Friday, May 26, 2006

No Reservations about thoughts

Reservations! Right now, it is the talk of the town, or more specifically, the country. But look at me. I am also one of the many people who are sitting on the saddle and watching the match, as if this does not affect us. We have done this so often that now we have got used to it. Be it the government of our country, the political situation, the freedom of expression, the crime against women, the illogical societal norms, the mindless riots, the terrorism, the injustice—we wait for others to go ahead and fight case on our behalf. We are happy to be part of the crowd. Nameless! Faceless!
Frankly speaking, I have not been able to decide whether I am in favour of reservations or against it. I think Reservations for SC, ST & OBC were institutionalized to uplift them at par with others. Over the years, the so-called “lower caste” people have been oppressed and victimized by the “upper-castes”. The reservations in educational institutes were to educate them and uplift their status in the society. Another thing was that over the years, these people had been fooled into doing menial jobs for others. Now with education, they can take decisions and be aware of the consequences of those decisions.
Going a little back in time, Mahatma Gandhi introduced castes & religions to Indian politics (I have no idea why?). And everyone knows what this caste-based politics has come to be today! Selfish politicians play games with poor, uneducated lower-caste people, and fill their vote-banks; and promise food, housing, jobs, better infrastructure and now, reservations in return. Nobody is bothered about what happens to the “General" category. All political parties are playing their dirty politics with the future of this country.
We have had reservations in our system since years; I don’t know how much it has helped. Like any other noble idea, it has gone haywire. My own observation of so-called lower-caste people has been that sometimes I have found entire families of doctors and engineers; while sometimes there are families who have not been able to educate their children to primary school also. They have no idea, how to! It is quite obvious that the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer.
The idea behind reservation is to uplift the weaker sections of society. For that matter, I would not shy away from raising the issue of reservations for women. I don’t know there should be reservation for women or not. When I think about our local trains, and imagine life without Ladies’ compartment; I’m all for reservations for women in local trains. I cannot imagine travelling in the General compartment. The problem would be obvious if you have seen a local train; and you would empathise, if you have traveled in one. But when it comes to reservation in educational institutes, I don’t really think, it is required. I accept that women are physically less strong than men, but intellectually they are at par! But the point again comes to the fact that we have a history of years of oppression of women. So perhaps for sometime this reservation can help bring more & more girls to school, and ensure representation of women in every sphere of society--be it education, academics or politics. Now this problem leads to the problem of girl-education. Thus, the problem is so complicated and inter-related that it is very difficult to say that we do not want reservations at all!
Coming back to the current problem, we definitely do not want 50% of our seats reserved. Imagine fighting for only half the seats. Already, it is accepted that the entrance exam for IIM Ahmedabad is one of the toughest in the world. Imagine what would happen to the next generation. Would it be worth fighting for getting into IIMs & IITs of the country? Even now, people start questioning their own abilities when they fail to get through IIMs & IITs. As if not getting there makes you less intelligent and a lower grade individual. People have gone places and conquered world without those degrees. There is no doubt about the quality of people who make it to these premiere institutes, but we cannot question the intellect of thousands who don’t make it. The problem now moves to our education system and social orientations and acceptance. You can gauge the difference in the attitude of people when they discover that you are from IIM or some other MBA institute, similarly, IIT vis-a-vis regional colleges. In fact, even my orientation also is similar but of course, it is not logical! We have too many prejudices and limitations. The problem is also that most of our parents expect us to be doctors or engineers. There is no doubt that their intention is to see their children successful and secure in life, but sometimes they take it a little too far.
Moving back to the main issue of contention, I think in no time, most of the educated class who can send their children abroad, would start looking at it as a better option. When you start getting step-motherly treatment in your country, you need to look beyond it. And in no time, government would crib about brain drain.

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