The ‘Kota Phenomenon’ continues!
Columns, Over A Cup of Evening Tea

The ‘Kota Phenomenon’ continues!

June 9, 2024

By Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem, MD

The heavy toll that competitive exams, requiring the Kota kind of preparation, have been taking from our society, in the form of the precious lives of our children, across our country, is continuing unchecked. This is the result of our rather insane quest to make the future of our children far rosier than what they actually need, to keep themselves happy and contented.

What we seem to be miserably failing in, is in understanding that a rosier future need not have a bloody path! This was the topic of one of my most recent articles. In the one week that has just gone by, two tender lives have been lost, in two very rash acts of suicide, in our State alone, by two not so successful aspirants who took the NEET examination. And, this grim scenario will certainly not be any different across the rest of the country. I am very apprehensive that the numbers of these disturbing incidents may go up further, especially now, after the recent discovery that all has not been fair or hunky dory in the way the NEET exam has been conducted, with widespread allegations of question paper leaks and other kinds of rigging, doing the rounds over the last three days.

This, very obviously, looks like only the tip of a very huge iceberg of slimy wrongdoing, that lies hidden underneath, in some very murky waters. Whether the powers that be, succeed in exposing its entire extent or not, is something that we can all only hope to see, only with a great deal of pessimism. I say this because these very same powers, have very successfully managed to push many, much bigger scandals, under the carpet, for good.

A very disturbing thought however, that comes to my mind is what havoc such undetected scandals of corruption, might have played with the careers and even the lives of their helpless victims, in all the past years!

But right now, there is a hue and cry across the country for a fair and proper re-examination, which is very likely to take place, very soon, going by the huge tsunami of outrage that it is generating. If this happens, all the aspirants who have scored very good grades as a result of their honest and gruelling hard work, will certainly feel cheated and dejected that all their toil has gone waste. Understandably, they will naturally curse their fate that despite their hard work, they have to prepare themselves afresh, to face the nerve-wracking NEET examination a second time. And, all those who think that they deserved better grades and yet failed to get them, will naturally think that their failure was only because of question paper leaks and large-scale rigging in NEET examination.

There are no easy ways to assuage their hurt feelings or reduce the mental burden on them, let alone undoing the damage and compensating them for their losses. So, it will not be surprising if some weak-minded individuals from both these groups, resort to taking the extreme step of ending their lives, in utter frustration and disgust. This is exactly what we have to prevent on a war-footing well before we think of ways and means of making our competitive exams fair and foolproof. Let’s hope that we come up with the right strategy to do it, before it is too late!

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Readying ourselves for the Rains!

Thankfully but most surprisingly, the much-delayed pre-monsoon rains that usually used to be just a couple of brisk showers in the middle of March or early April, are continuing across our State, which otherwise was in the grip of an intense heat wave, like most other parts of the country.

The present spell of rains, which started in our city last month, with violent winds, left a widespread trail of destruction on many of our roads, with trees and electric poles being felled and the power supply disrupted for more than two full days in some localities.

As I have already said in my last article, much of this mayhem could have been prevented if only our civic authorities had taken the precaution of identifying and eliminating weak and unstable avenue trees, well before the onset of the rainy season. The unusual behaviour of the first summer rains of this year, in continuing as the regular monsoon rains, without any break, is being attributed by climatologists to the global warming which is looming large over our home planet. They predict that this is only a glimpse of what can go wrong for us, with the worst yet to come, in the next half century or so.

So, it is a wake-up call for every one of us, to step aside from the path of complete disregard to our environment, which we are now treading and change over to a greener lifestyle, with due concern for future, which is where our children have to live in comfort and safety. Let us all hope that we make this change before it is too late.

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Talking of the rain inflicted damage that we saw last month, it was natural and certainly not too much to expect that our Corporation authorities would start taking some remedial measures, like clearing up clogged storm water drains and removing all old and infirm avenue trees. But, as we have been seeing, this is just not being done and we are all perhaps destined to watch a repeat performance of what we saw last month and which was clearly the result of this apathy and neglect.

It will be no surprise if we even see a greater scale of destruction and disruption, in the days to come, considering the fact that the coming rains will be much heavier and also continue over the next two months.

Every one of the weak and infirm trees across the city continue to stand, ready to fall at the slightest nudge of inclement weather, as we stand unmoving, with an attitude of complacence. The picture alongside, that I have taken a few days after I wrote my last article about this very same subject, shows just one of the many, once beautiful, but now miserably termite-eaten and completely hollowed out Gulmohar trees, that stand on the footpath, next to Metropole Hotel.

That is exactly the spot where hundreds of passengers alight by day and by night, both in rain and shine, from buses coming into the city from the Hunsur side and wait for autorickshaws that can take them home.  Neither they themselves, nor the authorities that are vested with the responsibility of keeping them safe on our roads, seem to be bothered, one bit. Only perhaps when the owners whose properties get damaged in the rain havoc and citizens who lose their lives and limbs, start filing cases against our City Corporation, will things begin to change. Let us all hope that better sense prevails, sooner rather than later!

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