Guha on St Stephens
Historian Ramachandra Guha (who was a St Stephanian from ’74 to ’79) has a piece in The Outlook on the recent decision to hike the Christian quota to 40% in that institute. (Thanks to ravisrinivas for providing a link to this article. )
It is important to note here that while St Stephen’s was founded by Christians, it is funded by the state. According to the Union ministry of education, fully 95 per cent of the expenses of the college are met by the University Grants Commission. Why should a college that draws so heavily on the public exchequer be allowed to choose 40 per cent of its students from 2 per cent of the country’s population? The new policies are claimed by their proponents to be ‘legal’, but they are surely unethical. They are also profoundly unhistorical, based on a wilful ignorance of the traditions and legacy of St Stephen’s College.
A quick look at the faculty page reveals that it is mostly hindu and a few muslims. If the institute hikes the Christian quota to even higher levels, what is the impact on these teachers ?
What about the constitutionally recognized Dalits ?
Another curious twist is the concept of 10% quota to Dalit Christians. Prima facie this appears to be completely unconstitutional because at the moment there is no such category called “Dalit Christians”. To put it in another way, there is no person in India who is Christian and who has a Scheduled Caste certificate. So, who gets to declare what Christian group is a Dalit ? If this nomenclature, which is loaded, is allowed to be used – will it undermine the union governments right to classification (which is horribly broken itself – but that is beside the point) ?
“This is sheer violation of law. They are doing all these to promote Christianity at the cost of social and educational needs. How can they reserve seats for those who do not even exist legally?” said one of the faculty members of St Stephen’s college on the condition of anonymity.
Source : Pioneer
It is only the Union Government that has the power to classify anyone as Dalits or ST. In the case of Christians/Muslims this requires a further constitutional amendment. How can a network of churches and bishops issue these certificates ? What if tomorrow Jamia issues Dalit Muslim certificates ?
An almost direct analogy would be the Shankaracharyas issuing ST certificates to the agitating Gujjars to be used in majority institutions.
Filed under : Indian Secularism