US meets the President

May 4, 2006: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam agrees on the need to provide primary education to one & all. Feels the need of a study of existing system.

 US members interact with the media at Rashtrapati Bhawan

A five member delegation, comprising of Dhruv Suri, Gurusimran Khamba, Devika Malik, Adityaraj Kaul and Aaditya Dar, from United Students met the honorable president on May 4, 2006. A 21-point petition signed by over 1,70,000 people throughtout the country was also submitted.An abridged copy of the petition is reproduced below:                                                                  

H.E. The President of India

Rashtrapati Bhawan

New Delhi


Tel: 23013172, 23016097, 23015321

Fax: 23011689


On behalf of students, Engineering Professionals and student bodies

Opposed to the extension of reserved quotas on basis of caste.

  1. We are a group of students, Engineering professionals and student bodies confederating ourselves to seek inclusion on issues of national interest. We are actively supported by People’s Action, a registered advocacy group in operation since the last four years and who have worked on issues of electoral, civic and political reforms.


  1. We are constrained to seek your intervention to the issue of extending reservations to yet another section of society not based on economic parameters but on considerations of caste and which is exercising the entire student community all over the country.
  1. Our contentions are that the system of quota extensions is bad on fundamentals of equity knowing full well that the notion of equality can be a question of original circumstances. However, the direction of every advancing human being is to seek equity not emanating from an unjust mechanism but a just mechanism.
  1. We fully understand and comply with the provisions of the Constitution that safeguards the position of certain communities based on a post independence reading of their social and socio economic status. However, we regret to note that a state of permanence has been sought to be created on a mechanism that was meant to be a stop-gap arrangement, corroding the very system that was to bring succor to the object of this exercise.
  1. Notwithstanding anything we say in that context, in the absence of a serious valuation of the gains and benefits of such a practice coupled with a real time assessment of best practice applications vis-à-vis the potential results of this experiment, there can be no justification for expanding the net at this time.
  1. Our greater concern lies with the utility of such quotas as a political tool in the arsenal of electoral politics. We are concerned that in many states extensions of such quotas have been made based on parameters that would not pass muster in ordinary circumstances.
  1. In the context of such an existent environment, the decision to extend reservations is a serious assault in the face of millions of struggling Indians who may be economically impoverished but are profiled on the basis of a congenital system that is repudiated by every sensible person in the country.
  1. Our final argument against the recommendations of the Mandal Commission is this: a report of recommendations based on a situation analysis of 1978 and thereabouts can by no reasonable accounts be taken to represent the realities of the India of 2006 and thereafter. WE clearly see that the relevance of the Mandal Commission report as severely retarded in this context and easily subscribe to the view that the Report must be summarily rejected.
  1. Even on the basis of logical extrapolation, it can be safely, and strongly, argued that the Mandal report is vastly out of date and at the minimum requires a serious review by a non-partisan committee that explores the real potency of the report in the context of bitter mechanisms to achieve its avowed objective of social and socio economic parity.
  1. We have no hesitation is stating that the issue of reservations half a decade after independence is a scorching indictment of successive governments who have paid lip service to real time development of communities. The need for the extension of reservations, therefore, in our mind is comprehensive evidence of the clear failure of the Government of India on providing for the citizens of the country.
  1. We emphasize that the real problem remains the delivery of the constitutional guarantee of a decent quality education for all and for which we do not see any credible plans yet from the Government.
  1. We assure you that the educated, middle class populations of this country see this as an assault on their individual efforts of pulling themselves up to become world citizens by a political class that is only focused on short term electoral gains.
  1. There is no doubt in the minds of students all over the country of the basic injustice of the proposal when a 50% reservation system simply cuts them out of reckoning in the best institutions of the country merely due to being born, without their own will, in a family whose heredity they were in no position to control!
  1. The extension of quota bill if passed also points to another diabolical injustice where while a 50% quota is reserved for persons of certain caste and creed, there is no bar for the same communities to contest the other 50% as well.
  1. We are deeply concerned that the issue at hand holds the potential of tearing our student communities into polarized halves and we wish this not to happen. The incidents of protests by groups on both sides of the divide point to similar flashpoints.
  1. We consider ourselves a responsible group of people preferring to debate and defeat an argument rather than take on aggressive stances.
  1. We have since started coordinating a signature campaign to place before you this petition.
  1. It is our fervent prayer that Your Excellency kindly attends to the points mentioned in our petition which are reasoned positions developed after consultations and debates among the groups we represent.
  1. We are petitioning you with the force of a confirmed list of large number of signatures AGAINST the idea of extensions of reservations from students all over India, including many who belong to the communities that his bill expects to serve.
  1. This does not include the many other signatures that continue to be accumulated to present our position with the force of the will of the students and Professionals across the country.
  1. Sir, we know how much excellence means to you; we know your intimate faith in the youth of our country and we know of your deep love for students. Knowing which, we beseech you to kindly extend your influence to at least not have this bill muscled into our educational system without evaluating other viable means to achieve the same ends.

We remain, in expectation of your intervention on the issue.