Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reservations ki to...

This mail came to me as a forward. It's been posted at several blogs. Read the whole article and then comments at the end

that may happen in future..

Ahmedabad, 30 April 2056: I attended the bash at the IIM-OBC Alumni Association to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the reservation of seats for OBCs (Other Backward Castes) in IIMs. Since I’m not an OBC, I was not supposed to attend, but at present, we MBFCs (Moderately Backward Forward Castes) together with the Non-Scheduled Tribes have a political alliance with the OBCs. We sipped champagne and talked about how so many of us had progressed from reserved seats in the IIMs to reserved jobs to reserved promotions. Unfortunately, the party broke up when a Non-scheduled Tribes faculty member objected to the OBCs dancing with all the pretty girls — he wanted equal opportunities for every caste at each dance. I pointed out that the Non-scheduled Tribes had exceeded the quota of champagne reserved for them. The party ended in a pitched caste battle.

1 May 2056: Today, I became president of the IIM Board of Directors. Under the present rotating presidency system, a member of each caste is made the president by turn. When it was the turn of the MBFCs for president, they had to choose me because I’m the only MBFC on the campus. True, I’m only the campus dhobi, but then every caste must be given an equal opportunity. All those centuries of oppression by the OSBFCs (Only Slightly Backward Forward Castes) and the OFCs (Other Forward Castes) must be rectified. I hope to restore the high standards at IIM — I overheard some foreigners calling it the Indian Institute of Morons, the other day.

2 May 2056: They’ve announced the cricket team for the series against Australia. I was overjoyed when they chose an MBFC man as captain. But my hopes were dashed when I realised he was a Most Backward Forward Caste and not a Moderately Backward Forward Caste. The selection committee lamented that it was gross discrimination that no member from the Jarowa tribe (the Stone Age tribe in the
Andamans) had ever found a place in the Indian cricket team. A squad has since been dispatched to the Andamans to capture a Jarowa tribal to play in the national team. I hope he will improve their performance — they had an innings defeat against the Maldives recently. I would have played myself except for the fact that I lost a leg some years ago when I was in hospital with a toothache and a doctor recruited through the Unscheduled Caste quota extracted my leg instead of my tooth.

3 May 2056: There are too many NFCs (Neo-Forward castes) in the IT business. Under the terms of the Business Reservation Act, their firms will now be taken over by the other castes. I hope they will be able to restore the Indian IT industry back to its former glory. For some unfathomable reason, it has gone down the drain after job reservations were implemented. I went for a movie featuring star actor Mungeri Ram. He may lack teeth, be four-feet-three and have hair growing out of his nose, but this year it’s the turn of the EBC-RYs (Extremely Backward Caste-Rural Yokels) to be stars and Mungeri Ram is the best of the lot. I wonder why foreign movies have become so popular.

4 May 2056: A truly great day. We now have an OFBMBC (Other Forward But Moderately Backward Caste) general as the Head of the Armed Forces. I hope he’ll be able to win back the territory we lost ever since reservations were implemented in the Army. Since then, the north has been taken by Pakistan, the North-east by China, the east by Bangladesh and the south by Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Only last winter, we lost the war against Bhutan and free India is now limited to the western coastal states. But I’m sure the OFBMBC general will turn the tide.

5 May 2056: My wife and I have been blessed with a bonny daughter. Since my wife’s an SBBNSBC (Slightly Backward But Not So Backward Caste), my daughter will be an MBFC-SBBNSBC. I must lobby for reservation for her caste. She’s the only member and I’m sure she has a great future.


To start with, this might seem funny, but when SC/ST reservations started many years back, a thought of having 8 different categories namely SC ST OBC SBC VJ NT1 NT2 NT3 seemed funny. Yes I remember all those names, coz I missed out on quite some good opportunities due to this. Isn't this cumulative ? 58 years after independence, and almost the same time for reservations, people who fall under this category have already taken advantage of these reservations in multiple ways, and have gone far richer and forward than the middle class ( and including the high castes ), and they no longer need reservations.

And then, India with its growing population, and scarcity of resources, such reservations are only going to deny opportunities to people who need it most. Is anyone hearing?


Rushabh Doshi said...

life's full of missed oppurtunities. there's no point contemplating on what's done, or what's gone.
coming to think of it ... "the universe tends to unfold as it should"...
to understand this better, you've gotta see "harold and kumar go to white castle" ;^)

Anonymous said...

What "merit" are we talking of anyway ? Scores in entrance exams at age of 17?

Take the claim of "merit based" entrance to all IIMs and dozens of other institutes.

The CAT exam is based on the SAT exam in the USA . It has been proved beyond doubt that the SAT test is culturally biased . Blacks and hispanics do poorly at it year after year .

If a student who is eligible for admission to IIM on the basis of his CAT score, were to take the same CAT exam in which he/she cleared in a language that he/she did not understand then he/she would be at a disadvantage compared to someone who was schooled in that language . Not knowing that language does not mean you lack the capacity to clear that exam.

Approximately 25 % of CAT test is about English! Another 25 % is about English Comprehension!!!! There you are !!!! About 50 % so called aptitude test is a hoax for someone who is from a non-english speaking background .

This is how the CAT like the SAT is discriminatory .

See the full form of SAT …Scholastic Aptitude Test . The problem is aptitude testing is not so simple . There is no test on earth which can reliably tests aptitude .

Aptitude tests such as the SAT have a historical tie to the concept of innate mental abilities and the belief that such abilities can be defined and meaningfully measured. Neither notion has been supported by modern research. Few scientists who have considered these matters seriously would argue that aptitude tests such as the SAT provide a true measure of intellectual abilities.

It was found that people could be coached to better their scores at SAT . The name SAT …Scholastic Aptitude Test could not be correct . So under such valid criticism the name was changed to Scholastic Assessment Test, since a test that can be coached clearly did not measure inherent "scholastic aptitude", but was influenced largely by what the test subject had learned in school. Even the College Board which conducts the SAT has beaten a hasty retreat.This was a major theoretical retreat by the College Board conducting SAT, which had previously maintained that the test measured inherent aptitude and was free of bias.

About ten years back , however, even the redundancy of the term assessment test was recognized and the name was changed to the neutral, and non-descriptive, SAT. At the time, the College Board announced, "Please note that SAT is not an initialism. It does not stand for anything."

The framers of these SAT tests assumed that intelligence was a unitary inherited attribute, that it was not subject to change over a lifetime, and that it could be measured and individuals could be ranked and assigned their place in society accordingly. The SAT evolved from these questionable assumptions about human talent and potential.

More and more people are questioning the validity of SAT . In the past MENSA used to accept high SAT score individuals . For the past decade it has stopped accepting SAT scores .

The whole exercise of deciding merit based on CAT scores discriminates against those from lower socio-economic status.

Though many non-IIM institutes have started accepting CAT scores, the application fee of these institutes is still inexplicably high.

The CAT is primarily an exam of Math and English. Logical and Analytical Reasoning is nearly absent (except for some verbal reasoning which again depends on knowing English well!!!!).

CAT is a clever way to keep those from lower socio-economic strata away Institutes funded with tax payers money .

So claims of “Merit” based on CAT scores is hollow and discriminatory against those of lower socio-economic strata.

Dhirubhai Ambani had a poor command over English . He would not have made it through CAT. So what "merit" are we talking of?

Anonymous said...

Man is a social animal . And he forms communities to work with , marry ,socialise .

In the pre-agricultural economy of forest ,communities are tribes .

In agricultural economies of village, communities are the traditional castes (like you see in India) . Good conditions in agricuture through history made castes a widely practiced phenomenon in the subcontinent . Even religious conversion has failed to remove the caste system .Caste clearly follows a different dynamic which has nothing to do with religion .

In industrial economies of city based, communities are a new “cosmopolitan caste”.

These three kinds of economies 1) tribal ,2) village(traditional caste) and 3)city (cosmopolitan caste) have fashioned the modern nation as it exists today .Most modern nations are have come into existence during the Industrial revolution .

Modern nations all over the world have had to grapple with the problem of how to assimilate those left behind in the forests and villages in pre-agricultural or agricultural economies . In India due to poor economy growth the problems are vastly more acute .

We cannot wish away the existence of these pre-agricultural tribes or agricutural castes and exclude them from our industrial cosmopolitan caste.

Forest covers are disappearing. The very habitat of the tribal in endangered .

And its tough to compete with the developed countries Industrial technology based agriculture with India’s traditional pre-industrial agriculture . Take for example today 57 of the Indian population is engaged in non- machine aided agrarian activities, this translates into an Indian food worker producing enough food for himself and a surplus for another Indian.We are still importing food from time to time. Contrast this to US, where less than two percent of American population is engaged in machine aided agriculture or related activities. An American farmer produces enough food for 50 people including himself, with even more left over for export. Therefore the American farmer is very productive and very rich by comparison.

Agriculture needs water. Water table is receding in India. Today 70 per cent of irrigation needs and 80 per cent of domestic water supplies in India are met through pumping up groundwater through tube wells. But this massively deployed private response to public failure can only be temporary. Water tables are plummeting and aquifers are running dry. Estimates show that 15 per cent of aquifers are already critical and the number is projected to rise to 60 per cent in just twenty years .
For more read http://www.rediff.com/news/1998/apr/28water.htm

With each passing generation inherits ,the share of the agricultural land of each subsequent generation becomes less and less . When each person has a very small plot of land you cannot have advantages of scale .

Traditional means of incomes are drying up in forests and villages .

Farmers have been commiting suicide . Naxalites philosophies are attracting a greater following in some jungles. Situation is grim . There remains a large part of population simply unequipped with skill set required to compete in the industrial/service world . We have a tragedy of enormous proportions staring in our face .

Castes are a form of social stratification from the agriculture economy era . Some castes have been able to make the shift to industrial economy to become a member of the new cosmopolitan caste to a greater extent than others .

Castes in India are endogamous . Majority of indians still marry within their castes .The sense of traditional caste is weak for the new cosmopolitan castes in urban Indians as they work in industries in these cities .In their case a more cosmopolitan anglacised sense of community has replaced the pre-industrial traditional caste system. This is simply the industrial version of the traditional caste system .Members of this new cosmopolitan caste also practice endogamy . They marry their own kind . And prefer to work ,live and socialise with their own kind . It is an unacknowledged caste in the sense they see themselves above the caste system . “Caste no bar” if you belong to this cosmopolitan caste . Looking through the matrimonial advertisements in news papers or surf through matrimonial sites on the web . You will see right away that those who consider themselves diehard cosmopolitan is miniscule .Most people still retain that weak link to the traditional caste system when it comes to important decisions like marriage .

What needs to be kept in mind that people prefer to work with their own castes . For example for his medical needs someone from the cosmopolitan caste is not likely to see a general practioner who has poor english skills. In the same way someone who is a say from a tribal village is unlikely to be comfortable with a general practioner who is a english speaking westernised dandy. Where possible people go to physicians who they consider as one of their own, some one who speak their language and understand their lifestyle .

You see this same division in private sector as well. If you are corporate entity and your company has predominantly members from the Cosmopolitan caste you are likely to reject someone who does not seem to reflect your cosmopolitan culture,especially for the important high profile,high visibilty appointments . Companies call this “cultural fit”.

Will Azimbhai Premji announce that the next owner of Wipro will not be his son? Will he make that decision on merit ? Why did Ratan Tata succeed Bharat Ratna JRD Tata ? Was he the most accomplished person in the Tata empire ? So you see the cosmopolitan caste reserves the topmost creamy posts to one of their own in a very similar way like the traditional caste system .These posts are very much “Reserved” . If the english speaking members of the cosmopolitan caste fails entrance exams , group discussion, interviews all of which are often conducted in English , then there are always management quotas ,governing body quotas ,NRI quotas ,paid seats within India or paid seats abroad all of which can be accessed with money or influence .

Owners or management recruiters from each caste almost always recruit people from their own castes .Some one of their own kind . If you do not have enough members of your own caste as recruiters whether it is government or private jobs the entry points into the industrial economy drastically come down. Each caste has its ‘Creamy’ layer .Some castes have very thick layers of cream . Some castes have a thinner layer compared to their size. Thick or thin…. this creamy layer is its entry point into the industrial world .

This problem is by no means peculiar to India .What is different is the sheer magnitude of the problem .

Governments all over the world use “affirmative action” to remedy this serious problem.

Reservations and quotas are a form of Affirmative action.

What is affirmative action ?
Affirmative action is a policy or a program aimed at increasing the representation of members of groups that have traditionally been discriminated against. This typically focuses on education,employment, government contracts ,health care or social welfare.

Just look at how it is practiced in the following countries :

American President Lyndon Johnson said "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, 'you are free to compete with all the others', and still justly believe that you have been completely fair."

In USA : American President Lyndon Johnson brought in affirmative action by an “excecutive order” . The order aims "to correct the effects of past and present discrimination".

The order specifically requires certain organizations accepting federal funds to take affirmative action to increase employment of members of preferred racial or ethnic groups and women. Any organization with fifty or more employees and an aggregate revenue exceeding $50,000 from a single federal contract during a twelve month period must have a written affirmative action plan. This plan must include goals and timetables for achieving full utilization of women and members of racial minorities, in quotas based on an analysis of the current workforce compared to the availability in the general labor pool of women and members of racial minorities.

Regarding Native Americans there are today more than 563 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States. The United States recognizes the right of these tribes to self-government and supports their tribal sovereignty and self-determination. These tribes possess the right to form their own government, to enforce laws (both civil and criminal), to tax, to establish membership, to license and regulate activities, to zone and to exclude persons from tribal territories. The recognition confers benefits, including the right to label arts and crafts as Native American and they can apply for grants that are specifically reserved for Native Americans.

In Japan : there is an informal policy to provide employment and long term welfare (which is usually not available to general public) to Burakumin (untouchables).

In Brazil :Brazilian Universities (State or Federal) have created systems of preferred admissions (quotas) for racial minorities (blacks and native Brazilians), the poor and the handicapped. There are also quotas for the disabled in the civil public services.

In Malaysia :there are laws called bumiputra laws which are a form of affirmative action meant to provide more opportunity for the majority ethnic Malay population versus the historical financial dominance of the Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indian populations.

In New Zealand :individuals of Maori or other Polynesian descent are often afforded preferential access to university courses, and scholarships.

In South Africa : there is a the Employment Equity Act aims to promote and achieve equity in the workplace, by encouraging equal opportunity amongst all workers. It includes efforts to identify reasons for inequalities and change the employment rates of previously underrepresented groups for a more equitable job market.

In UK: according to the Good Friday Agreement the law requires that the Police Service of Northern Ireland recruit equal numbers of Catholics and non Catholics.

In Indonesia: affirmative action programs give natives preference over Han Chinese who have immigrated into the country.

In Macedonia :minorities, most notably Albanians, are allocated quotas for access to state universities, as well as in civil public services.

In China : there is a quota for minority representatives in the National Assembly in Beijing, as well as other realms of government.

In the European Union: there is an antiracism directive which concerns the application of the principle of equality without regard to race or ethnic origin. This anti-racism directive, is to be implemented in national law of the member states.

In Germany :there are programs stating that if men and women had equal qualifications, women had to be preferred for a job. The anti-discrimination law which is yet to pass, aims at improving the protection of minorities.

Belgium government :proposed in January 2006 a measure that will make some job opportunities available exclusively to immigrants, disabled and elderly people.

Much of the developed world does believe that social justice can be done by reservation/quotas for those that are discriminated against.

Dalit issues of India have already been linked with human rights issue in International forum like the UN .

To repeat what past American President Lyndon Johnson said "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, 'you are free to compete with all the others', and still justly believe that you have been completely fair."

Memoryking said...

Read your blog.Liked it a lot.Here is mine http://www.emotionalzombie.blogspot.com/
"You say, if a student knows a seat is reserved for him he is not going to work towards it. Ask yourself- If a person knows Education is subsidized for his kids, food items are subsidized for him, is he going to work? Isn’t it harming the Economy? Isn’t the highly subsidized education we avail a classic example of social injustice? "

Rony said...

It seems to be a fad these days to be against any kind of reservations. But I suggest any of you read the following article:


It points to some real interesting facts in Indian Cricket. It may be true that we all get exploited daily and do not even understand that. Similarly we tend to believe that India's most important sports is played by the most talented plyers in the country. Is it really so? I wont break the suspense. Becoz then there will be no interest in the article. Read it friends and leave your comment. We really need to debate on this.