regular-article-logo Friday, 31 May 2024

Letters to the Editor: Millionaire gives up wealth for ‘social experiment’, ends project prematurely

Readers write in from Calcutta, East Burdwan, Howrah, Faridabad, Kanpur and Noida

The Editorial Board Published 25.04.24, 07:50 AM
Mike Black

Mike Black [Source: YouTube screenshot]

Wasted effort

Sir — Cosplaying — dressing up and roleplaying as fictional characters — has become a popular social activity. But what if someone tried to play the part of the aam aadmi? This is exactly what Mike Black, a millionaire, tried to do. He gave up his car, business and house as part of a ‘social experiment’ to try and earn a million dollars from nothing. Black recently ended his demonstration prematurely owing to his failing health, having earned only $64,000 in 10 months. Critics have justifiably questioned if the experiment can even compare to the experience of a poor, homeless person’s struggle to make ends meet, given Black’s prior business experience and familial safety net. Perhaps this monk would have been better off keeping his Ferrari.


Anjana Dasgupta, Calcutta

Just concern

Sir — The verdict of the Calcutta High Court in the long-running case of irregularities in staff recruitment under the West Bengal education department is unprecedented (“HC ‘fraud’ axe on 25,000 teachers”, April 23). However, the ruling dispensation in the state should abide by this judgment and set its house in order. It should initiate a fresh recruit­ment process to address the concerns of deserving candidates who have been agitating for a long time instead of challenging the verdict in a higher court using
taxpayers’ money.

Arun Kumar Baksi, Calcutta

Sir — The Calcutta High Court has ordered the cancellation of over 25,000 appointments of teachers and Group C and D staff made through the state-level selection test in 2016. If so many teachers and non-teaching staff are dismissed in one fell swoop, students will suffer. Fresh recruitment should thus be initiated by an independent body immediately. Those involved in the scam must be punished severely. The scandal has eroded public trust in Bengal’s education system. Parents are now less likely to send their children to government schools.

D.P. Bhattacharya, Calcutta

Sir — The cancellation of the appointments of thousands of government schoolteachers in Bengal by the Calcutta High Court is a huge blow to the Mamata Banerjee-led government, especially during the Lok Sabha elections (“Failed test”, April 24). One wonders whether the Supreme Court will grant the state government any relief because the process of recruitment has been proven to be biased. The high court has rightly stated that the unfair selection process violated Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. Those who have played ducks and drakes with the lives of thousands of educated youths should be punished.

Shyamal Thakur, East Burdwan

Sir — Referring to the enormity of the corruption in the recruitment process of the West Bengal School Service Commission in 2016, the Calcutta High Court has
stated that it would be impossible to distinguish between legitimate and illegal appointments. While it is not in the public interest to retain the services of unscrupulous appointees, would it also not be a gross miscarriage of justice to deny bona fide recruits a means of employment owing to this full-scale cancellation? The offenders who have already been identified by investigative agencies should be fired from their jobs along with other dishonest candidates, if any, within a specific time frame.

Goutam Narayan Deb, Calcutta

Sir — The Calcutta High Court has dismissed more than 25,000 schoolteachers and non-teaching staff, many of whom had been appointed by the WBSSC in 2016 through allegedly underhanded means. But questions remain about whether all the candidates were incompetent and had obtained jobs through bribes. Reports state that almost 20,000 aspirants had been appointed on merit. The common people are already aware who the main accused are in the scam. Justice should be delivered to those who acquired the jobs under their own steam; only the unethical candidates and officials should be punished.

Mrinal Kanti Kundu, Howrah

Special skills

Sir — Dommaraju Gukesh, who announced his arrival on the world stage spectacularly by conquering elite chess players, including the world number two, Fabiano Caruana, and the world number three, Hikaru Nakamura, deserves to be congratulated (“Gukesh shows creativity rules supreme”, April 23). Gukesh had achieved the title of grandmaster at the age of 12 and has now become the youngest player to win the Candidates Chess tournament. He will now face China’s Ding Liren for the title of world champion later this year. No matter what the result of that match, Gukesh’s victory is proof of the rising popularity of chess in India.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

Sir — India’s prowess in chess needs no introduction. Champions like Dommaraju Gukesh, Koneru Humpy and R. Praggnanandhaa continue to make India proud. Gukesh has justified every sacrifice made by his parents. The hopes of millions of Indians will be with him as he tries to create history by becoming the youngest world champion by defeating the Chinese player, Ding Liren.

Kirti Wadhawan, Kanpur

Sir — Dommaraju Gukesh has shown that not only does he have exceptional talent but that he is also mature. Garry Kasparov, whose record as the youngest winner of the Candidates Chess tournament Gukesh has broken, hailed the latter’s achievement as an “Indian earthquake in Toronto”. In recent months, the position of the top-ranked Indian chess player has circulated among Gukesh, R. Praggnanandhaa, Arjun Erigaisi and Vidit Gujrathi. This bears testament to the immense depth of chess talent in our country.

Bal Govind, Noida

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