Remember Ram Guha's angry outburst two weeks ago? A brief summary: Guha is appalled by St.Stephen's new admission policy that 'reserves' 40% of its seats for Christians -- notwithstanding that a quarter of this quota going to Dalit Christians. He sees this policy as a first step towards 'Christianizing' the college: it's students today, but it's only a matter of time before it's extended to faculty. He also questions the ethics of using public money -- he claims 95% of the college's funding is from the government -- for favouring the Christian community. [Outlook readers' letters in response to Guha's piece are here].
Rev. Valson Thampu, the new principal at St.Stephen's, has responded through a ToI op-ed. He brushes aside the stuff about creeping sectarianism with something like: "oh, we were always a 'mission' institution!" On the charge that the new policy goes against the legendary "St. Stephen's tradition", here's his response:
Academic excellence in St Stephen's in recent decades has almost become a smokescreen for masking the privileges of the socio-economic elite. Vis-a-vis St Stephen's, 'merit', for those who are clamouring about it, is anything but 'academic excellence'.
In other words, he accuses his critics of elitism! Thus, we have critics like Guha harping on 30 percent reservation for non-Dalit Christians, and we have Thampu urging us to keep the focus on the 10 percent quota for Dalit Christians!