April 11, 2006

Only Reservations, No education

There have been lots of speculations making rounds in newspapers and websites these days. The topic- Increase in the reservations in education for OBCs at IITs and IIMs from the present 22.5% to a new 49.5%. I signed a petition like many others asking the Union Ministry to stop the passage of such a bill which can dampen the standard of these institutes.

I am copy- pasting the petition that I had signed online in this regard.

To: HR Ministry of Govt. of India

To, The Prime Minister of India, the HR Minister of India.
The decision to introduce a reservation for OBC Categories in the premier institutions of India, thereby raising the reserved seats to 49.5 percent comes as a too strong step in the direction of ensuring advancement of backward classes.
While we recognize the need for equal opportunities for the backward classes, such decisions can deprive the shining institutions of India of their quality of students. At a time when we are looking forward to project India as a global destination for excellence in the field of education, this step could wreck the image we have managed to project so far.
Sir, we earnestly request you to take into consideration all the possibilities for creating a platform for equal opportunities in education before implementing such a decision.


I agree that reservations for backward classes are made to give them an opporunity to progress along with others. But, the problem arises with such a huge increase in reservation percentage. How can anyone digest the fact that 50% of the seats would be kept separate, with only the remaining half left for competition?

I wonder why should anyone relate intellect with one's caste. What is the need to do so? You cannot judge someone's intellect by his religion or caste. Even a student from a backward class can top the JEE or the CAT if he has the requisite potential. I know that they were suppressed by the forward classes (our forefathers) in almost everything they did. But, things have changed. Our generation has changed. We don't look at people or judge them by their caste. I myself have a few friends who are OBCs and I have never given any importance to that. Infact, it gives me a strange feeling because this is the first time that I have chosen to speak about it. They are my friends and they are like me in almost any aspect. Moreover, one of them is more intelligent than me. She always tops the class. She has got a very good programming aptitude, unlike me. Then, why?

Reservations in education are understandable, but not so much that people find them repulsive enough to start a nation-wide movement against it. Such high reservations can reduce the standards of good institutes drastically. The only reason that can be stated for such a bold step would be that most of the backward classes are still living in distress, unable to meet the expenses even in day-to-day life. But, there are many such poor souls even in the forward castes. Are they not human beings and don't they need help to come out of their economic distress? So, can't the reservations be alloted only to those who are in distress, who cannot afford good education? There are many others in the backward classes who are leading life just like any forward class person- good education, good job, good money, good position in society. Should their children also be entitled to such reservations? No, because they have the potential to come up on their own. Infact, they should. When their parents could, can't they?

Women reservations. I hate this phrase. I have always been against it. I don't think there should be any reservations for women too. Ok, I agree that there are women who still suffer abuse at the hands of men, be it depriving them of their right to education at home or harassing them physically. Anything indifferent done against someone is an abuse. But, there are many women who are living a deserved life, women like me who were always treated just like their brothers or any other male in the family. Why do such women be entitled to reservations? They are ready to take over. Give them a chance to prove themselves. Such women don't need reservations to establish themselves along with men.

There is this 30% reservation quota for women in engineering in Andhra Pradesh. Even if a girl secures 3000 rank in the regional entrance exam, EAMCET, and gets a seat in a good college, the only thing she gets to hear is that it happened due to the 30% quota and not her merit. Why doesn't anybody realize that she got the rank only because of her hardwork, whereas, most of the other guys might have secured ranks anywhere between 20,000 - 40,000. Tell me, is 3000 not much better and deserved than a 50,000? Give her some encouragement, make her know that you have belief in her as much as you have in your son or probably more than that. She won't look back again doubting her worth.

There's another solution for this. Make such reservations only for those who cannot afford education, who live in villages, in slums, who cannot afford coaching classes like you and me, who cannot earn more than a fixed minimum. Make reservations for those women who get abused in their homes, who are not given the rights they ought to have. Make reservations only for those who need them. Not for those who can do without them.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions presented here are solely of the author's. These are in no way meant to offend any religion or caste, whatsoever, and were used only to discuss the current trends in the education system in India.)


  1. The following is from a recent news article in Economic Times..

    "Minister for human resources development, Arjun Singh, has written to state governments asking them to frame laws in the light of the 104th Constitution amendment.

    The amendment gives states the right to take steps that would ensure advancement of socially- and educationally-backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in private education institutions as well."

    To ensure the advancement of
    'socially and educationally backward classes', maybe the ministry of HRD should focus their efforts and 'grand' plans on the dept of elementary education and literacy instead of dept of secondary and higher education...

    If the classes are really backward socially and educationally, they need the goverment's support early in their 'careers'....If 'socially and educationally backward' classes can come till higher secondary education, it means that they are no more educationally/
    economically and maybe even socially backward when compared to the real 'backward' classes who are either living in either low literate or low income zones....

    Consider the millions of real
    backward people as seeds who have the potential to germinate....If the government is serious about the welfare of the backward classes, they should provide favourable conditions 'air/water/
    sunlight/temperature' for breaking seed 'dormancy' for germination.Does providing extra nutrients/sun shade protection/
    land reservation/'Grow More' for almost a fully grown tree 'ensure' the advancement of backward classes?

  2. karthik: you are right to a certain extent that students from backward classes need to be tapped since their elementary school level so that they can refine themselves by the time they reach their secondary education or graduation level.

    What these backward classes need the most is the development and progress to come out of economic backwardness. They should be made to realize the rights and the wrongs, especially people in villages who don't realize the value of literacy and who don't like coming out of their conventional views.

    Practically, this may not seem possible, identifying all those who fall under such category and helping each and every one of them achieve progress. But, it has to be done gradually. This should proceed in the perspective of taking out economic backwardness from their living.

  3. yeah Indu,what u said is absolutely right..Talent's the most important aspect in every field!! And that should be given credit!!

  4. gangadhar: yeah, gangadhar. Glad that you support righteous views. But, when will the Indian government and the HR ministry understand this?

  5. there sould not be anymore reservations in india. already lot have been done for backward classes.