Tuesday, May 23, 2006

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.



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