Wednesday, August 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Of compulsive opponents

Too much is being said about saffronisation of education. I do not have any quarrel with the politicians who are compulsive opponents to whatever the government will propose. It also does not matter if the likes of Shabana Azmi start crying hoarse to justify their nuisance value.

However, I get disturbed when the intelligentsia (and editorials) join the chorus. Maybe there could be a teeny-meeny point in case of astrology. Although the way all of us consultant astrologers, this could be part of vocational studies.

For decades our history books told us that what happened in 1857 was a mutiny. Our history books are either silent or do a fast forward on regional struggles or impeachable governance of Ranjit Singh, Rani Laxmi Bai, Ahalya Bai and the Vijaynagar Empire.

Now regarding Vedic mathematics, the holier-than-thou secularists are only allergic to “Vedic” not mathematics, knowing fully well that two twos have got to be four, whatever methods one applies.

However, if Vedic mathematics can do the sums faster and easier, then the tumour lies in the brain of the beholder than the method. The Chinese should thank their red stars that they do not have the likes of Sahmat to advise them to throw the traditional abacus. But then abacus is not “Vedic”.

Meanwhile the increasing weight of the school bag is not attractive enough an issue worth taking up by politicians, the Shabanas or the Sahmats.



In the dark

The editorial “Power realities” (Aug 16) betrays complete ignorance of realities of the power sector. I wonder how you are not aware of the fact that power tariff is reduced or hiked by the Electricity Regulatory Commission and not by the Chief Minister or the state government. The government can only plead for a hike or reduction in power tariff before it. Terming the reduction in the tariff as a populistic decision of the government, therefore, is an unpardonable mistake on the part of the editorial writer.

The news report published on the front page of your newspaper (August 14) had clearly stated that “there will be no change in the effective rate of metred as well as unmetered power supplied to the agriculture sector.” I fail to understand how did you choose to criticise the “soft corner” of the Chief Minister for the farmers when the farmers are not benefiting from the order of the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission at all. Only the industrial and domestic consumer have had “something to cheer about”, to quote from the news item.

ZILE SINGH, Panchkula


Spare the book

A court in Hyderabad has been requested by some do-gooders to stop the release of a book on beef eating and cow slaughter in ancient India written by Prof D.N. Jha of Delhi University. Professor Jha is known to be a man with a mission as also a man who does not mince words. But his words, however, controversial, are supported by evidence.

Yet his interpretations of ancient Indian history have always raised the hackles of right wing ideologists. One such interpretation in his statement that ancient Hindus ate beef. In itself this is not a “Marxist” statement. Many non-Marxist scholars like the late P.V. Kane, an expert commentator on the Dharmashastras, had made this observation through their studies of the religio-normative texts of ancient India.

But Professor D.N. Jha attracts more attention because he has been in the forefront of opposing those who demolished the Babri Masjid and those who are trying to saffronise Indian history. Professor Jha’s book is an academic text, full of foot-notes, difficult to read for a reader uninitiated in reading the arcane texts written by history professors.

In itself the book would not find much popularity. Serious history books in India seldom do. Many people may also find fault with the evidence presented in the book. But does all this mean that the book should be banned? Scholarly expression be censored simply because it does not suit the ruling ideology of a handful of people? We can only pray that good sense will prevail all around and Professor Jha’s book be allowed to be judged on its own merit rather than through a verdict of the court or a kangaroo court made up of right wing ideologies.

M. RAJIVLOCHAN, Dept of History, PU, Chandigarh

Armed forces ignored

It is for the first time since Independence that the Prime Minister in his I-Day address from the Red Fort did not extol the role of the armed forces in keeping a continuous vigil at the sensitive borders and for maintaining the sovereignty and integrity of the country and also rescuing the nation during natural calamities.

COL P. K. VASUDEVA (retd), Panchkula

Candlelight vigil

Apropos the news item from Wagah “Lathi charge mars candlelight vigil” by Varinder Walia, I was there till the function ended. Neither I saw any kind of lathi charge by the Punjab Police nor your correspondent.



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