Need to take care of the elderly

Apropos of Aditi Tandon's article "Age of neglect" (Spectrum, Nov 21), I appreciate the writer's efforts to highlight a social menace to prick our social conscience. It is really shocking to know the sad plight of the elderly, neglected by their own children and society for whom they spent the prime of their life.

I don't think paucity of funds alone is responsible for such a sad state of affairs. It is the materialistic attitude of the people that the elderly are a spent force, a liability, rather than a vast reservoir of experience and guidance for the young, forgetting, they themselves, are heading towards that inevitable and gradually.

Schools should inculcate such values of respecting and learning from the elderly. Sr Monica Rozario, Principal, Loretto Convent School, Lucknow, has taken a bold step to organise Grand Parents' Day last year to restore the dignity of the elderly in our society. Being invited to give a message on the occasion, my heart throbbed with emotions of joy as I watched young children welcomed their grand parents with arti and kum kum. Through short plays and speeches they very well conveyed to the audience the great need to learning from the great souls who laid the foundation for their lives.

I wish the schools of the region could emulate the Lucknow example to be a ray of hope and joy to "silver years".

Fr THOMAS K.J., Roshni, Rajpura (Patiala)




The article has given a lot of information on such a vital subject. It has highlighted the grim scenario of the aged parents neglected by their sons. The plight of the aged is really very sad as I also encounter in my daily practice in my hospital. There are many such cases which have been highlighted not only in this article but in other stories and news in The Tribune from time to time.

There is hardly any effort on the part of the Centre and the states to plan and think to this growing problem. Though some senior citizen's homes have come up at different places to care for the deserted parents, it seems to be only a tip of iceburg.

Dr S.B. LAL MITTAL, Rajpura


It was very painful to read about the ill treatment of the elderly. We have forgotten our traditional values that emphasised respect for age. Nowadays, children even go to the extent of torturing their parents in their sunset years.

Only a few consider it their duty to be available for attending to their parents. HelpAge and NGOs are doing great service by looking after the neglected elderly but the government too should make the neglect of the elderly a punishable offence.


Laid-back attitude won’t do

Apropos of Ruchika Khanna's "Call of Mewat" (Spectrum, Oct 31), a gloomy picture of Mewat has been painted and successive governments held responsible for this. I disagree with her view that the highest level to which a Meo has reached in a government job is that of a Block Education Officer. There are Meos who have retired from Class I posts and are working on higher posts.

It is not the fault of the government but the attitude of the Meos that despite 795 schools (591 primary schools, 110 middle schools, 63 high schools, 31 senior secondary schools) in 491 villages of the proposed new districts, the children of Meos go to study in madarasas.

It is the laid-back attitude of the people, which is responsible for this dismal scenario. If one visits the area, one would find men sitting idle, gossiping, playing cards and women doing odd jobs. People themselves are responsible for their fate.

PURAN SINGH, Assistant Professor, Haryana Institute of Rural Development, Nilokheri (Karnal)


The sacred word

Roopinder Singh's "The word of faith" (Spectrum, Sept 5) was a befitting tribute to the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan once remarked that the Sikhs were fortunate to have their holy scripture in the language they understood. Besides the bani of the Gurus, the bhagat bani of the Hindu and Muslim saints imparts a unique secular and inter-regional flavour to the holy book.

However, certain quarters have been trying to play down the bhagat bani that contributes 937 of the 5892 hymns of Guru Granth Sahib. Hakim Singh Rahi's Sri Guru Granth Sahib Discovered published by Motilal Banarsi Dass, 1999, excludes bhagat bani from the sacred text. In the foreword to the book, Dr W. Owen Cole of Chichester England justifies the exclusion on the ground that these mystics did little or nothing to the message delivered by the Gurus.

V.K. RANGRA, New Delhi


Apropos of Priyanka Singh's "Little wonders" (Saturday Extra, Aug 28), there is no doubt that a child genius is the pride of both parents and teachers. However, with this comes the added responsibility of the need to be sensitive, supportive, tolerant, resourceful and patient to such children.

Gifted children may be restless, inattentive or annoying to those around them. They may be indifferent towards class work and critical, both of themselves and others. It is necessary to provide them with activities that are challenging. A genius emerges from an interactive process which involves a stimulating environment in which he can grow.

K.M. VASHISHT, New Delhi

Check bonded labour

This refers to Swami Agnivesh's profile under the caption "A crusader against social injustice" (Sunday Oped, Sept 26) by Harihar Swarup. Society will always remain grateful him for his crusade against bonded labour and other acts of injustice.

I appeal to Swami Agnivesh to evolve a network throughout the country to elicit information regarding bonded labour. Efforts should also be made to establish special centres where children may get quality education as also trained to stand firmly for their democratic rights.

'Self-help groups' may be encouraged for their own empowerment. The government should adopt the children of the labour class for health and educational purposes. The government should extend all possible help to Swami Agnivesh in his humanistic endeavours.


Unusual gift

Apropos of Saroj Sharma's Hindi review "Unusual gift" (Spectrum, Sept 5), Munshi Prem Chand captured life 'in its raw form' in his stories. He brought realism to the art of short-story writing. His canvas is wide and he highlights the conflicts between classes, castes and creeds, gently probing social complexities to seek their resolution.

His oeuvre reveals, apart from patriotic fervour, a progressive evolution of art and thought from reformism to revolution, from Gandhian idealism to Marxian realism. His characters are vividly drawn from the milling crowds. He paints nuances of village life in its unsullied purity, lives of widows and early marriages, and above all inequality of social order. His call is to the collective consciousness of his age. He weaves his plots with artistic accuracy.


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