You can always blame everybody except yourself for the misfortunes that befall you (“A Dalit scholar’s death and Brahmin dominance at India’s premier science institute”). Do not blame the “brahmins” alone for all the evils of modern India. The erstwhile “Brahmin” families have drastically reformed themselves over time. But other castes have become more dogmatic about their castes because they derive benefits from reservations. IISc, IITs, NITs, demand hard work, especially research for a PhD degree.

It is the unrealistic demands from the parents that usually break the spirit of the students. Then the parents conveniently blame the faculty members for their son’s or daughter’s suicide. The faculty are not there to molly-coddle students, especially mature research scholars. If the students find the going tough, instead of making unrealistic demands, their parents should ask them to leave the institutions and explore other options. This observation I make after working in a premier technological institution for more than 30 years. – Goldin R Bennet


I have always maintained that the government’s policy of providing reservation for unprivileged aspirants for institutes and government services is flawed (“IIT-Bombay suicide: Dalit student told mother about caste discrimination, says chargesheet”). The institute or the service is downgraded and the quality of the institute or the service suffers. As an alternative, the government must provide all resources to upgrade the quality suitable of aspirants and help them crack the entrance examinations in an open competition. This not only can upgrade the image and self-respect of the aspirant but also keep the reputation of the institute high. I am fully aware of such procedures practised in other similar situations in India and can vouch for its success. – TJ John

On vegetarianism

There are quite a few tall claims in this article (“What makes Indian vegetarians different from Westerners who have given up meat?”). One could only wish for such simple explanations for such a complex topic. Very poorly researched and written. – Vivek Puri

Bengal refugees

I am a refugee. There is nothing wrong in the attitude of the Ghotis because of Partition (“‘Ghoti’ and ‘Bangal’: The roots of the pervading psyche of us versus them among Bengalis”). In the matter of bread and butter, no state is willing to concede an inch. The roots of suffering lies not in Ghotis but in the hostile treatment by the central government. While the Punjabis got a state for settlement, in the case of Bengal, the Centre neither gave money nor any additional land for refugee rehabilitation. In national disasters, it is unfortunate that others do not come forward to provide a healing touch for the bruised and battered. The step-motherly attitude of the government coupled with the hatred and derision of Ghotis made the Bengalis more determined in their fight against injustice. The state which sacrificed most in our struggle for Independence is now an object of pity. – Basanti Debabrata Aich