Wednesday December 13, 2017

Relevance of Indian language and culture on young minds


By Arnab Mitra

Kolkata: “English to speak, English to eat, English to think, English to play, English to sleep”–adapting the western culture as an indicator of social status is the way our society has ‘progressed’ since independence. Most of the offices in India have done away with the vernacular as a medium of communication, and in the process, consciously pushed for English as the preferred (and the only) mode of official communication. This meant, to get in to those places, our workforce needs to fulfill this ‘basic requirement’ for better work opportunities.

Historian and Indian culture laureate Niladri Sengupta told NewsGram, “The acceptance of English language and culture cannot be restricted as it is an international communicative language. But I do not like the way modern Indians try to become more ‘modern’ by absorbing a juxtaposed language which can be termed ‘Hinglish’, ‘Benglish’ or some other pseudonym. But I don’t think this affects the culture too much as the Indian culture has reached a state global acceptance. The younger generation is passionate enough about their culture, but when it comes to language, I fear there is no option rather than being English educated.”

To gauge the views of the younger generation on the matter, NewsGram spoke to a few university students from Kolkata.

Vishmayo Bhattacharya, a second year International Relations student from Jadavpur University said, “English has a huge market compared to the other languages in the world, so being English educated is very common today as we are living in a global community. But I do think we are living in a juxtaposed society where we are not true to any single language.”

Avinandam Biswas, JU second year BCom student said that he wasn’t concerned with the Indian language and culture, “What will the people do learning knowing about Bengali language or literature? Did Rabindranath or Sarat Chandra give us food? As for culture, I enjoy Diwali or Durga Puja way more than Christmas.”

“A situation will come within the next 10 years where people will hardly relate to great Indians like Gandhi, Netaji or Gautam Buddha. European and American stalwarts have taken hold of our minds through virtual mediums like cyber games, cartoon channels and especially by the great Zuckerberg and his associates,” said JU student Wilson Bishwavarma, warning of changing times.

Another JU student, Shivangi Jaiswal, asserted the importance of globalization with relevance to language and culture, “We are now entering a phase of global social media language and I do think that the Indian culture is accepted globally. The November 11 Diwali celebrations this year will see the world light candles with India on the occasion.”

Speaking on this generation’s fascination with English, former finance minister of West Bengal Ashok Mitra said, “I doubt the younger generation even learns the English language properly. What they are learning can be better described as a khichdi (an Indian dish consisting of a rice-lentil mishmash) language. It is not possible to express your views while forgetting your mother tongue. The CPI(M) government had made a huge mistake in abolishing the English language from primary education at that time.

The situation in Bangladesh however, is quite different from that of our nation. “There is a wide acceptance of Bengali language in Bangladesh. We respect the language as our mother, and the younger generation prefers to speak in Bangla rather than English. Adopting a foreign language and culture has never been a matter of social status in our country,” said Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner Zokey Ahad.

The epidermis of the Indian society is under a huge threat as nascent Indians will turn into puppets in the hands of foreigners if such a situation continues. If we don’t give proper respect and value to our language and culture, a time will come when we are bound to become culturally ‘dependent’ on interlopers.

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West Bengal Topper’s name Archisman Panigrahi Appears in Jadavpur University Merit List without Applying

Jadavpur University
West Bengal Class 12 topper Archisman Panigrahi tops the Jadavpur University merit list without applying to the varsity. Wikimedia

Kolkata, July 14, 2017: West Bengal Class 12 topper Archisman Panigrahi is in a unique predicament, his name tops the Jadavpur University merit list in four subjects without him ever applying to the varsity.

“I never applied to Jadavpur University but I came to know through a friend that my name figured in the top in the merit list for physics, chemistry, geology, and mathematics. The marks and birthdate were not mine,” the student said.

He said he has informed the varsity authorities.

“I have written to the dean highlighting that I had not applied and I can see my name on the top,” he said.

According to varsity vice chancellor Suranjan Das the matter will be taken up with the cyber crime department of the police. (IANS)

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National Library in Kolkata will now house Books from Vietnam at the ‘Vietnam Corner’

The National Library in collaboration with Embassy of Vietnam in India and the committee also organised a seminar on 'Indo-Vietnam Relations: Golden Past & Nurturing For Glorious Future'

National Library
The National Library. Wikimedia commons

Kolkata, November 05, 2016: The National Library, the largest library in the country, will now house books from Vietnam at the ‘Vietnam Corner’, which was inaugurated on Friday and is the first such corner to be set up by a foreign country in the library.

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“For the first time in India books from Vietnam are available. The Vietnam Corner is the first such corner to be set up by a foreign country in the National Library,” Geetesh Sharma, President of the India-Vietnam Solidarity Committee said.

“It has been patronised by government of Vietnam. They will supply the books for readers and research scholars. This will strengthen people to people interaction between the nations,” said Sharma.

A Vietnam Corner was also inaugurated at Jadavpur University. The Solidarity Committee will supply the books at the varsity.

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The National Library in collaboration with Embassy of Vietnam in India and the committee also organised a seminar on ‘Indo-Vietnam Relations: Golden Past & Nurturing For Glorious Future’.

The book “Da Nang: The City of Wonders” by Sharma was released on the occasion.

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Tran Quang Tuyen, Minister, Deputy Chief of the Vietnam Embassy in India was the chief guest while Arun Kumar Chakraborty, Director General, National Library presided over the function. (IANS)

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Politics and campus mayhem in Kolkata varsities


By Arka Mondal

Kolkata: West Bengal’s once-reputed educational institutions that once produced some of India’s best known faces, both leaders and scholars, are now plagued by frequent incidents of campus violence, mass copying, irregularities in admission procedures and student protests over trivial matters.

The state’s prestigious institution, Jadavpur varsity, remained the epicentre of a massive student agitation recently that led to the unprecedented step of its vice chancellor being asked to step down. The students’ movement, that had extensive reverberation with many of the Jadavpur University alumni expressing solidarity, had its roots in a demand by students for an independent probe into the alleged molestation of a female pupil. A subsequent “violent” police crackdown on the agitating students gradually snowballed, resulting in vice chancellor Abhijit Chakrabrti stepping down in the face of what he called an “undemocratic” and “unconstitutional” stir initiated by “politically-affiliated” students.

Academic circles attributed the present scenario to the political leaders who are politicising

the educational system in the state to reap their personal gain. It has become a common phenomenon among people to point finger at the party in power. Same happened with the Jadavpur University fiasco with people, including educationists, blaming political interference, especially by the ruling Trinamool, for the “anarchy”. They further claimed that the students were acquiring a tendency to agitate for “anything and everything”. Instead of pointing fingers a section of teachers and students must bear the responsibility for the crisis that has engulfed the education system, said a former vice chancellor Pradip Narayan Ghosh.

Bengal students have always been politically active, but the restiveness now seems to be going beyond limits. The problem is not only with Jadavpur, where the best goes to study, but the phenomenon is fairly widespread. Reports of students sitting on fasts or confining teachers and authorities have become too frequent.

The iconic Presidency varsity witnessed similar scenes with students resorting to a fast-unto-death demanding revocation of the clause that barred students with less than 60 percent attendance.
www.collegedunia.compercent attendance from contesting or voting in the student’s body polls.

It is alarming that students have become habitual agitators and the varsity authorities have to concede to the illegitimate demands of the students.

The situation is a result of the former Leftist government’s theory of using the growing restiveness of the students for its “political ambition”s, engulfing the entire education system in anarchy. And the result – the rise of right wing politics in the campus. It surely is alarming to see the ABVP gaining ground in Bengal.

What was horrific was killing of a cop during campus elections. West Bengal’s education now boasts of regular mass copying, goons becoming part of the college administration and teachers and principals working at the mercy of students.

Violence in educational campus is not a new phenomenon and happens across the world. Rather, every country has its faction of students that indulge in agitations. However, the character, nature and dimensions of violent incidents in developed countries are completely different from the violence that we witness in our educational campuses. The prime reasons of these differences are, that our attitude, value and belief system to the academic institution are absolutely asymmetrical from the western culture and belief system. Our attitude and values to the academic institution and their sanctity in student and student-teacher relationship are different.

From the days of our national movement against the colonial power, students in India had played a very significant role and came forward to take active part in the liberation struggle. Such was the aura of the students that it compelled even our national leader to unhesitatingly declare that education could be suspended for a certain period of time but national movement for freedom should be never be stopped. Politics is in our tradition since the time of our national liberation struggle.

During late 60’s and early 70’s of the last century, student politics and campus violence became synonymous with the college life in West Bengal. But from late 70’s, the violence started to haunt the state and its politics. A new type of campus politics emerged. This new type of violence comes with only one motive – to take hold of the campus.