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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sikhs Genocide observation in Dallas

Request to fellow Indians: If you are not inclined to read the whole thing and then decide how you feel about it, please do not read the following piece. Also posted at DallasIndians@yahoogroups.com and http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com

URL:: http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2012/10/sikhs-genocides-observation-in-dallas.html

Last week, I  posted an upcoming event "Remembrance and Reflection: 1984 Sikh Genocide (posted below)" at Dallas Indians, a 1800 member group in the Dallas area for all Indians. I am glad a few friends called in and sought clarifications. It is always good to inquire and find out before building up emotions against it. The event is on Saturday, November 3rd at Noon.

Then I read a beautiful personal story by Kirpal Singh from Melbourne, who shared the story of stereotyping Muslims in Nigeria and alluded to bringing a closure to the Sikh Massacre in India. I have included that story below.

The humorous part of the story was, one of the callers was cursing Muslims that they do not understand free speech, and yet, he asked me not post events like this, he believed it was divisive.  Indeed on the surface it does sound like it, but when you read the entire note, you will find otherwise.

You might get away refusing to oblige your spouse or a child's request... or even compel them to obey you...but it builds resentment if not dealt with squarely, it puts a damper on the enthusiasm of the relationship and no one lives in peace. If there is a murder, child abuse or sexual abuse in the community, we cannot sit quite, we have to find a resolution so the victims can leave in peace, and justice is meted out to the abuser.

Taking the example to India - The Kashmiri Pandits, Dalits, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs have been treated unfairly and unjustly on occasions, especially when it comes to killing a large number of people. The wounds remain unhealed for the communities and every one lives with un-ease, discomfort and apprehension. Silence or Money compensation is not the way to repair the damage, but an acknowledgement is the way to go. An apology will heal the wounds for the entire society. We need to seek Mukti from the gnawing conscience, and no ones Karma will go unbalanced.

When Queen Elizabeth visited India a few years back, she apologized for the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre, that was the right thing to do and we welcomed it. There have been many more good examples of healing like that.

About six years ago a film was made by Memnosyne Foundation, "One source many paths" where I represented the Muslim community and 47 other people represented other faith traditions. Uma Mysoreaker, president of the Hindu Temple in New York represented the Hindu Community. The Hindus and the Native Americans shared their pain about the forced conversions by Muslims and Christians alike, while Muslims also have been a target of prejudice after 9/11. I apologized for the wrong doings done by Muslims kings like Aurangzeb and Ghaznavi and individuals like Bin Laden.

The healing was done when a Native American offered a Bandana to be received as a closure, a Christian minister gracefully accepted it, .. every one remained silent and absorbed the moments, some of us cried, including me, it was indeed a relief. It is also an acknowledgement that we the people (living now) have nothing to do with what was done, and yet, we owed an apology as the wrong doing was committed in the name of the religion or the land we shared.

The Chapters on Pandits, Dalits, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs can be brought to closure by acknowledgment of the wrong doing, its not going to go away by hiding from it. Humility builds bridges, that is what every religion teaches; to be humble. It is wrong, and dead wrong to believe that we are all against each other, we are not, some of us are, but we need to work cohesively to make India a greater nation by being on a higher moral ground of shedding the arrogance or pretending that, we do not have a problem.

The Sikh Massacre is obviously not brought to the closure,  mass graves have been discovered and the identified remains have been given back to their families, but there are hundreds of kids, women and men missing from that period. An accounting needs to be done to bring a relief to families as to what happened to their loved ones. We are all in this together without blaming the past and to find solutions.

The bad guys are not Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or Hindus, the bad guys are those who went on a rampage and hurt fellow Indians be it in Delhi, Gujarat, Bihar or Orissa. No one should go Scot free,  an apology from them individual wrong doers, forgiveness from the victims or lawful action is in order to restart
This is the most common form of ignorance that surfaces every minute of the day in our lives. Our freedom to think is lost when we stereotype people and fall in the ditch when we justify it. If we want others to treat as fairly, we have to do it too.

If I murder someone, it is my heine that needs to be hauled off to the jail and mete out the deserved punishment under the law and serve justice. Stereo typing in this instance would be to blame my race, parents, siblings, spouse, nationality or religion, it is not wise, is it?? Yet we do it and let others do it without even imploring them to think. What has India or Islam got to do with my criminal act?

Shame on you and I to allow the mind to believe that the murder by a black man allows us to gossip that blacks are criminals, and start justifying some creepy facts to suit our beliefs. Oh well, the educated ones are not… that is even wronger than the first statement…Are all white people ruthless and war mongers? Are Muslims terrorists? Jews will get you one way or the other?

Catch yourselves in your stereotyping, where you make judgments about a people

We reflect on Holocaust and genocides every year, and one of the element is stereotyping. Details about the VII Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides at www.HolocaustandGenocides.com

Mike is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, interfaith, politics, foreign policy, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. He is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, commentator on national radio network, writes weekly at Dallas Morning News and bi monthly at Huffington post and several periodicals. His daily blog is www.TheGhousediary.com

On Oct 24, 2012, at 3:13 AM, kirpal singh kirpal2singh@ ..> wrote:

Dear All,

It was in Nigeria in mid 1980s, Dr. Iyengar, a colleague of mine in the Science Faculty of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU met with an accident in which a family of five while crossing a road outside the main Gate of ABU struck against his car while a speeding heavy truck was coming from the opposite side with full lights which blinded Dr. Iyengar who was driving with his wife in the car. As a result of impact two children died on the spot, mother, and two others were badly injured.The driver of the heavy truck fled away in the darkness. Dr. Iyengar stopped his car and while he and her wife were panicking a policeman appeared on the spot and he arranged injured and dead to be taken to the University hospital. The police arrested Dr. I and dropped his wife at their residence.

Next morning Mrs. Iyengar came to our house also on the university campus and told what had happened. I had known Dr. Iyengar as a polite and decent person who never consumed alcohol and a careful experienced driver. Certainly he had no intention to harm or kill any one. This was to happen but it created a mystery.

I had known a Sikh medical doctor (Dr. Sandhu) and Mr. Gowon, a businessman who was younger brother of Gen. Gowon who once ruled Nigeria. Dr. Sandhu and Mr. Gowon met the Nigerian Lady magistrate (who lived in their neighbourhood) and appraised her about the circumstances in which accident happened, in addition to the police report. Dr. Iyengar was released on bail but was not sure about his and his wife's security from the victims family members, who were Muslims..

As a courtesy, Dr. Iyengar wished to visit the other members of the victims family. But none of his close friends (north or south Indian Hindus) supported his idea and so none was willing to accompany him to the family who lived in a village near the university campus. Dr. Iyengar asked me and I told him that on the strength that you were not drunk driving and you had no enmity what so ever against the victims family, I am inclined to go with you to visit the victims family. My wife was terribly upset that as a turbaned Sikh I will become their target because of my conspicuous appearance. She went on to say that they might forget Dr. Iyengar but the victims family and their other relatives can go after you.

We had daily Parkash of Guru Granth Sahib (GGS) in our house and used to read the GGS and pray for a while every day. I told her that it was not Dr. Iyengar who wanted this accident but this was to happen - but why did it happen? We did not know the answer?

I advised Dr. Iyengar to take along some rice, kasawa, sugar, oil and tin fish for the aggrieved family. After enquiring we reached the right house in the Samaru village. Some members spotted us and the ushered us in to the house. Walking through several interconnected rooms we finally entered a room where the lady (lying) and two children were with bandaged legs and arms. We both were quite nervous that any thing could happen to us. As we finished exchange of greetings and paying our condolences, we were served a soft drink each.We were not sure whether to drink or not? But somehow I took a sip and Dr. Iyengar followed me.

We told the family that we were sorry for what had happened. The lady in crutches wasted no time and in a brave tone told us "it was Allah's Will that all this happened. We have no ill-will against Dr. Iyengar (pointing towards him) - it is Allah only who gives and takes away life". The next day was fixed for hearing in the court and she added that they have no intention to pursue any case against Dr. Iyengar.

On hearing this I had tears flowing in my eyes to learn of such a strong faith and devotion in Allah from an ordinary Muslim lady. I was also ashamed that even on daily reading of Gurbani I had not developed such a strong faith in Waheguru. The following verses from Sukhmanee Sahib sounded differently and clearly after that encounter:-

ਮਾਰੈ ਰਾਖੈ ਏਕੋ ਆਪਿ ॥ਮਾਨੁਖ ਕੈ ਕਿਛੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਹਾਥਿ ॥ (Raag Gauri Sukhmanee Sahib, GGS. 281-4).

Maarai Raakhai Eaeko Aap ||Maanukh Kai Kishh Naahee Haathh ||

मारै राखै एको आपि ॥मानुख कै किछु नाही हाथि ॥

The One Lord Himself destroys and also preserves.

Nothing at all is in the hands of mortal beings.

ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਬੂਝਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਖੁ ਕੰਠਿ ਪਰੋਇ ॥

This Kaa Hukam Boojh Sukh Hoe ||This Kaa Naam Rakh Kanth Paroe ||

तिस का हुकमु बूझि सुखु होइ ॥तिस का नामु रखु कंठि परोइ ॥

Understanding His Order, there is peace.

So take His Name, and wear it as your necklace.

ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੋਇ ॥ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਘਨੁ ਨ ਲਾਗੈ ਕੋਇ ॥੧॥

Simar Simar Simar Prabh Soe ||Naanak Bighan N Laagai Koe ||1||

सिमरि सिमरि सिमरि प्रभु सोइ ॥नानक बिघनु न लागै कोइ ॥१॥

Remember, remember, remember God in meditation.

O Nanak, no obstacle shall stand in your way. ||1||

- This Muslim family taught me the meaning of Gurbani more than any Teeka or Gyani or Parcharak.

There was a change in my perception of Gurbani ever since - a great lesson from a Muslim Family for which I am grateful to them; and Dr. Iyengar for taking me along to witness such a blissful experience.

The court case lasted for four months and finally Dr. Iyengar was cleared.

I do believe that there are good Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jews, Budhists and Sikhs in the wide world.

- In addition, I learnt the meaning of the expression," Dekh ke un-dith keeta", which is part of the Sikh daily supplication (Ardas.) It is one of the highest ideals by any standard.The Sikhs repeat in their daily supplication (Ardas) by admiring those who see or witness an evil being done to them yet they turn their attention away from that evil/unfortunate incident. The Gurbani teaches us:-

ਕਰਣ ਕਾਰਣ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਦੂਸਰ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਸੁ ਬਲਿਹਾਰਣੈ ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਮਹੀਅਲਿ ਸੋਇ ॥੧॥(Raag Gaurhee Sukhmanee, M. 5. 276).
karan kaaran prabh eaek hai dhoosar naahee koe ||Naanak This Balihaaranai Jal Thhal Meheeal Soe ||1||

करण कारण प्रभु एकु है दूसर नाही कोइ ॥नानक तिसु बलिहारणै जलि थलि महीअलि सोइ ॥१॥.

God alone is the Doer of deeds - there is no other at all.

O Nanak, I am a sacrifice to the One, who pervades the waters, the lands, the sky and all space. ||1||

"Dekh ke undith keeta" - is a virtuous act though a very difficult one. Those who lost their loved ones in 1984, it is not easy to forget and brush aside their grief. However, we do remember those who are imbued with the spirit of forgiveness in our daily supplication (Ardas). I think it is time to give practical shape to our longing for fulfilment of "Dekh ke undith Keeta".

As Gursikh of Gurbani, we should be guided by the message of Sabad Guru. All that happened in 1984 was as per the Divine Hukam (Waheguru ordained).

In the light of the Gurbani then how should we treat the saga of June and November1984 (killing of thousands of innocent Sikhs) in which various parties (sikh leadership, government of the day and some hooligans) should share blame in any rational terms? It has both legal and spiritual dimensions. The legal part is for the security forces and law enforcement agencies to handle, whereas the spiritual side belongs to all of us who profess Hindiism or Sikhism.

I think that the well meaning Sikhs and Hindus can bring about reconciliation between the two communities a lot better than politicians who have failed to do so far.

Although it is very hard for the families of those who lost their beloved ones to come to grip with the situation yet spiritually speaking the agrieved parties shoud forgive the perpetrators of such henious crimes to invite spiritual strength as a solace.

I would suggest that just like Guru Nanak Dev Ji himself went to Sajjan Tugh, Haridwar and Kabba etc to show people the right paths; Guru Arjan Dev Ji and Guru Teg Bhadur ji sacrificed their lives for upholding unity and spiritual values, it is time to say a collective Ardas to Waheguru for the forgiveness of all those involved in killing of fellow human-beings. This will be in keeping with the highest Ideal and Spirit of Sikhi.

An Ardas could be suitably worded somethink like the following and publised in media in Indian Dailies from Shiromani Gurduara Parbhandhak Committee, Amritsar and Delhi Sikh Gurduara Management Committee, Delhi and Haryana Gurduara Management Committee etc :-

"May Waheguru forgive all those who somehow lost their sanity and became instrumental in killing of innocent people in 1984. Please give a sense of direction to those who became part of such criminal act and grant peace to them and their near and dear ones who have been suffering since and help restore sense of unity among fellow human-beings."

ਜਬ ਧਾਰੈ ਕੋਊ ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਚੀਤੁ ॥ (Raag Gauri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, GGS. 278-17).

Jab Dhhaarai Kooo Bairee Meeth ||Thab Lag Nihachal Naahee Cheeth ||

जब धारै कोऊ बैरी मीतु ॥तब लगु निहचलु नाही चीतु ॥

As long as he considers one an enemy, and another a friend, His/her mind shall not come to rest.

I do hope such an initiave will bring solace to both the Communities in keeping with the message of true spirit of the Sanatan Dharma and Sikhi alike, which stand for FORGIVENESS.

"It is well known that forgiveness removes unhealthy emotions that would otherwise cause harm & creates emotions with a wholesome effect."

The various Hindu Organizations can also come up with some suitable gestures towards the Sikhs in general upholding their ancient Spiritual traditions of peace and reconciliation.

With best wishes.

Kirpal Singh

New Zealand

October 28, 2012


Remembrance and Reflection: 1984 Sikh Genocide

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The DFW Sikh American Community extends its invitation to you for our event "Remembrance and Reflection: 1984 Sikh Genocide". We aspire to share the tragedy which unfolded and provide recognition to an event which has withered away in the annals of history. We seek to provide conversation and engage with our audience to ensure dark moments such as these never occur again and that justice prevails. As the great Martin Luther King stated, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

We urge and request everyone to attend

When: Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 12 PM – 1 PM Where: Gurdwara Sikh Sangat 1400 West Euless Blvd. Euless, TX 76040

All our educators, our law enforcement officials, our elected officials, people of faith and in short all our fellow Americans are humbly requested to take advantage of this opportunity. We will highlight and recognize the fundamental principles of this great nation which was on prominent display during and in the aftermath of the Wisconsin massacre of how a nation is to respond and respect its citizens. This fundamental principle must be brought to the forefront for all to appreciate and fathom.

Sikh Americans have been an integral and constructive part of the DFW community for over 50 years and we invite you to share in our experiences and a history which permeates within all of us.

The institution of langar (community kitchen) will be in full effect in which everyone is requested to partake and have a delicious vegetarian meal. So please come by and ask your questions, eat and drink some food, or just engage with your neighbors.

For any questions or comments please contact: 1. Gurvinder Singh 469.222.6288 gurvinder.singh@unitedsikhs.org 2. Manmohan Singh 469.733.5190 m.singh.180@gmail.com 3. Manpreet Singh 972-415-7897 kingmani15@yahoo.com 4. Pritpal Singh 214-505-6375 pritpaltx@yahoo.com
We will be honored and look forward to your presence.

Monday, October 8, 2012

With Affirmative Action, India’s Rich Gain School Slots Meant for Poor

The original idea was to pull the ones in the ditches up on to a level playing field; much of it is accomplished in segments. However, there are segments of population that are still at the bottom of the pit, like the Muslims and Dalits. I am sure you have read the famed Sachar Report.

The right wing Indians don’t believe in this original idea of capitalism, to them “I earned it to be here, let them come up if they want, I build it myself, let them build it on their own.” This sounds logical but in reality a dumb idea.
As a responsible capitalist, I would rather invest in pulling people up into the middle income group and expand my consumer base. The more people are in the market for the goods and services, the more I get to sell and serve, the more people I get to hire. I become rich by enriching people and not keeping them in the ditches. Bill Gates and other responsible entrepreneurs have proved that over and over again
I don’t know if there were benchmarks set, at which point the reservation would be yanked, once the momentum is built for them to be on their own and compete in the market place. The whole system will be successful if all of its parts are operating effectively.

Continued at http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2012/10/with-affirmative-action-indias-rich.html
Mike Ghouse
 The New York Times and Gardiner Harris, the author of the following article, may not have fully understood the history of India and its affirmative action programs.

The title of the article suggests that the "quotas" or "reservations" system in Indian laws were originally meant to help the "poor" but are now applied without regard to income or wealth. That is not really the case. Poverty did accompany the lower societal status experienced by the lower-caste people in India. However, most of the legal quotas were set up without regard to income or wealth levels. Quotas were set up to tilt the balance of power - through special entitlements in education and jobs - in favor of the once-downtrodden lower-caste members of Indian society. In recent decades, of course, Indian society and India's economic growth have been far less discriminatory against lower-caste Indians. Thus, many Indians born to lower castes are now quite wealthy, rivaling and even surpassing the wealth once enjoyed in preceding centuries by Brahmins and other higher-caste Indians.

Another part of India's history that should have been explained in this article but missing is the fact that lower-caste Indians have become dominant not only in higher income and wealth, but also in political and bureaucratic power, in most levels of Indian government. In the 1960s and 1970s, people of lower caste indulged in both non-violent and violent methods to become elected to powerful political positions, demoting and ejecting higher-caste people from power. The result is that the quotas and reservations no longer have much need or relevance in today's more-meritocratic India. That is not to say that caste-based discrimination does not exist in India. It does continue in day-to-day life, with people of different castes living separate lives but even in social and cultural matters, caste-based discrimination is a lot less today than it was decades ago.

The rapid development of the lower-castes in India is similar to that of African-Americans in the United States: impressive and irreversible.

John Laxmi

With Affirmative Action, India’s Rich Gain School Slots Meant for Poor

Published: October 7, 2012
“When I came to know that I could not get into any medical college, I was really shocked,” C. V. Gayathri, the Indian student, said in an interview. “I didn’t speak to anyone for a week. I cried. I was very depressed.”

Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/world/asia/indias-rich-benefit-from-schools-affirmative-action.html
CHENNAI, India — The two women both claim that affirmative action cost them coveted spots at elite public universities. Both cases have now reached the Supreme Court.
Niharika Mandhana contributed reporting from Chennai and New Delhi.
CHENNAI, India — The two women both claim that affirmative action cost them coveted spots at elite public universities. Both cases have now reached the Supreme Court.

One of the women, Abigail Fisher, 22, who is white, says she was denied admission to the University of Texas based on her race, and on Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court is to hear her plea in what may be the year’s most important decision. The other woman is from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and two weeks ago the Indian Supreme Court ordered that she be admitted to medical school pending the outcome of a broader court review.
“When I came to know that I could not get into any medical college, I was really shocked,” C. V. Gayathri, the Indian student, said in an interview. “I didn’t speak to anyone for a week. I cried. I was very depressed.”

Though the outlines of the two cases are similar, differences between how the world’s two largest democracies have chosen to redress centuries of past discrimination are striking. While affirmative action in the United States is now threatened, the program in India is a vast system of political patronage that increasingly works to reward the powerful rather than uplift those in need.

Indeed, the caste-based affirmative action here raises questions for nations like Brazil and Malaysia that have adopted anti-discrimination programs that are in some ways similar to India’s. Without diligent judicial oversight, experts say, the efforts can help perpetuate inequality rather than redress it.

In Tamil Nadu, for instance, 69 percent of university admissions are now set aside for what the state has determined to be “backward castes.” Many of those favored with these set-asides have controlled Tamil Nadu’s government and much of its resources for generations, but they claim special status by pointing to a caste survey done in 1931. (Ms. Gayathri, 17, is a Brahmin whose parents are civil servants with modest incomes.)

Five prominent university officials in Tamil Nadu said in interviews that those given set-asides at their institutions were generally the children of doctors, lawyers and high-level bureaucrats. The result is that rich students routinely get preference over more accomplished poor ones who do not happen to belong to the favored castes. None of the officials would allow their names to be used for fear of angering the government ministers who benefit politically and personally from the program.

India’s caste system was created nearly 1,500 years ago to organize occupations in a feudal agricultural society. Those at the bottom of the system, now known as Dalits, were forbidden in some places from even allowing their shadows to fall on those at the top, known as Brahmins. Most castes were deemed “backward,” which meant that they were consigned to menial jobs.
Over the last 30 years, however, India’s economy has been transformed, much of its populace has moved from villages to sprawling cities, and once distinct castes have been scrambled. That has led to the erosion of historic differences in education and increased income mobility within castes in India, recent studies have found.

“Caste is no longer an economic restriction,” said Viktoria Hnatkovska, an assistant professor of economics at the University of British Columbia, and a co-author of several studies on the changing role of caste in India.

Nonetheless, quotas have transformed the taint of “backwardness” into a coveted designation.
The Gujjars of Rajasthan, for instance, held violent riots two years ago to protest the government’s refusal to declare them as “most backward.” Politicians win elections in India by promising to bestow this one-time curse, which has led to a dramatic expansion in those considered backward decades after the designation had true economic meaning.

Indeed, caste awareness among the young is sustained in part because of set-asides, so a program intended to eliminate the caste system is now blamed by many for sustaining it.
“When I was filling out my college application forms, there was this box for caste,” said Sneha Sekhsaria, 25, of Calcutta. “I had to ask my dad what our caste was, and he had to think about it for 15 minutes before telling me that we were in the general category.”

The general category meant that she received no preference, a fact that Ms. Sekhsaria blames for her failure to qualify for medical school. She went to dental school instead.
“Being a doctor was always my dream, but I got a dental degree instead and that’s O.K.,” she said.

But she remains bitter that some of her friends who scored more poorly than she did on entrance exams were able to become doctors even though she and others in her circle were entirely unaware that they were “backward.”

Nonetheless, the benefits that flow from caste quotas have made them popular, and supporting them is one of the few issues on which the present government and its opposition agree. Within the next few months, the Indian Parliament is expected to overwhelming approve a constitutional amendment that would allow caste-based quotas not just in educational settings and in government hiring but also in government promotions.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly tried to curtail the scope of caste quotas, but the Parliament has passed amendments in response to protect and even expand them. The court has ruled that quotas should not exceed 50 percent of university admissions, but Tamil Nadu has ignored this restriction and a case challenging the state’s larger quota has been pending since 1994.

In the meantime, the court has ordered the state to provide extra slots to at least some students who contest the higher quotas, including Ms. Gayathri, who has been admitted to Tirunelveli Medical College. In an interview, Salman Khurshid, India’s law minister and minister for minority affairs, said that wealthy beneficiaries of caste quotas should acknowledge that they no longer need set-asides and voluntarily bow out of the system.

Some rules forbid the wealthy — or “creamy layer” — from taking advantage of quotas, but those rules have not been implemented in many states and are widely ignored in others.
D. Sundaram, a retired professor of sociology from Madras University and a longtime member of Tamil Nadu’s now-disbanded Backward Classes Commission, defended the state’s quotas by saying that even three generations of wealth and power cannot reverse centuries of backwardness.

“The system has not been in place long enough,” Dr. Sundaram said.
To be sure, many Dalits and people from tribal backgrounds are still overwhelmingly poor, and even many critics of India’s caste-based quotas acknowledge that set-asides for them may still be worthy.

Ravi Kumar, general secretary of a Dalit political party in Tamil Nadu, agreed that many of those who benefit from the state’s vast caste-based quotas are wealthy and powerful. But his party supports quotas, also known as reservations, for the wealthy “because if we opposed them they would stop all reservations,” Mr. Kumar said.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president of the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, said that caste-based quotas will gradually become less important as the quotas themselves make public universities less attractive to the most talented students. “The talented people will simply migrate away,” he said.

But that is no comfort to Ms. Sekhsaria, whose family ended up spending tens of thousands of dollars to send her to a private dental school after she was turned down for a government medical school, where the fees are modest.

“Of the thousands of reasons to hate the government, reservations is definitely one of them,” she said.