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No concern for university autonomy

The editorial, “Sphinx-like Chancellor: University autonomy goes for a toss” (June 23) aptly pointed out that “the manner in which the Parkash Singh Badal government has moved against the Vice-Chancellor (of Guru Nanak Dev University) suggests that it does not bother about university autonomy.”

Certainly, the Badal government not only lacks the right attitude towards Punjab’s universities but also a conviction that a university and its autonomy are inseparable. That a university (headed particularly by a scrupulous scientist) is not just a tool in the hands of less imaginative MLAs or less farsighted politicians antagonistic to, and contemptuous of, academic excellence, but one of the chief temples of the human spirit in which all should worship. Unnecessary political interference with mundane reasoning will threaten the administrative coherence and integrity of any good university.

In fact, a Vice-Chancellor should be a missionary in a real and active sense than his other colleagues. He has obligations not merely to the students who join university to read for a degree but towards the teeming population outside the university. The fulfillment of these obligations means achieving excellence in research, better organisation, objective functioning and building a staff of honest administrators.

Prof. Jai Rup Singh (compared with a couple of his cunning predecessors who indulged in enormous favoritism, political sycophancy and their family gains) is courageously and objectively committed to fulfill these obligations.

For the promotion of the university and the dignity of the chair, every sagacious and dignified Vice-Chancellor would (despite the faulty University Calendar Acts) respond to the government in the way as Prof. Jai Rup did. He deserves both appreciation and public attention.

B.L. CHAKOO, Senior Professor of English, GND University, Amritsar


Protocol problem?

Sam Manekshaw was one of India’s bravest sons. It is a pity that his countrymen have all but forgotten his contributions. If any soldier deserved the nation’s highest honour — the Bharat Ratna — it was Sam.

Surprisingly, none of the Service Chiefs attended his funeral at Wellingdon, Tamil Nadu, let alone the Prime Minister or the Defence Minster. Sixty years ago, when Brigadier Mohd Usman was killed in Jammu and Kashmir, he was given a state funeral. It was attended by Governor-General Lord Mountbatten and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Apparently, there were no protocol problems then.

Maj-Gen V.K. SINGH (retd), Gurgaon


The country has lost a great son, patriot and soldier in the death of Field Marshal Manekshaw. We are proud of the fact that he was a born Punjabi who loved Amritsar, the place of his birth.

He was the Chief of Army Staff at a critical juncture. Bangadesh was under Pakistan’s control and the people there were fighting for the liberation of their motherland from Pakistan’s clutches.

General Manekshaw helped the  Bangadeshis in their freedom struggle and thus changed not only history but the geography of the region. We will never forget Sam as he is affectionately called by his grateful countrymen.

AMAR JIT SINGH GORAYA, Griffith NSW (Australia)



Need to educate farmers

Reports say that shortage of labour for paddy transplantation has posed a big problem for farmers and that the Punjab Farmers’ Commission has imported paddy transplantors to promote mechanised transplantation. Introduction of a machine without local testing may fail as has happened last year.

Research on farm machinery is the PAU’s sole responsibility and luckily the PAU has the best research facilities and experts. The varsity engineers have been demonstrating paddy transplantors for the last two decades, but have failed to popularise this technology.

The Punjab government should help develop a suitable machine that will suit the state’s conditions and help farmers buy it with financial assistance. In addition, it should conduct research on direct sowing of paddy. I have seen this in Vietnam, the major rice exporting country. The PAU should popularise Basmati rice to prolong the transplanting period through the Krishi Vigyan Kendra and Farmers’ Advisory Service in each district to educate the farmers.

Dr RANJIT SINGH, Dean, PAU (retd), Ludhiana 



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