Thursday, May 25, 2006

Some more on reservations

In this whole reservation issue, I have found that there are really a multitude of views.

1. Just plain anti-reservation - These folks think reservation is a bad policy in principle. They want all types of reservations to be repealed and that people should be selected on 'merit'. These people are most likely to be libertarians.

2. Anti-reservation because reservation havn't achieved their goals - These people believe that reservations have not much improved the socio-economic condition of the people and therefore, it is time to think of a better policy. So, they demand that reservations be done away with.

3. Anti-reservation because of political cynicism - "It is vote-bank politics" and the opportunistic politicians just want to get political mileage from this issue.

4. Anti-reservation because of stale data used by Mandal Commission - This viewpoint basically stems from the idea that the 1931 census is not the right indicator of 'backwardness' 75 years later.

5. Anti-reservation because it will dilute the quality of our educational institutes - The belief is that people who come through reservations do not really "deserve" the seat and they are not able to cope up with the demands of higher education. So, is reservations is increased, it will lead to more and more students getting an education they don't deserve.

6. Anti-reservation because it is reverse discrimination - The very nature of reservations makes it discriminatory. It divides people into RC and GC. RC and GC people do not usually mix; they form separate groups.

7. Pro-reservation because reservation has made a difference - If today, there are dalits in government jobs and getting higher education, it is most probably because of reservations. It has given them the first thing that is required for social upliftment - access to higher education.

8. Pro-reservation but are not comfortable with implementing such a major policy without proper research - Basically, this view demands that there be a proper survey of the current situation of the communities and then implement a reservation policy based on this research. The government still have a year to do this before the OBC reservations come into effect.

9. pro-reservation because they don't want to be categorised with people who make bigoted statements - this is a question of being uncomfortable with being slotted with undesirables. One doesn't want to attributed with bigoted views just because anti-reservationists are being equated to casteist bigots (because they are the most vocal and most numerous).

10. Anti-reservation because they feel people with view no. 9 are tipping the scales. They just want to "win" this battle. They feel this is a moral and philosophical war going on and they have an obligation to win it for the good of the nation.

11. The confused - they feel reservations is the right policy but side with anti-reservationists because of a combination of views no. 2, 3, 4. One might confuse them with the total anti-reservationists but if you dig a little deeper, you find that their view is really more complex.

12. The sophisticated - They look west for inspiration. They profess to believe in Affirmative Action and not reservation. They stress that the two are different. And that affirmative action is the step in the right direction. And not reservations.

13. Anti-reservation because primary education is more important - The notion that reservations would be the be all and end all of all educational reforms and that primary education would be neglected because of this reservation policy. Also, how would the really needy people be able take advantage of reservation is higher education if they are unable to get a proper primary education??

These are the most predominant views that I have found among people. I might have missed a few but generally I have found people to have a combination of the above views.

My views are essentially 7 & 8.

Today I got a mail from a roomie which was basically a forward that said that there was going to be a peaceful protest march in Bangalore on the 27th. The mail fails to mention exactly what the march is a protest for. The only vague implication is that it is "against quota". The mail exemplifies the attitude towards this issue by the majority of the population/media. Either you are with us or against us (reminds of George W. Bush). Is the protest against reservations completely or just the reservations for OBCs or against the government implementation of this policy without proper research? One might never know. Yet, I am sure a lot of people, with diverse views on this issue, would join them and register their protest.

What I am against is the extremely narrow view of this issue as a battle between two camps. And I am sad to see that some really intelligent people are entrenched into this. A complete lack of coherence amidst the anti-reservation crowd just makes it impossible to judge them. Some of them are not entirely wrong and I agree with some of their opinions but quite a lot of them are disgusting and makes me want to block them out.

So, I end up by saying that I support reservations, though I think it needs fine-tuning and participation of the people. If you leave it to politicians, it would never happen.

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Anonymous said...

good to see a good statement on blog about reservation. actually for me this is not that type of issue for which we should loose our temper. come on road, protest, frustrate and at leaste talk too much. at first i want to ignor this issue but in last 15 days i get reservation every where on net. are yaar aur bhi gam hain jamane main...

MadHat said...

this is not that type of issue for which we should loose our temper

Actually, I think it is a very contentious issue. One that will shape our future as a country.

are yaar aur bhi gam hain jamane main...

Bad attitude, man. You remind me of Somebody Else's Problem (SEP).

Anonymous said...

Tell me one negative effect of mandal 1. we have seen much more debate, demonstration and frustration at that time and today after those reservation we are in more comfortable position then the generation of seventies(who hadn't seen such huge reservation but faced the real problem of unemployment). Though at that time vp singh had announce reservation for all jobs, today what arjun singh has declared is just part of those declaration. reservation in iim, iit and medical collages are not those issue which could effect the future of our country. This is that time when we have to bother about foreign investors who are able to collapse our share market (so called life line of our rising economy) in even few hours. we have to discuss about the policies of investment. we should talk about wheat crop. since we have good crop of wheat this year government has exported wheat. we should talk about nuxalite problem which is spreading in about almost all eastern and south eastern India. we should talk about the man Babulal Miranda, being a politician he is doing a different type of job. he has left his party & membership of parliament. And he hasn't any desire to collapse the government of his competitor arjun munda. he has declared that at least six month he wants to work among people. wants to establish a regional political party and after that he wants to challenge government. This is the guts to oppose someone and create something. we have to discuss about Bihar panchayat election by which large number(50 percent) of female representative will selected and work for there panchayat for five years. This is also reservation and we haven't seen any politician(so called dirty) fighting against this. there is also reservation for sc/st and obc. this will left more(much-much) effect on future of our country.
That was the reason I myself felt unable to tolerate the silly angers & tears of cosmopolitan anti-reservationists. For me this is the game of arjun singh type politician and let them play with his co-politicians. There for let me pardon for my statement

aur bhi gam hain jamane main...

And tell me what is sep.

MadHat said...

I don't think that reservations have affected the unemployment rate in India.

we should talk about nuxalite problem which is spreading in about almost all eastern and south eastern India.

It is interesting that you touched this point because I wanted to talk about this in the context of reservations. Why is there a naxalite movement in India? Why does enjoy people's (mostly the rural poor) sympathy (because without it they could have not have survived, let alone grown into a great threat)? And what does reservations aim to solve?
The Naxalite movement owes its origin to the peasant uprising that broke out in Naxalbari.

I do not think brutal repression of the naxalite movement is going to solve anything but that is what the government is going to do...

Could reservations, if implemented properly, be a solution to the naxalite movement? Quite frankly, I don't know. What do you think?

Reseravation for women in the Panchayat has turned out to be a fantastic idea.

That was the reason I myself felt unable to tolerate the silly angers & tears of cosmopolitan anti-reservationists.

I don't blame you.


Anonymous said...

As I think neither government jobs nor jobs in private sector has capability to solve the problem of unemployment in India. For this what we need is infrastructure (electricity & road) and environment(minimum sarakari interference & empowered local self governance) to setup small scale industries. That recalls me the famous statement of Lenin, "we need just electricity & local self governance of the development of our country"
We have to leave the tendency of dependency upon government and simultaneously minimize the power of central and state government and even beurocracy.(Therefore concept of reservation bother me least)
And as I think nuxalite is also thinking in same manner. They are not fighting for jobs. They are fighting for equal rights and people's supermacy.

you haven't told me about sep

MadHat said...

As I think neither government jobs nor jobs in private sector has capability to solve the problem of unemployment in India.

true, true. agreed. We need to improve the infrastructure and encourage small scale industries. The thing is these things are administered by the government/government officials. If the majority of the people who shape the policies and govern are from a small section of the population, then there is a problem. For example, city slickers cannot really understand the problems of the farmers (which is probably the reason for so much apathy towards farmer suicides).
I think by reservations, we give a more coherent and diversity to the administration. Then, perhaps, the administration would not focus solely on the welfare of just a certain section of the population.

Are you suggesting a reduction of power of the government and increase in the power of local self-governance? How is that related to reservations?

Plus, I dont the thinking behind reservations is not just to get people jobs but to empower them.

To know more about SEP go to -

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Reservation is a better solution (Though short term) and it is also important for the balanced development of India. But politician are always using this issue to create controversy and gain political benefit from it, therefore it should be ignored. Do you think, Arjun singh hasn't any idea what controversy would create from his announcement. He had done this, because he knows he will get benefits with this controversy. Sometime, I feel all this controversy has created by arjun singh and his team indirectly (Though many of us were get exited by media hype). Because, I know the behavior of medico's. Generally they are very much self centered. They are always avoiding controversies (specially students), because they feel this may harm there carrier and for this their teacher may give them low marks in practical. And this time they are on road for merit. From where they got inspiration to fight for such noble cause. What is the stand of there teachers and governing body of medical collages. why student of iit and iim are not on road. Even student of general class whose are studying in plus two and graduation are not on the road, though they are the lot who get harm most through this decision? These are several questions which always confuse me. And I am actually concerning for those who are sentimentally attached from this issue and make themselves ill and someone is playing with there sentiments.

Anonymous said...

Dear Madhat,

I don't have a platform for voicing my opinion so I am using your blog. I have put in comments as anonymous in your previous post.

Here is my message for the striking and protesting doctors.

Dear Doctors, I just want to know in concise manner what is your reason to protest reservation. What I know can be summed as following two points.

1. The quota will decrease the seats in institutes
2. The quota doctors will be of sub-standard quality.

My take on both these is as follows :

1. The government has said that it will increase the number of seats so that your seats are not reduced.

2.Let's assume students are admitted based on quota who are less meritious than you as you claim. So aren't there exams at the end of first year, second year or whatever? so if they are of sub-standard they won't pass the exams. Or you think government is asking for quota in passing the exams as well.

So I guess, I have answered your disagreeing questions. Please have a sensible and quality debate. Don't generate hysteria and hijack the debate over non-issues.

Why aren't you doctors complaining when the seats in some of the medical colleges are given on the basis of capitation fees? Why no protest for them? Are they not sub-standard doctors? I bet there will be many colleagues of yours from those capitation fees colleges. Please shun this hypocrisy. OBCs like Dalits have been long opressed and Indian consitution is trying to given them social justice. This was adopted on the day constitution was adopted. If you disagree with the constitution of India then please say so. And then I guess you will have to leave the country.

I thought doctors viewed everyone as equal and compassionate. Never knew that you meritous intellectuals can be so racist.


MadHat said...

@anon: Define "short term". What is short term for you? 10 years? 50 years? 100 years?

reservation as a policy could be beneficial only when it is applied for a longer time frame than 10 years.
Also, it is important that any policy is reviewed as to its effectiveness and impact. Somehow, this is never done in the case of the reservations. Political? Absolutely. But does that make a case against this policy? Absolutely no!

Alpna Manchanda said...

My view about reservation are a little different. read them on

I really believe that literacy, poverty, women's empowerment, attitude towards the girl child are the more urgent issues that need to be tackled. Reservation comes much later. The politicians are just geting or trying to win elections and votes

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