Reservations about reservations about reservations about&…

The recent governmental decision to increase reservations in government funded institutions to 49.5% is vote-motivated, divisive and discriminatory. It’s also short sighted and retrogressive and will adversely impact the efficiency of this country. To cut a long explanation short, they’re trying to mask their failure to provide an adequate primary and secondary education to the masses. They should, instead, raise their own standards.

As I see it, the government has the following primary responsibilities in a democracy: Education, Safety and Security, Healthcare and Infrastructure. From the looks of it, successive governments have failed us, and are busy squabbling for power among themselves. They spend more on elections than on development. As I said in a response to Shekhar(of Fractured Earth), this seems to be the perfect opportunity for a political party to attempt to garner mass support by opposing the reservations, given that a majority of the much larger general population seems to oppose this move. Yes, dear reader, we see an opportunity in everything. Unfortunately, no political party seems to be willing to take that risk. In my opinion, this is the NCP’s chance.

As of now all the political parties seem the same and lest there�s a �none of the above� option in the ballot paper, I’m likely to abstain from voting because I�m in a majority that isn�t being represented. Here’s what I’d written about democracy earlier, and now it seems that a fractured mob is just as useless as a dumb one.

Even the online space is fractured, and mostly incoherent. I’ve got several mails from Orkut, asking me to ‘Please join this group also’ and also several petitions to sign, many of which express viewpoints that I don’t fully endorse. Here are some of the less intelligent comments I’ve read:

1. Surely reservation is just politician game,it is not charity,but to satishfy its own appetite of vote & power.

2. hi this is 2 bring all the student havin a agony about this so called FATVAA by @$$!#%dr.arjun singh UNDER ONE ROOF and run a movement on ORKUT ur each joinin will be cosidered as support for us will give strength to our movement.
the major problem is even after reservation student who use to get addmission not able complete there studies in 4 years(btech) THAN I WANT TO AKS WILL ARJUN SINGH WILL COMPLETE ON THERE BEHALF I THINK HE HAS ON ANSWER
save india by communicatin about this community and hlep to gather suppot under roof

3. all HRD ministers should be made to stand in a row and should be shooted out

4. This reservation funda is totally uncool. This is just done for the votes and nothing else, but these people donot know that by bringing reservation in here affects the country itself, this all is a gimmick, a way to be the superior most and the government is to be blamed for this.

Reservation of every kind is bad – be it even sex, diability or economical class, not just caste and religion.

5. do u kno that if no. of termite become excess they r riqured to contrl
otherwise they will devastate the house

http://***address removed**/against_reservation.htm
sorry for the forwarding of this message to the
unconcerned persons..


8. Form your own country or anything, our country cannot and will not change.

9. here also we need some hitler or stalin who will just obliterate these illiterate politicians of india..

10. problem was not ambedkar or nehru…problem was mahatma..whose watermarking we ca see in indian currency..if the father of the nation was a *******…what can u expect from the child…

11. Time for a terrorist organization for the really smart people. The kind of terrorist who does no real damage to any living being or property or anything with value…

12. When the worker unions can go and sit in front of the Director’s office, why can’t the students?

If still the govt. does not pay heed, boycott the end-sems. And then, stage a procession in front of the parliament. Mobilise all the college across Delhi and you will have enough people. Hasn’t Rang de Basanti taught us something? It is not the time to wait and watch. It is the time to act.

13. (A petition to the President begins with:) Are you aware of the fact that from coming academic session the Govt of India has proposed to introduce a new Quota System for addmissions to Professional courses.

14. We, the so called upper castes living in urban India created this country and the politicians are using the fruits of our hard work and reaping political benefits through reservations. If all of us belonging to the unreserved categories simply quit India, or stop going to these so called elite instituions where reservations are done, India will be doomed and the Institutes will lose all their name and prestige.
We are the creators of a prosperous modern India, these politicians are forgetiing that without the so called upper castes its Bye, Bye… India, No ecomic boom, no anything.
Or shopuld we jsut ask for a seperate region for ourselves? If the Muslim invaders who came so late can ask for their share, why not us original residents? Then the world will see where prosperous India comes from and who are dragging their legs.
Shoot people, post your opinion.

Please note that I don’t necessarily endorse any of the points listed above, and the emphasis is mine. I found the comment about telling others to make ‘speedy movement’ quite amusing. The lack of objective thought, both among the politicans and the student community is saddenning. I’ve only come across one email and one petition that addresses the issues objectively and in a systematic and reasonable manner. Not that I want to see more, of course. During the Mandal commission protests, self immolation made headlines. Today, even suicide doesn’t make a difference, and everyone has been numbed by the apathy of the government.

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  1. sad, innit?

    the rang de basanti team has also joined NBA, or something like that flashed past me when i was channel surfing.

    we deserve the jokers that we vote to power. we really do.

    ~ harneet

  2. I challenge the concerned jokers to go ahead with 50% Reservation for not only students but also for teaching staff. Its better that Government builds one more IIT and IIM and call them RIIT and RIIM (R stands for you know what) and let others live in peace and maintain their standards. RIIT and RIIM may be put under AICTE for added glory. It will be wiser for the government to offer the best of education from primary education and make them face the world rather than give them feel of artificial security by reservation.

  3. Naam Arjun Raknewala sab Yudh nahi jeeet saktein
    aur IIT IIM koi Kurushetra bi nahi hein
    Na is Arjun ke paas koi Krishn bhi hai
    Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya Sathuskratham
    Dharma samsdha banarthaya sambavami yuge yuge
    Tora Tora Tora

  4. Harneet:

    Call me a cynic, but this comes across as a calculated attempt by Aamir Khan to enter politics. Of course, the best way, as the shrewd Mrs. Gandhi has always shown, is to deny any interest. Have you read Chandrahas’ post on Rang De Basanti? He was spot on.

    From next time onwards, I’ll probably wonder what I did to deserve the jokers that others voted into power.

    Camelpost: planning to kamikaze?

  5. politics, i am not sure of. but amir khan is one shrewd little marketing machine and how he promoted lagaan before the academy awards is ample proof of that. yeah, i read that post sometime back. i thought the movie was plain ridiculous with the ‘message’.

    and hey, we are all someone else’s jokers.

    ~ harneet

  6. IITs and IIMs will remain Institutions of the government by the government and for the government. One day MHRD may passa resolution stating that each MP is entitled for an IIT or IIM seat as the MPs are serving the nation. On the contrary take the case of BITS Pilani. In the year 2000, BITS Pilani put up a campus at DUBAI. In the year 2004, BITS Pilani commissioned a campus at Goa. In the year 2007 BITS Pilani is spearheading a campus at Hyderabad. Name one IITor IIM which broke the governmental shell and did something like BITS Pilani could do. Every one knows the famous IIM and IIT wanting to set up a Sing apore Campus. Well the song was over long back. We are left only with the National Anthem.

  7. AICTE Punched by Court Orders

    The Madras High Court, in an interim direction relating to the regulatory jurisdiction of the AICTE and the UGC over deemed universities, has instructed the former to issue a public notice advising students to attend classes.

    Reserving its final order, a bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Prabha Sridevan said the AICTE in its advertisement should mention that students must return to their colleges, since failure to attend classes would result in their losing an academic year.

    It must be published in English and Indian language newspapers, the judges said.

    The bench indicated that orders would be pronounced in the third week of May and observed that all deemed universities must take prior permission from the UGC before starting new courses.

    The AICTE could be part of the inspection team mandated to visit deemed universities, the judges added.

  8. We must investigate the term “merit”.Is “merit” just a score in entrance exams at age of 17?

    Take the claim of “merit based” entrance to all IIMs and dozens of other institutes.

    The CAT exam is based on the SAT exam in the USA . It has been proved beyond doubt that the SAT test is culturally biased . Blacks and hispanics do poorly at it year after year .

    If a student who is eligible for admission to IIM on the basis of his CAT score, were to take the same CAT exam in which he/she cleared in a language that he/she did not understand then he/she would be at a disadvantage compared to someone who was schooled in that language . Not knowing that language does not mean you lack the capacity to clear that exam.

    Approximately 25 % of CAT test is about English! Another 25 % is about English Comprehension!!!! There you are !!!! About 50 % so called aptitude test is a hoax for someone who is from a non-english speaking background .

    This is how the CAT like the SAT is discriminatory .

    See the full form of SAT �Scholastic Aptitude Test . The problem is aptitude testing is not so simple . There is no test on earth which can reliably tests aptitude .

    Aptitude tests such as the SAT have a historical tie to the concept of innate mental abilities and the belief that such abilities can be defined and meaningfully measured. Neither notion has been supported by modern research. Few scientists who have considered these matters seriously would argue that aptitude tests such as the SAT provide a true measure of intellectual abilities.

    It was found that people could be coached to better their scores at SAT . The name SAT �Scholastic Aptitude Test could not be correct . So under such valid criticism the name was changed to Scholastic Assessment Test, since a test that can be coached clearly did not measure inherent “scholastic aptitude”, but was influenced largely by what the test subject had learned in school. Even the College Board which conducts the SAT has beaten a hasty retreat.This was a major theoretical retreat by the College Board conducting SAT, which had previously maintained that the test measured inherent aptitude and was free of bias.

    About ten years back , however, even the redundancy of the term assessment test was recognized and the name was changed to the neutral, and non-descriptive, SAT. At the time, the College Board announced, “Please note that SAT is not an initialism. It does not stand for anything.”

    The framers of these SAT tests assumed that intelligence was a unitary inherited attribute, that it was not subject to change over a lifetime, and that it could be measured and individuals could be ranked and assigned their place in society accordingly. The SAT evolved from these questionable assumptions about human talent and potential.

    More and more people are questioning the validity of SAT . In the past MENSA used to accept high SAT score individuals . For the past decade it has stopped accepting SAT scores .

    The whole exercise of deciding merit based on CAT scores discriminates against those from lower socio-economic status.

    Though many non-IIM institutes have started accepting CAT scores, the application fee of these institutes is still inexplicably high.

    The CAT is primarily an exam of Math and English. Logical and Analytical Reasoning is nearly absent (except for some verbal reasoning which again depends on knowing English well!!!!).

    CAT is a clever way to keep those from lower socio-economic strata away Institutes funded with tax payers money .

    So claims of �Merit� based on CAT scores is hollow and discriminatory against those of lower socio-economic strata.

    Dhirubhai Ambani had a poor command over English . He would not have made it through CAT. So what “merit” are we talking of?

  9. Man is a social animal . And he forms communities to work with , marry ,socialise .

    In the pre-agricultural economy of forest ,communities are tribes .

    In agricultural economies of village, communities are the traditional castes (like you see in India) . Favourable conditions in agricuture through history made castes a widely practiced phenomenon in the subcontinent . Even religious conversion has failed to remove the caste system .Caste clearly follows a different dynamic which has nothing to do with religion .

    In industrial economies of city based, communities are a new �cosmopolitan caste�.

    These three kinds of economies 1) tribal ,2) village(traditional caste) and 3)city (cosmopolitan caste) have fashioned the modern nation as it exists today .Most modern nations are have come into existence during the Industrial revolution .

    Modern nations all over the world have had to grapple with the problem of how to assimilate those left behind in the forests and villages in pre-agricultural or agricultural economies . In India due to poor economy growth the problems are vastly more acute .

    We cannot wish away the existence of these pre-agricultural tribes or agricutural castes and exclude them from our industrial cosmopolitan caste.

    Forest covers are disappearing. The very habitat of the tribal in endangered .

    And its tough to compete with the developed countries Industrial technology based agriculture with India�s traditional pre-industrial agriculture . Take for example today 57 of the Indian population is engaged in non- machine aided agrarian activities, this translates into an Indian food worker producing enough food for himself and a surplus for another Indian.We are still importing food from time to time. Contrast this to US, where less than two percent of American population is engaged in machine aided agriculture or related activities. An American farmer produces enough food for 50 people including himself, with even more left over for export. Therefore the American farmer is very productive and very rich by comparison.
    Agriculture needs water. Water table is receding in India. Today 70 per cent of irrigation needs and 80 per cent of domestic water supplies in India are met through pumping up groundwater through tube wells. But this massively deployed private response to public failure can only be temporary. Water tables are plummeting and aquifers are running dry. Estimates show that 15 per cent of aquifers are already critical and the number is projected to rise to 60 per cent in just twenty years .
    For more read

    With each passing generation inherits ,the share of the agricultural land of each subsequent generation becomes less and less . When each person has a very small plot of land you cannot have advantages of scale .

    Traditional means of incomes are drying up in forests and villages .

    Farmers have been commiting suicide . Naxalites philosophies are attracting a greater following in some jungles. Situation is grim . There remains a large part of population simply unequipped with skill set required to compete in the industrial/service world . We have a tragedy of enormous proportions staring in our face .

    Castes are a form of social stratification from the agriculture economy era . Some castes have been able to make the shift to industrial economy to become a member of the new cosmopolitan caste to a greater extent than others .

    Castes in India are endogamous . Majority of indians still marry within their castes .The sense of traditional caste is weak for the new cosmopolitan castes in urban Indians as they work in industries in these cities .In their case a more cosmopolitan anglacised sense of community has replaced the pre-industrial traditional caste system. This is simply the industrial version of the traditional caste system .Members of this new cosmopolitan caste also practice endogamy . They marry their own kind . And prefer to work ,live and socialise with their own kind . It is an unacknowledged caste in the sense they see themselves above the caste system . �Caste no bar� if you belong to this cosmopolitan caste . Looking through the matrimonial advertisements in news papers or surf through matrimonial sites on the web . You will see right away that those who consider themselves diehard cosmopolitan is miniscule .Most people still retain that weak link to the traditional caste system when it comes to important decisions like marriage .

    What needs to be kept in mind that people prefer to work with their own castes . For example for his medical needs someone from the cosmopolitan caste is not likely to see a general practioner who has poor english skills. In the same way someone who is a say from a tribal village is unlikely to be comfortable with a general practioner who is a english speaking westernised dandy. Where possible people go to physicians who they consider as one of their own, some one who speak their language and understand their lifestyle .

    You see this same division in private sector as well. If you are corporate entity and your company has predominantly members from the Cosmopolitan caste you are likely to reject someone who does not seem to reflect your cosmopolitan culture,especially for the important high profile,high visibilty appointments . Companies call this �cultural fit�.

    Will Azimbhai Premji announce that the next owner of Wipro will not be his son? Will he make that decision on merit ? Why did Ratan Tata succeed Bharat Ratna JRD Tata ? Was he the most accomplished person in the Tata empire ? So you see the cosmopolitan caste reserves the topmost creamy posts to one of their own in a very similar way like the traditional caste system .These posts are very much �Reserved� . If the english speaking members of the cosmopolitan caste fails entrance exams , group discussion, interviews all of which are often conducted in English , then there are always management quotas ,governing body quotas ,NRI quotas ,paid seats within India or paid seats abroad all of which can be accessed with money or influence .

    Owners or management recruiters from each caste almost always recruit people from their own castes .Some one of their own kind . If you do not have enough members of your own caste as recruiters whether it is government or private jobs the entry points into the industrial economy drastically come down. Each caste has its �Creamy� layer .Some castes have very thick layers of cream . Some castes have a thinner layer compared to their size. Thick or thin�. this creamy layer is its entry point into the industrial world .

    This problem is by no means peculiar to India .What is different is the sheer magnitude of the problem .

    Governments all over the world use �affirmative action� to remedy this serious problem.

    Reservations and quotas are a form of Affirmative action.

    What is affirmative action ?
    Affirmative action is a policy or a program aimed at increasing the representation of members of groups that have traditionally been discriminated against. This typically focuses on education,employment, government contracts ,health care or social welfare.

    Just look at how it is practiced in the following countries :

    American President Lyndon Johnson said “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, ‘you are free to compete with all the others’, and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”

    In USA : American President Lyndon Johnson brought in affirmative action by an �excecutive order� . The order aims “to correct the effects of past and present discrimination”.

    The order specifically requires certain organizations accepting federal funds to take affirmative action to increase employment of members of preferred racial or ethnic groups and women. Any organization with fifty or more employees and an aggregate revenue exceeding $50,000 from a single federal contract during a twelve month period must have a written affirmative action plan. This plan must include goals and timetables for achieving full utilization of women and members of racial minorities, in quotas based on an analysis of the current workforce compared to the availability in the general labor pool of women and members of racial minorities.

    Regarding Native Americans there are today more than 563 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States. The United States recognizes the right of these tribes to self-government and supports their tribal sovereignty and self-determination. These tribes possess the right to form their own government, to enforce laws (both civil and criminal), to tax, to establish membership, to license and regulate activities, to zone and to exclude persons from tribal territories. The recognition confers benefits, including the right to label arts and crafts as Native American and they can apply for grants that are specifically reserved for Native Americans.

    In Japan : there is an informal policy to provide employment and long term welfare (which is usually not available to general public) to Burakumin (untouchables).

    In Brazil :Brazilian Universities (State or Federal) have created systems of preferred admissions (quotas) for racial minorities (blacks and native Brazilians), the poor and the handicapped. There are also quotas for the disabled in the civil public services.

    In Malaysia :there are laws called bumiputra laws which are a form of affirmative action meant to provide more opportunity for the majority ethnic Malay population versus the historical financial dominance of the Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indian populations.

    In New Zealand :individuals of Maori or other Polynesian descent are often afforded preferential access to university courses, and scholarships.

    In South Africa : there is a the Employment Equity Act aims to promote and achieve equity in the workplace, by encouraging equal opportunity amongst all workers. It includes efforts to identify reasons for inequalities and change the employment rates of previously underrepresented groups for a more equitable job market.

    In UK: according to the Good Friday Agreement the law requires that the Police Service of Northern Ireland recruit equal numbers of Catholics and non Catholics.

    In Indonesia: affirmative action programs give natives preference over Han Chinese who have immigrated into the country.

    In Macedonia :minorities, most notably Albanians, are allocated quotas for access to state universities, as well as in civil public services.

    In China : there is a quota for minority representatives in the National Assembly in Beijing, as well as other realms of government.

    In the European Union: there is an antiracism directive which concerns the application of the principle of equality without regard to race or ethnic origin. This anti-racism directive, is to be implemented in national law of the member states.

    In Germany :there are programs stating that if men and women had equal qualifications, women had to be preferred for a job. The anti-discrimination law which is yet to pass, aims at improving the protection of minorities.

    Belgium government :proposed in January 2006 a measure that will make some job opportunities available exclusively to immigrants, disabled and elderly people.

    Much of the developed world does believe that social justice can be done by reservation/quotas for those that are discriminated against.

    Dalit issues of India have already been linked with human rights issue in International forum like the UN .

    To repeat what past American President Lyndon Johnson said “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, ‘you are free to compete with all the others’, and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”

  10. Hey Anonymous. Yours is an inordinately long response, and I’d advise that you be more economical with words if you want to be read.

    I skimmed through it and here’s my say:

    1. Just because other countries have employed reservations doesn’t mean that we do to. what is applicable to them need not be the best possible solution to our problems

    2. What you are essentially doing is strengthening the discriminatory caste system; it will be further entrenched into our minds and one will presuppose that a person from the reservation background didn’t deserve it: it’ll reduce social acceptance

    3. We are all equal under the rule of money – he who can make more money for the company, stays. In a globalised world, efficiency should not be compromised. There is, however, the necessity to include people from different backgrounds only because diversity promotes innovation.

    4. There are Indian companies who don’t believe in hereditary control of management. Infy is a prime example. Ranbaxy, under late Dr. Parminder Singh was another, though that has changed. The Mittals (Airtel) have stated that management control stays only with this generation; the next will not have management control until merit demands it.

    Anyway, there’s a difference between affirmative action, which is voluntary, and reservations, which are enforced.

    If I may be so blunt – I don’t mind being beaten by a better/more qualified candidate, but if some fucker is going to get my seat or my job because of reservations – I’ve every right to fight against it.

    You may read John Osbourne’s Look Back in Anger – it’s about an educated man who is unable to get ahead in life in spite of qualification, because of the class system. The point is, he was given an education that was equal to that of others. That system has now evolved, and class is of little consideration in Britain. Why? Because the quality of education was good enough. The government, instead of stuffing politicans pockets, should be spending that money on teachers and infrastructure.

    And it’s interesting that you should quote Lyndon Johnson, of all people.

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