My Reservations about Reservations

Filed under: , , , , , by: MadG

The issue of reservation has touched every student aspiring to continue his/her higher studies in India. This is one issue where the student community is clearly divided. I find myself among those who oppose the recent move by the government to impose reservations in IIMs, IITs, and other higher education institutions. Studying in the university that follows 69% reservation policy (Or, so I believe), it may sound strange. Reality is that, this reservation is not doing any good to the university and I have no reason to believe this policy is going to do any good to the country.

Why do I not share the optimism of our well-experienced politicians??? To put it simply, the objective is lost. Rationale behind this policy is to give equal opportunity to people. This will never be realized. Instead, it will only strengthen the caste-community divide in the society. This, I believe, is what fascinates our rulers. How difficult is it to imagine India without castes? Definition of an election manifesto has to be rewritten if Caste system were to disappear from our society.

The purpose behind introducing this system is to ensure that all communities get equal opportunities. The communities that were unreasonably suppressed manage to find their just place in the society. But, with the introduction of this system, there will be little or no improvements towards this objective.

Lets us imagine this gets implemented (I’m quite sure our sincere legislators will find some ways to implement this policy!). Do you think those talented young men and women from remote villages will find their way to IITs and IIMs? That’s not going to happen because they had never gone to the nearest school, let alone IITs. Those who do find their way to the institute are those who were rich enough to spend thousands or lakhs on CAT and JEE coaching; those who have been brought up in cities in the past 20 years or so experiencing no social discrimination comparable to what people of his/her community (the one you find in his/her certificates, whether its true or not… that’s something one can never dispute for our bureaucrats do better job when bribed!) had experienced until a couple of decades back. It is these people who find this very useful.

I believe this will in no way change the plight of millions of individuals still struggling with discrimination. Nor, will this bridge the caste divide. On the contrary, it will only lead to the real talents of people from these communities being questioned. Such doubts are probably the worst form of backwardness that one can experience. Also, it will strengthen the thought that people from certain communities get unfair advantage. Interestingly, this perception will tend to remain on both sides of the divide to equal extent.

When a policy is going to serve no good to the society, there is no reason why this system should be implemented. Unless of course this benefits our patriotic politicians.

This is my argument against the policy.

You agree or disagree? I Would like to hear your opinions…


On May 24, 2007 at 3:03 PM , Random Links said...

Hey, this is Sundar. Nice blog btw :).

I understand your reservations regarding reservations. I want to pick your brain a little bit here:

(1) Do you think social equality is a goal worth pursuing by a state/nation/society?
(2) If so do you have any thoughts on how to bring about social equality in India. It is clear that you are not a fan of reservations (at least in their current form). Do you suggest any alternate means to achieve the same goal?

On June 16, 2007 at 12:35 PM , MADg said...

Hey Sundar! Thanks for your comments!

I believe that social equality must be a top priority for all the governments. Yes, I think it is a goal worth pursuing.

I'm not an expert. So I don't think what I suggest can be called a feasible alternative. In fact that is the reason why I did not talk about any of them in my post!

I think reservations are harmful in this competitive world. When you reduce competition, I think the objective of providing equal opportunities can be achieved.

By increasing the no. of seats in the existing institutes will be of no use. The number of institutions needs to be increased without compromising on quality.

Introducing reservations in such a scenario, we can ensure that all deserving students(by this I mean all those who have cleared the qualifying exams and not only those who secure 98% or 99%...) to study in these institution. This will also make sure that students from those communities that need special attention benefit by studying in these institutions.

Is this feasible? Probably not. I do not see this (or any concrete efforts for that matter) happening in the near future.

Hmmm... I am skeptical of Mr.Manmohan Singh's promise to establish more universities.