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SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS


FORUM
Q: Should admissions to specialised courses be on
the basis of caste or merit?

This is the first instalment of readersí response

Get over caste politics

The admission to specialised courses is a serious matter that impacts the future of the young generation and the country as a whole. To bring the country to the top, there is no way but to let brilliant minds come forward in various fields. Intellectuals are in every class of society and they donít require the benefit of reservation to excel. Politicians have turned reservation into a tool that allows them to divide and rule.

Politicians should rise above their self-interest because the unity and integrity of the nation cannot be sacrificed in this power game. The new generation will never forgive the politicians for their misadventures.

Admissions to specialised courses should be strictly on the basis of merit and
caste-based reservation should have no role in it. The pride of the nation is foremost.

S. K. NAYAR, Panchkula

II

Merit alone should be criterion for admission to specialised courses. In this competitive world, we have no option but to achieve excellence in all fields and that can happen only if we admit meritorious students to specialised courses. Politics should look beyond the vote bank, if we wish to make India a developed nation by 2020.

Excellence can be accomplished, if we do not get involved in messy caste politics. As in our defence services, there should be no consideration for caste and religion for admission to specialised courses. In the Constitution, the provision for reservation is to uplift the depressed and not to disregard and discourage merit.

G. R. KALRA, Chandigarh

Merit is the mantra

If we want to see our nation as a developed one as early as possible, then persons of great ability alone should lead in the specialised fields like medical, engineering etc. Such talent can be discovered only by applying the formula of merit and not caste.

If the government wants to raise the standard of living of the downtrodden, it should do so by providing them with free books, special coaching etc, so that they are able to compete with dignity. In developed India, merit shall be the only mantra for success.

Dr P. K. MITTAL, Nabha

Do not breed caste differences

Obviously, the admissions to specialised courses should be on the basis of merit alone. Merit-based selections alone will develop and promote the spirit of hard work and competition among the students.

We are in the age of global competition and our country has the potential to compete with the developed countries, but for that, we need to have quality professionals (doctors, engineers, scientists and business managers). Only giving admissions to meritorious students in specialised courses can produce quality professionals.

Now when we are on the brink of eliminating an age-old evil from the country, reservations in educational institutes will again sow the seeds of casteism and drag society back into the Dark Ages. This will bring caste disaffection among the people, which may endanger the law and order in the country. Students will become careless towards their studies.

Teachers, doctors, engineers and lawyers are the backbone of society and they need to be the scholars, hardworking and skilful.

SIMRAN SINGH, Sultanpur Lodhi

It will be a boost to the backward

Reservation in professional courses will be a boost to the socially and economically backward chunk of people, as education is the most important agency of social change, mobility and modernisation. Such strenuous efforts will ensure progressive equality of opportunity to all sections.

The Scheduled Castes (SCs) should get an opportunity to use education as a lever for their uplift. Reservation in professional courses will surely induce stiff competition in the general class and he who is the best shall win. India will have an elite class of professionals.

It would be a more dignified opportunity for the SCs than just having fee waiver, free hostel facility, special coaching etc. Letís go beyond the aim of making the backward class just literate.

Let us strive to extract an intelligentsia by providing the SCs with an acclaimed and socially raised platform. This will not only generate in them self-belief but also motivate others to follow them. Only this can shape India into an equalitarian and human society in which the exploitation of the weak will be minimal. Letís stand for each other before me stand against the world.

HARPREET BHATIA, Ludhiana

Professionalism is based on merit

Darwinís theory of "survival of the fittest" was never as relevant as in todayís highly competitive and hi-tech age. Time is not far when only they will survive who are the best in their field, and the rest will become extinct.

Nations are progressing by leaps and bounds because they have the best hands to build the best of the infrastructure.

It is high time that India should also strive hard to produce specialists and super specialists in all fields. It is obvious that to produce best products, we need the best raw material.

If we admit only meritorious students to various specialised courses, then we would surely be able to produce the best doctors, engineers, architects etc. Sacrificing merit can be nothing but suicidal for society and the nation. Let merit prevail.

Dr SUNIL CHOPRA, Ludhiana

Quotas bring social mobility

In developing as well as developed societies, education is viewed as an important vehicle of social transformation. The problem of social transformation and the role of education in it is a crucial one, and may be viewed broadly from two related, but slightly different perspectives.

In the teleological perspective, education is conceived as assisting society to achieve the goal it has set for itselfóin the field of technological development.

The other and the more important perspective is that even in socialist societies, specialised education is a symbol of status and prestige, and by the same token, one of the crucial determinants of a larger theme of social mobility.

In this context, the governmentís move to reserve seats in specialised courses is highly commendable.

As such, poverty, lack of a tradition of (specialised) education and rural background are preventing many deserving students from these communities from making it to the elite institutions.

AMAN RAI, Chandigarh

OBCs are better off

The proposed reservation of up to 48.5 per cent of the seats for the SCs, STs and OBCs in the IITs, IIMs and central universities is ill conceived. The plan would hit various other fields, from medicine to law, film to fashion, hotel management to mass communication etc.

The OBCs are far from being backward when it comes to education. It was the upper-caste Rajputs who forced an educated Roop Kanwar to step into the burning pyre of her husband, Mal Singh. Arenít they more backward?

To think that the Yadavs and the Jats are underprivileged is almost too ludicrous to talk about. Think of the Yadavs who rule Bihar and the UP and the Jats who have ruled Haryana for years. I am sure Haryana will never now have a Gopichand Bhargava, a Bhagwat Dayal Sharma or a Banarsi Das Gupta as CM. Itís the day for the Jats, from Bansi Lal to Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

The government should rather give the lower castes liberal scholarships, coaching, training etc. than closing the doors of professional colleges on Indiaís meritorious children. Donít crucify merit for caste.

S. S. Jain, Chandigarh

Deserving students feel cheated

Getting admission to a professional college is the foremost thing on every studentís mind, since with this prestigious seat comes the guarantee of a financially secure future.

I thoroughly oppose the reservation system because I feel that in the garb of giving benefit to certain sections of the society, our politicians are actually trying to secure their vote bank.

It is gross injustice to an academically good student who, despite getting good score in an entrance examination, loses out the seat to a student from some reserved category who has scored fewer marks.

It is also a depressing situation for the parents of the deserving children, as their investment on studies goes waste. A better way, which would benefit the SC/ST/OBC students, is providing them with free coaching and study material for entrance examinations and full fee reimbursement to they who get selected on merit.

India is a developing country and to be on a par with countries like the USA and the UK, we need quality professionals. Our politicians should realise that what we sow today is what we shall reap tomorrow.

Dr SHARAT GUPTA, Patiala

Strike out SCs that have benefited

The admission to specialised courses like engineering, medical and the IAS etc. should be purely on the basis of merit and not caste. Merit will give the country quality professionals for proper governance. Selection based on caste cannot give us quality workers and the country will go in the hands of poor workmen. Private sector, where admission is still solely on merit, is far advanced than the government sector.

The country has been progressing only due to the private sector. The government can help the weaker castes financially for improving their standard of living, but the son of an IAS officer who came on the basis of reservation should no more be given the privilege of reservation. If the meritorious were deprived better education, they would naturally migrate to foreign lands and our country would be starved of better workers.

BALDEV SINGH SAINI, Mohali

Give them support, not crutches

The Mandal ghost is back to haunt institutions of higher learning. Mr Arjun Singh, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, does not seem to understand the implications of his proposal. Such political opportunism masquerading as social concern deserves to be condemned.

The National Knowledge Commission should look beyond the Mandal mantra for innovative ways of offering equity and access to deprived and disadvantaged sections of society.

The policy makers and the government should provide them with quality basic education and support it with good infrastructure, scholarships, coaching and other facilities that should go to all such children at the primary and secondary levels. This would prepare them for a healthy competition ahead.

The government should increase spending on higher and technical education. Quotas based on caste should be abolished. To compromise the quality of education is to compromise the countryís future.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda

Quotas are undemocratic

Itís a pity that the worldís largest democracy should reserve seats in professional institutions on the basis of caste. This would only create sharp divisions in society. The government has virtually ruined the entire struggle by citizens in the general category against the pernicious caste-based quota system.

There are just a handful of jobs, for which lakhs of aspirants apply, but with this new proposal, the general class may look only towards the MNCs or foreign-aided organisations, as the quotas have now sealed their fate.

HITESH JHANGIANI, New Delhi

Convert me, please

Students of the general category, whatever their merit and distinction, have become unwanted citizens of India. Worse, the bane of reservation for the "luckiest kids" does not stop at 50 per cent only. It is much more.

One really wonders at the intellect of those who say that the whole issue of quota is based on the premise that certain classes are underprivileged and do not get equal opportunities. If some of these people can beat the fierce competition of general open quota, then this shows that their standard of education has increased and they are now competent to compete fairly.

With the crutches being given to certain classes in the form of free education, quota in education, free coaching, loans, reservations in promotions etc, the time is not far when these classes, thanks to the senseless decisions and opportunist politicians, will grab all the seats in any competition.

If we want to remove casteism from society, let the government allow conversion from one caste to another. If I choose to become an SC, ST or OBC, I will enjoy the opportunities they get.

UDITA AGRAWAL, New Delhi

The EC has asked the right question

The decision of Arjun Singh to announce the 27 per cent reservation quota under Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the IITs, IIMs and other institutes is unfortunate. The political parties have been harping on reservation due to the vote-bank pressures.

Former Prime Minister V. P. Singh had announced the implementation of the recommendations of the Mandal Commission and suffered the consequences.

The Election Commission has rightly asked Arjun Singh to explain why he has announced this plan when the five states were looking at elections. Ratan Tata and Rahul Bajaj, leading industrialists, have openly criticised the policy of the government. After becoming the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh had announced that he would implement reservation policy in the private sector, but failed due to criticism.

These steps of the government will not prevent brain drain. The MNCs and the private companies here will pick up bright students. The doctors that the reservation policy churned out had failed to earn a livelihood anywhere. India needs brain, not heartache.

KARAN, Chandigarh

Was the PM taken into confidence?

In connection with the quota mess created by Arjun Singh, a question has been raised: "Why are the PM and Sonia Gandhi mum on the issue?" In my opinion, since the UPA is like a sinking ship due to its selfish and tainted members and due to the fear of losing power, Arjun might have floated this idea to hoodwink the people.

He might not have even discussed it with Dr Manmohan Singh and the poor PM may be keeping quiet to avoid embarrassment. The Cabinet Secretary, being not a politician, is fully aware of the havoc that the quotas will cause, and so has wisely referred the issue to the CEC. Now, we can only wait and watch.

B. S. GANESH, Bangalore

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