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Education system needs reform

The article, “The menace of absenteeism” (June 21) by Rama Kashyap, has come at a time when the education system in India is passing through a period of crisis. Absenteeism, instead of being looked upon as a disease, should be construed as a symptom of a system that is rotting very fast. No doubt, we in India boast of quality education and more opportunities for our youths. But is the system really catering to their needs, for even after acquiring higher education they remain disillusioned?

It is quite surprising that the authorities concerned have never bothered to think what dissuades students from attending classes. There are certain obvious reasons. First, there is a popular perception that regards education as essential only for getting a good job.

The notion that education builds our character is no longer prevalent. Secondly, classroom teaching is no longer made interesting, as teachers themselves seem to have lost the conviction that they used to have in the past. Thirdly, with the advent of coaching classes, there is hardly any inclination to go to college.

Moreover, students preparing for competitive examinations find little time to attend regular classes. I also agree with the article that educational institutions these days tend to pay more attention to organizing functions than they should.

Anything that gives the institution publicity becomes more significant for them. The authorities concerned do not bother to maintain discipline by insisting on a minimum percentage of attendance. Rules are often flouted with impunity. The system of education in India needs reforms to bring back its days of past glory.


Fighting corruption

This refers to the editorial, “Towards effective Lokpal: Don’t throw out the baby with bath water” (June 23). Corruption is deep-rooted in Indian bureaucratic and political system and people indulge in corrupt practices to fulfil their interests. The government has miserably failed to control this menace and it has gone beyond control. Sometimes the government overlooks certain incidents due to political compulsions.

In the 2G spectrum and CWG scams, ministers and MPs were from the allied parties and the government had to restrain itself. But the question arises, how will the government deal with corruption in the long run? In other words, what will be its policy? The mere conviction of those involved in acts of corruption will not serve any useful purpose. The role of investigation, prosecution agencies and judiciary come into play only when a major case of corruption breaks, like the 2Gscam.

Therefore, corruption should be eliminated at its initial stage. Anna Hazare and Ramdev have been hyped as icons of struggle against corruption. Others should follow suit and work towards rooting out corruption from the Indian political system.

It is not going to be an easy job, and will require consistent efforts. Ramdev’s call to bring back the black money stashed away in foreign banks should be taken up seriously by the Indian Government. Whatever may be the controversy regarding Ramdev’s movement, the issue raised by him is of the greatest importance. In this regard, saying that Anna may get the same treatment like Baba Ramdev is not fair, and representatives of the government should desist from making such comments.


Cautious India

This is in response to the editorial, “Towards better ties: Rays of hope after Indo-Pak talks” (June 27), which very precisely details the proceedings of the two-day talks in Islamabad between the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan. Your optimism that the talks will provide “a fresh push to the efforts for normalization of relations between the two countries” is obviously admirable.

Certainly if there are no holes in the agreements to be reached between these two countries, many positive things will take place at the levels of trade, friendship, cultural activity and political communication. But the past experience tells us that Pakistan is not a trustworthy country. Even a powerful country like America has been aware of this. Therefore, India must remain cautious in dealing with Pakistan.

India should not be oblivious of the fact that Pakistan has right from its inception a policy to destabilize India. While India believes in peaceful co-existence, Pakistan is yet to show that it also believes in peace and democracy. Kashmir continues to be an apple of discord between India and Pakistan. But in my recent visit to Kashmir, I found that people there had realized that Pakistan had no respect or love for Kashmiri Muslims. It had simply exploited them by resorting to propaganda. But it could not destroy the strength of Kashmir’s communal harmony.

Though Pakistan has failed again and again in destabilizing India, it does not seem to have learned its lessons, and is unlikely to do so in future, it seems. No doubt, the present dialogue was an excellent idea for starting a new chapter in India-Pakistan relations. But India should not forget that even in the past such dialogues were held without any tangible results.


Unrest in Libya

The editorial, “Gaddafi’s poll offer: There’s no harm in trying it” (June 28), has rightly pointed out the need to revive Libya after the 41-year-long dictatorship comes to an end. In modern times, dictatorships cannot exist for long, as people round the globe have come to appreciate the benefits of a democratic political system that grants civil and political rights to its citizens.

Colonel Gaddafi must have, by now, realized the futility of clinging on to power. Pressure both within the country and from the international community is mounting on him to quit. The Libyan leader has no choice but to hold elections in the country. It is only hoped that such an election, if held, would be free and fair. It will be in his interest to quit without any further resistance. If violence escalates, it is bound to have an adverse effect on oil prices. Therefore, the international community wants to ensure that a peaceful transfer of power takes place in Libya, and subsequently, a democratic government comes to power.

VINAY KUMAR, Panchkula

Be sensitive to the poor

The middle, “A lesson in frugality” (June 17) by M S Tandan should inspire us to consider the plight of the poor, who struggle for their daily meal. A visit to any of the temples is enough to make us feel how insensitive we can be when we waste food. What is surplus for us might well save another life suffering the pangs of hunger. The words of the officer, who had imposed a fine on the erring guests in Hamburg, “Money is yours no doubt, but resources belong to society,” should make us think of our social responsibility.

We Indians should emulate this example and shed our extravagant ways in life. The government should, by law, impose a heavy fine on those who waste the resources of society. This will certainly help in changing the mindset of the people.

RANJAN DAS, Hoshiarpur



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