Politicians and their dogmas

A.J. Philip’s article "Netas, godmen and lucky charms" (Spectrum, April 11) should be required reading in every school and university. A condensed form in two columns with the name of the politician on the left and his or her superstitions on the right, should replace the portrait of every chief minister in every state secretariat. The same condensed form should be mandatory as an insert (in any “lucky colour” the editor thinks fit) in every newspaper and magazine in the country.

Politicians and their sycophants should be asked to declare their superstitions like they do for their income. Though there is no guarantee of course, the former would probably be more accurate than the latter.

A word about paradoxes. In the same publication, cheek by jowl with Philip’s realism, there appear articles like Letters that symbolise hope and dread, Food for the soul and Weekly forecast.

Roy Eagleton, Chandigarh


The article would have been appreciated more had the newspaper also put an end to its weekly column on astrology.

Long ago when Khushwant Singh took over as the editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India he did dare to remove such a popular column and still managed to revive the drooping sale-graph of the magazine. Hope The Tribune would also show its readers the long-forgotten role of reason and inspire them to acquire the much required “scientific temper” that our Constitution speaks of.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh



Saigal lives on

Apropos of the article on K.L. Saigal “Salute to a legend” by Pran Nevile and Devinder Bir Kaur (Spectrum, April 4), Saigal has remained an icon for not only the older generation but even of the younger lot. That is why even more than 50 years after his death, his songs continue to mesmerise. His style was very effortless and natural.

Saigal recorded only two Punjabi ghazals — Oh Sohne Saakia Meri Gali Vee Phera Panda Ja and Mahi Naal Je Akhh Ladhdi Kade Na. It was also left to Saigal to bring the great Ghalib to the common man by singing his ghazals.

Brig H.S. Sandhu (retd), Panchkula


I read the articles with great interest. Since early childhood I have been mesmerised by the songs of K.L. Saigal. Even today in the small apartment in Brampton, Ontario, where I live, the very first voice in the morning that comes to my ears is Saigal’s singing Do naina matware. I attribute this to my father who was a die-hard fan of Saigal.

However, the time has come when we need to pay a tribute to this legendary singer in a different manner. The K.L. Saigal Memorial Trust should restore the singer’s home in Jalandhar which is in a dilapidated condition.


Sachin let down

This refers to “Super Sehwag” by M.S. Unnikrishnan (Windows, April 3). Former Pakistan skipper Imran Khan tried to justify Dravid’s decision to declare the innings before Sachin Tendulkar could complete his double century, saying that a team’s victory was always more important than individual records.

True, but this argument would have sounded convincing had Sachin been, say, 20-25 runs away from his double century.

The fact is that he was only six runs away from the landmark which he could have scored in an over or two.

I don’t think it would have made any difference to the country’s fortunes had he been allowed to complete his double century.


Back to Hindustan

Apropos of Khushwant Singh’s article, “It is time to revive Hindustani” (Windows, April 3), we should also revive the use of the name Hindustan for our country. India sounds too alien and Bharat has yet to gain popularity in general parlance.

Hindustan has been the real name of our country for ages. Even today if Bharat finds mention in our National Anthem, Hindustan echoes in the salutation “Jai Hind”. Iqbal’s “Saare jahan se achha Hindustan hamara” is music to our ears as ever. n

Wg-Cdr C.L. Sehgal (retd), Jalandhar

Teaching schedule in colleges: The factual position 

IN his article “Mess in education: Fee or grade is not the issue” (Perspective, March 14), Balvinder has mentioned that “Punjab University reportedly has fixed 242 days instead of the obligatory 180 teaching days from the next academic session”.

The concept of 180 teaching days was recommended by the University Education Commission headed by Dr S. Radhakrishnan in 1948-49. It found that the number of teaching days in a year in colleges and universities was insufficient.

The Working Group appointed by the UGC recommended the same concept. The UGC stipulates that the number of actual teaching days in an academic year in university, constituent or affiliated colleges of the university should not go below 180 days excluding the preparation days and examination days.

The UGC recommendations and rules envisage that there shall be 10-week (1-autumn, 1-winter and 8-weeks summer) vacations in a year. Of the remaining 42 weeks of the year, preparatory days, admission days, Sundays, gazetted holidays, examination days and 180 teaching days at the most can be carried out. Hence, to give direction to comply with 242 teaching day’s concept in a year does not seem practicable.

It is noteworthy that teaching and non-teaching staff are paid from the public exchequer. Because of the five-day week in most university offices, the non-teaching employees do not work on 52 Sundays, 52 Saturdays, 33 days of earned leave, 15 days of casual leave, 20 days of medical leave and about 25 gazetted holidays such as Dussehera, Diwali, Republic Day, Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanti etc. Hence, working days of these non-teaching staff are about 170-175 days in a year.

I am neither defending the teaching community nor offending my non-teaching friends. This is the factual position for rationalising the working hours. Yes, the agency entrusted to get these 180 teaching days charter fulfilled should achieve the desired results.

For this, it is suggested that the educational administrators prepare the academic calendar in advance, conduct and declare the results in time. There should be no policy decision which is to be implemented at the eleventh hour. Students, teachers or non-teaching staff can go on strike because of the hasty decision taken at the eleventh hour by the authorities concerned. If any educational component resorts to strike, the system will crumble, affecting the 180-day teaching schedule.

OM PARKASH WADHWA, Head, Public Administration Dept., Government College, Gohana 


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