Quotas- Talent please R.I.P.


This government deserves to be ‘numero uno’ as far as sheer chutzpah goes. It has threatened to undo in one stroke all the hard work that has gone into building the country’s premier institutions. The decision to hike quotas to 49.5% is fraught with perils. This ill-advised move will divide campuses throughout the country. It should come as no surprise if campuses get polarized right down the middle. The IITs/IIMs are going to be the worst hit along with AIIMS, JIPMER and other premier medical colleges. The toil that went into building the reputation of these institutes is going to be destroyed at one stroke. Leave aside getting more talented teachers, retaining the current lot is going to prove tough. To be fair it is unrealistic to expect a teacher to very enthusiastic teaching a class where it is known that half the batch has come in on considerations other than merit.  As far as medical education goes, I for one don’t believe for a minute that society at large would be comfortable with the large number of ‘Quota doctors’ coming into practice in the near future. I can recall an example (the list is endless) in Chennai where a minister (an OBC) refused to get operated in a premier private hospital as he was doubtful of the capability of the doctor, as he had got his degree due to the quota system. This should serve as an eye opener for anybody who is benign enough to assume that quotas are a panacea for social injustice.

Only the ‘new age Brahmins ‘ or the so-called ‘creamy layer’ OBC/SC/ST will really benefit in numbers. They actually benefit in the name of their poor brethren. It is galling to see an OBC IAS officer’s son in Mumbai getting admitted into medical college as he is/was ‘deprived’. It is nothing sort of a cruel joke. The reverse discrimination is having its impact and its not very encouraging. The Kanpur Municipality was recently taken aback when it found Brahmins had applied for a Class IV employee’s post carrying a pay of Rs 2130. The recruiting staff were even more shocked to find that most of the candidates were graduates with a couple of them having M.As  One would have expected the politicians to stem the rot at the primary and secondary school level. That is because unless the deprived classes get adequate schooling it is unrealistic even downright foolish to expect them to progress.

If any congressman is reading this he would do well do read what the revered Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had to say on reservations. He wrote, “So these external props, as I may call them, the reservations of seats and the rest, may possibly be helpful occasionally, but they produce a false sense of political relation, a false sense of strength, and, ultimately therefore, they are not so nearly important as real educational, cultural and economic advance which gives them inner strength to face any difficulty or opponent.”  

If the congress party made this move thinking it would become the darling of the OBCs , it has made one big mistake. It lost these bases to the Mulayams and the Laloos long back and hey they are not getting it back anytime soon. I end by quoting a part of Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s resignation letter to the ‘Academic PM’, ‘your government is ensuring that we remain entrapped in the caste paradigm. Except that now by talking of OBCs and SC/STs in the same narrative we are licensing new forms of inequity and arbitrariness.’

One couldn’t agree more.   

Published in: on July 7, 2006 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment