Friday, 16 October 2009


No. 1 college in Bengal
-- Debashis Bhaumik
The University Grants Commission has ranked Acharya Brojendra Nath Seal College (previously Victoria College) as the No.1 college in West Bengal. From now on, it will be marked as a "centre of excellence". Under the five-year plan of the UGC, it has judged "colleges with potential for excellence" and seven colleges of West Bengal have been selected after examining different aspects. The 121-year-old ABN Seal College is the lone institution of North Bengal and the lone one under North Bengal University that has been selected as a "centre of excellence". The officer-in-charge of ABN Seal College, Dr Nilay Roy, expressed his joy after learning of the UGC's decision and hoped the college would go ahead to further excel in the education sector.
The seven colleges that secured "centre of excellence" tags are: ABN Seal College (188 marks of a total of 300), Bijay Krishna Girls' College (181), Ramkrishna Mission Vidyamandir, Belur (180), BB College, Asansol, (178), Bethune College (177), Lady Brabourne College (174) and Moulana Azad College (172). The UGC reportedly selected 20 colleges from across the country, and seven of these are in West Bengal. Among the seven, one is under Bardhaman University, one is under North Bengal University and the rest are under Calcutta University.
It was learnt that after declaration of the ranks, the autonomous colleges will get Rs 1.5 crore as an annual grant and non-autonomous colleges will get Rs 1 crore. Earlier, four colleges in West Bengal – Presidency College, St Xavier's College, Scottish Church College and Loreto College received a similar honour from the UGC.
Dr Nilay Roy said that at ABN Seal College they offer postgraduate courses in Bengali, Sanskrit and Zoology. There are 13 honours courses – Bengali, English, Sanskrit, History, Economics, Philosophy, Geography, Political Science, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Botany and Zoology.
It has been an excellent college in North Bengal since its foundation in 1888 by Maharaja Nripendra Narayan. After receiving "centre of excellence" recognition from the UGC it should be judged as the best college of the state, said a cheerful Dr Ray.
It may be recalled that the founder principal of the college was Professor JD Godley who served the institution from 1888-89. After a short stint of two other principals from abroad — Professor Wood and Professor Delafosse — Acharya Brojendra Nath Seal was the first Indian to grace the chair. He was at the helm of affairs for 18 years (1896-1913). After Independence, the princely state of Cooch Behar came under the Bengal Presidency in 1948. It was finally merged with West Bengal on 1 January 1950. Victoria College was also taken over by the government of West Bengal.

Saturday, 3 October 2009


New World Order

Rajinder Puri

South Asia's regional three-day meeting of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament has started in Delhi. On September 29, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressing the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy had said that global non-proliferation should be universal and non-discriminatory and linked to the goal of complete nuclear disarmament. He iterated India's commitment to total nuclear disarmament. Fine sentiments! Brave words! 
But how to ensure that these words move towards achieving their purpose instead of dissolving as hot air? The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief, Mohammed ElBaradei, who also addressed the conference described India as the world's leading advocate for nuclear disarmament. Very flattering! But how might that praise be justified? 
Asian deterrence
TO genuinely move towards total nuclear disarmament bold and unconventional thinking is required. Presented below is a concrete five-point plan to achieve total nuclear disarmament that prevails over a feet-dragging world. 
1) The first need is to draw a roadmap for making Asia a nuclear free zone which then might pressure Europe and USA to accept total nuclear disarmament. That plan would require joint nuclear deterrence for all Asian nations till the West is compelled to accept total nuclear disarmament. Joint nuclear deterrence implies not only a unified nuclear command under the nations that accept the plan; it would also require a plan for phased world nuclear disarmament. That in turn would require the IAEA under the aegis of the UN to create a routine mechanism for periodically inspecting nuclear facilities worldwide. Until the plan is accepted worldwide the nations that embark on the road to achieving it must consent to this provisional arrangement with the IAEA.  
2) India must initiate quiet diplomatic persuasion with its immediate nuclear-seeking neighbours, Pakistan and Iran, to join in this venture. This would be the hardest part. If it does not succeed nothing is lost. There does remain a chance, however, that Iran might come on board to share nuclear defence under this plan. If that happens Pakistan too would be tempted. If even one nation is willing to come aboard India can move to the third step. 
3) India should then formally move ahead with the goal of making Asia a provisional nuclear free zone as the first step towards total nuclear disarmament. It should announce an Asian conference to formalize this plan and invite China, North Korea, Japan and Israel in addition to Pakistan and Iran to attend its deliberations. Even a two-nation or three-nation attendance would indicate the start of the movement. Those invitees that decline to attend the conference or to accept the plan after attending it would be the ultimate losers. Global public opinion would overwhelmingly support concrete measures to achieve total nuclear disarmament. 
Pressure the West
4) Once a core Asian group has been formed to further total nuclear disarmament there will be created leverage to pressure the West and also those Asian nuclear or potential nuclear nations that do not associate with the plan. This leverage will be created by the core group propagating the plan among all the non-nuclear nations of the world and exerting pressure in the UN. 
5) Even before all the nuclear powers accept total disarmament the core group should finalize the draft plan for the transfer of authority to monitor nuclear inspection and disarmament to the UN which could oversee the IAEA working directly under its supervision. There would be serious technical problems arising from the need for safe destruction of existing nuclear weapons, the transfer of all the residual nuclear weapons worldwide to the control of the UN, and the UN authority sanctioned by all its members to exercise such control. Clearly, such arrangements imply revamping and reforming the UN itself to bring it closer to the concept of a world federal government. Total nuclear disarmament, therefore, would be a catalyst for taking a giant step towards shaping the New World Order. But that need not concern the founding nations of the movement at the primary stage. The movement would have to take one step at a time. 
This five-point plan may appear wildly impractical and filled with reckless ideas to critics. The critics could be right. But for six decades the world has tried to move forward sensibly and safely towards avoiding nuclear disaster. It has failed miserably. Nuclear proliferation has increased, global terrorism has spread, and nuclear aspirations among nations have mounted. 
To obtain successful results, therefore, why not try some unconventional ideas for a change? (THE STATESMAN)