Saturday, May 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


Make fund-raising part of VC’s job

The proposal to form a search committee for the selection of Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University is an exemplary step, which breaks away from the outdated procedure of appointing VC with a political bias. All the three proposed nominees for the search committee — Prof R. P. Bambah, Dr G.S. Kalkat and Prof H.K. Manmohan Singh — are known for their eminent academic stature.

I humbly suggest to the search committee to have a clause in the selection criteria, along with qualifications and experience, about the effectiveness of the candidate in fund-raising for different academic and building projects. We have neglected too long this aspect of a candidate’s suitability for the position and stressed only on the management skills for the chief executive, of course combined with political skills.

Educational institutions in Europe and North America view the strengths of an individual very strongly if the candidate has a clearly thought out plan to be first rate fund raiser. The time has come to communicate to the general public as well as the campus community that governments have to work under severe constraints of budget and , therefore, executive heads of higher educational institutions should devise concrete plans to raise funds to reduce the dependence on the already fund-strapped governments.



World-renowned Indian Institutes of Technology have already charted a course in making themselves self-sufficient through fund-raising from among old students. This is what I experience everyday here at the University of Dayton (a small private Marinist order run catholic institution of higher learning with 10,000 students). Our VC, Brother (Dr) R. Fitz, (he along with three other brothers share cooking chores for themselves and live together in a small house in the campus vicinity) is retiring after 23 years of providing leadership in every vein of the campus. During his tenure, the university has raised funds worth more than $ 200 million from donations and endowed funds for various academic and building projects. All our campus buildings are built from donations and endowed funds raised from old students and local community and business leaders. The charter of the university keeps out any government influence and interference.

Finally, I sincerely hope that the search committee selects the most deserving individual who is able to create an intellectual environment and harmonious relationship among the campus community to meet the challenges of modern education.

University of Dayton, Ohio, (USA)


The Kaluchak massacre

The Kaluchak massacre was cold-bloodedly carried out. The perpetrators had surely overlooked what is written about the women in the Koran Sura 4-1, “...reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and the wombs (that bore your): for Allah ever watches over you.”

How could they decimate wailing women and children defenceless inside the family quarters and even throw a child from the first to the ground floor against what Sura 114-1 ordains, “Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of Mankind.”

Women and children constitute two thirds of humanity. Killing them brutally is obviously going against what is ordained in Koran quoted above as I perceive. This is no war. Not even Jehad by any stretch of imagination. Only learned Muslims can tell if I am in the wrong!

SUBHASH BARU, Kaluchak, Jammu


Writing parodies

This refers to Mr R.K. Murthi’s write-up “Praise be to the parodist” (May 5)

Parody is a literary composition in which the characteristic style of some other work or even of a writer is closely imitated, treating a serious subject in a nonsensical or humorous manner as in a ridicule.

In Urdu, Shaikh Nazeer has earned a great reputation as a parodist. He has written parodies of some famous poets’ verses. The exordial verse of Allama Iqbal’s poem “Naya Shivaalah” (New Temple) reads as “Sach kaih doon ai Brahman gar too bura na maaney/Terey sanam-kadon key but ho gaey puraaney. (Sanam-kadon” means idol temples). In his poem “Naya Nivaalah” (New Morsel) about the college hostel kitchen, Nazeer has made a burlesque imitation of Allama’s verse as “Sach kaih doon ai manager gar too bura na maaney/Terey kitchen key bartan sab ho gaey puraaney.”

The first couplet of Saeed Ahmad Brelvi’s poem “Ganga ka Ashnaan” is “Ganga key kinaarey par ashnaan kiye jaao/Mushtaaq nigaahon par ehsaan kiye jaao”. Nazeer has parodied it as “Jumna mein Swami Ji ashnaan kiye jaao/Logon sey kaho ro kar kuchh daan kiye jaao.” A couplet of Abdul Hameed Adam is: “Shaayad mujhey nikaal kar pachhta rahey hain aap/Maihfil mein is khayaal sey phir aa gaya hoon main.” A parodist has made the first hemistich as “Shaayad mujhey nikaal kar kuchh kha rahey hain aap.”

A good parodist must have a keen sense of humour and faculty of seeing the funny side of a subject. Only then his compositions could amuse the readers and audience.


Boost to press freedom

In India’s contemporary media scenario when the concept of press freedom is being interpreted as freedom of the press barons, you have reasserted the press freedom as the keystone of our democracy. Most of the editors in various newspapers, both in English and Indian languages, have either been replaced by the owners or overshadowed by their market executives. Some of them have appointed band managers, who regularly supervise the editorial work.

In many newspapers, they have replaced serious journalism by publishing photographs of clad females as a part of repackaging the journal for a larger and younger audience! These business executives have even the right to withhold information, if they consider it may not serve the immediate business interest of the owners of the newspaper. But the frontpage leader “No, My Lord!” has given a new lease of life of press freedom in the country.


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