A man of no importance
Sir — What does it matter if Laloo Prasad Yadav has a magnetic personality or that his life is “simple and candid”' Is that reason enough to set questions on him in a board examination (“Know your Laloo, score a 10”, Dec 5)' Bihar’s educationists seem to be bending over backwards to pay obeisance to the man who is no more than the husband of the chief minister. But what these sycophants do not realize is the harm they are doing the Bihar education system. Who will be to blame if the students, fed-up with such overt politicization, migrate to other states to pursue studies'
Rimi Dutta, Ranchi
All in the mind
Sir — No one can fault Ashok Guha’s observation that excessive dependence on technology weakens the human intelligence (“High tech, low brain”, Nov 30). This may be why the young are discouraged from using calculators. But there are other curses of the modern age that have affected our thinking. “Specialization” is one such. Today’s specialists lack a holistic vision and work which would be handled by one person earlier is now divided among many. This may save one the trouble of considering all the minute details, but it is also very limiting.
Consumerism has kindled the desire for material things but privileging the body over the mind means one is exerting the mind less. If these trends are allowed to continue unchecked, then over time, the progress of humankind will surely get throttled.
Sujit De, Calcutta
Sir — Intelligence is a crucial determining factor in human life. With each new generation taking the human intellect on the path of greater excellence — propelled by the complexities and inquisitiveness of the mind — more and more people are acquiring the intellectual standards possessed earlier by only a few.
Advances in biology may also help this process by modifying the brain so as to increase the human intelligence dramatically. At present, the world’s complexities far outstrip our capacity to acquire and process information and put it to the best use. And in this we must remember that all the electronic gadgetry that we clutter our lives with nowadays is merely a means and not the end to this quest for a more manageable future.
Surajit Basak, Calcutta
On the slow gear
Sir — While the West Bengal government is very good at making plans, it is sadly lacking when it comes to implementation. The grand plan to build a car park in the heart of the city is one such (“Private pitch for BBD Bag parking lot”, Dec 2). It is appalling that a government, which has been in power for over two decades and has a strong majority in the legislature, is today saying it does not have the funds to provide basic amenities to the people. What has it been doing all these years'
Many suggestions have been made to clean up the city — get rid of old, rickety taxis, remove encroachments, discipline traffic by empowering the police and the like. These have been on paper for many years, but time stands testimony to the government’s tardy implementation.
While new public projects are definitely welcome, the government must show more determination in making people more answerable to the laws of the state. It is also important to ensure parties do not resort to bandhs at the drop of a hat. But perhaps it is too much to ask all this of a government, which has made more promises than it could keep and which has a vested interest in keeping the state in its present state of chaos.
R.B. Easwaran, Chennai
Sir — I am a 67-year-old physically-handicapped man. During a recent visit to Calcutta, I was impressed with many things in the city. But what caught my imagination most was the Metro Railway. Comparable to the London tube, the engineers of Calcutta’s tube, nevertheless, seem to have missed one detail. At the terminuses, provisions could have been made so that the old and disabled did not have to negotiate the numerous steps leading to platforms. There should have been provisions to allow people like us to board trains from the roads. There are escalators, one may say, but these are not of much help to the old and disabled.
S. Desikamani, Chennai