A thousand years of glory

This refers to “Chamba—a thousand glorious years” by Pratibha Chauhan (Spectrum, April 30).

Chamba town had electricity much earlier than Lahore, the then capital of undivided Punjab, before Partition. The Bhuri Singh powerhouse, on Saal rivulet on the outskirts of Chamba, was the first hydel powerhouse in the northern region.

A British national, Dr Hutchison Belley, founded a leprosy hospital, first of its kind in Asia, in Sarol near Chamba town in 1875. The origin of famed leather-embroidered Chamba chappals dates back to 1808. A Katoch princess, sister of Raja Bir Singh, ruler of Nurpur, protested against her marriage proposal to Raja Charat Singh of Chamba (1808-1844) feeling that people of Chamba wore crude shoes. Therefore, a cobbler from Panj Baria village near Nurpur was sent in her dowry to make beautiful embroidered leather footwear for her. His descendants are said to be still residing in Chamba.

Chamba folk songs reflect the moods that spring up with varying seasons, e.g. Kunjadi. The centuries-old folksong Kunju Chanchlo and other haunting love songs continue to echo in the picturesque Chamba valleys.


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


NCERT books should be preferred

Most private schools, instead of prescribing NCERT books, force students to buy books of private publishers. Students of CBSE-affiliated schools find it difficult to switch over to NCERT books for their school leaving examinations conducted by the CBSE.

NCERT books are designed by teachers and educationists specialising in their respective fields of studies. Detailed CBSE guidelines on teaching different courses of NCERT book studies are very helpful for teachers too.

Parents of students in CBSE-affiliated schools in the region should prevail upon the school managements to prescribe NCERT books from Class I because these students will have to take the competitive entrance tests for admission to professional colleges.

Moreover, uniformity of NCERT books is a must in all the CBSE schools for helping students, especially those shifting from one city to another following their parents’ transfer.


Last mogul

In “Naushad Ali—the greatest” (Spectrum, May 14), M. L. Dhawan was at his best in giving a pen portrait of the late music composer. Naushad’s contribution to the world of Indian film music was unique. He was the first to introduce sound mixing and separate recordings of voice and music tracks in playback singing. Ever the experimenter, he put the microphone in a ceramic tiled bathroom to produce the echo effect in Rattan. He was also the first to combine the flute and the clarinet, the sitar and the mandolin. He also introduced the accordion in Hindi film music and was among the first to concentrate on background score to accentuate moods and dialogues.


Joy and woe

It was exhilirating to read Khushwant Singh’s write-ups titled “Make peace with pain” and “Modern short verse” (Saturday Extra, April 15). I was reminded of what William Blake wrote:

“Joy and woe are woven fine,

A clothing for the soul divine;

Under every grief and pine,

Run a joy with silken twine.

It is right it should be so,

Man was made for joy and woe;

And when this we rightly know,

Thro’ the world we safely go.”

What ananda it will be when we learn to go through the sea of life making peace with pain.

Jaswant Singh Sidhu, Ludhiana


Khushwant Singh in his column “This above all” (Saturday Extra, April 8) describes the convocations in colleges and universities as boring affairs and has pledged that he will never attend such a function again. He has not liked the marching in procession of scholars in enormous pandals, which are packed with guests and students.

Convocations are indeed solemn occasions where doctorates, diplomas and certificates of merit are bestowed on achievers. The audience is invited to share the joy of these meritorious students.

After Partition the dislocated Panjab University started its various teaching departments at Hoshiarpur and in Government College, Ludhiana. After doing postgraduation from the Ludhiana College in 1957, I attended the first PU convocation held in Chandigarh. That vivid memory of almost half a century ago still lingers.

L.K. MANUJA, Nahan

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. In an ironic way he hit the nail on the head as the plight of state schools is giving way to the so-called public schools being opened in every nook and corner in the name of giving quality education. Actually their main concern is to make money and let the child get through the examinations by hook or crook.

This is happening because state schools, particularly in the rural areas, lack basic infrastructure. Teachers there don’t teach but indulge in discussing petty politics, eating, drinking and making merry. A work culture doesn’t exist there. 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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