There is no excuse for illiteracy | india | Hindustan Times
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There is no excuse for illiteracy

The more I hear of the DAV set-up, the more I admire the way it functions. My object in lavishing praise on the DAV set up is to shame other communities for lagging behind. Khushwant Singh writes.

india Updated: Oct 22, 2011 14:24 IST
Khushwant Singh

The more I hear of the DAV set-up, the more I admire the way it functions. It is probably among the very few educational organisations in the world which is free of ego clashes of the people who run it. Last October, they set up DAV University in Jalandhar. In the 125th year of its existence it has 715 institutions working under the guidance of GP Chopra, president of its managing committee.

My object in lavishing praise on the DAV set up is to shame other communities for lagging behind. No doubt Christians have set up more schools and colleges than any other community, but most of them are due to efforts of foreign missionaries.

Indian Christians have done little in this direction. My grouse is mainly directed towards my own community, the Sikhs. Sikhs are the richest Indian community. They are also more organised with the SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee) controlling all gurdwaras and their income from offerings.

There is no excuse for them for not wiping illiteracy. Just as we do not see any Sikh beggars, we should not see any Sikh who cannot read or write.

The DAV set-up has much to boast about. Kapil Dev is a product of DAV who had won the World Cup at Lords in 1983. So is MS Dhoni, who put India on top again.

Two Hours of Laughter

Amrinder Bajaj was a topper in every exam she took on her way to become the full-fledged obstetrician and gynaecologist. She joined the AIIMS for practical training and was with Lady Harding Hospital before she set up her own clinic in Pitampura.

She happens to be a niece of my doctor, Dr Kalra, who lives in my neighbouring block. She visits him occasionally. He introduced her to me. Besides a flourishing practice, she started writing for newspapers and magazines on health problems. We started corresponding with each other. At the end of every letter she wrote a few non-vegetarian jokes. I used quite a few in my weekly columns.

She has recently published Doctor Jokes:Compiled by a Doctor for the Doctored (DK Books For All). It starts with a bang defining her profession: ‘A doctor is a person who kills your ills with his pills and you with his bills.’ Another is about her specialisation: ‘A gynaecologist is one who looks for problems, at places where others look for pleasure.’ And so on for fun and laughter for a couple of hours.

The Golden Cup

Beaming, booming, bursting
Dancing wild with joy, with tales up
Hurrah: We have won the World Cup
Night turns into day and the day into eternity
For once casteless, creedless with just Indian identity
A billion plus people become a fraternity.
Ah this rarest of the rare unity,
A madness in which every beggar is a king.
And from coast to coast
Indian is the world’s toast
Is it not time now that everything else should go to hell
And we eat cricket, drink cricket and live under its spell
Time that with wealth and glory
These heroes are fed so wantonly
That they become two quintals fat and ten feet tall
And into a lengthy slumber fall!

(Courtesy: Kuldip Salil, Delhi)


The only time you make sense is when you’re not talking.

I’ve enjoyed talking to you; my mind needed some rest.

Those who exercise regularly, die healthier.

Fact: The art of saying nothing when there is nothing to say.

Critic: A legless man who teaches running.

(Contributed by Rajnish, Shimla).

(The views expressed by the author are personal.)

Khushwant Singh’s column will not be appearing next week