Earlier in Forum






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

This is the second instalment of readers’ response

Mediocrity can’t replace excellence

There should be no reservation in IITs and IIMs. It is a ridiculous and deplorable move that needs to be condemned for the following reasons: It is a myopic action that focuses on the political gains at the cost of peace and tranquillity prevailing in the country. Mediocrity can never replace excellence. If the government is sincere, it should help the weaker and deprived section of society to the fullest extent; but not by diluting the standards of excellence because of which India is fast catching the eye of countless multinational companies.

By destroying the universal acceptance of Indian talent in the fields of IT, engineering, management, healthcare, etc., it will only ensure that the foreign capital that is flowing into India is dried up.

There is need to stop the bogey of reservations once for all. Introduce reservations that are based on economic poverty-cum-backwardness, so that every single deserving is benefited. But that demands bold, healthy initiative and true statesmanship.

Over 58 years, reservations have not brought the desired social changes. Why? Simply because in the name of such perpetuated reservations, the vested interests (the creamy layer of such classes) have been exploiting the benefits that accrue. Even the Supreme Court has given such a ruling denying such benefits to the affluent, undeserving “reserved” people.

Those who are in power should accept these glaring facts. Have they forgotten the Mandalisation of 1989-90, and its ill effects? Do they want to push the country again into such chaos? They owe an explanation to the conscientious minds of the country. What is wrong in accepting reservations on economic considerations? Do they wish to really help the deserving the poor, irrespective of caste, or allow as usual the open loot by the creamy layer? A meaningful debate must take place by including industries and managements. Let us don’t sacrifice merit in the name of social justice. Nobody stops the government from ending such an injustice to the poor? Hunger has no caste: please don’t forget this naked truth. Our sympathies are always with the deserving poor but never with those who usurp the morsels of the poor. We certainly favour poverty-based reservations. So, the moral responsibility lies with the government to accept the truth and do the needful.

GEETA SHARMA, Rehan (Kangra)

Ensure quality education

If HRD Minister Arjun Singh’s proposal for 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in the IITs, IIMs and central universities, in addition to the already existing 22.5 per cent reservation for SCs and STs, is implemented, it will logically follow for jobs also. Ultimately, excellence will be replaced by mediocrity. And it is rightly not relished by the private sector as that way one cannot compete or survive in the global market. 
It is an established fact that one who begins with crutches; ends with crutches. Disparities cannot be removed by quotas but by providing level playing field to the disadvantaged sections of society. It can be done by ensuring for them quality schooling, monetary help and all other facilities, so that they are brought up to a level from where they can compete for seats and jobs. The private sector can be roped in for this purpose.


Its aim is to divert our attention

Reserving almost half the seats in the IITs and IIMs based on caste to non-meritorious students would certainly not help the poorest of the poor. They could be helped a million times more by good governance, as opposed to practicing vote-bank politics.

The poorest of the poor have received nothing but promises, election after election. They have been promised everything except good governance. As long as the vote-bank politics remains, the social uplift is not possible. Instead of butchering merit and diluting the educational standards, the HRD Minister should focus on improving the human development index of India, which is shamefully one of the lowest in the world.

R. P. RAMMOHAN, Hyderabad

Talent needs no quota

Lakhs of students prepare for the toughest examinations in the country and the government has to just introduce further reservation to dampen their spirits. Reservation is not going to help even the backward classes. How can they compare themselves with the students getting 90 per cent or more marks? If they have the talent, they will come up on merit. Reservation can continue, if a student is economically weak. That is still understandable and a little more acceptable, too, but reservation on the basis of caste is totally ridiculous and they who favour it are just trying to further divide India.



The decision of quotas in IITs and IIMs is totally illicit. It will hamper the spirits of hardworking general class students. It is wrong to say that general class is very affluent. A general class poor farmer’s child is less privileged than a thriving reserved class parent’s child. How can the latter be called a backward class? The government should not shatter the hopes of lakhs of aspiring students in the name of social justice to the OBCs. Instead of caste, merit should be the sole criterion for selection. How can a student with 40 per cent marks be called a better future holder of India than the one with 85 per cent or more marks? 


Blame it on VP

Reservation is back in the headlines. V. P. Singh might be smiling, but the hurt of the millions of meritorious Indians who would be denied access to higher education because of this quota system would haunt him. It is he who strengthened a system that the Constitution had pledged to eradicate.

It is he who ensured that the people continued to be discriminated against on the basis of their caste. This government, for political reasons, has seen it fit to revive “divide and rule”.

Limit reservation to primary and secondary education. To allow caste to overrule merit at any stage is downright shameful. We need to ensure that students, regardless of their caste, are given the means to compete fairly for higher education. Let the government subsidise higher education for students who have the merit, but not the money, regardless of their caste.

Let us truly abolish the caste system by striking at its roots, instead of trying to perpetuate it through reservations.


Merit alone should be the criterion

The admissions to specialised courses should be on the basis of merit alone. Mandal and kamandal have tarnished the India’s image abroad. Laying stress on the achievements through hard work based on merit, Shakespeare rightly said, “Some are born great, some are made great and some achieve greatness.”

Ancient saints like Maharishi Valmiki, Guru Vashishat, Guru Ravi Dass, Ved Vyas, Bhagat Kabir and Bhagat Rahim had achieved greatness through mental merit without any reservation. Then we have the classic example of Dronacharya and Eklavya, a Dalit youth, who wanted to get astra-shastra training from the former. Though Dronacharya refused to train him, he was determined and acquired his knowledge through an impersonal guru. Eklavya’s caste did not matter and what mattered was his merit.

Today, the economic basis for reservation is the need of the hour. Many non-scheduled castes are living below poverty line but they are meritorious enough to achieve a lot and command respect. So, merit alone should be the criterion for admission to specialised courses.

M. G. GUPTA, Faridkot

Set official machinery right

The Constitution of India was framed to provide equal opportunities and rights to all its citizens. However, for the last over 50 years, the government has failed to fulfil its basic duty and these facilities are being enjoyed by a small portion of society. In order to cover its failure, reservation has been brought in everywhere.

Whenever an undeserving candidate gets admission to a specialised course through reservation despite scoring low marks, it amounts to injustice to other meritorious candidates. Such a person will never be able to do justice to his job. A society that doesn’t judges its citizens on merit and is divided into castes and sects is all set to be doomed. Instead of providing reservation, the government should first set right its official machinery and launch programmes to spread awareness among people to work for their fundamental rights and for the uplift of the country.

GURINDER KAUR, Anandpur Sahib

Stop vote bank policy

Admissions to specialised courses should be made exclusively on the basis of merit alone. Such courses require conceptual and thinking abilities and the ability, aptitude, intelligence, innate qualities and competence to develop and differentiate into diverse areas as and when required. This necessitates that academic ability should be the sole criterion for admissions to the specialised courses.

Besides, non-academic personal qualities should be taken into account. Good oral and written communication skills, desire to work hard, self-reliance, self-belief, commitment to continuous improvement and self-development can’t be procured through reservation, which promotes divisions in society. Rather than eradicating the caste system, a conscious and ill-planned attempt is being made to keep the cauldron of casteism boiling. Moreover, it is the vote-bank policy of the politicians to promote their own vested interests.

SC/ST/OBC candidates should be groomed rigorously to compete with the best than to provide them with the crutches of reservations. They should be given free education. Financial help to them will not be grudged at all but there should be no compromise as far as admissions or promotions are concerned. Education is fast going beyond the reach of underprivileged classes. So, it should be made cheaper. This aspect is being neglected while reservation is being perpetuated. 



Admissions to specialised courses should be on the basis of worth and not on the basis of birth. In fact, all political parties are united on the issue of reservation for garnering votes. They have been following the “divide and rule” policy. If our leaders had a spirit of keeping the country before self, they would have banned the mentioning of sub-caste in all government documents. That’s why our leaders could not eliminate casteism in the country even after 58 years of Independence.

No doubt, socially and financially weaker sections of society deserve liberal scholarships, coaching, training and all other facilities to raise their standards, but not at the cost of national interest. How can a ward of an IAS officer be backward? Our leaders should dispense with the appeasing policy, otherwise violent attitude of the divided society will put democracy in peril.

K. K. JINDA, Sangrur

Plants need water, not cover

The reservation policy, at this stage, will not reach the people who really need it and for whom it is intended. It is like providing a protection to a plant without watering it.

If the government had looked after the Dalits from the grassroots level, there would have been no need of reservation. No one seriously bothered to ensure that they got good education and a respectable living. In villages, the Scheduled Castes are still called names and continue to do menial jobs.

I belong to the village of Pandit Jasraj, Pillimandori in Haryana, which has found prosperity only now. Many families have become millionaires and a number of students now go to college. The plight of my Dalit friends has not changed. All the benefits meant for them have gone to local politicians.

On a recent visit, I found that they could hardly make use of reservations, as few crossed the school level. There was no concerted effort to ensure that their children went to college or got good jobs. Earlier, Dalbir Singh was the only SC minister from our area of Sirsa. Today, it is his daughter, Selja. By now, there should have been dozens of Dalit leaders in the area.

I once took a boy from the Harijan community and sponsored his education till he had finished the school. That changed the life of that boy and his family. He could educate his children and they got out of the village rut.

What we need today are not more reservations, but more empowerment.

Col R. D. SINGH, Jammu


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