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Tuesday, September 29, 1998
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USA & Indo-Russian ties

  IT is in the news that both the USA and Russia are not willing to accept India as a nuclear weapons state. While India must try to improve its relations with the USA, it should not look to Washington for recognition as a nuclear weapons state. In fact, Prime Minister Vajpayee has already announced that India is a nuclear weapons state, and that is what matters.

Moreover, one may mention here that the USA is trying extremely hard to disrupt the relationship between Russia and India by offering aid to the former. India has always been loyal to its friends. It is, therefore, hoped that Russia will not turn opportunistic and fall into the US trap. If, unfortunately, Russia does get seduced and blackmailed by the USA, it is likely that it will lose a good friend. If this happens, Russia has more to lose than India in the long run.

Iselin (NJ, USA)

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Marvellous step

First of all, accept my congratulations for providing the much-needed Tribune on the Net. It is now like getting all the information needed at my desk. It is really a marvellous step towards increasing the paper’s circulation as well as providing information to the needy sitting abroad.

I would like to mention two things: state-sponsored terrorism and supporting India’s stand on nuclear tests.

I have read the statement of US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering opposing hot pursuit of terrorists in Kashmir in the wake of recent missile attacks on a factory in Sudan and some terrorist camps in Afghanistan by the USA.

It is really irresponsible on the part of America to teach us how we should deal with our internal matters. If one American is dead in a bomb explosion, the USA does not bother about the sovereignty of the other nation and launches missile attacks against that country. But when India talks about a unified international policy against terrorism, it turns a blind eye to the grievances of New Delhi. So, in what context should we rely on the American stand?

Any human being, may be from America, India, Pakistan or Sudan, has the same value and responsibilities to his kith and kin. In this context India should devise its own policies and follow them at the international level.

Regarding the differences among the neighbouring countries — India, Pakistan and China — we should learn lessons from the European nations. They are going to have one currency and common border.

Of course, I know this is not so easy, but we have to move in this direction.

DAAD Fellow, Remote Sensing and Land Information Division,
University of Freiburg
Freiburg (Germany)

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Well-researched article

Although we enjoy reading The Tribune at Guru Nanak Sikh Temple in Surrey, B.C., we also enjoy reading the news on your web site.

I am very impressed by the inquisitive and insightful articles about Akal Takht Jathedar Ranjit Singh, especially the one in the September 22 edition. It is a well-researched piece.


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50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence
50 years on indian independence

A suggestion to examiners

My niece failed twice in the B.A. Part II examination of H.P. University in the subject English. She appeared in her golden chance paper last April, but failed the third time again with the score 33 marks against the minimum 35 marks required to pass. She then filled a revaluation form and hopes that the examiners might be considerate to bring her score up by two marks to declare her pass.

Now, English is a foreign language. It was in the year 1962 that this subject was declared a non-essential one at the matriculation level. Thereupon, a student weak in English, failing in the subject in the School Leaving Certificate (Matriculation) examination, could still be declared “pass” on the strength of pass marks scored in the remaining subjects. Under the new scheme, the teachers, as also the students, started ignoring the subject. The situation went on deteriorating day by day and as of present not even 10 per cent of the examinees pass in the test in the English language in their first attempt.

Here, it is no gainsaying that the start of English in government schools from lower classes has been politicised and dispensed with. All the well-to-do people, especially the political bigwigs, have invariably been sending their wards to expensive English medium institutes, which poor masses can ill afford. The non-availability of the English medium in the less expensive government schools in the lower classes deprive the poor students of a valuable opportunity of having exposure to this so-called foreign language (otherwise the global lingua franca) at an early (right) age. Thus, even the bright wards of the poor people become handicapped in the matter of competition and opportunities for employment in the progressive multi-national institutions who invariably give higher preference to those good at written as well as spoken English. The bias against the candidates not fluent in English is no less in the interviews held for appointments in State Government departments either. Further, few parents buy English newspapers or magazines, thereby denying a good chance to their children to get to know the language indirectly.

The irony of the whole matter is that the teachers teaching English in government schools or less expensive private English medium schools themselves don’t know the language thoroughly. The words, “KINNER GARDEN PUBLIC SCHOOL”, boldly painted and prominently displayed on the gate of a private “English-medium school” at Harasaur (on the Barsar-Shah-Deotsidh road in Hamirpur district in Himachal Pradesh), say it all. Under the circumstances, is it fair to blame the students for their poor grasp on this ‘foreign’ language?

It is, therefore, highly desirable that the State School Examination Board(s) and Universities lay down only a practically achievable minimum percentage of marks for the examinees to pass in English. The said authorities should further ensure that only such people take up the assignment of teaching English who themselves know it well. Further, the examiners should also be considerate not to fail the examinees for a shortfall of a mere two or three marks.



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