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Punjab govt must leave culture alone

Punjab Education Minister Upinderjit Kaur feels that Punjabi culture and language are endangered. To reverse the trend, the state government plans to make the teaching of Punjabi compulsory up to matric (April 24). As a minister prescribing education policy at the school level, Dr Kaur’s primary concern should be the development of the child for which language is just a medium. To use the child as a medium for the development of language would amount to putting the cart before the horse.

Is the teaching of grammar of three languages to the children of 9-12 years age group justified? Having to learn noun and verb, etc, in English, “naam” and “kriya” in Hindi and “naun” and kriya” in Punjabi by a student who already wonders why a “bha” in one language becomes “maa” in the other, amounts to unnecessary burdening of the child’s mental capacity. Teaching only one grammar for the three languages will serve the purpose equally well.

Teaching Punjabi up to the matric level will mean the child devoting less time and energy to science and humanities and put children from Punjab at a disadvantage in country-level tests.

Parents, ministers and MLAs included, send their children to English-medium schools because their primary interest is the child, not the language.

Culture and language do not depend on state patronage for their survival and if it were not so Hinduism and Hindi would have perished centuries ago and Gurmukhi would not have seen the light of the day. The government should learn from history and respect the worldwide practice of leaving culture alone.

Dr L.R. SHARMA, Jalandhar

With Menon’s help

I read A.J. Philip’s write-up, “Menon deserved better” (April 24). When I was a B.Sc student at PAU, Ludhiana, in 1958, my classmate asked me if I was interested in joining the Army as an officer. Asked how would he be able to manage that, he told me that a group of politicians (perhaps leftists) were interested in a change of government. It was not easy for them as Nehru was very popular with the people. But they wanted to do it.

Their strategy was to have officers of similar ideology in the Army. So they were inducting officers with the then Defence Minister V.K. Krishna Menon’s help. As my friend had access to these people, he could manage my selection. I had absolutely no interest in the Army which was otherwise a very glamorous career during those days, so I declined. My friend might not have direct access to Menon, but I don’t think he was indulging in gossip.


Of turban and patka

The thoughtless action of a school in Mohali forcing the wearing of a patka and not a turban for Sikh students up to certain classes needs to be condemned. The wearing of a turban is not a subject open to debate or referendum by a school principal. Neither is it a matter to be decided in the parents-teachers’ meeting.

In fact, schools should encourage Sikh students to come in turbans. I would request the Punjab government and the Chandigarh UT Administrator to have an immediate check done in all schools, private or otherwise, whether wrong rules are being enforced where the turban can only be worn from certain classes upwards. They should also check whether the suffixes ‘Singh’ and ‘Kaur’ are being deliberately left out in school records.

While complimenting the Mohali SGPC in setting matters right, I request the Amritsar SGPC to appoint a monitoring body. It could identify, collate and rectify through the due process of law all intentional or unintentional aberrations in the electronic and print media where the psyche, identity and religious feelings of the Sikh community are called to question and often ridiculed in TV ads, cartoons and subtle jibes.

Maj-Gen HIMMAT SINGH GILL (retd), Chandigarh


China’s expansion

It is a matter of grave concern that China is illegally occupying an area of 38,000 sq. km. in Kashmir, including 5,180 sq. km of Indian territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) ceded to China by Pakistan. And now China has claimed an area of 90,000 sq. km. of Arunachal Pradesh. It is awful that India has seldom claimed the land of Kashmir illegally occupied by China.

China has already forcibly taken Hong Kong as well as Tibet. And now it is claiming Taiwan and Arunachal Pradesh, but has been temporarily kept at bay due to the US warning. However, it seems to have little impact as China still sticks to its stand on both.

Furthermore, China has also an eye on Nepal, where the Maoists have won in the recent elections. However, India has offered unconditional support to the Maoist government in Nepal. If India does not take it seriously, an amalgamation of Sikkim, Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh and Nepal with China cannot be ruled out. Obviously, China is encircling India in collaboration with Pakistan and Myanmar secretly, endangering India’s security.

R. S.VARMA, Karnal

Only for the needy

I support the exclusion of the creamy layer from the quota system. Children of politicians like Mr Ram Vilas Paswan and Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav have no right to enjoy quota. The whole purpose is to ensure that the quota helps the really deserving among the OBCs.

Conclusively, reservation on the basis of economic backwardness should be preferred irrespective of one’s caste, creed or religion. This formula will help improve society and the needy.

S.K. MITTAL, Panchkula

An eye-opener

The editorial “Spare the rod: Punish teachers who resort to violence” (April 1) is an eye-opener. But I would like to suggest — don’t spare the rod of law and justice for the teacher who violates the pure and sacred relation of the teachers and the students by sexually and mentally harassing the students.

Sexual and mental harassment is no less than physical torture as mentioned in the editorial.




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