meena iyer
Rajeev was quite hard working lad. In his part of world there was no other way. For you see he was quite poor. Not poor enough to starve for food, thankfully their farm took care of it. And yet, they were poor enough for him to look out for scholarships to fulfill his dreams.

And what glorious dreams they were. Of going to city with bright orange lights with all its glittering glory and an office with its sleek desk made of glass and a state of art computer that twinkled in the dark corners of his eyes. Oh yes, he dreamt big.

No one really liked him much. For you can always see his nose buried deep inside books all the time. If he was not studying you would oft see him helping his father in the farm, for laborers were hard to find especially for the wages that they could afford. And if it was not the farm there always was livestock to be looked after and then there was market to be visited and grains to sell and manure to buy. When the mango groves tempted the kids to play to pluck the succulent fruits on the sly, you could see him earnestly reading his books for the coming year, giddily making use of the time left to him before the rain beckoned him back to the "chores".. And yet he dreamt.

And when he happened to get his results, he had scored a respectable 79% No one from his village had ever done so. Every one was jubilant but him. For you see , these marks were not enough to make his dreams to come true. He dreamt of being a software Engineer and studying in the big big city of dreams.. Mumbai..

Bokkya lived in the same village as Rajeev. He was the usual desultory kid of the neighbourhood who had no thought of going beyond his village. He was the son of the local corporator and they were rich.. Atleast richest in the village and he loved being the big fish in the small pond. And yet when he happened to scrape through 65% in the very same exam, his father started thinking about progress.

Rajeev had a hard time getting admissions in those big time fancy colleges. He had to settle for a college in the outskirts of the city and for a branch that he didn't fancy. It wasn't "IT" . Only consolation he had was of doing better in the first year and may be he can change branches. Besides he would be an "Engineer" something better than nothing isn't it ? And he would get a scholarship. The local politician who was himself from humble back ground was impressed by this lad.

Bokkya didn't have any issues getting an admission, again in the very same institution as Rajeev. in "IT" the stream that Rajeev so wanted and Bokkya didn't care any about.. If you have missed it, let me remind you Rajeev got 79% and Bokkya 65%.. wondering why this discrepancy ? For you see Bokkya was an "OBC" and Rajeev an "open category" student..

Thats caste discrimination for you in today's time. How can one punish sons (daughters) for the crimes of fathers (or mothers if you like) is beyond my comprehension !

If you want further story.. well after languishing in the same year for 3 years, Bokkya decided to call it quits and Rajeev was never allowed the transfer even after coming 1st in the college as there were no seats "free". [ In Mumbai University first year syllabus is same for all the branches]

If you have not figured it out yet, this IS a true story as it happened in front of my very eyes! And this makes me veritably against reservation!

For you see Bokkya is still lingering in his village being what his father was.. a corporator and Rajeev has done what these people wouldn't let him do.. He is an software engineer. His intelligence paved way for him. And if this doesn't make Rajeev feel superior to Bokkya I am not sure what else will make him..

If this is the way one will achieve the equality of masses.. I am sorry its never gonna happen. And till today we have incidences where gargantuan walls are made so that certain set of people cannot go to certain parts of the village .. coz of their "caste" I for one am not at all surprised.. for we are not impinging the line that separates us but deepening it with stupid rules that would never work for anyone but the politicians...

I have always maintained that I will never criticize unless I have an idea that would work and that can be propounded. This might seem a bit flighty and not practical enough .. but I think this would be the best way to go about..

I feel separate schools should be maintained for anyone who needs education ( Government have them but are not well run) and only those students should get any kind of grant.. for they will be economically lacking. I am sure under this all the down trodden will be covered and them rich low caste with deep pockets can be excluded for those kids would never agree to go to such schools where they have to hobnob with brethren who don't have proper set of clothes to wear even.. nor would their parents! I believe they should have schools/colleges for everything under the sun so that no one would be denied their dreams.. and when they come out of the educational institution.. please god please do not give them reservation.. give them equality! For struggle is important for the butterfly so that it can be beautiful! if you help it on its way.. no caterpillar would ever have strong wings to fly !

B.R Ambedkar, despite all the odds did come through.. and many such shining pearls would have.. if it wasn't for this reservation.. they are lost in complacency as they never had to struggle to carve their personality and are lost in ignominy of being the reserved classes.. something they were supposed to fight against..

I repeat.. reverse discrimination is in not the way of going about it!


7 Responses
  1. Ajit Says:

    great article winnie....
    yes reverse dis. is not the way to go.....
    but in india, the lines of dis. are so blurred that we cannot ping point it....:)
    It is a difficult question....
    in places like Bihar etc, Upper castes dis. against lower caste... and in places like TN, upper castes are being dis. against....
    :)


  2. Ajit it is a difficult question but what we have is not a solution!


  3. Subhajit Says:

    Well, the best thing you have done to make your stand clear is example you have given...

    A good thought provoking one...


  4. Indyeah Says:

    agree comletely Winnie..sadly the reason reservation has not worked despite having been around for so many years is precisley because of politics...and the ONLY criteria for reservation ideally should be on the basis of economic background,

    sadly as you can see that is not the case today..'the 'creamy layer'(what a word!)takes the benefits..

    I dont see reservation going anytime soon coz the votebanks for slimy politicians will dspr..


  5. Archana Says:

    Firstly, It feels good to see someone openly addressing hard-pressed issues like this:-)
    As long as caste system , fallacies in the administration exists, reservation is here to stay. Howmuchever we scream at the top of our voices, most times it just goes unheard :-( This does not appeal like pessimism I hope. I just am being absolutely candid:-)


  6. Yogesh Says:

    Often I have asked myself how is the reservation quota will work?

    I think the idea behind creating the quota was right, but the fact that no rules were set on what basis the admission were given made it easier from the given categories students to study less as they know that they will get admission on the basis of their category.

    You should see the faces of the students who in spite of scoring higher does not see his name in the first list for admission, while a person from the reservation category makes it in the first list with a percentage of 35% in a well known college.

    Now with reservations in IIT, IIM's things are only going to get worse.


  7. Kris Says:

    winnie, this is a nice idea, but setting up quality schools and colleges is an expensive proposition, and with the govenrment at the helm, it's bound to be messed up.

    i feel economic reservations are the way to go - as there are less chances of the govt messing that up. also, after max 2 generations of using reservations, they should be abolished for that family. that way we elimnate the systematic lazy moochers, who are poor not because they don't have the opportunity but because they don't care.

    unfortunately, for quite a while now, reservation hasn't been about upliftment, but votebank politics. none of these suggestions have any hope of being implemented under the current political system.