Testing times

It is wise to cancel final-year exams amid growing Covid-19 cases and not risk the lives of students (Amid growing demand for cancellation, UGC says final year exam must). All students and parents will appreciate the government’s move if it cancels the exams. Many students have travelled back to their home states and will have to travel to answer the exams. We don’t want to risk our lives.

Institutes like Indian Institutes of Technology and National Law University have already awarded degrees to their students. Will these students not get a job? It is only the University Grants Commission that is being adamant for their own vested interests. Moreover, there are hardly any classes to even complete the final year syllabus. How can students give the exam without the study material?

The cases are rising everyday in cities like Bangalore, and if exams are held, there will be more transmission. The universities must promote students on the basis of internal marks and previous examinations. Don’t previous semesters carry any validity? Please allow us to live a healthy life. We are already stressed out in such a situation. – Jayanti Das


It is unjust to conduct final-year exams amid a pandemic (Amid growing demand for cancellation, UGC says final year exam must). The University Grants Commission authority must reconsider the matter and cancel the exams. Aren’t students lives more important than these examinations? Students are the future of this country. Why are we putting their lives at stake? I urge the concerned authorities to take other steps to assess the student’s performance rather than holding exams. – Mrinal Jyoti Sarma


It is established that the Covid-19 crisis happens to be the greatest threat to the nation as well as to the world. In this scenario, maintaining physical distance and breaking the chain of infection is the best remedy (More than 500 universities are undecided or have not informed on conducting final year exam: UGC). In such a critical condition, appearing for final semester or final year examination is very risky for students. This should be treated as a special case, and students must be assessed depending on previous marks. – Sutithi Pramanick


In view of the growing Covid-19 cases, universities must promote all students to ensure their safety. It is impossible for students to travel from one place to another because of coronavirus. I am a student of Punjab Technical University and am unable to travel to the state to answer the exams. Universities must cancel the exams and assess all students on the basis of their internals instead. – Shahnawaz Hamid


Miscellaneous comments

Overcrowded street and supermarkets, binge buying, no physical distancing, no masks. What pandemic? We’re never ever going to learn. TV Advertisements, mobile messages and hoardings that constantly warn us of the dangers of coronavirus have fallen on deaf ears. Total lack of enforcement coupled with inadequate testing has resulted in this “corona-mess”. It’s now close to five months and we’re still on this roller coaster, lurching from one lockdown to another. Then we have new-age evangelists, giving us daily gyaan on how to survive this disaster. Alas, the unscrupulous amongst us is profiteering from the pandemic. God save the country. – Sharath Ahuja


One thing is clear that hectic attempts have been going on to produce a vaccine at the earliest (When a Covid-19 vaccine is discovered, will it be freely available and be affordable to all?). Three things need vigil in this race: (1) Satisfactory completion of various phases with adequate sample size; (2) Strength of the vaccine; (3) Accessibility and affordability to all.

If reports are to go by, a recent finding reveals that the vaccine may not be effective beyond a short period of three months or so and should be able to prevent resurgence for at least a year. It says antibodies are likely to wane in due course. Hence, the need for a stronger and effective vaccine that can protect for long. The scientists in the area should not be put under undue pressure with deadlines.

Regarding of affordability, two measures would provide good solution: Balancing intellectual property rights, and promoting public pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. The second option, however, may not be feasible for many lesser-developed nations for want of expertise, experience and capital.

All in all, some kind of humane element is needed and I am sure many philanthropists would come forward and help as has been done so far. However, an effective machinery is needed to receive and transmit the needed help. – Ramana Gove


It is simply untrue that Assamese sub-nationalism is fixated on driving out immigrants from East Bengal who settled in riverine tracts a hundred years ago, or that encroachments on vital areas of the state’s ecosystem aided by the centre have been ignored or shrugged off (Saving ‘jaati, maati, bheti’: Assamese civil society needs to recognise where the real threat lies). In fact, that is the fading rhetoric still marshalled by the Asom Gana Parishad, which has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party bandwagon in its sideshow of saving “jaati, maati and bheti” with saffron flags and slogans.

People in Assam have moved ahead and put in the forefront their concern over reckless corporate loot of the natural resources of the state with the backing of the centre. Intellectual circles as well as public opinion are now fully aware that “maati” will be ruined if forests are decimated and rivers polluted. The movement against big dams and destruction of forests have been vibrant and people are no longer persuaded by BJP’s false assurances.

To repeat an old story, the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act movement in Assam since 2016 has not targetted the old Muslim immigrants but newer Hindu migrants, whose numbers might put Assamese language under a strain. Certain elements have clamoured to return to the Bengali identity of Muslim immigrants with the help of the new CAA enabled citizens. This has sharpened Assamese suspicions. The powerful All Assam Minority Students’ Union has been very much a part of the movement. Such twisted interpretations should not be repeated ad nauseam. – Hiren Gohain