I didn’t think I would write another one on this topic, but then I never thought that I would write the first twelve of them either. In this section, I want to address how hiring at some of the private Indian industry seem to further the caste-based-discrimination.
How does Indian industry participate in continuing the discrimination?
Many of us believe that discrimination is overt- that you consciously discriminate the other person because you got to know his/her caste. That’s not how it actually works. Discrimination works in many subtle and subconscious ways, and they all constitute discrimination. Here, I give you an example of how hiring happens in an Indian industry.
Imagine a software company X that goes to a college Y to hire its students 'from the campus'. You get a bunch of young people writing an entrance test. Only those who exceed a predetermined score are called for the next phase- of an interview. After the interview (that may include group discussion and few other tests), company X shortlists the candidates and rolls out appointment letters to these students and hope they do eventually turn up on the joining date. [It’s another story that some of these students never show up on the intended date.]
Now, what’s happening here? First, the entrance test does not take into account the issues of cultural and social diversity of the students. It has been argued long ago that most IQ tests are culturally biased. Even if we all agree on this shortcoming, we do not take necessary measures to correct this bias through other means, such as selecting students from different pools of cultural and social groups. I illustrate this by giving an example. When a medical student applies to an American university, he does not necessarily get the admission based on his scores in the entrance test. He is pitted against others in the pool he represents. Therefore, an Indian is competing against other Indians or South-Asians, a Pacific Islander is competing against others in his group, a Black American is competing against others in his group and so on. [It doesn't vary even if all these students are coming from the same American high school or college]. This process is designed in such a way that while those who excel in the entrance test are given due consideration, the others who come from minority groups are also represented in a certain predetermined or agreed percentages. The same process, in a different form, is also used by American industry where an adequate representation of such minorities is an important goal and achievement. Most Indian companies do not follow any of such methods in its hiring. Therefore, though we seem to give reservations at education institutes we seem to obliterate those responsibilities after their graduation. Those who seem to pass these entrance tests are usually coming from the same single group that always had the social advantages. And those who could not make it are those who alywas had the social handicaps and which could not be overcome in a few years of education. So, in effect, you have a very small number of socially backward students passing these entrance tests.
Second, the interview process eliminates most of these socially backward students from the race. In an interview (or a discussion group), most often, the socially advantaged groups (read, upper caste Hindu) fare well. They seem to display the necessary behaviors and body language, have necessary communication skills that an industry looks for. Without giving due weight to other factors such as his/her social class, economic class, religious background, etc, the company X is not making an attempt to consider these aspects of a student. Most backward-caste and other minority group candidates get booted out in this phase. What you get at the end of this phase are primarily upper caste Hindu group. This is reflected in statistics in many Indian industries as well.
So, by not taking these 'other factors' into consideration during the entrance test and interview process, most Indian companies seem to further the discrimination in a very subtle and subconscious process. Most of us may not know the other person’s caste or social class, but by looking solely at his percentages, entrance test scores, and interview performance, we tend to miss the larger picture of including socially backward groups and minorities. If one were add suggested parameters into the process such as economic and social class, religious background, sex, etc, we can work towards a fairer representation of different classes.
Therefore I urge Indian industry to either include voluntarily the necessary parameters based on socially backward groups, minorities, sex, etc, or be ready to implement the policies as mandated by the Indian government.