Exams can be dispensed with

This has reference to Jaspal Bhatti’s humourous but satirical write-up “Question Hour” (Spectrum, Sept 18) in which the writer had a dig at the CBSE’s decision on providing 15 extra minutes to the examinees to read the question paper.

Efforts are being made to make the Class X examination, which exerts tremendous pressure on the young, student-friendly. Recently the Central Advisory Board of Education decided to make Class X examination optional and has left it to the states to implement the decision. Some of the states, however, have vociferously opposed the move. The CBSE has gone a step further. It has decided to let the students choose their own examination schedule from 2008.

The purpose of an examination is to assess a student but the all-round development of a student is not evaluated through examinations alone. The examinations affect a student adversely, physically and psychologically. Some even commit suicide or run away from home. Abolishing examinations appears to be the only panacea for sparing secondary schoolchildren emotional stress, strain and frustration.




On-screen rivalry of Shabana and Smita

ML Dhawan’s write-up “Memorable on-screen rivalry” (Spectrum, Oct 30) was good. But Mahesh Bhatt’s Arth (1983) was not the only film in which Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil had appeared together. They had been cast together in Nishaant (1975) and Mandi (1983) also. Both these films had been directed by Shyam Benegal.

Also, the credit for casting Dilip Kumar and Raaj Kumar together for the first time goes to S. S. Vasan of Gemini (in Paigham, a 1959 film). Subhash Ghai’s Saudagar was made 32 years later.

Interstingly, to S.S. Vasan also goes the credit for casting two other great stars-Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand-together in Insaniyat (1955). This was the only time the two acted together.

The writer has rightly stated that Raj Kapoor had initially approached Dilip Kumar for the role that was eventually played by Rajinder Kumar in Sangam. An interesting thing is that when Dilip declined the offer, Raj approached Dev Anand who, too, refused to do the role, citing “dates problem” as the reason. Sadly, we never saw Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand in any film together.


Paradise in poetry

This has reference to Khushwant Singh’s “This Above All” (Saturday Extra, Oct 29) in which he has mentioned a couplet of Mirza Ghalib. The second line of the couplet is written wrongly. It does not bear the words “ke liye.” The actual couplet that is a favourite with those who disbelieve in the existence of Paradise is: Hum ko ma’loom hai jannat ki haqueeqat lekin, Dil ke khush rakhne ko Ghalib ye khayal achha hai.

Another mistake I spotted was that it is “dil ke” and not “dil ko” as mentioned by the writer. The couplet’s transliteration in Roman was wrong at one place. It should have been ‘ki’ and not ‘kee’ as it would fall out of meter.

Though it seems from the above couplet that Ghalib ridicules the idea of the existence of Paradise, in one of his couplets, he seems to be fairly convinced of it. He says: In pareezadon se lenge khuld mein hum intiquam, Qudrate haque se yehee hoorein agar vaan ho gayeen (We shall avenge ourselves on these nymphets in Paradise, if, by God’s decree, they happen to be the houries there).

Another great poet Allama Iqbal trivialises the idea of being endowed with Paradise. He longs for a face-to-face audience with his Lord. Says he: Ye jannat mubarak rahe zahidon ko, ke main aap ka saamna chahta hoon (Let the puritan be blessed with Paradise, but I seek to see Thyself only).


Parents’ role

Apropos of “Cartoon fever” by Jyoti Singh (Spectrum, Oct 16). The writer is right in saying that TV channels and cartoon networks are eroding our culture from the minds of children. However, she missed the point regarding the parents’ role in developing the minds of the children.

If the parents have adequate knowledge about their culture and traditions, they can educate their children on these. Unfortunately, not many parents are well informed about our culture and traditions. To change the children for the better, therefore, the parents need to first change themselves.

SHAVETA KOHLI, Panjab University, Chandigarh

English words

Apropos of Khushwant Singh’s “A Contrived Tale” (Saturday Extra, October 8). The writer’s lament over mispronunciation of English words by Indians has no substance. The language has an inherent deficiency in its spellings.

Quite a few words, therefore, are often mispronounced not only by Indians, but by Britons also.

While English literature, no doubt, is great, the language is fraught with such failings. Something needs to be done to arrive at logical spellings and pronunciation of English words.



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