Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Reservations XVI: Why elite lower castes do not support

During those debates of Anti-reservations last year, there was a joke circulating in the internet.

Imagining an Indian Cricket team based on reservations….

We should have 10% reservation for minorities, 30% for OBC, SC/ST like that.

Cricket rules should be modified accordingly. The boundary circle should be reduced for an SC/ST player. The 4 hit by an OBC player should be considered as a 6 and a 6 hit by an OBC player should be counted as 8 runs.

An OBC player scoring 60 runs should be declared as a century. We should influence ICC and make rules so that the pace bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar should not bowl fast balls to our OBC player. Bowlers should bowl maximum speed of 80 kmph to an OBC player.

This joke was copied to all and sundry in a work environment in IT industry of India. The innate belief is that everyone working in IT industry is upper caste, and that they are all ‘meritorious’ and that they all condemn reservations-based-on-caste unequivocally. Though there might be some lower caste people, they are not seen voicing a counter opinion.

Many lower caste Hindus that I met in IT industry seem to be ambivalent about this topic. They are shy from taking a stand, are diffident in expressing their opinions, and even if they do speak out, they end up voicing certain reservations against reservations-based-on-caste. They do not like to be seen supporting such reservations.

Elite lower caste do NOT support reservations

This is not very different from elite Blacks in US who do not wish to be seen as ‘those who got help’ from affirmative action. Once you have made it, you don’t want to extend any help to others of your kind with a pure selfish interest – 'not to be seen as incompetent by your peers'. Any such support to such affirmative policies is seen as ‘lack of competence’ by others.

The elite lower castes of India are no different. There is a prevailing notion that those who support reservations are those who cannot make it on the basis of ‘merit’; that they could not win in an open competition; that they are inferior in certain way which can only be compensated by reservations.

Here’s an example from recent news wherein some OBCs made it to IIT in ‘open-category’ [emphasis mine].

"When there are so many OBC students who are doing well naturally, why set aside seats for them and demoralise them?" asked an OBC student who joined IIT Bombay.

Here, an OBC student who made it to IIT in open category believes that reservations actually demoralize the students. I don’t know if village women feel the same when they are given reserved seats in buses.

When I started supporting reservations-based-on-caste on this blog, people assumed that somehow I lack the competence, that I wasn’t smart enough to make it to those premier institutes, that I am a loser in my life, that I make up for those inadequacies by leaning on reservations.

Can’t one support a cause just because he believes in it? Can’t I fight for Muslims without being a Muslim? Can I fight for poor of India without being poor? Can’t I fight for gay people without being a homosexual?

Many elite lower caste Indians shy away from supporting reservations-based-on-caste because they do not want to be seen as admitting incapability. It’s hard for many Indians to admit they are incapable of something, especially the elite of India, where saying ‘I don’t know’ is a sure sign admittance that you are ‘good for nothing’.

‘I will never say I-don’t-know’ Syndrome

I have seen many engineers in India who are NOT ready to admit that they do NOT know something. They are afraid that they will be seen as incompetent. So, they rather make up something, on the fly, to cover their ignorance, and speak something that is ‘seemingly intelligent’ but is usually quite garbled. A person of real experience and competence can easily see through such facetious attempts. This is so common in all meetings. Even a VP in these industries wants to sound technical to prove that he is competent. Being technical, and sounding technical is extremely important for these people to believe that they are competent. They don’t want to do or talk anything that might reflect negatively on their capabilities. Supporting reservations is seen as lack of competence. And hence you will not find many supporters for reservations-based-on-caste in IT industry, not even from lower castes.

This syndrome starts quite early in most Indians, where scores (or marks) are everything. One gets high scores only when he mugs up things, learns by rote, remembers by heart, reproduces exactly what is in the text book, all verbatim. Therefore, a ‘smart’ guy is the one who has mastered this excellent ability to spew forth his knowledge verbatim, without taking a breath, in one spurt of outburst. A small pause, a gasp or slight hesitation is a sure sign of incompetence. Trying to put the idea in your own words is also sure sign of incompetence.

And how do these elite kids get into top schools when they grow up? By cramming up lot of exercises in a short period of time- doing the same exercise again and again till you get it right! [The fact that just two or three institutes of Hyderabad produce nearly 20% of IIT rankers should tell you how this cramming exercise is done these days]. In most engineering schools of India, remembering an old, arcane and completely useless formula is a sure sign of intelligence. How does one use it in real life? That’s of no concern to anyone. No wonder you see such pathetic roads in India. What do you expect from those engineers who passed their exams by learning their stuff by rote? They have no clue why and how and where that knowledge should be used.

Most IT companies inbreed engineers who constantly keep losing their creativity. They are NOT supposed to think for themselves. They are NOT supposed to be original. They are NOT supposed to be creative. They are supposed to just FOLLOW the guidelines given to them by their client who invariably happens to be an American or a European. They are just supposed to DO WHAT THEY ARE TOLD. What use is their esteemed degree from an esteemed institute when all they can do for self-gratification is indulge in bouts of ‘seemingly intelligent’ conversations over coffee trying to outwit the other by remembering old and arcane formulae they learnt many years ago?

When every one is doing a mediocre job, the only way you can outshine the other is sounding technical and pedantic. Even a VP has to do it to get the attention and respect from his team members. After sometime, you don’t know why everyone, including the VP and Senior Director are discussing the age old Physics formula or syntax in C.

In Indian IT industry, competence is about ‘sounding’ competent, not actually doing it. So, you see that even the lower caste IT engineers, who should have stood by their own kind coming from villages, do NOT support these reservations, lest they be seen as incompetent.

Additional Links:

No Reservation, Only Merit Based Employment in Wipro : Azim Premji

14% IIT students from general category OBCs


  1. Sujai said:

    In most engineering schools of India, remembering an old, arcane and completely useless formula is a sure sign of intelligence. How does one use it in real life? That�s of no concern to anyone. No wonder you see such pathetic roads in India. What do you expect from those engineers who passed their exams by learning their stuff by rote? They have no clue why and how and where that knowledge should be used.

    Sujai, no doubt you are an engineer.

    If you have only hammer in your hand, no wonder all problems look like nails. Only an engineer can conclude that cause of pot holes in our roads lies in lack of some kind of proper technical expertise.

    For a change, how about looking for the cause in our economic policies, which alas have been framed by our social justice brigade since independence?

  2. Vivek:
    Of course I am an engineer. Having said that, I am many other things besides just an engineer!

    And only an engineer would know why potholes reappear after every monsoon season in India! even if a new road is laid every year!


    Only an engineer would know why we need an extra lane (which seems to be always missing) for making a U-turn on highways.

    But, even a non-engineer with common sense would know these! (But again, common sense is so uncommon these days)

  3. >>In Indian IT industry, competence is about ‘sounding’ competent, not actually doing it. So, you see that even the lower caste IT engineers, who should have stood by their own kind coming from villages, do NOT support these reservations, lest they be seen as incompetent

    Sujai, though I get the point you are making, the analogy is not coming through to the extent that you are trying to. As I see it, it is going to the extent that there is a lot of pressure to appear in a certain way which influences the stand that people take. But I believe you were trying to make the nalogy more telling and that I didn't get it. In fact, I thought that there were two articles in this one article.

    ~ Vinod

  4. "For a change, how about looking for the cause in our economic policies, which alas have been framed by our social justice brigade since independence?"

    Dude, do you really understand why there is social inequality? Don't tell me you are a scientist. I hope you are an economist after reading the above statement.

  5. "I have seen many engineers in India who are NOT ready to admit that they do NOT know something."

    Speaking without factual information is an art form in India. It's a cultural trait. We should learn to say NO when we don't know something.

  6. I am African American & Dominican and yes you are right the same problems exist no one wants to admit when they don't know some thing for fear of looking incompetent. Yes we the middle class and elite of African American resist the urge to admit quotas are necessary because we do not want to appear inadequate (when many are really being selfish and self promoting. GOOD BLOG! Especially with Obama in office due to fear of looking like we are trying to excel to scare other races even when we are still victims of racism everyday (look at how the white house (Under Obama) during the Sherrod Affair quickly fired a woman without reading all the facts not to appear racist)

  7. This post shows the morality of a generous human mind! I like to leave some of my commands. I need not make reference to the old system of our education in India, because all intellectuals know that education was denied to almost 80% of the Indias population citing caste as reason. The whole country was walking on the heads of the working class for centuries. Their bloods, sweat, and their innocence harvested by the elite group Indian population for their luxury life. I need not elaborate here more; this situation was carefully maintained till the British invasion. British broken the barricades and eased the situation by making equal and education as common for all, but it was partial due to manuvadis relentless efforts. I doubt the freedom struggle because, most of the freedom fighters were from elite group, their worries was, white should vacate India before the brings awareness to the masses of bottom most Indian society, they archived it! What left to the rationalists of that time is little reservation, democracy and secular india. Does the reservation properly reach the deserved people? The answer is not fully! There are number of power centric bureaucrats doing their best to cheat the masses by some sort or mean. Finally this is my finishing point: India cannot be a super power until a poor low caste relieved of his unfit condition, and surely they are the real technologist and scientist their absence only makes India an unachievable country!!!

  8. read Kaliyuga purana by Astrologer pandit Promod BSC,AMIE(E&T),AMIE(Mech),AMIE(Met),AMIInd Eng).It Explains VEDA PURANOPANISHED's fully on the basis of modern science. go to http://www.wix.com/astrologerpromod/pn

  9. p.n.pramod!

    Ok your veda has all! then why did the veda follower half naked, retarded and even worst slaved for century? All fake claims! why don't they make the veda lines into realistic? why should they hide it in the name of divine languages? All lies! flattery poem! by mistake or by spontaneously slippery words refers new invention. It must be a advantageous translation to suit this equivalent time! If at all the invention not happened the translation would be of some other sense! OK I like to give few veda truths like saras chase by brahma, sivas loot at ashram, krishna loots, birth secret of all major gods. if you go deeply into it, it will be more stinking! the translation is a claim of truth Out of 100 lies!

  10. fuck !! I cant believe there is a person who pointed all this.
    I am 200% complying with your views ( not those engineer analogies though) because they are pretty much mine .

    I am a dalit student graduated from IIT Bombay and I vouch for each and every point you have written.

    All the reservation debates includes so called 'competence' and 'injustice to upper caste poor' ironically no body talks about justice to dalits which is the sole reason they have been started at all. I am not against upper caste having their opinion , bu there is a limit to one sided ness in a debate. Not a single point is spoken about the dalit oppression since 3000yrs. Just to corroborate their theory , they will bring Ambedkar quote saying "it was for 10 years". So I would like to clarify people that Ambedkar himself lambasted reservation system in 1949. He went on to say that the following age is the age of stooges .

    Ambedkar could anticipate
    "Things will be much worse under the system of joint electorates and reserved seats which will hereafter become operative under the terms of the Poona Pact. This is no more speculation. The last election (1946) has conclusively proved that the Scheduled Castes can be completely disfranchised in a joint electorate." [Dr.B.R. Ambedkar.]

    The joint electorate is from the point of the Hindus to use a familiar phrase a "rotten borough" in which the Hindus get the right to nominate an untouchable to set nominally as a representative of the untouchable but really as a tool of the Hindu." [Dr.B.R.Ambedkar.]

    Although I am not supporting separate electorate for dalits, there is some truth in his words. This lower caste elites have are no more connected to their roots and hence they are not giving back to their community by supporting for the cause .

  11. I am sorry I could not see my comment before publishing. Dont publish if they are absurd. Having said that I want to republish this article on my blog after few changes,if you are okay with it. Kindly let me know.

    1. OK. Please mention the original source in your blog. Thanks.

  12. Yes I will mention when I write one. Currently I started the blog just to get introduced to this stuff. Shall come up with more stuff after dec. I am appearing for civil service mains this dec. I am kind of free after that.

    But since you have covered the topic quite comprehensively regarding the reservation topic why dont you work on this also (only if it interests you)

    Here is a debate on some telugu channel..I saw it some time back


    Look at 17:00 to 22 :00 . This debate is in telugu. So I am translating it for you in case you are not a telugu guy.

    He says before the Britishers came up with the concept of separate electorates based on religions ,which is later called Minto Morley reforms there is a religious survey conducted as to decide who is "hindu".They asked the then brahmins and they gave around 10 parameters like 'whoever reads mahabharat', 'whoever prays rama' and etc., Based on their definition they made the survey only to see meagre single digit percentage of whole population.That was when they started claiming SC/ST are hindus too etc. This is absolute nonsense. How the outcasted till 1900 suddenly became their own religion people. There is no will among upper castes to bring dalits into their fold even today. They just want dalits political number support. ( call it vote bank politics?) If you observe this phenomenon is existing since 3000yrs ( I will elaborate in this in next comment ).You might want to look at 'Kancha Iliah's views. He clearly explains how local cultures be it lambadis,gurkhas,yadavs etc are all not hindus.They have their own deities and cultures. They are nowhere related to ramayana and mahabharat. Even bathukamma in telangana region is not related to hindu I guess. There is Hindu religious imperialism going on in the country and nobody emphasizes focus on it.Once inducted into the religion dalits are never given status. So why should they go ? And what is wrong if they are converted by luring money by christians and muslims? Hindus did not even give that to the dalit people while claiming them to be hindus.I mean both (Hindus and christians) are wrong . I am not supporting any religion. But if christians are blamed for this ,hindus are reprehensible too

  13. Hindus ,unlike other conventional religions are quite uncertain in their doctrine and behavior since time immemorial. They did everything for numbers. They can do anything for that. Firstly Hindus should realise it is not a religion. It is a set of mental techniques that help bring harmony and spiritual growth of mind. Other conventional religions say emphatically about who is god and what is the path etc. Hinduism on the other hand expresses the uncertainity. It only shows means to connect the individual with universe. Hinduism as a religion over the years did everything to become a bigger religion just like any other religion.
    1)They ate non veg until around 900 BC but later when iron age increased the food production the elite brahmins who need not do agriculture but force their rituals on people started the non sense of eating veg only.So if you say you are a veggie,you are a hindu and if you say you are a non veg ,you are a hindu too

    2)If you say you believe in dual nature you are a hindu ( dvaita) and if you deny it you are a hindu ( advaita)

    3)If you say you believe in god, you are a hindu and if you are an atheist if you are a hindu too(sankhyas)...if you are a muslim technically you are a hindu too !

    4)If you say you believe there is only one god ,you are a hindu (parabrahma)..if you say you believe in many gods ,you are still a hindu ! Infact hinduism is not monotheistic or poltheistic.There is a special word coined for it called 'henotheism'. Meaning they believe in one god but many gods also. Absoulte non sense !

    Every fucking thing is hindu.Everything is written in their scriptures. A U A' = full set . If it is not a universal set it atleast includes a larger section. Now what else is left? Everyone is hindu. And then they come up with theories saying we let others live. Hindus did not allow eating non veg or taking loan is a sin ( how else does a poor vysya survive if they write such shit) around till 400 BC. By the time Buddha came and preached all the caste system is non sense etc there is a large section of society who felt him as a god and slowly people started converting with emperors like ashoka endorsing it. By 100 BC hinduism is on a downfall. So they changed their stand and included things to please hindus and slowly they will say buddha is nothing but vishnu avatar. Nonsense again. They will include everyone into their fold. That is their agenda. And then say everyone is allowed to live by us although we are majority in history. This religious impreialism is ther ein India since 2milleniums. No other religion is let to thrive. This was the reason why Hindus are majority here. There is nothing emphatically said about in hindu doctrine. Every shit is written in that.

    Anyway I would be glad if you can get that wrisley commision report and show how hindus are trying to occupy dalits into their fold.

    If you dont like this topic you can leave it. I will post it anyway sometime soon and I will give the link.

    PS : I said all that assuming you did not chance upon it yet. If you know it already or you differ with what I say , it is totally fine. :-)



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