India became independent on August 15, 1947, but the Constitution came into effect only on January 26, 1950. Since then this day is celebrated with enthusiasm every year. The National Flag is hoisted at Rashtrapati Bhavan and other government offices across the country. But what does it mean for the country’s young generation? A free holiday or a chance to hoist the Tricolour? If that is all it means, then we are definitely lacking in patriotic spirit. This emerging nation requires real patriotic acts from its young generation. India has immense reservoirs of power in the form of our youth energy but we the youth are still ostentatious and self-centric. If we contribute even a meagre part of this energy for the development of this spiritual nation rather than just focusing on our personal careers with reputed MNCs or the like, then nothing can surpass this patriotic spirit.

So let us think beyond the limit and promise ourselves to be a contributor in the growth of this Mahan Bharat. This Republic Day should be more spirited and innovative than the Valentine Day coming up after a fortnight.

Neeraj Yadav,

Ambala College of Engineering, Mithapur, Ambala

A legend no more

I must thank The Hindu for publishing an obituary (which no other newspaper did) of Dipali Nag, the noted Bengali singer, but you seem to have missed out on the demise of another distinguished personality, Dr. Shantilal K. Somaiya. Stories about his munificence are the stuff of legends which make for interesting conversation in social circles not only in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai but in other metropolitan cities and even smaller towns of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Shantilal Somaiya, born in 1927, was not only a suave personality, pioneer educationist and leading sugar industrialist but also director of several companies set up by his illustrious father. As chairman of the K. J. Somaiya Trust, he established institutions of higher learning and was conferred the Sanskrit Mitra award. He travelled across the country and abroad on socio-religious and business trips, winning the 2002 Luminosa Award from the Focolore movement. In fact, it was on one such trip that he died in Melbourne.

Equally at home with the Shankaracharyas and The Vatican, he got Apostolic blessings from Pope John Paul II. The Shankaracharya of Karveer Peeth conferred on him the title of Kalyana Mitram while the Shankaracharya of Kanchipeetham gave him the Bharatiya Kala Seva Mani award for outstanding service to Indian culture and Adivasi welfare. Generations to come will be grateful for Shantibhai’s foresight in establishing educational and charitable institutions which continue to be identified with his name.

R. V. Smith,

E-20E, MIG Flats, Mayapuri, New Delhi – 110 064

Food for thought

On January 12, I boarded the Garib Rath Express at Patna Junction. The train was scheduled to reach Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi at 9 a.m. the next morning.

I was planning to buy my dinner from the pantry car but was surprised when a co-passenger informed me that the train has no pantry car service, only some dinner packets which are sold at a high price. He ran out of the packets after satisfying some 50 customers.

Things got worse as the train was late by a couple of hours the next day.

I request the Railway authorities to provide pantry service on this long-distance train as soon as possible. It creates a chaos when so many passengers rush to a single vendor.

Abhinav Singh,

C/o R. P. Singh, Vikramshila Colony, Bhagalpur, Bihar

“Vote, please”

The proposal for Internet voting during the general elections as outlined by Pallavi Barua in her letter this past Monday in these columns, “Vote, please”, makes sense. Such a provision is essential for Assam as at least 11 MPs from the State are of dubious credentials. They have been elected by illegal migrants from Bangladesh whose number in Assam is increasing in an alarming manner. This is dangerous not only for Assam but for the entire country.

Under such grave circumstances, Assam should be designated a Special Category State where native Assamese can vote even though staying outside the State.


Navagraha Road, Guwahati

News or nuisance?

News channels are increasingly becoming nuisance channels showing too much of fake and negative news. All of them are in a no-holds-barred rat race and have stooped to levels beyond imagination.

The quality of news that used to be aired earlier is now lost. Exaggerated, hyped and spicy news is the latest trend among the TRP-thirsty news channels. In such a situation, newspapers have become the only source of reliable and quality news.

Atul Goel,