Monday, April 22, 2024

Poor numerical ability the culprit


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With regards to your paper’s news item, “Rakkam goads Meghalaya’s youth to crack IAS exams” ( ST- Jan 13,2024), I would like to say that our Hon’ble Education Minister’s lamentations about the lack of success of our candidates in UPSC exams did not come too soon. In fact, they came very late in the day. It is concerning that the last time a tribal candidate could crack the IAS exams was 12 years ago. But, should our focus be on this exam only? To me, what is more concerning is the dwindling success rate of indigenous tribal candidates even in lower level exams conducted by the central government recruitment agencies like the Staff Selection Commission, etc. At this level too, tribal candidates from other Northeastern States outperform our candidates. As I see it, the obvious culprit is the gradual deterioration of our educational standards. It has been many years since the MBOSE has devalued the importance of Mathematics at the Secondary level by allowing those who fail in the subject to be promoted to the next higher class. This has spawned tens of thousands of students with weak numerical abilities over the years. Their weak capacity to comprehend, reason about and apply numerical ideas has put most of them at a life-long disadvantage. When it comes to competitive exams at almost all levels, everyone knows that tests of numerical competency are integral. So, it goes without saying that most of our students who have been rendered weak in Mathematics by our faulty educational system stand little chance of success.
The Hon’ble Education Minister promised ” that the state government will do its bit of shouldering the responsibility” to reverse this trend. To this end, the government should also give due importance to grooming students to succeed in exams for the middle and lower level central government posts as well as it is being done by the government of Mizoram.
In conclusion, it is my turn to lament the total absence of civil society organizations that work to improve the employability of our armies of unemployed youth. In the past, there used to exist organizations like the Khasi Jaintia Welfare Organization which contributed immensely in guiding our candidates to succeed in competitive exams for various jobs especially in central government departments and organizations. We need such organisations to shoulder responsibility to train our youth the face interview boards, especially the viva-voce.
Yours etc.,
Samuel Swett,

Congress boycott of inauguration of Ram temple

Now it is official that Cong leaders Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjuna Kharge and Adhir Ranjan had declined the offer to attend the Ram temple inauguration on Jan 22. because they treat it as a political function and not a religious one. As expected the Congress’s refusal to grace the occasion in Ayodhya is going to render it vulnerable to the BJP’s accusation of the party being indifferent to the sentiments of the majority community. The INDIA bloc has also been accused of Muslim appeasement.
Presently there is a competition going on as to who is the true custodian of Sanatana Dharma and BJP is the front runner as of now. The Shankaracharyas had also jumped in and up to Jan 22 which is the day of the inauguration of the Ram Temple such discussions will go on. Four Shankaracharyas had decided not to attend the inauguration of Ram Temple saying that it is not being performed as per Sanatana Dharma. This has already caused enough embarrassment for the BJP
It is, therefore, unsurprising that the BJP is eager to deflect public attention towards another act of spurning the invitation to the pran pratishtha ceremony — that of the Congress. Two senior BJP ministers have led the charge, denouncing the decision by the Congress as evidence of its anti-Hindu leanings. Yet, the Congress’s reasoning for not attending the grand ceremony is not unprincipled. Religion’s status as an article of personal faith — a constitutional position remains. The BJP’s inclination to reap political dividends out of the ceremony is an undeniable truth and the hasty inauguration of the shrine which is a violation that the shankaracharyas mentioned — are, the Congress says, the factors that prevented its leadership from honouring the invitation.
It is a well known fact that this is happening even as the Lok Sabha elections will be held after the budget session which is scheduled for January 30 to Feb 09 and as per media elections could be declared in February instead of March as the INDIA bloc is still not united and there are contradictions on seat sharing and also Rahul Gandhi’s long March will be resumed and will continue up to the month of March.
However it is seen that there is often a chasm between principles and prudent politics. For instance the origin of AAP was against Congress but now both parties may contest the parliament elections unitedly .
The Congress’s refusal to grace the occasion in Ayodhya on January 22 is going to render it vulnerable to the BJP’s accusation of the party being indifferent to the sentiments of the majority community. This could be a formidable hurdle in an election year given the electorate’s enchantment with the politics of polarisation, a trend that has sharpened with the political ascendancy of the BJP under Narendra Modi. Further, INDIA, the Opposition bloc, is speaking in many voices on the Ram temple inauguration. The Congress’s refusal to be present may lead to a strain in the alliance considering Nitish Kumar’s position on the matter. But it would be naïve to suggest that the Congress is unaware of the political risks of the decision. Also many Congress leaders are speaking against the decision of the Party. For the last two elections Congress party had not won enough seats to be elected leader of opposition. If this trend continues the party may meet the same fate.
In fact there may even be some wisdom to it. The Congress’s flirtations with soft Hindutva has usually led to electoral debacles and the latest example is of Madhya Pradesh where the party had chosen to follow soft Hindutva.
Exposing the BJP’s electoral, as opposed to spiritual, reliance on Ram while simultaneously investing in a public campaign that prioritises bread and butter issues — the focal point of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra — could thus be a conscious strategy on the part of the Congress. There is need to read the pulse of a voter who is in favour of the inauguration of Ram Temple on Jan 22 and the boycott of the ceremony by the Congress leaders who had received the invitation. This may prove costly to the Party in the Lok Sabha elections. It will then be treated as a blunder by Congress for declining the offer to attend the ceremony of Jan 22.
As the Lok Sabha elections are fast approaching this refusal could be the litmus test for the Congress party because the Sangh Parivar already wanted this to happen so that the BJP may then concentrate on religious issues and can ignore talks of unemployment and inflation. The Congress has created the situation which can go against the I.N.D.I.A bloc.
By declining the invitation, the Congress party is now exposed as a Party adopting the policy of appeasement. It also shows that the Congress party is fully dependent on its allies and is unable to take a decision on its own. It will become clear after the parliament elections whether this decision to boycott the ceremony was right or wrong.
Yours etc.,
Yash Pal Ralhan,
Via email



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