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School books too costly

Most of the private schools affiliated to the CBSE don’t prescribe NCERT textbooks to their students. The CBSE has given them a free hand to prescribe books by private publishers as long as certain norms are adhered to. Private schools are taking advantage of this leverage. Books for the pre-primary class cost Rs 4000, putting a burden on the parents. Parents are forced to buy these books only from the school counters. Their printed MRPs seem genuine, but they are sold at much higher prices in the schools. Some schools are allegedly earning up to 80 per cent profit on some books. It is a commission-based business.

NCERT textbooks are genuinely priced, rich in content and context and adhere to the core values of secularism, democracy and responsive citizenry. Intervention by school boards, education councils and various stakeholders is required to check this malpractice by private schools.

Capt Teena Dhir (Retd), Banga

Chemically ripened

Chemicals used for ripening fruits such as mangoes and bananas are very harmful to health. Though this practice is banned, the health authorities are not bothered and some of them allegedly demand a share from fruit sellers to look the other way. People should compel the authorities to obey the laws and punish the guilty.

Rakesh Narula, Bathinda

OROP awaited

The defence service community’s wait for the implementation of one rank one pension (OROP) is not over. The OROP scheme is compensation to the defence personnel because they are retired from service in the age group of 35-55 years owing to the constraints of the government to retain only youngsters capable of facing the enemy and working in inhospitable terrains.

With many family responsibilities on them at that age, they are forced to seek a second career. So, asking for and granting of a similar scheme for other Central or state government services is not justified or fair.


Respect donated bodies

All over the world, every year, hundreds of noble souls donate their bodies to medical institutions for research purposes. In India, unclaimed bodies are used by anatomy departments. One or two years later, when the research or study purpose from the body is served, what do the medical colleges do with the left-over body parts or skeletons? Has the medical council prescribed any protocol regarding respectful disposal of the parts? Such bodies don’t deserve to be just thrown away as hospital waste or burnt with medical waste. The MCI and WHO should prescribe a proper framework so that more people are encouraged to donate their bodies.

PREM GARG, Chandigarh

Ajnala: Barbaric truth

The skeletons found in the well belonged to the soldiers of the elite battalion -- Lord Maira’s Own Grenadiers. The then Commissioner of Lahore division had graphically described the incident at Mian Mir cantonment in June, 1857.

According to him, a native battalion at Peshawar had revolted and some elements of the battalion under reference had links with the sepoys who had revolted at Peshawar. Therefore, the British officers of this battalion at Mian Mir thought that the soldiers of this battalion might rise in rebellion and, therefore, the regiment was to be disbanded. One morning when the regiment was at parade, it was surrounded by the British Cavalry and field guns were made ready to fire, if required.

The seniormost British Officer addressed the soldiers as: “Lord Maira’s Own Grenadiers, when you had done good work in various battles fought by you in India and Afghanistan, you were given due recognition and many of you were given medals and insignias of battle honours won by you have become the part of your regiment’s flag. But now, we have found that you are going to revolt and, as such, your regimental flag will be rolled forever and all of you would be dismissed from service.”

The sepoys did not have rounds with them and, therefore, could not use their rifles when they were being disarmed. All these sepoys belonged to Awadh.

Under these circumstances, the killing of the unarmed soldiers who had not killed even a single Englishman and on mere suspicion was most outrageous and barbaric.

V.P. Mehta, Chandigarh

Preserve remains

This is with reference to a news item “Remains to Ajnala martyrs deteriorating fast: Historians” (April, 15). The earth, since 1857, preserved in its lap the mortal remains of the soldiers who were the part of the 1857 Revolution. There is no reason to disbelieve the sacrificial step taken by the soldiers. Credit goes to historian Surinder Kochhar and members of the Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj Committee for the excavation and efforts to preserve the skulls to the best of their ability and means at their disposal.

The apathy and neglect of the state government to save the mortal remains of the soldiers from disintegration does no show it in good light. Measures taken to preserve the remains are abysmally low and smack of sad neglect. There is an immediate need to preserve the skeletons in a scientific manner so that people keep the memories of the 1857 martyrs fresh in their minds in the years to come.

There is no dearth of funds for doling out freebies to promote populism, but the government seems reluctant to construct a memorial for the martyrs.

Dr Soshil Rattan, Amritsar

Selective coverage

Media broadcasts news that it wants to show us and not what that is really happening. For instance, Arvind Kejriwal’s road show in Punjab was ignored by the local and national electronic media. Why this discrimination? The local media covers SAD’s campaign and the national media that of Rahul and Modi.

The same day the media highlighted Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi’s roadshow in Amethi. People came out of their houses to join Kejriwal’s three-day road show in Punjab because of the social media.

We expect the media to cover the whole story of India.

Gurveer Singh, Malakpur (Ludhiana)



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