Time to give teachers their due

Apropos of Vikram Chadha's article "Recognise teachers' worth to suit changing times" (Perspective, Nov 28), I could not agree more with him when he says that "teaching has to be turned into a competitively profitable avocation".

Consider my own case. I took to teaching 20 years back and started with a salary of Rs 1,000 in a private school. Today, even after higher academic attainments, teaching and management experience, I get only Rs 6500, thanks to my Army School. Had I been in a private school, the pay would have been just about Rs 4,000! How can one run a house with this pay, leave alone leading a respectable life?

I am lucky to be an Army officer's wife, but what about those who depend on this pay? That is why, most women teach to add to their husbands' income.

Clearly, low pay and lack of respect for the teachers is the main reason for teaching not being a favoured vocation for our youth.

Today, private schools and coaching centres are minting money but paying peanuts to their teachers. Teachers certainly deserve their due.

MADHU R.D. SINGH, Ambala Cantt



The finest of Kashmiri culture

"Winter brings out the finest of Kashmiri culture" by David Devadas (Perspective, Dec 19) was highly readable. A kangri is to a Kashmiri what Laila was to Majnu, is an apt description of this mobile angithi. Truly a bosom pal, Kashmiris sleep with it inside their quilts to combat chill, even colds and coughs and to improve digestion too. Today research says kangri's heat can cause cancer to the body part most exposed to it.

Correctly called kangar, it owes its origin to hanjis i.e. boatmen years ago. Since they sailed across rivers in wooden boats, they were unable to light fires to keep warm. So they thought of fires in earthenware bowls, which later began to be placed in woven wicker baskets, which are nowadays often dyed.

Some historians opine that the use of kangri, phirans and one-day old stale roti was an intentional policy by early Mughal emperors to tame and subjugate the brave Kashmiris.

A kangri lasts for around two years. It is gifted in dowry and given as alms with money/embers in it.


Human happiness

"Making world a better place to live in" by Shri Sitakant Mahapatra (Perspective, Nov 21) makes an interesting reading. Development of spiritual quotient, emotional quotient together with intelligence quotient are the essentials for human happiness.

I look forward with hope, optimism and a high level of confidence for a bright future of the world economy by accepting Indian values based on the science of spirituality. The rate of progress in spiritualism is faster than the rate of progress in materialism. Therefore, there is need for accepting spiritually guided materialism as a solution of various problems.

The teachings of Bhagwad Gita are meant for one and all in all aspects of development. It is not only a great epic but is a treatise on welfare economics to be adopted as a development manual to make the world a better place to live in.

Prof M.M. GOEL, Dept. of Economics Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra

Joint festivals

Khushwant Singh has wisely suggested the need for “joint celebrations” of festivals by all Indians (Saturday Extra, Nov 20) The religious content of Hindu festivals has almost disappeared. Few, if any, remember Ram on Divali; it is a festival when we pay social calls and exchange gifts with relatives, friends and bosses. Hindu women no longer believe in the myth that karva can breathe life into a dead husband. Most of them do not know the myth behind the fast. For them, it is a fast for their husbands’ longevity and an occasion to look their best. Hindus are already celebrating Christmas; they could even modify Janmashtmi and celebrate it as birthdays are celebrated by cutting a cake, instead of observing a fast. Birthdays of all prophets and avtaras could, similarly, be celebrated together. “Rings in the ears,” “shaven head,” “ashes on the body” are not necessary for a religious or spiritual life.

L.R. Sharma, Jalandhar

Reliving nightmares

This refers to the article, “Two nightmares,” in Khushwant Singh’s column, This Above All (Dec 25). It is true that no one would ever want to relive October 31 and November 1, 1984, but ask those whose kith and kin was brutally murdered during early 1980s in Punjab. No mention has ever been made by any writer about those people perhaps because they belonged to the so-called majority community. Killings of Sikhs and Muslims in Gujarat were a blot on mankind. What about the killings of Hindus in Punjab during terrorism or in the Sabarmati Express?

Arpana Sharma, Pathankot

Monarch of acting

Apropos of M.L. Dhawan’s write-up on Dilip Kumar, “The monarch of acting” (Spectrum, Dec 5), I am fully in agreement with his observations. Dilip Kumar has no parallel as far as acting goes. Mela, Deedar, Azad, Jugnu, Arzoo, Tarana, Sangdil, Andaz, Amar, Madhumati, Devdas, Paigham, Footpath, Mussafir, Naya Daur, Sangharsh, besides many others, left an indelible impact upon viewers’ minds. The Tragedy King also had the potential to make others laugh.

Sudesh Kumar Sharma, Kapurthala

Title tattle

Commenting upon Surender Miglani’s write-up “Title tattle” (Spectrum, Oct 17), R.C. Jindal writes that Sohrab Modi made two movies with the same title, Jailor. These two movies were not on different themes. Based on the story written by Kamal Amrohi, Sohrab Modi produced and directed Jailor in 1938. The film revolved around an old and tyrannical jailor who locks up his young wife after she is caught eloping with her young lover. The one made by Sohrab Modi in 1958 was the remake of the first one. The cast was different with Sohrab Modi, Abhi Bhattacharya and Mala Sinha.

M.L. Dhawan, Chandigarh


Nadir Shah was a Persian invader. Yet, on King Muhammad Shah’s appeal laced with the couplet Kasey na maand ke oo ra ba tegh-e-naaz kushi/Magar ke khalq ra zinda kuni o baaz kushi (None remains to be killed by your avenging sword. Of course, resuscitate the dead and resume slaughter), he at once ordered his men to stop slaying people.

But the then Union Home Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, did nothing concrete to prevent killings of Sikhs and even the late Rajiv Gandhi ruthlessly remarked that the earth shook when a big tree fell.

There was no justification in killing the Muslims, who had nothing to do with the attack on Sabaramati Express. It was the height of barbarity and not a matter of pride. Yet the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, instead of feeling the qualms of his failure to quell the bestial violence, performed a ‘Gaurav Yatra’ and made unpleasant remarks against the members of the minority community.


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