Sunday, December 25, 2011

Death of a War Hero !

Having a good memory is not always a good thing. Here’s a news of sudden and sad demise of Brig. Rattan Nath Sharma, MVC , a veteran of 1971 war with Pakistan almost after forty years , when he earned laurels for himself and the state of Himachal Pradesh, to which he belonged. My memory takes me back to 1971, when as a college going teenager, I felt proud when Photographs of three Army officers from Himachal appeared in the news papers, having been awarded the Mahavir Chakra , the second highest Gallantry Award .The officers were, Lt.Col. Rattan Nath Sharma,( later Brigadier), Lt.Col. K.L.Rattan , who rose to be a Major General , and Major Vijai Singh Mankotia, later a well known name in Himachal politics.About more than seventeen years back, when I was posted at Palampur, I happened to pass by Brig. Sharma's beautiful house , while looking for a suitable residential accommodation. Just about ten days back, media was full of articles about the 1971 war and the country gratefully remembered and paid tributes to all those who contributed to the victory ; and now one of the war heroes is gone
R.I.P. Brig. Sharma !

Friday, December 23, 2011

Scandal Point

No resident of or visitor to Shimla can afford to be unfamiliar with the place called Scandal Point on the Mall , in the heart of the town. The name has stuck to the place because of a supposed incident of elopement of the Maharaja of Patiala with a daughter of Viceroy or perhaps the Army commander in the late nineteenth century, which version though handed down to generations over the years, no longer seems true , factually or historically.On the other hand some research on the incident has rubbished the claim that there was anything scandalous about it. That Ms. Manju Jaidka, Professor of English, Punjab University has come up with a novel called Scandal Point , with this place and Patiala as the basis and the backdrop, should go well particularly with the Shimlaites or those who love Shimla , for whatever reason. Irrespective of the negative connotation of the word ‘scandal ’ , scandal pe milenge is the common refrain of the Shimlaites., as the Scandal Point remains the most convenient place to pinpoint as a meeting place , the other one being the Naaz or presently Sher-e- Punjab Dhaba on the other end where the Mall and the Lower Bazar meet. Scandal or no scandal , the name has come to stay.