Yet Another Post On Reservations

Reservation in Indian law is a form of affirmative action whereby a percentage of seats are reserved in the public sector units, union and state civil services, union and state government departments and in all public and private educational institutions, except in the religious/ linguistic minority educational institutions, for the socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or the Scheduled Castes and Tribes who were inadequately represented in these services and institutions. The reservation policy is extended for the SC and STs in representing the Parliament of India & state legislative assemblies.

What is at the centre of great debate is not whether the underprivileged require special representation in the democracy, instead it is the way Reservations has been implemented for educational institutions. The most debated clause of the new reservation laws relaxes the minimum grade criteria for reserved seats; even in highly selective institutions like the IITs and IIMs. The opponents (whom I know) of these reservation laws  a.k.a anti- Reservationists claim that these relaxed minimum grade criteria will demoralize ordinary students who prepare for highly selective institutions. In fact this is not even denied by proponents (whom I know) of the reservation laws a.k.a pro- Reservationists.

My take on this: There is a lack of political compromise on all 3 (yes 3) sides.

  1. The anti- reservationists lack the political abilities & creativity to strongly lobby for subsidized education (books & tuition), instead of relaxed academic grade criteria for the underprivileged. They are politically naive and puritan in thinking. Protests with candles don’t change democracies (life is not Rang de Basanti). That requires MPs & MLAs bought (yes) to vote for the anti- reservationist cause before the nominated court judges can rule for the law according to their whim. The anti- reservationists should organize and donate to pay for these MPs & MLAs pro- actively.
  2. The politicians assume that the state cannot afford to subsidize education for the underprivileged in all educational institutions because the underprivileged are in-fact the majority and it would require a lot of state money. So they are only left with the easier and cheaper choice which they believe will help them win political points: Relaxed Academic Grades. What they do not realize is that, had there been no minimum grade criteria, there wouldn’t be a lot of students to be paid for by a hypothetical subsidized education scheme, because they would be filtered by the highly selective nature of higher educational institutions.
  3. The pro- reservationists have everything. They have the lobby, they are organized, funded by grassroots. However they are misinformed. Many of them are unaware that a hypothetical subsidized education scheme is far more elegant than relaxed academic grades. They lack critical thinking and stick to their philosophies without rational justification.
Moral Of The Story: The middle class of India should stop being complacent about their situation and agnostic about the democratic process. They should actively participate in it if they wish their country to be like in the movie song locations. It is not cool to pretend everything is just fine.
[Update: I do not endorse bribing politicians. There are many other ways they can be made to endorse a cause legally and that requires money]

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