Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Appeal from AIIMs doctors

Dear friends,

Please spend some time to read this. U can make a difference.

As u all guys know that there have beeen lot of protests going on against the raise in reservations. All of us stuggle for months and years to make our dreams come true; No body in the government is bothered about that. This new policy of govt ll be a major road block in the development of our nation and creation of a caste free society. I want to share some developments occurring here with respect to this issue.

About 2 weeks back the Students Union ( SU ) of AIIMS ( UGs and Interns ) started the protests. They held peaceful march. Their main demand was to meet Honbl. Arjun Singh and to express their concern regarding the hike in reservations. What they got in return. Water canons, tear gas shells and Lathis. Some of the interns who were beaten were my friends and i could see their injury marks. Worse, some were girls. Sad isnt it ? Well next few days due to their constant struggle they could get to meet Arjun Singh. No positive response was obtained. He however promised that before sending the bill to cabinet, he would inform the SU. The students continued to boycott their classes. Other medical colleges of delhi also joined. We Resident doctors of AIIMS however were not actively participating. We wore black badges and attended few rallies.

12 th May saw a new beginning. Our medical students were brutally assaulted by Delhi police. Injured were brought to AIIMS. Fracture hand bone, head injury, blunt trauma abdomen with intra-abdominal bleed; 300 students were manhandled including girls, stuffed in buses and taken to police station. I remember the dialogue from RDB. This incident will prove to be a final nail in coffin for our Congress Govt. At around 3 pm the Resident Doctors Association ( RDA ) of AIIMS announced an indefinite strike. All Junior Residents ( Acad or Non-acad ) & Senior Residents boycotted.

Protest rally was organized that day. 13 th may was the worst day in the history of our Indian Independence and so called Democracy. Medical Students of Mumbai were beaten like animals. Infact animals also are never treated like this. Every body would have witnessed the brutality of the Mumbai Police.17 - 18 year old medical students were beaten up. Future of our country treated like this?

And these are the same Police Men who come to our OPD and ask for peferential treatment. Shame on them. And listen to what Bhujbal said on TV. I thought we need a real RDB now. This incident triggered the suppressed fire in each and every individual. We at AIIMS went on INDEFINITE HUNGER STRIKE from 14 th morning joined by medical students from MAMC Delhi, Lady Harding, RML Hosp, Rohtak Medical College . Slowly the fire spread to diferent states of our country. You know what happened in Blore. Calcutta, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Gujrat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala boiled in protests.

Students of Delhi University ( BSc BCom...) also joined the strike. The hunger strike in AIIMS continues. More than 100 students and residents are sitting in the heat since 14 th morning just on plain water. Believe me we slept in the open last night on an empty stomach. Its only when rain started pouring we had go inside the auditorium and slept there.

The IMA has announced complete medical bandh today ( 15 th may ). Doctors from all over delhi have come to AIIMS and are holding protests. IITs and IIMs have joined the strike. Even patients and their attenders were of full support towards this cause.

One man said, " My father is admitted in NS department and is fighting for his life and death, but i declare that i have no objection with your strike. I support your movement and the cause for which u re fighting. Our country needed this."

All of us know what is right and what is wrong. Having said that i feel that each one of us should follow our conscience. I ve written this message because i felt there are many of who might not be aware of the exact situation. I request each one of you to please forward this to all ur friends, Medicos or Non-medicos. Every common man needs to be aware of the injustice and should be involved in this effort.

This Movement will be a revolution in our independent country and will be the most significant event after the British Rule. It ll be the cause for the rewriting of Indian Constitution where just and meritorious people are not singled out and put to taste the adversities and someone else enjoys the benefit.

The government cannot hide its inadequacies in providing equal opportunities to the under priviliged in rural areas by increasing the reservations. They have ruled the country for so many decades and if in this time they are not able to provide equalilty in primary and secondary education for Indian citizens they cannot mask
their failure by providing reservations at each and every level. Its ridiculous. The whole issue of reservations was a political gimmic of the present govt to garner votes.

Its time that things are not taken for granted by any one. Let it be a senior minister police or anyone else. Whole of our nation needs to get aware of the amount of hardwork and sacrifice we put to achieve our dreams. We should not allow anyone to
make a mockery of our struggle in future.

Thank U Friends.

Dr Kiran,
Junior Resident,
Internal Medicine,
All India Institute Of Medical Sciences,
New Delhi

On Reservations

Well, while everyone knows the real and old reason behind Arjun Singh and the Congress party bringing up the reservation issue again, there have been some new interesting views on this. Or at least new interesting ways of opposing the social inequalities that reservation can bring with it.

I read someone on the net supporting Arjun Singh and Congress by coaxing them to further make reservations in the cricket team, for Olympics candidates and for pilot trainees to fly special flights that carry politicians. The anonymous forward went on to tease the government that it should put up a petition to the ICC to disallow Shoaib Akhter to bowl at a speed more than 100kmph to an SC or ST batsman.

While this may be exaggeration, it also put the issue in bright light. Is it possible for an SC/ST batsman to accept that his fours will be counted as sixes? Can an OBC sprinter digest that she is allowed a finish line at 99 meters, while the others run 100 meters in a dash? Why isn’t the so-called backward class opposing such ‘favours’ from devious politicians?

Just as the word politician has now come to mean "cunning and selfish", OBCs, SCs and STs will become synonymous with "inept and inefficient". And that is not good at all because there are enough people in these communities who can do very well even without reservations, but will still be considered to have come through a 'quota' system. It’s like charity to someone who wants to earn with hard and smart work. OBCs, SCs and STs should consider their own self-respect, rise above wily schemes of politicians and reject reservations (at least beyond the pre-university level – plus 1, plus 2).

If Arjun Singh and the Congress party want to introduce a quota system in IITs and IIMs, it’s because the people of India are complacent about it. I do not want to call short-term beneficiaries of reservation as OBCs or SCs or STs. These names have become a stigma to a self respecting person. Let me call these people as the “decider” class, because their votes decide who comes to power. Those not in the ‘decider’ class, fall in the ‘other’ class.

If economically weak sections of society gets a reservation - that can be considered valid. But by accident of birth? Heyy, India as a country has more character than that.

There have also been thoughts voiced that if by the end of his or her basic schooling (10th standard), a decider class student has been unable to break even with an average ‘other’ class student, he or she never will. Nor will an ‘other’ class student. It does not happen by birth, for God's sake. I am sure the decider class will wake up and revolt against trampling of their "swaabhimaans" before reservation based on caste really happens.

Increasing the number of seats to accommodate everybody might solve the issue. But ‘reservation’ will still go on to kill the character of a country like India. We are one of the oldest civilizations and as a people, have collectively developed enough strength of character to look beyond such myopic solutions.

Come on people, wake up and reject reservations. Come on ‘deciders’! Don’t let Arjun Singh trample all over your self respect. This great country after all belongs to every Indian, not just the politician.


An update on reservation protests on Sunday - things that the media may not cover.

Following is an eye-witness account by Sanjeev Newar, alumnus of IIT Guwahati and IIM Calcutta

Sunday was a day of protests against reservations across India. The media has been specifically censured from reporting these protests in their totality and thus media coverage is a bit too mellowed and partial and at times defying reality. And why not, all political parties and bigwigs are unanimous on this. Off the record, they may agree that reservation is hogwash, but no one has the guts or conscience enough to take a public stand. Thus Dhoni's hairstyle and Shahrukh's Don seem to be a safer focus areas for mdia than covering this fight against a grossly ridiculous policy.

Several students from Delhi's colleges and schools, corporates and even farmers from remote areas of Punjab and Haryana came together for a "Youth for Justice" rally infront of Jantar Mantar on Sunday morning. They submitted their memorandum addressed to the PM to the Police Commissioner. From there, they went to AIIMS to express solidarity with Medicos on hunger strike. Close to a 1000 members from IIT/IIM/IISc community have offered their support.

A group of 22 representatives which included students from across colleges, corporates and professors then submitted their memorandum to Rashtrapati Bhavan. The summary was that a life without dignity is worse than death. With implementation of this biased anti-justice anti-equality reservation policy, the hope of living with dignity will die forever. Hence the President should, in that case, grant official permission to end their lives in the form of mercy-killing. The President's office is officially closed on Sunday evening, but the tacit support of the staff at President's House (including SC/ST/OBC members) ensured that the office was specially opened just for receiving this memorandum. The parting lines of the officers was that this movement should not die and all at members of the VVIP zone understand the sinister political games that are being played.

After submitting the memorandum, we came back to AIIMS and officially announced this to the medicos and the media. The media did cover us and questioned, but I am not sure how much of it will actually make news. Meanwhile, "Youth for Equality" students from IIT Delhi carried out a funeral procession of Arjun Singh from IIT to AIIMS and then performed the burning rites in the full glare of all.

There is news that Medicos are now under severe pressure to call off the strike and some kind of understanding is being reached. And unless we ensure that the movement is kept alive and make the politicians realize that the vote loss due to this policy will more than offset the vote bank gain, things cannot change. We all, especially the corporate sector and students in professional colleges, have to now take the battle forward. And yes, we can make the difference.

We are currently in process of unifying the movement across nation and world under one planned mechanism so that our protests do not get dissipated. Tomorrow evening will be a meeting of representatives from various colleges, CA's, corporates etc at India Gate Amar Jyoti at 6pm, where a common organized structure would be decided for future actions.

I urge all of you to send similar mails to the President at pesidentofindia@rb.nic.in and voice your opposition. Remember, this is a challenging battle where we are fighting the entire political system, deeply entrenched in corruption, vote-bank tactics and wily means. Even the media is less than lukewarm on this. So we have to be our own media, and make sure that even deaf ears are forced to listen - to talk in language of Bhagat Singh.

Let us fight this out tooth and nail. I am sure when we look back at our lives tomorrow, this will be remembered as one of the most satisying moments where each one of us actually made a big difference to the course of history of this nation.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Measuring wrong with undefined scales

I laugh at the brains behind some of the TV programs.

One example. A TV channel recently called its audience to rate Rajanikanth, Rahman, Abdul Kalam, Vishwanathan Anand and other two, each belonging to different professions.

Why I laugh?

Abdul Kalam is the President of India. He belongs to the scientific and technological community in India and is rated one of the big shots in science and technology.

Rajanikanth is one of the most popular cinema actors in Tamil. In the movie industry, he is someone talked high about.

Vishwanathan Anand is a great chess player and his main domain is sports, in particular chess. He is certainly the top most in Indian chess.

Now, shall we say Abdul Kalam is better thanVishwanathan Anand or Rajanikanth?

Shall we say Rajanikanth is a class above Abdul Kalam and Vishwanathan Anand?

Those who are capable of thinking quickly realize that there is no single scale to measure the talent/success/achievements of personalities belonging to different professions. So Abdul Kalam can be rated as one of the top in 'scientific community of India' only. Vishwanathan Anand can be rated as the 'best Indian chess player' only.

Now let us move on to a more serious issue.

Some castes claiming 'upper' or 'superiority' tag and other castes accepting 'lower' or 'inferiority' tag is a serious case of measuring everyone with a single scale. The whole idea of 'upper' and 'lower' castes looks stupid because there is no single standard scale defined to measure one's superiority and other's inferiority.

Artisan's caste capable of producing various articles for use in everyday life cannot be called as inferior to farmer's caste and vice-versa. A caste doing well in higher learning cannot be called as superior to a caste doing wealthy business and vice-versa. May be, a shrewd businessman is superior to another businessman who is less skilled in business.

If 'upper' and 'lower' tags are defined based on the scale of economic situation, then there are low caste people among supposedly 'upper' castes. And there are high caste people among supposedly 'lower' castes.

Ending with a story I remembered.

A scholar took a boat to cross a full flowing river. To kill the boredom, scholar asked the boatman if he knew anything about puranas. Boatman said no. Scholar explained in brief about puranas. Boatman was asked again, if he heard anything about vedas? Boatman said no. Little explanation about vedas followed the boatman's answer. Half the way through the river, scholar asked the boatman if he knew how to read and write. No, answered the boatman.

Waves were raising high and the river was showing it's fury. Situation demanded abandonment of the boat. Boatman asked the scholar if he knew swimming. Scholar said no and started fearing for his life. Kind boatman swum and helped the scholar reach the other side of the river.

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