Friday, April 14, 2006

Dividing, Young India...

Woe Befall Thee, Arjun Singh!!

He is proof that senile men should be forcefully retired from politics. With Manmohan Singh's break with the Left getting pronounced day by day, is this his latest gimmick to position himself as the next in line for PMship??? The added reservation foisted on Central Universities for OBC's, will ring the deathbells for many a promising youngster, whose only fault has been to be born in the General Category segment. The people of this country have gracefully accepted every reservation up till now including the Mandal Commission but how will they tolerate such injustice perpetrated on their children's education. At a time when Indian talent is taking the world by storm, it seems our government is bent on reining them in. If casteism still stays strong then look no further...the inconsiderate application of reservations still keeps this decadent concept fresh in our young people's mind in an age when rational thought and modern education could easily have swept these anachronisms away.

I have had a private education all my life and it never mattered to me who was nair, ezhava, muslim or christian but what about others who depend on the Government to educate their children? In Delhi, I saw a student community indescribably saddened, frustrated and helpless at how the best education still lay beyond their reach and kept getting tougher...all for votebank politics. Their angst has begun to almost border on hatred and I hope more cultured voices in the Government can talk sense into Arjun. The communal, linguistic and regional divide could not fracture India, but this one I feel threatens the very idea of being an Indian for many youngsters. It takes a Rang De Basanti to remind young students of their duty to the nation, but then it just takes an Arjun Singh to remind them of the grimmer details of Indian life...that the Indian standing next to him/her may have a different caste, religion and better opportunities for material advancement.

Where's The Creamy Layer??? The benefits of reservation, I beleive in a majority still go to the creamy layer of India's reserved segment...the most deserving continue to be oppressed by everyone for their selfish needs. Even in a state like Kerala where unemployment is the bane of every section of the population the govt implemented the Narendran Commission report for certain communities instead of on the basis of the economic status of all deserving applicants(which would have been such a progressive step for a state that prides its social development indices).

So where does this leave us Indians. Its easy to by cynical, indifferent and pathetic. For all the good the UPA did, everything stands reversed with a dying politician's last attempt at recapturing centrestage...what can we do??? Do we go ahead with a belief that private universities will come up that lessens our dependence on the government, do we go ahead beleiving banks will offer us student loans for financing our education in these private univs which will invariably be more expensive, or do we tolerate and accept gracefully this new social welfare measure. A set of pathbreaking economic reforms bailed our country out of a looming social crisis of urban unemployment...I foresee the regressive paths we take today will lead soon to an educational crisis and then a revolution the ultra-competitive country we are becoming now its becoming impossible to keep our youth in chains any longer...I dont think the buoyancy in our economy is just a mirage and fuelled solely by has been fuelled by vast availability of an educated workforce allowed to unleash their potential.

In the not-too distant future I foresee the setting up of private universities of the calibre of Stanford and Harvard in our country ..the demurring voices of Ratan Tata and Narayana Murthy to the new set of reservations could be indications of how usefully these decent men intend to spent their soon-to-be-retired lives to be remembered for eternity (how abt a Tata University?!). Well what I said above is the rosy future...but today, reservations have gone far beyond all sane limits and is serving gross inequalities to huge numbers of young Indians without offering equal alternatives in place. Ultimately, and in the meantime I feel sorry for one huge section, the poor, general category student...where will he find his reserved government education or expensive private institutions...who will fight for his lost cause???


silverine said...

how abt a Tata University?! A good idea but the govt. will soon promulgate an ordinance making reservation compulsory in pvt universiies too. St Johns Hospital a very efficiently run hospital has been ordered by the govt to take in reserved category people. It has been thrust on them with no choice. I am surprised at the lack of protests against this new policy of the govt. Why arent people taking the matter to the court? The only voices of protest I have heard have been mere murmers.
My friend who flies for IA as a hostess tells me there is resevation for the post of Test Pilots too and one such promoted test pilot from the R category didnt even know how to ask questions let alone test a Captain's abilities. The hostesses from the R category have a seperate Head they report to and passenger complaints against anyone from the R category is not entertained leading to much animosity among the R and G category employees in IA.

Sreehari S said...

jabbar drive deeper
cause of reservation? our rev pulickal method -what where which when how why
principle of res..n
create equality ..y equality? --in the begining nehru was a socialist..after gandhi(the last real taken over by the petite bourgeouisie)
unique situation of india -the presence of caste ..reservation is the same extension of the technique brit used 2 subdue india ..very intelligently crafted mechanism.real genius of the elite class in whose hands the power in india always was..the beauty of the ystem is it capitalise on the deeper selfishness of every individual 2 work against the common uplift of his society
solution...--real awareness..figures facts-- how can that b possible? the electronic media other way

Jiby said...

silverine, i think ppl are scared that they will be labelled as casteist if they protest the absurd levels and sectors to which reservation is being taken to. Wht u said abt the IA is a real eye-opener...i have always known how entrenched these divisions have been in the govt and public sector but i wonder how IA which is facing the onslaught of several private airlines can stay competitive with this kind of attitude.

sreehari, whatever be the whats, whys and whens of reservation in the first seemed justifiable those days but today, its reached an intolerable level. i didnt understand ur arguements abt gandhi, nehru, bourgeous and elite classes...i wonder why everything has to be classified as conspiracies of an invisible elite class in India to keep other people from reaching their levels...why cant reason for reservation be simple and straight...the capturing of caste and communal votebanks!!!

Sarah said...

I still don't get it.. Why do you need "reservation" special category etc?
Right to have a good education is paramount to any democratic country.. but it shouldn't be based on caste/creed.
It is the policies that alienate people and create further divide.
Every human is given brain, not according to his cast or creed. And please don't tell me, your caste matters in your score.
I learned all my subjects in malay till i was 10, in Malayalam from the age of 10, then in English at the age of 16. I was not covered under any special category and survived the language confusion and still became a Dr.. so what prevents others from reaching their goals?
Meritocracy is the way forward..

quills said...

Happy Easter! :)

Great post, I agree with you and will come back to post a detailed comment.

Brijesh Nair said...

Reservation based on caste has to go. We should have only reservation based on economic status. Now as u pointed out only richer people from BC gets reservation. Poor person never gets anything. "onnam vannalum unni pirannalum korannu kumbilil thanne kanji"

Mind Curry said...

reservation in india has got more to do with politics than anything else. but the sad fact is, until the day arises when the government is rich enough to provide just economic assistance to the poor rather than blindly reserving seats, things will suck.

i absolutely agree with silverine's point. take the case of medical education. government provides only some 5% of post grad medical seats while the rest is provided by the private institutions. yet the government, year after year try to interfere with the seat allotments - not for any good, but only to take bribes. i had personal experience of the common entrance test corruption by the government officials and i had to threaten a court case to get my rightful seat. and for those of you who think AIIMS and other prestigious colleges under the government are clean in their entry exams, i can tell you they are probably more corrupt than anyone else.

so all in all, i feel reservation is a dumb idea. i agree the poor deserve equal opportunities, but it should be in the form of compulsory primary education and then on scholarships for the children who do well. this caste based crap is absolute bs and only divides us further.

excellent jiby! by the way i read a comment of yours somewhere about keeping your expectations low!! insane or what? dream sky high brother! you will reach there..

ARK said...

though the proposed 27% reservation for OBCs in IIts/IIMs etc is absolutely ridiculous, i think the larger issue of reservations is a complicated one and requires some thorough research and analysis leading to a revamp of the entire system.

reservation on the basis of economic status of people seems to a good solution but then again, the logisitcs must be worked out properly which again is impossible if the politicians are going to toe the vote-bank line and minority appeasement.

whatever reservation is being provided must be for a certain timeframe within which the particular community/castes are able to make substantial progress. otherwise the whole purpose of reservation is negated and it just goes ad absurdum...

Anand K said...

The system of meritocracy has never been the civic of India. Unlike China (the only comparable nation in scale of history, problems faced and demographics etc) which had civil services since the Han period, the civic followed in India has been always tied with social status determined by birth. One thing we should remember is that the Govt of India (GoI) for all its faults has always had one single minded purpose..... social justice and emancipation. The entire system is rigged that way..... the fact that we are right here, right now (and where we started from) is proof enough of this. In a utilitarian sense "Maximum justice for the maximum number of people". Everything else, globalisation, BoP, forex, nukes, Pakistan, US etc etc are secondary to this objective. This is a result of the truly unique nature of the Indian National Movement which shaped our polity and modern India.

More than a "maximise profits", "optimise" approach where we get a bang for the buck, we have taken a path wherein the abyssmal conditions of the lower strata are pushed a few notches higher.... by hook or by crook. Even if it means we take losses...... sometimes appaling losses at that. It's common knowledge that the reservation folks fare worse compared to general category (on the whole), but the system is rigged so that even these underperformers are given a chance at a good life, send their kids to better schools, given them better exposure and a couple of generations later, they will not even need those fr1ggin reservations! This was Ambedkar'sidea... but he thought 50 yrs would be enough. Now, we could have gone for a capitalism system in the 40s onwards (maybe even a Hobbesian run like the Robber Barons that built America and ran it till the GOTUS stepped in) but the capital will have to come from outside or from the feudals of India..... which would have turned Indian state into a plutocracy, a dependant on a few elites and plans for social and agricultural and zamindari reforms would have never happened. (Heck, you and I might probably be herding goats now for the zamindar if that had come to pass. See what happened to Pakistan which followed that path? What was the major point in Jinnah's 14 points.... what was the true reason for Pakistan's creation? Heard about the 37 families , including Bhutto and Sharif families, who run Pakistan?)

In those times the prime mover of growth, the milch-cow, the major employer was the government. Naturally, there were reservations for the wretched in the government jobs.... even if it means lesser "quality" hman capital will weigh down the process. But see what it has achieved..... look at the political bargaining power of the lower castes now! Isn't there a major shift in lifestyle of the first batches who were eased in through the Quota Raj? Aren't they and their progeny the constituents of the present day Creamy Layer?
Once again the point again is, this sort of "grinding" is done to ease things, level the field for sections who have been suppressed and downtrodden for millenia. The creamy layer does weasel in, thats a flaw in the system.... but a good number of targeted folks also get in! True, there's vote bank politics too.... but IMHO, the propping up artifically of these sections, reserving jobs even at the cost of aptitude, in short the resettlement of lower sections is the major reason.

The effects can be observed all around us..... For example, where are the (huge demographic) SC/ST sections who used to carry human wastes/trash on daily basis.... dump it on fields etc? In those times of dry latrines as compared to wet latrines of now? The lowest of the lows, a major sight every morining in urban and rural areas? Ever wonder where these people and their children went?

Now, our country is witnessing major structural changes wherein the private enterprise is the prime mover. The SC/STs and OBCs who still have lower strata outside this enoromous juggernaut are saddened, jealous and angry at missing out on this wave. The jealosuy factor s a very very important variable..... this is the most basic reason behind anarchism. Ever wonder why the local non-IT Kannadiga locals of Banglore feature a rather hostile attitude to the outlander IT-Biziness yuppies and the manifestations in the Rajkumar riots? This is one reason why the NDA's Shining India went down the drain and the UPA had to go back to brasstacks with Bharat Nirman, NREGF etc. The warning signal that was the 2004 elections hasn't gone unnoticed.... the people who rule us, the Netas, Babus, Pandus and Judges are not fools! They are very much in touch with the pulse of the nation IMHO. Moreover, the SC/STs and OBCs who form 70% of India are very perceptive voters.... And any path which doesn't level things or include them won't be taken to kindly to.

It's a fact that this is unfair and someone just by basis of birth is getting an edge.... but I guess in view of NATIONAL security and wellbeing, we (that is MOSTLY General Category folks like you and me..... I dunno about you guys, but I am a forward caste and I do lose out if the new reservations come into force, but ... "No gain without pain".) must sit tight, express our disapproval.... but DO LET the reservations be given on a step by step basis..... With a thrust on reservations/handouts at primary and secondary level from now on. The levelling should start from primary school and the OC/SC/ST kids would be better prepared for the competition.

Just My Thoughts!

Vinod/Kakka said...

The acceptance of Mandal commision recommendations by V.P.Singh helped his immediate cause: Prevent Hindus of all castes coming together politically, although the prime emotion behind that getting together was religous.
While I agree that taking religous fundementalism out of the political arena has been good for Indian politics, the social fragmentation caused by Mandelisation is going to be a bane for our society for the near future.
Personally, as a person who could get "reservation", there is this disincentive to get into Civil Service: the question mark that people who would work with me about the my merits. That was one of the reasons that I had to decide against trying for Indian Civil Service. The prime reason though was laziness.

Jiby said...

sarah, meritocracy was beginning to emerge as the cornerstone...when the private sector boom that the govt job and govt education isnt so attractive anymore there are calls for reservation even in the private sector...they are out to ruin thye golden goose!!

quills, thanks.

brijesh, we can only hope for things to get ideal even when they seem to be going the other way around.

mindcurry, i agree with you that the govt is doing more harm than good in the medical education sector...nopes i am not lowering the bar, just am a bit puzzled what to do fruitfully in kerala if the civil service option doesnt work out...maybe working in another state shudnt be a bad option.

arjun, resevration was first envisioned in the constitutuion with a time frame of i belive 25 or 50 years but subsequent govts have kept
extending it instead of looking for a more viable solution...

pappanabho, well i knew you were the quintessential establishment man... but aliya i find it hard to go along with u on this one...ppl like us havent been we can be positive about things...i heard a lot of bitching in delhi abt this and that got me real worried...NDA's Shining India campaign i dont think failed coz of any caste was just the rural-urban-metro-smalltown divide in the privatization boom that found its echo on national politics. u certainly presented a totally different persprective for everyone here...good job...ppl will think a lot abt wht u wrote...b4 i read ur comment i was wondering u had enuf material for a seperate post here!!!

vindo cheta, you have hit the bulls-eye with what you said...though i am saddened that you who could have had a brilliant career in the civil services got disillusioned by this sad feature.. I agree with you that laziness is the biggest obstacle in upsc!!!

Vinod/Kakka said...

At least in Kerala, we could change reservation with having 2 parameters:
Education levels of parents and grandparents, [if necessary, I guess we have 2 generations since independence]
Income of Parents
And remove caste and religion columns for all government records. Rather than mouth how good the teaching of Sree Narayana Guru were every year.

Mind Curry said...

my turn to be the good have been tagged. hugs! sob sob!

Memoryking said...

Liked your blog. Here is mine "No! Let’s join the self-proclaimed snobs protesting with slogans “Remember your place”, polishing shoes and cleaning premises? Let’s pretend not to see it at all! Damn Reservations!"

jasim / jasimudeen said...

jiby tell me more about blogging,malayalam blogging,how to more space for writing if u have time to spare....thanks

jasim / jasimudeen said...