Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Reservation and caste politics

With, all these debates on the increase of reservation in IITs and IIMs; I was also collecting my thoughts and put them here. From the beginning I am of the opinion that reservation is not the solution to the concerns, well not at least today. It might have been a very sensible solution when we got our independence.
Let's go back to the time, when all this started that is the time when Dr. Ambedkar suggested it though the constitution I suppose. At that time caste being a major differentiator (it might be so in some areas even today) it was very important to give these socially deprived people opportunities to better themselves and raise their level to come neck to neck with upper caste ones. But, how long opportunities should be given and is today it is relevant to discriminate based on caste?
Dr. Ambedkar himself has proposed this reservation only for a limited period and if I remember correctly this limited period was something like 7 years. Now, how then this reservation continued? The answer is probably very simple, the great caste politics which has started with the independence itself.
Let's see whether the reservation helps. To be honest with my observation reservation helps to the individuals in the reservation quota while it does not help the society. One of the reasons why reservation makes a difference is that in country like India where there are so less quality institutions and such huge talent pool, if you are above some cadre only thing you need is to get noticed and that's what happens when you are quality institution. So, if Mr. A is more intelligent and hardworking than mr. B but due to reservation Mr. B could go to some great Institute like IIT while Mr. A had to settle on normal engineering college then at least for 10 years Mr. B or even for whole life will be at much better position than Mr. B, because of getting very good first opportunity than Mr. A. On the other hand all the companies, government etc lose simple because they have a less capable person for the job than they can have because it is easy to trusts an institution than an individual. I am sure people who have gine through the struggle of engineering, medical and management admissions will see the point I am trying to make.
Now, if reservation helps people in those category, why shouldn't it be done. First at foremost because we as a society and nation is losing because of it, second it is shaking the faith of younger generation in India. What we are doing through reservation is going to create a chain of new problems, bulk of which already exist. This rediff article to some extent explains different problems coming out of it.
Also more importantly, while you can have reservation for good degree and higher education for getting good primary and secondary education you need to pay thousands of rupees of donation and thousands of rupees fees, how ridiculous is that? So basically the people who are suffering are the poor people and it has nothing to do with the caste.

"Then, would the Indian government have played games with reservations in the
complex world of jobs and educational institutions? No - it would have been
forced to invest in good quality primary and secondary education for the
poor and nipped the rhetorical use of reservations in the bud."

This is extract from a mumbai mirror article and something like gives the more sound solution than a myopic fix like reservation quotas. The article is really about something else but related to this issue perfectly.

In the end also do read this post. It gives a different way of looking at the whole issue.


camelpost said...

I challenge the concerned jokers to go ahead with 50% Reservation for not only students but also for teaching staff. Its better that Government builds one more IIT and IIM and call them RIIT and RIIM (R stands for you know what) and let others live in peace and maintain their standards. RIIT and RIIM may be put under AICTE for added glory. It will be wiser for the government to offer the best of education from primary education and make them face the world rather than give them feel of artificial security by reservation.

Naam Arjun Raknewala sab Yudh nahi jeeet saktein
aur IIT IIM koi Kurushetra bi nahi hein
Na is Arjun ke paas koi Krishn bhi hai
Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya Sathuskratham
Dharma samsdha banarthaya sambavami yuge yuge
Tora Tora Tora

camelpost said...

IITs and IIMs will remain Institutions of the government by the government and for the government. One day MHRD may passa resolution stating that each MP is entitled for an IIT or IIM seat as the MPs are serving the nation. On the contrary take the case of BITS Pilani. In the year 2000, BITS Pilani put up a campus at DUBAI. In the year 2004, BITS Pilani commissioned a campus at Goa. In the year 2007 BITS Pilani is spearheading a campus at Hyderabad. Name one IITor IIM which broke the governmental shell and did something like BITS Pilani could do. Every one knows the famous IIM and IIT wanting to set up a Sing apore Campus. Well the song was over long back. We are left only with the National Anthem.

shubhaprada said...

well opportunities are given cos we still discriminate them in the social and cultural realm.. They are still oppressed in the rural areas and many of them are unaware of their rights or are stuck in the traditional roles.

I myself am a brahmin and given my experiences in my own family and the attitude of my own relatives towards the dalits in the rural areas.. i feel the rural upper class still discriminates on the basis of caste. The reservation policy can be abolished only when social & cultural equality is achieved.The govt as a political body who have to govern, are implementing the reservation policy to bring some kind of equality. Though i have my doubts if the reservation policy wud bring abt social equality given the above mentioned issues.

nikone said...

That is exactly the point, I agree the caste discrimination still exists but reservation quotas are not the solution to it and in fact they will lead to more differences in the urban areas where such discrimination is at its minimal.
The soltuion must be something like widespread quality primary education, which hardly exists in most of the areas today