Symbol of service and sacrifice

Balkrishan Prashar’s article “Mark of devotion”
(Spectrum, July 17) on the Sacred Heart High School, Dalhousie, stirred old memories of my daughter’s schooldays. The school symbolises selfless service and sacrifice by the nuns. Its prime location, well-tended gardens, ivy-covered walls and spotless Gothic style windows exude a unique charm. The sisters are a dedicated lot, without any trace of commercialism.

I used to visit the school almost every year from Calcutta. Sister Therace’s towering presence, Sister Bernada’s motherly touch as she comforted little girls who whined in bed during wintry nights, is still remembered. Now, both of them have handed over charge to younger sisters.

Till early 1980s, the school also had a college wing which later ceased functioning. Primarily meant for girls who come from within the country and abroad, it excels in discipline, teaching and all-round grooming of girls who unmistakably carry the stamp of their Alma Mater. Parents find it a safe and sheltered nook where equal stress on studies and human values is laid. For this reason, many ex-students prefer to send their daughters there.


However, the peace and tranquility that earlier surrounded the school and which one experienced earlier, has now been greatly marred by concrete buildings in the immediate vicinity. All kinds of vehicles now ply on the once-restricted Mall Road, on which the girls and sisters freely walked in the evening. One finds much more noise and pollution than before.

The first thing Sister Therace asked me when I met her after a gap of nearly two decades: “What change do you notice since your last trip?” “The deterioration,” I said. Yet, I would wish to be re-born just to get my schooling at Sacred Heart, Dalhousie.

AJIT SINGH, Chandigarh

Reassessing India’s security needs

In his article “Security and foreign policy imperatives” (Perspective, Aug 7), Maj-Gen Rajendra Nath (retd) has examined the subtle points concerning Indian foreign policy vis-à-vis its security needs. What India has lost during 1947-48 and 1962 on account of intrusion by Pakistan and China respectively has not been made good. It is a hard reality that these territorial losses have become permanent losses.

The lesson learnt during these years is that there is need for better understanding of our security needs and greater coordination between the Ministries of External Affairs and Defence. Our military might should be constantly reviewed on a day-to-day basis based on actual threat perception from across our international borders with neighbouring countries, big or small, and not on mere assurances by the heads of these countries.

Yet another truth is the US’ realisation of India’s importance. As both are affected by terrorism, the US has been keen on conducting joint military exercises with India. The Indo-US strategic partnership is a significant outcome of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington.

India has established its credentials as a nuclear power which has further opened its doors to the latest US technology which would help India in harnessing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The US has restored what India had lost in the post-nuclear explosion years. By doing so, it has confirmed India’s commitment to peace.

Lt-Col V.K. NAYYAR (retd), Chandigarh


Children as future

In “Children are the future and the present,” by Aruti Nayar (Spectrum, July 31), Parul Sharma has expressed thought-provoking views. The state, judiciary, lawyers, mental health professionals and others concerned should take cognisance of socio-economic and psychological conditions while handling criminal cases.

It is the moral duty of a welfare state to take care of children, especially those belonging to the marginalised sections of society. They must be provided a protective environment in all respects, otherwise they are sure to develop a delinquent personality and behavior. It is right that, “sexual abuse, violence and derogatory remarks turn these children into animals and later criminals.”

The State must take care of all who may be forced to live a life that denies them dignity. The judiciary can play a major role in activating the process in this respect.


Height of sycophancy

This is in response to “Little B stands tall,” (Saturday Extra, July 23). It is surprising that the whole country is going gaga over the success of an actor who till now had nothing worthwhile to boast of in terms of acting skills or box office success. The only factor which kept him in the running was the name of his legendary father, Amitabh Bachchan. But for his father’s name and reputation, Abhishek Bachchan would have lost his identity long time back.

His success finds an analogy with the scion of the first family of Indian polity, Rahul Gandhi. Though inexperienced and inarticulate entrant in politics, he was seen as the future Prime Minister by the Congress party, for just being a scion of the Nehru family.


Ode to a Titan

This refers to “Ode to a Titan” by M.L. Dhawan (Spectrum, July 31). Very few people know that once Mohammed Rafi disclosed in a interview to a noted musician of yesteryear that a fakir used to come daily in the streets of Kotla Sultan village and he used to sing Khedan de din char ni maye, khedan de din char.

He was so impressed with the song that he used to follow his footsteps. This was the first step towards stardom. Rafi sung every type of song during his singing career and he lent his voice to every hero.

These days, though there are many singers, a fankaar like Rafi can never come again. One still remembers a song from Krodh sung by Mohammed Aziz and picturised on Amitabh Bachchan, Na fankaar tujhsa tere baad aaya, Mohd Rafi tu bahut yaad aaya.


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