Quota politics

So finally, India’s poverty line has reached Rs 8 lakh per annum (“How Modi’s 10% quota for poor upper castes violates Supreme Court orders on reservations”)! Reservations of this kind are the last resort of a losing politician. Modi’s men seem to have run out of ideas. And their prospects are perhaps more bleak than we know. Nitin Gadkari too seems to be getting too eager to fill in Modi’s boots. The appointment of Gordhan Zadafia, Modi’s bitter critic, in a key position also indicates that intra-parivar differences are coming to the fore. The loyal Brahmin-Bania core is unhappy. They got nothing, neither the Ram temple nor any sops. The RSS too appears very displeased. So there is more than meets the eye on this 10% reservation.

The middle classes no longer believe Modi is the man to deliver them. Worse, the clean image of the BJP too has been torn to shreds lately. This is therefore, a desperate move to retain at least their core for 2019. – Rakesh Katarey


Timing is everything, and Modi has done it with this. Now the debate should broaden to removal of caste-based reservation to income-based reservation. – Manoj Kumar


The root cause of caste-based reservation is the caste system itself. We must demand the annihilation of the caste system in Hindu religion. If there is no caste system, then reservation will become redundant. We all must work together for reform in this direction and refer to BR Ambedkar’s writings in this regard. – Milind Gaikwad


Reservation in India has a long history, but it will not serve its true purpose until there is reservation in promotion too. Without this, there no chance for equality for the reserved category people. They may get government jobs but they will not have representation in higher posts in the various cadres. So our humble request to this government is to introduce reservation in promotion for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes as well as economically backward forward castes, as well as in Parliament, so that equality can be reached in all the categories. – A Sivaji

Risky proposition

Leftists and parties in the middle are getting panicky over this quota (“Why BJP’s upper-caste quota is a great gambit – but it raises some tricky questions”). If passed by Parliament, it will not stand judicial scrutiny. Besides, as a vote bank policy, it will be ineffective. There is no vote bank for the upper caste. BJP did not lose the recent state elections because of upper caste anger. They lost because their economic policies helped no one. This move too will not help the BJP. – R Venkat


The move to bring in a 10% quota for the economically backward people is an affirmative step by the government but why is it for general category only? The argument by the majority of nine-judge Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court in the famous Indra Sawhney case of 1993 is still relevant. In an era of globalisation, social backwardness exclusively on the basis of caste has become less relevant than economic backwardness. Also, the philosophy behind reservation in favour of only backward castes owing to historical discrimination, without reasonable economic restriction, too has lacunae.

Therefore, either economically well-off families should be excluded from caste-based reservation or there should be a quota under each broad category of reservation with economic backwardness as a sub-category. There should be a review of the reservation policy as a whole to incorporate economically backward people of society, irrespective of category. The proposed law for 10% reservation for economically backward class under general category is the fabulous Philosopher’s Stone ahead of the general elections, but one that is likely to fail the litmus test (under judicial review). – Sablu Khan


Never in India’s history has an attempt been made to provide reservations to forward castes. This is definitely a bold move by the Union government. But I appeal to the government to rethink its criteria so that it is just for the truly needy. Also, it is need of the hour and moral responsibility of the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to think about the majority sections and whether they are getting their due share in society. – Shashidhar Vuppala


Politicians are playing with merit. If 60% of seat are reserved, where will the meritorious go? This is the main reason for brain drain. And what about wealthy people from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes categories? I have seen many examples. More reservations should not be introduced. Those who are well-off should not be eligible for reservations, even among reserved castes. And reservations should not be applicable in perpetuity. – Rachita Mahapatra


This group holds that reservation should be based on income and not caste. Caste-based reservation has perpetuated the caste-system and has become a weapon for political parties to further their interests. I fully agree with the petitioners, but this appears to be a utopia in the context of Indian society. Deprivation, discrimination and caste are closely linked in India and hence we have caste-based reservation. Incidents of discrimination by Thakurs in Uttar Pradesh villages and atrocities on women are often reported in national dailies. I do believe that caste-based reservation should end, but before that, caste-based discrimination must end.

Whatever economic upliftment of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe people that has taken place in recent years is because of caste-based reservation. Today, we do see meritorious students and professionals in good positions from so-called lower castes. But there are still many restrictions. I vouch that we do not want the indignity of caste-based reservation but are compelled to embrace it because of discrimination wrought on us and deprivations thrust on us for centuries. – Prem Raj Kuar

Citizen activists

When you talk about equality, you should do so from a neutral point of view (“Meet the group that has challenged the 10% reservation for upper castes in the Supreme Court”). Go to any institute and you will find more general candidates than reserved category ones. Second, there is no wealth equality and income gap is too wide. Political representation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in Parliament too is very low. Same goes for government jobs. There is disproportionate poverty among Scheduled Castes and Tribes and Other Backward Classes. First learn about the country and then talk about equality. – Anurag


Judicial scrutiny will likely render the 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections null and void. However removing the age and attempts barrier will go a long way in providing equal opportunity at the outset without affecting the status quo. In a highly competitive atmosphere this can go a long way in ensuring that nobody is left out for want of chance and everybody gets to have equal access to job opportunities. – Anoop Hosmath

CBI controversy

The independence of the CBI is a big myth created by some directors of the agency like the one who has been removed from his post (“The Daily Fix: With Alok Verma’s removal, CBI’s credibility is in graver doubt than ever before”). History tells us that the CBI never enjoyed real autonomy under any government, particularly under the Congress. The double standards and hypocrisy of leaders of all political parties in the matter of the CBI’s autonomy need to be exposed by citizen-voters. The press has a major role to play in this regard. – Narendra M Apte


It is unbelievable that Alok Kumar Verma did something so wrong as to warrant his unceremonious ouster as CBI director at the fag end of his career. His only mistake seems to have been choosing to fight instead of going quietly to his superannuation. As a result, his reputation lies in tatters. However, his resignation letter calling for “collective introspection” shows his character. – P Vijayachandran

Free speech

I stand by you. By all that you feel and say (“What Nayantara Sahgal was not allowed to say at Marathi literary meet”). In one voice those that will not be bullied or frightened must say: Never again! The diseased minds and what they consider is the truth about this culture and civilisation will not endure. We possess a vote and with it we will speak loud and clear. – Roshan Seth, British-Indian Actor and recipient of the Order of the British Empire.

Unscientific science

We the people of India have deep respect and admiration for our great epics, but it is also heartbreaking and disappointing to merge the attributes and innovation of modern science and scientific thought with these two epics (“‘Chauvinistic claims’: Embarrassed Indian scientists protest irrational comments at Science Congress”). Please stop demoralising our scientists for their painstaking efforts in innovation. – Sannigrahi Nanda

String theory

Thanks, Nate Rabe, for this article. As I send this, am watching a Soft Machine DVD recorded in 1973 with Mr Boyle sitting in on guitar (“Patna-born Gary Boyle is the greatest guitarist you’ve never heard of”). I have been a fan of Isotope since the early ’70s and wondered about Gary Boyle and what he is doing today. I saw Isotope play in the now-defunct iconic Bottom Line Club in New York City’s Greenwich Village in 1975. I still recall nodding to Mr Boyle as he was standing near the doorway. After a song, I yelled out “Alright Gary!”. He looked in amazement at the possibility that an American knew who he was. I was in college at the time and used to go to the West Village all the time to buy Melody Maker and imports such as first Isotope and John Surman’s Morning Glory at a West 8th street record shop. Oh, times were different.

Happy Soft Machine will be touring the US and coming to my home city of Portland Oregon this month. I wish Gary was touring with them. – Lee Brodinsky

Pitch battles

Amid all his bluster and bombardment, Ravi Shastri should be reminded that this was an Australian team without their two top batsmen and with no proper batting lineup (“Full Text: Ravi Shastri being Ravi Shastri after India’s series win in Australia”). The lineup was so bad that sometimes it looked like that we were playing with Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. And to this Australian team we lost a Test match, which was really shameful. This is the reason why even though the media and team management are hailing this victory, the public at large is not so amused. – Vishal Jindal

Ranji cricket

As a cricket coach, I believe that Bengal and Punjab’s criticism of the criteria for qualification to the knockout stage of the Ranji Trophy is absolutely justified (“Ranji Trophy: Bengal, Punjab question knockout qualification rules after elimination”). It would have been even more bizarre if all five teams that qualified were from Elite A. The ideal format would be to have the top three teams of Elite A and B, top two teams of Elite C and the top team of Plate Group, with the team placed second in Elite C taking on the top team of Plate in the-pre quarter final. This would have involved only one additional match in the knock out. – TV Subramaniam

Military spirit

The review of Uri: The Surgical Strike is another proof that you are anti-Indian and hate the Indian Army (“‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’ movie review: The action is as slick as the propaganda”). On IMDb, the movie holds a 9.3 rating out of 10 and you have given 2.5 stars out of 5. Moreover, the way the article was written makes clear that you hated the movie. Get a life and be thankful to the Indian Army that you are allowed to write such articles. – Yash Raval


Review the movie (primarily, atleast) and not the assumed politics behind it. Otherwise do not call it a review, call it a “commentary on the politicisation of the film industry”. Newsflash! Cinema has always been a political tool – Bollywood is pretty late to the party. Moreover, their freedom of speech and expression allows it.

There is also no need to belittle the “josh” of the Army men sent for this task simply because it ties into your perception of the government’s wrongdoing in this operation. Those men (the real men as well as those in the movie) were far from “canaries” sent into a coal mine. They were men doing their job and conducting a type of cross-border operation they would have done a dozen times over prior to that task. I hope it does not come as a surprise to you that India does respond to Border Action Teams with our own such teams as well – difference being that we do not man our teams with terrorists.

I think I should clarify my political leanings, since the review as well as my commentary hinge on political messaging. I was an ardent supporter of a strong central government under PM Modi, but because of various reasons, I will now be voting NOTA [None of the Above]. Over and above that, I am the son of an Army officer. – Azaad Sandhu

At the movies

Congratulations to Nandini Ramnath to have come out with an excellent review of the film (“‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ movie review: A petty attack on the Gandhi family that lacks insight”). The present prime minister and his party are clever enough to time the release this film and the other named Uri in election year. People should understand that pointing at the sins of others does not reduce or erase one’s own sins. – Rajendra Kulkarni