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Rebel without a cause!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Voices of Reason : Quota Controversy

Is the reservation debate maturing in the Indian press? After the early onslaught of news and opinions openly favoring the views of the anti-reservation camp, it seems now there are other viewpoints also being explored.

Newspaper clearly cater to the educated section (and also populated by them) and they must know that this section is dominated by the upper caste so it was no surprise that is where the initial support go. But now it seems that some commentators have realized that things are not in black and white as they seem.

I have seen some articles which explore the if not benefits but atleast the neutral aspects of reservation. Some of these include the article by Gurucharan Das and Swaminathan Aiyer (an irepressible article by the veteran where he takes a swipe at all our established notions of merit).

But that doesnt mean that the quotas are right. But they should be attacked by the so called backward castes to be more effective and I saw two instances of that in Sam Pitroda and Prof. MS Gopinathan

The quota issue divided the country bitterly for a while. There were silly jokes like having quotas in the cricket team or space missions. But these were very poor in taste for it was not as if we were treating them as our countrymen. After these taunts, it would be no wonder if the so called backward castes are even more bitter and that would be exploited by the politicos even more.

And like all movements which are based on mere self interests, even the quota movement will fritter away. Some have even asked the protesters to use Gandhi's tactics The only problem is that as Gandhi said that the means justify the end but then the end should also justify the mean. And this movement does not merit the use of Gandhian methods.

Some positive from the movement. An increase in seats in higher education which is badly needed but I just hope that it is not at the cost of primary education. Instead there should be an increase in budget of education all round.

3 comments:

L>T said...

I have been interested in "reservation" for a long time. Since blogging with Indian friends.

Suddenly I am finding a wealth of imformation on the subject. I'll be back to read more.

BTW, I came over from Prash's Blog

L>T said...

I've been reading all the links on your post. What i find interesting is comparing your struggle with our own Civil Rights Movement. Tho our struggle has not been with caste but racism. There are so many parallels.

I esp.like the article by sam Pitroda & what he says about Primary education being the proper key. Also his statement that; "Technology is a great leveler second only to death."

& Prof. Gopinathan makes a good point about being dependent on charity & crutches;
"If you opt for charity & crutches you will always remain a reciever of charity living on borrowed crutches."

The US has a huge welfare society.(people living off the charity of the Government, i.e. the taxpayers) Why? Partly, because of human nature. Partly circumstances...The point is once you start down that road it's not easy to change, I think.

Anyway thanks for some interesting reading. It's broadening my perspective.

Sreekumar said...

The Indian government thinks that casteism is not racism and they are right literally. But that is mere quibling on the words. Both are discrimination based on prejudice. Things are changing a lot in India and there is hope that this will no longer be a serious problem soon.