Karuthu floated by Karthi Chidambaram and Kanimozhi organized a meeting on the sensitive issue of reservations yesterday. I went to check it out but walked out in the middle unable to bear the diatribe and slanderous spin put on by the speakers.
This meeting was supposed to start at 5:30 PM, I arrived at the venue by 5:50 PM to an almost empty place awaiting speakers and audience. The meeting started finally after the arrival of Thol Thirumavalavan with his entourage around 6:30 PM.
Karuthu Meeting Distinguished Speakers - Karthi Chidambaram (Congress), Ravi Kumar MLA (DPI), Peter Alphonse MLA (Congress), Prof. Naganathan(DMK), Miss Kanimozhi (DMK)
A section of the audience through the midway
Interview in progress (for a radio station?) before the commencement of the program
Karthi Chidambaram started the meeting by saying the forum itself doesn't have any opinion of its own but looking at the speaker list and the invite it was clear where they were leaning.
Mr. Chidambaram spoke about the creamy layer in detail and argued why it is such difficult concept and would take several years to implement and the quota regime couldn't wait till then.
Mr. Chidambaram also had beef with the English media and criticized them for blowing the reservation row out of proportion. According to him, the real villain in this drama is the English Media and the people who follow that.
- Mr. Chidambaram, Do you are any of the distinguished speakers and your children deserve preferential treatment? By doing so, aren't you depriving some one really poor and needy of an opportunity?
- Mr. Chidambaram, Why is identifying creamy layer such a difficult start? Why can't we start with MGR's 1979 formula for this?
- Mr. Chidambaram, why not we start with elected leaders first and start excluding them from the purview of the Quota?
- Mr. Chidambaram, Why not make a beginning to start defining creamy layer now?
- Mr. Chidambaram, What's your problem with the English media and the people who follow that? You delivered half your speech in English, didn't you?
Mr. Alphonse started by saying reservation is not something new and it has existed for a long time. He quoted from Ramayana and talked about how the Hindu priesthood is reserved only for Brahmins by the Indian Constitution. He spoke at length about the historical injustice that has been done to large section of the population in the name caste.
Mr. Alphonse quoted two statistics and that belied the case he was trying to make. First, he mentioned that in the Madras Medical College admissions last year over 300 students from the backward community got admission through Open Competition (OC quota) out performing forward community students. Second, he mentioned there are only 2 Dalit professors in IIT, Madras in a total pool of 450 professors.
Mr. Alphonse also made passionate case for continuing the current quota regime and expanding it on the basis of caste and religion as that is the best system India has got now. According to him, politics and caste are omnipresent cannot be ignored. What he left unsaid but clearly implied was that it is caste politics that drives everything now.
Mr. Alphonse also made a case, albeit in passing for quotas for religious minorities and he concluded by saying, Reservation is not alms but their birthright.
- Mr. Alphonse, If more backward students got in through open quota out smarting forward community candidates, then isn't it all the more the reason why reservations are not required anymore, as backward community kids are performing at par or higher than the forward community kids?
- Mr. Alphonse, If there are fewer Dalit professors in IIT, Madras, Where do you think the problem lies? Quota is clearly there for several decades now. So, Is it a problem of enforcement ? Or is it a problem of lack of candidates? What's your point?
- Mr. Alphonse, What's your take on reservation based on religion? Do you want reservation for Christians and Muslims separately? What about Parsis and Jews?
- Mr. Alphonse, How long and how far do you envision this quota regime? In perpetuity?
- Mr. Alphonse, How about enforcing Mandal quota regime in Parliament, Supreme Court, Defense and various sporting teams?
- Mr. Alphonse, Do you know even Jawaharlal Nehru was against quotas?
In all, Karuthu meeting was not a neutral forum. This was another plank to propitiate quota raj and an avenue to promote Karthi Chidambaram and Kanimozhi.
Everyone who spoke, spoke for reservation
Thennavan on reservations
Reservation for Unreserved