Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments on TN teacher transfer: Teaching does not get the respect it deserves in India

A selection of readers' opinions.

To sir with love

The people who write such eloquent articles are highlighting concerns that are intellectual and unconnected with the news that was reported (“Viral photo of students weeping at TN teacher’s transfer shows what’s wrong with education in India”). The problem is that masters of the languages do not wish to teach. They are not bothered about the students. Our best guide is someone who may not be a an expert, but is a real teacher, dedicating to holistic teaching. When a lot of restrictions are imposed on the teacher by the government and the judiciary, It is only his dedication and sincerity that matters. One should not write lofty articles without first experiencing the difficulties of poor students or the lack of proper infrastructure in small schools. V Mohan Rao

***

While in school I was influenced by teachers who were lenient towards students. I liked them and so did most other students. If the teachers are not demanding, it gives room to learn at your own pace. The teacher not only teaches a subject but also keeps the flock on the right path. When children are young, news of good teacher leaving can make the heart ache, but leaving people behind is a part of growing up. This is not an issue of the teaching skills or the state of education in our country but how children behave while growing up. – Karthik G

***

Senior teachers are transferred if they don’t have political, muscle or money power. We need more such articles on the present education scenario. This will create public awareness and more people could join hands to save the system. – Prasanta Chakraborty

***

In a typical school or college run by a state government or university, most of the students come from marginalised communities. They will be overwhelmed in attending a class conducted by a suave and sophisticated subject expert. Absenteeism and dropouts follow. They need someone they can connect with, that is more important. As they build trust in the system and confidence, then an expert can be introduced. A teacher like him is an asset to any school. – Sreeram

***

To produce such sensitive teachers, we must develop an environment where teachers and the teaching profession are given adequate respect. Currently, they do not enjoy the reputation they deserve. – Pradeep

At a crossroads

Congratulations to Shivam Shankar Singh for his bold and thoughtful message to the nation and the struggle to correct the path being followed by the ruling dispensation (“Why I am resigning from the BJP: A Narendra Modi supporter and party campaign analyst explains”). The leaders who focus only on getting more power tend to ignite sycophancy and build a mutually beneficial relationship with their constituency. Alas, the citizen wakes up too late to learn that his constitutional power, his vote, has gone in vain. Course correction can be sought by voting in someone else. But even when the government changes, these patterns stay the same.

Independent social media and social movements are critical to sustaining the the spirit of democracy. With policies anchored in unbridled capitalism, the fourth pillar of democracy has become the handmaiden of the government – most media are owned and controlled by the very people who pose a threat to constitutional bodies. Hence, the power of the common man evaporates.

I chose to join fifth pillar, a movement to fight corruption. Are we able to see, even at some distance, the light at the end of the tunnel? All constitutional bodies are made to toe the official line. The Congress has not learnt from its past. It’s people like this author who can challenge the rulers with inside knowledge, which carries added weight. – UR Kaliappan

***

This is an unbiased and correct analysis. The author has gone into great detail and I agree with every word. Modi twists facts and talks too much. He is blind to the problems in the country. He wastes the taxpayer’s money for his own benefits and spends a lot of time on foreign tours. He made false promises and defamed the Congress to win the election in 2014. The way he is troubling Kejriwal and ignoring the burning problems of New Delhi or keeping quiet about rising fuel prices, murders of journalists and worsening law and order situation is wrong. – Krishnarao Ukey

***

The article by Shivam Shankar Singh was excellent. Spreading false news is detrimental to the nation’s health and every person or agency must refrain doing so. The government of the day, if it really cares about the nation’s repute and pride, should bring in appropriate legal measures including severe punishments to ward off those unethical, unscrupulous tendencies. – Aarkay

***

Shivam Singh’s analysis of Modi and Shah should be an eye opener for all about the danger the country will face if the BJP is elected for second term. – Sanjeev Doddi

Delhi row

We are all talking based on assumptions (“AAP vs IAS: It is the Delhi lieutenant governor’s duty and obligation to end the impasse”). No one till now knows what the real facts are. Without that, all are going by what Arvind Kejriwal is saying. Are we to understand that the prime minister routinely picks up the phone and talks to the lieutenant governor? The author mentions that it is the LG’s responsibility to sort out impasse. Likewise, it is chief minister’s duty to be friendly with the prime minister and get the work done, not for the prime minister to come and do the chief minister’s job.

Kejriwal made a mistake and should apologise first, as he was a bureaucrat first and would have faced similar issues with politicians. Instead of blaming others, he should have been taken the initiative to sort out the issue. Setting up camp in the LG’s house is not acceptable, no matter the reason he gives. Surely, it is the chief minister’s job to sort out this impasse. The prime minister has nothing to do with it. – Manohar Rajan

***

Kejriwal is a former Joint Income Tax Commissioner and hence was a bureaucrat of almost the same level as the author. The crux of the matter is, if you have an elected government in Delhi, but all final decisions are taken by the LG, then why have an elected government in the first place? – R Joseph

West Bengal politics

It is unfortunate that the organisation mentioned in the article seems to have failed to grasp that in today’s times, the manifestation of regional pride needs to go beyond tokenisms such as the increased use of the most spoken local language on signboards and forever harking back to the glorious past (“Bangla pride vs ‘Hindi-Hindu-Hindustani’: In West Bengal, a new Trinamool front to counter the BJP?”).

This outfit could do itself as well as West Bengal a big favour by shifting its major focus away from symbolism towards playing a part in addressing the biggest problem that the state faces, namely, the limited growth opportunities for its youth.

Helping create an entrepreneurial mindset among the Bengali youth, as majority of whom have always viewed entrepreneurship as a consolation prize for failing to land permanent employment, could be a good first step in this regard. – Sumali Moitra

***

This is the right platform to establish Bengali identity in the state because l have seen lot of Bengalis do not get proper posts in employment, education and the like, whereas non-Bengalis get all the posts because the ruling party supports them. As a result, people are migrating to the state and native Bengalis are migrating to South Indian states. l request all political parties in Bengal to address this problem immediately to ensure our people get due respect and don’t migrate to other states. – M Appa Rao

***

I really appreciate Garga Chatterjee’s efforts and this noble cause. It is now or never for West Bengal. But until the people understand the facts that liebetween politics and other hypothetical issues, no larger change can be effected. We need strong communication and a healthy movement that can restore the Bangla identity. – Sumon Banerjee

***

From what I have read about this party, it seems to be just a branch of the ruling Trinamool Congress. It will act in favour of the ruling party during the Parliamentary elections next year. So instead, they should stop the drama and merge with the political party. – Sandip Mukherjee

***

Bengal is not a separate nation. This kind of move has cost Bengal enormously in the past, leading to the flight of brain and capital from the state and perpetuating under-development. It is high time that we rise above parochialism and work for the development of the people. In the name of federalism we are encouraging anarchy and compromising national security. – Manoranjan Dutta

Trash talk

Sometimes a person may litter unintentionally. The gentleman may have thrown out that piece of plastic in the spur of the moment, perhaps distractedly (“Mumbai man who littered versus Anushka Sharma who shamed him: It’s a feud now. Watch”). Also, Anushka Sharma perhaps chose the wrong place and time to admonish him. But again, no one can claim that their mind always works the way it should. Virat Kohli could have restrained himself from posting the video of the incident on social media. I am inclined to believe that none of them behaved in the right way under the circumstances. However I see in this an opportunity for them to be friends if they comes in contact again, away from the media glare. – Dilip Kumar Bordoloi

***

If Anushka Sharma did not abuse the person who threw the garbage and only pulled him up, she did the right thing. We should all be able to stand up to these anti-social people who have no civic sense. – Shaha Ghosh

***

As a celebrity herself and the wife of a public figure, Anushka Sharma should have maintained her dignity instead of scolding the youth. The road is public property with all kinds of people passing by. We can’t afford to keep paying attention to these trifles. Is this the first time she saw someone littering, that she is retaliating in this manner? – Rupa Chowdhury

***

People need to give them a break and appreciate Anushka Sharma’s effort. They don’t need any cheap publicity. They behaved like responsible citizens by telling someone not to litter. We need more like her. Indians are indifferent to the environment. – Manju Rangra

***

Why are we Indians so defensive? Why can we never show grace in face of a fault and own up to the mistake? I read Arhhan Singh’s post. Do you think he would have had the same reaction if he was pulled over by someone who was not famous? According to him, he should be exempt from criticism because the plastic he threw out of his car was so small that it would not have caused much damage to the already half-dead environment. What else can you conclude from his argument?

Isn’t this what we always say – what difference will it make – before taking one more bribe, breaking one more signal, or in general generally closing our eyes to wrongdoing? Add to that the fact that his mother also came to his rescue.

When his mother Singh called out Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli for causing mental duress to her son, what she actually did was successfully prove once more that we Indians do not deserve outspoken celebrities like Meryl Streep and others. Because much as we expect them to, when our celebrities actually speak for any sort of cause we troll them on social media or worse. – Surbhi Bhati

***

Anushka Sharma wasn’t ranting or yelling at all. And why has the youth’s mother jumped in? I’m sure he can defend himself. He should have gracefully accepted the mistake and kept his mouth shut. Moreover, do Sharma and Virat Kohli need attention? Kudos to the power couple. We need more like them. – Shital

***

This is a just a way for the couple to publicise themselves. Instead of posting the video, they could have just described the incident in a message. They are not the only celebrities advocating the protection of the environment. A number of other actors also support the cause without making noise about it. – Gurpreet Kaur Bhamrah

Eligibility test

Why is there so much confusion over these announcements? That makes it seem like a gimmick (“CBSE to continue conducting national teacher test in 20 languages, clarifies Prakash Javadekar”). It is evident that the central government is trying to impose Hindi in the country, but this will disadvantage candidates from southern states. The state should assess the GDP, income generation and tax revenue from southern states and compare it to the budgetary allocation to these areas to see the major disparity. Rulers in the central government should change their attitude and consider all factors in all Indian states before taking any major decisions. – S Janardhan

World Cup fever

It was very nice to read the article on Pele ahead off the Brazil vs Switzerland match (“Neymar only needs to look towards Pele to learn how to deal with man-marking at the World Cup”). I was in England during the 1966 and the 1970 World Cups and could see Brazil in action on TV. The author’s description of Brazil’s exit in 1966 is accurate. Simply, Pele was not allowed to show his genius and was physically tortured. His other talented compatriot, Garincha, was also not spared from attack. In 1970, Pele and the Brazil team displayed unforgettable football skill to win the Cup. It was sheer joy to watch. Owing to old age, I am not watching the late night matches this year. Hope Brazil can rediscover its skill, led by the talented Neymar. – Amitava Bose

Interpreting ‘Kaala’

I am aware of the Dravidian and Dalit idea of seeing Ravana as an innocent man vanquished unjustly by Brahmanical forces (“Pa Ranjith’s ‘Kaala’ turns the Ramayana on its head – by making Raavana the hero”). But there is hardly any historical or even textual basis to justify this belief. The usual Periyarist rationalism falls flat when it comes to believing in such fringe theories. Chief among the translators or retellers of the Ramayana, poet Kambar, goes only so far as portraying Ravana as a tragic figure who despite all his good qualities is blind to the willful sin he committed by abducting Sita.

Compared to the Mahabharata, the Ramayana is pretty much a straightforward story. It’s not about your ideology or your gods versus mine. The Ramayana war results from a woman getting kidnapped against her wishes. There is no scope for Aryan vs Dravidian struggle there. For that matter, Ravana could have been an ethnic Sinhala and Puranas consider him a son of a Brahmin and hence a Brahmin king by extension. In the original version Rama eats meat and drinks wine, shares his food with a boatman, embraces him and considers him a brother – all these make him anti-Brahmanical to the core.

There has never been a ethnographic retelling of the Ramayana until mid 20th century and it has been the non-professionals that have taken it up to see that the neo-Ramayana fits their narrative. Besides it is just mythology. You can’t call Rama an element of fiction and keep looking for historicity in him.

It would have been better if the movie focussed more on how the Ramayana has been appropriated by Sangh forces to peddle their deviant ideology. I understand the Dalit indignation against Hinduism but assuming things without a rational basis is no different than what they oppose in the first place. – Ananth Harihar

Dog’s world

The six-month target in Uttarakhand could lead to large-scale cruelty towards stray dogs (“Uttarakhand High Court asks state to get rid of all stray dogs in six months”). Do we need more in today’s India? The government should seriously consider Animal Birth Control. Mumbai is practicing it for the last 25 years based on a (humane) directive of Bombay High Court. Strays are picked up from the road and neutered. They are put back into the same locality. This is very effective in population control. I hope local NGOs will take up this issue. The option given by Uttarakhand court is either adoption or to send dogs to a shelter. It is anybody’s guess what would happen to the animal in the shelter, given the already strained resources of our cities. – Aparna Vedula

Lakes on fire

A foaming lake is a clear indication of the failure of authorities to monitor inflow of non-biodegradable detergents (“‘The largest septic tank of the city’: Bengaluru’s Bellandur lake froths again”). Let us cut the blame game and hit the nail on the head. Bengaluru is a major hub of the garment industry, where large amount of detergents are used. Many may be manufacturing cheap detergents to boost the bottom line. There is no point in beating around the bush. Increased detergent level in sewage is detrimental to biodegradation capacity of water sewage treatment capacity. The effluents, rich in detergent and organic matter, turn into a cauldron of foam filled with methane which can catch fire if anyone ignites it. Ask authorities the right questions. Do they have a laboratory to check the sewage ? Do they have the ability to check all the parameters of raw water for natural lakes? It is major governance disaster. – Sunil Kokrady

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