My post on reservations has got some of the usual responses.
rc aka RealityCheck seems to think that it is the SC/STs who are oppressed. OBCs are not apparently. Though he does make some pertinent points regading the data that Mandal commission used to create the OBC classification, he does make some atrociuos statements in his blog. Unlike SC/STs, OBCs are powerful politically, economically, and socially. Plus, I am really appalled at the amount of spite he shows for 'Madrasis' in this sentence -- These madrasis are so insistent on this issue that I am helpless. Interestingly, he looks to 'westerners' for his reality checks. Lol. What a dose of realitycheck ! like only a westerner could give us. No wonder he is gender confused... :)
HungryAndRestless calls for all IT and call center employees to strike. His/her blog has nothing but two posts that provide no logical reasoning for protesting against reservations. Just some pithy phrases about how important it is to hurt the government.
Abhinav Gupta seems to be a parrot (or a plagiarist) who seems to copy-paste the same line as a comment on a lot of blogs!!! Why? Nothing original to say? Too speechless that there are people who consider that any policy issue needs to be discussed before making a verdict?
Rahul seems to think that nobody thought of reservation for OBCs before. I think he has never heard of a state called Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In TN, 69% of the seats are reserved.
Shravan makes the "logical" statement that those medicos who come through reservations would kill their patients. I would suggest him to remove his head from his sphincter.
Confused links to this story and quotes this line -- "There are some 3.5 million Dalits in government jobs, about 125 MPs, and hundreds of MLAs. There are about 68,000 Dalits in Group A services." But somehow forgets to mention the following line from the same story!!! "Outside the regime of reservations, say in the private sector, there are hardly any known Dalits in corporate boardrooms, acting in Bollywood, or speculating markets at stock exchanges, to say nothing of a publicly traded Dalit-owned company." and this -- Charlie, who completed his PhD at IIT Kanpur and by his own admission interacted with several "reserved quota" students, says: "I do not forsee any remarkable decline in standards at IITs or IIMs." Talk about selective quoting!!! He goes on to rant about how "the intended purpose of reservation is to benefit few so that the trickle down effect improves the general lot of the community" based on this data.
He also links to this hindu story and selectively points out that "less than 40 students from the forward classes will get into MBBS this year". If you read that story carefully, it says that people who come under reserved category are competing under general category (remember, TN has 69% reservation) and generally beating the forward castes to the seats even in the general category! The article ends with this conclusion -- Strict enforcement of the 'creamy layer' policy as set out by the Supreme Court could see that the benefits of the reservation reached both the urban and rural poor." Confused somehow fails to mention this. Reservation policy in TN definitely needs a revisit.
Ankan points out that the Mandal Commission report was made in 1978 and that it is based on 1931 census. Actually Ankan, the report was filed in 1980. The commission was commissioned in 1978. And yes, I am aware of this fact. But does that really give a reason for doing away with reservations or does it say that we should logically have a census that collects data based on the parameters that Mandal commission suggests? Plus, if "things havn't changed a lot in 55 years of reservations", then can we extrapolate and say that things have not changed a lot in 75 years (20 years of which were without reservations)? It seems unfair and contradictory when you say that reservations have not really helped a lot to improve the status of the SC/STs in 55 years and also dismiss the 1931 census data as stale because it is too old and is not a right indicator of socio-economic status because it has changed too much!! Think long and hard about it...
Most of the anti-reservation arguments have been a touch on the cynical side. "This will lead to rush getting your caste classified as OBC". Why? "Because it is easier to get though the reservation quota." The reservation quota is 27% for OBCs and OBCs already constitute 52% of the population. Considering the SC/STs to be 22.5 % of the population, the general category would constitute about 25% of the population and they get 50% of the seats to compete for. But shouldn't the competition for the general category seats to be lower, logically? Interestingly, it is the reverse. That suggests that the upper caste people somehow manage to create more competition amongst themselves even though they have more number of seats available to them (proportionately and numerically)! That logically says that economic/educational status of the upper castes is pretty high, which is true. Now if we take the cynicism of the first statement to its logical end, we would end up with more and more percentage of the population competing for the same percentage (27%) of seats, and lesser and lesser percentage of population competing in the general category. Wouldn't this actually reduce the competition for the upper castes? Oops, looks like the reservation would actually end up helping the upper castes!!!
"Students who get seats through reservations are no-good and undeserving. They wont be make good doctors or engineers and get undue benefit which they do not deserve." Ahem! For one, I will point to this article again, which seems to suggest that people who belong to backward castes are actually garnering seats in the general category. That is amazing. That suggests that TN is ready to pull out the OBC status on some communities. I like the way the article attributes this phenomenon to "academic maturity", not merit! Because merit, as we all know, cannot really be measured objectively.
Another common rant is that most/all of the OBCs are really rich and politically powerful groups that really do not need the "crutches" of reservations. I agree that there are some OBCs that are indeed not really backward. But I wonder how someone can make this blanket statement based on a few (and they can name only a few) castes? Do they have the data on the socio-economic statuses of over 3000+ castes and communities? What is the percentage they used to conclude that 'most' of the OBCs do not deserve reservations?
For all those who are anti-reservations, I have these questions -
1. Do you believe that the caste system is a social evil and there is an urgent necessity to bring social justice?
2. If you do, would you work towards eliminating this lineage-based caste system by marrying people from other castes? If you are already married, would you pledge to marry your sons and daughters to people of other castes?
3. Would you be willing to have a more meaningful and democratic debate on the reservation issue or are you going to shout slogans and go on hunger strikes to make the government meet your demands?
The reservation issue is a complex one and not one that can simply be categorised as being either for or against. That simple dichotomy never works, except in the books of the bigoted. It is not a case of improving primary education or reservations. And there is definitely the issue of opportunistic politics that is detrimental to the policy but the solution to this is not to get rid of reservations but to engage/force/monitor the government to be true to the Mandal commission guidelines regarding inclusion/exclusion of castes in the OBC category. But the larger goal is to work towards a society where people are not ostracized/discriminated on the basis of caste.