May 24, 2006

Not quite so sturdy

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Unknown said...

Pills are the best way, yes. Not morphine overdoses. And the yoga still hasn't begun, and neither does it show any signs of beginning.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dilip,

The government has already decided, and yes it has decided on the 52% figures without any concept of creamy layer. So there, I hope now you understand why the modalities of extending reservations is so important. Afterall the difference between Mandal figures and the NSSO figures is 200 million.

I had linked to an affirmative action proposal put forward by DeshPandey and Yogendra Yadav which recognised caste but also things like regional imbalance and gender. However as I thought it does not make sense for people like Arjun Singh.

As I have said on my blog, I believe in affirmative action and also in reservations if they yield benefits. I do not however think that the OBC quota in higher education based on Mandal figures and implemented exactly as SC/ST quotas will benefit anyone. This is the point Pratap Bhanu Mehta has also made.

All I will say now is that may all who think that this will lead to dilution of merit in India and even worse would not uplift the sections of society which really need a leg up be proved wrong. I also hope this will nor perpetuate the feeling of caste but frankly when an old friend calls me a Brahmin just because I oppose reservations in the present form, I don't see that happening.

One last point I would like to make, we all recognise that our parliament is supreme and all that but if it wishes to include more people among Backwards, introduce private sector reservations, increase quota percentages e.t.c it should do that in one go. Then say, ok, now this is the final package for reservations.

So all of us can move forward. I really feel sad that every government which comes to power finds reservations the cheapest way for social reconciliation.

Afterall, we all in our ways wish for a better India. Only the methods might differ.

Thanks for the civil debate. Now we shall move on.

Anonymous said...

A question here that I have asked before and which I again ask
So you feel Laloo Prasad Yadav or his children need reservation? The point still remains that only those groups with electoral clout will get these reservations. Will Kashmiri Pandits who have been made homeless find any place in the reservation list?
WOuld it have been more prudent for the govt to revise all its lists of OBC's and then make decisions?
Will the govt remove certain communities who have benefited from reservations from the backward lists - Both of us know what will happen.
Regards your analogy with illnesses, is reservations in premier institutes the only way to cure the present ills?
Are there better ways -
Improve existing infrastructure and create growth industries in that?
govt exiting certain sectors and become an enabler to grow industries such as tourism and agro industries?
Helping certain communities such as weavers to have better access to markets?
Moreover has Arjun Singh even spoken about Primary education and what his vision is?
Have you seen his replies to Karan Thapar when confronted by facts and figures?
Is this decision taken after doing his homework?
In my company if I take a major decision that affects the company's bottomline, I had better have done my background work properly.
Let us look at reservations in the private sector.
Have you read Azim Premji's take on the matter? If so do you agree with him. There will be no criticism of him as the evil domineering brahmin for pretty obvious reasons.
Is anybody clamoring for reservations in the Bhiwandi powerlooms or the Alang shipyards or any other hell holes. No prizes for guessing which companies are in everybody's sights?

It is surprising even when given facts and figures and the sheer imparacticability of certain moves are presented people continue with certain statements and conveniently duck others. This is what I mentioned at Anand's blog that conclusions have already been made and facts are fitted to prove the conclusion

These are questions that we do not find answers to. Neither so all the people at the Other India.

Anonymous said...

Sure, we must (for example) put primary education in place, and it's a shame we haven't done so all these 60 years, and I believe this is far and away this country's most urgent task. But that's the long-term solution: implementing it and seeing the changes it will bring about is a matter of a generation or more.

If I use a similar analogy, the most urgent problem for me is Islamic terrorism. PErsonally it affects me as the Diwali blasts, Varanasi blasts and the plan to blow up the Ellora caves show. But you have consistently maintained that it is not possible to win the war against terrorism as long as the 1984, 1992 and 2002 culprits are still unpunished. To get them punished is a long process as we have seen (the yoga in your words) but my urgent need is to root out terrorists inmy background who are blowing up temples etc. So I need some strong medicine to root it out. Are you willing to go with the same arguement?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Shrik, that's the tragedy. There are times I wish we'd see hunger strikes and demonstrations and so forth to demand primary education. Seems to me the lack of it harms more people, harms this country more, than anything reservations does.

confused, I'll respond via a post perhaps. Let's see.

Nikhil, it would be interesting to know from you where I've suggested reservations for Lalu Yadav.

I'm telling you my opinion: where we are today, I think reservations are the best -- I really should say least bad -- answer to some of our problems.
Of course there may be better ways. Please suggest them. I notice you've offered some suggestions -- help to weavers, for example. Fine suggestions, and I support them all. I would support their implementation right now. I happen to think that even with them, we need some level of reservations.

I don't throw about "evil domineering brahmins" and the like, so I don't feel any need to respond to that, or feel responsible for those epithets.

Do explain to me what statements or facts I've "ducked". While you're about it, please respond to the figures in this very post that I don't see any response to. Should I conclude that you have conveniently ducked them?

As for terrorism: certainly I believe the perpetrators of Varanasi/Delhi etc should be punished, right here and now. My point about 1984/1992/2002 was exactly what you have suggested: that we will never win the war on terrorism if we remain unwilling to punish the criminals from those times. Even with punishing the terrorists from Delhi and Varanasi.

"Long process"? Well, it has been 22 years since the massacre of 1984. What process is in motion to punish those criminals?

HP said...


Please spare us the useless analogies. I could turn your own analogy against you. I could say that reservations in higher education is like giving cancer radiation therapy to someone suffering from a cold.


Dilip D'Souza said...

Sign that an analogy hit home: when the critic calls it a "useless analogy".

HP: Please do turn my analogy against me. Please do explain how reservations are analogous to giving radiation therapy to someone with a common cold. Make that case. I will listen, I would like to hear it. I mean this seriously, with no facetiousness or sarcasm intended.

zap said...

cmon Dilip...there is a teensie weensie bit of sarcasm there:)
What HP means is that just because there is a disease you can't cure it with ANY medicine.

Those are my views on the reservations debate as well, more or less.

I dont shout hoarse or take to the streets cuz I think anti-reservations rallies are as much about one-own-agenda as is the govts move to introduce 52% reservations.
I usually restrain from saying anything cuz i know that I will Do nothing either way and that takes away my right to crib about anything.
My beer is getting warm.

KoPoS said...


Definitely reservations are cure to the problem of the oppressed people but its as effective as that of burning a dog bite wound with a hot iron rod. You can say its a cure, but its that effective. Period.

Reservations are an easy for the govt to shirk away from its real responsibilities; that of really providing the infrastructure to the oppressed classes. Everytime/next time/Whenever the oppressed classes are going to ask for the government to do something for them; the government and all its future generations will point at the percentage and will simply tell "What more do you want?"

Its this rut that we have already fallen into where time and again we ask how the reservations have really helped the classes all these 60 years. Zilch. But then again you know how every one feels about people utilizing it.

Reservations you say are a cure to the malady; but tell me which cure tells me to give the antibiotic to a perfectly healthy body? Its like giving cakes to the rich and failing to give rice to the needy.

Tell me Dileep what is the prodile of the students who will get into the higher education portals? The IITs, the IIMs? Profile not only the financial profile but also the past profile. Do you think the 'really' needy folks, who first 'need' to pass the tenth, the intermediate classes? Where will get the money, the support to 'first' pass all these hurdles?

Its such a easy way to say in short term that will just bring all the classes up?! How!? How will a reservation quota to a lanless laborers son in some remote village in AP or that in bihar? How will the reservation quota be of any help of the hundreds of dropouts of class 10?

My only point is the reservations are not an overdose, nor an underdose, but finally ONLY a PRETENSE of reform when actually they help the Government shrug away its shoulders and do nothing!!!

Reservation is NOT a solution to anything. Reservations seems to solve a problem which doesnt exist. All it helps do it is create a reverse discrimination not a preferential treatment.

I would be happier if the reservations actually would have helped the government adopt students and say that it will bring them under the tutelage and help them to study till they reach the end of intermediate. After that, help them get recruited in any form to let them earn their living.

I am/was still a conditional supporter of quota, but then until i get convincing answers to them, i dont think reservations are not a solution. My only reason to support quota is "As long as merit is bought through management/nri quota and there is quota for ladies, SC/ST/BC need to get their share". All that is being done in merit hijacking. And poking into each others eye.

The above points actually belong to my friend's suman, a fellow blogger.

barbarindian said...

There are sticks to beat Mandal and reservations with.

The one they used to beat communism with comes to mind. Even if 1% of the population cornered 99% of the total seats, reservations would still be immoral and unjustified. Reservation is just government sanctioned bank robbery.

What would you propose next? Strip Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji and the Ambanis and Tatas of their wealth and give it to the freeloaders?

Neela said...

Dilip: Nice post.

I do agree with you that perhaps reservations are complementary to, instead of a substitute for, primary education upgradation. I just wanted to point out one issue with your medicine analogy: drastic medicine or pills are necessarily short term solutions advocated in the interests of bringing out a cure. In this context, reservations should be viewed as such - drastic, short term remedies that will quickly bring about the cure and can then be dispensed with in favor of the longer, yoga-type solutions. One of the issues with the current reservation debate (among other things), I think, is the fear that these reservations instead of being a 5-10 year thing will be continued indefinitely. And that lays this particular medicine open to the argument that if it is not effecting the cure, perhaps it isn't really the best medicine.

That said, I think, we as responsible citizens abdicate our responsibility when we protest against reservations in the name of justice and equality and fairness, but do nothing (except say vaguely 'well they should do something about primary education" ) to really tackle the issue of inequality and access to opportunity as it exists in our educational system today . As you pointed out and as I have been coincidentally wondering, why are there no hunger strikes and fasts and petition signing in favour of good primary and secondary education? If we think that is the solution to reducing inequality, why are the doctors and MBAs and IITians not protesting for that violently? Why isn't our media calling attention to the state of our rural schools? Why are we not incensed at the quality of education in our own urban areas - the municipal schools?

It reminds me, sadly, of something I read yesterday and I quote " People censure injustice only because they fear to be its victims and not because they have scruples about being unjust themselves". (Plato's Republic).



Rahul said...

I agree to most of the part to what Dilip said. I feel that in addition to caste - gender, rural/urban, economic background, community should also play a role in deciding affirmative action. These are some disparities and group which are disadvantaged who should get benefit of affirmative action. We should redefine "merit" to include both academic and social background.

In addition, speaking of primary education, most of disadvantaged sections girls/backward class etc dont complete secondary/middle school education and hence dont get a chance to take benefit of affirmative action. Plus, they end up going to poorly run govt schools which makes them more disadvantaged vs somebody going to English medium private schools. So I would suggest that at primary private schools reservation should be introduced, till govt improves its own machinery.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Zap, I swear on the tickets you once gave me that I meant no sarcasm. Show me the analogy, that's all I ask. Explain it to me, try to persuade me.

I don't mean ANY medicine, I do mean the appropriate medicine for the particular situation. It's my opinion that reservations are the appropriate medicine for the situation we are in now.

Kopoos, of course reservations are an easy way for the government to shirk its responsibilities, for example in providing all Indians primary education. But let's then stand up and make the government accountable for those responsibilities! Let me say again, I wish there were angry strikes and demonstrations insisting that the government get started today on instituting primary education for all.

KoPoS said...

Dilip Im not worried about the reservations being a method for the government to shirk its responsibilities.

It will actually be an answer for it NOT to do anything for generations together and actually show this as the affirmative action it is taking! The govt can actually showcase THIS as a wonderful mechanism to decrease the bias when its not...

This is a such a quickfix attempt to showcase this as a solution to a malady that CANNOT go away in a short time span. It has to be dealth with much more sternly and government will have a method to actually not do any of them in future or the near present.