Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Reservations - and the woes of the Privileged

I have lived with the poor, as a friend and neighbour. I have seen their situation and their difficulties. Reservations are needed for them, because every odd is against them - poor schools, hunger, illiterate families, a drunk father, a sick mother ...
But if people do not realise this I can understand. Because of one of my childhood memories that I squirm over, and am deeply ashamed of.
I was in class 10 when the Mandal Commission was implemented. My middle class peer group and their parents were deeply affronted. I also heard the logic that the country will suffer due to mediocrity if 'less competent' were put in positions of responsibility. And in the immature patriotisim of childhood, fearing that the 'country would suffer', I also joined a '1 day hunger strike' against the commission by all the colony children, that was held in the local park, under the fond eyes of many parents.
It took other friends later, and a struggle against a dam, and a village, for me to learn truth, and squirm at that fast of decades ago that I joined in.
Until that day when the poor have the same same starting position and facilies as the poor, let them have reservations.


Archana Prasad But not based on caste. Only for financial reasons. After generations of being financially well off, some dalits don't need it and an impoverished brahmin might need it more

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7 June 2015 at 08:05Edited
Aparna Krishnan The creamy layer which is by now well off has to removed from the benefits.
Aparna Krishnan But apart from that I would not dismiss the 'caste factor'. A needy dalit faces far greater constraints than a needy brahmin or a needy Reddy. When Vishnu joined diploma after her 10th in the local school, and she used to come home and tell me details. It was then that I realised many truths. She is fair, and does not stand out as an SC, but wen her parents visited her in the hostel it was obvious that they were poor and illiterate and SC. After that first visit by them, she was rendered completely friendless and ignored alike by teachers and students. She lasted out those 2 years, quietly studying and swallowing her pain and aloneness. All these need to be understood Archana - the SC reality only they understand.

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7 June 2015 at 08:31Edited
Aparna Krishnan Untouchability is a sad reality we need to face and address.
Shyamala Sanyal First : the savarna s haven't done such a good job for almost 70 years for all their so called superiority and competence 
Second : caste lines persist because of patriarchy 
Let us demolish patriarchy from its roots 

Archana Prasad why after generations does caste perpetuate ? 
Let us destroy controls on children marrying according to their choice 
Caste will ultimately vanish
Aparna Krishnan Shyamala Sanyal, jatis are part of the Indian social fabric. They cannot be wished away, and maybe need not also. Because the community feeling gives a vast support system within. Also each jati feels quite fine, and makes fun of other jaits. All this I have seen in the village. But untouchability is a cancer, and needs to be removed - however drastic the process. (And you are right, as intermarriage is happenning caste lines are weakening, and that is a natural sociological process happenning also.)
Archana Prasad I agree..I am far from the ground realities..and only have an opinion because if my limited experience.. have to agree with those who are right there ..
Aparna Krishnan i have seen a little, and am shareing my observations. I could be wrong, and am open to correction. Because the truth is what we need to arrive at, and a workable direction is what we need.
Archana Prasad It's unconvincing to see a a child who has similar comforts and opportunities like ours to get in an a grade college at 40 or 60 percent marks or a govt job AND ALL subsequent promotions because his ancestors a few generations ago faced ostracism ..advise me how should I reason this with my kids..asking sincerely, not in ridicule or sarcasm. .
Aparna Krishnan the creamy layer certianly needs to be removed. but otherwise i would only suggest that your hildren engage with poorer children. I used to teach the dhobi's daughter in class 8 i remember. They will see the yawning gap, and they will understand many things that cannot be 'explained with reasoning'. The heart once touched realises what the brain is incapable of every understanding.
Archana Prasad Exactly my point. We have to engage with poor, eliminate poverty..more than seeing them as of a certain caste..

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7 June 2015 at 09:14
Aparna Krishnan if an SC is burdened with his caste label, he needs additional support. We cannot wish away realities.
Mohammad Chappalwala Archana wealth has to be eliminated not poverty
Shyamala Sanyal Aparna Krishnan how I hate jatis. I am aware that there will huge losses of skills, art craft etc when jatis weaken. So many precious skills are dying. 
But underlying all these caste lines is the terrible colonisation of women which can never be good 
for the environment and sustainability 
If we are to survive women must assert themselves and their innate wisdom and nurturing skills be brought out in full strength. 
Women must be respected and honoured and their voices heard. Their wisdom followed
முரளி கே partially agree..
Aparna Krishnan  please elaborate 'partially'.
Aparna Krishnan No, to dismiss jatis without a deeper study of the realities and implications is not ok. And very few of us have gone into details. Sunny Narang - any links ?
Sunny Narang There are 4000 plus jatis and tribes in India . Just as the Americans believe in forced representative democracy led by PR companies and corporate funds , Indian modernist evangelists can dream of removing community learnings , narratives and strengths with their so called radical narratives which create nihilistic and alienated individuals , but that is not happening. You or me don't need to save or protect them. They have their thousands of ways. As USA fails so will they.
Shyamala Sanyal Nihilistic and alienated is spot on
Shyamala Sanyal Community learning yes but not at the cost of suppressing women
Aparna Krishnan Suppression of women (and sometimes men !!) happens as much in US of A !
Aparna Krishnan Reducing everything to 'patriarchy', 'casteism' and 'feudalism' may simply hide the reality from us.
Shyamala Sanyal Yes. I protest about it every where. 
It's a male dominated world which is why we are in deep trouble. 
They have colonized the earth and women, killed native people too.
Sunita Mudaliar I agree that there was mindless opposition to Mandal Commission...and most, if not ALL the students who rallied against it, took out morchas and made a lot of noise, did not even understand what it was about....no one studied it at all....VP Singh Govt. was pulled down due to it and the next NDA govt queitly accepted it without any hue and cry from anyone......
Rajesh Pandey A small correction - V.P. Singh Govt. was succeeded by Chandra Shekhar Govt. which was part of the same Janta Parivar. His Govt. was succeeded by Narsimha Rao's Govt. of Congress till 1996.
Supraja Vasu Let me tell you a story Aparna ... I get into MBBS, work hard,go to the hospital everyday,learn... Put my heart and soul into it... After its done I prepare for my post graduation entrance-the 1st time I give it I get a rank in 10 thousands--its obvious I'm not going to get any seat,forget one of my choice so I sit and prepare again. There was a classmate of mine, it was obvious from day one that he had not got in via merit...he barely scrapes by in all the exams, all the years, never attends clinics,never works with the patients-when he is called out by a doctor during rounds he can never answer...somehow-by a combination of grace marks and ridiculous amounts of luck he passes, and he is preparing for the same MD entrance exam...he gets a rank of 20thousand overall,but he has a certificate of category (Let me make it clear that this was the 1st time anyone knew at all that he belonged to a so-called backward class)...even with that abysmal rank overall,because of that certificate he gets a seat,not any seat but medicine... Which is the 4/5th sought after specialisation... I guess he will scrape through again somehow-but is this someone you would want treating you,your parents, your children?? Think about it..I know you follow ayurveda,but majority of the population relies on allopathy.... Would any of them allow themselves to be treated by someone who did not work as hard,did not learn, did not even put in an effort...simply got through on the basis of some piece of paper which declared his family at some point of time was considered "backward" ... I have two friends who voluntarily enter themselves as general category because they hate the concept of getting an edge over based on the status of their family, generations ago...frankly, no one knows or cares about the caste of anyone else,where iv lived-maybe that is different in the interiors but really,the 1st time I heard of caste of my friends was when we talked about was during the time we were filling the entrance exam forms....in my generation and among my peers its a non-issue,forget non issue,some people don't even know their own castes! ..and one more thing, the sc/St/obc status can be bought and used...well off families do it....the thought of reservation in a post graduation course is pathetic,it makes mockery of the people who have dreamt and worked so very hard to get there.... If any sort of reservation is required it should be on the basis of financial status alone and only...that's the only way to see it benefiting the people it was meant for,not well of people who buy a certificate/use their status as an unfair advantage when it
Sunita Mudaliar I totally understand your angst and your frustration Supraja! The fault lies in how the Reservation policy is being implemented.... these ppl shud not get the feeling that it is "their birthright"...things like minimum attendance and medical knowledge shud never be compromised with...lives are at stake here...
Aparna Krishnan agree. but ... the priority of the country is to address the needs of those against whom everything is weighed today.
Supraja Vasu But if course... The minority and caste based reservations are vote banks...so probably never going to be dismantled... And people ask why do so many doctors,engineers go abroad...because our degrees are worth nothing here...because you can get what we worked for with sweat and tears,simply by belonging to a lineage
Aparna Krishnan As usual there are many truths Supraja. 

Supraja, firstly we agree on that the well off in any community need to be weeded out of any privilege. After that ...


A child who has had a very different positioning from you and me, how do we ensure justice for that child. Children of landless, illiterate and malnourished families. Those children are my concern, because they need it more - not you or Turiya. Because you have your parents to look after you, and Turiya hers. In the interest of justice for the child, I would allow my country;s 'overall standard' to slip back. 

When you talk of 'incompetent doctor', that is a sensitive topic. But even there I would demand that those children who get in thus, should be mentored and guided with special care. Because years of poor schooling, and lack of basics would have made them more lackadaiscal that children from academic families.

There is no 'nation' - there are many nations in every nation. All needs need to be addressed. And till we can assure equal starting positions, we will need to compensate those who are handicapped in every way, no.
Aparna Krishnan How best to make up we can discuss ... but make up we have to.

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8 June 2015 at 10:40Edited
Supraja Vasu But Aparna, the thing is the guy I mentioned(and most others who got in that way) were from well to do homes, have received a proper education! He bought a car in 3rd year, lived in an apartment...he obviously did not come from a less fortunate background.They just seemed disinterested... Doing it for the sake of a degree,of a job... Iv had classmates,less fortunate like you mentioned-not from academically forward families... They had difficulty understanding English..... But they made an effort! They wanted to learn,to be better....and when the student shows interest its then that the teacher is involved and will try to help...
Aparna Krishnan That has to be addressed - I said that first ! The creamy layer has to be identified and rejected from all privileges. The scheme cannot be rejected, because the need and the needy are there, isnt it.
Supraja Vasu Yea basically it needs to be financial based....that needs to be the criteria
Aparna Krishnan but its needed, no. glad we agree on that . yes, the rich need to be kicked out.
Sunita Mudaliar that means that they are not weeding out the "creamy" layer as they ought to. Another point i feel strongly about is that just the first generation shud get reservations...suppose thru reservation an SC man has become an IAS officer...he rises to be chief Secy too...so very important, very powerful he becomes overall...why do his kids need reservation?? Are you not taking way seats from OTHER deserving SC ppl??
Aparna Krishnan correct. as has been said, remove creamy layer.
Supraja Vasu But unfortunately the policy makers only see the vote banks...not the actual need ...so I guess its a moot point anyway....so many of my friends who are sick of the reservations and lack of seats make the decision to go abroad because there their educational merit is recognised... And then they say we don't have enough doctors...you are driving them away!
Aparna Krishnan let them go. india is a poor country, and 'recognising their meris' is not our priority. they can go to any village and practice if they chosse. there is dire need.
Supraja Vasu You misunderstood... They leave because of the lack of education-seats that should've been theirs go to the faux-backward....I would go too, but I would miss my family too much
Supraja Vasu They leave under duress cz the education system here supports quota over merit
Mohammad Chappalwala Or abolish all such institutions where reservations are required
Aparna Krishnan Did not follow.
Mohammad Chappalwala Get rid of the higher education institutes iits and their ilk
Aparna Krishnan then they will object to reservations in jobs. The issue is affirmative action till date that there is some equality of opportunity.
Mohammad Chappalwala Which jobs; let us unite to take down this civilization
Aparna Krishnan those are dreams. but there is also a present reality. and many times the actions we do to address the present urgent needs seem to go against the larger dreams. But I know what you are saying, and I agree.
Aparna Krishnan Supraja ! If they were concerned about the country and the poor, their MBBS is enough, and they simply need to go to a small town or village and start working. My own concern begins and ends there. The need is so crying among the poor, that 'the rich losing out on deserved MD seats' somehow is not my battle.
Aparna Krishnan As I said, if their career is their concern, let them go. If repaying a debt to the nation is their concern, we will show them ways. Supraja, a person in a privileged class like you or I in a country populated by poor people, our first and only right is to serve. A poor nation pins its hopes on its privileged few to serve back.
Sunita Mudaliar But Supraja....we also have to aknowledge the fact that reservations happen everywhere....even in unsaid and informal ways...why do u think MOST judges in open category are upper caste Brahmins...this is true all over the country in every state....b'coz they look out for their own when it comes time to appoint new judges...that is why the Collegium system has been taken away from them. (I have many relatives who are judges...so this is not a case of sour grapes)
Sunny Narang Aparna every community in the world has complex histories. There are more than 600 scheduled castes , where is the research that shows less than 5% of them occupy most reserved seats. Similarly in scheduled tribes and OBC. Do a study in which Brahmin communities make up top IAS . There are hundreds of Brahmins too ! I think of Indian activists and academics as the laziest minds on earth. Half baked lies or truths most if the time.

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7 June 2015 at 16:59Edited
Sunny Narang And this whole thing of women, feminism and patriarchy embedded in caste. Find me any contemporary community. Space or nuclear scientists , head of modern states , businessmen , football players where its any different. Even the religious gurus or priests in any religion. Agreed human society is mostly men led but that is because all conceptual hegemonies have been created by men. Let there be a flowering of women led communities faith led or social movements. Let thousands of women follow those movements. There will emerge other communities. Lesbians have their own in USA and they too need safe homes for those battered by other lesbians. Violence is a human trait. Being a woman in body is not gender in body. Gays and Transexuals are living proof. What did the European and American feminist movements lead to ? Rising single homes . Why do we need coupledom with heterosexual imperialism as they would say. Simply we humans are expecting theoretical fantasies that do not play out in the reality if the world. Those who want to live in such sects have always done as monks and nuns or new jatis 

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7 June 2015 at 17:10Edited
Aparna Krishnan agree. and people refuse to 'see' reality, caught up in these borrowed concepts, and battling these demons, grossly inadequate to describe our society.
Rajesh Pandey Higher Education is a private property. And it is used mostly for self perpetuation of the elite in our country. The elites among the castes and classes which are entitled to reservations are cornering most seats now. So, like all Govt. schemes, reservation too needs better targeting.
Sukumar Mukhopadhyay Aparna Krishnan-- Once the reservation benefit has been given to one person, his son should not get it. Now son, grand son also get it. About Scheduled Tribe, there is no doubt that they should get the benefit of reservation.
Aparna Krishnan the creamy layer certianly needs to be addressed with all urgency. whether it happens in one generation or more needs to be seen maybe, case by case.
Sukumar Mukhopadhyay Aparna Krishnan-I have same experience as yours. I also lived with the poor. My class friends were mostly peasants who used to come walking from villages all around our town. My best friend was a fisherman`s who also used to sell fish in the market. I used to buy fish from him in the morning. Then in the school we used to sit side by side. Because of his background, he never could go beyond School Final Examination. Then he became a teacher in lower schools. Another point of view of yours to which I agree is that reservation should be there but it should be gradually withdrawn. Right now it should not be given for generations. I have seen higher castes like Brahmins discrimination against them. That was the reason to begin with why I gave up religion. Later I justified with more theoretical reasons.
Aparna Krishnan Sukumar Mukhopadhyay, a disadvantage of generations may take longer than one generation to correct ! The disadvantage would be in various hues.

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