May 21, 2006

Reservations - The Past, Present and Future (Updated)

Most articles that I've come across over this issue of Reservations trace their origin to Dr.B.R Ambedkar and the framing of our constitution. However, in reality the concept of reservation in India was introduced by the Victorian British Government.Let us look into the reasons why it was introduced, what are the results, how it is abused, and what will be the future..

The Past - A caste ridden India

Discrimination In India based on birth existed from pre-historic times. Being born in a Sudra section would automatically mean that the individual is denied of further avenues of education regardless of his merit.In 1850's based on a study by a British administrator - Monstuart Elphinstone ,various presidencies (Bombay,Madras etc ) decided to open the English education sector to people of deprived classes. Needless to say, the upper class people resisted this move. The very thought of education and jobs to people whom they have ruled like slaves as if it is their birth right was unbearable to them. However due to some dedicated reformers and supportive Maharajas , by 1940s reservation was already in place in some areas like Malabar,Mysore,Madras and some places in North India.

After Independence, at the time of framing of our constitution our administrators realized that still most of the population is denied of their rights.Even though our leaders like BR Ambedkar and Nehru despised the usage of caste, they had no other option but to use the nescesary evil as a means to implement reservation so as to uplift the down-trodden.Reservation was never regarded as a divine pill or one stop medicine for removing the inequality.A slew of measures including housing,mass education,sanitation etc where envisaged by them.But, thanks to the Indian bureaucracy and lackadaiscal political administration, none of those measures where implemented..The result - people who enjoyed reservation began to regard it as their birth right.Some people who benefited from this amassed wealth and power and some emerged as powerful forces in politics based on caste votebanks..Infact the direct result of this reservation in post-independence era was the creation of caste based vote banks which no political party could ignore.

When Mandal commission was constitued to study the current situation in our nation , the case was not at all different..Still lots of people were suffering and something had to be done to uplift them. Inspite of having seen a medicine failing, he recommended the same medicine in an increased dosage, however with the rider of 'Creamy Layer concept' which no political party had the courage to implement for the fear of antagonising the votebanks.The decision of whether a particular caste is OBC or not is determined by the state Government and this has led to a big misuse of that power.

The Present - Rampant misuse of reservation and the disgusting votebank politics.
I know people who have centralized A.C in their house and who fly abroad for vacations getting into medical and engineering colleges using the SC-ST tag.If it is not abuse of reservation,then what is it ?There are deserving people who have benefited from this.However,the majority of people ( infact about 90% ) who benefited from this are from the Creamy Layer. States like Tamil Nadu have implemented 69% ( yes ,sixty nine) reservation.
I agree, merit alone cannot decide who is the more deserving candidate when one studies in candle light and another one studies in the comfort of a luxurious home. But then, why caste is a parameter now ?If reservation has to have any meaning, it has to be in the basis of financial capability. India needs big investments in the primary education sector.Once that is done,results will naturally come.

The smug look on Arjun Singh's face while announcing his proposals to the media epitomises the depths to which caste based politics have sunk.. The MPs of a party which is supposedly formed under the ideals of Ram Manohar Lohia protesting against Anti-quota protesters, the proteges of Jaya Prakash Narayanan ( Perhaps the mastermind of greatest ever intellectual reformist movement in India ) supporting caste based quotas...Indian politics is stooping into greater depths.

Update : Read transcript of Arjun Singh's interview by Karan Thappar at

Quoting from that..

Karan Thapar: Absolutely, Parliament has taken a view, I grant it. But what people question is the simple fact - Is there a need for reservations? If you don't know what percentage of the country is OBC and if, furthermore, the NSSO is correct in pointing out that already 23.5 per cent of the college seats are with the OBC, then you don't have a case in terms of need.

Arjun Singh: College seats, I don't know.

Karan Thapar: According to the NSSO - which is a government appointed body - 23.5 per cent of the college seats are already with the OBCs.

Arjun Singh: What do you mean by college seats?

Karan Thapar: University seats, seats of higher education.

Arjun Singh: Well, I don't know I have not come across that so far.

--- If he doesnt know the facts and figures how come he reached at this magical percentage of 27 ?


Update : Just read a news in The Hindu about PMK campaigning across nation for support to reservation .

Their demands are

1) Creamy Layer should not be excluded ( so that their wards too will get reservation )

2) Reservation should continue for ever. It should not be phased out
( birthright ?? )

3) We are not happy with 27 %. We need more . ( how much ?? 100 ? )

--- WTF ?? Though expected from a political party which draws support from a highly caste based vote bank, This is the extreme that any party can demand for..
Shame on these stupids..

The future - Have the courage to oppose

Right from the time of admission to school, the caste factor is entrenched in our lives.We will break the shackles only when the usage of that disgusting word is banned by the government. Increased government investment in the fields of primary education,health,housing and public welfare is the key to future. Let us hope India sees the rise of some politician who has the credibility and courage to do that...


May 12, 2006

The Left Surge in Elections

Over the past one month, state elections were happening in Kerala,TN,West Bengal..And the results came yesterday. As expected, Left won in Bengal and Kerala..Tamil Nadu went to DMK.
Lets go through what factors were at stake and what influenced the electorate in each of those states

Buddha Smiles In Bengal

Taking this caption from one of the news paper reports that I read today..In the absence of a credible opposition, the victory of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya was never in doubt..But the brutal majority of 230+ in a house of 294 is simply awesome..Whatever be the usual allegations of rigging,Bangladeshi voters etc, people in Communist heartland has given a strong thumbs up to
the rule of Buddhadeb.. Touted as the modern Deng XiaoPend of India, the reformist agenda enacted by Buddhadeb against the backdrop of old patriarchs of communism has really gone well with the middleclass of Bengal..Backed up by a team of dedicated ministers and an acqueiscent Politburo, he's leading Bengal firmly to the path of development..And the people are behind him. This is a case of an individual's charisma rising above the party principles.. And it ultimately goes well with the society.His popularity is now at such a level that even the diehard Marxist idealogues doesnt have any say against him..True, Buddhadeb is not preaching communism ..he's just doing what needs to be done regardless of those antique principles. Hope this will bring more benifits to the nation.

Amma shown the door in Chennai

I'm not some one who admires this lady very much..I pity people who fall at her feet and pray as if she's the God. But whatever, I was a little bit impressed by the changes that have been brought about by the Rule of Jayalalithaa in Chennai..Most of the roads in city are remarkably clean, the drinking water problem at Chennai has been solved atleast to some extent, and my friends say that the peace has been remarkably restored by the strong police administration. The tsunami relief efforts were also commendable.. And on the eve of elections, she did a deft political manoeuvre by bringing in Vaiko. Then why did she loss against an ever quarelling DMK? Perhaps it can be traced down to some among the following reasons..

1) The colour TV effect
Well, Karunanidhi's offer of free color TV to the households under poverty line has been said to have caused some effect.. If that is true, then I can just pity with the people who went and voted for someone who played such a cheap political gimmick.

2) The 'Govt employee' effect.
Large parts of Tamil Nadu still remain very much traditional. For them a govt job really means a lot. It has a very high value and safety factor associated with it.. In her initial years, Jayalalitha tried to mow down the organized bargaining power og govt employees by strong arm measures like suspensions..Even though they were reinstated just before the elections, this could have been a deciding factor there.

3) Muslim votebank..
I hate votebank politics..But I guess Jayalalitha's proximity to the BJP has been regarded as a strong reason by a big section of muslim population to vote against her. And her inability to speed up Trial in Coimbatore blast cases has also not gone well with that community.

4) Vijayakanth Effect
Tamil Nadu is a state where people view film stars like Gods.. Annadurai,MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Rajni ...the list goes on. Movies are an integral part of their life. And Vijayakanth is the latest entrant.Although the party floated by him just won only one seat ( Vijayakanth himself ), the vote share garnered by him across Tamil Nadu is 8 %.. Now thats a sizeable figure..Whose voteshare they have eaten into is a debatable subject..But, that swing has certainly caused a difference.

Kerala painted in Red.

"Gods own Country..Devil's own people..And we are among them " ..The congress in Kerala really deserves to carry that caption.. I'm not a leftist..But I've been extremely happy with the mandate that kerala has handed out .. In most constituencies, the deserving candidates won.
Many heartening things happened in this election..

1)The loss of Muslim league.
BJP is communal, but muslim league is not" -- that was argument put forward by congress ..Muslim league is a party which restricts its primary membership to muslims only. The brutal majorities that it enjoyed in select constituencies only in the name of religion are a thing of past. The rise of Kunjalikutty as the most detestable politician in kerala coupled with the awakening of educated muslim youth really turned the tables..Perhaps , if u ask me to pick out the most heartening triumph of this election in kerala, it has to be the victory of K.T Jaleel against Kunjalikutty..People have given them a strong message that politicians can no longer rule them just in the name of a religion. However, the loss of Muneer is a bit paining.He's perhaps the minister the last kerala cabinet who performed the most.

2) Karunakaran's antics silenced..
The party floated by him - DIC(K) ( Perhaps the most embarassing name a political party can have ) was wiped out..It just won one single seat among the 17 or 18 it contested. That includes the loss of Muraleedharan in one of the supposedly safest constituencies for Congress in kerala.. People have given Karunakaran a clear message that such ridiculous political somersaults does not go well with the educated and politically aware people in kerala.

3) The fall of Oligarchs
The loss of TM Jacob and R Balakrishnapilla in their hometown constituencies also echoes the message..You have to perform.Otherwise you are out.

A sideline view..
If instead of a useless , non performing A K Antony, Oommen Chandy was made the CM initially itself, things could have been far better. People will retain politicians who perform. People have given the left front and VS Achuthanandan a clear victory...If they show some credibility and courage to rise over the dogmatic ideologies of left that are only of historical value; and lead the most educated state firmly into path of development , the people will reelect them like in Bengal.I doubt if that would happen..But the message is clear

" People in an educated and politically aware society doesnt bother about ideologies..Its performance that matters "


May 9, 2006


Hmmm..Wonder why this happens again n again to me.. First it was NTSE , then IIT , then another one and now IIMB ..the last one like slipping between cup n lips.. Anyway , got some good lessons out of this...