The thunder of reservation is back on the Indian horizon, courtesy Arjun Singh. By providing 27 percent reservation in premier educational institutes like the IIMs and the IITs, Congress has once again tried to rejuvenate the caste and class politics in India.
Nearly 15 years ago the then PM VP Singh tried to do the same thing what the Congress is doing now, to please the OBCs and the SCs/STs by providing them reservation. VP Singh failed and so will the Congress, or any other political party which tries to play the caste politics. But then again rational decisions in Indian political context has always been very hard to find.
The IIMs and the IITs are what they are because of their academic superiority, because of their course structure, which sorry to say is not for mediocre minds. They are just not any other private and governmental educational institute, where the sole motto is the pass a student and give him a degree. By including reservation based seats in these institutions, the level of academic excellence for which they are known will surely come down.
Reservation as an affirmative tool was to be in operation for the first forty years of India's independence, this was what Ambedkar had envisaged, but unfortunately the political mass have now understood the flip side which the policy of reservation can provide in increasing their vote bank and now they are finding it very hard to do away with it.
It's not that reservation doesn't exist in educational institutes. Most of the Law schools, IITs and IIMs have reserved a fair percentage of seat for the OBCs and the SC/STs but has that helped? An OBC student may get admission into a premier institute just due to the reservation, which would have not been possible had the quota system not existed, but would he be able to cope up with the educational pressure?
Numbers prove that most of the OBCs and the SC/STs are forced to drop out because they simply can't cope up with the academic burden that is forced on them. So that substantiates the argument that why to force someone on a journey which he won't be able to complete.
By way of providing reservations, the government has provided the third way to enter into good institutes; the first two are hard work and talent. Either you put in your efforts or you pray that you belong to the reserved class. Due to the quota system even brilliant students belonging to the OBCs and STs/SCs are not able to do justice with their talent and efforts. After all one cannot say by just looking at the face that what has played a major role; the reservation or the hard-work?
Who's to share the blame? The blame is on the political parties and to some extent on the people belonging to the reserved classes. Bitter truth is that the reserved class enjoys the reservation, it's natural; even the general section of the society would have preferred reservation. But the thing is that now the OBCs, the SCs and the STs should stand up and say that they don't need reservation. Let the best man win.
If fifty years of reservation policy has not been able to achieve anything then have we to wait another fifty years? Let the reservation be based on the economic divide, on income. Are not a poor Brahmin or a Kshatriya or a dalit entitled to the same education and same reservation. The basis should be the annual income and not the birth.
So long as the class and caste divide is in the books and in the law, it will be present in the society and in the minds. Ironically the whole concept of reservation was conceived to remove this very class and caste divide.
Ancient texts and laws do talk about system of dwija or the twice born who were considered to be higher in the hierarchical ladder. Dwijas were "dwijas" because it was inscribed in the system, the law recognized it. The sense of thinking works on what the brain hears, sees and reads. A new born baby doesn't know what a dalit is till he is made to understand the meaning in subsequent years.
India has many other serious problems which need attention, and surely caste and class doesn't figure in it. One week ago there was no such frenzy on the reservation system, but then in his world who likes to live peacefully? Attention craving, personal gain and identity crisis have prompted many an incident in the past which the world could have done without. The recent HRD ministry's action is one such instance.
One's curiosity regarding the reasons which provoked Goswami's immolation and immortal action now perhaps stands answered.