Time to restore the pride of Punjabi varsity

PROFESSOR Nirbhai Singh’s article “VC-PVC controversy affects the working of Punjabi University” (Perspective, Nov 16), reflects the depth to which this university has fallen since the appointment of Mr S.S. Boparai as its Vice-Chancellor. But he alone is not responsible for this deterioration. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is equally responsible.

The Chief Minister, in less than two years of his tenure, has given two near-fatal blows to the university: first, by his blind opposition to Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia who was ousted in a way that shocked the academic world; and second, his blind support to Mr Boparai who was emboldened enough to blackmail even the government by insisting that he would withdraw the hike in the fee that led to students’ agitation only after getting a grant of over Rs 2 crore from the government.

Prof. Nirbhai Singh has rightly observed that the university has been converted into a centre of “politics and terror”. Mr Boparai, by openly demanding the removal of the Pro-VC, has put the state government in another dilemma: If the Pro-VC is dispensed with either through removal or abolition of the post, it would send shock waves to all the universities. And if the Pro-VC is not sent out, the tug of war between the two top functionaries of the university would further vitiate the atmosphere.

Prof Jagdish Kaur, SAS Nagar



Prof. Nirbhai Singh’s article is not in the right perspective. Calling it a fight between bureaucrats and academicians is an attempt to give it a different slant. Who doesn’t know that the dwarfs in the academia are so common that the real people have been relegated behind? Manoeuvring professional advantage through political patronage is the order of the day for these academicians.

The writer has overlooked the fact that Dr S.D. Sharma who has just been indicted by two audit reports is very much an academician. A former VC of Garhwal University who was made to resign a couple of months back, Prof. Nirbhai Singh may look into his credentials and find that he too was an academician. There are umpteen examples where the academia has not come up to the expectations of society. There are “tall” people among bureaucrats too. It is wrong to say that the bureaucrats are unfit to be VCs. There are good and bad people in all walks of life.

Dragging out old skeletons from the cupboard is unfortunate. The happenings in 1989 have lost their relevance now. Academicians like the writer himself should desist from doing so. All is well in the university and there are deserving people to take care of it.

Dharam Pal Mor, Senior Lecturer, Punjabi University, Patiala


Unfortunately, many VCs consider it their mission to undo whatever their predecessors had been doing. In this effort, they receive zealous support from many sycophants. It is not every VC who can recall his experiences with the good humour of Dr Clark Kerr who, on being obliged to leave California University, said, “I am ending as I began — fired with enthusiasm”. Our VCs adopt two mothods of functioning — to be boastful or bitter or both. These do not present a realistic picture of the universities today.

The failure in the universities is not the failure of few individuals, but of the whole system. The failure is not the failure of character but the failure of intelligence. We need learned men of vision and integrity as VCs.

Anil Bhatia, DN College, Hisar


Prof. Nirbhai Singh’s article makes painful reading. Education and politics are different fields. Why should politicians interfere in the university and the government appoint non-academics as VCs? After the exit of Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia from the university, the affairs of Punjabi University were managed well by Dr R.N. Pal, Pro-VC for six months or so uptil the new VC, Mr Boparai, joined in August, 2002.

It would have been an excellent proposition if the Chancellor had promoted Dr Pal as the VC. Certainly, Punjabi University would have excelled under his stewardship. If the students are able to cultivate the virtues of integrity and character along with higher academic attainments, they would be obviously become good citizens and provide a honest and transparent administration to the country. If universities are insulated from partisan politics, they can strive for new heights of excellence.

K.K. Bhardwaj, New Delhi

For foolproof laws

Apropos of Mr Santosh Kr Singh’s article “Rape: Time to treat the disease rather than its symptoms” (Perspective, Nov 9), there has been a spurt in the rape cases in the country, especially in New Delhi. It is the most heinous crime committed against humanity. Persons accused of rape do not deserve any leniency. Since there is very light punishment in our legal system for this crime, the culprits commit the crime again and again.

There are lacunae in our judicial system which help the accused in getting scot-free. As the conviction rate in the rape cases is very low, there is need to change the laws and make them more stringent and foolproof. Death penality should also be considered for rape, as suggested by Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani. The problem can be tackled more effectively by removing the lacunae in the judicial system. Changes in the psycho-sociological set up of society can only be brought out gradually.

Harjinder Singh, SAS Nagar


Rape has become a scourge, worse than murder. Various punishments have been suggested — from death sentence to castration, public flogging and chopping off of limbs and so on, but none seems to be remedial or sufficient deterrent. I feel the suggestions so far made might meet the ends of justice but are not really remedial. These culprits are sick generally and are abnormal mentally. Otherwise, how can one explain rape of infant and old?

These people need to be segregated and consigned to mental asylums for the rest of their life. This would save society from further damage by them and would be the greatest deterrent.

Dr Harish Khanna, Panchkula


Rapists are hardened criminals who deserve nothing short of capital punishment. Those found guilty should be given exemplary punishment to send out the right message and act as a deterrent. Here psychology and sociology have failed miserably. Pragmatism is badly needed to tackle this menace. We can ourselves be developed and civilised but in culture and conduct we have lagged far behind.

The increase in rape cases suggests a steep moral decline. Theorists are busy in the maze of words like disease and symptoms though the culprit deserves capital punishment.

When our own relation falls a victim, we at once talk of death penalty. Otherwise, we become idealists and start suggesting reformatory theories. Let us not be hypocrites.n

Prof K.L. Batra, Yamuna Nagar

Alauddin’s expedition not to win over Padmini 

IN his letter “Women are still at the receiving end” (Perspective, Nov 9), Mr Karnail Singh has remarked that Rani Padmini of Chitor preferred “jauhar” to falling into the hands of Alauddin Khilji, the Mughal king. With great regards for him, it is stated that as is evident from his cognomen, Alauddin was a Khilji Sultan of Delhi and not a Mughal king. He captured Chitor in August 1303 while Zaheer-ud-Din Mohammad Babar, founder of the Mughal empire in India, became the emperor of Hindustan on April 27, 1526.

The legend that Padmini refused to appear unveiled before the Khilji Sultan and agreed to let him see her with the help of a mirror is just a fabrication. Similarly, there is nothing in the works of contemporary or near contemporary writers to suggest that she performed “jauhar” to find security from dishonour in the funeral pyre. However, according to Tod, the Rajputs performed “that horrible rite, the ‘jauhar’ where the females are immolated to preserve them from pollution or captivity”.

It is said that after conquering Chitor, Alauddin renamed it Khizrabad, assigned it to his heir-apparent, Khizr Khan and immediately returned to Delhi. Apparently, his expedition against Chitor was for territorial expansion and not because of his infatuation for Padmini, the beautiful queen of Rana Rattan Singh. However, according to Ferishta, the Khilji Sultan gave Chitor to the Rana’s sister’s son, Maldeo, who remained loyal to him, but rebelled when the latter was on his death-bed.

The celebrated poet and writer, Amir Khusrau, says that Alauddin entered the fort of Chitor on August 25, 1303, and he also accompanied him. While he had referred to the rite of “jauhar” performed at Ranthambhor, he had made no mention of that at Chitor. Evidently, no such rite was performed there.

After 237 years in 1540, Malik Mohammad Jaisi wrote a Hindi poem, “Padmavat”, in which, according to him, “Chitor” stood for “body”, “Raja” for “mind”, “Ceylon” for “heart”, “Padmini” for “wisdom” and “Alauddin” for “lust”. Some student of history may throw light on this matter.

Bhagwan Singh, Qadian


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