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

Do not stifle artistic expression

The editorial, “Culture of intolerance” (August 13) quite rightly raises an issue, which has been discussed earlier also. India is a democratic country and we have a Constitution that guarantees to all its citizens freedom of speech and expression. Of course, this freedom is not absolute, as any student of law or political science knows.

Moreover, the Indian culture has always been tolerant. It has allowed all shades of opinion. It is this virtue of tolerance that has enriched this culture. As we become educated and cultured, we learn to give others the opportunity to express their views. Art is one of the ways to express one’s inner feelings. If we don’t allow people to express themselves within permissible limits of decency, we stop our own growth; no new viewpoints and modes of expression will emerge. Prakash Jha’s movie, “Aarakshan” has already been cleared by CBFC. What is the justification of having a censor board, if the contents cleared by it are later banned?

It must be appreciated that artistic expressions can be bold and at times offbeat in nature. But that is how we grow. If an artist has the right to express himself, we also have the right to subject his work to criticism. There should be critical appraisal of a piece of artistic work. However, stifling the expression of an artistic urge is against the progress of any culture. It is also against democratic values.

Suman Arora, Chandigarh

Freedom fighters

A freedom fighter should be treated with respect irrespective of the fact that he lives in Haryana or Punjab. I want to remind Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, whose government is bent on humiliating freedom fighters in Punjab, it is due to their supreme sacrifice that he and people like him are enjoying the power. How could a man of Badal’s stature, who had himself participated in freedom struggle, so easily forget the welfare of freedom fighters? In no way we can repay these brave soldiers of our freedom struggle.

Haryana is giving a monthly pension of Rs 15,000 to its freedom fighters, whereas it is just Rs 5,000 in Punjab. Mr Badal must issue orders to bring them on a par with Haryana.

Dr NARESH RAJ, Patiala

The Army Chief

The Chief of the Army Staff is an honest, experienced and a brave general. The anomaly in the date of birth may be due to the negligence of the UPSC or an inadvertent mistake not pointed out earlier.The authenticity of the matriculation certificate should not be ignored in any manner. In certain other cases, the matriculation certificate is considered as the most authentic document even by courts. So what, if a year more is added to the general’s service.

SHYAM SUNDER AIRI, P.E.S (Retd), Kapurthala

Anna’s agitation

In the article, “Anna Hazare’s agenda” (August 10), the writer has alleged that Anna’s agitation is politically motivated. But the writer has miserably failed to substantiate his charges, as till date Mr Anna and his team members have not shared the dais with any leader from the BJP or any other political party. If any party supports Anna’s movement from its own forum, how can one claim the movement is politically motivated? People from all walks of life have supported the movement, as it is against corruption and not against the Congress.


Higher education

This refers to the news item, “Faculty shortage in colleges, varsities a whopping 54%” (August 10), followed by the editorial, “Colleges without teachers” (August 11). The main problem that plagues our education system today is not just funds, but it is the overall scenario, which needs to be completely overhauled. Private players, both local and foreign, are increasingly playing major roles in our higher education system.  This will lead to the dismantling of the system of State funding of higher education. Besides, we need teachers capable of facing the challenges of global competition, and better monitoring of educational institutions. Our curricula are woefully outdated and need to be changed with an emphasis on skill development and research.

S K Khosla, Chandigarh

Fake encounter

Fake encounters have become a dangerous trend these days (editorial, “Faking it: Sham encounters are a shame”, August 10). The recent incident in J&K was shocking. I fully agree with the editorial that such incidents are a “frontal attack on the reputation of the country”.

It is important to identify such elements in the security forces and punish them to restore faith of the common man. Besides, the security forces must be cautious when they deal with innocent civilians. I agree with the editorial that the war against terror cannot be won unless the common man has faith and confidence in the security forces.


A Praiseworthy Step

The news item that Indians have formed a security force to protect gurdwaras from rioters exhibits their love for peace, and is a praiseworthy action (Indians guard London gurdwara from rioters, August 11).

In a telephonic conversation, my brother from Southall told me that the Indian community had unanimously adopted a resolution not to allow any kind of violence. They had resolved to face the situation with courage and determination. It is a commendable move by the Indians living in Southall to defend their homes, business centres and places of worship.

Dr Kamaljeet Kaur Sekhon, Assistant Professor, Khalsa College, Patiala



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