Saturday, May 19, 2001
M A I L  B O X

Taking up cudgels for women

"Prize valour" (May 5) by Aditi Tandon was a thought-provoking article which highlighted the trials and tribulations encountered by Alice and Ashamma, winners of the Neerja Bhanot Award. Women are often considered weak in all respects, but these two courageous ladies have shown that they are second to none when it comes to taking up cudgels on the behalf of women.

The tasks which Alice and Ashamma performed against all odds without asking for publicity or recognition, are unique and unparalleled.


Guru-chela parampara

This refers to Khushwant Singhís write-up "Guru-chela parampara" (April 28).

Poet Iqbal always held his teacher, Sayyad Mir Hasan Shah (respectfully called Shah Sahib), in high esteem. One day, he was sitting in a shop. When he saw Shah Sahib coming that side, he immediately ran barefoot to greet him with the utmost humility.

Iqbal frankly told the then British governor of Punjab that he would not accept the title of "Sir" till his teacher was honoured with the title of Shams-ul-ulaama (the sun of the savants).

Behari Lal, another pupil of Shah Sahib, was a great scholar of Persian and Arabic. He was offered the post of professor. He was in dire need of some employment. But when he came to know that he was being appointed in the place of Shah Sahib on his retirement, he refused to join service saying, "I shall prefer death from starvation to sitting in the chair of my teacher."


Journals of Shimla

"Journey of journals in Shimla" by Shriniwas Joshi (May 5) gave an excellent account of the history of journals in Shimla.

This article was highly informative. But to put the record straight, it is imperative to mention here that Bhartendu Shikhar is still a forerunner among periodicals and has not faced closure as mentioned by the author.

One more glaring shortcoming in the article is that the writer has not mentioned The Hills Guardian which has made a special niche for itself in the minds of the people. Launched in December 1993, this weekly is widely known for its aggressive and issue-based reporting.


Pehle aap!

"Pehle aap!" by H. Kishie Singh (May 5) brought out an important aspect of driving. For avoiding or minimising accidents, this policy helps. In the end, it means only a few minutes more of driving time. In long journeys of say 3-4 hours, it may mean a delay of 15 minutes or so but is worth it.


A correction

This refers to the article "The massacre of a cause" (April 28) compiled by K.Jagjit Singh. According to the article, Bhagat Singh and his two associates Sukhdev and Chander Shekhar were sent to the gallows. This is factually incorrect as it was Rajguru and not Chander Shekhar who chose to go to gallows rather than accept the terms of the British and Chander Shekhar became a martyr while fighting the British.

56 APO

Tuition trade

Aradhika Sekhonís article "Tuition trade: why arenít they teaching in schools anymore?" (April 28) was thought-provoking and informative. Of course, tuitions have become a flourishing trade in recent years. Every system has inherent defects. The traditional system in which admissions to courses were made on the basis of merit scored in the school, board or university examinations was rotten to the core. Usually, deserving candidates failed to get admission in professional courses, because this system encouraged the adoption of unfair means in examinations. Authorities have miserably failed to curb copying.

During the last couple of years, teaching in schools has suffered a setback, as unscrupulous teachers have taken to tuitions instead of teaching in schools and colleges. Tuitions can be curbed to a great extent if an allowance (like the N.P.A. to doctors) is made admissible to teachers also.


Devi Lal

This is with reference to S.S. Jainís letter (April 28) in response to the article "Truly, a tau" by Raman Mohan. Jainís views on Devi Lal are not based on facts and are more or less his personal views. He has said that Devi Lal was only the tau of Haryana Jats which is both shocking and a bid to undermine his popularity among other castes. In the 1987, Haryana Assembly elections, Devi Lal won 85 seats in a house of 90. Without the firm support of each and every section of the society, such a vast majority cannot have been won. Though Devi Lal was a Jat by caste, he was equally popular among the other castes who held him in high esteem as his policies and programmes were aimed at all sections of the society and not just one community.