Saturday, June 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Roerich’s quest for knowledge 

This has reference to the report "Roerich's art was rooted in humanism" (May 30). Roerich (1874-1947), a distinguished and eminent artist from Russia, was, indeed, a man of fantastic and uncommon talent. A firm believer in humanitarianism and philanthropy, a creative and gifted artist, and a savant to the core, he was pained to see that materialism had an inexorably despicable and anathematised influence on the evolution of modern society, so much so that it had "debased man and his soul", which stood shrunk and started at the degeneration of the ever-amiable and attractive divinity in man.

Since the pain of the mind crushes man far more deeply than the pain of the body, it was no wonder that Roerich, the philosopher and painter, felt attracted towards the "rich religious and spiritual legacy and ancient philosophies" of India.

HIs quest for knowledge drew him towards the dazzling and enthralling scenic beauty of the Himalayas in the Kullu Valley, which became his adopted home.

To quote Alfred Musset, "Great artists' like Roerich have no country. They belong to all mankind, all over the globe. They understand life and all its complexities, and encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience, as forged in the smithy of their soul". They, in the words of Joan Miro, "apply colours like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music".


The salubrious air, the theatre backdrop of hills, the harmonious, quiet and placid, conciliatory and soothing ambience of natural surroundings elated him, and he felt inspired to "sketch, write, conduct archaeological digs, collect medicinal plants and gather linguistic and folklore material to quench his insatiable thirst for knowledge".

Roerich was never tired of painting. With colours, he would obtain energy, intensity and "the judgement of the eye". The eminence of Roerich in the radiant and delightful world of art can be measured from the fact that he left behind about 7,000 paintings, which "adorn the art galleries and museums the world over".

Deepak Tandon, Panchkula

Re-start tree plantation drive

The spirit with which the tree plantation drives were held in the past seems to be ebbing out. The past few years saw both educational institutions and offices holding such drives. Even public participation was both unremitting and unsolicited.

Today, however, one rarely holds or takes part in the drives. Maybe, this has been kicked into the junkyard. The result: scant rains and oxygen, enough of pollution, floods and barren land. At least 25 per cent of the population suffer from various fatal diseases. The consequent loss will be a threat to the ozone layer.

It is time the authorities concerned rose to the occasion. To plant a sapling should be evey citizen's duty and responsibility. Every institution or organisation should involve themselves closely in tree plantation. All we need is some incentives and active participation from the political parties so that such campaigns succeed. Will it be too much on our part to plant a sapling today?

Tarundeep Aggarwal, Village-Raipur Khurd, Chandigarh

Mosquito menace

Those advising you not to let little things bother you have never tried sleeping in a room with a mosquito. One has to spend sleepless nights due to the mosquito menace in the countryside. Sometimes we would have been jumping about doing a disco number with ubiquitous tiny-winged insects.

The other crawling creatures to make havoc are cockroaches. Even the City Beautiful of Chandigarh is not free from this most hated insect. Even if your house is spic and span, it still would not stop a horde of enterprising cockroaches from invading it.

A major contributing factor to this menace is the growing resistance these creatures have developed to insecticides. Even the most common chemical like DDT is not effective in fighting mosquitoes, some of which are even harmful.

A biotechnical mosquito pilot project is the need of hour, as promised by the then Union Minister of State for Environment, Ms Maneka Gandhi, some time ago.

The other way to arrest the population explosion among these creatures is to enforce family planning among them vigorously. Let scientists invent some pill on the pattern of Mala-D. And let these pills be distributed freely.

D.V. Joshi, Bartana (Zirakpur)

Phalke award for Rafi

I fully endorse the views of Mr B.D. Sharma regarding conferring of the Dada Saheb Phalke award on the late Mohd Rafi (May 17). Undoubtedly, he is the right choice among the singers of our film industry. The commemorative postal stamp to be released by the Postal Department in due course should be coincided with either his birth anniversary (December 24) or death anniversary (July 31).

Although he had several awards to his credit, Padma Shri being one of them, the Centre is yet to recognise and honour him with the coveted Dada Saheb Phalke Award.

Many singers have come and gone, but no one could match Mohd Rafi. He is the only bright star on our sky, which will continue to glow. I wish the Union Government thought about it seriously now.

A.K. Kaul, Chandigarh

A healthy practice

It adds to the richness of a language if some commonly used words from other languages are adopted by it. It certainly goes to the credit of Punjabi language that many Urdu, Hindi and English words are frequently being used in it. I feel this is a very healthy practice but then the borrowed words should find proper use in the mother language.

I am quite surprised that Urdu words used in Punjabi are not being properly pronounced. For instance, take the case of the word 'Ijaazat', meaning permission. But when it is used in Punjabi, it is pronounced as 'Ijaajat'. in this case, 'z' has been changed to 'j'. Sadly, even person like Sunil Gavaskar, in cricket commentary, have been pronouncing the name of Pakistan player Ijaaz as 'Ijaaj'. I have heard Urdu word 'Zaroorat' (need) being pronounced as 'Jaroorat'. All concerned must make sure that the borrowed words are put in proper use and properly pronounced.

In this regard, I request Mr Bhagwan Singh from Qadian, a regular contributor to these columns and an authority on Urdu, to throw some light on this misuse of adopted words. Is it intentional or lack of proper knowledge of the language from which words are being borrowed?

D.B. Singh, Chandigarh

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