Friday, April 14, 2006


Ok, this whole Reservation thing has been playing in my mind for quite a while now. Well, like most of the times, I am quite confused. It is such an vast topic with so many complexities that it is difficult for me to primarily have a stand.

The first thing that I am absolutely boggled about it, why is there a need to increase the quota levels in the institutions? Aren't the existing levels of quota sufficient? The main reason why reservations were introduced was to integrate the backward classes of the society with the mainstream society. Over a passge of time, Reservations were supposed to be written off. However, rather than achieving the set goal, what's the purpose in increasing the quota levels? Beats me completely.

To a certain extent, I do support reservations since I have seen the caste discrimination upclose. I understand how deep caste prejudices are. I had visited the tsunami affected villages for a month in tamil Nadu. Even a natural disaster like Tsunami couldn't break the traditional caste barriers. It was disgusting. Despite losing everything in the Tsunami, caste discrimination did not go away. Dalits did not get relief because they were Dalits even post- Tsunami. When a natural disaster like Tsunami cannot break caste prejudices nothing can. I understand that. However increasing reservation levels is definitely overdoing it. Since over the course of time, the level of reservations have to decrease.

Of course, I definitely agree with the unfairness of it. I have seen students from the 'general category' going into depression because they couldn't get through a particular college but students who have scored much less than them, have gotten through easily. Trust me, it hurts, it hurts real bad. It is absolutely unfair on the child.

Let us first look into why the reservations were brought about in the first place. Reservations were a tool through which Dalits and other backward classes of the society could be assimilated in the mainstream. This link can provide for good reference.

We have reservations for the past 50 years, have we achieved what we have set out to achieve? No, absolutely not. Coz caste discriminations run high. But then why hasn't the set goal been achieved? Reservations was means to achieve an end. However, over the years, it has become a means to an end. This is like having painkillers in case of arthrities rather than opting for a full fledged treatment. Improving state of primary education, improving state of central govt schools, state, municipal schools is the key and not increasing the level in reservations wherein the government is just committing another error in a bid to rectify it's earlier error.

Politicians are to be blamed for it {nothing new to it} Therefore, if the goal hasn't been achieved, then there is a fundamental flaw in the system and it needs a rethink.

In the end, I still think it all boils down to an apathetic, under-performing State. If we had created an efficient and equal government school model, like the neighbourhood schools in the West, this entire debate may well have been irrelevant. Sure, the super-rich kids would have still gone to snotty private schools, but at least everyone else would have studied with some sense of parity and quality. Right now more than 60 students compete for a single IIT seat. Isn’t it our right to demand more premier engineering institutes rather than this mad scramble for a handful of seats, made yet more acrimonious by the politics of reservation?

says Barkha Dutt

Are there any alternatives to reservations? Is there any other way reservations can be implemented? other than strengthening the primary education system in the country, I cannot think of any thing else. What was the government doing for 50 long years? It is not that we don't have reservations. Why have more reservations is what I am confused about.

Economic backwardness can be a benchmark for reservation. However here to scholarships could be introduced for the students. See, reservations were introduced since the social environment for super academic performance would not be similar to the privileged and the under-privileged. Instead of improving the infrastructure, the Government is proposing is trying to increase the quota levels. What utter nonsense.....

It is so frustrating for someone like me to live in this country wherein caste equations are so dominant. I don't care a shit about caste or relegion. However, people like me are in absolute minority which is why we see such caste equations permeating in all sectors. Ok, even though I don't care about my caste, I am being made to realise, oh, I am from the general category. Even if I don't wanna remember it, the system makes sure that I am reminded of it everyday.

Lot of people have been saying that 95 per cent scoring ppl from general category can easily co exist with ppl scoring 65 per cent of a reserved category. No problems with that. However, I don't understand why a 65 per cent scoring person from the general category cannot be included in the list. Is everyone from the General category necessarily required to be academically brilliant everytime.....everyone, always as a rule? How can it be possible? it is so unfair. Where is the space for academically mediocre people from the general category then?

However, having seen the caste prejudices myself, I feel there should be some solution to help the genuinely deserving candidates from the backward classes to come up but not at the expense of the general category students. coz I know so many of the general category students who are economically backward and cannot afford the cost of education since there is no help for them. Where do such students go? Don't they have a right to survive in the society. How can we just assume that all the general category students are well off? Assuming that, economically backward students from general category are in a minority than the other backward classes in totality, doesn it mean, it's ok for the minority to suffer, just coz they are minority? Doesn't it seem contradictory?

Trivia: It is interesting how the caste system functions in this country. Like OBCs consider themselves to be upper caste in comparison to Dalits. There are 150 sub castes amongst Dalits themselves if I am not mistaken and they also practise discrimination amongst themselves. It's funny. It's sad.

Ideally I wouldn't prefer reservations. However, given the current scheme of things, I am not completely against the currently prevalent reservations. However, I am completely against increasing the quota levels since it is ridiculous and is no solution to the problem.