Saturday, March 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



A noisy, religious society

Humility is one of the cardinal virtues preached by all religions. But the use of loudspeakers at their blaring best by the managements of gurdwaras, mandirs and masjids is far from it. It is clear religious chauvinism, reflecting ego, “ahm” or “haumai”. At places where more than one religious places are closeby, hardly anything can be clearly heard in the din.

Such a boisterous display spoils the very serenity of the religious place and discourages one’s urge to visit the place and sit in “sangat”, which has its own significance.

What about the sensibilities of citizens professing other religions? Are those supposed to be ruthlessly invaded?

What about the disturbance to students who are studying hard in the thick of their exams, trauma to the patients nearby and discomfort to the elderly?

These seem to be no considerations while the forced administration of sermons must go on. I wonder for whose benefit really is this blaring?

Can one imagine someone listening to religious hymns while using a toilet, chatting with friends and relatives or romancing with one’s loved one. A sensible, civilised and humble person is yet to be found appreciating this practice.

Will the civilised, secular and multi-religious society keep on suffering such egoistic meaningless practices for ever? Why can’t social organisations, NGOs, local people’s pressure group come forward to spread awareness and persuade religious bodies to take a rational look at this practice and put an end to it voluntarily; the law seems to have failed and given up in this regard.



Power of Indian mind

This refers to Mr Jagmohan’s article “Power of the Indian mind: our heritage and assets” (Feb 23). The issues raised by the author, and the reasons and the remedies proposed thereof, are very substantial and pertinent.

However, India need not conquer and replace the hegemony of the USA, rather the spirit of harmony should proliferate in every nook and corner of the world and should eliminate the evil idea of hegemony.

The panacea for the ills of human civilisation lies in the resurrection of the supreme ideal of universal humanism of which Mother Teresa was a living symbol.

India, with the “power and profundity” of its mind, can surely play an extremely significant role in the service to humanity.

RAJNI SHARMA, Chandigarh

Basics of heritage

I was overwhelmed by reading the article “Power of the Indian mind”. The article is replete with deep philosophical thoughts, basics of Indian heritage as well as new ideas for the universe. Undoubtedly, we are side-tracking all the three major steps suggested by the mantra of Karma Yoga.

Though the adoption of these steps is a long-term investment requiring continuous efforts, it would make the prediction of historian Toynbee come true. For all the maladies prevailing in the world, here in the article lies the panacea.


Velna, not kohlu

This refers to the middle, “The kohlu days”, by K. Rajbir Deswal (Feb 25). Having lived in a village and belonging to a once agricultural family, I am tempted to correct some errors in the description. The sugarcane crusher is called “velna”. “Kohlu” means an oil seeds crusher.

It is not cauldrons, which means “large open but deep boiling pots)”, but “karhahas” (large, open but shallow iron pots) that are placed on large fire places called “chumbas”.

Lumps made of “gur” are called “roris”. Bheli is the word used by the urbanites. The “velnas” are still there. Now they are operated by generators or electricity.


Civil servants

This refers to the editorial “What ails civil services”. Look at the kind of political bosses civil servants are blessed with. I draw attention to your front-page news item “Irked by CM’s remarks, officer goes on leave” (Feb 21), which reflects the kind of humiliation our civil servants have to suffer at the hands of their high-headed political bosses. Even women civil servants are insulted in front of their junior officers. It is not only the Haryana CM who has been harsh to a woman civil servant, the UP CM has crossed all limits in insulting civil servants.


Shahpur Kandi project

The prestigious Ranjit Sagar Dam is a national monument of gross inefficiency, huge wastage, corruption and typical non-accountability. We can ill-afford to repeat the same exercise now in the nearby Shahpur Kandi Dam Project simply to accommodate the employees rendered surplus from the Ranjit Sagar Dam. The only advisable course is to hand over the construction of the Shahpur Kandi Dam to some private company for time-bound low-cost quality work.

The private company can be asked to recruit its staff on merit when required. Let the “government employees” also feel the exposure to market forces.

HOSHIAR SINGH, Shahpur Kandi

Selection of lecturers

Thousands of college students in Punjab opt for Punjabi or Hindi as their medium of instruction and examination, but the criteria or guidelines framed by the government or universities for the recruitment of lecturers totally ignore this basic pre-requisite expected of a lecturer to be competent or absolutely confident about his teaching abilities.

Whatever be the academic credentials of a lecturer or Reader, he is of no use if he is not absolutely adept in standard Punjabi or standard Hindi i.e. the language through which he was to transact the curriculum in the classroom. In the absence of thorough knowledge of Punjabi or Hindi terminology, a lecturer would be just a dud and an incompetent teacher. Is there any answer?


This is also Maya

Apropos the editorial “This is also Maya” (March 5) it gives an excellent account of the morals of our political masters. Maya is only one card in the whole pack. If you analyse the credentials of other leaders then you will find that they are no different irrespective of the party to which they belong. So it is not the name of the political party which matters but the persons who manage the party are important. The bad luck of the country is that there is no political party with a difference, though each fools the people by portraying itself to be.

But the solution you have put forward is fraught with disaster. Just imagine if the all powerful taxman joins hands with the morally and economically corrupt political class.

You must be aware that the taxman of the country is so powerful that even a dreaded policeman does not dare to question the mighty taxman for the fear that he would open his file. So if the politician and the taxman join hands, as suggested, then kindly tell me who will stop the disaster?

Dr TIRATH GARG, Ferozepur

Bus fare concessions

The Punjab Government has increased the bus fares and denied concessions to old women which the ex-Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had extended to them.

It will be highly appreciated if the Chief Minister restores the concessions or at least grant half the bus concession as in the UT of Chandigarh for the Senior Citizens.

LT. COL. P.S. SARANG (retd), Chandigarh

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