The Politics Of Reservation


Thanks to the reservation policies, India is perhaps the only nation in the world where people actually fight to be called “backward”. The clamors from various groups in the society to give them the privileged status of “Other Backward Castes” have become a norm.

Instead of working our way up the social ladder, we all look for an easier option to succeed.On the other hand , we frequently hear heartening stories of lower income people making it into the Civil Services exams. And I hope you all know about the auto rickshaw driver whose daughter topped the Chartered Accountancy exam.

We should create a system in which, no matter to which strata  the person belongs, he/she should be able to aspire to reach to the top. We have to fight for “equality of opportunity” for all. By no means should we strive to achieve “equality of results” for all. It is simply absurd.

We have been unable to exploit the potential of demographic dividend mainly due to our failure to recognize and reward merit. These statistics taken from Wikipedia substantiate the above fact:-
“Recently ( in the year 2012) it was noticed from the official website of a reputed University that there were only about 10 candidates who had qualified the Written Tests and, hence, all of them were allotted Research Centers and Guides—without appearing for any Interview at all. Hence, there are no competitors, from the reserved categories, for the balance 70 vacancies {(160/2)-10=70}. On the other hand, 150 candidates (from the ‘open’ category) qualified the Written Exams, and 70 of them will have to be rejected admission—because the total number of vacancies in the ‘open’ category is only 80.”

Because of the quota a genuinely talented student is demoralized and driven away from the Indian education system.

We should learn about this from the United Stated of America who has retained its position as a superpower due to its ability to attract talent from all over the world. Most of the innovators, scientists, engineers etc. driving its growth are immigrants from various countries including India, Israel etc. Had they stayed in their homeland, their talent perhaps would have remained unrecognized.

I am not trying to imply that the quota system should be phased out completelyTo give the lower castes ‘equality of opportunity’,  instead of reservation in higher education and jobs, primary schooling  should be made compulsory for every student(as has been done in the RTE Act,2012). The age limit could be extended to 18 years. 

Once they are on a ‘level-playing field’ no discrimination whatsoever (whether positive or negative) should be done on the basis of caste. Instead scholarships should be given to the economically weaker sections of society on purely merit basis.

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