Sunday, May 28, 2006

Reservations VI: Hollow arguments from Anti-Reservation groups



Why does the upper caste come up with roundabout reasons for not implementing the reservations instead of just plainly admitting that discrimination existed and exists?

In face of imposition of this new set of reservations for OBC, there is a furor amongst the upper castes and this is reflected amongst the media as well. Every question asked by a journalist actually reflects his/her own bias, though they try their best to keep an impartial face.

The reaction of anti-reservation groups to this implementation can at best be described funny. Why do I think it is funny? It is funny because they keep hopping from one topic to another giving 101 reasons why reservations-based-on-caste should not be implemented and they never admit that discrimination ever happened nor come with a concrete proposal on how this discrimination-based-on-caste that extended for such a long period in India could be addressed.


Let’s examine their train of though for a while because it opens up their hollow ideology.

1. The most common protest is that ‘merit’ will be destroyed- that reservations will bring ‘low-quality’, that institutes will lose their sheen, ‘islands of excellence’ will be destroyed, that we will lose our edge on competency, that we will have poor doctors who can’t operate, we will have poor engineers who are incompetent. So on.

But when pushed to a corner in a debate and ask for specific examples or statistics on how a SC/ST/OBC has failed to deliver displaying incompetence? OR How come there are so many institutes in India who enroll students under NRI category and capitation fee structure? Do they not affect the quality and the merit?

They immediately move to the next platform:

2. “Don’t give reservations. Give better facilities. That will automatically solve the problem”.

The whole reason why reservations are IMPOSED instead of recommended or suggested in India is because of basic mistrust that forward castes will continue their dominance and hegemony by ensuring that higher education and employment will be retained by them. How else do explain that no company, no organization or an academic institution promoted backward castes VOLUNTARILY before the reservations were imposed? How else do you explain that there are innumerable cases where the people in decision making capacities ensured that SC/ST/OBC do not actually avail reservation systems?

Better facilities- sanitation, schools, hospitals and Better incentives- free books, scholarships, free educations, free lunches can help lower castes and poor people to come into the mainstream. But how long will it take for Government of India to actually accomplish this? Should we wait for few generations for them to actually catch up? By then the divide between castes would have widened so much that an equal race will be impossible?

Most of these protestors do not understand that this race is not between individuals but between various classes of people. They need to understand that one cannot expect all individuals to start the race at the same place. This is not a sports competition or a race to moon. This is about basic standard of living that India should provide to its people. Reservations are for education and employment, which are considered basic requirements for self-dignity and a decent life. Sops are for other things- businesses, farming, industries, sports, military, etc.

Better amenities and incentives should go hand in hand with an even more aggressive policy of IMPOSING reservations onto India to ensure that SC/ST/OBC will not be discriminated against. It is like giving a boosting hand or pushing them into the mainstream by force so that they shed their social inhibitions, come out of their inferior-complexity shell, and actually avail these amenities by assuring them that there is a promised land beyond.

When asked how basic amenities which already exist in India to some extent, like thousands of primary schools which provide free education, free lunches, free books, staffed by literate teachers is not helping the situation, they move onto another platform:

3. “We want reservations based on economic status, not based on caste. The caste-based-reservations will only further the divide instead of bridging it”.

So, my question is simple:

If ‘merit’ is diluted by reservations-based-on-caste and you ARE against such dilution, how come you are ready to accept reservations-based-on-economic-status? Do you somehow believe that reservations-based-on-economic-status will ensure that merit is NOT diluted? OR, is that you are ready to make sacrifices as long as it is based on economic status, but NOT when it is based on caste?

Why should one adopt a wrong remedy to solve a well-understood problem? The present situation has arisen not because of discrimination-based-on-economic-status. It has arisen because of discrimination-based-on-caste. Shouldn’t the solution be based on caste lines ONLY?

I think the reason for such specious arguments is more fundamental than what has been discussed in the media.

  • When you propose reservations-based-on-economic-status, every one has a faint hope that they could qualify. Forward castes are not debarred from it, and one could always get admission through other means. Everyone knows how inconclusive our findings are on one’s income.
  • Also, if one were to accept reservations-based-on-caste, it is like accepting that discrimination did happen in this country. It is like accepting that you belong to the caste which oppressed others. Most of the forward castes would like to believe that they never discriminated, not even their forefathers; and if there is an imbalance in caste structure, it’s only got to do with circumstance of division of labor, nothing less, nothing more. They are not ready to accept that certain castes deliberately and forcefully kept some other castes out of education and employment, out of business or from owning property, for centuries.

So when asked how reservations-based-on-economic-status will ensure that merit is not diluted? they move to the next platform:

4. “The number of institutes and seats are so few. How could one accept such high % in reservations? The numbers is the problem. We may agree to reservations but the numbers are way too high”.

For this, the Government comes back to say that they will increase the number of seat such that the seats available in General Category remains the same after the increase in seats & imposition of reservations for OBC. In normal circumstance, all the rational people would have taken this is as successful result and go home happily because their numbers remain unaffected. But the true nature comes out now. Instead of accepting this proposal, they move to the next platform:

5. “We don’t have resources or wherewithal to implement this sudden increase. We don’t have necessary funds or faculty. We don’t have necessary building space or lab space to take care of this sudden increase. Government is unrealistic. We can’t increase the seats. That’s all”.

This is when all rational people start doubting the motives of anti-reservation protestors’ stand. My question is- If the Government is ready to increase the seats, why don’t we grab this opportunity and go for a binding agreement instead of giving 51 silly reasons why we can’t increase the number of seats. What is more comical is that same institutes asked for more seats in previous arguments (before anti-reservation protests). In spite of the government announcement to increase the number of seats, the anti-reservationists kept up their protests. Now, it is clear why they are fighting. They don’t want give up anything to accommodate reservations, based on caste or not.

In addition to the above excuses, they come up with even sillier reasons.

6. “A person can get fake caste certificate for Rs. 1500”

Yes. So what? A person can get a fake degree certificate. Do you abolish colleges? A person can get examination paper ‘out’ before the exam itself. Do you abolish examinations?

If reservations are based on economic status, how do you think this can be avoided? Can’t one get a fake tax statement? In India, everyone can know one’s caste but not their income. If we could know their income, we would have more than mere 3% taxpayers in this country.

7. “Only creamy layer gets benefited”.

Not really. Implementation of reservations for OBCs comes with exclusion of creamy layer. For more, visit http://ncbc.nic.in/index.html

It is clear from all these silly excuses that the argument of ‘anti-reservation’ group is untenable, doesn’t hold water and is downright apocryphal. They jump from one platform to another never staying on or clarifying at least one of their stands clearly.

In summary, their stance on this subject is this:

A. They don’t want to admit that discrimination ever happened in this country. That’s Denial. Since they deny it ever happened, no one apologizes.

B. They don’t want any discussion based on caste based distinction. It follows from (A). Allowing reservations based on caste is tantamount to accepting that discrimination was based on caste.

C. Any proposal to implement reservations is rejected in all forms. That’s Rejection. They are not genuine about their own proposals because some of their own suggestions contradict each other, like: How will reservations-based-on-economic-status not affect merit?

While I deride the protests and their core ideology, I extend my deepest sympathies, congratulate the protestors for their achievements and extend my thanks. Because of them, we will see a higher number of seats in Medical Colleges and in near future, hopefully, we will see more seats in engineering colleges and may be more IITs.

14 comments:

  1. I like your views, but please donot forget that reservations mainly serve this and not the oppressed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this series of great posts. There are bits and pieces that I would not fully agree with, but I am absolutely, totally with you on the main points of your posts.

    The statistics about the progress made by SC/STs is revealing. In spite of reservation, the data show that their prior social, economic and educational status has held their progress back. Given that they still have some ways to go before they come upto speed, it's laughable for anti-quota people to use their slow progress to deride reservation (without realizing that even this progress would have been impossible without reservation). The best indication that reservation is working is from the data on the number of SC/ST/BC/MBC candidates who make it through the general category (aka open competition category). This number is steadily increasing, and that's a very hopeful sign.

    I have linked to all your posts on my blog. Here.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is NO MENTION by the so called guardians of merit about the institutional quota in AIIMS and other Medical Colleges.

    The truth about Merit in AIIMSPlease read an interesting article from Times
    of India
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1543278.cms

    Striking AIIMS docs live in a glass house by Akshaya Mukul
    *[ Tuesday, May 23, 2006 01:55:32 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
    *

    NEW DELHI: The main grouse of AIIMS students - at the forefront of the stir
    against 27% reservation for OBCs - is that merit is being sacrificed at the
    altar of votebank politics. But they forget two things: 25% reservation that
    AIIMS graduates get in PG admission and the Supreme Court judgment of 2001
    that declares the earlier system of 33% reservation for them bad in law.

    In fact, the SC, while stating that 33% institutional reservation is
    "unconstitutional", agreed with the findings of the Delhi High Court, which
    had earlier set aside the reservation.

    The HC had found that "AIIMS students, who had secured as low as 14% or 19%
    or 22% in the (all-India) entrance examination got admission to PG
    courseswhile SC or ST candidates could not secure admission in their
    15% or 7%
    quota in PG courses, in spite of having obtained marks far higher than the
    in-house candidates of the institute." HC had analysed admission data over
    five years.

    The apex court also agreed with the HC that the "figure of 33% reservation
    for in-house candidates was statistically so arrived at as to secure 100%
    reservation for AIIMS students. There were about 40 AIIMS candidates. The PG
    seats being 120, 33% thereof worked out to be 40." That meant all 40 AIIMS
    graduates were assured of PG seats.

    Merit here was clearly being sacrificed, the study showed. For instance, in
    the January 1996 session, an AIIMS student with 46.167% marks - lowest for
    an AIIMS student that year - got PG admission.

    However, an SC student with the same grades was admitted but denied coveted
    course such as obstetrics and gynaecology. The SC student got shunted to
    community while AIIMS students easily won berths in prestigious disciplines.

    Twelve AIIMS candidates were selected even though they got less marks than
    the SC candidate who secured 60.33% marks. Similarly, 16 AIIMS students got
    admission to PG courses even though they got less marks than another ST
    student who got 62.16%.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Better amenities and incentives should go hand in hand with an even more aggressive policy of IMPOSING reservations onto India to ensure that SC/ST/OBC will not be discriminated against.

    Your articles are fine and all, but you dont seem to understand that socially and historically SC/ST/OBCs are not one group. You just cannot tack on OBCs to the unfortunate SC/ST groups.

    All arguments that you provide about discrimination and lack of opportunity cannot be automatically extended to OBCs.

    The only demand of the anti-quota group is the formation of a judicial and non-political commission to study the effects of reservation for the past 50 years on OBCs. Are you against it ?

    Many political parties dominated by powerful OBCs (even in your own state of KA) are scared, really scared of an objective and scientific social study into the benefits of quotas over the years. Read up on what happened to two commissions that were constituted to study the OBCs in the 70's and 80's (links from by blog)

    Finally, the creamy layer concept is totally ignored by many states including your neighbour Tamilnadu. Even for central government seats the TN government does not consider the *salary* while issuing the certificate.

    As usual, the devil lies in the details. When a generation is asked to give up its right to equal competition in the interest of social justice, the state owes it to them to present facts about who the actual beneficiaries are.

    Continue your series if possible without clubbing SC/ST and OBCs together. This is total injustice to the SC/STs to be talked about in the same narrative as their erstwhile and current oppressors. If possible separate the OBC componenents because we all know how varied and artificial this grouping is.

    ReplyDelete
  5. In first part
    You asked one question about How come there are so many institutes in India who enroll students under NRI category and capitation fee structure? Do they not affect the quality and the merit?

    Here point is how many % seats are there for NRI ? And let's assume we have an avg of x% seats in India and p% among them came out of the college without proper knowledge.If govt. give reservations based on caste then this avg. will go to ( x + y )% [here y is non negative number ] .And p will be increased here .Are we ready to face this situation?

    Second part

    Here I agree with your comments.But govt. is providing reservations already upto some extent in education .then why again in employment.
    One person got seat in an engineering college based on reservation and (s)he should proove herself/himself to get job.Why again reservations in employments ?

    Third one

    Here also I agree with you .Reservations based on economic status... This is funny in India :)

    from fourth and fifth

    Can you believe that Govt. will increase staff based on number of seats... This is very funny :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Reservation in higher education? That surely is a compromise on merit. Let us not forget that they have had their reservation at primary & seconary school level. Buck up in those 12 years & stand on your own feet! Dont expect kushy kursi at every step of the way to the grave!

    Let us not bring affordability/money into this - surely there are many in FC too who cant aspire for higher edu, for cost reason - that is a diff problem.

    Even if one were to believe a vast majority of BC cant afford because they are poor, what we need is liberal schol & even fin assistance to the families that send their son/daughter to higher edu, so that those with potential are not discouraged from higher edu due family condition requiring them to 'earn'.

    By continuing 'reservation' without any upper limit on amount of compromise on merit with respect to last candidate in the 'open' list (I would not call 'forward' - due vote bank politics the majority are not forward but pushed to significant backwardness) is a crime on merit.

    Consider this. My son wanted to study Engg in DEL univ; after analysis of the college quality, subject choices, I advised him - write the entrance test, score at worst 800th rank, you shall get into one of the four good colleges, 2/3 subj choices in his order of preference. In comes the result day, he was declared rank 2540 in entrance exams. I was forced to abandon this path & took it as 'thats what he could do'. He was adamant & said, I should have got less than 500th rank, based on his own assessment of perf & over all score expected. So I dug into the results site & was horrified to find one 'privileged class' candidate declared rank 52, despite scoring quarter mark LESS than my son. C'mon that is fraud.

    Like most of the parents of so called FC & the minority of those that have money, I decided to spend substantial sum as capitation fee & secure a seat in the second best coll in south. The boy went on to secure overall 'outstanding student' for ALL four years across all engg discipline comprising some 2000 students.

    The power of merit was such that it had to be encouraged & thats what I did; he went on to secure 3 PG admits from 3 premier US univs one with full aid, the other two half & nil. Besides he secured admit in CAT, well past entrance & PI/GD in all 6 IIMs. He chose to do IIM & is on that path now.

    I dont have any regrets for having bribed and secured a seat in higher edu for his BE! A meritorious, deserving candidate cannot be denied opportunity to this extent - where is rank 2500 & where is 52 & the consequent merit compromise, in the name of backwardness 'affirmative' action - my foot.

    Sadly, he is one of the lucky sons to have a parent who could afford to bribe & get a seat. On the other hand, in either community, I really pity those meritorious students who cannot get into 'higher' education for economic reasons, in particualr lack of funds to bribe to offset the handicap created by assured reservation for abject incompetence, ironically, in HIGHER education.

    I hope & prey I dont meet with an accident & be forced to be treated by a 'reserved' doc who never had to study/work hard anyway, as everything at every step of the way was 'reserved' for him be it MBBS, PG in Med, Job, Promotion....

    It is no exageration that since at any step of the way if any one dares to 'demote' this privileged-non-perforoming spoilt-with-goodies-for-vote lot, questions are raised in Parliament hence the superior, even if he is from BC is forced, to let go the free-loader to next stage! (yet, I salute the people in BC who compete on level playing field & worked with me in India & abroad).

    When such issues are raised in parliament, every party becomes the saviour of this lot, encouraging consistent incompetence, never mind the fact that none of these politicians put their sons/daughters thru this torture of having to find a seat in a good college in India; instead they get an industrialist to pay cash US Dollar bribe to get a seat abroad, for 'bending' import/export rules in the industrialist' favour. After British, this country is being plundered by these politician rascals (unfortunately for us they form a majority) under different party banners.

    The more split they cause in society, the more choices they have to rabble rouse & hide their own non-performance on issues that matter for India, its development & merit at large.

    Common minimum program is not a good idea in a class room. You cant have wide disparity in meritocracy amongst students in one class room. No wonder more than one third of the current 22% reserved lot drop out of IIT at some stage. God save IITs & its international ranking as the world's 5th best tech school (by Times UK) in 2005, after the free-loader's percentage is raised from 22 to 49%!

    Every one is not made out be a Engr/Doc, irrespective of whether he/she is from FC or BC. At the end of Secondary schooling they should pursue higher edu or job oriented learnings based on their potential & record thus far, no doubt always aspriring to improve & not settle in the comfort of next free-ride.

    Often times, people get away with such abject non-performance at entrance exams that still secures a seat at premier institute, solely due cast based resevation, claiming 'Ah! that is one test - cant be a decider'. If you look closer, their board perf, 10th grade etc wont have a lot to write home about either.

    A person who secures 80% at any stage can at best be 85% or at worst 75%. By the same token a person scoring 40% cant hope in his dream to attain 80% - go back & fix basic education quality; give financial aid; dont reserve seat without fixing a max merit compromise of say 10% below the last admit in open category entry criteria.

    Thats the way to go to promote the so called 'backward' community.

    Massive doses of reservation in Govt in the last 50 years & worse still, job, promotion prospects linked to caste tags have done two damages: 1) de-moralising the other 'doers', who have become a liability too. 2) the free-loaders due their 'inferiority' complex (they know they cant cut the mustard), when it comes to work content, quality of work, merely wield the stick of their 'assured' power & any way dont attempt to learn & perform.

    Its a common knowledge that in Govt services, a job doable by a person is attempted to be achieved by employing 5 people instead & still get a shoddy, unaccountable, poor delivery as we experience when we go to get a ration card, RTO offices et al. Substantial part of the blame for this is attributable to 'reservation policy'.

    As I write this note in July 2006, the next disaster coming after ruining higher education: job reservation in Private sector - if forced, the Private industry will accept this as a tax & raise the prices of end products & still be in business parking this lot in a corner, with assured promotions & 'device' job-descriptions for this lot that does not expect them to deliver anything, 'grow' in their own stream & continue to get the job done by the say 85% lot (discounting the 'reserved' lot) as against the earlier 100% productive workforce!!

    As to the politicians:
    1. One wonders why these crooks are 'debating & fine tuning the reservation policy for years' on 33% reservation for women in parliament, in a male dominated, corrupt profession called politics, while they gang up to ruin India's knowledge potential & India Inc at hyper sonic speed.
    2. Scoundrels like Ramadoss from south & Meera Kumar are vociforous about 'rejervation'.

    Consider this - once his son was assured a 'reserved' seat of being a Health Minister by Congres, Ramadoss announced that he will support Congress from within, even before tha coalition partnership (DPA) head M Karunandhi made up his mind whether to support Congress from within or outside.

    As to Meera Kumar, the daughter of ex Defence Minister Jagjivan ram, had been in political wilderness, with no record of any achievement at party level or Governance level, yet squatting in the bungalow allotted to Jagjivan Ram decades after he passed away, until Manmohan singh Govt rescued her as 'backward champion' minister, continuing to 'enjoy' the same bungalow that she is not entitled to, even today, interms of acerage vs her minsterial status!

    Its sad that the Country has to learn 'morality' & 'moral responsibility from such third rate scoundrels, who we voted & gave them the power to strike a blow on us, out of no better choice, thanks to carefully 'nurtured' democracy!

    God, save India; god, give courage to meritorious youth whose fair opportunity is denied by such myopic policy called 'rejervation'!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi. Nice article. And it does nail some of the myths that the anti-reservation group seems bent on propogating with an equally deluded and biased media.

    The gist of the argument is that Merit suffers. What I don't understand is that when some1 gets into the institutes(even based on reservations) and attends the same classes and passes the same exams with the same how does he become any less competent than the other? In every class there is a range withing which its students fall. But to ensure that it has to be ensured that the minimum cut off to secure an admission and the passing marks and the number of attempts to clear the exam are not relaced. Reservations should be to get the cnadidate a seat, not to help him pass.

    Another factor is that the OBCs are not a homogenous group and even among them great difference exists in relation to educational and other social indicators. The present bill doesn't exclude the 'creamy layer', which is not only against the very basic for providing reservation, namely social backwardness, but also is double injustice; both to the community that gets the reservation because the frutis of reservation get accrued in to the better off among them and to the general category students who find themselves at disadvantage because some1 from their own social standing gets reservation at their cost.

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  8. You are genius in showing how these "anti-reservationists" are biased!!! A round of applause.
    http://www.shivamvij.com/2006/10/i-am-a-dalit-how-are-you.html A nice video of real status of Dalits and distinguishing how dalit problem is different from OBC problems.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I haven't yet seen a single sound argument for "caste-based reservation in higher education" from pro-reservation groups!!

    Reg. the loss of merit argument, the claim is not that "sc/st/obc won't be successful in their career because they got low marks in some entrance exam"... the claim is "ppl with lower marks can't be admitted when there are ppl with higher marks".. this is what is meant by "merit will be destroyed"

    (No one is claiming the guy who bottoms the class will be a miserable failure in life!)

    (Reg. the rich guys buying their seats, well they r paying for their whole education and so the public doesn't pay for those seats! so no point arguing abt such thngs)

    Giving them scholarships, etc has been there, but again only in higher education which again falls short of being meaningful! Primary education is where the Govt. needs to focus its money and energy on...

    ReplyDelete
  10. lone sailor:
    You write-
    I haven't yet seen a single sound argument for "caste-based reservation in higher education" from pro-reservation groups!!

    May be, that's because you do not like to see those sound arguments even when presented.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your article is utterly flawed. It is equal to saying that murdering someone who had murdered somebody else is not a crime.

    My view is all kinds of reservations are wrong. Give financial support for relevant people.

    Statistically if all people are given equal opportunities, there would be say 70% engineers from Backward castes and so on. So issue is not about the number but the way we have to reach there.

    Governments have failed to provide opportunities and have taken the easier route of reservations. Also, most of the improvement in the state of backward castes etc has been because of the modern age and not because of the reservation.

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  12. Fantastic Arguments. Crisp and Clear.

    debatable ofcourse but it was an exciting format and i liked the circular flow.

    Being pro-reservation, I've heard those arguments a thousand times and your concise prezentation of it was commendable.

    Mature and Interesting Blog. keep going!

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  13. this one [post] is quite self explaining and one of the perfects.
    www.reservationfacts.blogspot.com

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  14. "If ‘merit’ is diluted by reservations-based-on-caste and you ARE against such dilution, how come you are ready to accept reservations-based-on-economic-status?"

    You know perfectly well what we mean when we say that.

    We mean that there are people who supposedly belong to depressed classes such as OBCs, and yet have enough money to afford amenities that most middle-class families can afford. We don't see how they're at a disadvantage at all, and we don't see how giving them a "boost" helps (especially when they don't need one).

    Do these people *need* reservations?
    You tell me.

    We don't mean that we're okay with merit being diluted because of reservations, we mean that doling out reservations this way actually makes more sense.

    "How come there are so many institutes in India who enroll students under NRI category and capitation fee structure? Do they not affect the quality and the merit? "

    They do.
    What makes you think we aren't against such reservations?

    "They don’t want to admit that discrimination ever happened in this country. That’s Denial. Since they deny it ever happened, no one apologizes."

    "They don’t want any discussion based on caste based distinction. It follows from (A). Allowing reservations based on caste is tantamount to accepting that discrimination was based on caste."

    Not all of us believe that, I think.
    Which is why most of us are in favour of solution #2 (provide the downtrodden castes with better facilities and free education), which, though, like you yourself pointed out is, for all intents and purposes, impractical. Such change isn't easy and needs time before some noticeable improvement is observed.

    But reservations aren't the answer, I think.
    They're quick fixes.
    Reading your article on Rang-de-Basanti, I gauged that you were not in favour of quick fixes.

    ReplyDelete

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