Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Quotas and then some Aishwarya.....

The "Quota"isation of India continues...Indian govt has recently introduced a fixed quota of 27% for OBCs ( Other Backward Classes) in all institutions of higher education including the IITs & the IIMs. This had raised a huge public uproar but seems like Mr. Arjun Singh, the honorable HRD Minister is determined to atone for all our forefathers' sins, and demands that it be done, very soon.

Definitely, I and most of the so-called " Upper caste" Indians do not believe in perpetrating such discrimination and we are ashamed for the cruel treatment meted out to the underprivileged classes amongst us ( In fact, in the same breath, we must remember that there were a number of upper caste men and women who openly opposed the caste system and were instrumental in bringing about changes to it ) ... We also do strongly believe in setting right the wrongs that have been done in the past.

But is Quotas the way out ? Just by doling out Quotas, are we really making any good ?

Ensuring that the underprivileged get an equal opportunity to education and job is just the first step. We have been giving quota to the SC-ST category for about half a decade, but is it not true that there are very very few of them who utilise this opportunity and come up in life ? How many of the Govt. vacancies for these quotas remain unfilled for ages ! And in the bigger scheme of things, is it not true that Quota has become another crutch for these communities?

What we need is a system which will handhold the underprivileged ( I refrain from defining this here - should it be caste based / income based, that is a topic for another discussion ) and give them the right tools and methods to utilise the opportunity given to them.

Well, it gives us some relief to see that atleast the judiciary has now woken up to the act and has raised some very pertinent queries regarding the new Quotas being introduced. The main issue that the Court has raised is on the very basis of the definition of OBC and whether we should be using the 1931 census as the basis for quotas at all. The Supreme court has asked the Govt to identify the backward classes on a periodic basis and use adequate data to do this. Whatever be the queries and issues, the Govt is in an unusual hurry to implement quotas this year ( well, I can't refrain from remembering the kind of urgency they displayed in the matter of the women's reservation bill..!!!) .

By using Quotas as a political tool to cater to certain pockets of the "vote-banks", we are witnessing the most blatant political maneuvering and like the court has said, "the reservation policy cannot be and should not be intended to be permanent or perpetuate backwardness.” Let's hope and pray that we restore some bit of semblance in this society and not let political machinations lead us to doom.

How can I talk about Quotas when India is getting dressed in designer wear and dazzling diamonds for The Wedding...The fanatic frenzy and feverish fervor that is displayed all over the place, believe me, one would not have witnessed it even when India celebrated her independence.

There is no respite for us poor souls ( very few of us, let me say), who want to get a breather...every sight and sound blares out each miniscule detail of the bride and the groom - from the nosepin that she might wear to what would be the colour of the fireworks to who would attend and who wouldnt..and who will carry the baraat..and who will smile and who will cry...aaah...the pains that these guys go to speculate all this and more.... I wish that this kind of enthusiasm and excitement was displayed by the media in more serious issues...I am half-expecting a special edition Times ( The Abhiash Times of India or maybe it should be The Times of Abhiash in India or how about India in the Times of Abhiash) being delivered to me on the D-day..

There is nothing wrong in celebrating and nothing wrong in being happy about some celebrity getting married to another star...after all, marriage is an occasion of celebration and cheer ;P...but why this national preoccupation to the exclusion of everything else....

I guess at the end of the day, we as a nation do say, saas bhi kabhi bahu thi...:-)

No comments: