My Brother IC 7077, Lt. Major PREM NATH BHATIA, Vir Chakra, Hero of Walong – An Officer and A Gentleman

Col N N Bhatia (Retd)     A ‘Sher’ is Born My parents modern, educated, liberal with modest means were deeply influenced by the Arya Samaj movement in undivided Punjab. My father, eldest of 3 brothers and a sister was born in Bhulwal in Pakistan on 24 Dec1905. He was the first matriculate in his village. My grandfather, who was a cotton merchant, a hakim and a wrestler fired, a volley from 12 bore gun and laddus were distributed in the entire village on his son’s great educational achievement. My father wanted to be a doctor but premature demise of his father shattered his dream as there was no other earning member in the family then. He pursued pharmacist course in Bombay and joined a government job in Civil Hospital in Khushab. My mother was eldest of the 6 siblings-four sisters and two brothers. My maternal grandfather who belonged to Sargodha was a liberal educated young Station Master in British India Railways in Haripur Hazara where my mother was born on 5 Sep 1916. Our parents were married on 18 May 1931. My  mother, though married at a very young age, not only reared seven kids but also pursued her studies to become a post graduate in Hindi, beside doing  courses in stitching, embroidery and child care. In later years she pursued her passion in Vedic studies and both my parents were Presidents of the local Arya Samaj in Gurgaon. My mother also penned numerous articles that were published in various magazines on Vedic thoughts & so also on the uplift of down trodden women. While my father took great interest in construction of DAV School in the Urban Estate, Gurgaon and running of charitable dispensary, my mother used to organise collection of cloth and donations to stitch large number of clothing items for various orphanages run by the Arya Samaj. During 1962 war, our parents collected large number of donations of cash and gold for the war effort these activities of our parents had profound effect on our entire family.  On 17 Jul 1933 our parents were blessed with their first child. When my grandmother excitedly enquired my father about the first delivery and...

Decline of sanctimony?

Decline of sanctimony?

Ravi Shanker Kapoor  Tehelka magazine editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) boss Arvind Kejriwal were the self-appointed guardians of morality. In the reckoning of their supporters, they were the conscience of the nation, knights in shining armor who were zealously striving to rescue many a damsel in distress—democracy, secularism, truth, socialism, fairness, to name just a few. Men like Tajpal and Kejriwal—the Left-leaning, politically correct public figures—are the messiahs of our age. Or so we were told. Comeuppance was a bit late but it did arrive—with a bang, at least for Tejpal. The impressive edifice that Tejpal had built around his persona came crushing down. And when Tejpal found himself in a fix as his victim showed courage and exposed him, he tried to don the mantle of a fallen hero over, what he tenderly called, “misconduct.” It was, however, from the girl’s letter that we came to know that the so-called misconduct included lifting up her dress, pulling down her underwear, attempting “to perform oral sex,” and penetrating her with his fingers. Sophistry and subterfuge Sophistry and subterfuge remained the defining features of the utterances that appeared first in the media. Savor a few delicacies. In a letter to Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhary, Tejpal said, “The last few days have been most testing, and I squarely take the blame for this… A bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for.” A senior journalist who long ago was Tejpal’s colleague in another publication told me that the great editor still believes that there would have been nothing wrong if the young employee had accepted his advances. Even if to survive in the ‘free, fair, fearless’ magazine, for he told her in no uncertain term, “Well, this is the easiest way for you to keep your job.” Is this any different from the attitude of the lecherous moneylender of Mother India who made a similar offer to the protagonist of the movie? Of course, Tejpal is infinitely more polished; he is well-versed with the latest fads of intellectualism; he can regale the literati and glitterati with his...

If you ain’t a Left-libber, you ain’t human

Ravi Shanker Kapoor Poet and secularist par excellence Javed Akhtar was hauled over the coals by twitterati for his comment on former Tehelka Tarun Tejpal which was seen as supporting the beleaguered editor. But what has escaped the notice of the mainstream and social media is much more insidious. In a debate at Times Now, he tried to distinguish two sets of people who are slamming Tejpal: the liberal, progressive people—people like us (PLU)—who take up causes like diversity, environment, and women empowerment; and then there are the politically incorrect hypocrites—people like them (PLT)—who uphold regressive values and are likely to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party. In short, only the enlightened souls like Akhtar, Vinod Mehta, and Vinod Sharma are entitled to express their anguish and dismay at the Tejpal affair; their revulsion is authentic, that of PLTs is just deceitful. And I thought all along that sympathy, empathy, and compassion are noble feelings every human being possesses or is capable of possessing in some measure. As Adam Smith wrote in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, howsoever selfish a man may be, “there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.” Men and women of any race, creed, color, or country, and belonging of any ideological persuasion, feel anger when they see somebody wronged and they are pained when they find a person in pain. So, it was not unnatural for the middle class, BJP leaders, and others to sympathize with the brave young girl who was (allegedly?) sexually assaulted and castigate Tejpal. But the climate of opinion, that the Tejpals and the Akhtars have polluted, has subverted all that is time-honored and reasonable. Therefore, nobody has a right to feel disgusted by depravity unless they unquestioningly follow the accepted canons of public discourse; nor do they have the right to sympathize with a victim of sexual assault. Only Left-libbers have such rights. Worse, anybody outside the incestuous coterie of professional radicals and bleeding heart activists lambasting Tejpal and showing compassion for the victim is immediately dubbed as a hypocrite and...

Praising the Demon to Survive

Since the last few decades, a few religious identities, new community definitions and the idea of State underwent a significant but drastic shift. A new articulation of ‘we feeling’, Biradari (brotherhood) and engagement of small numbers (radicals)  to prove certain alien ideologies as a new culture for us all, gained momentum and aimed at nothing but the polarization of natives. Adfar Shah What is culture? In answer, I always say, what not is a culture. A total way of life that yarns the social fabric and tells us the codes of life while keeping us connected to our past. Culture gives us our identity and tells us of our existing social collective that is so composite and inclusive. Today we are in every mess because we undermine the very culture and adopt all the political models to manipulate the same for vested interests. To build a culture of peace we need interaction (that is so limited) and of course the education (where is that?) that is peace based. The question is how to make our education a critical education? We can make it so, provided it gives due space to our local culture and context and is a quality education (I do not mean at expensive schools). The state craft always fails to see peace through culture for it hardly believes in the culture of the masses (to them always masses are asses), therefore fails to understand the culture for a collective social well being. In turn it forcibly imposes its own brand of culture based on repression and violence. It never bothers to see solutions embedded in the conflict itself but believes in its superficial elite/utopian theories for all solutions (that actually never translate on ground). Culture needs love and a good understanding to build a strong functional social fiber (reverse happening). The very culture if manipulated becomes the matter of contestation (conflict as well). Time has come to move from mere theories of culture to the practice of our own culture because we are yet to see our culture as a uniting factor and have been seeing curriculum/social ideas/media opinions containing everything but values of the society we live in. Unless we...

Rural flavor to boost Tourism in Kashmir

Rural flavor to boost Tourism in Kashmir

Award winning journalist Rashmi Talwar’s this research was first published in Rising Kashmir. Rashmi Talwar Lying atop a light haystack in a bullock cart, gazing at the clouds, singing-‘Mein chalee, Mein chalee, dekho pyar ki galee….’, slipping down to sit in the cart-man’s seat, a flying tail lashed my face and nearly entered my open mouth. It singed my cheek, felt like a slap, but then someone splashed a glassful of water on my reddened face and everyone broke into guffaws.‘Tujhe pasand nahi karta’! (The bull doesn’t like you !) “As if I was gonna offer him a marriage proposal!” I retorted, and laughter resumed and went on as long as the litlu litlu cart wheedled away tingling with cowbells. This piece of personal memory brings smiles and gurgling laughter whenever I happen to look at a bullock cart during village detours. Turmoil in Punjab for almost two decades halted all rural fun and a flight of youth took place, while turmoil in Jammu & Kashmir tore up income resources, and left little to finance any fancy dreams of urban or metro settlement. Going abroad was also lesser in comparison to Punjab whose ‘entire villages are aging’ and where the once robust countryside of lush gold of mustard flowers and wheat fields that flowed alongside roads and rugged paths shrank rapidly with fragmented landholdings and unsupervised grabbing by land sharks. Punjab youth’s growing infatuation with fairer lands and fairer maidens abroad and the commercialization of rural land had coined a slogan ‘ek kilaa vech, te munde nu bahar bhej’ (Sell one acre of land and send your son abroad). In comparison stringent land laws have saved J&K and rural tourism has larger-than-life potential in Kashmir. Unlike Punjab, Kashmir still retains its rural flavor, its weather adds to the unspoilt caresses of its emerald grasses and undulating slopes. Its upper reaches, and some of its lower ones, still hold a bountiful in luxuriant topography unmatched by any in the sub-continent or the world, wherein lies exquisite scenic beauty and delicate scents. Visionaries with their eye on niche Rural Tourism – for those who seek places lesser known, need to study the successful tracks carved by other countries with similar weather and scenic strengths and indigenously adapt for a self sustaining and robust rural tourism that not only allows a rare glimpse into pastoral...

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