06 August, 2021

Lucknow Diary

Mayawati has been out of power for over a year now, but there is almost a nostalgia for her reign.

Lucknow Diary

Quote, unquota

Having spent my childhood arriving in trains at Charbagh railway station for summer vacations, it felt strange to be received at the Chaudhary Charan Singh airport by a young man with a bouquet and a luxury vehicle. Neeraj was helping out with the city’s first litfest, at which I was an invitee. Chatting in the car, he told me he “belongs  to Mayawati’s caste” but stays away from politics. Turns out he got admission to an IIT on quota but dropped out: he found the attitude to Dalits, the condescension, the resentment of those outside quotas unbearable. Dalits in competitive areas like medicine and engineering, he said, face exclusion. The son of a government employee, he was fluent in English, cheerful, positive and trying to figure out what to do next in life—to my mind, as good an example as any of...

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