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Sunday, September 5, 1999

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They, too, need your attention

APROPOS of Nonika Singh’s write-up "Give a gift to the gifted ones" (Aug 22) no society can afford to waste the superior abilities of gifted individuals.

In the past any child of high general intelligence was thought to be gifted. Recently there has been a change in this view and only children of high IQ are regarded as gifted.

We ignore many children who are gifted in many other ways such as mechanical skills, scientific abilities, mathematics, art, language skills or sports. A gifted child with an enormous potential is the pride and joy of both parents and teachers. Along with joy, there is the added responsibility, especially of the parents, of being sensitive, supportive, tolerant, resourceful and patient. Gifted children may be restless, inattentive, disturbing or annoying to those around them because they are impatient with rote learning or drill. They may be indifferent towards class work, critical both of themselves and others — an attitude which often alienates adults as well as children.

Gifted children always excel in their field and need not work hard to achieve their goals. This makes them lose interest in their work. Hence it is necessary to provide them with activities that will be more challenging to them. At the same time, they should not be given the message that they should always come first as it may frustrate them when they fail in the attempt. They need enough psychological freedom and safety to take chances, make mistakes and be wrong.



It is tragic that creativity is suppressed in the system of formal education. Intelligence and creativity are two different things and it is not necessary that an intelligent child would also be creative and vice versa. Many "creative" persons could not adjust to formal education. Sahir Ludhianvi, Ghalib, Newton, Gandhi and Tagore are a few

who had to leave this system. But they became torch-bearers for the kith and kin of those who had discarded them. The need of the hour is to encourage creativity of the kids from the very beginning. Policy makers should make our education system pro-creativity.



The more creative a child is, the more exceptional he will be. I have noticed that many children do not show their creativity but when they compete, they surprise everybody.

While intelligence is convergent thinking, creativity is divergent thinking. It is actually a bliss as well as gift of God for the individual as well as the nation.


Angkor Vat

Apropos of Christoph Kohler’s article "Emerging from the shadow of death" (August 22) the writer has written very little about the Hindu Kings who built these temples.

The Hindus founded the colony of Cambodia in the 1st century A.D. and established a powerful kingdom. This kingdom conquered Indo-

China, Siam (now called Thailand) and the neighbouring islands. The kingdom was at the height of its power in the 8th and 9th centuries. Its capital was Angkor which

was thickly populated. Jaya Varman II, Yasho Varman, Surya Varman were powerful rulers of this dynasty who were great patrons of art and learning. All the rulers of the dynasty were followers of Hinduism and worshipped Shiva. The said rulers built several temples such as Angkor Vat. This temple, dedicated to God Vishnu,

had been made beautiful by elegant carving. Some historians say that "Angkor is, in every sense, wonder of the world".

Similarly, Angkor, the capital of Cambodia too was a beautiful city, which was adorned with beautiful stupas, gates and a high stone wall. It is said, "In short, everything was conceived on a truly noble scale and it was one of the grandest cities in that age."


Vote by proxy

This refers to Pritam Bhullar’s Fauji beat (August 22). Vote by proxy can be misused by political parties. We must ensure that the system of postal ballot works. Any imperfection in the system must be removed. A joint study of the system must be undertaken by Election Commission and the Ministry of Defence. Defence forces, while in service, should continue to remain insulated from politics and abstain from direct involvement in the political system. However, support both serving and retired defence personnel should have ex-servicemen (non-political individuals) as their representatives in the Parliament. Thirtyfive lakh defence personnel should have proportional representation.

We should not politicise the Army but it does deserve to have representatives in Parliament who are from the same profession and are enlightened enough to take up their legitimate demands. Participation of such members in the debate on the defence budget would render the discussions a meaningful exercise. The defence forces also need their representation in Rajya Sabha. It is a pity that Field Marshal Manekshaw has not been nominated to the Rajya Sabha.



The long pending ‘one rank, one pension’, issue is expected to be resolved soon. But still welfare measures for ex-servicemen remain a mere dream. Pensioners are treated like a spent force and so their files move at a snail’s pace. Resettlement is a genuine problem and requires serious attention and deft handling.


We, the people

"We, the people" by J.L. Gupta (August 15) was inspiring and perfectly timed. We have got leaders who make laws only to violate them. That is why even the plethora of legislation has failed to protect the masses. We condemn corruption but allow the corrupt to rule us even from jails and by proxy.

Yes, ‘everything works with a clock work precision’, except the leader who arrives hours behind schedule — just to talk. And the administrators see to it that we, the people, shall sit for all those hours — just to listen. Even children shall not be spared. They need to be trained to sit idle and shout ‘zindabad’.

We, the people of India, gave ourselves a secular India, but defined secularism in a way that created mutually-conflicting classes.


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