June 21, 2006
Busy at work
Every Friday, mandatory staff meetings are held in the office. The first included a heated debate on reservations that was conducted in Hindi, and led by a well-known Hindi writer. I didn’t catch much of the translation that was whispered to us, a small group of interns huddled in a corner, but I gathered that the issue is a very controversial one.
The quota system has been in place for forty years in India, and the current debate is whether to apply it to graduate schools. Medical schools and doctors in particular are vehemently opposed to this, as they believe at least admission to medical schools should be merit based. Many argue that after forty years of reserving college seats, there still seems to be little change in the economic and social situation of the “backward classes” that quotas are supposed to benefit. While the debate about reserving seats in the post-graduate level rages, many people forget that 69% of girls and 42% of boys 15 to 17 years old are not in school. Maybe the government should focus on providing the poor with an elementary education and three meals a day before debating the merits of the quota system.
I unfortunately had to miss out on the second meeting because of an emergency discussion with the HIV unit about their publication, HIV and the Law. HRLN has organized a judges’ colloquium on July 22 to educate the judiciary about HIV. The colloquium will hopefully sensitize them to the human rights abuses the HIV positive face. However, the book must be ready by then so it can be printed So, it’s all hands on deck until the end of the month, when we can hopefully send it to be published.
I have had some time to visit Dilli Haat, an outdoor market with craftsmen and food from every corner of India, and Humayun’s Tomb. I also have yet to find an Internet café, and will upload my pictures as soon as I do. Sightseeing is being seriously inhibited by the weather. My clothes feel like they’ve just been ironed when I pull them out of the closet, and my mattress is hot when I go to sleep. When it’s not 44 degrees C, an andhi (dust storm) from the desert blows a thin layer of dust over absolutely everything. And sometimes, the rain is so severe that I have seen many huge trees uprooted.
Rahul Mahajan is still in the newspaper every day.
Posted by sushmar at June 21, 2006 02:35 AM