The views expressed by Niranjan Rajadhyaksha in his column, Café Economics, “Ricardo and my daughters”, Mint, 5 September, on schools are very valid. Yes, freedom to learn what the child wants is most important. However, there needs to be a wider exposure to education than the three Rs (writing, reading and arithmetic)—and this is where art comes in. Should it be compulsory for students to pass an art exam to make it to the next grade? That may be a little too much. But in the coming world, the education that helped me (or did not help me) will not even come close to being relevant to my children. So, a wider exposure to many different things is important. School is a little too early to use Ricardian principles of specialization.
The plan to blend petrol with ethanol is indeed welcome.
But I doubt the government will be able to implement it properly if the requisite blending ratio is 1 litre of ethanol for every 9 litres of petrol.
This means India should be able to produce ethanol equal to one-tenth of its petrol consumption. By the end of 2008, auto fuel consumption will be around 73 million tonnes (mt). This means India needs to produce about 7mt of ethanol a year.
If the additional sugar cane available is utilized, alcohol production at the end of the 11th Plan will be around 1,485 million litres, or 1.4mt a year.
In my opinion the government should think this over.
This is in response to the article, “The view from Abu Road”, Mint, 31 August, by Rina Bhattacharya and Ratna M. Sudarshan.
I fully agree with the writers. But we must appreciate the fact that at least some poor people are benefiting from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). As we know, the country can grow only when all the people work for the growth of it at all levels. So, NREGA is a small step in that direction. If some flaws are there, we must try to rectify them. The gap between the poor and the rich must be reduced, otherwise India’s dream of becoming a developed country will not berealized.
This refers to S. Mitra Kalita’s column, “Cheer the underdogs”, Mint, 24 August. Chak De! India is indeed a watershed film. It is also an example of the Sanskritization theory propounded by sociologist M.N. Srinivas.
As is evident in the film, it is a matter of anguish that the states that are small in terms of political clout have little relevance to the general public. This is evident from the film’s dialogue, where the Mongolian features of one of the girls leads to her being referred to as a guest, followed by her rather wishful reply that people do not understand that Manipur is a part of India (as is Jharkhand, for that matter).
Then there is the assertion of the female identity finding expression in the statement that “it has to be shown to a man what worth a woman has”; this shows how the present generation of Indian women is changing and evolving.
One more binding feature is also an expression of India’s evolution—the selection of a Muslim coach. Kabir Khan is named after the famous nirgun saint for whom religion, caste, creed and other such sectarian walls were meaningless.
Kabir Khan is the new face of Muslim India, which is educated and wants to fight for and assert its identity. Shamit Amin, the director, who is also the new face of the Indian Muslim, has profoundly expressed its angst.
Three parallel strains run through the movie—assertion of the identity of newly formed states, assertion of womanhood and assertion of the educated Muslim to carve out his/her space in the country.
—Nalin K. Rai