Sunday, April 09, 2006

Thank you Sir, for providing more reservations for the Backward Classes.

I was almost threatened that people from the backward classes were breaking out of their chains and actually competing with the upper class. Thank god for some prudent Personality in the Government, that is not to be.
AH! We are segregating them further.
We will have more people to look down upon.
The backward class shall remain backward.

I am talking about the Centre’s decision that 49.5 percent of the total seats in IITs, IIMs and Central Universities will be reserved for the Backward Classes.

The govt. don't actually have to distribute the Star of David armbands, the quota would serve the purpose just fine. On a more serious note, it is like that metaphor where the wise man teaches the poor how to fish, where the OTHER man feeds him fish. Feeding fish would have given him votes, no? Teaching fish takes more than 4 years, and who knows who will be in power than.

Closer to heart, and my home, also, people from the north east, those of the mongoloid stock, who are referred to as Chinkees by the upper class, shall remain lower class, or lower Caste even though the "Chinkees" were never part of the Old Indian caste system. Suddenly all Chinkees are backward, Paharis(hillbillies?) they call us. When we do excel in Football and all forms of sports, people ask how do we play in the hills. The people from the north east are looked upon with disdain because so many of them have come to take away Difficult-to-get seats in prestigious colleges, and are not even doing justice by doing well. So it is only natural that, we will be considered backward. And it is only because of the reservations. They carry these arms bands that pronounce that we are backward classes. And we blame people that they treat us as outsiders. No, we are not treated as outsider but merely as some backward people. Even though many people of the mongoloid stock in other parts of the world have proven to be smarter than many other stock, if you allow me to generalize.

Had there been no reservations, people would actually have fought to get into the prestigious colleges, compete in equal terms and naturally would have done well in the class. And of course there wouldn’t have been below mediocre people in the otherwise

Let me give an example, a real example of how the quota system has affected the people of north east India. I shall quote more personal anecdotes, and fewer facts. Take it with a [inch of salt but I shall not exaggerate. This is more of a hypothesis, than a report or thesis.

The north east India has a very colorful demographic mix. Seven states, known as seven sisters, but within each states there are a several tribes and communities who have their own distinct identity. Other than the looks, which might look all the same to an untrained eye, (even though we, NEers can make out who might belong to which group by their looks), no two communities are alike. And all the communities in the north east are either ST, SC or an OBC, except for a few. Like the Meeteis of Manipur and the Assamese. Even some sections of the Meeteis and assamese have been GIVEN OBC status and they are happy about it.

Let me take the example of Meeteis to drive home the disadvantages of Quotas or reservations. Even though, meeteis form the majority of Manipuri populace, they are no different from any other so called STs or SCs. Same stock I’d say. Again, a generalization but, the Meeteis are considered more intelligent, better athletes and better in all FIELDS, despite the fact that there was no reason to be.

The reason of this is quite simple as friend pointed out. All the other communities have always got it easy. Easy admissions to colleges, easy jobs, and in fact we used to joke that if there was a football match between the Meeteis and any tribal groups, and if the game were to end in a Tie, the tribal group wins.

I am not glorifying Meeteis and our Capabilities here,( even though we get the most medals in most national Games ;-)) but the point is the whole North east would have created many more better individuals if we had no reservations. It is like the Japanese story of keeping a shark in the fish pool on fishing ships, so that all the fish remains active and tasty, not lethargic.

Whenever one of us bring up this argument, that reservations does more harm than good, people from the north east who are happy with the reservations will pick J M Lyngdoh, the erstwhile Election commissioner. FYI, JM Lyngdoh never got through the civil services though reservations. He competed amongst the open category and remains today, one of the youngest Indian to crack Civil services.

Yes, there are genuinely backward people, most economically. Why can’t we have scholarships for those. Rather than forcibly planting undeserving candidates onto the hallowed portals of IITs and IIMs, why not have a primary education system so that those “ so called backward” people’s children are well prepared when it is time to get admissions into IITs and IIMs. Why don’t we have primary school system, which is truly democratic. Reservations is nothing but a Band Aid solution to a problem. We have a been doing a lot of great things in the past few years, why can’t we re-haul the primary education system so that everybody can compete equally for those IITs and IIMs seats.
Dear Government, teach the poor to fish. Don’t snatch away fish from other fisherman and feed it to the poor.

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Blogger Akhilesh said...

I guess that's one of the problems with democracy. The leaders will do anything for Votes.

Even when Manmohan Singh and Abdul Kalam are at the helm, the nation witnesses such blatant injustice.

It hurts both ways. The "you're downtrodden. Let me help you ... forever" attitude can't be too good for the morale.

9/4/06 11:52 PM  
Anonymous amar said...

i've grown up in an urban setting. Fortunately, the issues of caste & class never played a role in my (& other urbanites') lives.
I thought we were moving towards a country where everybody will be finally treated equally.
But, what is this - a dumbass politician takes upon the burden of spreading equality!! A task that should've been carried out by providing free/subsidised education to the underpriviliged in institutions, is now being carried out by reserving seats for students who might not make it on their own
i sincerely feel its going to undermine merit, just when we need it most. On a personal note, i've seen that most people from the 'Quotas' don't put effort once they're in good institutes.How will they carry the burden of providing good healthcare, running power plants, designing better software??

10/4/06 12:29 AM  
Anonymous bibhu said...

Good one. Coming straight from the heart.

10/4/06 11:09 AM  
Blogger ponytail said...

OBCs constitute 52% of India's population and it is proposed to give them 27% reservation - so if ability is evenly distributed in the Indian population across all castes and communities - and if all OBCs seek seats in the 27% reservation quota - and all SC/STs seek seats in the 22.5% quota - we should see greater competition among the 52% of OBCs for those 27% seats than in the general quota which will have 50.5% seats for less than 50% of the population. The general quota should soon see lots of lousy candidates with lower cutoffs in the IIMs! So where does that leave ISB - they will get those OBCs who could not get in their quota in IIM.

11/4/06 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Sameer said...

Hi Ponytail,

The SCs, STs and OBCs can still compete in the general quota. So nothing changes for the general masses - it only increases.

BTW, See my blog for a related article:


11/4/06 8:57 PM  
Blogger Unknown Indian said...


Interesting post - but unfortunately tokenism always dominates Indian politics. The worst hit by reservations will be those OBCs who work hard enough to get into IIMs on merit - they will lose the brand equity they deserve.

And also agree with you on primary education. For some thoughts on how that could be improved, have a look at this

14/4/06 8:58 PM  
Anonymous IRFAN said...

i understand aamir has just announced his support in favor of reservations and will soon write to the PM.

It shows that there is merit in the quota system because THAT GUY KNOWS!!

4/6/06 6:55 PM  
Blogger Memoryking said...

Read your blog.Liked it a lot.Here is mine
"You say, if a student knows a seat is reserved for him he is not going to work towards it. Ask yourself- If a person knows Education is subsidized for his kids, food items are subsidized for him, is he going to work? Isn’t it harming the Economy? Isn’t the highly subsidized education we avail a classic example of social injustice? "

22/6/06 1:54 PM  

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