Quota question

Caste discrimination is still prevalent in India (“Explainer: What is ‘creamy layer’ and why applying it to caste reservation is controversial”). Our fantasies of an equal and secure society cannot hide this. Reservations are provided to empower victims of caste discrimination. But not all of them avail of the opportunity. Even thinking of doing so proves a threat to many of them. As far as the creamy layer is concerned, I don’t deny that there is an imbalance in Dalit representation in the public space. But even those born into the lower castes are are not exercising their rights. They have more chances to prove themselves. Most reserved seats go unused. Improving the access to reservations to Dalits might be more efficient then changing the law to exclude the creamy layer. – Swetha Vimala M


I thank the author for this excellent and educative article. It will people understand the concept of reservation. That it is not supposed to be a poverty alleviation scheme is not understood by those opposing reservation. I wonder if the Supreme Court’s decision can be reviewed. If not, the government needs to do what it did with the Atrocities Act and bypass the judgement to ensure a truly inclusive and egalitarian India. – Rajratna Jadhav


Those who are criticising the Supreme Court verdict on the creamy layer criteria are wrong. The idea of reservation was not just based on the caste but also on uplifting the people from oppressed and marginalised sections. If only a few people enjoy the benefits of reservation, there will be no change in the condition of poor people of that community. Instead of criticising the court’s ruling, the government and the civil society, along with high-income families in these reserved groups, should make an effort to educate marginalised people so that they can uplift themselves economically as well as socially. As far as the discrimination is concerned, it will take a long time to be removed, because upper caste people are still living with pride. – Rehan Ansar


The creamy layer issue is quite a sensitive one. If the creamy layer is barred from reservations, vacancies may go unfilled. But, confining the benefit of reservations to a small, well-off group also does not serve the purpose. This would require reservation for indefinite period. Definitely, the need is to disburse the concessions for the benefit of larger sections in these communities. It is for the government to address the issue of under-utilisation of the concessions. – Deepak Goyal


Even without the creamy layer exclusion, so many vacant posts go unfilled.Think what will happen if the creamy layer is excluded from reservations. This should not be implemented. – Shyam G


Jobs and promotions

Page 45 of the judgement says that it is those “who have come out of untouchability or backwardness by virtue of belonging to the creamy layer, who are excluded from the benefit of reservation” (“Reservation verdict: Creamy layer order means no promotions for SC/ST employees even at lower levels”). The judgement reaffirms the decision of Indira Sahwney that scheduled castes and scheduled tribes are backward and also says that no quantifiable data is required to asses backwardness. Therefore the backwardness criteria falls flat. Regarding the untouchability criteria, how does one prove that people have come out of untouchability? Recently even our honourable president and his wife were allegedly misbehaved with at the Jagannath Temple. Therefore backwardness or untouchability criteria can’t be met and there is no creamy layer for scheduled castes and tribes. – Sridhara Murthy


It is this kind of flawed argument that keeps the scourge of caste reservations alive in India. The author claims that a driver or other group D employee earns over Rs 8 lakh per annum. Further, he conveniently ignores the fact that the driver has (in all likelihood) already availed of reservation once to get his job. Now he wants the same leg up again? Till when? Chief Secretary level? Caste-based reservation has come to be regarded as a right rather than as a leg-up. It’s just the old caste system turned on it’s head. – Jaishankar


I am for merit without any bias. Despite reservations, people belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribe are overlooked for promotions because of hatred, animosity and bias of others occupying higher positions. Written exams should be conducted for all promotions, with coded papers where the names of the applicants are not revealed. Everyone talks of Ambedkar with regard to his stance on reservations, but he most probably had not imagined how strong caste biases are in Indian society. – ST Chandrashekhar Babu


I really liked the article. But I have a question with regard to one claim the author makes. He says: “India’s social diaspora is broadly divided into two categories – one that belongs to the caste or varnashrama structure and the other that has opted out of this system. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes make up this second category. They are the only two classes of people who have vehemently opposed getting into the caste system.” As far I know, scheduled tribes were out the caste system, But scheduled castes? Were they also out of the caste system? – Ricky Rahmat Gautam


Ambedkar’s views

Scroll.in is free to post what Sumitra Mahajan said on reservations but it is the publication’s duty to enquire before it becomes party to the spread of misinformation on the Constitution of India (“‘Ambedkar wanted reservations only for a decade,’ says Lok Sabha speaker”). What Mahajan said may have been been told to her by her family, friends or other acquaintances. But Scroll.in too posted the news without explaining what Ambedkar had really said and meant. it. This is sheer negligence and can spread misconception, misunderstandings and hatred. – Sudhir Kumar

Aadhaar exclusions

This heart-rending article with its facts and figures, topped by serious humanitarian concerns, should be widely shared (“A year after Jharkhand girl died of starvation, Aadhaar tragedies are on the rise”). One aspect that this and most other articles don’t mention is that ration card holders need to authenticate their biometrics every month. I don’t know if this happens in all parts of the country but it is certainly happening in Bengaluru. Obviously this not only leads to more authentication failures, but also takes up time, meaning loss of a day’s pay for daily-wage labourers and additional effort for the elderly and ailing.

When it was mandatory for Aadhar numbers to be linked to bank accounts and for mobile connections, one did not have to similarly authenticate biometrics. So why is this insisted upon for the public distribution system? The shopkeeper usually knows the people who draw monthly rations from his shop and could do the biometric verification just once, at the start. The Right to Food Campaign could look into this issue too. – R Padmini

Rising star

Talented youth like Prithvi Shaw are the gems of this country (“The rise and rise of Prithvi Shaw: A look back at his short yet impressive career”). There are countless young and talented sportspersons like him in our country, each with immense potential. It is essential to identify them and provide them the right support (mostly financial) and coaching, thus tapping into their potential. It is a pity that in our country, so much of this talent is wasted because of lack of financial aid. Shaw has a strong track record and has shown maturity beyond his age, evident in his strong performance in his debut match. – Devlina Bhattacharjee

Surgical strikes

Do you really think that one surgical strike would deter Pakistan from its machinations (“The Daily Fix: If Modi’s surgical strikes had been successful, why would India need a second attack?”)? If India’s deep and crushing blow to Pakistan in the 1971 Bangladesh war could not deter the country, could this minuscule operation, or for that matter any such strike, be enough? All such strikes can do is boost the morale of security forces and the civilians and also give the message to Pakistan that India can strike, if pushed to the wall. I would appreciate if you do not let your hatred towards the Modi government cloud your vision. Do not undermine the success of our security forces. – Ashish Patni

Immigration debate

The author seems to be trying to portray undocumented migrants as victims (“Amit Shah’s ‘migrant termites’ speech echoes leaders around the world who orchestrated mass violence”). We have every right to defend our country from those who take up our resources. Even if you have a special hatred for the ruling party, at least support them when it comes to the national security.

We are already bearing the brunt of overpopulation. Why should we add to it? We need to act fast. Can’t the author see what’s happening in West Bengal, Assam where the demography is slowly but surely changing? – Prateek Singh

Rowling row

In the Harry Potter series, one of the four Hogwarts founders is named Salazar Slytherin and he was the only dark, sinister one of the lot (“With her Nagini casting twist, JK Rowling has once again ignored history and chosen appropriation”). It is said that she probably got inspiration for the name from Portuguese dictator Antonio de Salazar, whom she would likely have been familiar with, having lived in Portugal for a couple of years.

It is, without doubt, a name from the Iberian Peninsula. There is valley in eastern Navarra, in the Spanish Pyrinees, called “Salazar”. It originates the toponymic surname, quite common in Navarra. So, it is consistent to conclude that Salazar or his ancestors came from the peninsula.

Apart from his meanness, his character is also described as being monkey-like in appearance. That is lovely for Spaniards, who can think that it is the Black Legend striking again. – Sorg Esp

Poppy culture

Opium has been consumed by the Chinese since seventh century for both medicinal and recreational purposes (“Dark history: How Indian opium traders from Bombay helped the British Raj wreck China’s economy”). All that traders did was increased supply to cover the demand. It was a legal trade for almost a 1,000 years that threatened local opium dealers as supply increased. Opium wars were a consequence of massive shock to the system of global trade and China’s lack of participation in global trade. Also, there was no currency to trade with China. Once Shina opened up they realised that the only currency that could be used to buy goods from China was opium, hence the trade. Hong Kong was a vacant island that was given to traders owing to its location. Hong Kong is what it is today because of those traders and its new citizens who came together to build it. This article has been written to give a false impression about the past.

World history is a continuing story and no point in time can be viewed in isolation. The article was well-written but I felt sorry for how it portrays Bombay’s most worthy son and the way it singles out Parsi community as being complicit in the trade of opium. The plant was grown by many farmers of India because of its high yield, not to mention massive employment opportunities in the shipping industry, since most of these traders purchased their own ships. In short, the entire country was drinking from the same Kool Aid so if indeed you had to label communities it would be prudent you list those you have missed out. – Baghzaad

Student protests

The students’ complaints about sexual harassment and allegations that some faculty members are ignoring their complaints are correct (“Raipur: Hidayatullah National Law University reinstates Vice-Chancellor Sukhpal Singh”). Even parents have reported some cases. This is a serious issue and can spiral into a big scandal which may adversely affect the students and the standing of the University. The HNLU administration, Chhattisgarh government and judiciary should take necessary action to address this issue. – Raghvendra Gupta

Nun’s alleged rape

I completely agree with what John Dayal has said (“Kerala rape: Why Christians should demand that Bishop Franco Mulakkal be tried in a fast-track court”). The Catholic Bishops Conference of India has just kept quiet on the whole shameful issue and allowed the Bishop to use his clout to threaten the nun and her family. He must be given the severest punishment. – Philomena Sequeira

Scholarly debate

The author makes a compelling argument on why Jinnah is a liberal constitutionalist (“Why Ramachandra Guha is wrong to compare Jinnah with Amit Shah”). He however offers next to nothing on his views on Amit Shah and Arundhati Roy. People following Amit Shah may generally agree with the author. However, his support for Roy unfortunately will lower his scholarly credentials and throw shade on an otherwise scholarly article. – Suresh Krishnamurthy