Sunday, 16 August 2015




Having been born in the pre- partition era, I remember  having seen the Hindus and Muslims living together as good neighbours. In adjoining houses. With common walls. Meeting , eating laughing  and chatting fondly with each other. Sometimes, more than once during  a day. All looked alike. Spoke the same language. Relished similar food Wore similar clothes. I vividly recall the ladies exchanging the sweet or other items of food across the wall on the first floor without any hesitation. There were no phones or cells. Just a shout was audible and enough. Next moment, the dish was on the table and the contents on the respective plates. Only to vanish before anyone could even realize it. All were just  the same simple human beings. Grew up together. No difference of any kind. All Birds of a feather. And invariably, they did flock together.

Then came the year 1947. While leaving, the Rulers partitioned the country. So were the people divided. Those who were born in the same city, had played and grown up together were separated by man-made borders. Who is where? Probably nobody can tell. But certain events leave an indelible impact. May I share?

It was the year 2010. We had gone to Vancouver and were staying in a Hotel by the sea side. Clean blue water. Snow covered peaks. Mountains with Thick  growth of trees; Sea planes continuously taking off and landing – all presented a stunning sight that was crying to be captured.

I had a small SONY cyber shot. But  wanted a better one. Went to a Camera shop. The gentleman spent more than two hours in helping me to choose a suitable camera. Ultimately, I chose a CANON D- 60. But Mr. Salim (I hope I remember the name right) at the Cash counter refused to sell the Camera  to me when he learnt that I was not a professional and that I took only about 500 pictures in a year. So, he did not want me to waste my money. I Came away disappointed.

Then, the year 2012. Nine members of the family Flew from Delhi to London. We had nine bags. A gentleman speaking Panjabi fluently, who had obviously overheard us talk, offered to get us to the hotel Thistle, for 160pounds in 4 big cars. He even rang up some numbers and introduced himself as Salim. He did not inspire any confidence. So, we took two local cabs. Reached our hotel. The meter was showing 12 pounds. I gave him 25/- for the 2 cabs He returned 5pounds- saying that he had by mistake made a detour. While Salim’s offer was 160  pounds, the English cabby had charged us only 20 pounds. Net saving of 140 pounds.

So, within a short time, we had met two Salims. Except the names and probably the religion as well,  they were mutually wide apart.
I had set my heart on the canon Camera. Back in India, I went to a shop. Picked up the camera. Was asked no question. I Paid the price  and finally Won my peace. 
Can we still say - “The birds of a feather flock together?” Or is it more appropriate to only say? – “It takes all kinds to make this world”

Monday, 27 July 2015



A Constitutional office certainly carries with it certain unwritten fringe benefits. I experienced this during my short stint in the State of Kerala. It was the year 2003. The President of India, Dr. APJ ABDUL KALAM was visiting the State. I was one of  the persons invited to receive His Excellency at the Naval Airport in Cochin. Normally, the invitation posed no problem. But on this occasion, the visit was on a day when the Court was open and I had to be on duty at the time of the landing of the President’s plane. So, a letter of Regrets and request for meeting during  the Lunch interval was sent. It was graciously accepted.  I was with the President at the appointed time of 1.20PM.

He was not a person who could be a mere figurehead. No!  Far from it. I was face to face with an extremely curious, intelligent and sharp person who was accurate on facts and precise in his language. Talking to me, he wanted to know the cause of delay in the decision of cases; the reasons for still following the archaic and old laws and also the justification for more than one Appeal in every case. And so on. It was clear that there were good reasons for which, he had earned the respect of  everyone.  Not  only in India but Internationally.

He did not merely occupy the Rashtrapati Bhawan. He brought dignity, grandeur and honour to the Office. Sanctity to the Presidential Seal.  Unfortunately, the cruel hands of death have snatched him from us. Today, he is no more in flesh and blood. But he would stay in our hearts as a great Indian  patriot (was not a politician)who, unlike many others devoted himself to making India richer, self-reliant and stronger. He made India a member of the ‘select nuclear club.’ He made every Indian feel ten feet tall.  Shall we ever have another who may be  like him.

Depends upon what we want. The Able or the Pliable.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015



MR. Madan  Mohan Punchhi was a known name at the Bar when I joined in the year 1963. Ultimately, we became almost neighbours in Sector – 8, CHANDIGARH. House Nos. 112 and 160. He was the big brother. Always generous, gracious and kind. One day, he asked me and Mr. R.N. Narula to accompany him to Ambala where he was going to argue an Appeal. We did. After the case, he took us to The KWALITY for LUNCH. And I had my first glass of BEER. ON THE WAY BACK, he stopped the car to pick up some farm fresh sugar-canes and items for Salad. Next day, Ravi & I were with him at his house in the evening. A big house. Nine cows with home grown green fodder. A look at the table showed that the MILK was being consumed at home only. I had to cross layers of Butter before being able to reach a piece of vegetable. Big bowls of creamy curd. All very rich. No wonder, when a person asked him ‘Sir! How much do you weigh?’ – the response was –
“Not much. Just 1 maund & 80 Kgs.” And yes. He carried it all very well. He was different from the others. His peers and Juniors alike. He stood out amongst the Elite. Always Dignified and Elegant. Never petty.

I have had some personal experiences. Having met a few times, he could see my appetite and thirst for butter milk. So, one morning on hearing the sound of a car, I came out. What did I see? Justice  Punchhi with a bucket full of butter milk. Can you believe this? And a few days later, he casually drove in. Saw me instructing the labour to properly dig the ground and lay the lawn. He quietly went home and came back driving the Tractor. Himself ploughed the land with the finesse of an expert in about half an hour. A job which was threatening to go on for days was done in a few minutes. And all very well done. He combined the best of a farmer and a legal craftsman in himself. Played the roles with equal ease.

When Mr. Ram Jethmalani’s book – ‘SMALL MEN BIG EGOS’ WAS  doing the rounds, Mr. Justice Punchhi’s elevation to the Supreme Court had brought   a breath of fresh air. Relaxing and refreshing for all sections of society.  Having reached the pinnacle in Judicial hierarchy, his feet had remained glued to the ground. He was the big brother. To everyone. The loss is irreparable. Shall there ever be another like him? In the for-seeable future.

 Time shall always find someone to fulfill the popular desires and dreams.

Monday, 25 May 2015


“Where Merit Matters”
Raghav goes to IIM, Ahmedabad
J.L. Gupta

Some time back, Raghav, a young man of promise was seeking admission to a particular College in the Delhi University. Thanks to the policy for admission under which merit is sacrificed, he could not succeed despite a score of +96% in the Board examination. However, he was getting an attractive offer for admission to Berkley. He decided not to go out of India. Continued studies at Delhi. This year, as a result of the competitive examination, Raghav was selected for admission to the IIM, Ahmedabd. Here is a picture from the family Album showing four generations. These include  the fond father Piyush; grand father and the great grand mother Smt. Kamlesh Mittal.

                     Father Piyush Mittal, Grand father V.P. Mittal; Great grand mother & Raghav.


The young man is hardworking, honest and a perfect picture of promise. The family, especially his mother Leena worked hard to create the right environment in the house.  But full credit must be given to Raghav. He has worked like a horse and lived like a hermit. And the resultant success speaks for itself. It also exposes the chinks in our policies for admission to the educational institutions. We claim to be a democratic republic. Yet, the ‘majority’ does not enjoy the rights, which the Minorities and weaker sections of society have. Merit is sacrificed to promote Mediocrity. It is continued because of vote bank politics. How long shall we continue the archaic policies which are certainly doing harm but no good to anyone in the country? Does anyone ever imagine the disappointment, distress and frustration that these retrograde policies lead to?  The politicians and the bureaucrats have their own reasons.

But well done Raghav! Thank God IIMs still give hope to the good.