L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Poverty has no caste or religion

I read Uttam Sengupta’s article, “Caste clouds fight against poverty” (Perspective, May 16). Sadly, the caste system has become a very handy tool in the hands of casteist politicians. Ironically, on one hand, the political, social and even some religious leaders cry hoarse for abolition of the caste system and, on the other, they perpetuate the system by supporting the caste-based reservations and now asking for caste-based census.

Poverty has no caste or religion and caste, creed, religion, region, language, faith etc. should have no role to play in the poverty eradication plans. Economic condition should be the sole basis for implementation of any scheme or programme and merit should be the sole basis for any election or selection.

Consequently, the demand for caste-based census should be rejected and steps should be taken for the abolition of caste-based reservation policy.

A.K. SHARMA, Chandigarh


Though every right-thinking Indian harbours the vision of a casteless society, the politicians’ interests are better served by dividing society on castes and sub-castes.

Senior analyst K. Subrahmanyam has rightly observed that the demand for a caste census did not stem from the politicians’ desire to improve the living conditions of the disadvantaged but from the design to create vote banks.

Clearly, vote-bank politics is the biggest bane of Indian society and there seems no ray of hope that the politicians would ever shun their designs to keep society divided.

I endorse the writer’s conclusion that reservation of seats in state legislatures and in Parliament on the basis of caste and ethnicity has actually failed to work. It is a flawed perception that a man belonging to the same caste or ethnicity would be able to work for the benefit of his community. An independent and impartial study is needed to test the validity of reservation of seats.

Indeed, reservation is no panacea for ameliorating the conditions of the downtrodden. Selfless leaders should renew their assault on poverty and caste-based inhibitions so that society could leap forward



To eliminate the use of caste in vote-bank politics, the writer has rightly suggested some safeguards in the electoral system. I endorse his view of proportional system of election and the compulsion of a winning candidate to secure at least 50 per cent of the votes polled.

Admittedly, this will go a long way in reducing the impact of caste in securing political power. We must do all that is practically possible for the elimination of the caste system if we really want to progress. The sooner this is done, the better it is.

R.K. KAPOOR, Chandigarh

Tackling water crisis in East and West Punjab

IN his article, “Water crisis in East and West Punjab”(Perspective, May 23), M.S. Gill has rightly pointed out that with the present scenario of fast depletion of underground watertable, the state is heading to become a desert in future.

The large dip in ground-water table raises doubts about the long-term sustainability of the irrigated agriculture of Punjab, 60-70 per cent of which is based on groundwater irrigation alone. In due course, it would become more difficult for small and marginal farmers to bear the irrigation cost.

Apart from promoting several water management strategies like better irrigation and on-farm management practices, change in cropping pattern, banning early plantation of paddy etc, the government should gear up the Agriculture department to educate the farmers on diversification of crops.

I would suggest that before giving tube-well connections, there is a need to study the level of ground water.



The writer, being a sincere man, is justifiably worried about the critical shortage of water in his native province. But the measures he suggests are bureaucratic niceties which, even if implemented, will not serve much purpose.

The real solution to the problem is the restoration of the river waters from Punjab. Otherwise, the region is in for trouble.

H.J. SINGH, Chandigarh



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |