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KHUSHWANT SINGH

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    Khushwant Singh (born Khushal Singh, 2 February 1915 – 20 March 2014) was an Indian author, lawyer, diplomat, journalist and politician and. His experience in the 1947 Partition of India inspired him to write ‘Train to Pakistan’ in 1956 (made into a film in 1998), which became his most well-known novel. He is one of the prime English authors of India.

    Born in Punjab, Khushwant Singh was educated in New Delhi, and studied law at St, Stephen’s College, Delhi, and King’s College London. After working as a lawyer in Lahore Court for eight years, he joined the Indian Foreign Service upon Independence of India from British Empire in 1947. He was appointed journalist in the All India Radio in 1951, and then moved to the Department of Mass Communications in UNESCO at Paris in 1956. His last two careers encouraged him to pursue a literary career. As a writer, he was best known for his trenchant secularism, humour, sarcasm and an abiding love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behaviour characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit. He served as the editor of several literary and news magazines, as well as two newspapers, through the 1970s and 1980s. Between, 1980-1986 he served as Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India.

    Khushwant Singh was bestowed with Padma Bhushan in 1974. But he returned the award in 1984 as a protest against Operation Blue Star in which the Indian Army raided Darbar Sahab in Amritsar. In 2007 he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of India.

    Khushwant Singh was born in Hadali, Khushab District, Punjab (which now lies in Pakistan), into a Sikh family. He was the younger son of Sir Sobha Singh and Veeran Bai. Since births and deaths were not recorded in those times, his father simply made up 2 February 1915 for his school enrolment at Modern School, New Delhi. But his grandmother Lakshmi Bai asserted that he was born in August, so he later set the date for himself as 15 August. Sobha Singh was a prominent builder in Lutyens Delhi. His uncle Sardar Ujjal Singh (1895–1983) was previously Governor of Punjab and Tamil Nadu.

    His birth name, given by his grandmother, was Khushal Singh (meaning a “Prosperous Lion”). He was called by a pet name “Shalee”. At school his name earned him ridicule as other boys would mock at him with an expression, “Shalee Shoolie, Bagh dee Moolee” (meaning, “This shalee or shoolee is the radish of some garden.”) He chose Khushwant so that it rhymes with his elder brother’s name Bhagwant. (He declared that his new name was “self-manufactured and meaningless”. But he later discovered that there was a Hindu physician with the same name, and the number subsequently increased).

    He entered Delhi Modern School in 1920 and studied there till 1930. There he met his future wife, Kawal Malik, one year his junior. He continued higher education at Government College, Lahore, St. Stephen’s College Delhi, and King’s College London, before reading for the Bar at the Inner Temple.

    Khushwant Singh started his professional career as a practising lawyer in 1939. He worked at Lahore Court for eight years. In 1947 he entered the Indian Foreign Service for the newly independent India. He started as Information Officer of the Government of India in Toronto, Canada. He was a Press Attaché and Public Officer for the Indian High Commission for four years in London and Ottawa. In 1951 he joined the All India Radio as a journalist. Between 1954 and 1956 he worked in Department of Mass Communication of the UNESCO at Paris. From 1956 he turned to editorial services. He founded and edited Yojana, an Indian government journal in 1951 -1953; and also The Illustrated Weekly of India, a newsweekly; and two major Indian newspapers, The National Herald and the Hindustan Times. During his tenure, The Illustrated Weekly became India’s pre-eminent newsweekly, with its circulation raising from 65,000 to 400000. After working for nine years in the weekly, on 25 July 1978, a week before he was to retire, the management asked Singh to leave “with immediate effect”. A new editor was installed the same day. After Singh’s departure, the weekly suffered a huge drop in readership. In 2016 Khushwant Singh entered Limca Book of Records as a tribute.

    From 1980 to 1986, Singh was a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1974 for his service to the country. In 1984, he returned the award in protest against the siege of the Golden Temple by the Indian Army. In 2007, the Indian government awarded Khushwant Singh the Padma Vibhushan. As a public figure, Khushwant Singh was accused of favouring the ruling Congress Party, especially during the reign of Indira Gandhi. He was derisively called an ‘establishment liberal’. Singh’s faith in the Indian political system was shaken by the anti-Sikh riots that followed Indira Gandhi’s assassination, in which major Congress politicians are alleged to be involved; but he remained resolutely positive on the promise of Indian democracy and worked via Citizen’s Justice Committee floated by H.S. Phoolka a senior advocate of Delhi High Court.

    Singh was a votary of greater diplomatic relations with Israel at a time when India did not want to displease Arab nations where thousands of Indians found employment. He visited Israel in the 1970s and was impressed by its progress.

    Khushwant Singh was married to Kawal Malik. Malik was his childhood friend who had moved to London earlier. They met again when he studied law at King’s College London, and soon got married. They had a son, named Rahul Singh, and a daughter, named Mala. His wife predeceased him in 2001. Actress Amrita Singh is the daughter of his brother Daljit Singh’s son – Shavinder Singh and Rukhsana Sultana. He stayed in “Sujan Singh Park”, near Khan Market New Delhi, Delhi’s first apartment complex, built by his father in 1945, and named after his grandfather. His grandniece Tisca Chopra is a noted TV and Film Actress.

    Khushwant Singh was a self-proclaimed agnostic, as the title of his 2011 book suggests: ‘Agnostic Khushwant: There is no God explicitly revealed.’ He was particularly against organised religion. He was evidently inclined towards atheism, as he once said, “One can be a saintly person without believing in God and also a detestable villain while believing in him. In my personalised religion, There Is No God!” He also once said, “I don’t believe in rebirth or in reincarnation, in the day of judgement or in heaven or hell. I accept the finality of death.” His last book, ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ridiculous’ was published in October 2013, following which he retired from writing. The book was his continued critique of religion and especially its practice in India, including the critique of the clergy and the priests. It earned a lot of acclaim in India.

    Singh died of natural causes on 20 March 2014 at his Delhi residence, at the age of 99. His death was mourned by many including the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister of India. He is survived by his son and daughter. He was cremated at Lodhi Crematorium in Delhi at 4 in the afternoon of the same day. During his lifetime, Khushwant Singh was keen on burial because he believed that with a burial we give back to the earth what we have taken. He had requested the management of Bahai Faith if he could be buried in their cemetery. After initial agreement, they had proposed some conditions which were unacceptable to Singh, and hence the idea was later abandoned. He was born in Hadali, Khushab District,  in the Punjab Province of modern Pakistan, in 1915. According to his wishes, some of his ashes were brought and scattered in Hadali.

    In 1943 he had already written his own obituary, included in his collection of short stories Posthumous. Under the headline “Sardar Khushwant Singh Dead”, the text reads:

    We regret to announce the sudden death of Sardar Khushwant Singh at 6 pm last evening. He leaves behind a young widow, two infant children and a large number of friends and admirers. Amongst those who called at the late sardar’s residence were the PA to the chief justice, several ministers, and judges of the high court.

    He also prepared an epitaph for himself, which runs as follows:

Here lies one who spared neither man nor God;
Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod;
Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun;
Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.

He was cremated and his ashes are buried in Hadali school, where a plaque is placed bearing the inscription:

IN MEMORY OF
SARDAR KHUSHWANT SINGH
(1915–2014)

A SIKH, A SCHOLAR AND A SON OF HADALI (Punjab)
‘This is where my roots are. I have nourished them with tears of nostalgia.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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INTERESTING FACTS FIGURES & QUOTES- 32

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Over 60 lakh applications are filed every year asking for information under RTI (Right to Information) ACT.

 The law in India allows a woman to undergo abortion only up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. But despite this law, 13 women die every day due to unsafe abortions carried out illegally.

 Before 1971 abortion was a crime in India.

  In India 26 million women are pregnant at any given time. Most of them are dependent on the healthcare facilities provided by the state.

 In order to avoid complex situations, doctors in the UK and even other western countries carry out a medical procedure that stops the beating heart before the abortion is induced. Indian doctors do the same procedure, but before 20 weeks. Abortions are indeed a sad reality of life.

What led to the removal of former Prime Minister Theresa May, was her inability to negotiate an acceptable Brexit. She conveyed the impression that she would be happy with an emasculated Brexit, a situation that put the UK outside the European Union but subject to control by Brussels. Boris was chosen to be the Prime Minister for his commitment to take the UK out of the EU, through a negotiated deal if possible or even unilaterally. He has given himself 100 days to accomplish his mission.

 Kamrup is the old name of Assam.

 Under the new “Digi Yatra” programme, airports at Hyderabad (and soon Delhi) have introduced a trial facial recognition system for passengers. Digi Yatra cheerfully invites people to “volunteer” their faces to be entered into a centralised government database.

An argument that has gained currency is that the economic motive for Bangladeshis to cross the border into India began to decline with an improvement in economic conditions back home. Data, from eight years ago, lends credence to this logic. Bangladesh has economically performed better since Census 2011. It has grown at over 7% over the last few years. IMF estimates that it’s likely to grow faster than India in 2019-20 at over 7.5%.

 Before the British arrived in India, stitched cholis and jackets were worn by the kings and warriors and not primarily by women. Sarees were functional garments that aided the work of the wearer. The drapes depended on the climate, geography, and culture of the group. Indian tribals wore their saris like a halter dress: hands free, short, and backless whereas those living in coastal areas wore them as shorts or pants—says Nikaytaa, a sari researcher and founder of The Indian Draping Company, on the past and future of the six yards.

 One big problem of India was that railways was not talking to roadways, and roadways was not talking to environment. Every department was working in the abstract and in isolation. But this is now beginning to change.

 China’s share in the world exports as recently as 2000 was only 4%.

 There are enough history books to note that India’s invaders were often more advanced than their local counter parts in warfare and administration.

There are 2.22 lakh fishing boats in India. According to a 2016 report, out of India’s 227 minor ports, 180 have minimal security, with 75 having no security cover at all.

Coal fired plants account for roughly 90% of the total productive capacities within the thermal power space of India.

 Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. It is a betrayal of nationalism—said French President Macron.

 Nationally India generates a staggering 38,000 million litres a day (mld) of sewage. Where, existing treatment capacity can only treat 12,000 mld and that too this facility is available only in metropolitan cities.

 If you want to build a shipdon’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea- said, French writer Saint-Exupéry.

 If the Lok Sabha passes a money bill the Rajya Sabha cannot stop it. It can only delay it by fifteen days.

 World War- 1 was not a war in which India was directly involved, yet our soldiers fought in it for the cause of peace. More than 74,000 Indian soldiers died fighting on the other side of the world.

 Sometimes the scandal is not what law was broken, but what the law allows—says EDWARD SNOWDEN, American whistle-blower.

 Try not to think of life as a battle because, if you regard life as a struggle, it will become one, and you will have little joy. It is far better to think of life as a journey in which the difficulties are hills to climb—says RICHARD E TURNER American expert card mechanic who is known for his card trick performances.

 INS Arihant is India’s first indigenously built nuclear ballistic missile submarine.

 Air pollution kills over a million Indians every year. Sceptics say air pollution is never mentioned as a cause of death on death certificates.

 Today, Google and Facebook dominate India’s digital advertising industry, cornering nearly 75% of the market. Google’s move to block “intrusive” ads is an example of how it dictates terms to Indian content producers. Rather than becoming a digital colony of American tech companies, the focus must be on enabling Indian start-ups to compete with global giants.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

EVEN#WOMEN #MPs NEED TO BE REMINDED ABOUT ARCHAIC #ABORTION LAWS IN INDIA

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

 

    There are 544 members in the 16th Lok Sabha, and 244 members in the Rajya Sabha, which totals up to 788 MPs. Out of this there are 93 women MPs. That includes the powerful speaker of Lok-Sabha who happens to be a lady. And, yet they don’t have the time and will, and needed to be reminded about the draft Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2014. Pending for a long time now. I am more than sure they all understand the seriousness about abortion laws. Especially, when the foetus has abnormalities or is an ugly consequence of a rape. The editorial in Times of India is an apt reminder not only to our women MPs, who should use women power to get the bill through but even to all our legislators. Currently the apex courts are doing the job of legislators. Read the article below.

IT’S HER BODY

Today’s society and science demand an upgrade of the abortion law 1971

    Parliament’s lackluster pace of legislating leaves citizens suffering various outdated laws. Two cases in the courts this week draw attention to the human costs of a delay in amending the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971—even though an updated draft has been on the table for years. Both cases concern the medical terminations of pregnancy being permitted only up to 20 weeks, a limit that made sense in terms of society and science four decades ago but is seriously out of step with the many developments since. When law’s failure to keep pace with science and global best practices becomes the cause of citizen’s suffering, its very purpose is subverted.

In one case on Monday the Supreme Court allowed a rape survivor to terminate her 24-week old pregnancy. This is the first judicially sanctioned abortion beyond 20 weeks. It followed upon a medical board reporting severe abnormalities in the foetus and its threatening implications for the petitioner. The point of note is that medical technology today can disclose much more information about the foetus after 20 weeks than earlier. Plus, it can make termination of the pregnancy safe for the carrying woman even at 24 weeks.

In another case also on Monday the Delhi high court granted similar relief to a teenaged rape survivor, provided an AIIMS medical panel certifies that the abortion of her 25-week foetus would be safe for this minor. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the apex court that the existing law, with its 2002 amendment, is adequate to handling pregnancy complications warranting abortion after 20 weeks. But the above two cases show that women stuck in such a situation have to seek an exception through the courts, which imposes additional trauma upon women who are already traumatized. Given the logjam at our courts, this also leaves their life in a race against time.

The draft Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2014 provides for abortion beyond 20 weeks under well defined conditions such as if mother’s life is endangered or the pregnancy is caused by rape. Centre should push for this updated legislation instead of upholding a status quo scripted four decades ago. Medical opinion and women’s groups are agreed and it is not even politically contentious. Every delay in passing an upgrade endangers many women’s lives.

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