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 They want all types of reservations to be repealed and that people should be selected on 'merit'.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.