Monday, August 3, 2015

Is Caste-based-reservation a fair deal?

I am taken back to my college days, a few years ago, when I am starting to write this post. I had the aspirations to become a doctor, and opted for physics, chemistry, biology in class eleventh. The rut and rigmarole of studying for medical entrances wasn't helpful either and perhaps since I wasn't a student belonging to the OBC or SC/ST castes, I was left behind in the race of becoming a doctor. My dad didn't support the idea of paying capitation fees and getting me a paid seat, and much like most of my friends in the graduation batch I was compelled to devise a plan B. Little did I know that I would end up becoming a teacher, which is a profession I didn't want to take up in the first place. But slowly with the passage of time, I'm loving the idea of enlightening minds searching for knowledge.
For all my friends from the backward castes who are doctors now, all thanks to the cakewalk they had during admission, life is indeed a "pain in the neck". And here I'm enjoying the fruits of a profession that has fixed working hours, awesome perks and most of all paid holidays, which being a doctor wouldn't have offered me. Reservation that way, was a "blessing in disguise" for me.
But then only if, I were to be a doctor, I could have only become one, if I was entitled to a reservation. Else I might have got a medical seat only if I was the best in the lot, which I wasn't. I believe these are the reasons that initiate and impel "brain drain" from India.  Many of my friends who couldn't live up to their dreams of becoming a doctor in India, went abroad.Only because our incompetent classmates from the backward classes realized their dreams of wearing a doctor's coat.
Not because we weren't more qualified than them, but because "reservation based" quota had got them their dreams on a platter.

Reservation is fair as long as it benefits the deserving and worthy. For people in the villages, exploited and looted by the upper caste, this could be their saving grace. But then the flip-side of reservation in  educational institutions is that people who are moneyed and dwelling in the cities, belonging to backward castes are also reaping its rewards. Which is unfair if one were to take into consideration all the people who are financially as sound as people from the backward castes, but belong to upper strata of the society.
Reservation is a way of life in a country like ours. If you don't have a reserved seat in the train, you may not be allowed to travel. That is why I make it a point to book my tickets, months before my travel time, because securing a seat will allow me comfortable and safe journey.
In a country like ours, brimming with human populace, reservation should be a fair criteria aimed at uplifting the marginalized sections of the society. When such caste based reservations favour the economically sound population from lower castes, then it becomes an unfair means of reaching the top. 

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The great Indian  caste based reservation in educational institutions is leading to "brain drain" and mushrooming of private colleges, that are levying exorbitant amounts of money from the harried students of the  "general" socially advantaged category to impart education.
All said and done, I sometimes wonder, will we ever be able to free ourselves from the shackles of caste system in India? For every politician and political party, this is their trump card, caste-based reservation in educational institutions and jobs. Seems, the divide is only getting bigger, and one day we will see times when the students from the "general" quota will need caste based reservations for their elevation.


Kalpanaa M said...

Nothing is fair! What would be fairer than reservation would be to give everyone an equal chance which is unthinkable in our cast ridden and hierarchical society. Glad you're writing about it.

A Delhi Dame said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Delhi Dame said...

I agree, caste-based reservation is unfair. But if one were to take into consideration, the backward castes from villages, this maybe their saving grace. Again, what can be a saving grace for a certain strata of population gets cashed in for votes in India. Caste based reservation should be scrapped off and fair chances given to one and all. Although that's a utopian dream people like me have been nurturing since times immemorial.