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Vol. XXIX No. 24, April 1-15, 2020

Our Readers Write

More on Tamil Nadu budget

In analysing the budget of Tamil Nadu, the correspondent has made unwarranted statements about the quality of education in Government schools. Tamil Nadu was the first State in India to have fully trained, qualified teachers in Government and aided schools, as early as 1964. There is not a single unqualified teacher in any Government school. The problem is that there are only two teachers for five standards. A student who is entitled to 1100 hours of teachers’ time gets at the most 400 hours. Unless one teacher per class is appointed, there will be a deficiency of instruction, not because of the teachers but because of faulty administration.

The correspondent has waxed eloquent on the increase in the education budget. It is under 14% of the total budget while New Delhi, under AAP, has allotted 26% of its budget to education. In Kamaraj’s time, the education budget ranged from 25% to 33% of the total budget. While the Kothari Education Commission has recommended a minimum of 6% of GDP to education, we are nowhere near that goal with just under 4%.
If only your correspondent had entered a Government school, he would have appreciated the dedication of the teachers despite the difficulties posed by the Department.

30, Kamarajar Street
Gandhinagar, Chennai 600093

Hoi polloi!

Just finished reading Short N’ Snappy in Vol XXIX No 23. Thanks to MMM for putting Corona in perspective through Marcus Aurelius and Thirukkural 621.
But I was shocked and surprised to see MMM referring to “the” hoi polloi! As I am very much part of hoi polloi (note the absence of the definite article!) myself I can well understand MMM’s reluctance in mingling with us. But what surprises me is that a erudite man like MMM should commit a faux pas like this. The phrase hoi polloi is from Greek and hoi is “the”. I echo Dryden and say that when MMM refers to “the hoi polloi” he is in effect saying “the the masses” or “the the mob”.

On Babudom and MMM’s brushes with them we look forward to reading more!
I am but one among the swarms of mosquito hoi polloi that plague MMM and having done my tedious job of irritating him let me fly away before he swats me with his well aimed newspaper….

S. Srikanth

More on bankshall

The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines bankshall: “in the Indian subcontinent and SE Asia: a warehouse, the office of a harbour master”, and derives the term from Sanskrit vaniksala, merchants’ hall. Hobson-Jobson has two pages on bankshall, which I will not attempt to summarise, but prominent among the possible derivations is the same vaniksala.

M. K. Mani
1, Kasturirangan Road,
Chennai 600 018

Managing city traffic

First of all, let me thank you for taking up a very important, pressing topic. As Mr Gautham has very correctly pointed out, all that is needed is for the authorities ‘to study the traffic and a little experimentation’.
As a first step, the signal timings should be reduced drastically at the biggest intersections. Because every time the vehicles bunch up at one signal, the rest of the road is empty. Then the rush starts and stops at the next signal. In the meantime the motorists get restless and aggressive.

The other suggestion would be to remove the traffic signals, and instead have a roundtana in place. This can be tried out in any big intersection like Nandanam. The old system of a roundabout with a traffic island in the centre could keep the traffic moving, albeit at a slow pace. Our people are used to dodging slow traffic. A good example can be seen at the Tambaram ROB ( road over bridge) where vehicles from all directions have no problem in manoeuvring safely.

This system is prevalent in many of our own cities, including the well designed Chandigarh. I hope the city planners will give it a thought; and give it a try!

Thank You,

Usha Sundar,
Plot 43, 24 th Cross Street,
Padmavathi Nagar,
Chennai 600126

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