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Reservations should end now

The widespread Gujjar agitation for Scheduled Tribe status bodes ill for the nation (editorial “Gujjar war” May 30). The politicians relish such class wars as these distract people’s attention from real issues such as poverty, high prices and unemployment. In fact, the reservations for certain castes/tribes professing a particular religion were part of the post-Independence agenda of the Congress to create vote banks.

Sixty years of reservations are enough for any caste/tribe to make progress. These should end now. An individual’s worth, and not his birth, should decide his merit for a post.

Alternatively, “reservation” may be replaced by “limitation”, meaning that the number of so-called higher castes should be limited to the ratio of their population so that middle communities such as Jats should not suffer any more.

S. S. Beniwal, Chandigarh



The blazing fire of the Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan points to the abyss we are heading for, thanks to the propagation of vote-bank policies by our self-centred political leaders who draw sadistic pleasure while dividing the country on caste/creed lines. The reservation policy, based on communal lines, has devastated social harmony.

After the Meenas, the Gujjars are up in arms to demand ST status and after they get it, other communities would follow suit. The repercussions of such action are dangerous for the social fabric of India. Can’t we stop the rat race for reservations for the sake of India? Social unrest can put India on fire. Reservations should be given up to 25 per cent to the economically weaker sections of society, irrespective of caste, creed and religion.


After Karnataka

The Tribune on May 30 carried a very readable and informative article, “Congress after Karnataka” by reputed columnist Inder Malhotra regarding the recent elections in Karnataka.

The learned journalist has inadvertently given some wrong information. In the fourth column of the article he writes: After Indira Gandhi’s return to power in 1980, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shyama Charan Shukla was removed by calling party MLAs in New Delhi and was replaced by P.C. Sethi.

This is wrong. The fact is that when Indira Gandhi came to power in 1980, there was the Janata Dal government and Jana Sangh leader V. K. Sakhlecha was the Chief Minister, who was soon replaced by Sunderlal Patwa after the Lok Sabha elections, which resulted in Indira Gandhi’s comeback. Then the government was removed and the assembly was dissolved in some states where the Janata Dal was in power.

Actually, Shyama Charan Shukla was asked to resign in January, 1972, just before the assembly elections were to be held. P. C. Sethi took over as Chief Minister in February, 1972 and the Vidhan Sabha elections were held under his leadership. The Congress came to power after the elections.

Radhe Shyam Sharma, Panchkula

Keeping faith

I have read BG Verghese’s article “Keeping faith with Constitution: Where have values fled?” It is extremely difficult to go along with Verghese when he says, “Respecting belief is very different from being imprisoned by it.” Perhaps, the respected journalist’s proposition amounts to suggesting that if the sacred, even if representing a non-fact or even fiction, is seen in a proper perspective, it would cease to be harmful.

The problem with Verghese’s thesis is that having belief in the sacred without caring for (read questioning) its doubtful features is a process, which gradually leads to a mindset, which borders on fanaticism that would brook no scientific inquiry.

On the other hand, the sacred, minus its questionable features, seriously dents faith in it. The point should be obvious: it is not possible to see a belief in a perspective and yet retain sentimental or emotional attachment to it.

I would go further to suggest it is not desirable to have faith in mythical elements of a belief for that would be in consonance with historical sense, which in today’s context is so much cherished as a manifestation of rationality.

Hard-core rationalists like Bertrand Russell go to the extent of suggesting that all kinds of beliefs, excepting basic moral values, should be only tentatively held. In other words, we should observe agnosticism in almost all situations except basic morality.

AKHILESH,Birampur (Hoshiarpur)

Addicted to oil

That oil is highly inflammable we know for sure. No wonder, it is causing inextinguishable fires throughout the world. Johann Hari, in his study on oil (Oped page, May 30), underscores the inconvenient truth a world addicted to oil refuses to acknowledge. In the face of almost unimaginable but totally understandable soaring prices of crude, the oil addicts demand placebos which are a delusion.

The reality checks offered by Hari are for real, viz, — that the point of peak oil has already passed and we will have to live with dwindling supplies of expensive oil because millions across the world are acquiring new cars every month. — our own indulgence has led to alarmingly devastating effects on climate. Any further global warming could spell the end of the world. It is true that most of the world’s oil is in West Asia. The Western hypocrisy in supporting the most repressive regimes of the Arab world is too well known. The act of going to war in Iraq was nothing but about oil.

It is high time that we began an urgent transition away from petrol and we must endeavour to develop alternative fuels and technologies.




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