Wednesday, January 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



The doyen of art world

WITH the passing away of B.C. Sanyal, after completing 101 years of his life, the era of development of Indian creative arts comes close to the heights achieved by a whole generation after our country became free.

Sanyal was already a mature famous Bengali painter who had migrated to Punjab from torn-up Bengal. He joined the Lahore Arts School as Vice-Principal. At the same time he painted beyond the Bengal tradition of Nandlal Bose and the Calcutta group. His style then was not true to type in Bengali lyricism nor was it entirely realistic but an individual firm line defined figures with colours which were nearer the lyrical Bengal brushwork. It seemed to me that Sanyal preceded Amrita Sher-Gil in his poetic realism. As a matter of fact, Amrita Sher-Gil acknowleged her debt. With Sanyal’s neo-realism, there came a synthesis of the North with the eastern Bengal “kalam”. In some ways it was near Tagore, though Tagore retained the softness of colours more than Sanyal.

It is likely that Sanyal’s works became model for Amrita Sher-Gil and for quite a few other North Indian artists. Inevitably, after the National Academy of Art formed in Delhi, Sanyal was nominated as its Secretary and during his tenure of 20 years, both of us were able to put India on the world map of contemporary art, as also created the atmosphere for synthesis between Indian and European art traditions. This was done with my initiative of the World Triennale Exhibition in the Lalit Kala Akademy. This kind of international exhibition was to bring influence from the West which transformed the dominant Bengali spiritualism into realistic expressionism.


One cannot generalise in words the influence which came through the forms of Amrita Sher-Gil and Jamini Roy nor one can explain the expressions of Tagore. Maybe that the width of mind and freedom of the hand the senses of artists like Sanyal brought the atmosphere of experiment which appreared in the Triennales of World Contemporary Art.

I owe to Sanyal warm friendship he gave me in spite of differences of temperament and my projection of Western experience of many years into the narrative art traditions.

The doyen artist of the century deserves an illustrious volume of his works and life, and a rotating fellowship by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Perhaps a commemorative postal stamp to coincide his birth or death anniversary.

Mulk Raj Anand, Khandala

In search of livelihood

This refers to the editorial “Migrant menace” (Jan 9) migration is a basic trait of all living beings. From time immemorial human beings have migrated from one place to another in search of a good livelihood. But mass migrations have always caused problems to both migrants and the local inhabitants. In today’s scenario when the population is increasing and there is dearth of employment in developing and under developed countries, migration has become a menace indeed as it disturbs the basic sociological structure of the country where migration takes place. Though, not always. Take, for example, Indians migrating in large numbers to the U.S.A., Canada or any other developed country. This type of migration is more of efficient work force.

On the other hand, Bangladeshis migrating to India is another example, but of real migration menace. There has been illegal migration from Bangladesh in large numbers since the early 90s. It has been an added burden on our already poor economy as well as social infrastructure. There is certainly a dire need to pull the present government‘s attention to solve various problems — economic drain, increasing hatred, mass unemployment — arising out of Bangladeshi migration.

Apart from this the government must take immediate steps to stop further illegal migration. Special vigilance forces on borders, national identity cards, frequent bilateral talks at government level and motivational social organisations etc can be some of the solutions. But all these solutions hold their validity only if both the people and the government jointly deal with this menace with sincere and planned efforts. It’s no child’s play, but it is not impossible either.

Simmranjot Chahal, Patiala

A hard look at cements

This refers to article “A hard look at today’s high - grade cements” by G.S. Dhillon. The author has tried to compare the various grades of cement available in the market and has come out with some conclusions and should be complemented for addressing an issue, which is of pressing concern to the public at large.

The author has mentioned that the IS 456: 2000 (Indian Standard: Plain and Reinforced Concrete — Code of Practice) makes no mention of the use of finer cements. We wish to inform the author and the public that Section-2 (Clause 5.1) on materials, workmanship, inspection and testing of the code clearly allows the use of cements of various grades i.e. 33, 43 and 53. Further, the author has mentioned that 43 grade cement is called OPC (ordinary portland cement). It is clarified that cements of all the three grades i.e. 33, 43 and 53, are classified as OPC as per the above code.

Further, the author has reported a comparative evaluation of the compressive strengths of concrete prepared using 43 and 53 Grade cements. It is rather difficult to comment on the suitability or not of the two cement types under investigation as the author has not reported details in the article regarding the number of samples tested and whether a statistical analysis was carried out so as to obtain the reported conclusions.

In scientific and technical circles there is a well established procedure for reporting the results of any research investigation, especially those which are likely to have a significant impact on the current state-of-the-art in particular and society at large, in general. Issues which are likely to raise a controversy are best left to the domain of national or international journals, where in the articles and papers are published after a process of thorough peer review by experts.

Dr D.S. Sidhu, Dr S.P. Singh, Dr Bhupinder Singh, National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar

HUDA Administrators

The posts of HUDA Administrator at Faridabad, Gurgaon and Panchkula have been lying vacant for months now. At these places, the Addl. Deputy Commissioners have been given the additional charge of the Administrator, HUDA. Hundreds of plot-holders, house-owners, industrialists, professionals, etc. daily crowd the Administrator’s office to get their complaints and grievances redressed. Most of them come from distant places. Then there are 20 to 25 appellants, who have filed appeals for fiscal and other relief and who are asked to personally appear before the Administrator for a hearing.

But the officers, preoccupied as they are with their work as Addl. Deputy Commissioner, care less for the additional charge of the Administrators, and generally come to the offices after 3 p.m. And some time they do not come to office at all. Consequently, the general public — complainants and appellants — waiting to meet the Administrators are left high and dry.

C.D. Verma, Faridabad

Higher education

The news item “90 colleges face closure if grants cut” by P.P.S. Gill is shockingly revealing and gives a timely warning. What will be the fate of higher education if out of 170 colleges 90 colleges get closed?

It is alarming that one of the most progressive states has not paid the salary to the teachers ranging from one month to nine months. Let the government forego the huge amount of subsidies to the agriculture sector, which has now become a liability for the economy. The share of agriculture in the GDP has fallen enormously. But the quantum of subsidies, tax holidays and exemption from tax is ever increasing.

As per new education policy the government is supposed to spend 6 % of the GDP on education but unfortunately so far it has spent only 3.24%. If the government fulfils its commitment, there will be no problem to update the education system and also the posts.

The pension-cum-gratuity scheme for the employees of non-government colleges was introduced by the Congress government under Mrs Bhattal. The previous Akali-BJP government, with a view to wiping out the contribution of the Congress government, passed an Act but never implemented it. The present Congress government has offered a peculiar pension-cum-gratuity scheme which can never be put to practice. No where in the world pension is paid out of the share of the employees. It is always the employer’s share in lieu of which pension-cum-gratuity is paid.

It is strange that the government, after passing an Act on the floor of the House and passing the same in its Cabinet thrice has not yet implemented it. The government must implement its own laws, otherwise the people will lose faith in politicians. Similarly 95% grant-in-aid scheme must be continued. The career of more than two lakh students will be at stake if the government does not take effective steps to remedy the situation.

Dr A.C. Vaid, S.D. College, Principal, Chandigarh.

Admiral Groshkov

What sort of gift is Admiral Groshkov, which the Russian are so keen to give to us? With refitments & the unproven MiG-29s for the role- the cost is more than Rs 15,000 crore!

But do we really need an aircraft carrier in the first place? We had used our Vikrant only once so far — way back in the 1971. The mission could as well have been accomplished by our Air Force operating from bases closeby.

If still it is felt that we need aircraft carrier to become truly blue water navy — why spend so huge an amount on an ancient mariner in the first place? It would be far cheaper & purposeful to make our own new aircraft carrier in our shipyards. Let Admiral Groshkov now rest in peace in deep waters.

Air Cmde Raghubir Singh (retd), Pune


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