Off the record

Off the record

Turning a blind eye

The body of army man-cum-instructor, Major CS Singh, who died in an air crash at the world’s highest battlefield on Siachen glacier, was brought to Patna by an Air India flight and cremated with military honours. Senior Army officers and jawans of the Bihar Regimental Centre attended the last rites, but neither did anyone from the Nitish government attend the cremation nor anyone visit the bereaved family.

Singh, an army pilot from Bihar’s Hajipur district, was killed when the Cheetah helicopter he was flying crashed on the Siachen glacier during an air maintenance exercise. This mishap took place when the weather suddenly turned bad and Singh lost control of the chopper which eventually crashed 400 metres short of the helipad.

Singh’s father, Anjani Kumar Singh, lamented that since his son died while performing official duty, some one from the state government should have paid last respects on behalf of the Nitish regime. He said the Army officials had informed the Bihar chief secretary and the district administration about the arrival of the body, still no one turned up. “We don’t expect an ex-gratia from the Bihar government, but they should have shown some respect during his last journey,” said the septuagenarian ex-defence man, who lost his only son.

Abhay Kumar, Patna  

Vacationing with leaders

When Alex Paul Menon, the Tamil Nadu-born Sukma district collector, who had a providentially safe release from the Maoists’ clutches recently, was in his home state last week for some rest and medical consultations, it was also a political pilgrimage of sorts for this young and visionary administrator keen to uplift the tribals.

Back on his athletic feet, Menon’s first steps sprung towards Fort St George here to personally thank AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister, J Jayalalitha, for the letter she wrote to the prime minister to ensure his safe and quick release when he was held hostage by the Maoists.

A day later, Menon called on DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, with his entire family to say a big ‘Thank You’, and followed it up with a solitary visit to MDMK chief, Vaiko on the same mission. On May 21, Menon also visited Sriperumbudur, the martyrdom place of former prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, to play floral tributes to the late Congress leader.

Courtesy demands triggered Menon’s sincere thanks-giving, as everyone wanted his safe release. But when a section of the media wondered whether the budding IAS officer was contemplating to enter politics, Menon was virtually stumped in a state where ‘Dravidian politics’ is a different cup of tea altogether!

M R Venkatesh, Chennai    

Bloopers all the way

Contrary to the popular adage ‘ignorance is bliss’, ignorance is notorious for causing embarrassment to people who subscribe to it more than necessary.
On May 23, Apeejay Oxford Bookstores Private Limited launched its third bookstore in the City, off M G Road.

Enthrusted with the responsibility of compering at the event, Maina Bhagat, from the company, was caught on the wrong foot more than once. Beginning her speech elegantly, cracking a couple of jokes at regular intervals, she had reached the part where she had to introduce the guests for the evening.

The guest of honour was popular Kannada author U R Ananthamurthy who had obliged to the invitation and arrived there before time at the age of 81.Notwithstanding the fact that there were over 100 books of the author who was the guest of honour at the store being launched, with many books in English, she said: “...We are extremely glad to have Padma Bhushan U R Krishnamurthy.”

And the entire hall filled with many authors, applauded without any hesitation, an extension of their “trained gesturing” in packed houses.
Before Maina had got to the introduction part, she had also wondered if Bengaluru has Bengali influence as the first part of the name has Bengal in it. That was passed of as humour but UR Krishnamurthy?

Chethan Kumar, Bangalore

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