Sunday, July 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



We have no concern for museums

MR A.J. Philip’s article “Where artefacts are for stealing” (July 6) precisely pointed, through subtle illustrations and curt comparisons, towards our disgraceful disregard for “things historical”. Probably because of such an attitude no eyebrows were raised and no official showed even a slight sign of regret when some time back I brought to the notice of the public that a rare Jamini Roy painting, covered under a special antiquity Act, was clandestinely loaned from the Chandigarh Museum, and got damaged in the process, to decorate the residence of the then Adviser to the Administrator, Chandigarh.

There are many more examples. I still remember the angry face of a gravely hurt Dr M.S. Randhawa, the first Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh (without whose untiring efforts the imposing building of Chandigarh Museum would now have been housing, instead of invaluable artefacts, babus of some or the other insignificant local government office) when he came to the museum soon after learning about the theft of 105 exquisite miniature paintings from this place. He must also have felt cheated as most of the stolen paintings were collected by him personally for this museum.

Once after seeing the kind of care and upkeep with which the Victoria and Albert Museum has been keeping the historically and artistically significant throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, amongst many other Indian artefacts, I too had wished that it should remain there in England if it is to be preserved for posterity.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh



Mr A. J. Philip might be right in his comment that we, Indians, have scant regard for historical things. But our politicians will disagree with him totally. Don’t you know that at Babri Masjid’s site, how deep they are digging to pull out, after pulling it down, imaginary things of historical value?


Why keep them out?

THIS refers to the debate on UPSC reforms (May 25). Proponents of the ban base their arguments on three main reasons. First, in training doctors and engineers they feel the government has to invest huge money in the form of infrastructure and subsidy.

Candidly speaking, the expenditure under this head is more or less the same for all standard educational institutions. Under this pretext, doctors and engineers can’t be excluded while others enjoy the liberty to choose their career.

Second, they argue that the expert services of doctors and engineers are badly needed by society, so they must not deviate from the mainstream. Today, lakhs of engineers and many doctors are facing unemployment. Why suitable employment is not being generated for them? On the contrary, there is mushroom growth of colleges producing lakhs of engineers and doctors thus adding to their woes. Thus, every young graduate has the right to compete for a secure career.

Third, the plea that doctors and engineers may not turn out to be able administrators is absolutely false. Basically they are intelligent and diligent. Nobody should doubt their capabilities as administrators. In the age of advancing technological scenario, technocrats must have access to the IAS to infuse scientific environment in the services.

DR PREM CHAND, Joginder Nagar

Harassed lot

Apropos of Nitin Jugran Bahuguna’s investigative piece “This village pushes girls into prostitution” (May 11), I feel sexual exploitation is there in the entire country. The girl child is sexually exploited whenever she is found miserable and submissive. This multi-clawed, dangerous disease is threatening the safety of women.

The need is to educate girls about their individuality and inculcate in them self-confidence so that they can stand for themselves in hard times rather than waiting for someone to save them.

SURUCHI, Ludhiana

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