Saturday, July 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Meritocracy must replace mediocrity

Apropos of Dr V. Eshwar Anand’s article “No end to politics of reservation” (June 28), those who belong to upper castes have every reason to complain about the privilege of job quotas being extended to backward classes at the cost of merit. Among upper castes, there are so many economically backward classes that their interests too need to be looked into greater detail.

There is need for a comprehensive review of the reservation policy cutting across party lines. If necessary, the Constitution should be amended to provide reservation only for economically backward classes without any caste consideration. All other reservations must be scrapped forthwith. No doubt, this requires a strong political will. Not birth, caste or religion but talent, merit and performance should be given due recognition. Meritocracy should prevail over mediocrity.

Prof K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar


Our political masters, for pure political gains, are overlooking the fact that reservations were envisaged for a limited period not only to ensure economic prosperity but also eliminate the social scourge that the reserved classes have been carrying for centuries together.

One must admit that this system has failed to achieve its objective. Instead, it has brought, apart from “affecting the quality of administration”, a further contemptuous social alienation of these classes, which is evident from the clamour that is currently being raised for reservation even by upper castes.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh



India cannot grow and prosper if reservations continue any longer. Does any developed country encourage reservations over merit? It is only in our country that this has been happening ever since 1951. Quotas for employment and for contesting elections to various representative institutions should go.

It is not always realised that many people — including those enjoying the benefits of reservation — do not approve of this policy. Clearly, as some of the meritorious among the reserved categories are very intelligent, hard working and talented, they suffer from low esteem because of the reservation policy. More important, they do not want themselves to be associated with the reserved categories. While economic backwardness could be the criterion for reservations, those belonging to lower castes should be suitably helped by the government through free education, scholarships and other welfare measures.

Dr U.S. BANSAL, Chandigarh


As in other states, reservations have played havoc in Punjab. Accelerated promotions for officials belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes have resulted in a very peculiar situation in Punjab wherein many officers belonging to the general category are forced to work under or as juniors to their own erstwhile colleagues belonging to the reserved category even though they are senior in terms of qualifications and seniority at the time of appointment.

I had to work under an officer who entered the cadre at the same entry point ten years later. This is a very distressing and demoralising situation wherein the fundamental faith in the system tends to get eroded. This inequality agitates against human conscience and tends to compound the disease which we are trying to cure by means of reservations. The continuation and confirmation of such unjust policies by more amendments to the Constitution will foment caste conflicts and ultimately result in the fragmentation of society.

There is, therefore, an urgent need to review the entire policy of reservation and take corrective measures to ensure that the benefits percolate down to the intended beneficiaries and that there is a marked uplift of the downtrodden and the have-nots amongst the reserved categories. Politicians must stop this game of self-deception which will ruin the country.

S. C. CHABBA, Ropar


As a Dalit, I feel the people of Punjab have derived the maximum benefit out of reservations. Unfortunately, however, those who have annexed high posts have ignored the interests of their poor brethren. As a result, quotas have created bitterness among the people of lower castes. These days, marital relations are not encouraged because of the status consciousness of the affluent SC/STs.

The elite or the creamy layer should not enjoy reservations. I would favour quotas for economically backward classes as well but it will create problems for the government. The tragedy is that no law or policy is enforced scrupulously.

BANSI RAM, Chakhajipur (Hoshiarpur)

The sword’s importance in Sikhism

This has reference to the photo of Congress President Sonia Gandhi holding an unsheathed sword, presented to her by the Sikhs in New Delhi, after the Delhi Government declared Punjabi the second language (June 28).

The Sikhs in Delhi had been asking for making Punjabi in Gurmukhi script the second language after Hindi for the last four decades. It was quite a genuine demand. Yet its acceptance had been hanging fire. It has been acceeded to now, apparently, in view of the ensuing Assembly elections to garner the Sikh votes.

Sword is one of the five mandatory symbols enjoined by Guru Gobind Singh to be worn by the initiated Sikhs. He regarded the sword as “an emblem of power to extirpate the tyrants” and made it an object of worship with the Sikhs. He equated the sword with God, whom he called “Sarab-Loh” (all steel). God punishes the oppressors. So does the sword.

He glorified the Sword, inter alia, thus “Sukh santa karning, dur-mat darning, kil bikh harning, as sarning/Jai Jai jag-kaaran, sirisht obaaran, man pratipaaran, jai teghing” (I seek protection of the sword — comfortor of the saints, scourge of the miscreants, destroyer of the sin and the sinners/Hail to you the creator of the world, uplifter of the creation, my protector; hail to you the sword).

This is just to highlight the paramount importance of the sword in Sikhism and not to slight the Congress President.


Pay Pak in its own coin

The killing of 12 jawans and injuries to many others in a fidayeen attack on an Army camp in Jammu is yet another reminder that there is no let up in Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India (June 29).

Considering the intensity and frequency of violence in the state, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister's much-vaunted policy of “healing touch” sounds hollow and has proved totally ineffective. Unless we make Pakistan pay dearly in blood and money for its terrorist activities in India, there is going to be no peace or honour ever for this country.

What on earth prevents us from paying Pakistan back in its own coin? What are we afraid of? Why we need to be so utterly moronic and masochistic in our reactions? How long shall we keep on watching impassively even as our innocent people continue to be killed in cold blood?

Wing-Cdr S.C. KAPOOR (retd.), Noida

Kalam’s visit to Kashmir

During President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir, a leading private news channel highlighted his trip to Vaishno Devi shrine by saying that he is the first Muslim President to visit the shrine. There was no need to highlight the fact that the President is a Muslim. Why create a wedge between people belonging to different communities? The media should try to build a healthy atmosphere and not tarnish it by mentioning such facts.

ANUJ VERMA, Nangal (Punjab)

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