L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Smoking: need for spreading awareness

I read the editorial, “No smoking, please” (March 22) and the news-item, “…Staff smoke, employers pay” (March 21). So long as the cultivation and processing of tobacco continues at the present pace, the talk of ban on smoking is a sham. The government does not want to forgo the revenue earned from tobacco trade and at the same time is vociferously firm on banning smoking in public places. The fine at the rate of Rs 5,000 per smoker on the employers is neither convincing nor feasible. The rot is too deep and cannot be stemmed by imposing fine on the violators of the ban.

The government will have to push for practical measures. If people, particularly youngsters, could ever see how the active and passive smokers are vulnerable to deadly disease like tragic cancer, I am sure, no one would opt for smoking. If we are really serious about changing the situation, a vast campaign aimed at educating people must be undertaken. Emphasis should be laid on educating the school and college students. Educating the young today will curb smoking tomorrow.

Video footage shown frequently in schools, colleges and over many channels will help young minds to imagine the serious health hazard of smoking. There is need for a dedicated education cell which can be engaged exclusively in spreading awareness about the deleterious effect of smoking on society. The present set up is ostentatious and does not convey the message in the way which is intelligible to the public. Like Sikh religion, other religions too should strictly prohibit smoking.



The real issue

I read Brig H. S. Sandhu’s letter (March 18) and the controversy about the name of the Rajput princess who married Emperor Akbar. The real issue does not appear to be the name of the princess but whether Akbar insulted the Rajputs by marrying their daughter.

Akbar was a farsighted, secular and enlightened Emperor, and far from insulting the Rajputs by this marriage, he had bestowed honour on them. He did not put any pressure on Bahar Mal to marry his daughter to him. After her marriage, Bahar Mal’s daughter became the premier queen. Though in the official records, she was Akbar’s third wife, Sultana Ragiya Begam and Sultana Salma Begam being Akbar’s wives before her marriage, in practice, she was the empress whose son Salim ascended the throne after Akbar’s death.

The great respect which Emperor Jahangir gave her is evident from his own description of a meeting…“Her Majesty, the revered Maryam-az- Zamani (The name mentioned in Mughal records of Rajput princess) came from Agra, and I acquired eternal good fortune from the blessing of writing on her”. Her Rajput name is not found in Mughal records.

A picture of Jahangir meeting Maryam-az- Zamani after his accession to the throne in 1606 A.D. clearly proves that the Rajput princess had not discarded her Rajput style. She is shown wearing a crown on head and having a regal look. Therefore, there is no point in condemning Akbar in the garb of name controversy.

V.P. MEHTA, Chandigarh

Bhajan’s ways

The editorial, “Bishnoi men out” (March 15) now seems to be the last word. Mr Bhajan Lal and his doings may fade away into a classic culmination unless he becomes a convenient hatchetman for another upcoming political party.

Many who have followed Mr Bhajan Lal’s political chart will agree with me. Consider his role as the Chief Minister of Haryana during the Janata Party regime and later during the anti-Sikh riots. According to official reports, in Haryana alone, 125 were done to death, 19 gurudwaras, 115 houses, 114 shops and 42 factories were burnt. And remember Haryana has a dominant Punjabi culture despite its Haryanvi dialect which oozes a flavour of nativity and openness similar to Punjabis.

His role in denigrating all Sikhs, including MPs, senior army officers, with valid passes and identity cards travelling in government, private and public transport to witness Asian Games was dictatorial.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana

Quality education

I read the editorial, “Denial mode” (March 18). It is pointless to state pros and cons of the concept of converting Panjab University into a central one. At present, while the termite of copying, abetted by the invigilation staff itself, is eating into the vitals of our educational institutions on one side, the degeneration of excellence of the dons coupled with lack of interest in the performance of their duty is corroding it from the other side.

The dons and the alumni rationalise their apathy towards their roles on the grounds that the polity of the country itself is brewing and disseminating inefficiency by its policy of reservation. They are simply following them.

Anyway, the powers that be should scout around for proficient and dedicated faculty members and enforce complete discipline in the class and examination hall. For the status of a university, let nincompoops contest. That which imparts quality education is the best.



Road accidents

Road accidents are mainly caused by people’s carelessness. Recently, I came across statistics regarding road accidents in the past one year. The figures show that the number of accidents caused by reckless driving are increasing with each passing day.

According to reports, road accidents are also caused by youth below 18 years. If they are found driving, they should be penalised heavily. To reduce road accidents, the authorities should hold mass awareness campaigns to educate youngsters about the need to abide by traffic rules. Until and unless such campaigns are launched in schools and colleges, it is not possible to bring down the number of deaths in road accidents.




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