Friday, June 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Making college education meaningful

In his article “Colleges turn youth clubs” (June 13), Mr Amrik Singh very rightly states that “What we require is a long-term plan” to make college education serious, meaningful, and job-oriented. The vocationalisation plan as formulated by the UGC a decade ago has not met with success. Mr Singh’s reference to the Green Revolution of the 1960s that made the country self-sufficient in food, is apt and such a revolution in the field of education is the need of the hour.

With the changing socio-economic scenario the world over, we should adopt the pragmatic approach of the Western thinkers like Rimmer who believe that the old-fashioned system is irrelevant, almost dead. For if we do not substantiate our curriculum and methodology of instruction with the latest updates, we shall be lost.

Our colleges and universities have to be upgraded because not even the richest nations of the world like the US can afford to build new colleges and universities to meet the demands of the present times. Eton, Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge are also changing their curriculums and systems in order to survive the test of time. Otherwise, they will be razed to the ground; they will vanish from the face of the earth like our own ancient centres of learning such as Nalanda. We must gear up to face the onslaught of change in the educational system if we want to give our youth the education they so richly deserve.

Dr SATNAM KAUR, Principal, DAV College for Women, Ferozepur Cantt.


Raw deal for ex-servicemen

Retired Subedar Amar Singh’s letter (June 13) shows how a few soldiers, with strong determination and courage, fought successfully against a company of Naga terrorists with obsolete weapons. It is a good lesson for the new generation. I salute the brave officer and his soldiers.

I would like to add that the gallant officer, after his retirement from the Army, had to fight another battle, this time a legal one, in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, for securing his rightful dues. Even now, in his eighties, the officer has to fight against the official system for his pension fixation, arrears etc.

It is regrettable that the Centre and the state government have failed to ensure a peaceful retired life to the brave soldiers who risked their lives for the country. Certainly, not a healthy sign for the new generation.


Gender bias

I read with anguish the editorial “Police terror” (June 19) regarding harassment of women by the police. The other day, a mother of five girls poisoned herself and the girls because of abject poverty. Indeed, the social environment is becoming increasingly hostile for women. I share your lament about official and public apathy towards such horrendous acts. Look at the fate of the Women’s Reservation Bill. And what is the logic of the Punjab government to abolish the facility of free education for girls up to the graduation level?

The need of the hour is to change the mindset of the people against the gender bias and to end the imbalance in the socio-economic situation so that women have opportunities to live with dignity and honour. A girl child is unsafe in the womb and outside. Though female foeticide is a national shame, the social fabric and government policies are increasingly tilted against women. In the given cultural context, there will be a rare couple opting for a female child. The day grooms become available without a hefty price tag attached to them, female foeticide will end.

Sadly, even the judiciary is not free from the gender bias. A survey by Sakshi, a women’s group in Delhi, revealed that in rape trials, 55 per cent of the judges felt that women’s character is relevant in deciding the case rather than the seriousness of the crime. Thus, it is the victim’s sexual history and not the rapist’s act that becomes the central point in the trial. Only 10 per cent judges would want their daughters to seek legal redress for domestic violence.

Enacting laws to regulate the conduct of medical and paramedical fraternity alone will not end female foeticide. Creating awareness about its dangerous consequences will help catalyse the emergence of a broad social movement against infanticide and foeticide. The Medical Council of India’s resolve to disallow practice to doctors guilty of female foeticide needs to be reiterated to purge all the irritants in the system.

We, the members of All Daughters Club, feel blessed and privileged to enjoy the genuine care, concern, affection and sincerity of daughters and would prefer to father a girl again.

Dr AMRIT SETHI, Bathinda

Minority and majority

In Bangalore on June 14, there was a one day session on “State and Christians” organised by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) and the Indian Catholic Youth Movement. It is heartening to note the observation of V.V. Augustine, a member of the National Minority Commission, New Delhi, which is worth writing in golden letters. He said: “Christians being minority in India, should not antagonise Hindus who are majority, and minorities instead of abusing majority should engage themselves in meaningful dialogue with majority to make a peaceful living”. This saying is applicable to all people who claim to be minority to ensure tranquility and prosperity of the nation.

Perhaps the concept of minority and majority has been introduced when independence was got to please Pakistan that India is different from other countries and gave a lot of special facilities which are deprived to a large number of people. By making use of such special facilities, not only economy of the country is ruined but communal troubles, blasts etc are taking place. When every citizen of the country irrespective of caste and creed is enjoying the same natural facilities of climate, water, roads, common hotels, common friends, common enemies etc, and each is dependent on the other in some way or other, where is the need for separate rules and classification of majority and minority?

B.S. GANESH, Bangalore

Towards century

This has reference to reports appearing in the press on June 16 that an Emirati, aptly named Dad Mohamed Murad, aged 53 years, already the father of 63 children, has married an 18-year-old as his latest wife, and is determined to father a total of at least 100 children, before making a bid for entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Well, when the time does come, the Guinness people will do well to do a bit of DNA testing, to ensure 100 per cent authenticity!


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