Gitanjali Maria: (after a personal experience)
The interview was to begin in another 15 minutes time. There were just 15 seats in total and more than two hundred students competing for it. The guy sitting next to me had an All India Rank of 29 and still he was anxious of getting a seat. I tried encouraging him telling that not all the top 15 would be interested in a seat and that if he could manage a decent interview, he had good chances. He just smiled at me. Our interviews got over an hour or so later. As we both headed towards the cafeteria, we heard a fat, plump boy shouting over an N-70 series cell phone, probably talking to his parents, “Interview was crap, couldn’t answer any of their questions. Results will be out only in the evening; going out to eat now.”
In the evening when the results were out we could see the same guy grinning ear to ear and yelling through the phone, “Dad, I cleared it.” We went over to congratulate him and casually asked his rank. “1093 dude, but how does it matter chap, I have cleared it”. And he walked away. ‘Quota’, my friend remarked with suppressed rage.
He had studied hard for six months trying to get this seat. His sweat had earned him a remarkable 29th all India rank and a fellow who has got 35 times his rank snatches away his seat just because he comes from a caste/religion that is pampered by the government and the constitution. And what more, he is not even economically backward, he uses an N-70 series cell phone and roams around with a chauffeured Scorpio. This is the irony of India.
Merit is scoffed in front of your caste and creed, hard work and dedication doesn’t matter but the caste you are born into matters. We preach not to discriminate people on the basis of religion, region, caste or creed but build up such atmospheres that even people who thought of one another as brethren begin to differentiate people on the above mentioned lives. When equality is what is being talked about, then why bring in so many reservation systems?
It is true that earlier ‘Harijan’ used to be treated backward by the so-called upper caste people and hence they remained downtrodden and poor. Therefore their upliftment was necessary for balanced growth after independence and they reserved a percentage of seats in government bodies and organizations. Many of them have prospered henceforth and their children and grandchildren lead a life of luxury today. But still they continue to enjoy benefits while many members of the upper caste families endure miseries living below poverty line without any subsidies or aid.
It has been over sixty years since we proclaimed ourselves a free, sovereign and democratic nation. Our economy has grown many times since and our nation has fared pretty well. It is time that we downsized such class reservations and quotas so that merit is given its due recognition. Meritorious financially backward students should be given monetary assistance and scholarships.
Not only in the education sector but also in all government organizations some percentage of seats are reserved for the so-called backward classes and their chances of going up the ladder are also faster. Many at times they lack the qualifications that their ‘general category’ counterparts possess. Also students who secure seats by reservation quota often are unable to cope up with the demands of the course and drop out. Our governments, time and again have tried to appease these classes in order to secure their vote banks. From a total of 22% total reservation, today class reservation has gone up to nearly 50%. With the women’s reservation bill also here, the total open merit seats will be a meager 20% of the total! It is time that we re-visited our policies and our direction of further progress. Many well-qualified and eligible people prefer private sector jobs in comparison to the public sector jobs just because of these reasons.
An equalitarian society should never discriminate people on any basis, be it religion, region, caste or creed. Help should be extended to the needy but not at the cost of the helper getting drowned himself.
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz