Thursday, February 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



President’s plea for reservations: what’s wrong?

The letter of S.S.Jain (Feb 6) criticising President K.R. Narayanan for his expressing concern for the uplift of the deprived sections of society in his R-Day-eve address is certainly not in good taste. The criticism does not remain confined to the issue of reservation to the SCs/STs in the private sector alone. The letter writer has gone tong and hammer to attack the reservation policy itself as if to start a fresh debate on this issue. Otherwise where was the necessity to invoke the names of Babu Jagjiwan Ram and Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in this discussion? At least President Naryanan has not made any plea for extending the benefits of reservation to the SCs/STs in the fighting forces or the Army.

The unfortunate part of the story is that the anti-reservation lobby has become too impatient and desperate to see the end of the reservation policy at any cost and, with that end in view, finds the flimsiest excuse good enough to vent its ire against all those who dare talk of the deprivations and inequalities stalking the society and in that vein ask for some remedial measures to set them right.

By referring to the Bhopal declaration that was adopted in a conference of the country's dalit and tribal intellectuals, the President echoed only the sentiments and aspirations of the vast segment of the populace who continue to carry on their back the stigma and burden of the dreadful past. Of the 39 crore people living below the poverty line, more than 80 per cent of them belong to this degraded category. Little wonder, therefore, if the President in his capacity as the Head of this egalitarian Republic has invited the indulgence of the elite sections to help these less fortunate people to partake a bit of the national cake by way of reservations, especially when the state is fast on its way to replace the 'socialistic pattern of society with its new-found panacea of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation policy.

K.C. SULEKH, Chandigarh


Is this democracy?

I want to share my views about the “democracy”, that we are having in our country. It is election time. So the importance of the common man has increased suddenly. But what will happen after the elections?

Again Badal will sell Punjab’s interests for wealth. Again some Raja will eat up the bank’s money which belongs to the public. Again some Bibi will escape charges of murder. Again some Bhattal will not go to court despite warnings.

Whatever they do, they need power to do it. And who gives them this power? It’s the common people. And who suffers the most? It’s again the common people. So what can a common man do? We don’t want to fight Pakistan because it attacked the politicians on December 13.

Where was their self-respect when so many BSF jawans were killed by Bangladesh? When the common man is attacked there is no war, but when politicians are attacked, the Army is put on high alert. Politicians must learn that they are there because of us. The Constitution must have a say of those people who do not want to cast their vote in anybody’s favour. A new law should be made according to which: “If in a state where elections are being held in normal conditions (unlike in J&K), the voting percentage is less than a fixed percentage, then the elections in that state must stand cancelled and the Centre’s rule should be imposed for six months or even one year.”

Today corruption is everywhere and it is leading to brain-drain. Frustration among unemployed youth and farmers in debt has done enough damage to our country and democracy. I appeal to the Supreme Court and the Election Commission to come forward and do something in this matter and save our country.



Ph.D hurdles

The write-up by Dr B.L. Chakoo presents the sorry state of our higher education system. Even if a student wants to work hard for obtaining a Ph D, he/she is faced with hurdles which cause avoidable stress. For some subjects guides are either not available or do not want to provide guidance. The student gets so frustrated he/she just drops the idea of doing Ph.D Why can't the UGC look into this matter?


Of guides: Having submitted a dissertation in Hindi myself from a particular university, I found that instead of getting any help or guidance, scholars are usually discouraged and even harassed while writing their thesis or dessertations.

A lot of red-tapism and formalities are done by our so-called "guides" who leave no stone unturned to discourage and force the student to abandon his or her work in the middle. Topics are literally forced upon students "to work upon" by guides.



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