Why should I care?

A friend asked me recently why I have not posted anything on my blog about the reservation issue that is making headlines everywhere these days. I said that I did not want to talk about sensitive issues like this, because most of my posts tend to rub people the wrong way anyway :) But I thought about it, and felt that there are some things I do want to say.

First of all, how has this reservation and quota system affected me? Not much, I would say. I did not aspire to get into any premier engineering or management institutions, and what I did get into, I got in quite easily. So for me, it did not matter then. What has remained as a lasting impression about the reservation issue the last time there was an agitation against it is this: I was in class 9 when the last agitation happened and our schools were closed for a month or so because of the unrest. I knew what the issue was and how it would effect everyone, but as it turned out I did not end up getting effected by it.

Well this time it is a bit different. I have a job in a big company, and the chances are slim to none that I will try and get admitted to another educational institution. So does this issue effect me? Of course it does! Here's how. During the last agitation circa 1990, India was pretty much a closed economy. Today we work closely with the rest of the world. Information flows in and out of the country at the speed of thought and we can no longer imagine that our skeletons will stay in the closet.

Well then, how long before employers and clients and business partners all over the world figure out that these wonderfully hyped institutions like the IITs are actually letting in sub-standard students? And how long before they view every Indian programmer or businessman with suspicion, wondering if they came in through these "quotas"? After all, they have no idea that a Mishra is a Brahmin and a Das is not! And how long before these issues color the perception of the outside world about the competence of the Indian workforce? I am part of this workforce, so of course this affects me. And if affects you, too. So if all of you who have cushy software jobs don't want your employers to wrap up shop and move to China in the next five years, then better sit up and take notice!

ETA: Well, the deed's been done. What now?


Aparna said...

Well put...very precise.
I can only hope that all these reactions cause some action where it matters....but somehow I have this sinking feeling that it won't....and like last time, the bill will get passed this time too....

SideWinder said...

been here, seen this :-) nice post tanushree! hope meira kumar or Arjun Singh (AS)s happen to see this. What next, reservation for reservation ?!? Only those ministers who are from the reserved quota can bring in further reservations !?!?!

Maven's Atelier said...

Beg to differ in a slight way ...

Agreed that the reservation system as such is a taboo but then what if the seats got increased and the OBC's do get a reservation ,even in that context the FC's would have the same seats as earlier ,so does it really matter ? because I feel that come what may our morbid politicians will pass this bill.

Well as far as the global perspective is concerned my cent points with your opinion.

Tanushree said...

To Maven's atelier:
what if the seats got increased
You have recently got out of college right? Think about your own college and what the state of the infrastructure, the teachers, and the standards will be if the number of students are increased by 50%?

Mohit said...

Not just education....these guys are pushing for reservations in jobs.. I don't think these guys even care about econmy or employment... as long as they get their votes.

Well said.. A very valid point and some serious food for thought

For Maven's Atelier : it does matter when the same tachers are supposed to teach 50% more students and the facilities get strained. The overall level of the class goes down too. Its not the same as not having reservation.

Maven's Atelier said...

infrastructure ..yes is an issue ,but then the seats would have to be increased some day or the other.
but pondering over the issue ,it does make me feel insecure .My solution would be to do a Rang De Basanti to the politicians like Arjun Singh.

Maven's Atelier said...

I would also like to put forth an other point ..we will also have to ask ourselves as to whether it is really the reservation or the insecurity that is making us talk this way.

Mohit said...

----My solution would be to do a Rang De Basanti to the politicians like Arjun Singh.-----

To make way for some other idiot... RDB is not the solution. Going out to voke and select someone desrving (I wish!) might be a solution but not RDB

Maven's Atelier said...

Ironically only revolutions lead to change :)

I am not a pessimistic but the only way these ppl can be kicked out of power is by total elimination.Any voice that revolts against them will be crushed under the sheer power that these ppl possess

Mohit said...

If the 18-40 yr old working class people (read me and you) go out to vote, it'll be a revolution indead!

Maven's Atelier said...

I guess that would make a difference when the options to vote would be discernible.In the current context when you have to choose the best amongst the worst who in turn changes to the worst by the time next election comes how are we going to choose the best ??

After thinking ths over again ,I feel it is not RDB but i feel it is YUVA that is going to make a difference :):)

Aparna said...

I am very confused about the vote issue here...or maybe I am applying too much logic to the situation, so can someone explain this:
If the politicians are introducing reservations to gain votes, and they think they will win by these votes, then does that mean that the number of 'reservation class' votes are more than 'non-reserved class' votes? If so, then the 'reservation class' is a 'majority' rather than a 'minority' , right? So, why are we bringing reservations for them?
Or maybe, the votes are more because the 'non-reservation-classes' don't vote much? In which case, we need to definitely go to the polling booths during election, all of us, who are now raising this voice against reservation....

KoPoS said...

the point is : its not about the numbers straight. its about the concentration of wealth in uneuqal proportions. its like 80% of the wealth is concentrated in just 20% of the population. and the remaining 80% are left to work their ass off for the remaining 20%. additionally, the numbers about the middle class voting is true. and that is one reason why politicos still lure the rural india. maybe you will remember that cbn lost in ap and even in hyd where a lot of reform was brought! that shows the apathy of the urban middle class.

KoPoS said...

i totally agree with your point but tell me even after getting admission into IIT & IIM, the students still have to fight out for the marks dont they? Its not like that they just get in and get out.

And quite frankly, whats wrong with the reservations when merit has along been bought through management seats and 33% reservation for women? Until those two are there I dont think it speaks very high for a very valid case against reservations.

I definitely say the reservations in this current form wont do us all any help but as long as the two other forms of merit hijacking exists, I definitely dont mind going with the reservation now.

Tanushree said...


33% reservation where? Which educational institute that you have studied at (above school level) had anything close to this percentage of women in the class? During MBA, I was in a class of 60 with 12 girls. Of course, my graduation was in a girls college so that does not count.

The 33% reservation is in the legislative assembles and parliament, where it is necessary to have adequate representation from each and every group or community (majority and minority both) to be able to make fair laws.

KoPoS said...

thats in ap; so not sure if its there in other places.

about the second paragraph, why not then is not 71% reservation for sc/st for the exact same reason: to have adequate representation from each and every group and community.

now that throws an interesting proposition: have the equal representation from all people in decision making positions but not in meritocratic positions. but then dont the current meritocratic postions turn into tomorrow's decision making positions.

KoPoS said...

and havent still gotten a justification for justification for management quota of seats. when people are ok with buying seats, why not this?

does this show an inherent hypocrisy? because the middle class indian is 'capable' of buying a seat, he is ok with the management/nri quota. but since he cannot buy sc/st status he is against it?

and frankly when this becomes a reality, definitely there is going to be a nationwide sc/st certificate producing industry...

Tanushree said...

There is no "justification" for management seats. In my experience, most ppl who "bought" those seats were pretty dumb and were not able to keep up with the rest of the class.

I guess ppl dont make a hue and cry about it because it is usually 1-3 seats in a class of 60 or so, and not percieved a serious "threat".

Anonymous said...

Quota quota quota........
How does it matter, we will keep posting on blogs and that bast****, son of a b**** Arjun will enforce it not matter what as being a servent he has to do as instructed by parliament.
Now tanu i don't agree with you point that companies will have doubts regarding the workforce, for two reasons..
i. There are reservations in place and not all the working in mnc's are from IIT's.
ii. The quality of work that comes down to india is as it is bull shit, i have see ppl running away from the so called big company, because they feel they are over qualified for the work they are doing.

But i agree with the point that reservations are not solving the problem that they are meant to solve, cause 50% of reserved seats are yet not occupied.

Anonymous said...

correction, nri + management quota comes to 10-12 in a class of 60. again, i dont think its because of the threat but because they can afford to pay for it. simple.

as i said earlier, students will first have to pass the college to join a company aint it? and if they do pass, that means they have it.

Tanushree said...

The deed's been done.
What now?

Mohit said...

Now be ready for some sort of a tax surcharge... The govt needs 8000 big ones and the tax payers are the obvious source. Sucks big time! And the worst part... all the hogwash about talking to agitating students and stuff.

What we really need is a grassroot education system spend the money of providing incentives to parents so that they send their kids to school. Spend the money on providing better school and free education to the needy. The quotas would keep producing babus good for govt jobs only.

Aparna said...

I knew it could not be stopped as long as people go on justifying reservations with weird reasons like 'they still need to pass college' and 'what about seats which can be bought?'....all illogical arguements.

Here's how:

they still need to pass college

Well, I know at least a thousand students who could have easily passed college if they could get admission to engineering and medical, and the reason they could not, was because of these reserved quotas of seats occupied by people who were of much lower merit than the non-reserved class. Morever in my college, an REC, all such reserved quota students struggled to pass...but eventually they did pass, some in 6 years, some with 8 compartmental papers...and because they passed, the IT companies, who came for campus, chose them, as at that time, they were recruiting in bulk. So, that 'push' of a 'reservation' earned them a cushy job, leaving behind billions of meritorious students. That hurts!!!

people are ok with buying seats

@kopos, in a way, you are correct. The middle class is ok with things he would have been incapable of doing himself...being financially backward is fine, that's an individual capability, but denied entry into a college, just because he was not born in a certain caste or tribe is rot.
Also, as tanushree said, these seats are minimal fractions of all the seats, and these are totally at the prerogative of the institution, no one forced it onto these isntitutions.These are there so that the other students of the college pay a little less.

In short, reservations are discriminations against non-SC/STs, and I don't see why they should be there in a 60-year old sovereign socialist secular democratic republic.

@Mohit, seconding you, about the grassroot education system...however, to the 'servants' of the people, this seems like too much work and too little votes.

Anonymous said...

Might be you did not aspire for a premiere institute but by being so indefferent you are killing the chances of ur son joining a premiere institute ........ i hope he does not think like u

Mohit said...

@anonymous why not daughter? :)

Anshuman Ghosh said...


KoPoS said...

i totally disagree with your point. and that they are there because they allow other people to pay less, its mindnumbingly stupid and totally bluff.

secondly, its not the pejorative of the management to actually charge exorbitant costs for the seats. (22,000 seat for 10 lacs, yeah right!)

third, as long as you find a reason for justifying management seasons i would more happily support reservations. atleast it will help 1 guys out of 100 that use it.

Anonymous said...

i beleive the entire reservation systemm highlights facts about caste just like reservations based on religious minoritis in many elite institutions St.Xaviers as such.
Wats he case in point is the greatest failures on the part of Indian economy is unemployment+illiteracy=poverty(low income level).
So reservations will be justified only when based on this issue or category--income level which in turn can be converted to concessions at schools and colleges, hostels for poor students.