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

Collegium the best alternative

I read V. Eshwar Anand’s article, “Keep EC above
politics: Collegium best for selecting
” (Sunday Oped Page, March 8).

He has aptly argued that there is no confusion about the Chief Election Commissioner’s powers under Article 324 (5) of the Constitution.

This Article is aimed at enabling the CEC to protect an Election Commissioner from political or executive arbitrariness.

The CEC is truly primus interpares (first among equals).
He is like a monitor who minds the class but has no
punitive powers.

The collegium method of appointment will impart fairness to the process of selecting the CEC and other commissioners.

Maj BALDEV SINGH (retd), Ambala Cantonment


Indeed, the CEC’s timing of recommendation for the removal of Mr Navin Chawla was suspect. As Mr Gopalaswami will demit office on April 20, he should not have kicked off an unsavoury controversy.

The Election Commission enjoys a high degree of credibility in the country and nothing should be done to bring this great institution into disrepute.

I agree that the collegium system will be the best method for selecting right persons for the posts of CEC and Election Commissioners.


Ageing with grace

Khushwant Singh’s “Journey towards the end” (Sat Extra, Feb 28) and Nonika
Singh’s “Life in the last lap” (Spectrum, March 1) have rightly taken up the
concerns of the aged.

Khushwant’s expression about Diana Athill is opinionated and controverts the
moral principles that govern the lifestyle of women in India. In the last phase of
life, a person can rise above the materialistic concerns and contribute more to
the good of society.

During the last phase of life, the aged can take stock of their actions (karma).
Faith in the philosophy of karma can make them perform good actions even in
their twilight years.

Regular prayers to the Almighty, social work, observance of do’s and don’ts for health and leisure activities should form a part of lifestyle in the last lap of life.



Nonika Singh says that old may be gold but seeing the plight of the elderly, it is hard to say that old age is the golden age. The figures quoted in the article truly describe the pathetic condition of the senior citizens.

During a visit to California, I was surprised to see the respect and benefits given to the elderly there. In India, the Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens Act making the neglect of parents a cognisable offence is a welcome step.

HelpAge India is doing good work. At the same time, the government should provide free healthcare to the needy as in other countries.

T. D. BHARDWAJ, Hadiabad (Phagwara)


Though old age and retirement are inevitable, retirement doesn’t mean retirement
from life.

Instead of living in the memories of past, seniors should get involved in
constructive activities. One has to reach beyond to lead a peaceful, healthy
and well-contented life.

R.S. GURUNG, Kangra

Onus on teachers

Usha Rai’s article “Underachievers at school” (Perspective, March 8) calls for immediate reforms to protect our school children from cruel and inhuman teachers.

Corporal punishment and sexual abuse of children are unpardonable crimes which some teachers commit.

Corporal punishment generates aggressive tendencies in a child while sexual abuse drives him to deep humiliation and self-devaluation. All this may become the cause of child’s deviant behaviour.

An institutional mechanism is urgently needed to keep a watch on the dubious teachers. The feedback must be properly analysed to read the teachers’ mindset.

Teachers’ education and training must enable them to study and evaluate child’s physical and intellectual talents in a humane manner.



“Child is the father of the man”, said William Wordsworth. If the child is
developed with corporal punishment, the man’s psyche will be weak, fearful
and underdeveloped with no capacity to make decisions in the later life.

Aamir Khan’s movie Taare Zameen Par shows a teacher’s role in identifying
and developing the skills of a child to the level of achieving excellence in his
preferred field.

The present system does not create a conducive environment where teachers and parents can nurture the child properly.

In the West, the school curricula encourage children to learn with fun, instead of teachers wielding the stick.

The system is based on ‘problem solving’ instead of ‘rote’ learning. These
models in the Western system can be incorporated in the Indian system
before it degrades further.

Dr SANJIV GUPTA, Perth (Australia)

In memoriam

Amita Malik’s demise is a big loss to the media. Her death marked the end of an era of sophisticated journalism. Though she is no more, Amita Malik’s writings will guide the students of journalism for years to come. May her soul rest in peace.

RUBY ANAND, Kapurthala



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