Thursday, December 7, 2023

Letters to the Editor


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Cherry Blossom Festival should be more inclusive

I write to highlight the manifold benefits of Meghalaya’s Cherry Blossom Festival while proposing a solution to address concerns regarding the festival’s schedule. The festival, set to enchant us from the 17th to the 19th of this month, not only showcases the natural splendour of our region but also brings about numerous social and economic advantages.
The Cherry Blossom Festival has evolved into a cultural extravaganza, drawing visitors from far and wide. Beyond its visual allure, the festival has proven to be a catalyst for local businesses, cultural exchange, and community pride. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Meghalaya Tourism and the Government for their efforts in hosting this spectacular event.
Recognising that the festival falls on a Sunday, a day that some may find inconvenient, I propose a solution to ensure inclusivity. Consider extending the festival to include Sunday, allowing everyone the opportunity to participate. This approach would require coordination with local authorities, event organizers, and community representatives to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for all.
I believe that by incorporating this small adjustment, we can not only celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival’s beauty but also accommodate the diverse preferences of our community. Let us express our gratitude to Meghalaya Tourism and the government for fostering cultural vibrancy and consider this proposal as a step toward making the festival accessible to everyone.
The inclement weather on Friday has now allowed the Festival Organisers to extend the programme to Monday.
Yours etc.,
Rishotbaskhem Kharlyngdoh
Via email



Plea for innovation in textbook production

It was comforting to read the report, ”All’s not well with state’s education sector: CM” (ST 19th Nov. 2023). At last we have sensible and proactive measures spelled out by the Chief Minister himself to address school education. Now all decisions arrived at must be translated into action at ground level post haste vigorously!
However, what surprised me was ‘the burden of textbooks’! ELEVEN textbooks for classes I to III just shocked me! May I make a submission to reduce the number to TWO only. Here’s how. If modified NCERT textbooks are to be prescribed then break them up into two parts; half yearly and finals. At this level only 4 subjects are taught: English, Maths, Social Science and 2nd language. Barring 2nd language the other three subjects can be published together with a page indicating the subjects. All written exercises after each chapter are added which follow the examination pattern. Such books were used by private schools and publishers were happy to bring out school textbooks in such a manner.
The second part will adhere to the final term chapters. The other textbook a child will carry is the second language one. The other factor is the carrying of exercises books/copies. Here’s a suggestion. Have booklets printed that have loops at the spine which can be clipped into a plastic folder/file. The above two suggestions made were followed when I volunteered to assist in setting up our church school in Tezpur. It was well received, being the first and only school to adopt this system.
On the academic side it will be of immense help if teachers read Patricia Mukhim’s, ”Examination fever grips students’ parents, teachers”. All the Laws of Learning are explicitly individualized in a hard-hitting, yet poignant manner! Yes, teachers must have a missionary zeal in ”making classroom dynamic and interactive,” to foster ‘critical thinking’!
Yours etc.,
Kevin Phillips
Shillong – 19



Why this sudden fee hike by Delhi University?

Delhi University has raised the tuition fee for PhD students of the English department more than eightfold at one go. This is another horrific attempt to deprive umpteen number of students of our country of their right to education. Given DU is a government university, it reflects badly on government policy towards education. Being a backbencher in the Human Development Index (132nd position), India must emulate high ranking countries in the HDI which provide quality higher education free of cost for all – even for refugees and visitors, instead of spending money on the sun, moon and planet missions.
Yours etc.,
Sujit De,



Home Minister’s
3 new bills

On August 11, 2023, the Union Home Minister introduced three new Bills in the Lok Sabha, namely Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023 to replace Indian Penal Code 1860, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023 to replace Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, and Bharatiya Sakshya Sanghita 2023 to replace Indian Evidence Act 1872. The Bills were later referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for detailed examination and comments.
However, it is dismaying to find that there is very little discussion in the public domain about these three bills, which are likely to have a huge impact on the daily lives of ordinary Indian citizens. The absence of public debate and media coverage in this part of India is more pronounced. We urge everyone concerned to initiate public discourse on these three new Bills pertaining to the Union Home Ministry. The opinions of experts, and distinguished police personnel is urgently required before the legislation of these bills. Media houses should also take the initiatives in this regard.
Further, even the best intended legislation can do little if there are no reforms in the Indian Police System. Perhaps, the Governments would do better if Police reforms are carried out before such Bills are passed by the Parliament.
Yours etc.,
D Bhutia,
Guwahati – 24


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