely no doubt that Shashi Tharoor, besides being a great diplomat of UN and now almost Foreign Minister of India, is an excellent thinker and great writer of India. His ideas about Indian nationalism, Unity in Diversity and the detailed expression of these two fundamental issues is matchless. It is apt to reproduce in detail Tharoor’s views on these two aspects as under:

Indian nationalism is “not based on any of the conventional indices of national identity. Not language, since India’s Constitution recognizes eighteen official languages, and there are thirty-five that are spoken by more than a million people each. Not ethnicity, since the “Indian” accommodates a diversity of racial types in which many Indians have more in common with foreigners than with other Indians—Indian Punjabis and Bengalis, for instance, have more in common with Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, respectively, than with other Indians. Not religion, since India is a secular pluralist state that is home to every religion known to mankind, with the possible exception of Shintoism. Not geography, since the natural geography of the subcontinent – the mountains and the sea–was hacked by the Partition of 1947. And not even territory, since, by law, anyone with one grandparent born in pre-Partition India – outside the territorial boundaries of today’s state—is eligible for citizenship. Indian nationalism has therefore always been the nationalism of an idea. It is, as I have tried to demonstrate in this book, the idea of an ever-ever land emerging from an ancient civilization, united by a shared history, sustained by pluralist democracy.

 In 1996 the then prime minister, H.D.Deve Gowda, stood at the ramparts of Delhi’s, Red Fort to deliver Independence Day message to the Nation “What was unusual this time was that Deve Gowda, a southerner from the state of Karnataka, spoke to the country in a language of which he did not know a word. Tradition and politics required a speech in Hindi, so he gave one—the words having been written out for him in his native Kannada script, in which they, of course, made no sense.”

Such an episode is almost inconceivable elsewhere, but it represents the best of the oddities that help make India. Only in India could there be a country ruled by a man who does not understand its “national language”; only in India, for that matter.”

 There are some more very significant views of Shashi Tharoor on India’s Unity in Diversity, particularly about Sonia Gandhi whom many like Sharad Pawar considered a foreigner and not eligible for being the leader of Congress Party or Government as PM. As a congress Party has been in existence and leading the Indian Independence Movement for more than a hundred years. Here are some extracts from his book:

 India’s national identity has long been built on the slogan “unity in diversity.” The “Indian” comes in such varieties that a woman who is fair-skinned, sari-wearing and Italian-speaking, as Sonia is, is not more foreign to my grandmother in Kerala than one who is “wheatish-complexioned,” wears a salwar-kameez and speaks Punjabi. Our nation absorbs both these types of people; both are equally “foreign” to some of us, equally Indian to us all.

 Shashi Tharoor’s views on Unity in Diversity of India are superb. He has also written analytically on Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru Indira Gandhi even on Sanjay Gandhi. But there are other aspects on which some comments are called for particularly, his neglect of leaders like Dr Rajendra Parsad India’s first President who was first Bihari who topped in MA economics in Calcutta University with remarks of the Examiner “Examinee knows more than the examiner. There is also neglect of Dr Abdul Kalam Azad who though a Muslim was a dedicated follower if Gandhi till his last breath. Sardar Patel, Deputy PM who consolidated India by incorporation 500 Princely States and even Hyderabad by Pohri Action and Gandhian. Jaya Parkash Narain even to an extent of Lal Bahadur Shastri, glaring omissions of prominent leaders from opposition: E.M.S Nambodrepad, virtually founder of Communist Party in India and first Communist Chief Minister of Kerala and of an Indian State. Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee who has been Prime Minister of India as well as longest serving Member of India’s Parliament. These omissions are noteworthy in a famous book on INDIA.

December 14, 2009 Posted by | Achievers, Biography, India, Indian History, Political Commentary, Politics, Religion | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NANAK SINGH NOVELIST

Nanak Singh, father of Punjabi novel, was a born genius. So long as the planet is there, Punjab is there; Punjabi speaking people are there, he will be remembered with reverence. Nanak Singh was a rare literary star that appears once in hundreds of years. He was one amongst galaxy of literary giants like Kalidas, Shakespear, Tolstoy, Dickens, Tagore and Bernard Shaw.

Nanak Singh was born Hans Raj in a petty grocer’s family in Peshawar Cantonment (now in Pakistan) but lost both his parents in childhood. He had only primary education that too in Urdu. But he never gave up his devotional and literary pursuits. He joined Blind Devotional Musicians Group who used to recite Gurbani and Keertan daily in Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Peshwar Cantt. Under their solemn influence Hans Raj, who had already became a devotee of Guru Nanak by heart and soul became a Sikh and was baptized as Nanak Singh.

Hereafter the genius in him started unfolding. He self-learnt Punjabi in Gurmukhi Script so as to read Sikh Scriptures direct from the Holy Guru Granth Sahib and started composing short religious hymns in praise of Sikh Gurus, knows as “SATGURU MEHMA”, which made him famous as Nanak Singh Kaveeshar throughout Punjab and NWFP.

Blessed with fame and inspired by Universal brotherhood teachings of Guru Nanak, this young Sikh in early 20’s got the enlightenment, the like of which Siddhartha got and transformed into Buddha. In his zeal to preach what he had learnt and dreamt, he shifted to Amritsar, the Mecca or more appropriately, Vatican of Sikhs. Here Nanak Singh taught himself besides Punjabi and Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and some English. From here his novel writing imbibed divinity and seems to have been blessed by God Almighty Himself. The pace of his work was truly incredible, almost machine like. In the remaining 50years of his active life Nanak Singh gifted to the World and Punjabi language in particular as many as 40 novels and innumerable short stories and poems. His epic novel “PAVITAR PAPI” was made into a successful motion picture by his ardent admirer, Balraj Sahani while another epic “EK MIAN DO TALWARAN” was awarded the prestigious Sahitya Academy Award in 1962. Besides novels, he tried his hand in short stories, essays and poems including a heart rending composition on Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

William Shakespeare wrote 37 comedies, tragedies and histories during his literary career. A dozen of which like Julius Ceaser, Merchant of Venice and as you like it became famous and made him famous during his life time. The abiding and universal themes of love, friendship, sacrifice as in Romeo Juliet and greed for a pound of flesh as in Merchant of Venice found ample expression in Nanak Singh’s novels. While PAVITAR PAPI & “IK MIAM DO TALWARAN” are distinguished by tragic themes of unrequited love and supreme sacrifice, unmitigated greed and poverty was the theme of Paap di Khatti which was also a reflection on rapidly altering values of contemporary society.

Like Charles Dickens Nanak Singh had great understanding of human nature especially of young and poor who were helpless and were exploited by selfish and greedy. His novels like CHITTA LAHU are in the same league as Dicken’s A tale of two cities and David Copperfield.

Nanak Singh’s IK Mian Do Talwaran for which he got Sahitya Academy Award in 1962 compares well with Tolstoys monumental work War and Peace. Like Tolstoy, who became fed up with rituals of orthodox church and fundamentalism in practice Nanak Singh too, pointed out with zeal the evils of fundamentalism an selfishness in our society including those prevailing in Gurudwaras and Temples where many priests were dishonest and greedy and some indulged in immoral practice like consuming intoxicants and even keeping mistresses. Like Tolstoy Nanak Singh revolted against these evils in his novels and shorts stories like Bhangian De Mehfil.

In 1962, I vivdly remember when Nanak Singh came to New Delhi to receive Sahitya Academy Award and stayed for a couple of days with us in Government Quarter in Kidwai Nagar, New delhi. Even in those days we felt that it was not Nanak Singh novelist but some one like Guru Nanak himself who had graced our humble abode to share with us food and thoughts. So we sat at his feet and gathered all the blessings showered on us through his lips, his eyes and gestures, as invaluable treasure to last us our life time.

Nanak Singh was a rare personality, not only selfless but self-effacing. Throughout his life he shunned publicity and politicians. Even though he went to jail during Gurudwara movement, he never sought to make political capital out of it or even refer to it in passing as a sacrifice. Nanak Singh was simplicity, honesty and decency personified. May we follow some of the foot-prints which he, like other great men, have left on the sands of time.

Unfortunately, though Punjabi is spoken by 120 million people living in India, Pakistan and abroad, it is not written and read by more than 30 million. Had it been learnt spoken and honoured by all Punjabis all over the world, a literary genius and a prolific writer like Nanak Singh would have got Nobel Price like Rabindranath Tagore and George Bernard Shaw and international recognition.

Eminent and literacy personalities tributes and comments on Nanak Singh novelist

Following comments of eminest Punjabi writers and personalites for Nanak Singh will testify to his pioneering, lasting and monumental contribution to Punjabi literature ( translated from Punjabi by this writer);-

In the field of Punjabi novel, Nanak Singh’s contribution is more than any other Punjabi writer. He has not bought cheap publicity depicting in his novels sexy life. The romance depicted is social and sacred.

Bhai Jodh Singh

It is said that dicken’s novels have alone for social reforms in England which the british parliament could not do hope Nanak singh’s novel chitta lahu would do the same to transform our society.

-Principal Teja Singh

I started going through ( Nanak Singh) novels and went on reading up to 20 novels which opened my eyes. I felt that I was sitting at the feet of a great teacher. Your language is sweet like honey and well polished.

Kartar Singh Duggal,MP

In novel writing in Punjabi there is no match to Nanak Singh. No other Punjabi writer has reached the height in Literature as Nanak Singh.

Sant Singh Sekhon

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Achievers, Biography, Punjabi | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the greatest orator that India produced irrespective of political party to which he belonged. During first General election he used to address at about 12-30 PM and almost all the government servants of Central Secretariat Krishi Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan would be there by 1 PM to listen to his spellbound oratory, irrespective of the fact that he was speaking for Jan Sangh. So this was Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1950’s a young man in his 30’s, an intelligent and impressive orator. With his oratory dedication and honesty he built his name as well as that of his party.

Though Morarji Desai as PM was not upto mark, if not an absolute failure. Another prominent leader of Janta Party, Charan Singh, too, being too selfish hankering after Prime Ministership could not be considered as a success but proved to be liability to Janta Party. He was more instrumental in destroying the Janta Party and Janta Government with the help of Indira Gandhi. On the other hand Vajpayee’s career as a Foreign Minister and diplomat was without a blemish. In spite of being a rightest he developed good and commendable relations not only with USA and west but with China and our hostlile neighbours Pakistan and Bangladesh. To conclude the brief summary, it will of interest to all to know the heights Vajpayee attained after the collapse of Janta Party, in contrast to Desai and Charan Singh, whose political careers came to end.

In 1980, after Bhartya Jan Sangh’s debacle which was mainly supported by RSS caders, Vajpayee was instrumental in transforming the party into a broadbased national organization, not only a ‘Hindu’ Party. So as founding President of BJP he outlined the commitments to certain values, diluting the RSS-Jan Sangh legacy and aspiring to make BJP a truly national party. Explaining the formation and rise of BJP, justice M C Chagla described it “as a glimmer of hope for Indian Democracy to save this nation from the scourge of Indira hegemony to provide viable national political alternative.”

Justice Chagla’s prediction and hope was correct and fulfilled when in 1994 BJP under Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the ruling Party and Vajpayee became PM. Vajpayee became PM again in 1998 elections and remained Prime Minister for a full team of five years upto 2003. This was a historic period as Indian Army was asked by the Prime Minister Vajpayee to throw out Pakistani Army and teach them a lesson which they would remember for ever.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | Biography, India, Indian History, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Jinnah and Creation of Pakistan

Mohd Ali Jinnah the creater of Pakistan, who instigated communal riots, Muslims killing Hindus in Calcutta in 1946 and when he became the Governor General of Pakistan not only endorsed but encouraged the Muslims of West Punjab, in particular, to terrorize and even kill Sikhs and Hindus particularly the Sikh farmers and land owners in Lyalpur and Montgomery Dist which the Sikh farmers from East Punjab had turned into ‘Wheat Bowl’ of Pakistan by their hard work in two to three decades, so that Muslim farmers could occupy these fertile lands.
At the time of partition of India and creation of Pakistan only two states with Muslim majority were being ruled by Muslim League, Bengal and Sindh. At partition time Bengal and Punjab were divided, If NWFP had been offered the choice of independence or Pakistan it would definitely not joined Pakistan as is seen by the turmoil in NWFP and Baluchistan to this day after more than 60 years.
The great Calcutta Killings provoked by the Muslim League and its leader Mohd Ali Jinnah and Bengal Chief Minister Suhrawardy were responsible for the great and unprecedented Killing in peaceful Calcutta. Jinnah had said that to achieve our aim of getting Pakistan, ‘today we bid goodbye to Constitutional methods’ and August 16, 1946 was declared, Direct Action Day to instigate Calcutta Killing, a public holiday to give free hand to Muslim League hooligans to Kill Non-Muslims, Hindu and even Sikhs. Police and administration were absolutely inactive, non visible for the whole day so that Jinnah’s Words were put into action. That was the beginning of Partition Riots in which Lakhs of Hindus and Sikhs from West Pakistan in particular were killed and forced to leave their homes and farms and property and in retaliation Lakh of Muslims, too, were killed mostly in India, Punjab and mostly by Sikhs so that Killings of Hindus and Sikhs by Muslims of Pakistan come to an end.

Jinnah’s above Speech is in glaring contrast to his Speech of August 46. As it was too late and followers of Muslim League continued with their Killings for which Jinnah can not be absolved. In Contract Gandhi Ji Nehru and even Sardar Patel never instigated Hindus and Sikhs to Kill Muslims.

August 24, 2009 Posted by | Biography, India, Indian History, World, World History | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments