This week, I received an email from a friend requesting me to sign a PIL that asks for cancellation of caste based reservations. Without giving it any second thought, I clicked on the link and signed my name. When it came to pushing the ‘submit’ button, my hand fell numb. My mind changed and I realized why I won’t be able to sign such a petition.
Caste quota in India, that has benefited a great deal of people in getting admissions into premium colleges, blessed them with employment and inspired them in joining politics bringing them to the forefront, has shattered numerous dreams. I have heard of and known many who had to give up their dreams of getting into the college and studying the course of their choice. I know those who had interests in and were meritorious enough to pursue a course of MBBS but had to console their souls by taking up Pharmacy when they did not have the money to pay whopping donations nor the years to keep appearing for entrance examinations. And sadly, this happened when those with less merit and less interest got into the best of the institutions without any competition.
There have been a plenty of bright, diligent and those who were both, who had to let go their ambitions and aspirations because we were reciting the chant of equality of castes. Every year, students with 70 % marks, 60% marks and sometimes 50% marks see doors open when all desirable doors are shut for those with 89% marks. Some of them decided to turn to other countries in order to follow their dreams.
Opportunities should exist for all, irrespective of marks. However, when we usher in the competition, let that remain fair.
When we speak of bridging the gap between high caste and low caste, what kind of equality are we trying to maintain? We are being plain unjust. Not all students falling into the low caste category need a reservation but all of them want. I refuse to believe that children born in a Dalit or a backward class family have any less efficient brain. And, do not put forth the point of their financial conditions, for we know how well they have been rising on that front. Many of them are much ahead of their high/general caste population. They have all the means to grow and get what they want. The irony is that they not only have seats reserved for them wherever they go, but are also provided low cost and no cost education.
I do feel agitated and angry about this but there’s a reason why my knees fall weak when standing against it.
The system of reservation is accountable for corruption. Given the easy lucrative opportunities it has to offer, forging of caste certificates is on the rise. Encouraging injustice and corruption is one more thing that this system has managed to succeed in. A system that doles out favours to you based on your birth is imperfect.
Fortunately, I have managed to survive without needing any reservation, so, I am probably not the right to person to tell the story. However, the angst persists and I’m sure millions will be ready to sign this petition.
Having vented my rants against the reservation, I still won’t sign this petition for the simplest of the reasons.
India is a country of villages. In our villages, the caste system bears an ugly face, to say the least. The population falling in the low caste category is deprived of education, employment and many times, the basic necessities of survival. This population still lives in poor conditions and faces the worst atrocities of inequality by its society.
It is pertinent that we bring them forward by encouraging them in the right way. Laws are written when people happen to ignore the unwritten rules and become inhumane. That’s exactly where we need reservation and that’s where gaps will be bridged without hurting others’ rights.
Follow this link to know what caste means in India and our thoughts will match.
I hope I have answered my question. Any bill will have a domino effect. I doubt our system will take the pains of being selective in terms of cities and villages when passing a bill.
If the idea of giving a second thought to decisions is to be believed, I fall short of the courage that is required to sign such a petition. There’s nothing wrong in caring for the rights of our own people. This needs thinking and re-thinking by all sections of the society. On another note, I have yet to fathom what my choices would have been had I been sitting on the other side and whether my beliefs would have translated into actions.