Wednesday, August 1, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



No statues of Gurus, please

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, has asked the SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, to convene a meeting of representatives of the Sikh institutions to take a decision on whether statues of the Sikh Gurus can be installed. More than 50 such statues are reported to have already been installed at different places ("Can statues of Sikh Gurus be installed"? July 19).

In Sikhism the installation of statues is forbidden. The Sikhs are enjoined to believe in the unity of the godhead and not to worship any god, goddess or idol. Guru Gobind Singh clearly said; Pakhaan pooj houn nahi (I shall not worship stones). In his celebrated Zafarnama (Epistle of Victory), written to Aurangzeb, he declared:

Manam kushtah am kohiyaan pur-fitan/ke aan but-parastand O man but-shikan (I have killed mischievous hill people, as they are idolaters and I am iconoclast).

There is no authentic picture of any Guru. Can a sculptured figure of a particular Guru be regarded as really his statue? It may be just a creation of the sculptor's mind. Is not it an insult to the Guru concerned? Such statues installed on roadside gather dust and are soiled by droppings of birds.


Akal Takht should immediately clamp a ban on the installation of statues of the Gurus. The members of the SGPC should create awareness among the Sikhs against gross violation of the religious "rehat maryadah". The best homage to the great Gurus is to follow their teachings faithfully and not to install their fictitious statues and worship them.


HPSC delays result

The working style of the Haryana Public Service Commission has become the butt of ridicule among one and all today. Everyone knows that Haryana, compared to its neighbouring states, is a small state, from which only a few thousand candidates appear for the H.C.S. and allied examinations. The exams are held in Chandigarh and a large number of examinee's remain absent under one pretext or the other. But in spite of the small number of candidates appearing in the H.C.S. exams, the H.P.S.C. is taking a very long time in declaring the result which is unjustified.

A large number of candidates want to know when is the result going to be declared because already a period of seven months has passed.




Politics at PAU

I write in great pain and sadness about the decline of Punjab Agricultural University. It is a devastating blow for the Punjab farmer. When I read that the new Vice-Chancellor is engaging in vicious attacks on brilliant scientists just to get even, I feel very ashamed. Is this the job of a leader of a scientific institution?

It is common knowledge that Dr K.S. Aulakh has risen to power using political support and influence all through his career. I do not care who the VC of PAU is, but I do care about the institution. This university has brought great prosperity to Punjab and to see incompetent people virtually (mis)ruling it, one can but only lament.

I speak for the farmers of the state when I say that the university is now not a centre for excellence and scientific discovery, but a politician's roost. I demand an explanation from the people who put an undeserving VC into power. I also demand an explanation from the PAU teachers how can they be so meek as to bear the incredible flouting of rules by a VC.

I am also sorry to read that the editorial has ignored the real issue of PAU's decline but has supported Dr Aulakh. We farmers do not care about who becomes the VC of our university as long as it is someone competent. If the PAU scientists do not want to raise objection to the deeds of the VC, the Punjabi farmer is certainly going to take up the case.

No doubt it is shameful that worthy and deserving scientists have to look for political support to get positions that they deserve, but do they have a choice when Dr K.S. Aulakh, their leader, himself is the promoter of this situation?

PAU owes the Punjabi farmer more than a shameful display of corruption and petty fights.


The decline: I write in anguish about the happenings at India's premier agricultural institution Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. This great university changed the very course of agriculture in India, but is now in the midst of a crisis, because we chose to ignore the ominous decline.

I am deeply pained to hear and read of the poor show being put up by the new Vice-Chancellor of PAU. The new VC is behaving like Hitler and trying to convert PAU into an army boot camp, where scientists are being treated like sweepers. Dr Aulakh's rise to the post of VC is a very telling story of the gory state of agriculture in Punjab. One need not have any scientific achievement or recognition to become a VC at PAU. All one needs is the backing of some politician, or some strategically placed relatives. With all due respect to the former VC, Dr Kalkat, I feel that he delivered the biggest blow to PAU by facilliating the selection of Dr Aulakh as the VC.

The happenings at PAU are not surprising. What else can be expected of a person of limited calibre, whose only claim to fame is being a body builder. Why would anyone need to work at PAU? The examples being set by the leaders are indication of what the dark future holds. Agriculture in Punjab is doomed.

And of course PAU does not need a Pro-Vice-Chancellor any more. The post was created solely for Dr Aulakh and now lies forgotten because it does not suit the VC. What I cannot understand is why the PAU scientists are silent. Stop this rampage before it is too late.

Dr (Mrs) SUNEETA DHIR, scientist, UK



Aided school pensioners

The pensioners of aided schools are permitted to withdraw their pension from the treasury office of the city where they serve. Every time they have to bribe and wait for long hours to get pensions. Moreover, if due to old age and ill health, they reside with their wards out of Punjab, they are compelled to come to the city for pension.

The facility of getting pension from a bank as in the case of government school pensioners should be introduced for aided school teachers without further delay.



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