Tuesday, July 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Double standard on the policy of reservation

Apropos of the articles and letters on reservation, the upper castes make a hue and cry whenever the backward castes are given the benefit. However, when the Centre planned to emulate Rajasthan to provide reservation to the EBCs among the upper castes, they didn't utter a word against the policy.

A foolish argument of the anti-reservationists is that it is affecting merit and efficiency. We have been ruled only by the “merited” upper castes, which claim “merit” as their sole monopoly. Of our 15 Prime Ministers, all belonged to upper caste and out of these, 11 were Brahmins, the most intelligent caste. They also occupy all the top positions in various ministeries and departments.

India is managed by upper castes, the so-called “meritocrats”, but it has become a beggar nation. Having the highest number of holidays in a year, our people have become the laziest in the world. We are at the bottom in all spheres. Hence, what is the use of this merit and efficiency?

The “merited” upper castes, and not the underprivileged people, are responsible for this mess. Even if it is argued that the latter have no brains, in a democratic nation, which assures equal rights to all the citizens, even the brainless have the right to rule themselves. The British denied home rule to India having maintained that Indians have no brains. Gandhi, Tilak and others said “Indians prefer self-rule to British rule”.

The underprivileged constitute 65 per cent of India's population. Together with religious minorities, they become 85 per cent. If they say that they want to rule the country, their argument would be perfectly democratic. India will be torn to pieces if the identity and dignity of its different segments are not respected. Reservation is the well established and constitutionally accepted approach to develop the socially sub-merged communities and bring them into the national mainstream.


Reservation promotes human rights and we should prepare to concede the human right of each individual. It is a part of the great socio-cultural experiment, which is described as social engineering. It needs great minds to lead such a movement. Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Justice V.M.Tarkunde led the human rights movement of the underprivileged.

Mr A.J. Philip (June 5) has very rightly written that “the Dalits have a case for reservation so long as they are victims of social discrimination”.



Dr V. Eshwar Anand " No end to politics of reservation "(June 28) has rightly pointed out that “the government is doing a great disservice to the country by ignoring merit and packing a sizeable chunk of positions though reservations”. I would like to quote a few experiences to strengthen this view. First, a girl student bemoaned her failure to get admission to MBBS course in spite of her score of 66.35 per cent in the entrance exam, while another student got admission with a poor percentage because she belonged to the reserved category. I asked her not to feel bad, but this did not console her.

Secondly, a student got himself adopted by a Scheduled Caste family and managed to get admission in an engineering college claiming the benefit of reserved category. And thirdly, a doctor, holding the post of Professor and Head of a department in a prestigious medical college in India, decided to migrate to another country. On being asked the reason(s) for his decision to migrate, he said, “I have decided to leave India for the sake of future of my children. The children, howsoever bright they may be, can’t hope to get admissions in a professional institute on merit. They should either belong to a reserved category or I have to possess many lakhs of rupees.

Prof P.V. GUPTA, Chandigarh


Sad state of industrial safety

I read with much interest Ms Aditi Tandon’s article “Sorry state of safety”. Aditi has taken much pains to present to the readers a comprehensive analysis of the sad state of industrial safety in the region. It is really shocking to know that the region has 185 industrial units using hazardous substances like chlorine, LPG, methanol and ammonia, which, if not safely handled, can cause irreversible damage to life and environment. It is surprising that these units have no comprehensive crisis management cells to avert the danger of the Ranbaxy order.

I endorse Aditi’s suggestion for a crisis management plan for every factory. We must also try to find a remedy for the official lethargy and laxity on the part of the industrial units to make use of whatever means are available to safeguard the health and life of the industrial workers and the people who live in the vicinity of the industrial units. How often we hear of air pollution control devices installed in factories to control pollution not functioning? On a fine morning, we read some time ago that lakhs of fish were found floating in Nangal lake because of the effluents discharged from a factory. On inspection, it was found that the factory’s treatment plant was not functioning.

There are safety norms for industrial units. But they follow them not out of conviction, but out of compulsion. In fact, corruption leads to official apathy which leads to laxity on the part of industries.

Fr THOMAS K.J. Rajpura


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