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Merit myth

india Updated: Jul 07, 2007 00:41 IST

Apropos of Barkha Dutt’s, For God’s sake (June 30), quotas and reservations for any institution, whether big or small, are not justified. At the end of the day, it is sound academics that allow India to compete globally. The greatest minds produced by our country have been the products of the IITs, IIMs and colleges like St. Stephen’s. Wouldn’t it be a national shame if these prestigious educational hubs lose the driving force behind their success?

Vipul Kumar, Delhi


The burden of Barkha Dutt’s lament was that reservation for Dalit Christians would destroy St. Stephen’s “classic Nehruvian” tradition. Pray what tradition? She says, “Merit may be a complex myth in a country as unequal as India.” Then she terms the quota policy as “ill-conceived” and “self-serving” and calls for its burial without offering any alternative formula. She goes on to say, “India needs a more imaginative way to address inequity and discrimination!” What is that imaginative way? How does one empower Dalits? Sixty years since the country got Independence, temples are still purified if Dalits (of any religion) enter.

Kiran Benedict, via email


I agree that the move to implement 40 per cent quota for Christians in St. Stephen’s college is against the interests of society. The demarcation of 25 per cent quota for Dalit Christians sounds politically motivated.

Kumar Rahul, Mumbai


When I joined as a lecturer in a college in 1971, I had unshakeable faith in political maturity gaining prominence as our democracy took root and gained strength as also that young talent would lead the country to development above the narrow considerations of caste, class and religion. How Platonic my ideas and erroneous my understanding of the political class were. Today I fail to answer my conscience whether all my lectures on merit and human aspirations of a classless society were Utopian, even a sham.

Ved Guliani, Hisar

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