Taking care of the problems of elders

The Agewell Foundation, a consortium of over 1,500 NGOs and 5,000 volunteers spread across 540 districts of India, is committed to providing a voice to older persons. The Indian democracy is in the process of entering a new paradigm — the ensuing Lok Sabha elections will be contested on the basis of the issues that affect people in their day-to-day life.

Voters have become very demanding these days. They know, once elected, the ruling party may not keep the promises made during the campaigning. Ideological issues have taken a back seat. Interest groups demand fulfilment of their own agenda. Over 80 million older persons know that manifestoes precede the elections. It is in this context that the Agewell Foundation appeals to all political parties and voters to consider the problems of the elders, include them in their respective manifestoes and implement them in letter and spirit.

About 80 per cent of the total Indian population consists of older persons above the age of 60 years. According to the Election Commission, as the total voters are only 66.67 per cent, the older persons constitute over 12 per cent of the voters.



The older persons have far more faith in the democratic system and almost 90 per cent of them assert themselves by casting their votes. Statistics prove that the average number of total votes cast during any election is only 50 to 55 per cent. Obviously, the so-called minority amongst the voters (i.e. older persons) constitute 20-25 per cent of the actual voters.

HIMANSHU RATH, Agewell Foundation, M-8A, Lajpat Nagar II, New Delhi - 110 024

Rural boy as top scientist

In her article “How rural boy became a top scientist” (Feb 7), Ms Reeta Sharma has beautifully narrated the life history of Dr Raghbir Singh Khandpur. It is a matter of pride for the nation in general and Punjab in particular to learn how a rural boy has risen to the level of a distinguished scientist at the international level.

Dr Khandpur has proved the universal saying that the teachers and parents play a very important role in shaping the destiny of youths. I agree with Ms Sharma that Dr Khandpur’s life is not only an eye-opener but also worth a page in Punjab’s history to motivate the coming generations.

Dr Khandpur’s observations that Punjab’s youth are chasing a materialistic life and how scientists and professionals are relegated to a secondary position in the country speak volumes for the defective system of education, parental care and policies of the government. Dr Khandpur has held society responsible for the exodus of top scientists and professionals to foreign countries from India. It is time the Centre evolved a comprehensive national policy to check brain drain so that persons of high calibre prefer to work in the country itself.

HARBANS LAL MEHMI, Special Secretary to Revenue Minister (Punjab), Chandigarh


No recognition

Kurukshetra University has started a two-year diploma course (correspondence) in Art and Craft from last year. The course consists of six practical papers and two theory papers in Part I. Hence the need for regular practice by the students under expert guidance in the study centres approved by the university. Students have to attend regular classes in the study centres spread over Haryana, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh. They have to pay a hefty fee of Rs 22,000 a year for this job-oriented course.

Surprisingly, however, this course has not been granted recognition as yet by Haryana’s Education Department. In the absence of recognition, the students, mostly from rural areas, are a worried lot. They feel uncertain and insecure about their future, lest the hard-earned money of their parents should go waste. The Haryana government should grant recognition to this course promptly and save the career of the students.

Students of this course should also be given bus pass facility in Haryana Roadways buses.

O.P. VERMA, Kaithal

Revaluation blues

Mr Sat Pal Jindal, in his article “Revaluation trend on the rise” (Feb 3), has rightly observed the arduousness of students who, out of compulsion, have to opt for revaluation. It is a waste of time, energy and money. The results of revaluation are never declared in time and poor students are caught in a Catch-22 situation.

The problem could be resolved if the students, on request, are allowed to have a look at their marked answerbooks. This will also make the examiners extra vigilant.

CHARU JAIN, Chandigarh

For Maya’s mercy

Not long ago, all the political parties were after Ms Mayawati’s scalp. Even the Congress supported Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav to dislodge her from power in Uttar Pradesh. The CBI inquiry has exposed many dubious deals during Ms Mayawati’s chief ministership including misappropriation of funds and unaccounted money.

Come elections and every party, directly or indirectly, has been visiting her residence for forging an alliance . I wonder what great example they are setting for the inquiry agencies and the people. Democracy has become a tool in the hands of politicians to grind their own axe just to capture power by hook or by crook.

M.P.S. RANDHAWA, Dhapai (Kapurthala)

Pragmatic gesture

Apropos of the report “Wise gesture” (Feb 3), a fatwa was issued against cow slaughter by the ulema of Dar-ul-Uloom. This has paved the way for the settlement of all disputes across the table. It will also promote communal harmony and brotherhood among the two communities.

Like the Dar-ul-Uloom ulemas’ pragmatic gesture, all political parties should also come forward to resolve the Ayodhya dispute amicably.


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