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

Inspired by Tagore

Appropos “ Tagore echoes in Punjab” by Nirupama Dutt ( May 8 ). Balwant Gargi, who was from Bathinda, initially wrote in English. As a young and amerging writer, Gargi is believed to have taken samples of his writing to Tagore, who was of course the greatest living writer and poet of that time. Tagore did appreciate his writing but he apparently told the young writer that he would have been happier if Gargi had brought his writings in his mother tongue to him. That gentle admonition is believed to have persuaded Gargi to start writing in Punjabi and the rest, as they say, is history.

— Rajesh Gupta, Bathinda

A rose by any name…

I was not surprised to find my name mis-spelt as Bhullar instead of Khullar in the letters column of The Sunday Tribune. After all, Oscar Wilde was often spelt as ‘wild’ and Virginia Wolfe as ‘wolf’. Indeed, Manto was once spelt as ‘Vimto’, which was a popular soft drink in pre-partition days.

The Home Member of the Viceroy’s Council, Mr Tottenham, was also not amused when his own typist apparently renamed him ‘Rottenham’, prompting the Member to write back and ask , “ Is tht the esteem I am held by my office ?” I, therefore, do not mind being called Bhullar. But ‘my’ readers possibly do.

— K.K. Khullar,  Vasant Kunj,New Delhi

Spare the rod

The article “ Spare the rod, improve the child” ( Saturday Extra, April 30) was thought provoking. Severe punishment does not make anyone perfect. But the growing incidence of corporal punishment underscores the ned for teachers’ training. The performance of teachers need to be monitored on a continuous basis and the National Council of Teachers’ Education ( NCTE) needs to be activated to this direction. Every school and college must have professional training programmes for the teachers so that students look forward to attending school, as they do in the western world. Students must remain happy in the school and just as it takes a happy worker to make a happy customer, it takes a good teacher to make a good student. Teachers who give corporal punishment must be sent to jail as a deterrent.

— Rameshinder Singh Sandhu Khasa, Amritsar

In defence of teachers

Appropos “ Spare the rod, improve the child” ( Saturday Extra, April 30). A complex problem rarely has a simple solution. It is unfair to blame teachers for corporal punishment without giving them a hearing. In India, school teachers work under severe stress. The syllabi are often unwieldy. Classrooms small and the number of students large. Teachers are expected to engage six or more classes every day and get paid peanuts. On top of that they often have to put up with the contemptuous and disrespectful behaviour of parents. But we expect them to be sweet and nice and smilingly put up with indiscipline, arrogance or rudeness.

— K. Gupta, Chandigarh

Simplicity & poetry

Shiv Kumar Batalvi was a prolific poet, not an inspired bard ( Being Batalvi, Spectrum, May 1). Yet quite a large number of his verses contain such qualities as are beyond the reach of ordinary poets. Instead of using extravagant verbal padding and overreaching eloquence, he couched his verses in a simple language employing “rural imagery and phrases”. He often would bring down the house at mushairahs. A poet has rightly said, “ Jo sab kee samajh mein aa na sakein, be-kaar hain sab voh sher-o-ghazal/ Janata ki zubaan mein kaihna hai/ Janata ko sunana hai saathi.” Keats said, “ If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it better not come at all.”

— Bhagwan Singh, 66,  Sant Nagar, Qadian



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