Friday, June 02, 2006

Reservation - A Boon or a Curse? (Part 1)

A lot has been talked about the proposed 27% reservation in higher studies by the UPA government. Each one of us has an opinion about this topic. Debating who is right or wrong would remain a debate – with no real solutions. Most of us still are debating the problem. What we should really be debating is on the Solutions offered. Some of the gurus have come out with some complex formulae that would only worsen the situation. The solutions offered should be simple; easy to Implement; should treat every community equally; but should not based on caste!

Why many us are not opposing reservation for SC/ST? A little deep dive would reveal that still majority of this clan remain poor. Most of them cannot even afford their daily breads; Education does not even find a place in their priority list. In spite of having reservations for about 60 years for SC/ST – roughly translates to atleast three generations - still majority of SC/ST remain poor. The fundamental question to be raised is ‘WHY?’. The simple reasoning any sane person could make is that still for most of them education does not figure in their priority list.

History has shown us many a ways a community gained supremacy over the rest. The most common element in all those instances is that they had a ‘leader’ with vision. This is the part that is missing in India. Tell me one leader who belongs to this clan who is a visionary in the past two decades? The most prominent and probably the only name comes to my mind is Ambedkar! And he is legacy now. At the ground level these people have seen some among them growing rich in unethical ways – politics being the primary culprit. Most of them want to emulate their leaders to become rich quickly. Why wait and slog for sixteen years to gain a degree and then again slog to find a job? Education helps any person to look at rationales. Since most of them still are un-educated, their so called leaders could influence them with short term surprises – like free blah.

Another sad episode to observe would be on the school/college drop outs. Across India in all the institutes, the 22.5% of seats reserved for SC/ST remain under utilized! The dropouts could again be attributed to the misguided youth in this community. Youth look for quick money. When they reach colleges or premier institutes, they get to move with a crowd that looks so alien to them. Fear occupies their mind about their ability to compete with this group. They have come through to this level with lower levels of scores. They lack self-respect and self-confidence! Because right from their schooling their ability to compete with the best are not nurtured. Instead the government has put a ‘cap’ for their ability! With the current educational system and the loop holes available, anybody could reach those targets without much of a fuss! They are so spoilt by the aids of government that they are complacent and hence brittle. Once cornered any cat would fight back – so are these students! They develop anger over the society! They become emotionally challenged and aggressive. They become easy preys for the local leaders!

Following a local leader and participating in political in-fights fetch them good money. Many aspire to be the next leader. They quit studies in the middle to back their political leaders! Or all it takes is a family mishap – an earning member perishes – and these students are pushed to earn bread for their family. They become easy preys as well!

On the other hand, the school dropouts could be mostly attributed to poverty to the extreme! Their parents need to migrate for their living. Finding a job in the new place and a place to live would occupy their agenda. Children’s education remains a distant dream for them! Government does not bother about these basic socio-economic issues.

All these indicate that the existing policy has fundamental flaws! It does not address the root of the problem. So we can safely decide the current policy is a curse and any further enhancement to the existing policy would only ensure graveyard for ethics and morality in the society. Government need to think towards converting this curse to a Boon. How it could be done? I have my own suggestions; there are many a scholars in this country. Consult them; Ideas are aplenty – Who would implement? Who would bring the change? Only time will answer.

... to be continued ...

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