Importance of good teachers and leaders of research
P. K. Gautam1 has focused on the need (ii) Secondary school education has level institutes, as already started
of good teachers for improving our sci- assumed a pivotal role in India and under UGC–DAE joint venture/
entific attitudes and capabilities in re- the students have to pay a heavy collaboration. Indian Academy of
search. He has attributed the lack of price for entry into any profes- Sciences, Bangalore has also taken
creativity, innovation, inability to ar- sional course. There should be just some bold initiatives.
ticulate, lack of clear thinking and de- one entrance test at the national (v) Last but not the least, rotation of
cline in verbal and written skills to our level like in European countries. headship in universities allowed by
education system. I agree with his Teacher-training programmes at the UGC must be either stopped or re-
viewpoint, but I differ with the reme- secondary level should be con- viewed. It has created more prob-
dies suggested by him. We cannot apply ducted by National Council of lems rather than solving these. The
the defence force strategies and tech- Educational Research and Training concept of grass-root democracy is
niques to improve our education system. (NCERT), New Delhi by designing good, but it has failed to provide
Grooming of intellectuals and teachers package programmes for each pro- leadership qualities in education
requires a different environment. fessional stream. Project work has and research in the Indian univer-
It is unfortunate that the Indian gov- to be introduced to improve ana- sity system.
ernment has given a low priority to edu- lytical thinking and written skills
cation at all levels, i.e. primary, among students and teachers. Unfortunately, we Indians believe in
secondary and higher education. Hence (iii) There is no training programme for status quo. Unless some revolutionary
the teaching profession does not attract teachers at different levels in uni- changes are introduced as a damage-
talented students. It is almost the last versity education. Academic staff control measure, our education system
choice these days after engineering, colleges started by UGC on the pat- will fail to produce world-class intellec-
medicine, business and information tern of defence colleges, have tuals or leaders.
technology. The situation has gone from failed to serve the purpose. The
bad to worse during the last decade. teachers are only interested to get a
Being in the teaching profession for the certificate of attendance for promo-
last 38 years, I am fully conversant with tion under the Career Advancement 1. Gautam, P. K., Curr. Sci., 2001, 80, 483;
the weaknesses of the Indian education Scheme of UGC. No rigorous train- and references quoted therein.
system. Some of the ills identified and ing is imparted in teaching meth-
remedies suggested are as follows: odology or research techniques.
UGC must abolish these colleges H. S. V IRK
(i) The medium of instruction for pri- and introduce assessment of teach-
mary school education should be ers by the students as found in
the mother tongue of the student. Europe and USA. Department of Physics,
Primary teachers-training pro- (iv) University teachers must have free Guru Nanak Dev University,
grammes should be conducted at access to the research facilities Amritsar 143 005, India
the state level. available in both state and national e-mail: email@example.com
The Bradman class, spiritualism and scientists
The editorial (Curr. Sci., 2001, 80, 717– day, Pauling, Woodward, etc. to the bettered in the future, it is because the
718) is a welcome change from science society and to the world, in utility and game of cricket has become so profes-
to cricket, but one fails to appreciate the application – and to science in general – sional, involving money and so tight-
theme propounded in it to project and which has permanence. Secondly, scheduled throughout the year that even
Bradman as a measure for the scientists. Bradman’s skill as a batsman was com- the best of the top players get tired
It is illogical to do so because their con- petitive, depending on the competence mentally and physically, and are not
tributions are of a totally different na- of the bowlers and fielders of the rival able to give their best uniformly in all
ture. Bradman undoubtedly is great in teams. On the other hand, the compe- the tests. Sachin Tendulkar and Brian
his game and would have got a Nobel tence of scientists is absolute and not Lara are apt examples for this.
Prize, had there been one for sports and relative, in spite of the fact that One factor which must have been
games. But his contributions to cricket, achievements in science have become common in Bradman and the scientists
which is a time-bound phenomenon and dependent on group activity. Thirdly, if and which must have inspired them to
at best academic, cannot match the sci- Bradman’s batting average of more than do the ‘sadhana’ to attain excellence, is
entific contributions of Newton, Fara- ninety runs in tests is not likely to be spiritualism. This incidentally the edito-
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 80, NO. 12, 25 JUNE 2001 1477
rial has missed to mention. Each one of and the scientists can be compared and the overall performance of the team as
us is endowed with this spiritualism to not in their contributions. much as Bradman did.
various extents. It is this spiritualism The caption of the cartoon at the end
which converted dacoit Valmiki into a of the editorial does not do justice to the Y. K. GUPTA
‘Maharishi’. It is this spiritualism which strike-bowlers like Larwood, Jardine,
turned the intense love of Tulsidas for Lillee, Walsh, Kapil Dev, etc. who ac- J/5, Phase II,
his wife into divine love and he became cording to the editorial belonged to the Shivalik Nagar,
a saint. It is in this virtue that Bradman Bradman class and who contributed to Hardwar 249 403, India
Fading fragrance of musk
Once well-distributed across the entire The unique flavouring quality of Habitat destruction is the second im-
Himalayan tract, the musk deer is now musk is one of the important factors for portant factor responsible for the de-
facing extinction. In the Himalayan its high value in the international mar- cline of the species. In the countries of
belt, its population is currently believed ket. Besides flavouring delicacies, it is erstwhile USSR (mainly Russia) and
to be less than 2000. The musk deer is also used in costly wines and in per- China musk deer farms have been estab-
listed as ‘endangered’ in the Red Data fumes for its fragrance. It is highly re- lished for their rearing and breeding. In
Book of IUCN (1974), in Appendix I in vered for its medicinal value in these farms, techniques are standardized
Convention on International Trade in Ayurvedic (Indian), Unani, Tibetan to collect musk from the gland without
Endangered Species (CITES), aiming at (Amchi) and Chinese systems of medi- killing the animal8,9. In India, sporadic
prohibiting musk trade at the interna- cines. References about curative proper- attempts by some ardent wildlife work-
tional level and in Schedule I of the ties of musk are found in the writings of ers paved way for the establishment of
1972 Wildlife Protection Act of India 11th century Arab physicians4. Musk is three musk deer centres.
and 1991 Wildlife Protection (Amend- regarded as a cardiac and general stimu- Conservation of this rare animal is of
ment) Act of India. However, despite lant; it increases blood circulation and utmost importance today, as it is fast
adoption of some conservation meas- raises the arterial tension. It is also used heading towards total extinction. In-
ures, poaching of musk deer continues as an aphrodisiac, antispasmodic and in stead of lamenting for the past follies,
virtually unchecked and trading still chronic cough. Used in 150 Ayurvedic we should take all necessary steps to
persists on a large scale. system of medicines, it is described as a conserve the deer in both in situ and ex
The musk deer (Moschus moschifer- life-saving drug5. situ conditions.
ous Linnaeus)1 belonging to class- The gelatinous brown musk secreted
Mammalia, family Cervidae has been by the deer fetches US $40,000 to 1. Tsalkin, V. I., Sistematica kabargi, V.
used by humans for various economic, 60,000 per kg in the international mar- Kn. Oleni, USSR, 1947.
aesthetic and socio-religious purposes ket6. Available data put the value of global 2. Mahajan, J. R., Quim. Nova, 1982, 5,
since time immemorial. It holds a musk trade in the US at $9 million to $10 118–123.
3. Waki, I. and Kumura, M., Wakan Iyaku
place between deer and antelopes, million and it is expected to rise.
Gakkaishi, 1984, 1, 218–221.
and is regarded as an under-developed The musk deer is victimized due to its 4. Joshi, G. C., Tiwari, K. C., Tiwari, R. N.
form of the deer, which has not pro- own possession – the musk gland. Nor- and Pandey, G., Indian For., 1993, 119,
gressed with the rest of its family. This mally about 150 musk deer are killed 798–803.
timid and solitary animal weighs about for one kg of musk7, whereas musk can 5. Uniyal, M. R., Sachitra Ayurved (in
9.5–11.5 kg and has a gall bladder, with be easily collected from the animal by Hindi), 1988, pp. 1–195.
males having a pair of canines and the the process of milking and other simple 6. Green, M. J. B. and Singh, A. N., in
musk gland which lies below the um- means, as the pod has a natural orifice. Wildlife in India (ed. Saharia, V. B.),
bilicus just in front of the prepuce. Once extracted, the musk is formed Natraj Publishers, Dehra Dun, pp. 173–
The pod attains its full size of about again within a year. 190.
7. Doval, N. K., The Hindu, 2 August
4 cm, when the deer is 136 weeks In the Himalayan region, poaching of
1989, p. 20.
old. The weight of the pod varies musk deer is highly organized and 8. Ustinov, S. K., Zool. Zhurnal, 1969, 48,
from 40 to 70 g, containing 10–40 g poachers operate in groups. Each hunt- 1558–1563.
of fresh musk in solid or semi-solid ing trip into the jungle lasts over a week 9. Zeng, S. and Nanwin, R. I., Acta
state. and about 15 animals are killed to get 5 Theriol. Sin., 1984, 4, 35–42.
The musk produced from the age of 2 pods. Shooting is the most discriminate
to 14 years in the male deer, contains an method of picking the male. However IRA TEWARI
alkaloid–muscone. Musk also contains this method is rarely favoured because
macrocyclic compounds, steroids, pro- of the risk of detection by forest offi- Department of Forestry,
teins, esterols, esters, waxes, urogenic cials. Snares, poisoned spears and track- Kumaun University,
salts2 and the male hormone – ing dogs are the other means used by Nainital 263 002, India
androsterone3. poachers to kill the animal. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
1478 CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 80, NO. 12, 25 JUNE 2001