A riddle and a mystery

Vikram Chadha’s article Stem the rot: Hype and rhetoric prevail in universities (Perspective, Jan 7) rubbishes the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signed by Indian universities with third-rate foreign universities only to provide foreign trips to cronies of university authorities and to refurbish the sagging reputation of our campuses with no substantial intent.

Multiple courses in computers, software development, commerce and management, biotechnology and bioinformatics are hyped in some regional universities. The UGC has derecognised some of these courses which turn out unemployable young people.

It must be admitted that, as in the rest of society, Mammon is the new subject on our campuses and everything is driven by it so that universities become commercial enterprises. National Knowledge Commission Chairman Sam Pitroda wants 1500 new universities (to add to the present 350) so that 15 per cent secondary school leavers go to college and university (as against 10 per cent today).

However, his own Vice-Chairman accuses Pitroda of unilateralism and wants universities to conduct undergraduate classes (ending affiliated colleges) and wants everyone (rich and poor) to attend a neighbourhood school. Our education scene is indeed a riddle which is a mystery wrapped in an enigma!

VINOD CHOWDHURY, Reader in Economics, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi



The million-dollar question is what ails college and university education here at home and how to stem the rot in the light of the ground situation as it obtains today.

Millions of students studying in colleges and universities are opting for Hindi as their medium of instruction and examination every year in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab etc., especially in subjects like economics, commerce, political science and other social sciences and humanities.

Most teachers in these states are ignorant of the standard Hindi technical terminologies and are not competent enough to teach their subjects through Hindi medium.

Not a single college or university level textbook in economics, commerce and political science has been published by any private publisher or State Hindi Granth Academy using standard and approved Hindi technical terminology in these states in the last 10 years. So is the state of question papers set in Hindi in various examinations by the universities in these states.



Our Army should continue to protect Kashmir Valley

In Kashmir: The last chance (Saturday Extra, Dec 16), Khushwant Singh has correctly analysed the situation in Kashmir. He has rightly observed, “If the choice was between India and Pakistan, Kashmiri Muslims would have voted for Pakistan”.

The writer has further observed that “there is no evidence of Kashmiri Muslims’ change of mind — they like our money but not us”. But the suggestion that he has given to solve the problem completely ignores other realities.

He has suggested withdrawal of the Indian Army from the Valley and formation of a council in which Kashmiris (i.e. Kashmiri Muslims) have a dominant role. This, more or less, amounts to handing over the Valley to the Muslims. Pakistan would be too happy to accept such a proposal.

Now let us consider some historical facts. The power to decide the future of the states was given to the rulers of the states under the Indian Independence Act of July 1947. None other than Jinnah insisted for such a provision in the Act. Therefore, the Maharaja of J&K had the authority to decide the future of the state and Pakistan had no legal right to interfere in the Kashmir affairs.

If one says that for settling the problem peacefully, we should agree to give away Kashmir to Pakistan, then why not treat Tharparkar district of Sind in Pakistan similarly where Hindus formed more than 80 per cent of the population in 1947. The Indian forces captured the district during the war with Pakistan in 1965. Hindus from Tharparkar had requested the Indian Government not to return the district to Pakistan, and were given an assurance in this regard by the then Defence Minister, but Lal Bahadur Shastri gave away all the gains of our armed forces, and returned everything, including Tharparkar.




For prompt justice

In her article Expediting the pace of justice”, Dr Kiran Bedi has suggested filling of vacancies of judges. What is the main reason for proliferation of litigation and the huge backlog of cases?

Dr Bedi says: “For long, everything needed a contact, a reference or an incentive or else you are in waiting forever?” Is it applicable for everyone? If dispensation of justice is quick soon after filing of the petition, the present strength of judges would be more than sufficient. However, if the vicious circle of injustice is not broken, filling of the existing vacancies in the courts at various levels will not help resolve the problem.n

NIRBHAI SINGH, Sarpanch, Bholewal Quandeem, Phillaur (Ludhiana)



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