Monday, May 22, 2006

Reservation Row

The divisive politics of reservation has raised its ugly head again and there have been protest rallies and agitations all across India, but Tamil Nadu has been rather quiet in this front. In fact, there was pro-quota rally in Chennai. What else do you expect from a state where reservation is the norm and there is very little left to reserve.

Quotas in India has taken a life of its own since independence. Even Dr. Ambedkar advocated reservation for Schedule Castes & Scheduled Tribes only for 10 years. But politicians have since extended and expanded the scope to include several other communities under the backward class umbrella.

While affirmative actions elsewhere (US in particular) is aimed at numerically smaller minorities, it is the other way around in India. The focus of rigid quotas in India is aimed towards numerically majority communities. This, if not anything else makes the current anti-reservation agitation futile. Politicians of all hue and cry in India will not say or do anything that might even remotely impact their perceived vote bank.

In a recent interview with Arjun Singh, federal minister responsible for these things, Karan Thapar literally ripped him apart from various angles but the veteran politician had a stock reply "It has been decided by the Parliament and he is only implementing the will of the Parliament".
It is interesting that these Parliamentarians are very coy when comes to their own backyard and have a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) attitude. They have repeatedly failed to allocate 1/3rd of the seats to women. If Mr. Arjun Singh is so bent on increasing the quota regimen, why not implement OBC & women quotas to all elected bodies first?

One thing is clear though, quota system has come to stay and will only proliferate. No politician will touch the reservation holy cow for the fear of getting burned. MGR tried to exclude the creamy layer but had to make a hasty retreat. He was so severely beaten in a federal election, that he not only removed the creamy layer exclusion clause but also increased the BC quota to 50%, one of the highest in India.

My take on this no different from Jawaharlal Nehru.. "I dislike any kind of reservations.." According to Karan Thapar, this is what Mr. Nehru said in 1961..
On the 27th of June 1961 wrote to the Chief Ministers of the day as follows: I dislike any kind of reservations. If we go in for any kind of reservations on communal and caste basis, we will swamp the bright and able people and remain second rate or third rate. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost. And then he adds pointedly: This way lies not only folly, but also disaster.
Having said that, I am for:
  1. Helping the truly needy to get to ahead in life.
  2. Catching them young. Having affirmative action from kindergarten levels.
  3. Excluding creamy layer from any assistance / scholarship program
  4. Providing tools of upliftment rather devising subjugation mechanisms
What's your take on this ?

15 comments:

  1. What you say on the reservations row is absolutely sensible. However, I would like to add that when seats are limited, reservations are inevitable. The question is, how do we reserve? I suppose the most sensible way is to reserve on the basis of merit. But today even a meritorious reservation would in large measure be a reservation for the moneyed. For you get better tuitions to ensure your merit. Therefore before we talk of merit, we must ensure equality of opportunity to everyone. The bottom line would be - the right to education for everyone. Even here we come back to square one - with limited seats to even basic educational institutions, whom do we reserve?

    So what's the way out?

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  2. Hey- interesting post- we have an affirmative action policy in Australia for Indigenous peoples, and while I'm not sure if it has truly helped their situation completely, I definetely agree it needs to be at least tried out in India
    Anyways, Im trying to get around to as many Indian bloggers as I can, asking for their help so I'll stop there- I'm an Australian Indian doing a major work where I need heaps of surveys filled out, which is really hard for me considering I don't know many Indians living in India. So it would be really awesome if you had the time to visit my online survey and fill it out. Heres the site--

    http://www.my3q.com/home2/107/elizag/50097.phtml

    Thanks heaps!

    ReplyDelete
  3. RaM whats your email?

    alakshya01@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. the interview of Arjun Singh with Karan shows how ignorant Mr Singh is about the facts on reservation. To your 4 points I will add one more thing. No more capitation fees in professional colleges as it also divides the society the same way the caste based reservations divide the society

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  5. Sadly in Tamilnadu atleast, quotas are no longer about social justice.

    Two or three of of the dominant so called backward castes are several times wealthier and more educated than the forward caste(s). They were behind the dravidian movement and for them this is just the fruit of victory and a show of power.

    The only state that does not even identify the creamy layer and for central government employment it excludes the salary from creamy layer calculations !

    ReplyDelete
  6. TAMIL NADU IS RULED BY FASCISTS WHO CLAIM TO WORK FOR TAMIL CAUSE.

    RAMADOSS WILL TRAVEL TO DELHI AND BOMBAY TO GET SUPPORT FOR RESERVATION. BUT WILL NOT PROVIDE FACILITIES TO TEACH TAMIL IN THOSE PLACES. RAMADOSS’S SON IS RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPULSORY HINDI LABELLING FOR MEDICINES SOLD INCLUDING IN TAMIL NADU….HEEE HEEE HEEE TAMIL PROTECTION MOVEMENT FIGHTING FOR ONLY HINDI CAUSE…

    KARUNANIDHI HAS WRITTEN TO PM TO DEMANGING RESERVATION. THE TAMIL “KALAIGNAR” HAS PREFERENCE FOR HINDI SPEAKING MUSLIMS OVER TAMIL SPEAKING “FORWARD” CASTE PEOPLE WHEN IT COMES FOR RESERVING SEATS.

    KARUNANIDHI’S TV AND SON SPORT ONLY ENGLISH NAMES…

    ‘TAMIL’ POLITICIANS WHO BEG FOR RESERVATION INSTEAD OF MERIT WILL PROBABLY NOT GO TO A DOCTOR WHO HAS COME WITH QUOTA…

    ‘TAMIL’ POLITICIANS ARE ALL FOR DIVIDING TAMIL SOCIETY INTO CASTES LEGALLY INSTEAD OF FAVOURING A UNITED SOCIETY.

    KALAIGNER WHO HAS WRITTEN ASKING FOR RESERVATION NEVER WROTE ASKING TAMIL ANOUNCEMENTS ON TN FLIGHTS AS HE PROMISED IN DMK MANIFESTO….

    DMK ADMK PMK ETC ARE PARTIES ARE FAKE TAMIL PARTIES…

    ADD YOUR PROTESTS IN THE FIRST TAMIL ANTIRESERVATION BLOG
    http://i.am/thamizhan

    OF COURSE THE TN RESERVATION ACT IS LEGAL BECAUSE OF “BACKWARD” JUDGES,”BACKWARD” JUDICIARY AND COURTS.

    ReplyDelete
  7. We should keep faith in ourselves.This one is going to be a long battle which we have to win. let the force be with us and God give us the power and courage to fight this battle till the end. We cannot afford to lose this battle as this is the most important battle in the life of our times and history should not accuse of being cowards. It's time to show courage to stick to the cause.

    We need to motivate, encourage and persuade ourselves to the cause of equality and try to campaign actively, everyday, every night and every breath for this cause.

    Withdrawal of the strike by doctors does not mean anything to the campaign. The campaign will continue till equality is restored in the society.

    We need to keep the campaign alive and need to ensure that this fight continues for weeks and months till the government and Supreme Court make a case in our favor and abolish all forms of reservation.

    The fight has to be persistent and continuous and non-violent and there must be no let down and it must gather momentum every day and fall on the government like a huge juggernauting snowball.



    In a soceity where there is abundance creating quota does not adversely effect the legitmate receivers of benefit. In our country with its meager resources providing quota means harming the legitmate meritorious students.

    principles and ideals which were on the forefront during independence times have taken back seat with the current parliamentarians. The current breed of parliamentarians work for benefit of themselves and their community. They are unconcerned about their acts adversely effecting huge sections of population. They reinforce their arguments with seemingly irrational arguments. The current media quality has deteriorated to such low standards that emotional and irrational logic are made to sound seeming and reasonable.

    The need is to continue the agitation till the equality is resotred in democracy. Everyone must do their part in spreading the word and strenghtening the campaign.

    We will win this battle!!

    ReplyDelete
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  10. Liked your blog. Here is mine http://www.emotionalzombie.blogspot.com/ "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!"

    ReplyDelete
  11. Memory King

    I read your blog.. It is interesting..

    ReplyDelete
  12. DMK is now supporting Urdu imposition across Muslim schools.

    Yet another great achievement in the name of Tamil language.

    Reservation for Hindi castes in OBC list...

    Introduction of junk Hindi FM music...

    Discrimination against forward caste Tamils.

    Discrimnation against Dalit Tamils.

    Reservation of Tamilnadu airports for Hindi staff who dont know Tamil.

    Removal of Tamil announcements from Tamilnadu airports.

    Now making Urdu compulsory.

    Not protesting Hindi imposition in CBSE schools in Tamilnadu.

    Boycotting of Tamils in road projects across Tamilnadu and hiring Hindi speakers like Biharis. These people later indulge in crime.

    Not protesting railway sponsoring ticketless travel of scores of Hindi speakers from Bihar and other states (like release of 900 ticketless Biharis in Rameswaram 3 years back)...

    Of course shouting Paappaan Paarpaan the 'Tamil' parties are diverting their misdeeds.

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  13. Sir,
    I am working in Central Govt. & working as Steno and my wife is working as teacher in a management school and we belongs to Nadar (Christian) caste. I would like to apply for my only one daughter's education under OBC category. According to last year's income tax returns, our both's income comes within four and half lakhs. But as on date, as the VI Pay commission declared, my pay has been hiked and both together's salary exceeds four and half lakh (say 5 lakhs)
    Please let me know whether we can apply for admission for studies under OBC.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Paul
    I have no idea.. best to consult some experts on this subject (salary cap and stuff..)

    ReplyDelete