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The R-word

I’ve been waiting the whole day to write this. Now that the International Women’s Day is done and over with, I have got something to say, heck I do!
Let me just put across that I am neither any male chauvanist pig or any other animal for that matter, nor a misogynist. I have just got some doubts which I consider valid, and the way I see is to justify just plainly troubles me to no end......

Reservations - Holy/Unholy?
In the beginning of time there was Vishnu, it is believed in the Hindu philosphy that the entire universe was created from a single “Anda” that came out of his navel. So everything in this universe, and so in our world, still extending, so in our country should be and is Holy! no?
(I wouldn’t dare to disagree to this if i were you)
But what about..........??!!
Khamosh! No buts! no butts!
Okay maybe it is Holy, but is it good for us, the mango people?
Well it all began with 15% and 7.5% reservations in government aided educational institutions and jobs in government/public sector for SC’s and ST’s for a period of 5 years after which it was to be reviewed. Now nearly 60 years later there are still reservations for SC’s and ST’s and army people, people with disabilities, and also for backward castes and wait for it other backward castes and then god created women.
So, didn’t they review it?
Ofcourse “they” did. They did review it and extended it for another 5 years, and then again and again. Did you know that the clause for reservation in India was meant to stay for only 10 years after which it was to be slowly rolled back.
What happened then?
Well we keep on hearing that Indians are very good at math. Unfortunately this was one time, when we bungled up big time. We didn’t seem to get gist of the 10 part in 10 years, and our understanding was exactly opposite to what was said and they kept on increasing the reservations.
Yes, really! Rajasthan has recently proposed a 68% reservation!
Is it bad?
This is difficult to say, the basic necessity for reservation is to uplift the sections of the society that have been oppressed for centuries together in the Indian society.
So that means it is good, infact brilliant!
In theory probably yes though I wouldn’t exactly say that. Large disparities still remain in India.
Maybe more reservations and for a longer duration can take care of this......
That will be naive to put it as simply as that. Wouldn't that lead to a fragmented country? This was one of the main contentions which led to the partition of India, separate political constituencies for muslims and hindus.
In reality India is a country laden with corruption (rank 64 as per Up from 88 two years, Yippee!
So wassup doc? whaddaya gotta say?
A couple of titbits:
1. The Marathas are agitated since they aren’t being given the Backward castes status.
2. After a National headline catching agitation on the roads leading to New Delhi, the Gujjars got the recognition of “speacial backward caste” and a 5% reservation.

Don’t you see a disturbing pattern emerging? Forget about the election sops that parties regularly dole in terms of providing to specific communities. Isn’t this dividing the country?
But what you are saying is already heard many times, why did you bring up the Women’s Reservation Bill?
It is disturbing to see that the whole media and the political fraternity is behind this bill providing voracious support to it.
I had been going through different news articles on the run up to this bill, some of the things that I read were very disturbing.
An enlightened journo from ToI stated that India stands somewhere around 130 in 144 countries ranked according to female representation in the parliament. Is this the reason, why the women’s bill is being introduced? To get a better rank in some of the surveyer’s next rankings?
Mulayam and Laloo were alleging that this was a conspiracy against the dalits, muslims and backward castes from entering the parliament and assemblies. It’ been 60 years, aren’t anybody yet thinking about rolling back reservations atleast in some sectors, ofcourse slowly. 
Really is reservation for women in the parliament and assemblies going to suddenly empower women who were being oppressed (yes, they are being oppressed)? Remember Rabri Devi, when Laloo got embroiled in cattle fodder scams, she was the dummy through which he ran his empire. Maybe I might not be entirely correct, but think about the stakes that are present with a seat in the parliament or for that matter, an assembly.......These are the domains where the politicos run their fiefdoms and ensure that they win again and again. Just because a women’s reservation bill is enforced, will they be put off? I personally think not, rather on the contrary they will field their wives, daughters, sisters and  again run their little kingdoms, as the bill specifies the reservation in a constituency is on a rolling basis, the ladies will literally be the seat warmers for the grand lords to return back.
Reservation is a very important tool in an administrator’s hand to wipe disparities across his land and to let equality prevail. But it is a double edged sword and when such a situation arises when it is considered blasphemous to even think about decreasing reservations, there is something wrong with the democracy. I am not opposing reservation, I understand the sad state of affairs in our country, but wouldn’t it have been better if the powers that are could be a little more imaginative and try to cover these glaring loopholes and ensure that it propers fulfills its utility and then weed it out when the time is right........

(All said and done, if they are still itching to increase reservations, why not provide reservations to women in IIT's? This is one cause I will support :). We can also help in the admissions process then by sifting through the pictures of the applicants, oh! didn't I tell you? Full facial photographs are a must! Now, there I am not a misogynist!)
I would love to see this post as a discussion, I am more interested in knowing your views and opinions on this topic. 

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14 comments to “ The R-word ”

  1. Saro says:

    Firstly, as a citizen of the country, you have the right to question any policies that the government may propose, right and square.

    Secondly, I do firmly believe that the intention behind the reservation was a good one. And I can guess at why it wasn't rolled back, as it was initially planned... because, the government UPA and otherwise, just began to rely increasingly on the support (votes) of these 'disadvantaged' groups. And they probably have begun to rely on the reservations: hence given all these years, its like a bad credit card debt. A catch 22, hence the voracious support behind the bill for women and what not.

    If we're looking at the sense of it, call centres have done for women, more in ten years than the government has. With regards, to the freedom of movement, thought & placement. I do think, the reservations could be rolled back, and a more focused effort be made towards, things like- safe, grope free public transport. Or telephones for emergency calls on highways so 'women' who drive can call for help, when their car breaks down. Or even free education for all, women & men in government schools. Safety of orphans in disasters- so the risk of being trafficked is reduced. Better police service, so there is a sense of security. A better court system: so rape trials get sorted faster.

    At the end of the day, if the government wanted votes, it could make the effort to do something 'real'. Alternatively, it can just make the rest of the population do the work, of having to be the super best, to merely, qualify.

  1. Mural! says:

    Yes, the bad credit card debt part is right on! thats why i am calling the administrators unimaginative, they are falling in this rut to appease different sections of the population, an appetite for sops such as these is never going to get satiated.............but why is the media also championing this cause bull-headedly instead of trying to have a discussion of the merits of such a nepotistic bill which advocates rolling the reservation among all the constituencies....the nearest to a sane statement was from a journo from Hindu who said that the politicians might also adjust their strategies to accomodate this bill........

    Actually call centres have done some good, but I believe stressing on education much more important......They can atleast provide reservations for deserving people, who are really economically backward instead of designating whole caste systems into backwar, scheduled and other backward castes, why not provide reservation or, grants and assistantships for people who are economically backward, so that the people who use these reservations thought they don't require them can be reduced.....

    Votebank politics has reigned supreme in our democracy which actually makes us look starkly uninformed as a population.........

  1. I hate reservations... Just hate them! F them!

  1. nil says:

    Go read my blog.
    You compelled me to award you :)

  1. Oh reservations...Hurray!!...I am a 33% ...I wish I were born an SC/ST...or at least married one!...then I would have risen to about 80%...LOL

    but not entering politics nor looking for a job...happy with the subsidies to agri and aquaculture...So reservations don't matter to me personally

    does it matter to the status of women...I guess, not...but it does matter to the woman elected and her family...and for generations to come...they will thank the reservation! least someone is happy!

  1. Mural! says:

    @Saurabh I understand your feelings man.......

    @nilanjana thanks!!

    @nalinihebbar but doesn't it run the risk of the descendants also becoming dependent on the reservation system?

  1. Thanks for taking time and visiting my blog. I think we share similar opinion about reservations.

    States like Rajasthan have an innovative concept - reservations for forward castes. It is indeed an innovative concept to build a forward caste vote bank. Bihar politicians have went a step further requiring students to disclose their caste on examination papers.

    No one will speak against reservations. Not the media, not the politicians and none of the leaders. Once they do, their career is finished.

  1. g2 says:

    Our politicians give reservations because it is easier than actually working towards the uplifting the poor!

    The politicians want to do things which have an immediate result because they are only in power for 5 years!

  1. Keerthy says:

    Seat warmers... Yeah, that's what is on my mind since the day of proposal of the bill!!
    This bill wouldn't make a heck of difference in the current state of the administration.
    My dad said that this MAY reduce the extent of violent and corrupt methods made popular by the "gentlemen" all these years.. The recent Mayawati's scandal opened his eyes :D
    I think, we can see those so called women representatives fighting in the parliament soon! :)

  1. Lucy Fur says:

    I am against reservation of any kind except those for economically challenged classes.Women are no longer the weaker sex.The entire bill was a humiliating action for womenkind.

  1. Mural! says:

    @Shreya Yes, but instead of reservations for the economically backward/challenged as you have said, why not have scholarships on merit at the secondary and higher education levels that are concentrating on the means of the applicants and have these reservations to enforce compulsory primary education? I am a believer in education who believes that education can eradicate atleast half the problems and disparities in India. Probably the government can also make sure that economically challenged groups (which aren't being categorised, castewise/religion wise) can be provided with special interest loans with longer return periods.........

    @Keerthy it does make a heck of a difference, in that the politicos will start celebrating this as a victory and see themselves as champions for the newly empowered women and make sure that no one will forget that, quite unfortunate state of affairs, it really is.....

    @Jeetu, couldn't agree with you more bro!

    @KrishnaChaitanya, that indeed is true, what kind of head nodding oxen we as an elecotrate are turning out to be!!

  1. swayambhu says:

    why dont u add me on ur gtalk list? there are a few things i cud tell you...but wont do here fr personal reasons.

  1. swayambhu says:

  1. Vasu says:

    Great post! And since you said discussion, i am going to write a bloggish length response for everyone to discuss!
    I do not believe in stereotyping any identities, but have to mention mine to keep this discussion honest. I am male, and I belong to a so called forward community, and so if I mention in passing that I do not like the way reservations are abused in the country, I would have brickbats coming at my way.
    A typical refrain would be what do you know or care for, you are a typical middle class Brahmin man, and your tribe dominates the blogosphere!
    Yet, at the risk of offending people from marginal sections of the society, I have to say I dislike how reservations are abused in our country.
    The concept of reservation per se, for a country like us, is not a bad idea. Our Adivasis, Dalits, Women, and other minority groups have been severely and systematically abused for centuries, and a few decades of reservation to allow them to catch up would have been ideal. I don’t see why Muslims should be in this category, but they are a huge vote bank
    The problem lies in the real politik of how it is implemented, where all it has been implemented, and for how long it has been implemented. Ambedkar was an exemplary leader of a marginalized community, who was right in demanding these privileges. But even he wouldn’t have supported a life long reservation policy, that crept from school, to university, to workplace. What next? Promotions at office to be deiced on caste, community, and sex?
    With regards to reservation for women in politics, it is a massive conspiracy to promote multiple shady agendas, including that of making Sonia Gandhi the darling of the country’s women. This is again vote bank politics
    All it’s going to end up doing, like you said, is create thousands of Rabri Devi’s
    Bottom-line is that any one from the so called marginalized section (and some people like the real adivasis, are truly under privileged), has to realize that his section will grow collectively only when they compete on level terms with the powerful forces. And that has to come from the leadership: this is where Ambedkar was a leader, while Mayawati is an ugly politician. The country needs good woman leaders in politics, who say balls to reservations and make it on their own. (I don’t mean the Mamtas and Jayalalithas we have to put up with!)
    I was not good enough to go anywhere near IIT (the joke amongst our group of friends being that we won’t make it beyond the IIT entrance gate!). But a guy in my batch, whom we heard about during our IIT coaching days, was a true legend. This dude was from SC /ST background, but he did not use his quota, wrote the JEE in the general category, and came out right on the top...beating hundreds of “upper caste” people on the way.
    And we have enough women leaders in corporate and other fields that make us proud!
    We can do with thousands of such role models for all the under privileged sections of the society.


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