Letter to the Editor of the Hindustan Times

Letter from Mumtaz Kitchlew to the editor of the Hindustan Times eulogizing his uncle, Indian activist and politician Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew.

Date: October 28, 1963
Type: Correspondence
Language: English
Location: Chicago, IL

The Editor
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, India

Dear Sir:

The sorrowful news of the sudden passing away of Dr. Saif-ud-Din Kitchlew, my respected uncle, on October 9 was a terrible shock to me as it was to his bereaved family in New Delhi, his many relatives in Lahore and Rawal-Pindi as well as to all those who admired and revered him for his momentous work, fearless leadership, and supreme sacrifice in the struggle for the freedom of India…dating back to the historic era of the infamous Rowlett Act, the cold-blooded and gruesome massacre of Jalianwala Bagh, the diabolical, inhuman, and beastly martial law all over Punjab in the year 1919 when he blazed the trail for India’s independence with his fiery eloquent speeches denouncing the merciless and hated British imperialists who had completely enslaved and dominated the people of India.

Beyond doubt, Doctor Sahib was a true, steadfast, and an unflinching Indian patriot who had dedicated and consecrated his life to the service of his beloved country, to its complete liberation from the shackles of the “satanic” British raj … and to the political, economic, and social upliftment, progress, and betterment of his down-trodden and poverty-stricken people irrespective of religion. He was indeed a forthright man of lofty principles who never vacillated, wavered, or weakened from upholding and promoting his cherished ideals of liberty, national unity and solidarity of the Indian people with absolute religious tolerance; and of enduring world peace on the basis of equality and justice for all – even at the risk of his life. Truly he was the “Lion of Punjab” as he was so rightly named by the hordes of his devoted and appreciative admirers.

Being a devout follower of the late Mahatma Gandhi and as a staunch and strong advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity (ittifaq), he vigorously, fervently, and consistently preached and propagated its vital importance and as an essential prerequisite of achieving the goal of a powerful United Republic of India. But the disastrous political and economic partition of India as accepted and rendered by Prime Minister Nehru in 1947 – against the wishes of Mahatma Gandhi and the vast majority of the Indian people – was a bitter disappointment to Doctor Sahib. When I visited him in September, 1959 after 27 years – my previous visit with him took place in 1932 in Laḣore jail where he was serving a three-year sentence for sedition, subversion, conspiracy, and waging war against his Majesty’s Government, or something – he seemed to be unhappy, bewildered, completely lost, and totally isolated in the new divided India

Unlike other Indian political big-wigs or the ambitious Pakistani leaders, he did not gain any personal reward-none whatever in any form or shape – for his profound, valuable, and unforgettable work as well as his personal sacrifices toward the goal of India’s freedom. But I should like to point out that he did realize the most-inspiring self-satisfaction of having done his very best – with all his heart and soul – in the long-drawn non-violent fight for the freedom of his motherland. That intense and deep soul-satisfaction was the only reward of this great stalwart and noble son of India … and he was mighty proud of it. And his grand ground work with which he awakened the sleeping masses of Punjab – Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs – and this paved the way for India’s ultimate liberation from the mighty British rule will never be forgotten … and his name will stand out impressively in the pages of the history of India’s independence. May he rest in peace.

Collection: Abnashi Ram Materials
Donor: Roshan and Raj Sharma
Item History: 2016-10-30 (created); 2022-11-18 (modified)

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