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Your cover story (They Who Defy, December 9) definitely did justice to the problems faced by students. The government’s brazen and unabashed attempt to commercialise and privatise higher education is quite evident. However, it is surprising that no one is bothered about the uncertain future of 4,500 ad hoc lecturers in Delhi University who have not even got their salary this month. No major dailies have bothered to touch upon this issue as if JNU is the only university in this country. I definitely look forward to seeing your well-established magazine taking up the issue of temporary teachers who continue to be buffeted by the winds of indifference and callousness.
Aditya Mukherjee, Delhi
Since the JNU protests hit headlines, there has been a flurry of stories of the underprivileged who would have to drop out of JNU if the administration enforces the fee hike. There is, however, no talk about those who avail subsidised education after paying for exorbitant private schools. From healthcare to public transport, water to electricity, what is it that we don’t want for free? But free comes at a cost. So subsidies should be given only on a need basis.
J.S. Acharya, New Delhi
Our policymakers better listen to students. Else they will have to pay as dearly as the West did when students of Paris and other cities erupted in 1969. But, since history is a great teacher with no worthy students, there is little hope that the ruling dispensation will save India’s crumbling public educational institutions. Soon, not much will be left apart from expensive private universities like Jio, Ashoka and Sharada, which the masses cannot afford.
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
As a professor, I highly appreciate your cover story. From my experience of teaching for 32 years at the University of Kashmir, Srinagar, I believe the quality of education suffers when there is conflict between faculty and students. Freedom of speech is essential for education to flourish. As Murli Manohar Joshi succinctly puts it in his interview, “Trust deficit gives rise to unrest.” I endorse this statement with my long experience in Kashmir.
Moti Lal Pandit, New Delhi
The government says it wants to improve education facilities, but every year, the budget allocation for education is going down. We used to have a slogan that the outlay for education should be ten percent of the total budget, but in the last ten years, it has gone down from 10 to 3 per cent. This fight is not against the hike; it’s also against against privatisation of education. It is the fight of every student and college. Education is a basic right and the government must provide it to all sections of the society. One of JNU’s primary objectives was to provide education to underprivileged students. For decades, it strictly pursued this goal and remained within the reach of the poorest.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
For many, JNU seems to be the most dangerous place on earth, second only to Pakistan. Also, too much emphasis on science and technology will make India a robot republic.
Richa Juyal, Dehradun
This refers to Outlook’s 24th anniversary special (December 2). Their Last Ride, the Calcutta tram driver’s story, made me pause and ponder. I was new in the crowded metropolis in the 1960s. Public transport was horrible; the idea of boarding a bus was bone-chilling. Buses looked like a huge rolling mass of people stuck to it like magnets. I stayed in a rented house in Tollygunge, near the tram depot, and my office was at Esplanade East opposite Writers Building. I travelled every day comfortably on a tram from Tollygunge to Chowringhee, and back. The tram article revived memories of my life in Calcutta—sufficient to write a small book.
N. Bhartiya, Goa
Long live Outlook. I am delighted to see the changes in the magazine’s outlook—design changes that start in the letters page, stories and new attractive sections of news and features. As your steadfast reader, I have a few suggestions: an editorial from the editor-in-chief is essential. You may also convene an ‘Outlook India Speaks Conference’ annually, on the lines of the ‘Speakout’ event. Essays by experts on the distant past—things so contested politically in our day—as well as modern history would be an invaluable addition to your repertoire. Lastly, more remarkable standalone photographs and greater use of statistics to give muscle to your articles are necessary too.
M.Y. Shariff, Chennai
Your commitment to reporting issues pertaining to the underprivileged was apparent in the anniversary issue too. I have been reading Outlook for 19 years. I became a regular reader in 2000 after perusing Ajay Sukumaran’s excellent coverage of the legal battle in which TADA detainees from Veerappan’s gang were involved following the abduction of Kannada star Rajkumar. Deeply disturbed by the decision of the Karnataka government to swap the detainees with the matinee idol, my father (now deceased) Abdul Karim (a retired deputy superintendent of police) challenged the government and the TADA special court decision to let the crooks go as it amounted to injustice to victims’ families. My own family was among them—my younger brother Shakeel Ahmed, a sub-inspector, was ambushed by Veerappan and his gang on August 14, 1992. The SC allowed the appeal and criticised the government for giving in to the demands of a criminal. It also complimented my father for preventing this travesty of justice. In recognition of my father’s fight, your anniversary issue in 2001 featured my father under the heading ‘A Law Book for the Jungle’.
M. Jameel Ahmed, Yadavgiri
The anniversary issue is a true treasure trove of insights into a day of some idols and commoners. Another pleasant surprise was the December 9 issue—great new layout, with an eye-catching, bold new design. A reader since the first issue of Outlook, I am looking forward to an exciting 25th year.
Rumin B. Shah, Vadodara
My heartfelt thanks to you for devoting your diary to readers’ letters (Diary, November 4). I am a long-time reader and somewhat occasional sender of letters neatly written on postcards. My joy knows no bounds when my letter gets printed in your magazine.
Jyotiranjan Biswal, Durgapur
This refers to the Spotlight on nature clubs (October 28). We must form nature clubs in all high schools and colleges to help students gain practical knowledge and encourage them to love, protect and improve nature. Students must use bicycles instead of two- and four-wheelers, and do research on ways to reduce global warming and all kinds of pollution.
Ram Mohandoss, Kattankulathur
Loo(k) Ahead Letter to railways in 1909, after which toilets were introduced on Indian trains