The Tribune Chandigarh, Opinion page, 4 November 2012
THIS year’s rankings of world universities spring no surprises as far as India is concerned. India as before is placed very low. In a list prepared by a London-based educational advice company, Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd (QS), the highest ranking entry from India is the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, which is placed at number 212. Next comes IIT Bombay at 227, followed by IIT Kanpur at 278. India’s dismal performance stands in sharp contrast to that of China which has seven entries among the top 200, with Peking University placed at 44.
India and China live in two different worlds. India notices a problem and whines; China notices a problem and acts. China can plan for the next 500 years while India cannot see beyond the current fiscal year or at best the remaining portion of the top man’s tenure. Most importantly, India wishes to be patronised by the West whereas China wishes to compete with and eventually dethrone it.
It is no doubt good to win international recognition, but this recognition should be a natural corollary of national efforts and not an end in itself. In the years after Independence, more and more educational and research institutions have been made part of political patronage. In the name of globalisation, the Indian state has abdicated its responsibility in the vital area of education, neglected its own institutions, and permitted commercial interests to degrade the whole system. Salvation for India lies not in creating a handful of gold-plated elitist institutions which will be noticed abroad, but in raising the standards of an average school, college and university.
Sur Kshetra is a well meaning watchable popular program currently showing on Indian television It revolves around healthy competition between two teams of Indian and Pakistani singers, which are judged by a panel of three judges drawn from Bangla Desh, India and Pakistan.They are well known singers in their own right: Runa Laila, Asha Bhosle, and Abida Parveen The anchor has a photogenic face and could have become a successful heroine in the silent movie era.
The main point however is her linguistic ability. She has no respect for grammar: Pakistan team jeet gaya. India ko 10 point mila hai. ( jeet gayi, mile hain). The worst offence is her inability to say kshetra. She pronounces it as Shetra. The only point that can be said in her favour is that many others also say shetra instead of kshetra,
This program, this channel, and in fact all channels need to hire people who know the language well. India must be the only country in the world where mass media shows such disrespect to the language
The Tribune Chandigar 4 July 2010
Letter to Editor
The article on All India Radio makes interesting reading (Perspective, June 27). There is a need to arrest a recent negative trend, especially in Hindi and Punjabi programmes. A significant fraction of radio audience does not know English. And yet, the announcers (or radio jockeys) have become so insular, insensitive and illiterate that they cannot speak a single sentence in Hindi without bringing in English words and phrases.
RJs of today cannot describe the contribution of popular music directors of yesteryears without resorting to snatches of English (trance, versatility, smoothness of voice, range). This is ironical because in his time the music director probably himself did not know English nor did the countless filmgoers who enjoyed his music then nor do his admirers today who have kept his memory alive.
Introduction of FM and DTH service has made listening to music on radio a pleasure, but must advances in technology be accompanied by fall in literary standards? An essential feature of Hindi and other languages is the assignation of gender to every noun which, in turn, determines the construction of the sentence. (Divali manayi gayi, but Divali ka tyohar manaya gaya.) And yet, AIR obviously does not test its RJs for their knowledge of the language. Nowhere in the world will you find radio and television announcers so ignorant of the language which is giving them employment, money and high profile.
RAJESH KOCHHAR, Chandigarh