Special focus on nutrition and health

THIS refers to Rich steal the poor man’s food by Pushpesh Pant (Spectrum, April 9). Hippocrates, father of medicine, said centuries ago, “Your food shall be your medicine”, a perennial truth.

Indian food has high fat, sodium and sugar content, more than required for our body. Earlier people toiled and simple unrefined food was easily digestible, providing nutrition. A sedentary lifestyle and refined complex carbohydrates are unhealthy.

With an increased awareness of nutrition and health, people have rediscovered that natural food prevents disease. Popcorn and puffed rice is served at cocktails. Roasted namkeens, gur-coated chana, bran, diet drinks, sugar-free mithai, etc are sold in upmarkets. People are making a conscious effort to change their lifestyle, meditation/yoga being ‘in.’

Essentially ayurvedic, Indian food philosophy implies accurate knowledge of ingredients and a commitment to cooking. Combined with a spirit of service, food becomes prasad.

Dear readers

Letters to the Editor, neatly hand-written or typed, upto 150 words, should be sent to the Letters Editor, The Tribune, Sector 29 C, Chandigarh. Letters can also be emailed at the following address: letters@tribunemail.com

— Editor-in-Chief


The Bhagavad Gita says, “Men who are pure... like food which is pure, which gives health, mental power, strength and long life, which has taste, is soothing and nourishing and which gladdens man’s heart.”

Roshni Johar, Shimla

Spick and span but fleecing must stop

Ruchika M. Khanna’s article Safe Delivery (Saturday Extra, March 25), was educative and useful to professionals as well as the common man. In connection with a training programme recently, I visited the primary health centre at Barwala.

The programme had been organised by the PGI, Chandigarh, and the Civil Surgeon, Panchkula. The Prasuti Greha, Barwala, was meticulously clean and looked more like a corporate hospital delivery room. The Medical Officer and staff were appreciative of the scheme. Workers of ASHA have contributed to the success of the scheme.

However, a Nepali labourer who delivered her child in this Prasuti Greha a few months back was upset as she had to spend Rs 3,000 for medicines and payment to the trained Dai. This might be an exception but in case it is the rule, the administrators should ensure that poor villagers are not fleeced.

T.D. Sharma, Secretary, Himachal Foundation, Dharamsala

Sound in cinema

This refers to Surendra Miglani’s Sound in Cinema (Spectrum, March 26). The writer has correctly stated that sound in Hindi cinema came with Alam Ara made by Ardeshir Irani in 1931. But I would like to add that the first ‘talkies’ that were screened in the USA were Don Juan that had music but no speech in 1926 and The Jaaz Singer with music and speech in 1927; in England it was Hitchcock’s Blackmail in 1929.

During the early years, films were shown in pitched tents. There used to be a screen in one of the tents and a projector in the other. Sitting below the screen would be three or four musicians. A story of dacoits, robbers, violence, etc would be accompanied by the beat of tabla and a violin would play during a romantic scene. This is how sound was incorporated into silent films.

R.C. Boral was a performing musician in the tents of silent movies in India. With the coming of sound he became the first musician to give background music in Hindi films like Chandidas released in 1934. He was the first composer to bring playback, as against direct-to-film, singing in Hindi films.

M.L. Dhawan, Chandigarh

Kaifi Azmi’s verse

The letter by Bhagwan Singh Qadian, “Kaifi’s poems intelligible and impressive” (The Sunday Tribune, April 16) deserves to be heartily appreciated. The last couplet: Basti mein apni Hindu-o-Muslim jo bas gaye, Insaan kee shakl dekhney ko ham taras gaye displays oceanic depth.

This means that though in the locality so many Hindus and Muslims live, we yearn to see a human being. Religious fundamentalism caused loss of life and property in the 1947 communal riots. Let us start afresh by thinking in terms of universalism instead of communal considerations.

Piara Singh Manav, Batala

Felicity with words

In the review of Kashmiri Lal Zakir’s book of short Barf, Dhoop aur Chinar (Spectrum, March 19), Amar Nath Wadhera has rightly observed that each of the short stories included therein reflects “the author’s own first-hand experiences, recollections and reactions” to “the variegated images” of his home state, Jammu and Kashmir. Zakir occupies a place of honour among the present-day front rank fiction writers in Urdu. He began his literary odyssey 63 years back in 1943 with his first short story, Alag Alag Rastey. A prolific writer, he has churned out more than 300 short stories and 111 novels, besides two poetic works, dramas and travelogues.

In Barf, Dhoop aur Chinar, he revisits his childhood terrain. The stories included in this collection all are poignant and intense. Fiction, in his hands, is just not an entertainment; it rather strikes a note of solemnity.

Deepak Tandon, Panchkula

Dropout problem

This refers to Fail-safe schools (Spectrum, March 26). Jaspal Bhatti, in his inimitable humour, has suggested ways and means to stem the rot caused by the dropout problem in the state schools.

This is happening because state schools, particularly in the rural areas, lack basic infrastructre. Teachers there don’t teach but indulge in discussing petty politics, eating, drinking and making merry. So in spite of various student welfare schemes launched in schools, the dropout trend is on the increase because the child, who occupies the central place in the educational process, is being neglected for no fault of his.n


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