What makes us upper class react so violently to the concept of college and job reservations. Is it a deep unaccepted fear that our class advantages are at risk.
It is presented as concern for the country that meritocracy will suffer. But this same class is rushing to get paid seats for their progeny in medical college, if they do not get a merit seat. That provision is not being questioned.
It is presented as concern for the poor that this will not actually build up their foundation and will perpetuate their inferiority. Are these concerned upper class citizens each at least taking responsibility for some SC students, and setting aside a sum equal to what they spend on their children ? Many are, I know, but many more are maybe not.
There are issues more important than reservations for the poor of the country ... but i am using this issue as a mirror for us upper class to understand ourselves better. Our motives may be mixed. Only in complete awareness can we attain Right Action.
Vishnu, a child of 16 of dalitwada, extremely bright, did her 10th in the local government school. She was a star there. Then she went for her diploma to Tirupathi. Her grades fell - because the shift from Telugu medium to English medium was too hard for her. She struggled to keep her head above water.
When her parents came to see her in the hostel, her classmates and teachers realized that she was a dalit. They looked down on her and would not speak to her. She was isolated and friendless.
Meantime the brother committed suicide, father got very ill, mother went into debt ... she got depressed, became very thing ... but studied through all that, and passed. Is now hoping to do her engineering, if she gets support ...
A dalit poor faces double the burden of a non-dalit poor. Poorer community, poorer links, subtle and not so subtle humiliation ... historical wrongs. There is the huge handicap of poverty, family burdens, academic loss due to a telugu medium government schooling, caste based discriminations ...
Well, i also used to say this - till we built our home in the dalitwada and settled there.
I realized that the 'equal oppurtunity' and 'equal educational facilities' are not likely to come by soon ... though each of us needs to fight for it. The fight also involves putting our own children in the schools-for-the poor so that we have a stake in it ... !
And till we do give them 'equal educational oppurtunities', some financial security at home so that mothers untreated illnesses do not weigh down the children's minds , till we destroy the handicaps of untouchability and more, let us also reserve jobs, seats ... We owe them affirmitive action.