Saturday, July 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



University education trends

THIS is with reference to the article “Restructuring higher education” by Balram Dogra (July 17). The article seems quite timely and practical one. The author has made suggestions based upon his empirical knowledge as a professional academician. I would like to supplement some of his suggestions.

At present the liberalisation, globalisation, disinvestment, privatisation and information technology related terminology have become a part of common man’s vocabulary of discussion and India is poised to move in the new century with these changes in mind. Our coming generation has to compete outside the country’s geographic and social boundaries in open worldwide market. Therefore, India needs to keep up with the changes. Unfortunately, our universities are virtually directionless. Our universities are the places where most of the students just come because they don’t find jobs after secondary school or after graduation. Thus they lack the will and potential to study hard. After all, why should they study when they are not sure about finding a job after having even a postgraduation degree?


Taking the cue from this unrest among youth and emerging trends in economic and technological changes various private sector institutions have come up and have created a kind of euphoria for management and computer courses through electronic and print media. But some of these institutions are just money-minting ones. And the institutions having better credibility have higher fees which our poor but intelligent youth cannot afford.

Since ours is a welfare state and it is the job of the government to create just and equitable society, the universities should take the lead to revamp their syllabi to deal with emerging demands for education. Instead of doing so, they seem to be puzzled by the presence of various courses run by the private institutions and due to their own resource crunches, are starting various computer and management courses without any perspective.

The author has rightly expressed the desire to setup an education council at state level. This council should consist of impartial and apolitical people and it should work out the logistics for starting new courses in the colleges and varsities keeping in view the economic, social and constitutional commitment of the country. It would be much better for the sake of uniformity of education in the country that such a council should be at the country instead of state level and having the UGC as its patron. Its members should be from various walks of life within the country. Anyway, the article is a clarion call for our academicians, administrators and above all our political bosses to rethink our varsity education system in the new century.

A. J. Singh
Kanglung (Bhutan)


When the BJP and its allied parties were in the opposition they always spoke against the then MISA and TADA. Now the BJP-led government seems to be in a hurry in bringing TADA-II that too in a worse form. The NHRC has done well in warning the government against the draft bill saying, “it would have chilling effect on human rights”. It is surprising and painful that the alliance partners of the Centre Government have not raised their voice effectively when they knew that Section 3 [8] and 14 of the said Act were going to muzzle the freedom of the Press. These can be used against anybody else as well.

Certain other sections of the proposed Act are as harsh as that of the lapsed TADA. The moot point is that could TADA succeed in curbing terrorism? The answer is NO. Then why the controversial exercise again?

The government says that these sections would not be used against the Press. But when Mrs Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, got MISA passed she had said in Parliament that the said law would not be used against political opponents. But it was mainly misused to put behind bars thousands of leaders and workers during the Emergency.

If the BJP government has been increasing the prices of diesel and fertilisers without the prior approval of the alliance partners and now has prepared the draft bill of TADA-II, it is not understood as to why these parties have been clinging to power when it is clear that the interests of the people of their states are not safe in the hands of the BJP-led government.

Major Narinder Singh Jallo (retd)

Better late than never

“Thackeray must be tamed” (July 18) is a fit sketch of the state of affairs prevailing in Mumbai. One of my friends who returned from Mumbai after staying there for about a few months, told me that it is Thackeray’s writ which is prevalent and not the actual rule by the elected representatives.

The action initiated by the coalition government is belated yet necessary. Bal Thackeray has been issuing his diktats from time to time to his loyal (otherwise spoilt) Shiv Sainiks. As a matter of fact BT (Bal Thackeray) is considering Mumbai as his personal harem and he is ruling from behind the curtain. He is like a don who is controlling the whole of the administration. His word is the order of the day. Shiv Sainiks are blind followers of BT and without applying their mind they come out of their homes and start violence.

Quite often the statements of BT have been exploitative or instigating. BT is a blind critic of Muslims. He will rebuke every non-Hindu, as if India is his personal property. BT should be tamed at the earliest. If need be force must be used. His provocative statements, which are liable to inject venom in the minds of different communities — who are otherwise living quite harmoniously — must be taken seriously. He must be brought to book.


Tiger deaths

This refers to The Tribune’s extensive coverage of the tigers’ death at Nandankanan Zoo (July 6 to 11) and an editorial, “It is “tiger-slaughter” (July 7). It is sad, unfortunate and depressing that 12 tigers kept in captivity in a prestigious zoo died of common blood protozoan disease, Trypanosomasis, for which prophylactive as well as curative treatment is available across the world. The treatment of the sick tigers with Berenil etc speaks of the haphazardness in deciding the line of treatment, because other drugs of choice like Quinapyramine Sulphate are easily available. Perhaps the substantial previous experience of treating such cases has not been taken into consideration. There should be clear understanding about the efficacy of Antitrypanosomial drugs based on the past experiences, as the development of resistance and toxicity limit the therapeutic utility of certain drugs.

The mode of transmission of this disease by blood sucking flies and less frequently through lesion of skin and mucous membrane while eating fresh infected carcass points to the lapses and dereliction of duties by those who are accountable for feeding, heeding and treatment of wild animals in captivity.

The inordinate delay by the Central Zoo Authority in asking the Wild Life Department to get the lions sterilised because of the serious repercussion of inbreeding, causing the death of four cubs during the past few months, needs to be condemned (The Tribune, July 9, page 6). This should have been anticipated much earlier at the Renuka Safari. One laments the seeking of experts from Chhatbir Zoo, near Chandigarh, for sterilisation of lions to prevent inbreeding as there is hardly any expert nearby to do this obligatory job.

It is strange to observe that the so-called experts in the treatment of wild animals are veterinarians who had never been taught the anatomy, physiology and pathology of wild animals during their basic veterinary education. The expertise in wild life is through experience and not through veterinary education. More so, books, references and research work on the management and treatment of wild animals are scarce.

This time also, it is imperative to repeat that the voice in favour of wild animals in captivity may not be lost in wilderness of unending politicking. Those concerned should become more ethical and compassionate to preserve the wild animals of our country. This is the time to improve the situation in the ill-equipped zoos in India.


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