Sir — The makers of Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin are trying to sell the soap by emphasizing its protagonist’s “ordinariness” as a refreshing contrast to the tacky artifice of the saas-bahu serials (“Plain Jane Jassi takes on prime-time saas-bahus”, Dec 3). But haven’t the producers gone a little overboard with the plain-Jane get-up' Surely it was not necessary to have the hideous braces, outdated glasses and impossible hairstyle to make Jassi look “ordinary”' Business administration graduates, especially, do not dress like that. Sadly, Jassi... is no less contrived than the saases and bahus.
Antara Moitra, Calcutta
Sir — The state government’s decision to implement the grade system in schools on a trial basis from next year will come as a relief to many (“Grades go trial in schools next year”, Nov 25). Quite rightly, the new system will be introduced initially in classes VI-VIII in schools affiliated to the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. The grade system of assessing students is preferred the world over because it has many clear advantages over the practice of giving marks. The real benefits of grades will be perceived if the system is extended to the secondary and higher secondary examinations. If this is done, there will hopefully be fewer cases of unfair marking of answer papers and lesser need for students to approach the courts or run pillar to post to get their papers re-evaluated.
Perhaps, the new system will also put an end to unhealthy competition among students for even a single mark. This is especially true of students in lower classes, who are focussed more on getting marks than on learning the subject well.
Priyanka Aich, Calcutta
Sir — The proposed grading system will, if nothing else, provide some relief to students who are nagged and berated by their parents if they get even one mark less than their friends.
Snigdha Goenka, Calcutta
Sir — It is a surprise to know that the West Bengal government has realized the folly of not introducing English at the primary level and now wants to start a new course in English for engineers, especially in information technology (IT’s fine, but it’s not English”, Nov 18). Then what about students like me who have studied in state-aided Bengali-medium schools' I have completed my graduation in commerce from Calcutta University this year. But I have been unable to find a job, the problem being the usual inability to communicate in English. Will the authorities extend the course to students like me'
Zakir Hossain, Calcutta
Sir — India is fast making a mark in knowledge-based industries like information technology and biotechnology. Thus it is good that the West Bengal government has decided to start a spoken English course for engineering graduates. For, despite being among some of the best brains, engineers from Bengal are edged out by their counterparts in the rest of the country.
It should also look at Malaysia where the government has made it mandatory for mathematics and science to be taught in English, right from the primary levels. That will be a more comprehensive and concrete step.
Indranil Basu, Singapore
Sir — I have read much about India’s IT industry and it’s growing biotech industry, but I have heard little about India’s marine technology. India has thousands of miles of coastline, besides the mineral wealth, not to speak of the marine life which could be used for medicinal purposes. Having traded with Rome and China as an ancient sea-faring nation, India must have a rich treasure trove of archaeological material underneath. In Louisiana, where I live, there are vast stretches in the ocean which have wind turbines contributing clean and environmentally sound energy without taking up a lot of space on land. India, which is a more populated country, could think of similar ways to generate energy without wasting precious space.
C. Wijeyasingha, Louisana, US