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Victor lies vanquished

Sir — Victors are supposed to walk with their heads held high, and not steal into conquered territory like a pariah. The manner in which George W. Bush slunk into Iraq proves that all’s not quite right on the west Asian front (“Flight to Baghdad: Untold story”, Nov 29). Spin doctors have tried to pass off Bush’s secret rendezvous as a “security measure”. However, the real need for such secrecy stems from Bush’s lack of popularity in Baghdad. Time and again, Bush has stated that America has liberated Iraq from the hands of a tyrant. But instead of handing over the country’s reconstruction to its people, the Americans have dug in their heels in Iraq. The president seems to have forgotten that instituting a puppet ministry by overlooking popular mandate is the hall mark of an aggressor, not that of a liberator. Mounting American casualties and the president’s hasty, nocturnal visit confirms that Americans might have won the war, but they have lost the moral battle in Baghdad.

Yours faithfully,
Ashit Sen, Calcutta


Timely warning

Sir — The editorial “Sniggering at HIV” (Nov 5) draws attention to a smouldering problem in India. There is no dispute over the fact that awareness about HIV and AIDS is severely lacking among government officials and the public. However, the editorial overlooked another critical factor that probably plays the most vital role in winning over any medical catastrophe. Not only the ordinary people, even a large fraction of medical practitioners across the country suffer from the lack of proper knowledge about the disease.

The primary duty to educate a society about different diseases in their true perspectives lies with the doctors. Unfortunately, many Indian doctors themselves are deficient in the scientific knowledge about AIDS due to the lack of an appropriate policy of “continuing medical education”, unlike in the West. AIDS is a relatively new disease and doctors who graduated from medical schools before the Eighties had little chance to know in detail about HIV and AIDS.

Unless these older generation of doctors update themselves on a regular basis with information about diseases like AIDS, they would fail to fulfil their larger social responsibility. It is a shame that in spite of medical council acts that every physician has to obtain adequate number of “continuing medical education”credits at regular intervals, hardly any doctor adhere to these regulations. This is why reports like “Doctor refuses to touch AIDS patient” frequently appear in India. It is impossible for any well-informed doctor to fear contamination only through “touch” in the case of AIDS.

Yours faithfully,
Kunal Saha, Columbus, USA


Sir — Jairam Ramesh presents ample evidence in “The time bomb ticks” (Nov 27) to demonstrate that HIV/AIDS in India and China has almost reached epidemic proportions (“The time bomb ticks”, Nov 27). But recent announcements of Sushma Swaraj, Union minister for health and family welfare, reflects a favourable change in government policy and programmes. However, four cardinal points need to be remembered to prevent the time bomb from exploding. One, educating and informing people about how AIDS is transmitted is important, but not enough. Two, programmes for increasing the use of condoms is as essential as those for propagating sexual abstinence and conjugal loyalty. Three, a “holistic” approach, including free treatment of HIV-positive children with anti-retroviral drugs, would be preferred to the existing approach which is aimed at prevention.

Yours faithfully,
Moni Nag, New York


Sir — The printed envelope used by the Unit Trust of India Investor Services Limited, Navi Mumbai has this message printed in bold, “Prevent AIDS-Love All”. One would have thought that this deadly disease originates from multiple love affairs.

Yours faithfully,
Asit Kusari, Calcutta


Market rules

Sir — Ashok Mitra’s “Follow the m arket” (Nov 28) is typical of the bigotry and myopia that has been the hallmark of most communists. Certain things that Mitra says about Indian Institute of Management graduates are not only ridiculous, they prove that Mitra is hopelessly out of touch with the current market realities. Let it be put on record that not all graduates, but only the top few, who get an MBA from any of the IIMs today fetch fancy salaries and work with “dream MNCs”. The backbenchers’ plight is carefully hidden from public scrutiny by the skilful public relations of the IIMs. Regarding the myth of training at IIM, not a single employer who comes to the campuses every year is under the illusion that managers are made in management institutes and better managers are made in better institutes.

That there was some stink in the common admission test was well guessed by employers a few years ago. The recent scandal has only exposed the loopholes in the system. The scam will make employers more vigilant during the selection process. As soon as the market gets a hint of the fact that a seat in IIM does not ensure a job, IIMs will cease to be hot property.Whether Mitra likes it or not, the market is indeed supreme and finds its own equilibrium.

Yours faithfully,
Brojo Dulal Roy, Calcutta


Sir — It is disappointing to note that the IIMs have restricted the CAT 2003 retest to only those candidates who had secured admit cards for the November 23 examination. The IIMs should have used this opportunity to invite fresh applications, so that students who had not applied earlier could have applied. Several prospective candidates, particularly from Coimbatore, had decided to give CAT 2003 a miss, because the date clashed with their university exams. Reopening the CAT application process will enable these students to give the IIMs a shot.

Yours faithfully,
Avinash Kuppuswamy, Coimbatore

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