Caste discrimination in India is, like racial discrimination in the US, against the law. India also has a quota system for employment and university spots for the "untouchables."
Sounds like time must heal this wound and it will disappear only through generations of "equal opportunity".
Poligamy is against the law in Utah, too....
CHENNAI: The all-party meeting convened by the Centre on August 23 and the Education Ministers' meeting on August 27 in New Delhi may, at best, spark a renewed debate on some critical issues affecting higher education in the private sector. Though political consensus in Tamil Nadu cannot be imagined on any key issue of national or State import, there has always been near unanimity on the two critical issues of higher education and the need to protect reservation for the educationally and socially backward classes. It is not without reason that Tamil Nadu has been in the forefront on these key issues. The State offers the highest percentage of reservation of seats in the whole country a whopping 69 per cent. This includes the statutory reservation for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and Backward castes, in addition to separate quotas for Most Backward Castes, the physically challenged, sportspersons and wards of freedom fighters, among others. Though there is no constitutional backing for the 69 per cent reservation, successive Governments have ensured that there is no tampering with this percentage. All political parties have urged the Centre to provide constitutional protection for this level of reservation, though there are Supreme Court orders to the effect that it should not exceed 50 per cent. That question is still before the courts, but there is no threat to the 69 per cent reservation. Another reason for Tamil Nadu's leadership in higher education is the proliferation of professional colleges, especially engineering colleges. Over 700 more than 50 per cent of the private self-financing engineering colleges function in the four Southern States and the Union Territory of Pondicherry. Tamil Nadu has about 240 of these colleges. The immediate import of the apex court order providing minority and unaided professional colleges complete freedom in the matter of admissions is the imminent end to reservation in these colleges. Of the more than 70,000 seats in engineering colleges in the State, about 42,000 were available through the single window system of admissions with a transparent counselling programme; that meant the "quotas" applied to all these seats. But, if the private unaided colleges go out of the single window and the Government cannot insist on its share of seats, hardly 5,000 engineering seats will come under the counselling and quota system. That has been considered the most serious challenge by the political parties here, which are pressing for Central legislation to ensure the quotas and the State Government's say in the matter of admissions and fees. Government sources argue that the private colleges not only want to lower the qualifying mark for admissions, but also do not want to have a merit-based, transparent system of admissions that can stand the scrutiny of law. "They just want to fill up the seats, but you can see the seats going abegging in the single window. Education is on the concurrent list and this Government will not yield its legitimate rights both in monitoring higher education and supervising admissions, especially in ensuring that the reservation policy is followed," says a senior Government source, adding that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has already expressed her "strong views" on the matter. Administrators expect both the ruling party and the Opposition to take similar views at the all-party meeting and insist that at the Education Ministers' conference, the State will reiterate its commitment to reservation and a free, fair and transparent system of admissions to all professional courses. There will be no compromise on that. A couple of days ago, rumours were rife that the State Government was thinking of taking over a number of professional colleges, including some Deemed Universities. But educationists and officials stoutly denied the speculation and described it as "a plant by vested interests."