Showing posts sorted by relevance for query West Bengal. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query West Bengal. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

'Same Side Goal' Politics, Bengal’s New Brand Image?

By Dipankar Sinha (Guest Writer)

The people of West Bengal want to live with security and dignity and desire the fulfilment of basic needs and amenities in everyday life. There are too many pressing issues in the state waiting to get the attention of authorities. Unfortunately, it seems that the powers that be are playing a thankless and self-destructive game of "same side goal".

Politics is widely known to have produced a bewildering variety of actions and reactions. Could West Bengal remain far behind? Considering the trends towards what we would prefer to describe as the “same side goal” politics in the state, one can assert that it cannot.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Focus: When Kolkata City Becomes 'Burden Of Bhadralok'

By Angikaar Choudhary | Kolkata

SPECIAL FEATURE The Kolkata bhadralok is a snooty lot. He is also slightly lazy. He resists change and clings on to the past. He loves his fish and his rice. He needs his cup of tea along with his biscuit every evening, ideally prepared by his wife. But on the whole, he considers himself aantel (intellectual). He prefers rumination and discussion on arts and culture and scoffs at other more practical topics, believing himself to be unworthy of such materialistic thinking. But on the whole, even if he doesn’t admit it, he still carries deep inside his heart, a childhood love for Leftist ideology.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Illegal Immigrants From Bang'desh Is Kicking, Hurting India

By Likha Veer | INNLIVE Bureau

FOCUS The vernacular press in West Bengal is all charged up because BJP stalwarts have promised to deport Bangladeshis if the party comes to power at the Centre. Front page articles and editorials have all denounced this as a move to foment trouble in the state and create divisions between communities. Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh have become villains in the eyes of this section of the media. Those who are indulging in such commentary have either not understood what the BJP wants to do, or are twisting the remarks to create controversy.

Monday, December 01, 2014

BJP's Amit Shah Vs Trinamool's Mamata Didi: The Next Battle Of Plassey Will Be A Dirty Equation

Will the next Battle of Plassey (well, figuratively) be fought between the BJP and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC)? Wherever it is fought, around Plassey or well to the south of it, it promises to be a dirty war. It will be driven by religious demography.

The original Battle of Plassey was fought in 1757, when the forces of the British East India Company defeated Siraj-ud-Daula, the French-backed Nawab of Bengal, paving the way for British domination over eastern India.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Poll Review: How Well Do You Know Your MPs Of Kolkata?

By Phalguni Dutta | INNLIVE

KNOW YOUR MPs As we approach the parliamentary elections, India Together presents a quick familiarisation with members of the Lok Sabha in certain key urban constituencies. In the first of the series, INNLIVE introduces you to the sitting MPs from Kolkata and its neighbourhood.

An earlier article on India Together had emphasised the roles and responsibilities of our Members of Parliament. As we approach the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for April and May, it becomes critical to assess our elected representatives against some of these parameters.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why All’s Not ill With Mamata’s West Bengal?

Mainstream media news from West Bengal is depressing to say the least: continuous political sniping if not fighting among the major political formations, death of a student in political custody, policemen getting shot while on duty, ministers getting manhandled while attending Planning Commission meeting and subsequent fall-out resulting in clashes all over the state.

Media coverage for the last 20 months of the new regime has been like the above. It would seem for anyone reading these news that the state has ‘gone to the dogs’ and any sense of hope that the residents of the state had of improved life and well-being under the new dispensation is totally lost and there seems to be an underlying clamor to get the old regime back to bring about sense of sanity.

However there seems to be some other sets of information that have also come across regarding West Bengal—state GDP growth of 7.6 percent for 2012-13 that is nearly 50 percent higher than the national average, following up on a similar higher growth than national GDP growth rates in 2011-12 also.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


By Richa Rai / Kolkata

Is Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal, losing the publicity battle while hanging on to her edge or has she completely misjudged the extent of governance needed in the state that she emphatically wrested from the Left almost two years ago?

To be fair, cleansing Bengal of the mess left from 34 years of Left rule is no easy task. But there seems to be no evidence that Banerjee is tackling the mess at all. Instead, you have a chief minister who cannot delegate and has surrounded herself by yes-men as she lurches from controversy to crisis and back.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Analysis: Why 'Asad Owaisi' Doesn’t Stand A Chance In Bihar Or WB, Unlike Badruddin Ajmal In Assam?


Asaduddin Owaisi has tossed his topi (cap) into the Bihar election ring after dithering for a month. But Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM)’s prospects in Bihar’s Seemanchal belt are bleak despite the unusually high percentage of Muslim voters in the 25 assembly seats Owaisi is eyeing in the backward region.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

In-Depth Ground Report: How A Facebook Post Broke The Communal Peace Of A West Bengal Town?

While the violence was low scale compared to riots in other parts of the country, it has scarred the Basirhat area.

Maulana Yasin Mondal speaks slowly, his voice heavy with dismay. “I have never seen anything like this,” Mondal said. “Hindu-Muslim [tension] is unknown in Magurkhali [in the Basirhat sub-division]. We are still in shock.”

Mondal is the imam of Milan Masjid, a mosque which stands opposite the house of the Class 11 student who had been accused of posting the explicit cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad on social media that triggered the first large-scale communal trouble in the area in living memory. From July 2, the Basirhat sub-division of North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal was in the grip of violence that lasted for close to a week and claimed one life.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Special Report: 'Terror At Crossroads In South Asia'

Burdwan in West Bengal, a city about 150 kilometers from Kolkata, was the location in early October of a blast inside a house which resulted in the death of two men, Shakil Ahmed and Swapan Mondal. Another man injured in the blast was later detained with with two women who were also present at the time of the blast and reportedly disclosed that those present at the time were all members of the terrorist outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JuM-B/JMB) - and were planning to carry out attacks across Bangladesh. 

Monday, May 06, 2013


By CJ Richa Rai in Kolkata

The conditions of hospitals in West Bengal is very disappointing, specially in Kolkata, the conditions of government hospitals as well as the private hospitals are worsening day by day. For a progressive country, good medical treatment becomes highly important. An average 40,000 infants die every year in West Bengal. Many people died due to the negligence of medical treatment.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cyclone Phailin, Half Of The India, May Damage Odisha, AP

By Kajol Singh / INN Live

The very severe cyclonic storm Phailin, expected to make landfall at Gopalpur in Odisha, moved closer to the state and lay about 600 km southeast of Paradip, as the government sought the help of defence forces to boost its preparedness, official sources said.

"The system Phailin over east central Bay of Bengal moved northwestwards slightly, intensified further and lay centred at about 600 km southeast of Paradip and 700 km southeast of Gopalpur," the latest bulletin issued by the IMD said. (Latest Live Updates, check our 'Live News Ticker' to know more.)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

In 'New' Mahabharata 2014, Is Modi The 'New Hanuman'?

By M H Ahssan | INNLIVE Bureau

POLITICAL ANALYSIS Mamata Banerjee has likened Narendra Modi to Lord Hanuman and has said that he has tied a tail, put it on fire and is touring India burning perceived Lankas. If Banerjee had the time to read up the scriptures, she would not have made this analogy. For, Lord Hanuman’s tail was put on fire by the orders of the hated asura Ravana, and the burning of Lanka took place as punishment for the same. The Lanka that was rebuilt was rid of its vices by Lord Ram’s intervention and was the perfect place for the compassionate rule of Vibhisana. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Political Brute Force: Female, Fearful In Mamata’s Bengal

By Poonam Mondal / Kolkata

Character assassination, social and economic ostracisation and even assault, seem to have become the standard responses to all who protest against the culture of violence against women in West Bengal.

Kamduni, a village 25 kilometres from Kolkata, has become representative of the modes of intimidation against women that is now routine in West Bengal. The people here have learnt the hard way that they must “shut up” or else be branded as agent provocateurs by the ruling regime.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What Happened To ’City of Joy’? Is Mamta ‘Didi’ Listening?

By Debayan Das | Kolkata

COMMENTARY Just a few days ago I met a friend, staying abroad these days due to his work, after a long time. But instead of having a usual wholesome adda (meaning gossip in Bengali) session like our old days, this time around, all we discussed was something extremely grave that has become a cause of national concern lately.

Once called the ‘city of joy’ and known for all its enriching cultural and creative activities, Kolkata of today is mostly getting recognized ubiquitously as a city that is not only unsafe for women but where the violent social disease called ‘rape’ has become a routine practice. Though Kolkata isn’t the only metro city in India to have witnessed such reprehensible acts in recent times but there is little doubt that Kolkata is fast loosing its reputation of being one of the most friendly and safe destinations of this vast country.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Poll 2009 Scenario: Red fort’s under siege

By Sandeep Chatterjee & M H Ahssan

At Least 10 Left LS Seats In South Bengal Look Vulnerable To Mamata Tide

The Red bastion in West Bengal is under threat. No one in CPM, from Jyoti Basu to the activist in the para, will deny this. Nor the fact that the number of Left MPs from West Bengal this time will be far below the existing 35. The question is how far? Will the Opposition cross the 16-seat mark that Congress bagged in 1984 after Indira Gandhi’s assassination?

Trends in south Bengal over last nine months in the post-Nandigram era till the recent Assembly bypoll in Bishnupur West in South 24-Parganas indicate the Opposition tally could be anything between 15 and 19, provided the Congress-Trinamool alliance works down to the grassroots. The scene looks similar to the Assembly elections in 2001, when Congress had a formal alliance with Trinamool. But this time the Opposition has advantages beyond the arithmetic of coalition politics. Unlike in 2001, Mamata has been able to dent CPM’s rural bastion in south Bengal with her grassroots approach. Mamata has won acceptance among urban intelligentsia that was till the other day a monopoly of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

At least 10 Lok Sabha seats in south Bengal, now with CPM, look vulnerable. They include two seats in East Midnapore Tamluk and Contai, two in South 24-Parganas Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, two in North 24-Parganas Bongaon and Barasat, two in Hooghly Serampore and Hooghly, the Uluberia seat in Howrah and Krishnagar in Nadia. In all these areas, 50% of gram panchayat seats went to Trinamool, as seen recently in Bishnupur West Assembly bypoll in South 24-Parganas.

CPM’s vote share is down to 40% and prospects in another three seats — namely Kolkata North, Jadavpur, Ranaghat will depend on the mechanics of the Opposition alliance and the candidate.

This is minus the five constituencies in north Bengal, now with Congress. The CPM, has, however and edge in the Darjeeling constituency if Bimal Gurung’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha does not support the Congress. The Opposition, on the other hand, is at an advantage in Coochbehar constituency where the Forward Bloc is a little ahead.

A closer look at the rural constituencies in south Bengal bears out a method in the shifting voting pattern. All these constituencies come under areas where the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government acquired land or tried to acquire land — not just Singur or Nandigram.

Burdwan, however, stands out as an exception to the rule, though not without discontent. CPM leaders met with a blow when CPM Katwa MP Abu Ayes Mondal dumped the party on the eve of the elections. CPM’s headache in most of these areas is Bengali Muslim farmers who have switched loyalties, despite Bhattacharjee’s sops in housing and education.

Senior CPM leaders, however, believe Mamata’s recent overtures to win Muslims in the rural and urban areas would have a negative impact on her anti-CPM Hindu vote bank, a sizeable portion of which might vote for BJP. The Hindu vote would be a deciding factor in Kolkata North where BJP’s Tathagata Ray will be contesting.

The urban scene is ridden with cross-currents. Even as Mamata has her own clout among the urban poor and middle class, a section of the educated middle class and the young, seem disgusted with Mamata’s kneejerk stirs and bandhs, and the way she drove out the Tatas.

Mamata has faced it in her home turf during the durga puja when an elderly woman showed her a black flag at a south Kolkata puja pandal. For south Kolkata after delimitation is no more the one that it used to be. The new Kolkata South constituency, has an Assembly segment Kolkata Port under it including stretches such as Kabitirtha and parts of Garden Reach where the Trinamool Congress trailed the CPM in the last elections. This is not all. The new Kasba Assembly segment is another where Trinamool trails badly. The Trinamool chief has to make up for the loss with Behala West, Rashbehari and the new Bhowanipore, for she will not be getting a big margin from Behala East. Mamata needs the Congress this time, just as the Congress wants her to stymie the Left. For a tie-up with the Congress will help her make over the lag in Garden Reach where Congress leader Ram Pyare Ram has a stable base.

Jangipur: Represented by high-profile Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee, this prestigious North Bengal seat has become more favourable to the Congress after delimitation. Mukherjee, who has recently rented a house here, isn’t leaving anything to chance. Pranab has been nursing this constituency since he got elected from here in 2004

Raiganj: As Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi is ailing, his wife Deepa is likely to get the party ticket from here

Kolkata South: Represented by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, the party’s face and the only crowd-puller. After delimitation, the constituency has some tough assembly segments like Kolkata Port, Kasba and parts of Garden Reach

Bolpur: CPM MP from Birbhum Ramchandra Dom will fight from this seat which is reserved for an SC candidate. In 2004, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had won from here with over 3 lakh votes

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Who’s afraid of a Mahajot?

It could be the infighting in the Left, and not the Trinamool-Congress alliance, which could spell doom for the Red brigade in West Bengal, writes Saugar Sengupta

Muslim, Mahajot, Mamata: paltabey Banglar kshamata (Muslims, Mahajot and Mamata will change Bengal’s power structure). This is what a poll-graffiti says deep inside a minority area in Kolkata’s Garden Reach.

It seems that her Batla House tirade against the persecutors of “innocent” Muslims, along with the relentless campaign for justice for Rizwanur Rehman’s family, and her success at driving away industry from the paddy fields (which incidentally belonged mostly to Muslims) of Nandigram and Singur have paid the desired dividends to Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee.

Last month, the buoyed Trinamool chief had said during the Bishnupur by-election campaign: “In the coming general elections, the CPI(M) will fall with a thud, and in the 2011 Assembly polls, they will fall into bits.”

Will Banerjee’s prophesy come true? With the Trinamool Congress and Congress having struck an alliance (Mahajot) in West Bengal, the “invincible” Left in the State has reason to worry.

State Congress vice-president Subroto Mukherjee backed a Mahajot since he thought the Congress’ 16 per cent vote share and the Trinamool’s 32 per cent vote share would combine well to bring about a communist fall in West Bengal.

Said Behrampore MP Adhir Chowdhury: “Nandigram and Bishnupur have shown what a combined Opposition can do to the Left Front. Every time, the Marxists have benefited from a fractured voting pattern. This time round, the Mahajot has come in time.” It would increase the Opposition seat by 300 per cent, he said.

Nadia strongman and Congress leader Shankar Singh said, “The effectiveness of a united fight against the CPI(M) can never be denied, as the percentage of votes polled by the Opposition would suggest.”

It was the Left Front’s losses in the Nandigram, Bishnupur and Sujapur Assembly bypolls that gave impetus to the grand alliance initiative.

The Trinamool not only covered a deficit of about 15,000 votes, but also wrested Nandigram from the Left by a margin of 39,500. Similarly, Congress won Sujapur in Malda by 21,000 votes, an increment of 2,000. The Bishnupur seat, which the Left had last time won by 4,000 votes, was bagged by the Trinamool by a margin of 30,000 votes.

“In all cases, the Left fell to a united opposition,” said Trinamool leader Partho Chattopadhyay. “The CPI(M) will face a humiliating defeat in the general elections and the 2011 Assembly polls.”

Observers believe that if the Mahajot works properly in the Muslim dominated districts of Murshidabad, Malda, Nadia, the two 24 Parganas and East Midnapore — Muslims constitute between 42 per cent and 57 per cent of the total voters in these areas — the Opposition could scrape through.

Which explains why Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu conceded that fighting a united Opposition would be tough. “Our seat strength may dwindle,” he said.

State CPI(M) secretary and Left Front chairman Biman Bose too said that the Front would have a mountain to climb this time round.

Yet, Banerjee’s 2001 Assembly poll experience, when an alliance was struck between her and Pranab Mukherjee, suggests caution. At that time, then PCC president Somen Mitra played spoilsport by incapacitating the grand alliance through covert means.

In the current situation, different interests are pulling in different directions. A possé of PCC satraps like Manas Bhunia, Pradip Bhattacharya, Shankar Singh, Deepa Dasmunshi, Abdul Mannan and Adhir Chowdhury have expressed their reservations for the Mahajot. They have officially maintained that the Congress should go for an honourable understanding that should include “at least 16 seats including 12 winnable ones from the Trinamool, an unconditional apology from the Trinamool leadership for publicly castigating Pranab Mukherjee and not the least, liberty not to support Congress turncoats like Sudip Bandopadhyay and Somen Mitra who have recently joined the Trinamool in quest of tickets.”

Though these leaders have been coerced by the Congress high command to join cause with Mamata Banerjee, there is sufficient doubt how diligently these leaders will follow Delhi’s instructions.

“Then there are personal interests to be pursued,” says an insider, pointing out how Bhunia is eyeing the Kolkata North seat, already fixed for Bandopadhyay. Pradip Bhattacharya is gunning for the Serampore seat which has already been earmarked by the Trinamool chief for party lawyer Kalyan Banerjee. Third, Dasmunshi would not like Banerjee’s setting foot in North Bengal, a fief that has for all practical purposes become hers.

On the other hand, the effectiveness of the Mahajot will erode substantially in the North Bengal constituencies where the Gorkhaland movement has given a reason to Bengalis to rally behind the ruling Marxists.

In central Bengal, the erosion of the Left’s minority vote bank has been lesser as was proved in the panchayat elections when the Front wrested back the Muslim majority Murshidabad district board from the invincible Adhir Chowdhury.

The Left leadership on its part says the results of a few stray elections should not be taken as a rule since all the three constituencies of Nandigram, Bishnupur and Sujapur belonged to the Opposition. While in Bishnupur 11 out of 12 panchayat samitis belonged to the Trinamool, in Nandigram all but one panchayats were controlled by the Trinamool-backed BUPC. And Sujapur in Malda has always been a Congress bastion.

Hence, says a veteran Marxist leader requesting anonymity, “No Mahajot can obliterate the Left from West Bengal”. Instead, he says the Left can only be defeated by the Left. He shows how infighting in the Front — between CPI(M) and RSP and CPI(M) and Forward Bloc — have cost them many seats. “North and South 24 Parganas are two cases in point,” he says.

The chinks in the Left’s armour were exposed recently when sitting Katwa CPI(M) MP Abu Ayes Mondal joined Trinamool Congress after he was denied a ticket by his party.

With interest grouping on the rise in the CPI(M), it is not a jot (coalition) but a ghot (intrigue) that could see the back of the Left.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why The Side Effects Of NEET Are Much More Damaging Than The Disease It Claims To Cure?


The common entrance exam may spell doom for the majority of medical aspirants and state boards.

The Supreme Court of India has revived the spectre of a common entrance examination for all medical colleges. Ostensibly, the National Eligibility Entrance Test is aimed at creating a level playing field. However, many fear that the effect will be exactly the opposite, as demonstrated by widespread protests, rail-rokos and even clashes with police across many non-Hindi states including Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, among others. There has been vehement opposition from students, doctors (especially rural doctors associations and state units of the Indian Medical Association), parents, non-commercial educationists, political parties and even social justice organisations. The governments of non-Hindi states have also opposed the move.

The overarching fear is that NEET will provide a huge advantage to students of Delhi-headquartered boards such as the Central Board of Secondary Education. Students from these boards also tend to be more urban, upper caste, rich and less likely to be from non-Hindi states, apart from the principal language of non-Hindi states not being their first language.

In short, they will be unrepresentative in a way that will deepen already existing inequities which exist along various axes of class, caste, language, location and rootedness, among others. In addition, many fear that the common medical entrance exam will destroy prestigious state boards as we know them.

Debunking myths:
While the NEET judgement was in response to admission-related corruption in private institutions, other reasons have also been offered in its support. There is a belief in some quarters that a common exam will provide relief to students appearing for multiple entrance tests and that supervision by the Medical Council of India and CBSE will curtail corruption in admission tests. And then there is the purported desirability of a common syllabus, which will ensure that physicians of similar pedigree are produced all around (this a ridiculous idea, since medical entrance exams do not make doctors, rather it's the MBBS exams after admission that do).

However, these arguments, do not hold water.

Firstly, most major states were already conducting their own medical entrance exam. Private medical colleges are not located in the air, but on the soil of these states. A simple solution would have been to admit students on the basis of the already-existing state medical entrance exam. States such as West Bengal, among others, have been conducting transparent medical entrance exams for nearly four decades. It is beyond comprehension why corruption in some places was used as an excuse to change admission policies everywhere.

Capitation fee corruption involving the management quota of private institutions is a headache only for people who can pay in tens of lakhs and even crores – in short, not even 5% of the students who take medical entrance exams. It is a problem of the upper middle class and the super-rich, which obscenely fancies itself as the “common man”.

Numbers tell a story:
As for relief to students who take multiple exams, a reality check is in order. Who exactly are these students and what percentage do they comprise of all medical entrance test takers across all states? It is astonishing that no such data has ever been presented – likely because anecdotal experiences suggest that this is a very small proportion of students.

Let us take some statistics into consideration. Across multiple All India Institutes of Medical Science, the common entrance test attracted about one lakh students last year. This figure is under 10% of the medical college admission seekers across all states. In Maharashtra alone, about four lakh students took theCommon Entrance Test exam this year. And when we compare the number of all Class 12 science students across all states, irrespective of entrance-takers, the percentage becomes negligible.

Even among that small minority, CBSE-like central board students are hugely over-represented in this multiple entrance test-taking class. The fact that the NEET judgement might imply science syllabus changes across many boards tells us how the stupendous majority is being victimised and marginalised for the convenience of a tiny minority.

Quality queries:
Among the major characteristics of this minority mentioned earlier, what stands out is the board – CBSE.

It is the CBSE syllabus that will be followed for NEET. Is this the largest board in the Indian Union? No. The Maharashtra state board alone has more Class 12 students than the all-India strength of the CBSE. If that statistic comes as a surprise, we need to seriously question our sense of standard and get out of our metro-centric, Anglo-Hindi bubbles.

Is CBSE the “best” board in some academic sense? Hardly so. Are Class 12 students studying science in the CBSE syllabus uniquely equipped with an understanding that is unparalleled by the state boards? Or in other words, if the state boards are being forced to emulate the CBSE (in the name of aligning syllabi), is it something worth emulating?

Following rigorous research (published in Current Science, 2009) that reviewed the comparative performance of students from different boards, Anil Kumar and Dibakar Chatterjee of the Indian Institute of Science showed that when it comes to science proficiency, CBSE is not numero uno.

West Bengal board students did better than CBSE students in all four science subjects – physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. Andhra Pradesh does better than CBSE in mathematics and physics. By the same metric, Maharashtra is hardly the worst performing state, as it was in the NEET that was held in 2013 before it was scrapped.

Tellingly, neither West Bengal nor Andhra Pradesh were top performing states in NEET. Independent, non-CBSE excellence has thus become an albatross around their neck. The CBSE syllabus “pattern” has become the standard, even though research shows it isn’t the best.

Clear hierarchy:
On corruption and the Medical Council of India, the less said the better. Its former chief Ketan Desai was charged with accepting a bribe for granting affiliation to a private medical college. Last year, the CBSE-organised All India Pre-Medical Test was cancelled because of widespread cheating.

When a body such as the Ketan Desai-tainted MCI approaches the Supreme Court to fight corruption, and the Supreme Court employs the cheating scam-tainted CBSE to ensure a fair and free examination, we have to understand the deeper games being played.

CBSE schools are naturally very excitedabout NEET as it hands their students a huge and undeserved competitive advantage over the stupendous majority. After the NEET judgement, we are sure to see a mushrooming of CBSE schools everywhere and an exodus from state boards of the class who can pay for such private CBSE schools.

There is already a surge in the business of CBSE syllabus-based coaching institutes – all of this is big and often corrupt business, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

Therein lies the danger, where the Supreme Court ruling is already creating a caste system between boards and forcing everyone else to align with the Centre, which isn’t necessarily the best as described earlier.

Reducing importance:
Framed from Delhi, after “consultation”, the CBSE-based NEET syllabus favours those who have undergone their schooling and training in the CBSE/Indian School Certificate framework, the syllabus being a vital component of that framework.

State boards with syllabi that differ considerably from the CBSE are at an unfair disadvantage – they have to change or perish, for absolutely no fault of their own.

The viability or “worth” of a board of education’s science syllabus then is not in how well it teaches the subject to the students but incredibly, by how well it has adapted (or not) the basic framework of a Delhi-based board's syllabus. This will reduce the importance of the Class 12 exam, and we will increasingly see coaching institutes operating under the legal shell of a school.

The schools affiliated to the state boards will rapidly become low-grade holding pens for the rural and the poor, while the urban middle class will detach itself from them – taking educational apartheid to another level. By completely disregarding the percentile obtained in Class 12 board exams, multiple choice question-solving is privileged over detailed concept development, something boards such as the ones in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have been historically proud of and is evident in the over-representation of these boards among faculty members of science institutions, where the CBSE “advantage” evaporates. We cannot even fathom the damage that this development will do to science education.

Explicit bias:
This Delhi-headquartered board and Anglo-Hindi bias in so-called “all India” medical entrances is not new. Central board students (comprising less than 10% of Class 12 students) have till now enjoyed a de-facto 15% reservation in all medical colleges, as the syllabus of the AIPMT exam (held in Hindi and English only, though no MBBS courses are taught in Hindi) through which these seats were filled, was modeled on the CBSE syllabus and conducted by the CBSE.

So much so, that in West Bengal, students coming through this “all-India” were from Hindi belt central board schools almost to the last man and in West Bengal were referred to simply as "CBSEs" or "Delhi boards".

Such a naked violation of the principle of natural justice and fairness went unchallenged as the positive beneficiaries of this provision constituted the unofficial first-class citizens of the Indian Union – typically well-to-do, urban, largely upper-caste Hindu males from Hindi-speaking areas studying in Delhi-headquartered school boards.

Since Hindi areas have much fewer medical colleges per capita, the AIPMT is a system to lodge North Indian students in South and East India in disproportionately high numbers, under the innocuous dissent-stopping fig leaf of "all-India".

The NEET seeks to create a hugely expanded version of this unjust dominance over all seats of all medical colleges in the Indian Union. Given the explicit bias, it is pertinent to ask to which board do the grandsons and granddaughters of the Supreme Court judges belong?

To which board do the sons and daughters of the lawyers defending the NEET, the functionaries of CBSE and the MCI head office, belong? Does this class more closely match the social profile of people studying in central boards or state boards? What is the definition of conflict of interest in such cases?

The Supreme Court ruling of holding a test under CBSE syllabus thus violates the fundamental legal principle of fairness. A state board student in a non-Hindi state will have to compete against a CBSE student who has studied for 12 years of incremental science syllabus learning. For example, in Tamil Nadu, the biology syllabus is about 70% different from that of the CBSE. Can a state be forced to change its board syllabus to align with central syllabus or otherwise risk playing in an unfair non-level playing field? It makes a mockery of the federal structure of the Constitution of India.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

How An Indian Wildlife Reserve Lost 20 Tigers In 3-Years?

When a report recently declared that there were no tigers left at the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal, it sent alarm bells ringing. On May 18 and 19, officials from the reserve got together with representatives of the Wildlife Institute of India, the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the West Bengal Forest Department to chart a plan to reintroduce the national animal there.

The reported count was particularly vexing because just three years earlier, the same reserve had announced the presence of 20 tigers. How did the tiger population of a reserve go down from 20 to none in under four years?

Thursday, April 25, 2013


By M H Ahssan / Kolkata

Saradha is just the tip of an ice berg that may have already sunk Rs 4,000 crore of poor investors’ money.

According to a report in the INN, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, which woke up to the reality of late, has asked the West Bengal government to launch immediate probe against five more such schemes in the state, which may have mopped up Rs 4,000 crore of investor money.