Of quotas and hypocrisy of politicians

I appreciate Cecilia Antony’s article “Politics of Quota” (Perspective, July 2). She has very rightly exposed the selfish deeds of the politicians who play the dirty game of vote-bank politics at the cost of the nation.

Sadly, however, those who matter don’t bother and those who bother do not matter. Caste-based reservation is not the panacea for the downtrodden. The real solution lies in strict population control and providing education right from the primary school level.

The caste-based reservation system, even otherwise, is a criminal infringement of basic human rights of genuinely brilliant people in the general category.

A.K. Sharma, Chandigarh


Affirmative action, at one level, is a legitimate mechanism to lift the status of the underprivileged in society. At another level, the issue has denigrated into a cynical political game to grab or retain power or to safeguard one’s vote banks. Politicians do not bother about the consequences, i.e. the brain drain. The creamy layer among the reserved categories also gets undue advantage of quotas.

Nikhil Bhardwaj, Jalandhar



In her well-written article, Cecilia Antony has reflected the views of many opponents of reservation and of those in favour of giving all facilities to the wards of poor families to help them develop and compete with others.

Alas, narrow-minded politicians understand before it is too late that the vote bank policy is very dangerous not only to the nation but to those whom the political parties are trying to please.

Brig R.N. Sharma, Palampur


No one knows how long will reservations continue. I am a post-graduate student now and the SC/ST/OBC categories which enjoy reservation are a big hurdle in my career growth. We, students, before taking admissions in institutes will have to look for the reserved seats and then try our luck.

I am an average student. If the authorities give a seat to a student in the reserved category, far below my rank, what will I do and where will I go?

Jyotika Raizada, Una


Some more tiger tales

THIS refers to Lt-Gen Baljit Singh’s letter “Tiger sighting in Pench” (June 18). I appreciate the critical appraisal of my article on Pench Tiger Reserve by the reader, which gives me a chance to improve further. However, I would like to clarify the points he has raised.

First, I did not mention in my piece that Kipling “wrote” his Jungle Book sitting in Pench. He set his Mowgli in Pench.

Second, the forest department personnel we met at Pench gave the number of tigers in Pench to us and I also heard about it in one of our TV channels.

Third, we were staying not in Pench but at Rukkad, officially a small part of Pench across the Jabalpur-Nagpur Highway, on the opposite side of the main tiger reserve. The MP Tourism cottages are rented out here for visitors to Pench when the accommodation in Pench is full. These are not far from the road. The campfire is not a figment of imagination. And fourth, behind these there was a water-hole and a forest guard took some of us to it and showed pug marks.

They were not of the tiger but certainly of a leopard that visits the sight at night but luckily it was not my “last walk” precisely because we went there at about 8 or 8.30 pm and being January, it was pitch dark by 7 pm. The article is written after what Wordsworth would call “emotions recollected in tranquility”. I thank Lt-Gen Baljit Singh for giving a close reading to the piece.

Usha Bande, Shimla 

Punjab’s nightingale

Nirupama Dutt is incorrect when she says in her article on the late Surinder Kaur that she sang only one song in just one Hindi film Shahid (Spectrum, June 25).

I know of quite a few songs sung by Surinder Kaur for different music directors in films of the early 1950s. There is a song from, Nadia ke paar picturised on Kamini Kaushal, Akhiyan milake akhiyan. Another song Kahe ab re balam from Buzdil became quite popular. Even in Shahid there is another song, Ujra umeedon ka chaman sung by her.

Similarly her duet with Mukesh, Tera kisi se pyaar tha, tu vo mana bhul ja, can still be heard sometimes when old film songs are played on the radio stations. There are many others like the duet with Mohammad Rafi from Sabak, Keh do hame na beqrar kare.

Harsh Kumar Oberoi, Mandi


The writer’s assertion that Surinder Kaur sang only one song in Hindi films is incorrect. In Shaheed itself her second song was Taqdeer ki aandhi aisi chalee, kashti se kinnara chhoot gaya.

Besides she sang in some other films also following the success of Shaheed. Researchers can shed more light on it.

Dr Yash Paul Goyal, Nabha

Botanical name

This refers to Kiran Narain’s “Jack of all trees” (Spectrum, July 2). The botanical name of jackfruit is not artocarpus integra as written in the article but Artocarpus heterophylus.

Moraceae is a proper noun and therefore always begins with a capital letter. This is applicable to names of all botanical families.

The botanical name of a plant comprises two words. The first is called a genus and always begins with a capital letter. The second is known as a species and it always begins with a small letter.

Dr Charanjit Parmar, Mandi



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