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Your HT, your voice

HT has always had a lively dialogue with its readers, whether it was the time they wrote in to thank the newspaper for enclosing a replica of the Tricolour two days before Independence, or during the 2004 elections, when voters wrote in to hail the working of the world's largest democracy.

india Updated: Jul 14, 2009 21:06 IST

Thanks for the Flag

I cannot sufficiently thank you on your grand idea and patriotic act of distributing prints of the Indian National Flag to your readers. This has deepened the admiration we have for you. It was an unbounded joy to us to receive the long-awaited emblem of India. Abu is such a place where we only see Union Jack and flags of Princes and we are glad as now we will be able to hoist our Flag on all Government buildings here. We request you that A Flag of the size of your paper be distributed to your readers with one spare copy in each on August 15 and, if necessary, the cost of the paper be increased that day.

— R.C. Jain (August 13, 1947)

I was looking for an exact impression of the National Flag and I could not find it till I saw the H.T. Flag Supplement.

— B.L. Bhatia, Bombay

I am an Englishman about to leave your great country. But not till I have seen your glorious Flag being hoisted. May I say how much in the fitness of things it was for your paper to distribute these very handy emblems of the nation to its thousands of readers. A most appropriate gift of the occasion.

— Tom Levers, Army, Poona

Famine relief

Sir, As you have sounded in your letter of September 28, money is not food. Unless the Government releases its hoards or provides transport facilities, no amount of money sent to Bengal can stop starvation there. Even transport facilities will not call a halt to the “food anarchy.” Other provinces have not much to spare. Wheat is selling in our province as three seers a rupee. If we export it to Bengal, we shall begin starving in turn.

The crux of the problem is that the Government is making too great a demand on the slender resources of the country. Lakhs of prisoners of war have been introduced into the country as our forced guests. Troops from all parts of the Empire (Americans included) are here in large numbers. Millions of tons of grain have been sent to the Middle East theaters of war. Even neutrals like Iran and Iraq have to be fed from India. India is not Ali Baba's Treasure Trove from which you can draw as much as and whenever you like.

— (Mrs.) Priyamvada Jindal, Meerut (October 8, 1943) Public School Fees

Sir, Educating children in public schools for middle class people has been getting harder. The school fees have shot up alarmingly in the past few years. In the early 60's we used to pay onethird of the fees that parents now pay for some junior classes. Now the average monthly fees for one child nears Rs.100. The first question a child is asked is “which school do you come from?” it is also true that public schools provide better facilities, and better equipment, but all these at exuberant prices.

— RC Nayar, C-14, Nizamuddin East, New Delhi-13 (September 1, 1975)

Mirror image Sir, the nuclear euphoria witnessed on this side of the border has been mirrored on the other side, in the last few days. This proves two things. One Indians and Pakistanis, as we do know, are remarkably similar. Two, it is pathetically easy to fool masses of people — even (supposedly) intelligent ones — and whip up the nationalist passions. Just as we perceive the threat from China, Pakistan views us as a threat — especially after the traumatic separation of East Pakistan.

But are these threats real? Or, are these the creations of politicians. It is easy to explode bombs — it is enormously difficult to remove illiteracy and eradicate poverty. These should be — but unhappily are not — our absolute priorities. In both the countries, we should concentrate on real issues: roti, kapda and makaan, drinking water, health… not invent bogeys and play with dangerous, useless and unusable toys.

— Prof. Somnath Dhar, New Delhi (June 9, 1998)

India Votes

Whatever the result of the Lok Sabha elections, the people will be the real winners. When over 650 million people can use their democratic right to choose their government in free and fair elections, it is tremendous credit to India's democratic institutions. A 50 per cent turn out is a tremendous achievement.

A 21 per cent turnout was recorded in Srinagar despite terrorist attacks. There was violence elsewhere too. But no power can stop the Indian democratic process — a ‘shining’ example for all developing countries

— Vipul Thakore, London (May 1, 2004)