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

Higher polling

The Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi’s illuminating article on the Election Commission—‘one of India’s finest brands’ ( May 29) made for interesting reading. After having conducted 350 elections, the Election Commission appears to have fine-tuned the exercise and achieved increasingly better results. It is creditable indeed to have curbed, to a great extent, the muscle power, use of black money and violence in a country as large, as diverse and as violent as ours. The EC has also taken praiseworthy steps to ensure transparency and impartiality. But it needs to do more to ensure even higher percentage of polling since a large number of voters continue to sit at home on polling days.

— Major Baldev Singh, Kalpi (Ambala)

Free to fly

Only those who are deprived of freedom can truly appreciate the value of being free. Freedom indeed is precious for all, birds, bees, animals or human beings. That’s why Born to Fly by Khushwant Singh ( May 28 ) would have touched a chord in readers. It was a refreshing and reflective piece of writing. Birds truly are the last free creatures on Earth. Every other creature has been captured and tamed. Homes can play an important role in conserving rare bird species, provided sufficient care is taken to provide them with congenial conditions and they are not flaunted and exhibited for entertaining visitors. But birds are rarely allowed to occupy homes. Millions of homes can in fact play host to the free birds, allowing them to fly in and out, protecting them and sustaining them.

—Tarsem S. Bumrah,Batala

Culture &  agriculture

While I had said that framers have become art historians, so vitiated is the art atmosphere in India, the inimitable computer of The Tribune changed ‘framers’ into ‘farmers’ ( June 5 ). In a larger historical perspective, however, the entire spectrum of miniature paintings in India is the legacy of the peasantry of India. In fact the entire folk art and folk music was developd by the tillers of our soil rather than he deans and dons of our universities. Bulle Shah, Warris Shah, Dadu, Dhanna Dayal were all cultivators. In Punjab, the land once crossed by five rivers, there is a close affinity between agriculture and culture because, when you cultivate the soil, it is agriculture but when you cultivate the mind, it is culture. Aristotle had said that the function of art is to make the invisible visible. Our modern artists are doing exactly the opposite. They are making the visible invisible and fooling the gullible public.

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

Not alone

Vandana Shukla’s article , Single and left alone (May 5) was moving. In many cases the elderly widows are not treated well by their ‘Kalyugi’ sons and daughters-in-law, who undoubtedly incur the wrath of God. But it is also the responsibility of relatives, neighbours and the society at large to lend a helping hand. The ‘single woman’ deserves our whole-hearted support. Laws need to be tweaked, wherever necessary, to look after their interest and the government ought to explore the possibility of reserving jobs also for them.

— S.K. Sharma, Panchkula

Slog for century

Appropos Harihar Swarup’s profile At 93, fit as a fiddle (May 29 ), it is worth noting that in 1792 , 218 years ago, one William Buchanan had written, “ It is evident from the structure of the body that exercise is not less necessary than food for the preservation of health”. Along with physical health, it is important to nurse mental and emotional health as well.

— Dr Avtar Narain Chopra, Kurukshetra



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