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THE TRIBUNEsaturday plus
Saturday, December 25, 1999

Regional Vignettes

For children

Need to modify the system

IT was a nice effort on part of The Tribune to serve as a medium for the voicing the thoughts of a few renowned people and enthuse the masses to contemplate over the precariousness of India’s present situation (Saturday Plus, December 11, ‘99). Interestingly, the majority of those interviewed have felt the need of a diligent leader to guide us in the next millennium.

However, they probably ignored the fact that in today’s world, it is not the leaders but the mass media that plays the key role in forming public opinion. Due to the absence of such media in the pre-Independence period, India depended largely on her leaders, who fortunately, were of the most sagacious kind. Ideally, the information disseminated by the media and the public opinion formed thereafter should serve as the feedback link in the democracy’s self-correcting algorithm. But the poignant fact about India is that the majority of her people remain completely ignorant about national problems, as they are uneducated and deprived of even the basic amenities of life. These poor fellows form the vote banks that the political parties prey upon, while the educated lot helplessly watches the deteriorating situation, since politics is the game of numbers.

Instead of waiting for a saviour, we should modify the system so as to suit the prevailing circumstances.



India's tallest personalities—Prof. Yashpal, T.N. Kaul, H.D. Shourie, Captain Laxmi Sehgal, and Ashwini Kumar—have painted a gloomy picture of our perfprmance during the last century. Neither have the authors traced the causes of our dismal failures nor have they specified how to rectify these failures. At the end of the 20th century the common man is faced by doubts and uncertainties regarding the future. The answers to these questions is provided by the ancient Indian thought which said that it was self-knowledge, that is awareness of one's total psychological process, that can resolve one's dilemmas. India, with its cultural and spritual heritage,has the potential to guide the entire humanity to a peaceful synthesis of science and spirituality. This will lead to a bloodless and non-violent revolution in mankind.


The new millennium

Apropos of the article "Where to see the first sunrise of the new millennium" (December 11), was very informative. But in India, the hullabaloo generated by the new millennium shows that we Indians are masters at imitating the Western culture. Our craze for everything foriegn has become a way of life and this is affecting the psyche of our younger generation which has started aping the West. A lot of hype is being given by the media to celebrating the new millennium. Hotels clubs and various other organisations are announcing special millennium packages which, in some cases,do not fit in with Indian traditions and social values. However the fact is that the new millennium was celebrated in India 56 years ago and we are now in the 2056 year of the Vikrama Samvat, which is in use in India.


Homonyms & paronyms

Apropos of Ravina Gandhi’s article "If the alphabet could fly..." (November 3), words that are pronounced alike but spelled differently like their-there are called paronyms and not homonyms as has been mentioned by the writer. Words like soul-sole, all-awl, pair-pare etc were used by writers like Shakespeare as paronomasia (play on words or pun), especially with a view to being humorous. Naturally, such words are problematic unless they are understood contextually.

Further homonyms are words which have the same spellings but different meaning e.g. pole. Pole means ’long, slender, rounded piece of wood’ as also ‘extremities of earth’s or other body’s axis of rotation.’ Interestingly, a homonym has not only the same spelling and different meaning but also different pronunciation e.g. slough is pronounced as (slow) when it means ‘quagmire’ and it is pronounced as (sluff) when it means ’snake’s cast skin.’

Basdehra (Una)

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