The essays trace the evolution of India's university system, and examine the diverse roles that this institution is expected to perform-to strive for academic excellence while creating social equality in a hierarchical society. In a lucid and deft style, the author argues that policies use theuniversity as an agency of social change without considering the consequences, thus pushing the limits of the university's resources. This diverts it from its primary objective of scholarship. Engaging with education planners and administrators, Beteille comments that indiscriminately setting upmore universities and producing more graduates will not ensure quality education and social equality and this awareness must inform educational policy planning. This volume is a crucial addition to the current debates about the quality of higher education and the fraught subject of reservations.