PEN POWER by Dr. Leo Rebello

(Published in Vikasheel City Reporter, December 2004)

by Ronny Williams

PEN POWER is an encyclopedia of 1,000 letters from about 200 letter-writers including historic personages like G.K. Gokhale, Mahatma Gandhi, B.R.Ambedkar, M.A.Jinnah, Jawaharlal Nehru, Raja Gopalachari, Jayprakash Narayan, J.B.Kripalani, Ravindranath Tagore, Indira Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, M.N.Roy, M.C.Chagla, Rammanohar Lohia, J.R.D.Tata and others.


Padma Bhushan M.V.Kamath, Chairman Prasar Bharati, while releasing the book in 2000 at a public function attended by over 300 letter-writers from all over India said: "this monumental book should be prescribed for compulsory reading in journalism colleges, because today's journalists are shallow". It was also nominated by someone for the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism. The book is entered as a World Record in the Limca Book of Records.

Prof. D.C.Saxena of Chandigarh reviewing the timeless encyclopedia writes: "PEN POWER, in my considered opinion, is an excellent compendium of letters of enduring value. The letters are kaleidoscopic in variety and are a veritable mirror of the fast-changing times and moral mores, comparable with Chaucer's classic, The Canterbury Tales. The inclusion of letters by the Titans of the freedom movement, which are not easily accessible, apart from their historical value, makes PEN POWER a timeless treatise - a Britannica of Letters".

Dr. Leo Rebello, who researched, compiled, edited, designed and published the volume says: "The Pen is a civilised manís deadly weapon. If wielded properly, it is more powerful than AK-56 rifle in eliminating the corrupt, criminals, communal minded persons who have ruined our otherwise great country". Answering to his critics that he should get over his anger, Dr. Rebello replies quoting Aristotle: "Itís easy for anyone to become angry. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way, this is not easy" and adds that "in India people do not get angry enough against all the evils and hence evil multiplies making our lives miserable".


The book has a fascinating Foreword by Dr. Leo Rebello, 30 of his bold and brilliant letters, an article on the pulsating art of letter-writing and what can be achieved by writing letters to the editors, survey on letter-writing, editors' opinions, synopsis of Malathi Vishwanathan's M.Sc. (in Communication) thesis on Letter-Writing (Dr. Leo Rebello was her external guide), brief biographies of 200 letter-writers. Several apt quotations, comments from R.K.Karanjia, Justice P.B.Sawant, Shobhaa De, Bachi Karkaria and illustrations makes the book a collector's item. Commenting on it, late Nani Palkhivala records: "In this stupendous work one can read the journey of the nation, its ups and downs and its benefactors and wrong doers". Dr. Leonard Carr, Prince of Lithuania writes: "Pen Power is a lethal weapon in the hands of Dr. Leo Rebello. He uses it to kill all dogmas, false notions, deceit and corruption". Yet another writer-painter, Mr. Dom Martin of USA comments: "Pen Power shows significant guts in an area where journalistic cowardice is still rampant and pervasive".


On page 146 of Pen Power is reproduced the Fundamental Duties as enshrined in Article 51A of the Constitution of India. Among other (j) reads : "To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity, so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement". This then, Dr. Leo Rebello avers is the aim for which he and other "conscience keepers" work.


All India Letter-Writers Association [AILWA in short], which Dr. Leo Rebello founded along with Dr. Abu Baker Thwahir, will be celebrating its silver jubilee from 1st January 2005 for one full year with several activities. This review article is an ode to the courage of letter-writers who fashion the destiny of the nation in their own way.

PEN POWER can be ordered from Dr. Leo Rebello. Contact him on Tel. 28872741 or write to him at 28/552 Samata Nagar, Kandivali East, Mumbai 400101 or on Email :