Everyone writes to the general
Sir — It was expected. Less than two months after the ecstasy over India’s propositioning of Pakistan to end the diplomatic stalemate, it is back to square one (“Musharraf tempers talks hope”, June 17). India may still be patting itself on the back for having been bold enough to hold its door ajar, Pakistan meanwhile feels no qualms in slamming it shut. Pervez Musharraf, in his interview to an Indian television channel, has clearly stated (and he is bound to repeat himself in his foreign tours) that hostilities between the two states will recur. What makes the general so confident that he will get away with his war-mongering while India feels obliged to tone down its guard' It surely cannot be the general’s participation in the war against terrorism alone that quarantines him to international pressure. Is it because this nurturer of al Qaida has also started nurturing some secret America wouldn’t want the world to know'
J. Mahato, Calcutta
Sir — I was one of those who wanted to use the internet to know how one of my relatives had fared in the Madhyamik examinations. From what I see, it is clear that technology implementation in West Bengal is at best sloppy. The authorities concerned have argued that the bandwidth was not enough to take the load of so many requests. But the way the www.tathyabangla.org website has been designed, the bandwidth will never be enough.
Let me be more specific. When you connect to the Tathyabangla site, it has a background image of the size of 37 kilobytes. It also has six other small images, each the size of 2.7 KB. So, it takes around 53 x 8 KB or 424 KB just to enter the Tathyabangla site. This is approximately 0.5 megabytes. Which means only one user per second can connect to Tathyabangla. The same with www.wbgov.com. The first page has an image of 480 KB. What a wastage of bandwidth. It is a common practice not to load the site with large-sized image files without any value addition. Yet this seems to be typical of all West Bengal government website designs. The contents are full of bad English. One could check the school education department’s website to sample it. Before the education ministry pulls the plug on internet result publication, it would be appropriate to review the quality of the information technology service being provided.
Shyama Prasad Mandal, Virginia, US
Sir — This year’s Madhyamik examination results have really tried the patience of the young ones who had to wait for long hours in front of computers. The government was supposed to release the results at 10 am sharp on June 15. But for many this turned out to be a six hour ordeal. Why the government failed to make the best use of the internet is still a mystery. However, the result published on www.wbgov.com was more accessible than the other website.
Despite the chaos, the West Bengal board of secondary education should be congratulated for the bold initiative of trying to make use of the advances in technology.
T.R. Anand, Calcutta
Sir — It is not unusual for the chief minister and his comrades to think differently (“No-show rap logs out board from net result”, June 17). So while Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee may think practically and insist that the Madhyamik chaos could have been avoided had the results been posted on the net around midnight the day before instead of the peak hours on Sunday last, the president of the West Bengal board of secondary education, Dibyendu Hota, anachronistically thinks that pre-posting on the net goes against the spirit of equality. Why did this “wisdom” not dawn on the board earlier' Besides, students of the other boards do not seem to be afflicted by any sense of discrimination when they see their results on the net. Why should Madhyamik students feel that way'
Jayanta Haldar, Calcutta
Sir — The West Bengal board of secondary education should go back to the more staid methods of declaring results. Dibyendu Hota rightly argues that pre-posting goes against the principle of equality. This is crucial to a state like West Bengal and a board like the Madhyamik whose students belong mainly to the suburbs and rural areas. How will results on the internet help them'
M. Sikdar, Hooghly
Sir — According to Janine Wynne-Peters, sex has become a fashion and peer pressure is the main reason for young couples to experiment with sex without knowing the pitfalls (“Sex and the Indian teenager”, June 14). Given the circumstances, sex education should be introduced in school. However, none can deny that the consumerist culture and commercial films have made sex trendy. Together, they have made relationships a short, mechanical, sex-oriented fling instead of a long, friendly and humane companionship.
In a television advertisement of a popular brand of shampoo, a girl is seen ready to embrace a boy. But when the girl spots dandruff on the shoulder of her mate, she starts caressing another man. It is really alarming that such advertisements and B-grade movies are shaping impressionable minds to such an extent that teenagers are being forced to experiment with sex for the fear of being labelled “lily-livered” or “chikna” by their friends. If advertisers are given a free hand, they will perhaps make a fashion out of urinating under the lamp post.
Sujit De, Sodepur
Sir — Indian teenagers hardly have the chance to obtain proper information on sex. Further, our sexually repressed society has failed to regard sex as a natural function. So, accurate information about sexual response has not been freely available. Though Indians regard sexual behaviour as an important part of marriage, the learning of sexual techniques and the right attitude towards it is left to chance.The result is that many young people start out with faulty expectation and a lack information that impair their sexual adequacy.
Masood Md. Sohail, Calcutta