Tuesday, January 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Mother-tongue first

I fully endorse the concluding views and remarks mentioned in the news report “Mother-tongue emerges winner” (Jan 7). The consensus was arrived at a meeting of experts and administrators called at the initiative of the Punjab Chief Minister so as to thrash out whether the teaching of mother-tongue (i.e. Punjabi) and English should both start from Class I or whether the latter should be introduced at a higher level, say Class VI.

A similar decision had emerged at a national workshop conducted by the N.C.E.R.T., New Delhi, a couple of years back. The workshop had reaffirmed the view held the world over that at the primary school level, only mother-tongue should be taught. Otherwise, sensitivity and originality of the young minds get adversely affected. It was further said that English as an additional subject should be introduced only at the middle or high school level.

Notwithstanding the importance of English as a global link and computer language, it is not taught at the primary school level in any advanced country like France, Japan, Germany, Russia etc. It is always the mother-tongue of the country concerned like French, Japanese, German etc. Then these are the countries which have ruled over the world at one time or other in the recent past and certainly know what they are doing. We must thus learn from their examples and experience.

It is unfortunate that the present-day policy-markers in the country, particularly in North India, are unduly impressed by the public school education system where the medium of instruction right from Class I is English. But they sadly forget that the public schools were started in the country by the Britishers so as to cater to either their own children or those of Anglo-Indians and rich folks for whom English was their mother-tongue. But even after more than 50 years of Independence, we are still aping our old masters with disastrous consequences. Let us also remember that during the last 100 years or so, persons who have contributed significantly towards building up the nation are those who took their first lessons of human mobility and patriotism in their mother-tongue like Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali etc. The same pattern is bound to continue in future also.


The situation in Haryana regarding the medium of instruction is a lot worse. Unlike Punjab, there were no public debates or workshops to decide such a pivotal issue. All of a sudden, the authorities a couple of years back made English as the medium of instruction right from Class I. In view of the above, it is time that Haryana schools also revert to the Punjab pattern of making mother-tongue (i.e. Hindi) as the medium of instruction at the primary school level and English to be introduced at a later stage, say Class VI.

K.S. BLAIN, former MD, Hartron, Sonepat

Right decision

A meeting on English from Class I has decided in favour of the mother-tongue. It is a scientifically right decision. English-medium schools keep the child’s mother-tongue away from their campuses. In spite of this Punjab students are still not faring in any way better at the national competitive examinations nor are they making any unusual breakthrough in scientific and technological fields. I usually come across many above-average primary level students from English medium schools and find that they hardly understand the science subjects taught in English and only cram answers to some set questions. They could have shown better results had they been made to understand the things in their mother-tongue.

However, we do not deny the importance of learning English for higher studies, but for the proper development of a child, his initial schooling must be done in his mother-tongue.


The new look

It is a matter of happiness to know that The Tribune has commenced a new look editorial and op-ed pages to give more representation to the views of readers and enhance the visual appeal of the newspaper. I have been reading it since 1959 and it has undergone a lot of changes from time to time. The Tribune has been awarded prizes for its quality, paper and printing on a number of occasions. The able and experienced editors have been enriching the readers in various spheres. The present incumbent is leaving no stone unturned to explore new subjects. His recent coverage of Leh-Ladakh was worth reading.

Let it be a New Year gift from The Tribune to its readers. There has been noticed delay in the publication of certain news, which may be investigated, and the interest of the readers maintained.

R.S. HAMDARD, Hamirpur

Keep it up

The Tribune, as compared to other dailies of the region, was already providing a lot of space to its readers to express their opinions in the editor’s mail column, but it has gone ahead and done even better in the new format. It looks better, feels better and above all more and more of your readers will now find it easy to let their opinions see the light of the day and share their views with others. Well done, sir! Please keep it up.

M.K. BAJAJ, Yamunanagar

Stop ‘Ulta Pulta’

Please accept congratulations on giving a new look to The Tribune and starting columns like “Understanding the Universe” by Prof Yash Pal. “Ulta Pulta” by Jaspal Bhatti should be stopped as it carries neither satire nor substance. Instead start a column giving the telephone numbers of the hospitals in the region where one can donate organs of the dead. On the front page, the projected population of the country should be given, at least once a week.

V.K. SHARMA, Shimla

Reader friendly

The new-look op-ed page is indeed refreshing and reader friendly. Spiritual nuggets, repositioned in the new layout, stand out and are easy on the eye.


Corruption: a viewpoint

How often has it not happened that we go to see a blockbuster and buy ticket on the black market to escape hassles of going back home from the ticket window without watching a movie? How often have we not bribed for a gas cylinder? How often have we not bribed the T.T.E. for a railway berth? How often have we not discussed about spreading tentacles of corruption in our society? How often have we not verbally nailed politicians, higher officials, policemen, etc for being corrupt? Do we ever think who is actually responsible? Do we ever think who has been contributing towards the increase in corruption?

It’s we, the people, who give rise to corruption.

Corrupt people can be grouped into two categories. One, those who are created and second, those who are born corrupt. We create corrupt people either e already corrupt (those who demand). Howsoever small this effort it may seem, but if all citizens who want to wipe out corruption try to restrain themselves from paying any diminutive amount for any obligation, we will be sowing the seeds of a corruption-free society right now whose benefits our coming generations will reap.



Mayawati’s birthday bash: what a shame!

The self-indulgent birthday bash indulged in by the U.P. “Cheap Minister” Mayawati leaves me completely dumbstruck. Does the woman have no conscience at all? So many people not just in the state she “dis-serves” and “misleads”, but in the whole country are leading an absolutely miserable life worse than death due to gut-wrenching poverty, and all she callously thinks of is celebrating her birthday in an abhorrently vulgar display of power and opulence.

The highest courts in the country owe it to the people to put a stop to such non-sense being shamelessly indulged in at the public expense by those in positions of power. Why should the tax-payers’ money and official machinery be squandered away like this?


Does BJP back it?

Ms Mayawati has openly declared that her birthday was a state-sponsored event and the BJP is a main partner of the BSP in the state government. It also made its representation in the function through its ministers. Now responsibility lies on the BJP to clarify whether it supports the celebration of the birthdays of ministers at the cost of public exchequer.


The state of Maya

Your editorial “The state of Maya” (Jan 16), was bold. But will it have the desired effect on the unashamed politicians? About Rs 10 crore of public money was spent on celebrating the 47th birthday of Ms Mayawati. She is also reported to have accepted gifts in cash, rather than in kind. What a shame!

D.V. JOSHI, Bartana (Zirakpur)


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