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Dr Randhawa: Punjab’s Visvesvaraya

Nonika Singh, in her article "Many facets of Randhawa" (Saturday Extra, Jan 31), has vividly brought forth the qualities and achievements of the late Dr M.S. Randhawa. He left an indelible mark on everything he was associated with.

He was really ‘Visvesvaraya’ of Punjab. As the first Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh he preferred to live at his farmhouse near Kharar. He used to travel to Chandigarh daily unescorted in his personal car. Along with artists and writers, he patronised artisans too, by allotting one kanal plots to many in the Industrial Area. As Chairman of The Tribune Trust, he made significant improvements in the paper. Dr Randhawa was instrumental in transforming the Ludhiana Agricultural College into a university (PAU). He preferred to serve as the VC of PAU demitting the office of Chief Commissioner UT.

S.S. BENIWAL, Chandigarh


Dr Randhawa was a multi-faceted personality. His tenure as the Vice-Chancellor of PAU, Ludhiana, was the golden period of the university. In addition to the library, many new departments, colleges like the college of veterinary science and home science were set up during his tenure. Extension activities lab to field and kisan melas acquired a new dimension.

Dr Randhawa had excellent rapport with faculty and students. He was easily accessible to all the students as they could meet him in case of any problem. He knew many students by name, especially those who were active in cultural activities and folk songs. He took up the issue of employment opportunities for agri engineering graduates with the state government in 1969-70.

S.K. DUA, Mandi Dabwali

Darwin’s genius

M Rajivlochan’s, "The birth of an idea" (Spectrum, Feb 8) proves the fact that great men`A0leave this world but their ideas rule. Darwin was the first person to suggest scientific base for evolution and his concept of ‘the survival of the fittest’ was revolutionary.

Galapagos Island, the place where he worked, is referred to as a "living laboratory of evolution". But the idea`A0of adaptation and natural selection as the basis of evolution is still debatable. Orthodox people believe that this is a futile theme and God has created life.

A survey conducted in the US in 2005 showed that 51 per cent of people underscore God’s role in creation. However, a recent`A0statement by the Vatican states that Darwin’s idea is compatible with faith; it also mentions that Fourth century theologian St. Augustine, who had never heard about evolution, knew that big fish eat smaller fish and forms of life had been transformed "slowly over time". Despite its rejection by orthodox creationists, the theory of evolution is today the foundation on which rests the whole edifice of biological sciences.


Test of Superman

Barack Obama ("Hope from the Superman", Spectrum, Dec 7) has generated new hope in economically battered, and war-weary America. In the days to come Obama would be required to rise much above elevating rhetoric and pleasing cadence. Americans expect him to deliver on economy and bring back troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and yet maintain America’s dominance in the world.

However, Americans would do well to remember that the Superman is a mythical figure. Even Abraham Lincoln fell to an assassin’s bullets since he could not meet everyone’s expectations. Here is wishing all success and glory to the new President.`A0


Traditional kuhls

"Water in safe hands" (Spectrum, Feb 1) by Nirupma Dutt was informative. It is quite usual to see women washing clothes in narrow streams along the roads and the sound of trickling water suffuses the Kangra valley with its lilting notes.

The community-managed system of watercourses (kuhls) is fulfilling the irrigation needs to a great extent. The government is giving grants to panchayats that provide 100 per cent toilet facilities to villagers. The work done by the NGO Barbara Weiser Nath that runs Nishta Rural Health Education and Environment Centre at Rakkar village is praiseworthy. Such centres may also be set up to create awareness about cleanliness of this traditional water system. n




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