Need to set up B-schools on NIT model

APROPOS of V. Eshwar Anand’s article “Joshi should leave our global brands alone” (Spectrum, Feb 22), Dr Murli Manohar Joshi’s relentless efforts to improve, modernise and make education affordable to the masses are praiseworthy. However, I agree with the writer that certain premier institutions like IIMs should have a say in deciding the fee structure.

I suggest the Union Human Resource Development Ministry to explore the possibility of establishing new business and management schools on the pattern of National Institute of Technology (NIT) (formerly REC) for making technical education more affordable while leaving IIMs alone.

Prof SUDHIR GHAI, Ludhiana





Apparently, the article “Joshi should leave our global brands alone” was an attempt at public relations management that IIMs are famous for. IIMs are government institutes and receive crores of rupees by way of Plan and non-Plan grants. The government has got every right to intervene if these institutes fail to achieve the social objectives envisaged while establishing them. They have become exclusive clubs by restricting entry to a mere thousand in all the IIMs. An aura of elitism has seeped into the psyche of the IIM products. Even Supreme Court Chief Justice V.N. Khare said that IIMs are not meant for the elite.

IIMs have become feeder units for the MNCs. Their sphere of concentration remains confined to consultancy and executive development. Their efforts at research are lacklustre. They copy a model made somewhere else and are yet to innovate their own models. They are followers and not leaders.

Till date IIMs have not been able to evolve a foolproof entrance test on the lines of GMAT. What is their contribution in generating intellectual capital that the country so badly requires?



The articles on IIMs by Shastri Ramachandaran, V. Eshwar Anand and Gaurav Chaudhary smack of a feudal and snobbish mindset. These are illusory notions of academic and professional excellence in management woven around IIMs by vested interests including their faculty, alumni and others who thrive on the bounty bestowed by these elite institutes.

Their resentment on the reduction in fees is misplaced and a misleading attempt at retaining the status-quoism and has nothing to do with the standard or quality of instruction. The argument that reduction in fee would impair the quality of education is irrational. Perhaps they do not seem to have studied the “situational theory of leadership”. A manager branded as excellent in one situation may prove a total failure in another situation. Moreover, the use of unfair practices in tests like CAT and the recent leakage of papers suggest that over the years, students of dubious merit have got into IIMs to become corporate leaders of tomorrow.



This is just the beginning of governmental interference in the working of IIMs which could harm our global brands. Where is the need for the government to subsidise IIMs which have to produce managers for the private sector? Those who use the skills of these managers should be asked to pay for these institutions. Concern for poor students does not justify government interference.

The government must become facilitator not through subsidies but by providing easy access to loans and low-cost funds to talented students from the weaker sections. The state’s role of a compulsory lender is desirable, but bringing down the fee can dilute the quality of IIMs as they would soon lose their right to choose the best talent.

Prof K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar


Suraiya — a talented singing star

V. Gangadhar and Devinder Bir Kaur, through their write-ups on Suraiya (Spectrum, Feb 1 and Feb 8), have done a great service to Suraiya’s admirers.

One of your readers, Mr V.I.K. Sharma (Feb 11) compared the tragedy of Suraiya’s life to that of Thomas Hardy’s character Hencherd in “The Mayor of Casterbridge,” that “Happiness was but an occasional episode in a general drama of pain” in her life.

After the fiasco of the proposal for her life partnership with Dev Anand as also the stubborn nature of her mother and grandmother, she was a forlorn creature who finally withdrew into a quiet retreat to muse upon and bemoan the meaning of her worldly existence.

That syndrome is best described in one of her own highly melodious songs: “Ik roz to chakori dekhegi chand pyara, Ik roz to milega her lehar ko kinara, hum dekhte rehenge, ro ro ke yeh kahenge, Tum hum ko bhool jao ab hum na mil sakenge, daali se phool toote phir kaise khil sakenge”.

Her life, which was that of a shining star, suddenly got enveloped into total darkness due to some quirks of destiny. Perhaps she was too docile to stand up to those man-made barriers, submitted to her fate and chose to be left alone with her personal sorrow over the loss of an inspiring and romantic lead in her life.

Suraiya was a talented singing star, an actress and artiste of her times without any peers. Once out she never opted even for a symbolic appearance. One who was once a unique and unmatched crowd-puller causing traffic jams whereever she went, she ultimately passed into oblivion unwept and unsung. Nonetheless, she left a deep and well carved out niche in the hearts of millions of her admirers throughout the subcontinent.

As a lover of Urdu poetry since my college days when I was one of her fans in the fifties, I would sum up any attempt to write about Suraiya with the following rhyme: “Dastan-e-Suraiya hum likhne jo baithe to dekhey kalam ki ravani mein aansu”, and end up just by paying a tribute to her: “Hazaron saal Nargis apni benoori peh roti hai, barri mushkil se hota hai chaman mein deeda-var paida”.

S.P. Singh, Chandigarh

Travelogue on Gajner

Chetna Keer Banerjee’s article “Gajner: Gateway to avian encounters” (Spectrum, Feb 29) was interesting. It was refreshingly different from other travel pieces that usually revolve around rocks, ruins and structures. The portions about solar energy being tapped in the form of solar boats at Gajner were especially informative.

Besides, the write-up “Certainly, no Plain Jane this Fonda” by Ervell Menezes evoked a lot of nostalgia about this Hollywood icon who is constantly reinventing herself.


Who found paper clip?

Apropos of the box on safety pin (Windows, Feb 21), I have always wondered who invented two of the world’s most used and useful items — the safety pin and the paper clip. Now I know Walter Hunt invented the safety pin. But who invented the paper clip?

H. KISHIE SINGH, Chandigarh

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