Crash course on the Kennedys
Sir — What would America or the world gain from the knowledge that “JFK Jr, wife were close to divorce before crash” (July 2)' Why is there so much desperation to prove that the “Kennedy curse” still works' Drugs and violence are never far away from modern existence, particularly in the United States of America which reports a high incidence of marital violence. The Kennedys, successful and rich, are naturally prone to the vices. The Kennedy junior might have been unhappy in marriage, but that does not prove that he was cursed.
J. Mahato, Calcutta
Sir — Gone are the days when only 30 per cent students would clear the Madhyamik examinations. The percentage of successful candidates has now climbed to 70 per cent, 8 per cent more than the corresponding figure for the central board of secondary education. Yet the people of West Bengal still believe that the CBSE awards higher marks to its candidates than the West Bengal board of secondary education. Although Madhyamik students now get 80 per cent marks in most of their papers, the same marks scored by a CBSE student is considered to be equivalent to 75 per cent in the West Bengal board. It should actually be the other way round since students of the state board can increase their total score by 5 per cent to 7 per cent because of the additional subject. Students of CBSE schools have no such chance. To make matters worse, there is the quota system which makes evident that the West Bengal board is afraid to allow its students to compete with students of other boards.
The state government has the responsibility to provide the same facility it does for students of its own board to CBSE and Indian certificate of secondary education students who wish to pursue higher studies in state board schools and colleges. It is good that the state government is reconsidering the higher secondary syllabi on the lines of that of the other boards, which attests to the superior standards of the latter.
Sir — The editorial, “Tongues out” (July 2), suggests that Bengalis are “communal” as they refer to settlers from the other states as “non-Bengalis”. But the fact we never get to hear terms like “non-Oriya” or “non-Tamil” does not mean people of Orissa and Tamil Nadu exemplify national integration. Remember, in both the states, study of the local language is compulsory. West Bengal is perhaps the only state where an individual can finish school without a knowledge of the local language.
The editorial further argues that the proposed introduction of Bengali in schools in the state amounts to chauvinism. Perhaps it is not chauvinistic when CBSE affiliated schools, particularly the Kendriya Vidyalayas situated throughout the country, ignore the local languages of the respective states, forcing students to take up Hindi on the pretext that it is the “national” language. Parents’ wishes that the vernacular be taught in these schools fall on the deaf ears of the imperialist Centre. Bengali cosmopolitanism has ensured that Bengali remains relegated to a second language in the state. Perhaps we need to be chauvinistic like Bal Thackeray to rejuvenate the language.
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur
Sir — In the battle of implementing the acronyms, VAT seems to have lost out, while CNG and CAS are still struggling (“If gas worked, so will CAS”, July 3). It is strange that the government is offering such convoluted logic to justify the premature implementation of the conditional access system, as it did when compressed natural gas was implemented without proper infrastructure. But it backed out for the value added tax regime even when all the major business states were ready.
VAT is a scientific system of tax collection and should be implemented at the earliest. But perhaps the set-top box manufacturers’ lobby is as strong as the traders’ lobby which stalled VAT. So CAS will go through and VAT will have to wait.
Sunil Garodia, Calcutta