Illusion of safety
Sir — The fact that as much as 60 per cent of the population of the United States of America supports George W. Bush’s war against Iraq makes one marvel at the general American’s callousness and stupidity (“Bush road-show for attack build-up”, Oct 8). For the common American the world can go to the dogs as long as his own life is not at stake and he is not accosted with the unpleasant sights of the bodybags of his countrymen from wars in foreign shores. It is this combination of deep-seated insecurity and material selfishness that now threatens to set off another world war.
Tina De, Calcutta
Sir — Ragging in educational institutions has claimed yet another life — Anoop Kumar, a student at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Lucknow (“Ragging drives student to suicide”, Sept 14). The setting up of an inquiry committee immediately after a ragging incident is not going to put an end to this menace. Senior students indulging in ragging juniors should be given exemplary punishment. They should not only be expelled from the institute concerned, but also barred from entering any other educational institution in the country. In cases where the victim commits suicide or is subjected to intense physical torture, the assaulters should be put behind bars.
The rise in incidents of ragging have exposed the flaws in the education system, which may be successful in producing academically brilliant students, but has surely failed to inculcate the right values in them. Educationists and policy-makers should think now of value-based, rather than career-based, education.
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur
Sir — Not so long ago, ragging used to be a harmless, yet warm, ritual of initiation for freshers. It would offer new students an opportunity to get to know the college as well as their seniors through some fun. Thus a boy who could not sing would be made to do so. However, what happens in the name of ragging nowadays is quite different. Students are harassed physically as well as mentally and are humiliated by their seniors. Ragging becomes an expression of domination and cruelty. Anoop Kumar is not the first student to commit suicide after being ragged. College and university authorities have never thought beyond expelling students guilty of ragging. Have sociologists ever tried to find out why there is a higher incidence of ragging in the engineering and medical streams rather than in the humanities'
Sujata Kundu, Calcutta
Sir — Although ragging is a common practice in educational institutions, it comes to light only when a complaint is lodged (“Ragging sparks expulsions”, Aug 29). It is unfortunate that the Chhatra Parishad has raised the issue of discrimination at a time when the administrators of Katwa College had taken stern action against the guilty students. Instead of accusing the college authorities of partiality, the students’ union should dwell on its inability to prevent such incidents.
Sujit De, Sodepur
Right to corruption
Sir — Brijesh D. Jayal’s article, “Transparently corrupt” (Oct 1), reminded us once more that politicians and bureaucrats form two of the most corrupt classes in the country. That politicians, irrespective of their party affiliations, came together to veto the initiative of the Supreme Court and the Election Commission to clean up the electoral process, only confirms this. Other than the Central vigilance commission, a separate body could be constituted under the president of India to help monitor and minimize corruption.
C.R. Bhattacharjee, Calcutta
Sir — Brijesh D. Jayal’s article was relentless in its criticism of our political representatives who are, with the exception of a negligible section, thoroughly corrupt and lacking in moral values. Given that the political leaders of the country have refused to enforce some degree of accountability in their lives, the citizens will have to take the drastic step of launching an agitation demanding a certain degree of honesty from them.
Govinda Bakshi, Budge Budge