Posted a rather long comment on http://iitkaa.blogspot.com/2006/04/friends-there-is-likelihood-of-govt.html. It can very well make a post here. But since it was posted in context of the comments there, and I am not able to spend time on rewriting it, I’d request the readers to first go through the comments written there.
I do not know where all these statistics about so much of population coming from such and such caste is coming from!! I wish somebody would throw some light on that too, before making it a point of argument. Here is a much better researched piece which also brings out some of the questions that need to be answered before making these definitive statistics:
The 2001 census provides data by variables like age, sex, religion, marital status, educational status and disability. But as far as caste goes it only tracks SCs and STs.
(I would request you to read the complete article to get the perspective.)
Next, even if all these population related data is true, by itself it does not justify the quota system… On what all bases shall we continue giving quotas? Why only caste, let there be gender (Even with a skewed sex ratio in the general population, we have a severe under representation of females in these institutes, don’t we?), region (Why should an IITK be full of UPites and Biharis and IITM of Tamils and Kannads? Why should there be so many from Andhra and Bengal in post graduate programmes?) etc. etc.
Yes, let’s have a nXn matrix of all the possible ways our population can be divided and then assign quotas. That’d be the only thing that’ll make sense in this straight “percentage of population” argument.
What I am doing here is not supporting any proposition of this kind, but simply trying to point out how ridiculous this argument in favour of reservation is.
Let us look at some of the other aspects now
The upliftment: Enough has been said about it. Yes, I belong to a place where I have seen that caste comes in the way of development of people. But you know at what level it is? It’s in the village schools, where the lower caste kids are treated so badly and ridiculed so much, that they drop out despite their unwillingness to do so. What good is a quota in IITs and IIMs to solve this uplifement problem?
Atrocities of Past: Fine, here I belong to a Brahmin Family. Long ago my ancestors may have been responsible for all kinds of atrocities on the lower caste. But how does it justify the situation today that a so called lower caste person, whose dad works in some really high position in a high profile government department in the capital city of India, who has a lot of clout due to his money and position be given preference over me even unless (s)he has a higher merit than me…
If you belong to one of these “disadvantaged” castes and are demanding reservation, I can only pity you for your attitude. You are coming and saying yourself that you are incapable of competing. This is ridiculous. I personally do not believe, and my experiences in life supports this belief, that people from any caste display a superior or inferior level of talent simply due to belonging to a class. But you yourself are trying to prove this to me… Look here, I am incapable… Wow!! That’s some self-respect I’d say. And yes – if today someone comes up with a scheme for reservation for girls for 50% (or let’s make it 47% in the ratio of population), I’d be the first one to object since I would consider it an insult. I need reservation only if I do not have personal merit.
So much for the argument side.
Problem is that all the intellectual, factual, reasonable justifications are not going to move our politicians. As somebody rightly pointed out, what incentives do they have to listen to this, when they are getting votes (we know enough; so we do not to talk of conscience)?
There are only two ways –
Either you create an agitation which is as unreasonable as the motion itself, but this is a disruptive idea and may still not work, if politicians are sure that their vote bank stays.
Or a more reasonable idea would be to mobilize precisely those who are the intended “beneficiaries” of this reservation and make them see the implied insult to their merit and abilities in this whole drama of reservation. Tougher, but in case we are able to do it, it might as well set a precedent for fighting the unreasonable precedents set by the politicians. Come on people; get rid of these pathetic vote-bank tricks. Do not let yourself be treated as numbers in their vote-banks. Be the individuals you are and say you can achieve it with your merit.