Monday, June 26, 2006

"Poor must be helped but quota is not the way"

Arun Shourie talks to Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN's Devil Advocate about reservations. I find Karan Thapar getting unnecessarily argumentative and doesn't let the opponent present their views. Karan Thapar can be aggressive in questioning but should learn to listen first.

Arun Shourie makes a case as to why caste based reservations are not good and only divides India. He vehemently argues for helping the poor but not through quota system which only perpetuates caste. His four point formula for helping the poor are:
  1. Social Reforms: Like the ones that happened in many part of Tamil Nadu.
  2. Economic Growth and Modernization
  3. Individual Attention: Provide nutrition, free meals etc.,
  4. Build an eco-system: Build dormitories, free books, training and education.


  1. Looks like Arun SHourie is a sane man, unlike other politicans!

  2. PK

    Arun Shourie has a written book also on this subject.. would like to read it sometime soon..

    Yes.. Politicians will continue to play with this to get elected and re-elected..

  3. Ram -
    A few summers back I had the chance of working in an election survey work. We were given a list of voters and a questioniare. On one of my travails looking for a voter, I came across a group of people on the outskirts of a small village. I read out a name and asked whether any one is in the list and on hearing it was a voters list , one of them said; for sure, it must be someone in the village. It was a shocking revelation for me, more than I had on seeing the conditions they lived in. These are not the poor peasants we hear about living the villages, but the poorest of the poor, the forgotten ones. Reservation was created for them, not for making tons of money, but thinking that someday they would get the respect they deserve just like any other human being. Education is a fundamental factor in raising one status, so I don't see anything wrong with giving a helping hand to someone "who needs it the most".

  4. Prem
    I totally agree with you here.. but my case is that 'quota' is not the way.. which is inherently divisive..

    I truly believe that the folks you are describing are the ones who need a 'helping hand' not life long crutches..

  5. Ram - It is a fallacy that India would ever become a casteless country. I would not squarely blame it on politicians, but on individuals like us. We do not practice casteism in our day to day life, but we do when it matters, like in a marriage or when we vote. A social reformer from Kerala called for "One Caste, One God, One Religion for all", but I don't think we are any where close to his vision. The fact is instead of trying to create a casteless India, the goal should be understand the differences and move towards a workable goal.
    I'm not denying the fact that a creamy layer of the society benefits from quota. The plan should be to remove that chunk from benefiting from reservation. One way would be to deny reservation to descendants of anyone who has a government job. So the goal should be to have a workable solution before trying to disrupt the existing one, which would to equate to throwing the baby away with the bath water.