Editorial 1 / Challenge to lord’s
Nothing to be coy about
This above all / The queen in her parlour
People / Mike Denness
Letters to the editor

The victory of Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, when all was nearly lost, obscures very serious tensions that are surfacing in the way the International Cricket Council is run. Mr Dalmiya held a gun at the temple of the ICC when he threatened to withdraw the Indian team from the South African tour unless the match referee, Mr Mike Denness, was withdrawn. His bluff was not called because the United Cricket Board of South Africa sided with the BCCI and replaced Mr Denness with Mr Denis Lindsay. The battle lines have thus been drawn because this is an act of defiance; the writ of the ICC has been challenged and overridden. The ICC has hit back by declaring the third India-South Africa test to be unofficial. In other words, the test match will not be played under the aegis of the ICC. There are portents here of a schism within cricket’s parent body. If the ICC’s executive board in its meeting in Colombo in March fails to ratify the derecognition, Mr Dalmiya’s cup of joy will be full. If the decision is ratified, Mr Dalmiya will have to rethink his strategy and contemplate radical steps.

There is, unfortunately, a deep bias embedded in the running of the ICC. This bias is a hangover of the imperial tradition of which cricket was an important part. The ICC still perceives cricket in terms of white dominance. The location of the headquarters of the ICC in Lord’s reflects this dominance. In its original homeland, England, cricket no longer commands the position it once enjoyed. Attendance at test matches has been falling over the years. The standard of English cricket, not to put too fine a point on it, is abysmal. These indisputable facts should have eroded the power of the Long Room at Lord’s and that of the white man. The power centre of cricket has shifted to the former colonies of England, especially India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is significant that the only time the English cricket grounds are full is when the teams from south Asia play on them. The south Asian population of Great Britain come to cheer the countries of their forefathers. In many ways, Mr Dalmiya and his dogged opposition to white dominance epitomize this shift in cricket’s balance of power.

Cricket, like any other modern sport, is driven by the market. The market, in this particular instance, is determined and defined by the popularity of cricket. Cricket is a craze in the Indian sub-continent. This is where the biggest revenues come from. Mr Dalmiya is aware of this and so are those who seek to dictate affairs in the ICC to the advantage of the white teams. Cut off from its market in south Asia, world cricket will die or become even more irrelevant than it is at the moment. The support that the game enjoys in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka is its life stream. It is Mr Dalmiya’s singular achievement that when Pakistan and India have been fighting on every other issue, on cricketing matters the representatives of the two countries have stood together. If the unity holds in the Colombo meeting, a new chapter might open in cricket. In medieval Europe, there was, for a short while, a Pope in Rome and another in Avignon. In cricket, there may be an ICC at Lord’s and another at Eden Gardens.


Whether or not there is a formal treaty, India is in the bag, as the Americans would say. Fierce denials all round only indicate that, as with Chandra Shekhar and refuelling during Desert Storm, the United States of America does not want to compound the embarrassment of Bharatiya Janata Party ministers who are suffering from a fit of non-aligned coyness about being caught in bed with the Lone Superpower. They would be entitled to greater public trust and respect if they were to legitimize the union by taking the country into confidence. Let them explain that the election of George W. Bush Jr, followed by Operation Enduring Freedom, has changed the international stage, and that a role awaits India in the new drama that is unfolding. One of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s senior ministers wrote to him on the eve of Bill Clinton’s visit suggesting that a treaty be finalized while the president was in India. It was disregarded for political reasons and, perhaps, because circumstances were not as compelling then.

Hesitation is understandable, though it is mainly at the emotive level. The aversion to Americans was pithily captured in the British witticism at the end of World War II that they were “over-paid, over-sexed and over here”. It is a reference to mores that, 56 years later, don’t need a physical American presence for propagation. Television and our own preference in cosmopolitan style disseminates American culture (if that is not a contradiction in terms) far more energetically than GIs in uniform ever did.

The more substantive objection is that a world without an opposing point of view becomes vulnerable to manipulation. The Soviet Union once provided that ballast for international stability, creating space for countries without affiliation. But if Bush’s condescending cordiality towards Vladimir Putin during last week’s summit signalled anything, it was the end of bipolarity. Russia is neither in a position, nor has any desire, to provide alternative space, except in the innocuous sense of its recent agreements with India and China. Whatever the lurking intention, there is no serious challenge there to the new world order, Mark II. Multipolarity is a self-serving fiction.

Politically, the US remains incorrect. No Indian prime minister can easily forget the price that Chandra Shekhar had to pay for his daring decision to allow American warplanes to refuel at Indian airports during Desert Storm. V.P. Singh had also agreed and Rajiv Gandhi endorsed both decisions, but everyone washed their hands of it and left Chandra Shekhar to face the music.

Presumably, the visit to New Delhi early this month of Donald H. Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, was part of the process of laying the foundations of the post-war arrangement through which the Bush administration hopes to achieve a balance of forces in Asia. Next month’s meeting of the Indo-US defence policy group will probably flesh out ideas that have already been discussed. West of India, the new dispensation would keep in check Islamic militancy in what Ronald Reagan called the crescent of danger. In the east, it would restrain Chinese muscle-flexing at the expense of Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. India’s geographical centrality would enable it to ensure that the sea-lanes used by oil tankers remain open.

More than 50 years ago, the arch-imperialist raj strategist, Sir Olaf Caroe, wrote of even partitioned India’s commanding location in the ocean that bears its name, and of which the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Straits of Malacca are only extensions. Among many other proposals, which included the Baghdad pact, that last fling of a dying empire that the Americans then took up and converted into their own military alliance, Caroe also recommended the immediate creation of a “ministry of Asiatic affairs”, located somewhere in south Asia, to serve the United Nations as well as the United Kingdom. Concepts do not lose their validity because in the inexorable rise and fall of powers, parties change over a period of time.

What would India gain from such an association? I can think of four distinct advantages. Unless India is prepared to risk its own Enduring Freedom, and the dangers of nuclear retaliation, by bombing bases beyond the Line of Control, American influence holds the only hope of forcing Pakistan to rein in its guerrillas and terrorists in Kashmir. Second, it would guarantee India a say in Afghanistan’s political future, which, as experience has shown, is essential for this country’s security. Third, it would lend an additional dimension to India’s discourse with China, especially if Bush’s nuclear missile defence programme, and New Delhi’s praise for it, provokes the Chinese into frenzied re-armament.

Finally, it is reasonable to expect that an allied nation would attract more American investment. Far from achieving the annual foreign direct investment target of $10 billion, India attracts only $2.5 billion, or five per cent of China’s $45 billion. It is fashionable in India to pooh-pooh Chinese statistics, but the figure of American money cannot similarly be dismissed out of hand. This is the most important expectation for it holds the clue to American engagement at other levels as well. No treaty would have been mooted if India’s size, population, resources and strategic location had not been matched by pragmatic economics. When Jawaharlal Nehru’s emissaries proposed something like a treaty in 1948, the state department and Pentagon gave them the brush-off saying that the US did not have a blueprint of relations even with Canada. Liberalization has made all the difference.

A major re-alignment in south Asia does not, however, mean that Indian analysts are entitled to crow over a rebuff for Pakistan. If anything, the Afghan war has highlighted America’s need for a stable and trustworthy Pakistan. With or without the watershed of Enduring Freedom, the US sees Pakistan as replacement for the Shah’s Iran, as its link with present-day Iran, watchdog in the Persian Gulf and conduit to the oil-rich republics of central Asia. The reasons that an inter-departmental US conference in Sri Lanka set out in 1949 to justify the alliance with Pakistan still hold good; what has changed is that those reasons are no longer good enough for ignoring an India that might one day match the Chinese market.

That means even more strenuous American efforts to find an answer to the problem of Kashmir. India should be prepared for intensified pressure for the US in a region that is vital to its security. If Pakistan is persuaded to cut off support to terrorists, the US will expect India to reciprocate with political overtures. Any partnership has to be founded on mutual self-interest. Alliance with the US cannot be isolated from public scrutiny like relations with the former Soviet Union, which were official rather than popular. In spite of highly audible islands of orchestrated support, there was never a rush for Soviet visas or Soviet fashions or literature. But even when the US was the government’s nightmare, it was the people’s dream. Today, over a million prosperous Americans of Indian descent, who account for five per cent of America’s wealth, make for abiding ties.

Vajpayee has to find some means of conveying all this to his constituents. He can tell them that even Nehru and his daughter condoned clandestine joint operations with the Americans. He can say that there is nothing new in port facilities and that, unlike David Lange’s New Zealand, India turned a blind eye to nuclear-armed vessels. He can explain that jungle and high-altitude training facilities in India have been provided before for American commandos. But, ultimately, it is a matter of courage and confidence. P.V. Narasimha Rao had enough of both to be able to turn the economic clock by 180 degrees. It remains to be seen whether Vajpayee dares to risk his political base by doing the same in foreign policy.


The Delhi-Jaipur dual highway is the best I have seen in the country. After you get out of the city suburbs beyond the international airport, it is a smooth stretch of two broad, black ribbons lined by multi-coloured bougainvilleas and cultivated fields with pampas and keekar, with the low, rocky escarpments of the scraggy Aravalli range. The only hoardings on the roadside advertise marble and granite. Eateries on both sides of the road are better appointed than any on the national highways going out of Delhi to the state capitals of Punjab-Haryana, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and beyond.

Two hours after a brief halt for an idli-dosa branch at a halfway eatery, we drove through a rock-strewn valley to face the mountain fort of Amber, once the stronghold of the Kachhwaha rulers of Jaipur. Then through crowded bazaars, the Hawa Mahal, past the palatial Museum into the lush green gardens surrounding Rambagh Palace Hotel. A palace it was not very long ago and the exclusive abode of Jaipur princes and their offspring. A palace it remains today, but now is open to anyone who can afford to stay in five-star hotels — or freeloaders like me.

I felt a total misfit in the luxurious atmosphere of this princely hotel. The bed was of the size of a billiard table, large enough to accommodate a stud of royal blood and a small harem of three wives. The hotel does not provide lady companions. It took me a while to discover where light and GC switches were hidden; how to switch on the television and the radio. And having done so, how to switch them off. Bearers were dressed in sherwanis and long-tailed Rajpur style pugrees. There was much bowing low and asking for hukum (orders). Everytime the room-boy came in, I felt I should stand to attention. It was all too exotic to be comfortable. When rajmata Gayatri Devi walked in and joined us, all eyes turned to her; barmen turned more obsequious. She was voted the most beautiful woman of her times: she remains among the most beautiful and gracious of women today.

I asked her how comfortable she felt living in a huge palace with rooms the size of tennis courts. It must have been a problem to keep warm indoors in the winter months. “We used to have log fires in some rooms,” she replied. I persisted: “Living in a palace of this size must have been uncomfortable.” She replied, “I have a home of my own next door. Drop in for a cup of coffee tomorrow.

“My idea of a home is a nest: small, snug and cosy. In winter a coalfire glowing in the grate. A deep leather arm-chair with a lamp above it; a cat purring in my lap; a dog asleep at my feet, soft music over the stereo, book-lined walls with space for a TV set which is never switched on.” She smiled, glanced at her wrist watch and replied, “Come, I’ll see you to the coffee shop.” I knew it was time for my dinner. I don’t think she meant to snub me. Before leaving, she repeated, “You must come over tomorrow to see how I live now.”

Gayatri Devi lives in considerable style. Her house adjoins Rambagh Palace with extensive lawns of its own. She allows schoolchildren to play cricket there. Her double-storeyed house is like a museum cluttered with ancient relics and paintings. Her study and sitting room has shelves full of rare books. There is little of Cooch-Behar (her maika), but a lot of Jaipur, mainly her late husband’s. She leads a very busy life: she keeps an eye on the five schools founded by her. That takes all her mornings. She has a lot of visitors, TV and press interviews and family affairs to sort out.

The rajmata hosted a dinner that evening. She was the imperious maharani of old days, ordering people to sit at places indicated by her. I was given the seat on her right. Next to me was my old friend, Bhoopinder Hooja, retired IAS. I was present at his marriage to the sculptress Usha Rani Joseph in London over 50 years ago. I stayed with them and their children — mostly their daughter Reema, now with a doctorate in archaeology from Cambridge and author of a couple of scholarly books. Bhoopi, as I have known, has assumed a new name, Kumar Bharati — G.B. Kumar Hooja, the author of Shahadat Nama: A Saga of Martyrs. He presented a copy to the rajmata and one to me. Before I retired for the night I took a casual glance at the Shahadat Nama. It starts with the uprising of 1857, which he, as other patriotic Indians, regards as India’s first war of independence.

Most serious historians are of the opinion that it was nothing of the sort. However, I was not in a mood to dispute his reading of Indian history. At the end the book has an appendix listing names of freedom fighters who were executed by the British in different Indian jails. More than half of them were Sikhs who formed a little over two per cent of the population of India. That filled me with a sense of pride. I slept the sleep of the just till sunlight streamed through the windows. An hour later we drove out of Rambagh Palace to take the road back to Delhi. I took the more comfortable seat in front and let my grand-daughter, Naina Dayal, and our escort, Reet Devi Varma, wife of Bheem Varma of Cooch Behar and nephew of the Rajmata, in the rear seat. After we passed the hill on which rise the magnificent escarpments of Amber fort, I dozed off dreaming of the days when I first saw Gayatri Devi in all her youthful glory till yesterday: how gracefully she had aged defying the ravages of time, which included a year and a half in Tihar jail, where a very vindictive Indira Gandhi had imprisoned her along with the rajmata of Gwalior during the Emergency for no fault of theirs except that she regarded both as her rivals.

Plenty of pun intended

Akbar Ilahabadi has been gone a long time but he remains my favourite poet for wit and satire. I am sure he could have lit up my mehfil without the help of a shama (lamp) or wine goblets going round. He was a puritan who even supported women wearing burqahs. However, one evening my friend Abid Saeed Khan who stands six feet four inches high in his slippers and grows the most delicious dussehri, ratol and langda mangoes in his orchards in his village Bugrasi, dropped in. He does so periodically to collect my surplus of books I cannot accommodate in my small apartment. His preference being English, I did not even suspect he had taste for Urdu poetry.

We were talking about some politicians who shamelessly switch sides when a party in the ascendant promises them a brighter future. Abid came out with a satire Akbar Ilahabadi had penned to lampoon the raja of Mahmoodabad, who had been supporting the Congress for many years but was veering towards the Muslim League which was gaining strength among Muslims of Uttar Pradesh:

Muzakkar he ko kehtey hain
Muannas she ko kehtey hain
Voh ek marde-e-mukhannas hain
Na heeon mein na sheeon mein

(The masculine gender is a he/ The feminine gender is a she/ But he is of a neuter gender/ Neither among the he-s nor among the Shias)

Mahmoodabad’s raja sahib was a Shia.

Akbar Ilahabadi had another dig at Sarojini Naidu. She came to him to solicit his support for the Home Rule League. Akbar was more inclined towards supporting the Muslim League. He told her in verse:

Shama khud ban jayegee
Mome to mangvaaeye
Rule main haazir karoonga
Home to dikhlaaye

(The candle will from itself/ Get some wax at first/ I will get you the rule you want/ But show me the home at first.)



Out of his depth

By choosing to penalise no fewer than six Indian Test stars, including the hitherto blameless Sachin Tendulkar, the match referee for the South Africa-India series, one Mike Denness — he celebrates (if that is the word) his 61st birthday next Saturday — has been caught, as it were, with his pants down.

It should be noted, though, that this is not the first time he has been caught in this compromising situation. To be sure, the first time it happened was in his hometown of Ayr in Scotland where he grew up. A local girl, Molly, whose father ran the local menswear shop, caught him in only his underpants when he was using her office as a changing room.

No serious damage was done. He knew Molly, who was six months older, since they had once been classmates at the local school, Ayr Academy. The upshot of this intimacy was that Denness, who was working in Glasgow in 1964 as an insurance salesman, asked Molly out. Within a few months, they were married.

This time, however, being caught, metaphorically, in a state of undress may end less happily for Denness. He isn’t English at all but Scottish which carries its own baggage in England. Scotsmen are meant to be dour and at the receiving end of English jokes (for instance, “the Scotsman keeps the Sabbath — and anything else he can lay his hands on”).

He has triggered the biggest crisis in the world of cricket for several years by picking on six Indians but there is nothing in his past to suggest that he has done it out of racist motives.

Quite the contrary, in fact. When he was captain of Kent between 1972-76, he never had a problem getting on with his non-white colleagues, including notably the West Indian fast bowler Bernard Julien and the brilliant Pakistani, Asif Iqbal. A “nice chap” is how he is remembered.

“The decisions he took as match referee has nothing to do with anything racial,” is the assurance given by those who shared the same dressing room with him for up to 10 years. “He was just following the rules. His sacking is no reflection on Mike’s personal qualities.”

The only explanation offered is that the crisis has been caused by Malcolm Speed, the no-nonsense Australian lawyer who took over recently as the chief executive of the International Cricket Council. It is the ICC that appoints match referees and the assumption is that Speed must have indicated to Denness that it was time to crack down on bad behaviour on the field. The job of match referee was not to be treated as a paid holiday. Denness, who probably needs the money, must have taken the hint and faithfully echoed his master’s voice. Now that he has been removed, he must hope that Speed will look after him.

Ever since Denness made his mark on cricket, he has been a respected figure in English cricket. He is not a flamboyant celebrity in the Ian Botham mould. When he went on tour abroad, the tabloids did not do stories on him bonking barmaids or smoking pot in foreign hotels. His friends remember him as an “attractive” opening batsman. Indeed, with Brian Luckhurst, he formed just about the best opening pair the English game had to offer in his day. A “very good county player” is how he is described.

As a cricketer, he showed talent at a precocious age. He was born on December 1, 1940, at Bellshill, near Glasgow. When he was seven, his family moved to Ayr where he learnt his cricket. At eight, he joined the junior team at the Ayr Cricket Club and spent hours at the nets. A kindly coach, Charlie Oakes, an old Sussex player, gave him a sense of style and timing.

He made his way into the Ayr First Eleven and made history in 1959 as the first schoolboy to be capped for Scotland against Ireland. His batting, fluent and full of easy strokes — much later he would employ his footwork against Indian spinners — was noticed by Jim Allan, a Kent all rounder. On the latter’s recommendation, Denness was given a trial at Kent by Les Ames, in 1961.

In 1962, he appeared for Kent for the first time against Essex. Unfortunately, he faced Jim Laker on a turning wicket and got a duck in the first innings and three in the second. But in the second game against Surrey, he top scored with 51 and quickly established himself.

Though a whippersnapper in 1961, he was not above criticising the great Colin Cowdrey. Kent, he suggested, would be better off with another captain. He had to hastily explain that what he had really meant that it was Kent’s misfortune that Cowdrey was a world class player and frequently absent on England duty.

“I am going to write to Cowdrey and tell him what I really said,” he commented apologetically. “In future, I shall have to stroke my t’s and dot my i’s.”

When Denness did succeed Cowdrey as Kent captain in 1969, he had the good fortune to lead the strongest side in the game. Kent then fielded not only field Bernard Julien and Asif Iqbal but also Allan Knott, Derek Underwood and Brian Luckhurst. Under Denness, Kent swept away the Sunday League championship three times, the Benson & Hedges Cup twice and the Gillette Cup once.

Though Geoff Boycott was recognised as the best opening batsman in England, the Yorkshireman was not considered suitable material to lead his country.

“No crystal ball is needed to see Denness as a future England captain,” thundered Michael Melford, the Sunday Telegraph’s influential cricket correspondent.

Denness toured India in 1972-3 as MCC vice-captain and in the opening game in Hyderabad against the President’s Eleven, missed a century by five runs. The Daily Telegraph’s late and legendary cricket correspondent purred with pleasure: “Denness is apparently batting better than anyone else.”

In 1973, although he had played only nine Tests and had yet to hit a hundred (he had scored plenty in county games), Denness replaced the old pro, Ray Illingworth, as England captain. Alas, his ascent to the top job marked the start of his downfall.

It was his bad luck that he was confronted by a rampant West Indies and Australia. In battle, he lacked bottle. Swanton spotted his weaknesses. “He has a mind of his own to the extent that, like many in his generation, he does not find it easy to take advice.”

In Australia in 1974-75, he was traumatised by the pace of Lillee and Thomson. In the fourth Test, he took the unprecedented step of standing down, a cowardly act which could have done nothing to boost troop morale. It was the shameful equivalent of a general abandoning his frontline soldiers.

When England went on to New Zealand after the Australian tour, Denness behaved badly by questioning the qualifications of the local umpires when lbw decisions did not go England’s way.

A match referee, had one existed then, might well have slapped a one-Test ban on him and docked 75 per cent of his match fee. By the summer, he was sacked as captain and replaced by the gregarious Tony Greig.

In 19 Tests under Denness, England had managed six wins and five defeats. In all, he played 28 Tests, with an average of 39.69 and a top score of 188. By 1977, his relationship with Kent had soured as well and he moved to Essex in 1980. In all, he played 501 games, with an average of 33.48 (highest score 195).

His wife, Molly (from whom he has now parted) — she brought up their children, Lizanne, now 35, Jane, 33, and Craig, 26 — acknowledged he had faced criticism as England captain.

“He accepts constructive criticism but he regards the rest as part and parcel of the job,” she once said. “But I’m afraid it does get to him.”

His “fairness and consistency” as match referee have been praised by Malcolm Speed but the evidence suggests that in modern cricket, Denness is out of his depth. He is personally a good man who should have called it a day after county cricket.



For a different ball game

Sir — Kapil Dev is on a comeback trail, but on the screen only. Perhaps he realizes that it is too late to re-enter the field (“Kapil’s true story to roll on screen with script by Satya reality-writer”, Nov 21). The Haryana Hurricane had kept a low profile after the infamous matchfixing allegations against him, leading to his historic breakdown on a television chat show. While hibernating, he might have taken a cue from Amitabh Bachchan, who has made it big in his new avatar as television anchorperson for Kaun Banega Crorepati. But unlike Bachchan, who could put his showmanship to use, Kapil Dev will have to depend on his histrionic skills. But if his previous TV performance is any indication, he’ll be an instant hit.

Yours faithfully,
Harmeet Singh Chawla, Haldia

Do a social service

Sir — Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate and renowned economist, is quite right in thinking that there is much room for improvement in the area of primary education in West Bengal, though things are marginally better now than they were a few years ago (“Amartya dissects private tuitions”, Nov 11). Sen made it clear that both the state government and the teachers share equal responsibility in rejuvenating the system of primary education in West Bengal. The editorial, “School report” (Nov 12), also provides an insightful analysis of Sen’s report and the problems plaguing education in Bengal.

The most striking point in Sen’s report, based on a survey of primary schools and Shishu Shiksha Kendras in Midnapore, Birbhum and Purulia, is the identification of private tuition as the worst feature of the state’s primary education system. Private tuition has so far been considered an urban phenomenon, and one shudders to think that it has spread its roots into the districts and villages, too. The economist’s recommendation of regularizing the midday meal scheme in primary schools calls for prompt implementation. For finding a solution to the problem means addressing questions of education as much as straightening out economic and social imbalances.

It might be a good idea for the Central and state governments to put their heads together and formulate a viable primary education policy for the country.

Yours faithfully,
Naren Sen, Howrah

Sir — The recently released report prepared by Amartya Sen’s Pratichi Trust has pointed out that illiteracy is the bane of West Bengal, and that private tuition is merely adding fuel to the fire. It is disheartening that even in the districts, achieving minimum literacy is contingent upon private tuition, since the primary education centres run by the state government fail to provide the basic services. Add to this widespread absenteeism among both teachers and students and social and economic inequalities, and the result is a sorry picture of the educational scenario.

On completing a hundred days in office, the chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, had reassured the people that his government plans to do a lot more in the education sector. But that was quite sometime before Sen’s report came out. As of now, Bhattacharjee has failed to deliver on his assurance.

Yours faithfully,
Niloy Sinha, Azimganj

Sir — In one of his first steps towards reforming the education sector of the state, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee announced that his government is going to introduce a bill to ban private tuition by government school teachers (“CM trains Bill gun on tuition menace”, Nov 12). Ironically, this came a day after Amartya Sen had identified private tuition to be the biggest obstacle for the improvement of primary education in the state. Also, the announcement was made in a rally in Purulia, one of the three districts in which Sen’s survey was conducted.

Most of the previous attempts to ban private tuition have been in vain. When appeals to the human conscience fail, stringent laws must be formulated to make the erring teachers stop the disgraceful practice. However, keeping in mind that some students might require additional guidance, a few senior teachers — perhaps those who could do with some extra allowance — may be authorized by the government to provide extra tuition to those students who might be lagging behind. If the will is there, even the worst social evils can be overcome.

Yours faithfully,
Ajit Basu, Chinsurah

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