I am against reservations

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” – Anonymous

This Sunday, (21st of May 2006), Vikram, Bahubali and I were on M. G. Road in Bangalore, out there for some shopping, when we saw a group of people lined up with papers stuck to their chests claiming ‘I am against reservations’. I have a very strong view on the reservations, and so do Vikram and Bahubali. We decided to join. We stood there for about an hour till it got a bit dark. Around 7:15, we were given candles and then we stood with candles in our hands, showing our stand.

I would say it was a success, in the sense that quite a few people noticed us and it truly was a silent rally. No screaming, no lathi-charge. Even the police people deployed there were helpful and they got into talks with some of us, and even they supported our cause!

We rounded off with walking to the Mahatma Gandhi statue. The organizers told us of the plight of students at AIIMS — they’d been rusticated from their colleges and hostels. They had no place to stay or go — just because they voiced their opinions.

Sad, indeed. But the thoughts crossing my mind while I was standing there in the rally was democracy is working in India — this is how the people tell the leaders they elected about what they feel should be done. It’s a different issue that leaders will choose for the people what they think is best for them.

With coalition governments now the norm, agendas of the parties involved are decided before we go to the polls, and we know which party is going to do what in the next five years. This bit about increasing reservations, however, was not on the agenda of the Congress as far as I can remember.

However, I support reservations, but they should only be based on economic considerations. Also, some reservations can be made for rural population.

There are many cases where well-to-do people belong to the OBC or SC/ST or any other class, and inspite of having a good environment to study and get into good colleges, youth from this class are found to exploit exactly these reservations.

In fact, leaders get voted in certain areas, I hear, based on promises made by them that they’ll declare a specific family an OBC family if that family votes for them. (Joint families in India aren’t uncommon and they do have a large vote share.)

My take:
– Support reservations at the primary schooling level. Till the 12th standard. Build more schools.
– Support some reservation for EBCs (Economically backward class) and people from rural area.
– Do not spoon-feed people who’ve already made it past the 12th. They should fend for themselves. If they weren’t good at this level, they won’t be much better off later.
– Reservations (not based on merit) at the post-graduate level (IITs, IIMs, AIIMS) is ridiculous — no way this should be implemented.
– For EBCs, provide monetary support at any level. (Making sure merit is not compromised)
– Remove the concept of castes. In a learned society, no one is inferior or superior. We have to get rid of this. No one should ask for the castes. Unless it’s for things like statistics that identify how a tribe has been evolving, moving around, etc.