Posted by: Sharique | May 22, 2006

Reservations, are they justified?

A lot is being said about the reservation policy these days. Many label this as political manipulation by the congress to strengthen its vote bank as more than 50% of the ‘august’ population of India belongs to so called reserved class (SC/ST or OBC). It might be true to a very great extent as congress has lost the lustrous look it had post-independence and was reduced to a party of little significance few years ago.
I came, I saw, I conquered” would be apt to describe Sonia Gandhi’s rescue act that restored Congress’s lost pride.

Moving onto the reservation policy, well I am partially opposed to it. The reason, because its absurd! You are trying to nurture an already moulded branch of a tree which makes no sense. The under-privileged class definitely needs upliftment so as to remove the age old stigma of being untouchables. They need to be included in the main stream. There has to be a just social system and all discriminations needs to be abolished. But the point is how to achieve them; we need to change people’s mentality at basic level. We need to lay more emphasis on interaction at primary level so as to even out the differences among kids belonging to the different compartments our society has been divided into. We need to ensure that out coming generation is not subjected to the same discrimination as our ancestors. Its because the difference lies in our minds. We are often taught as kids to avoid someone’s company because he belongs to certain segment of the society which is alien to our culture. This sows a seed of hatred in the young minds which develops as we grow and installs in us a natural feeling of ‘they are different so should be avoided’. I was in a convent school where we had students belonging to the schedule tribe. We studied in the same class but still never intermingled with them. We (or perhaps I) had this deep rooted feeling that ‘they’ are not of our standards and which was conspicuously reflected in academics and other extra curricular activities. Its because we had resources at our disposal at home, the latest gadgetry (computers were unknown but still there were many) and the exposure. Whereas they were kept away because of the clutches of poverty. So the reservation policy that hopes to produce doctors and engineers among ‘those’, might cater to their immediate monetary needs but it is definitely not a long term solution. (more on that later).

The same story repeated itself in my graduate years at IIT. Many of my classmates came through the reservation quota found in increasingly difficult to cope up with the fierce competition in the class. We both gave JEE but the difference is I had to score 80+ (out of 180) to qualify the exam but a 80 for them guaranteed top 10 AIR (all India rank)! That’s the difference!!

The reservation policy has crippled them to an extent that they don’t even think of putting hard labour for exams we burn mid night lamps. They take it for granted and thus defeating the basic purpose of reservation. Previously this policy of (27% reservation) was introduced for 10 years but kept on extending even after 60 years of independence.
So finally what I suggest is that let the present reservation policy be intact but get strict on them by setting a time frame. On the other hand government should encourage reservations at primary level and ensure that the so called SCs and STs also get to rub shoulders with the cream of the society. Give them more exposure, resources and more encouragement. Teachers should do more at primary level to reduce the gap between the different social blocks. I understand that influencing a child’s mentality at school level is not easy because of importance of family in our society (parents here have all the time in the world to impart their knowledge to their wards) but still an attempt can be made. How, is a matter to debate…..so do drop in your comments.
The latest news about those dharnas – (just got an email forward)
Sorry for giving you all a very bad news, it may be one of the worst news after the Independence.

Subhash Srivastav an AIIMS student died because of hunger strike protesting against reservation.
Media is not allowed to cover it. Please pass this to all and help not to let down his sacrifice.

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