Among the better debates on the reservation issue on television have been the ones that Karan Thapar has been having with pro- and anti-quota students.
Last night, on 'India Tonight' (CNBC-TV18, 10.30 pm), Thapar was playing inquisitor with two
pro-quota anti-quota students, a boy and a girl. He asked why the striking medicos want the government to assure them that it will appoint a judicial committee to probe how reservations have worked on "stamp paper".
Because, said the girl with all honesty, all their experiences with the UPA government's ministers so far have been very murky, designed to fool them into calling off their stir.
"Even the prime minister's assurance of an increase in the number of colleges and seats, so that general category students would not be affected, was given to us on a plain A4 sheet of paper. There was no seal of any ministry or department. There was no signature of any minister or official. In other words, it wasn't even on a government letterhead. That's why."
If this is the kind of subterfuge the government can resort to with the urban educated, who have legal advisors backing them and who operate in the full glare of the media, how must our politicians and bureaucrats be dealing with the rural illiterate who can't read or write or understand but whose cause they claim to champion?
Can we really trust our government any longer? Should we?