Thursday, April 27, 2006

Reservations : Please Not Again

The central government has decided to introduce a quota for other backward classes in the higher-education institutes funded by it. The institutes will include the IITs, IIMs, NITs and 20 central universities, including DU.

Why suddenly out of the blues the politicians come up with an idea to re-implement or re-introduce that draconian mandal tactics ? The government is here referring to OBC’s when they say backward classes,when infact they are not backward.They are labelled as the "creamy layer".The reason is simple its vote bank politics.The overall reservation in central government-funded educational institutions will go up from the current 22.5 (for SC and ST students) to 49.5 per cent (this includes OBC’s now),if it is legislated in our parliament.But I feel any educated and enlightened Indian may s/he be from any class/caste/group will never want this unfortunate idea to see the light of the day.
I read this edition of "Outlook" magazine which mentions neatly that the group to whom the Govt refers to as OBC’s are actually well off in the Indian society today. Moreso many of the educated ones from the so called lower class who have benefitted from this system so far don’t want their kids to follow the same path.

A small background to this stupid principle.Indian society had a system called caste, that divided the society based on the type of labor. Some form of labor was considered better than others and so the division of labor became a tool of inequality. Slowly, the caste system became worse enough to prevent social ability and people were decided by birth, on what type of occupation they can perform. It was terribly unfair and social thinkers sought out to remove the stale practices resulting out of this bad principle. So, there were attempts to bridge this unfair treatment. So far so good.But, what happened after Independence was that there was policy to reserve specific proportion of seats in academic institutions for these backward sections of the society. The Constitution envisaged special employment privileges for these backward sections of the society for a period of 10 years starting from 1950, but these have been extended regularly since.And our mantriji’s and neta babu’s have used it to the best of their benefits to incite the sensitive Indians.

What has 50 years of reservations achieved in India ? The well-healed among the reserved catagories make maximum use of the reservation.

It was fortunate that,India started to embrace globalisation since 1990's which unexpectedly countered this horrible practice a bit. By bringing in more jobs and insitutions, people of forward castes could progress and within a decade the suppressed group progressed really well. Given the low reservation in the national elite insitutions such as IITs,IIMs,NITs the nation prospered and India became a great growing nation. But, the government now wants to murder the very heart of the system that brought India out of its shabby past. India's elite academic institutions and private corporations, who arteried this great revolution by mitigating reservation, are under target. They are to be forced into reservation. The cruel tools that killed India in the first 44 years of its deadly past are to be used again.

By focusing on reservation, it will lead to a fall in India’s standing world wide. India will no longer be the hub of trained and skilled manpower. This will have long term repercussions on the economy as well. These reservations will also lead to more "Brain Drain".That’s for sure,in the last two or three years,India has been fortunate to see the "Reverse Brain Drain",this will come to a full stop.I read a recent edition of "India Today" which mentions that among the present day youth around 82% see India as their destination to work and live life and this is huge number compared to what was 5 years back when heading to the US shores or the western world for the educated and brightest was a norm.

If you have chanced to read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" (try that book). There are some group of hard working innovators who built this nation and the remaining are a large majority of leechers who want to lick their hard-earned efforts. The successes of innovators are going to be used as weapons against them.

In my opinion opinion reservations are wrong for the following reasons:

1.Admission to the IITs,IIMs and NIT’s are extremely tough and anyone who has gone through the process knows what I am mentioning to. No reward for meritorious students as students work tirelessly for years at a time. After the blood, sweat and tears and burning the midnight oil, they see their goal snatched away,right in front of them. Now if almost half of the students are going to come through some reservation,then will it not impact the schools in some way. I don’t doubt the credibility of the students from the backward class as I am not person to do that. But I do have some statistics which clearly goes on to prove that this reservation logic doesn’t work. I graduated from Karnataka Regional Engineering College,Surathkal now known as NITK in 2002 and for all engineering schools in India,AICTE has set certain time frames for completing B.Tech degrees.This is set to a maximum time frame of 8 years and even today few of my batchmates from the reserved class have not passed yet. This was not with my batch but this is a recurring issue and is common across all batches. The number is less (4 to 5 for a batch of 300 ). So has the purpose been served, I don’t think so.

Its not only institutes of repute, the Govt is pushing for reservation in private sector also. Now since the private sector is booming, reservation will attract that much more votes. Mantri babu’s I can see the motive behind all this.

2.The reservations throws out a negative signal indicating that weaker sections are incapable of passing such an exam without the quota system. Almost as if the general category is intellectually "superior" to the others. A person’s intelligence needs to be nurtured and developed in the right direction. It is a long and gradual process and begins from an early age, not at college. The Govt,I feel is acting in the opposite direction, following the top-down approach instead of following the bottom-up approach.If the government really cared for the poor and socially backward,it would work towards an all round development of the education at the grass root level first and make primary education accessible to all.The primary and secondary education system in the rural India is in a mess. Reservations at a higher level education is not going to help if the primary and secondary levels are not strong. Its like I am dreaming about a strong tree when my roots are not strong and firm. Take this example.

"There are lot many jobs available in rural and middle segment towns in India in schools and colleges. Even after giving extra incentives and reservation quotas these posts are not getting filled and the Govt wants to change the IITs/IIMs/NITs." First complete your grass root level work then look upwards,mantrijis.

Another flavour of reservation which I have witnessed myself is reservation of seats in Engineering schools by the State Government. In this case it was Orissa Govt but I am told this rule is prevalent in few other states. As far as Orissa is concerned this rule was introduced to make sure that more and more women come forward and be a part of the society reformation program once they graduate from these schools.The brain child of this so called innovative program was Biju Patnaik,the erstwhile chief minister in 1994. Has that served the purpose I don’t think so. The state of affairs have not improved much and to me it was a political gimmick that time,which the later generations have to accept as a norm.

On the contrary,these reservations shows a negative image about the female candidates that they are not as capable as their male counterparts. At times it shows that the male candidates are "superior",mentally and intellectually more smarter as compared to the females. But in reality its not so. If we are a nation where men and women are to be given equal opportunities lets make same rule for one and all.This will have a positive result as it would never make the females realise that they have earned their degree with less effort or that they lack the mental acumen.Why should we make them feel that,they are less capable by offering reservation at the first instance.

To cite an example,I have a cousin sister Rosy,who graduated from NIT Rourkela and then after having worked in Infosys for some time,she made it into SP Jain Institute of Management. She had taken up the women’s reservation facility,8 years back but to my understanding it was a decision driven more by the society than by herself. I know her and know that she was and is highly capable to make it to any good school but then why did she use that. The answer is simple : If something is given to you for free and also if the Indian mindset treasures engineers and doctors as the only respected professionals, then this is logical outcome.She simply followed to what society accepts as the natural accepted practise but heart in heart when I talk to her, she herself expresses, this is not the right way things should move.That self-realisation is in itself a great change but how many people consciously do that. Few rather very few.

3.People who don’t actually belong to the weaker sections often take up the seats through the quota system. This is done by easily obtaining fake caste certificates as cases of these are rampant during the admission season. SC/ST/OBC status should not be hereditary- which would imply that if a person has availed of the reservation during his lifetime, his children should not be allowed to benefit as well because that is misusing the provision available. If the above proposal had been implemented successfully, then the number of SC/ST/OBCs would have reduced or remained constant, thereby leading to reduction in reservations. However, the opposite is happening,the need for reservations is increasing. Is my logic or my thought process in-correct ? Correct me if I am wrong. In the 1950’s this system was implemented for the upliftment of the weaker sections of the society,so logically speaking today after 55 years of its enforcement, there should have been improvement and the percentage of reservation allocated should come down. But it’s increasing. Why ?

Assume for a moment that the new reservation is implemented . Do do feel there will be any change . NO NO NO is my answer and the wrong will continue.


In a nutshell, the existing premier institutions should be left untouched and institutions should be set up which focus more on weaker sections of society, in addition to strengthening the primary and secondary educational infrastructure for these sections. It was 16 years ago, when Rajeev Goswami set himself on fire-many other individuals did the same. Slogans were raised, blood was spilt, bodies were burnt. Yet the Government chose not to pay any heed to the frustration and anger of those people. Their ignorance seems to have grown over the years and we are now ready for Mandal Part II.It is about time we realized that we should not be afraid to question our Government,and the Government should not be afraid of being accountable to the people.

After all we are not here to accept to the whims and fancies of "Arjun Singh". Raise your voice and let this malady not ruin you,me and this nation above all.

(Note : None of the comments in this blog is intented to hurt or incite any person/institution/company. These are my personal opinion and views.)

Keep reading and remain connected.

14 Comments:

At 10:00 PM, Blogger manubit said...

I find it ironical that (using your words here) "Mandal Part I" was the labour of the then Prime Miniter of India, Mr. Vishwanath Pratap Singh. And (again using your own words) "Mandal Part II" is the labour of the current Home Minister of India, Mr. Arjun Singh. Both these men are members of (so called) higher castes. In fact, Mr. V. P. Singh belongs to a Royal family.

Agreeing to the idea of reservation in education and employment being a political gimmick, I fail to understand how it would lure members of (so called) lower castes to vote for such members of (so called) higher castes. Perhaps I am too naive for politics, but this is definitely beyond my logical understanding.

 
At 11:57 PM, Blogger bumbledoor said...

If Arjun Singh is so concerned about uplifting the OBCs, might he not begin by abdicating his parliamentary seat for a member of the OBC caste? How about setting up IITs and IIMs exclusively for the OBCs and SC/STs and let them see for themselves that you cannot prop up for eternity, a community which does not understand the value of achieving something on the strength of its own industry and talent. Once they are out of the protected sanctuaries of these institutes, the harsh reality of the market economy will dawn on them, which emphasizes merit and nothing else. If this was not true and these persons from the reserved category were themselves not aware of this, why is that they try to conceal their identity in their workplaces? It is because they know at the back of their minds that they are inferior to the general category as far as competence is concerned. They can absolve themselves of this guilt only by proving their merit in a level playing field.
It is beyond doubt that these communities bore centuries of discrimination and oppression at the hands of upper castes. But so did the Jews at the hand of the Nazis. But after the war ended, the Jews did not demand reservation. In fact they took up the gauntlet and because of their exemplary diligence and dedication, effected a complete turnaround in their situation. Now their small country dominates the region having many bigger and populous nations.
I am not against providing these communities with economic and educational support but merit should not be compromised in doing so. The overbearing importance of merit and the importance of making a name for oneself by the sweat of one’s brow should be brought home to them. The government cannot ensure employment for all category people in the public sector and it would have to involve the private sector soon. But in a profit driven economy, the private sector cannot be expected to sideline merit for social empowerment. Its high time that the people demanding reservations realized the need to raise their stock in order to remain employable by the private sector.

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Kutti said...

For a change I agree with u. The fastest growing economy in the world!!! and its fate to be decided by 50% of underachieving ppl who deserve to be bankers, managers, engineers, politicians, IAS, IPS, IFS blah blah blah?. Kudos to the nation with a billion ppl, 50% of whom are willing to accept that they are not good enough because his/her great great grandfather was subservient to some cast system. This kind of reservation to any section, call it lower cast, minority, underprivileged etc. is a dictum that promotes complacency and lethargy. Imagine a smart kid saying "i don't have to work so hard, i can get into IIT/IIM with half the needed effort". He will eventually graduate as well with half the effort, i suppose, after say 8 yrs of his lethargic pace. Then he needs to be given a job at a top notch company coz he perhaps is the only jobless person from a batch that passed out a decade ago. That is a rare quality and should be encouraged ain't it? Sorry minister you just ruined two lives, One who got in effortlessly and another who did not after working hard.C'mon gentlemen admit it, a diamond will shine only if cut and polished to the right shape and size. The system run by current avaricious individuals will only result in carbon not diamonds. If you don't do your job right somebody else will definitely be a diamond merchant while u were busy selling carbon. Note: I have nothing against any cast,class,creed etc. If anybody wants to fly high, the sky is all yours, just stop plucking others' feathers coz you are incompetent to fly.

 
At 9:58 AM, Blogger narayan said...

What "merit" are we talking of anyway ? Scores in entrance exams at age of 17?

Take the claim of "merit based" entrance to all IIMs and dozens of other institutes.

The CAT exam is based on the SAT exam in the USA . It has been proved beyond doubt that the SAT test is culturally biased . Blacks and hispanics do poorly at it year after year .

If a student who is eligible for admission to IIM on the basis of his CAT score, were to take the same CAT exam in which he/she cleared in a language that he/she did not understand then he/she would be at a disadvantage compared to someone who was schooled in that language . Not knowing that language does not mean you lack the capacity to clear that exam.

Approximately 25 % of CAT test is about English! Another 25 % is about English Comprehension!!!! There you are !!!! About 50 % so called aptitude test is a hoax for someone who is from a non-english speaking background .

This is how the CAT like the SAT is discriminatory .

See the full form of SAT …Scholastic Aptitude Test . The problem is aptitude testing is not so simple . There is no test on earth which can reliably tests aptitude .

Aptitude tests such as the SAT have a historical tie to the concept of innate mental abilities and the belief that such abilities can be defined and meaningfully measured. Neither notion has been supported by modern research. Few scientists who have considered these matters seriously would argue that aptitude tests such as the SAT provide a true measure of intellectual abilities.

It was found that people could be coached to better their scores at SAT . The name SAT …Scholastic Aptitude Test could not be correct . So under such valid criticism the name was changed to Scholastic Assessment Test, since a test that can be coached clearly did not measure inherent "scholastic aptitude", but was influenced largely by what the test subject had learned in school. Even the College Board which conducts the SAT has beaten a hasty retreat.This was a major theoretical retreat by the College Board conducting SAT, which had previously maintained that the test measured inherent aptitude and was free of bias.

About ten years back , however, even the redundancy of the term assessment test was recognized and the name was changed to the neutral, and non-descriptive, SAT. At the time, the College Board announced, "Please note that SAT is not an initialism. It does not stand for anything."

The framers of these SAT tests assumed that intelligence was a unitary inherited attribute, that it was not subject to change over a lifetime, and that it could be measured and individuals could be ranked and assigned their place in society accordingly. The SAT evolved from these questionable assumptions about human talent and potential.

More and more people are questioning the validity of SAT . In the past MENSA used to accept high SAT score individuals . For the past decade it has stopped accepting SAT scores .

The whole exercise of deciding merit based on CAT scores discriminates against those from lower socio-economic status.

Though many non-IIM institutes have started accepting CAT scores, the application fee of these institutes is still inexplicably high.

The CAT is primarily an exam of Math and English. Logical and Analytical Reasoning is nearly absent (except for some verbal reasoning which again depends on knowing English well!!!!).

CAT is a clever way to keep those from lower socio-economic strata away Institutes funded with tax payers money .

So claims of “Merit” based on CAT scores is hollow and discriminatory against those of lower socio-economic strata.

Dhirubhai Ambani had a poor command over English . He would not have made it through CAT. So what "merit" are we talking of?

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger bA said...

"Dhirubhai Ambani had a poor command over English . He would not have made it through CAT. So what "merit" are we talking of?"

mr narayan i am sorry to say that your entire argument is based on excuses. i have seen many ppl from marathi medium who can speak english very well infact better than most convent educated students. if you cant speak english , its not bcoz of your school , its because you have given up. you think its too hard to learn at this stage. you think you can never do it , coz you havent learnt it as a kid. these are just EXCUSES!!!!!!! the fact is that you guys are lazy! you dont wanna work! you just want everything for free under the guise of not knowing english or that you had been oppressed for ages!

i am supposedly from the higher caste , but it means nothing! the only difference between you and me is that i always have to try harder , jump higher than what is expected bcoz half the pie is RESERVED!!!!

Mensa used to accept GRE and SAT scores but refused to accept them for standarization and not because they dont reflect IQ. just dont give random examples and connect them!

and if you are such a follower in dhirubhai ambani then do as he did it. he didnt beg for some quota in IITs or IIMs . he started his own business. nobody is stopping you from doing the same!

going by your logic ,india can never compete in the global areana well coz we had been oppressed. we were a colony. oh! how sad! what can we do! lick UNs bottom just to get grants! your attitude is pretty sad and you think all this is actually oging to change things for the better when things are getting worse!

think beyond your own personal good . think about equality!

bah! but its too late i guess! you have already been brainwashed by the local polictian.

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger Abhishek Mishra said...

Extracts from Other article which I found is really be good to read:

Yes, I think we should have job reservations in all the fields. I completely support the PM and all the politicians for promoting this. Let's start the reservation with our cricket team. We should have 10 percent reservation for muslims. 30 percent for OBC, SC/ST like that. Cricket rules should be
modified accordingly. The boundary circle should be reduced for an SC/ST player. The four hit by an OBC player should be considered as a six and a six hit by a 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 kilometer per hour to an OBC player. Any delivery above this speed should be made illegal.

Also we should have reservation in Olympics. In the 100 meters race, an OBC player should be given a gold medal if he runs 80 meters.

There can be reservation in Government jobs also. Let's recruit SC/ST and OBC pilots for aircrafts which are carrying the ministers and politicians (that can really help the country.. )

Ensure that only SC/ST and OBC doctors do the operations for the ministers and other politicians. (Another way of saving the country..)

Let's be creative and think of ways and means to guide INDIA forward... Let's show the world that INDIA is a GREAT country. Let's be proud of being an INDIAN..

May the good breed of politicans like ARJUN SINGH long live... who is walking on the foot steps of V.P Singh.

 
At 5:56 PM, Blogger vicky said...

Abhishek, you said you are pasting extracts from an article. Can you post the link? i would like to circulate that post :)

 
At 3:59 AM, Blogger muruks said...

You are correct reservation is not a panacea for the suppressed communities. There should be some remedy we cannot keep 50% of the population from achieving academic and economic gains for long. People will resort to crime and other social evils like terrorism will take root. While I agree with you the government has a compelling obligation in lifting the suppressed communities.

In United States affirmative action is followed voluntarily by many organizations and academic institutions of repute (much higher reputation than IIT/IIM). There is no fixed quota for the African Americans but there is definitely some consideration given for African Americans.

In India the forward community should think of some mechanism of bringing the OBC/SC/ST to mainstream. It can be done through charities and missionary. There are lot of Christian missionaries which provide yeomen service. Unfortunately in India the community service is also caste based.

Yes you are correct reservation is not the right way. But forward communities and privilege sections of the society have to come up with one way or the other for the less privileged to come to mainstream.

 
At 12:29 PM, Blogger narayan said...

Abhishek Mishra and Vicky : Also circulate this :
There is already been an informal policy since donkey's years in the Indian cricket team regarding reservation based on region/state.

You have reservation in army too since the time of the British !!!!

The seat of the Shankarcharya is also reserved based on caste.

 
At 9:18 PM, Blogger Harish N Jeyavel said...

Tanay, I agree with you, somewhere down the line, we should have simply created more institutes, a few IITs and IIM's is just not enough, it still worse in the medical field!, Perhaps Dr A P J Abdul Kalam's proposal to increase the number of seats to make reservation irrelevant would be the only practical way out.

Anyway i came here from your comments to Sujata's post on The Bangalore: Insider/Outsider Debate, you echoed my feelings!

 
At 8:54 AM, Blogger narayan said...

@ba


My main point was that inherent aptitude/talent (INBORN MERIT) can’t be tested. What gets tested in a test like the CAT or SAT or any test is the person’s learning (ACQUIRED MERIT).

I am not saying this learning(ACQUIRED MERIT) is a bad thing and those who possess it needs to penalized by denying them an opportunity for furthering their education .I am saying lets stop pretending that we are measuring inherit aptitude/talent(INBORN MERIT) in these entrance examinations .


Once we accept that what we are measuring in CAT or the other entrance exams is something that has been learnt with effort often since childhood we also see that others who have not had the good fortune of such a childhood could also learn those very things if only with harder work in teens or adulthood . And a person who has learnt skills late in his life can be as competent as anyone. So some one with a poor score in an Entrance exam can acquire sufficient merit like any one else.



Rashmi Bansal of IIM Ahmedabad ,popular blogger , editor of an English youth magazine says in this article http://in.rediff.com/getahead/2006/may/02rashmi.htm


“All students must learn English because it is a vital skill in the New Economy”


But even the Americans don’t think its going to enough in the “new economy” .

American President Bush thinks that learning Hindi and a few other foreign languages is a "critical need" for the US's national security and prosperity. http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1591447,00050001.htm
Or http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1362386.cms
In this article http://www.cmomagazine.com/analyst/031805_csa.html
That article quotes Former German chancellor Willy Brandt who said decades ago: "If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen" (or "Wenn ich zu Ihnen verkaufe, spreche ich Ihre Sprache. Wenn ich kaufe, then you must speak German"). People are much more likely to buy if they fully understand what it is you're trying to sell to them.

All successful business, like politics, is local - or should appear that way to the buyer. The right language is the first step in becoming a local hero says the same article .

The importance of my earlier post goes beyond the caste reservation issue.

English is NOT the language spoken and understood by majority of the population worldwide!!!!!!!

The Summer Institute for Linguistics (SIL) Ethnologue Survey (1999) lists the following as the top languages by population:
(number of native speakers in parentheses)

Chinese (937,132,000)
Spanish (332,000,000)
English (322,000,000)
Bengali (189,000,000)
Hindi/Urdu (182,000,000)
Arabic (174,950,000)
Portuguese (170,000,000)
Russian (170,000,000)
Japanese (125,000,000)
German (98,000,000)
French (79,572,000)

The following list is from Dr. Bernard Comrie’s article for the Encarta Encyclopedia (1998):
(number of native speakers in parentheses)

Mandarin Chinese (836 million)
Hindi (333 million)
Spanish (332 million)
English (322 million)
Bengali (189 million)
Arabic (186 million)
Russian (170 million)
Portuguese (170 million)
Japanese (125 million)
German (98 million)
French (72 million)

How about being tested in these languages alongwith the Indian languages of each state ?.

The IAS used to be conducted only in English.Today in the IAS examination there is no discrimination between candidates who answer in Hindi or English or other regional languages.


The IIMs can learn something from how the IAS is conducted.

Let our management graduates eye new markets which are big and getting bigger including local ones.

Like I pointed out we have some serious competition from the no-nonsense Americans .They understand that one does not stay number one by being complacent .
If knowledge of International language is the reason why CAT is held in English then there are other International languages which also have a claim to be in the question paper. See how knowing Chinese or Japanese or Italian or French or German would be to an Indian business man. Just look at the size of the world trade of the countries I have just named . And also see the growing importance of Asian countries .

Lets raise the standard of the Entrance exam . Let do away with the English paper and bring in a multilingual language paper. Lets introduce other important foreign languages in the CAT examination . To gain a competitive edge it will introduce the genial joys of learning a foreign language to the members of the anglicized cosmopolitan community. Lets say the first ten most widely spoken language in the world be included as options in the entrance examination .

Quite a few Indian languages will figure in the examination questions on the basis if the sheer number size of their speakers . ( Bengali follows Hindi in sheer numbers, its spoken in Bangladesh as well Bengal ) But lets consider all India state based languages equally . It will drastically cut down but not eliminate the importance of English . A person who knows more than one language will get rewarded.

If the answers are standardized then correction could also be easier .

It may also inspire our professors to learn newer international languages so that the immense research material in say Japanese management or French management becomes available to our budding management wizards . When our professors struggle with the Chinese script it will help them empathize with the struggle of a student who is struggling with English .

Lets further raise the standards of the entrance examination !!!Along with Maths lets also have a paper on Humanities . After all 90% of a managers success depends on handling people. So instead of promoting anglicized number crunching geeks who are blind to local and global social realities lets promote a more socially aware manager . Most corporates nowadays have larger social aims in their mission statements . They will love students who are conscious of social realities within and without the country .Let there be a compulsory section on “Community”, “social capital”. You can’t understand concepts of “Caste”, “social justice” without studying these terms .


It will bring down the ridiculous percentiles because the standards of the entrance would have gone up . .

What I have suggested is complicated and I am sure can be improved upon . But where there is a will for merit and fair play there will be a way for merit and fair play .

What has been done in IAS examinations can be done in IIM.The IAS used to be conducted only in English.Today in the IAS examination there is no discrimination between candidates who answer in Hindi or English or other regional languages.

Both can coexists . Innovation should not be just a management buzz word !!

 
At 4:08 PM, Blogger narayan said...

Man is a social animal . And he forms communities to work with , marry ,socialise .

In the pre-agricultural economy of forest ,communities are tribes .
In agricultural economies of village, communities are the traditional castes (like you see in India) . Perfect conditions in agricuture through history made castes a widely practiced phenomenon in the subcontinent . Even religious conversion has failed to remove the caste system .Caste clearly follows a different dynamic which has nothing to do with religion .
In industrial economies of city based, communities are a new “cosmopolitan caste”.

These three kinds of economies 1) tribal ,2) village(traditional caste) and 3)city (cosmopolitan caste) have fashioned the modern nation as it exists today .Most modern nations are have come into existence during the Industrial revolution .

Modern nations all over the world have had to grapple with the problem of how to assimilate those left behind in the forests and villages in pre-agricultural or agricultural economies . In India due to poor economy growth the problems are vastly more acute .



We cannot wish away the existence of these pre-agricultural tribes or agricutural castes and exclude them from our industrial cosmopolitan caste.

Forest covers are disappearing. The very habitat of the tribal in endangered .

And its tough to compete with the developed countries Industrial technology based agriculture with India’s traditional pre-industrial agriculture . Take for example today 57 of the Indian population is engaged in non- machine aided agrarian activities, this translates into an Indian food worker producing enough food for himself and a surplus for another Indian.We are still importing food from time to time. Contrast this to US, where less than two percent of American population is engaged in machine aided agriculture or related activities. An American farmer produces enough food for 50 people including himself, with even more left over for export. Therefore the American farmer is very productive and very rich by comparison.
Agriculture needs water. Water table is receding in India. Today 70 per cent of irrigation needs and 80 per cent of domestic water supplies in India are met through pumping up groundwater through tube wells. But this massively deployed private response to public failure can only be temporary. Water tables are plummeting and aquifers are running dry. Estimates show that 15 per cent of aquifers are already critical and the number is projected to rise to 60 per cent in just twenty years .
For more read http://www.rediff.com/news/1998/apr/28water.htm

With each passing generation inherits ,the share of the agricultural land of each subsequent generation becomes less and less . When each person has a very small plot of land you cannot have advantages of scale .

Traditional means of incomes are drying up in forests and villages .

Farmers have been commiting suicide . Naxalites philosophies are attracting a greater following in some jungles. Situation is grim . There remains a large part of population simply unequipped with skill set required to compete in the industrial/service world . We have a tragedy of enormous proportions staring in our face .

Castes are a form of social stratification from the agriculture economy era . Some castes have been able to make the shift to industrial economy to become a member of the new cosmopolitan caste to a greater extent than others .

Castes in India are endogamous . Majority of indians still marry within their castes .The sense of traditional caste is weak for the new cosmopolitan castes in urban Indians as they work in industries in these cities .In their case a more cosmopolitan anglacised sense of community has replaced the pre-industrial traditional caste system. This is simply the industrial version of the traditional caste system .Members of this new cosmopolitan caste also practice endogamy . They marry their own kind . And prefer to work ,live and socialise with their own kind . It is an unacknowledged caste in the sense they see themselves above the caste system . “Caste no bar” if you belong to this cosmopolitan caste . Looking through the matrimonial advertisements in news papers or surf through matrimonial sites on the web . You will see right away that those who consider themselves diehard cosmopolitan is miniscule .Most people still retain that weak link to the traditional caste system when it comes to important decisions like marriage .

What needs to be kept in mind that people prefer to work with their own castes . For example for his medical needs someone from the cosmopolitan caste is not likely to see a general practioner who has poor english skills. In the same way someone who is a say from a tribal village is unlikely to be comfortable with a general practioner who is a english speaking westernised dandy. Where possible people go to physicians who they consider as one of their own, some one who speak their language and understand their lifestyle .

You see this same division in private sector as well. If you are corporate entity and your company has predominantly members from the Cosmopolitan caste you are likely to reject someone who does not seem to reflect your cosmopolitan culture,especially for the important high profile,high visibilty appointments . Companies call this “cultural fit”.

Will Azimbhai Premji announce that the next owner of Wipro will not be his son? Will he make that decision on merit ? Why did Ratan Tata succeed Bharat Ratna JRD Tata ? Was he the most accomplished person in the Tata empire ? So you see the cosmopolitan caste reserves the topmost creamy posts to one of their own in a very similar way like the traditional caste system .These posts are very much “Reserved” . If the english speaking members of the cosmopolitan caste fails entrance exams , group discussion, interviews all of which are often conducted in English , then there are always management quotas ,governing body quotas ,NRI quotas ,paid seats within India or paid seats abroad all of which can be accessed with money or influence .


Owners or management recruiters from each caste almost always recruit people from their own castes .Some one of their own kind . If you do not have enough members of your own caste as recruiters whether it is government or private jobs the entry points into the industrial economy drastically come down. Each caste has its ‘Creamy’ layer .Some castes have very thick layers of cream . Some castes have a thinner layer compared to their size. Thick or thin…. this creamy layer is its entry point into the industrial world .

This problem is by no means peculiar to India .What is different is the sheer magnitude of the problem .

Governments all over the world use “affirmative action” to remedy this serious problem.

Reservations and quotas are a form of Affirmative action.

What is affirmative action ?
Affirmative action is a policy or a program aimed at increasing the representation of members of groups that have traditionally been discriminated against. This typically focuses on education,employment, government contracts ,health care or social welfare.

Just look at how it is practiced in the following countries :

American President Lyndon Johnson said "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, 'you are free to compete with all the others', and still justly believe that you have been completely fair."

In USA : American President Lyndon Johnson brought in affirmative action by an “excecutive order” . The order aims "to correct the effects of past and present discrimination".

The order specifically requires certain organizations accepting federal funds to take affirmative action to increase employment of members of preferred racial or ethnic groups and women. Any organization with fifty or more employees and an aggregate revenue exceeding $50,000 from a single federal contract during a twelve month period must have a written affirmative action plan. This plan must include goals and timetables for achieving full utilization of women and members of racial minorities, in quotas based on an analysis of the current workforce compared to the availability in the general labor pool of women and members of racial minorities.

Regarding Native Americans there are today more than 563 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States. The United States recognizes the right of these tribes to self-government and supports their tribal sovereignty and self-determination. These tribes possess the right to form their own government, to enforce laws (both civil and criminal), to tax, to establish membership, to license and regulate activities, to zone and to exclude persons from tribal territories. The recognition confers benefits, including the right to label arts and crafts as Native American and they can apply for grants that are specifically reserved for Native Americans.

In Japan : there is an informal policy to provide employment and long term welfare (which is usually not available to general public) to Burakumin (untouchables).

In Brazil :Brazilian Universities (State or Federal) have created systems of preferred admissions (quotas) for racial minorities (blacks and native Brazilians), the poor and the handicapped. There are also quotas for the disabled in the civil public services.

In Malaysia :there are laws called bumiputra laws which are a form of affirmative action meant to provide more opportunity for the majority ethnic Malay population versus the historical financial dominance of the Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indian populations.

In New Zealand :individuals of Maori or other Polynesian descent are often afforded preferential access to university courses, and scholarships.

In South Africa : there is a the Employment Equity Act aims to promote and achieve equity in the workplace, by encouraging equal opportunity amongst all workers. It includes efforts to identify reasons for inequalities and change the employment rates of previously underrepresented groups for a more equitable job market.

In UK: according to the Good Friday Agreement the law requires that the Police Service of Northern Ireland recruit equal numbers of Catholics and non Catholics.

In Indonesia: affirmative action programs give natives preference over Han Chinese who have immigrated into the country.

In Macedonia :minorities, most notably Albanians, are allocated quotas for access to state universities, as well as in civil public services.

In China : there is a quota for minority representatives in the National Assembly in Beijing, as well as other realms of government.

In the European Union: there is an antiracism directive which concerns the application of the principle of equality without regard to race or ethnic origin. This anti-racism directive, is to be implemented in national law of the member states.

In Germany :there are programs stating that if men and women had equal qualifications, women had to be preferred for a job. The anti-discrimination law which is yet to pass, aims at improving the protection of minorities.

Belgium government :proposed in January 2006 a measure that will make some job opportunities available exclusively to immigrants, disabled and elderly people.

Much of the developed world does believe that social justice can be done by reservation/quotas for those that are discriminated against.


Dalit issues of India have already been linked with human rights issue in International forum like the UN .

To repeat what past American President Lyndon Johnson said "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, 'you are free to compete with all the others', and still justly believe that you have been completely fair."

 
At 6:00 AM, Blogger ellenweber said...

What a thoughtful post and a well laid out sequence of events for moving away from reservations. Your post begs more reflection from me -- which I will do... Thanks. I find myself hoping that thoughtful leaders like you will suggest plans that motivate countries to work together in this new era where another kind of tone out there could bring winning benefits to both regions and more people from any caste.... What do you think?

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger Memoryking said...

Liked your blog.Here is mine http://emotionalzombie.blogspot.com/"One Billion people.6 IIM’s, 7 IIT’s .Close to 200 seats in a typical IIM and 500 in a typical IIT.One group stands for senseless establishment of quotas. The other group senselessly opposes it. What is going on? Have we lost all our marbles? "

 

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