Heritage buildings cry for attention

IN “Reviving Ram Bagh,” Varinder Walia (Spectrum, Aug 12) has portrayed the rapid deterioration in the once-famous Ram Bagh or Company Bagh of Amritsar. It is still the largest lung space left in the maddening construction activity that is taking place all around. Be it Lawrence Road, Mall Road or Hukam Singh Road, the condition of most heritage and historic buildings and other structures in the garden leave much to be desired.

Looking back 50 years, one gets nostalgic about the evening crowds, especially on Saturdays and Sundays when most of the gentry of Amritsar would visit Ram Bagh to relax in the evening. People took a stroll in the garden and later enjoyed the delicacies from the rehriwallas for which Amritsar is well-known. They quenched their thirst by drinking cool water from the well known Thandi Khui.

Over the years, there has been a progressive downfall of not only Ram Bagh but also of Kasatri Bagh near Chhatiwind Gate and Kesari Bagh near the old Malka Butt Chowk which has almost disappeared. The greenery and open spaces on the Ring Road have been overtaken by the mushrooming shopping centres which are neither aesthetic nor have any civic amenities. It is high time Ram Bagh was restored to its original glory.

H.S. SANDHU, Panchkula



Fortunately, the media has decided to sensitise people about the utter neglect of our heritage at the hands of the government, irrespective of political affiliations. Unless we Punjabis realise the importance of our history and heritage and evolve effective policies, awareness campaigns and motivational sessions, we will not be able to slow down the destruction and irreparable loss of heritage sites.

Club culture has nothing to do with Punjabi heritage and culture. It is a colonial legacy, cultivated and propagated now by Brown sahibs, the rich and powerful. I strongly feel that all the clubs should be shifted out of Ram Bagh and buildings be converted to museums. We need to change our mindset, build public opinion and initiate a mass movement.


Who is ugly?

The articles “Lost glory: The tale of the Tiger” by Usha Rai and (Saturday Extra, Aug 18) “No Beauty in this Beast” by Khushwant Singh made me ponder over nature and its creatures.

The ugliest creature in this world, in my view, is the ‘human being’. Had this creature not been there, there would have been no boundaries, no arms and ammunition, no atom bombs, no wars, no pollution, no global warming, no nuclear pacts, no female foeticides. In short, this world would have been a heaven without human beings.

B.P.S. WARAICH, Chandigarh

Sex education

Vibha Sharma’s contentious article “Who’s afraid of sex education”? (Saturday Extra, Aug 11) was interesting. The so-called moralists don’t have any compunction in committing heinous crimes but are afraid of sex education. The common perception is that the introduction of sex education in schools will encourage a premature sexual urge among adolescents.

Several experiments, on the contrary, have shown that adolescents evolve healthy habits if they are imparted sex education in a judicious manner. That helps in removing taboos and superstitions. Since it is an essential part of character, personality and life development, sex education should be imparted in a candid manner to check delinquency and sexual offences. n


State PSCs: One-man shows

While analysing the deterioration of state public service commissions (Sunday Oped, July 22), Dr Raj Kumar Siwach has failed to trace the history of such deterioration. In fact, in this context, too, Haryana had the dubious distinction of being the first.

In 1994, the then Chief Minister of Haryana forced en masse resignation of the commission’s members whose only fault was to resist the dictatorial designs of the Chairman who forgot that he was simply a first among equals. Only one member challenged the government’s illegal action. However, contrary to the constitutional provisions, the judiciary did not stand by him.

Thereafter, the state public service commissions, one after the other, virtually became one-man shows, and the likes of Ravi Sidhu (as in Punjab) were able to play havoc with the careers of brilliant young men and women.

The writer has unnecessarily found fault with the members’ tenure which is vital for the independence of the commission. His remedy of the member’s removal by the Governor, even without any enquiry, is unheard of in the realm of public administration. In fact, there is nothing wrong with the constitutional provisions, as the same provisions govern the UPSC, which has been working quite satisfactorily all along.

The writer’s criticism of the Haryana government in excluding all the posts from the HPSC’s purview and setting up a parallel body to fill them is quite apt. But then, the Supreme Court is seized of the matter and the only worry is its procrastination, even while the law is well settled. Hopefully, the recruitments thus made will be duly quashed.

VISHWA MITRA, IAS (retd), Panipat



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |