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Freedom of speech

Wendy Doniger’s book ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’ published by Penguin has been withdrawn as a section of people feels that it is an insult to Hinduism. Who decides whether it is within the framework of freedom of speech/writing? Certainly, legal recourse is available and in public interest, the matter must be fought in court.

Also, cheapness and vulgarity in scenes/dialogues of Bollywood films must be stopped by the Censor Board.

Mahesh Kumar, via email

Workload on professors

The 12th Five Year Plan has very ambitious targets for the education sector. It is true that India has become a big global education market and has a huge potential. But, there is another side of our system.

As per the UGC norms, an assistant professor should be given a total of 16 hours’ work per week and a senior professor four to six hours. But abroad, the scenario is exactly the opposite. There, an assistant professor is given the minimum workload so as to give him time to do research work in the initial years of his career so that his talent, new ideas, research and exploration capabilities don’t go waste. The UGC should do something in this regard.

Neeraj Prajapati, via email

Liberalism abounds

In the write-up A Haryanvi song of revolt (February 25), R S Dayal is trying to defend the indefensible. The gotra rage and interference of the powerful khaps do not support the perception of the writer.

There is an attempt to portray Haryanvis as one of a kind in the matter of having a liberal culture. Songs of revolt against tradition are available aplenty in every region and culture. Punjabis are ahead of all in this matter, having many songs, cliches and idioms. The Patiala peg is famous. And treating God as a friend is not confined to the Haryanvis. This practice is prevalent in every culture. That is why God is addressed as ‘thou’. Similarly, Arya Samaj became popular in northern India and not in Haryana alone as the writer has made out to believe. There are many anecdotes of mocking at God in all regions. Bollywood films depict this phenomenon in all regional films.

Er L R Sharma, Sundernagar

End VIP culture

This refers to the editorial Beacon of inequality (March 4). There is an urgent need to rid our country of the VIP culture. It is pitiable that the recent ruling of the apex court to allow red beacons only for a few constitutional posts has not been implemented in letter and spirit. It tantamounts to contempt of court.

The Central government should have gone a step further by putting a blanket ban on the use of red or blue beacons on all vehicles except those that render emergency and life saving services to the people, such as ambulances.

Let us hope that the new Central government which assumes office after the forthcoming General Election will amend the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 and make the people feel that they are no longer living in a colonial era.

VM Tandon, Panchkula

Grow old gracefully

The middle From spring to autumn of life by Yuvika Grewal (February 19) provides an excellent overview of an all-time important philosophical question that has invariably interested literary scholars and philosophers. It concerns an inescapable aspect of human condition: the onslaught of time and its detrimental effect on beauty and youth that are ultimately devoured by wrinkles (ugliness) and old age (physical and mental debility), and lead to desolation, dry dreariness and death. Despite troubles and tribulations, human life on this earth is ever a stratum for self-contentment and happiness. Poets like Shakespeare and Keats have endeavoured to defeat time, the invidious tyrant, through procreation, poetry, nature, art and immortality. An ordinary being can either totally submit to the natural processes that decay or confront them through the realisation that inner beauty is more important than the outer one. Browning-like, it lies in growing old gracefully, in noble thoughts and deeds, in warm human relationships and in living a life of profound spiritual fulfilment.

D S Kang, Hoshiarpur

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com



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