Quota for OBCs

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 1 Comments

**NFHS Survey estimated only Hindu OBC population.Image via Wikipedia
WITH the UPA-Left taking a position on maintaining the 27 per cent quota for OBC’s, the situation is getting complicated. Even the BJP for compulsions of not losing OBC votes is toeing the line on quota but with a rider that it should apply to minority-run institutions also. There are others running analyses on why the AIIMS doctors are not entitled to raise the issue since for the PG courses at this institution those undergraduates who pass out from here are given a quota preference.

All these arguments are neither here nor there and are more in the nature of splitting hairs and/or showing off the analyst’s wisdom on the issue. What people are missing is the broader picture and that is if India wants to emerge as a technological superpower, education should not be deprived to any section of our society and also that we should not dilute the quality of education. In that sense what the striking doctors are fighting for is correct.

The political hierarchy is refusing to see this is because of the OBC votes that they will lose or because of retaining their present seats or coalition arrangements. Arguments like the seats in institutions like IIT’s and IIM’s can be increased so that general category students are not deprived because of the OBC quota does not hold water.

Admission to institutes of excellence like IIT’s and IIM’s should however continue to be on merit. Primary and secondary education at the same time should be strengthened so that the philosophy of meritocracy in higher education takes firm and enduring roots in the country.

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Reservation

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

The best way to bring the the so-called socially-backward classes into the mainstream is to take education to their doorsteps.

The government ought to have established schools and colleges of all types; professional and others in areas where the OBCs are dominant. It should have given them sops for enrolling in them. This would have helped the sociallydeprived classes to be on par with the mainstream. The government and politicians have failed miserably in this regard.

In todays materialistic world, which is driven by consumerism and the easy life (the mainstream), poverty appears to be the worst crime. It is the economically-backward poor who are the really deprived lot. A poor man does not have access to anything let alone education.He knows that income certificates can be obtained without any difficulty for a consideration.

In India, where corruption is a way of life, why cannot the same logic also be applied for getting caste certificates? Rao talks of a “Brahminical order” being the deciding factor in the caste system.

This may have been so historically, but in today’s socio-political environment, being a Brahmin is a disadvantage. How many Brahmins are there in government service? How many Brahmin MPs/MLAs are there? A microscopic miniscule, I am sure.

So where does the “Brahminical order” come in? Reservation will only increase backwardness. At present, being backward has become a privilege. It is time, politicians realise that the best way forward is to jettison the word “caste” from one’s vocabulary.

This is evident from the fact that sons and daughters of so-called socially-backward politicians and bureaucrats continue to be backward yet occupy coveted government positions. To what extent these people are really backward is anybody’s guess!

Tags: Reservatiosn, ,

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Once upon a time, Rajiv Gandhi asked same questions as SC

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

Why the hurry? What’s the logic? What’s the scientific basis behind the figure? The Supreme Court’s pointed questions on Monday to the Government of India on its proposed Bill for 27% OBC quotas echo the concerns that the late Rajiv Gandhi raised in his speech on the Mandal Commission in the Lok Sabha on September 6, 1990.

“Today it is the Raja Sahib, sitting there, who is trying to divide our country on caste and religion,” Rajiv said, calling for a “comprehensive action plan, an affirmative action plan for backward communities.”

The thrust of Rajiv’s speech was, “Within a class when you want to give some assistance, it should go to the poorest...We would like that to be targeted to the poorest and weakest in the socially and educationally backward classes...We have problems if the weakest among the classes are not helped and if the weakest among the minority religions are not helped.”

Sixteen years after he made that speech, while his party Congress is pushing ahead with the line that caste is the sole marker of backwardness in the country, it ignores sevaral questions Rajiv had asked V P Singh.

Pointing out that the Mandal Commission failed in its responsibility of “specification of the socially backward classes”—the category article 15(4) of the Constitution makes eligible for special treatment, Rajiv asked: “What sort of information is this report based on? What is the substance of this?”

B P Mandal had not based his report on any scientific field study, and the figure of 52 percent of Hindus as OBC was questioned by Rajiv. Mandal had claimed his personal knowledge after visiting 37 villages was among the source of information on backwardness attributed to castes.

“It is incredible that the government has no comment at all on this report other than saying we will implement it in toto. Why has the government not thought about the lack of scientific input in the data, about the lack of scientific analysis of that data because there were no sociologists involved? Why has the government not spoken about the heavily conditioned inputs that the commission has got? Why has the government not commented on the speed and hurry with which the report was completed?” Rajiv had asked.

Saying that the “Congress was for all types of action including reservation to help socially and educationally backward classes,” Rajiv had said the problem was with “certain definitions.”


Tags: , V.P.Singh, , Mandal Comission, , Arjun singh

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Only real merit counts

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

There is an old Kannada saying: “Tengina mara hattoranna; yeshtu mele antha tallokke agutte?”(How far can you push a man who wants to climb a coconut tree?) At some point of time man has to put in effort and climb up on his own merit. Support can be given only as far as and as high as supporting hands can reach. Only those who can ascend a tree on their own can pluck the coconut.

People who climb up with support from below can never ever make it to the top. The sad aspect is that they tend to cling to the tree and prevent genuine achievers from succeeding. Neither do they reach the top nor do they allow others to do so.

The solution is simple. Ditch that tree and climb another one. There is no dearth of trees. Opportunities are aplenty. And remember, only those who can climb up on their own strength will succeed.

As many as 2,500 years ago, Chanakya stated that every relationship is one of “give and take.” You don’t have to be patriotic if the king behaves like the cruel and careless Dhananada.

If you have the guts, courage and capabality of a Chanakya, then dethrone the king and put a good one in his place. If not, forget that kingdom and go on to another where your opinions are respected. And when the kingdom is filled with limpers, who do not know how to walk without crutches... Well, they can’t say they were not warned.

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The Caste System

Monday, May 29, 2006 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

I AM amazed that while some people want the caste-based quota system abolished and the others want it strengthened, few have argued that the caste system itself should be banned. Does this mean that this horrendous practice has become so much ingrained in our psyche that we have come to accept it as inevitable?

I believe that both the so-called ‘forward’ and ‘backward’ castes are responsible for perpetuating this sin, the former because they have not conceded that there is no such thing as ‘forward’ and the latter because they continue to accept that they are ‘backward’.

Instead of discarding the caste system, both seem to be exploiting it, the ‘forward’ because it gives them a false sense of social superiority and the ‘backward’ because it provides them easy concessions.

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Get rid of caste system

Thursday, May 25, 2006 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

Those who swear by caste should not crib about caste-based reservation as it is only a natural byproduct of the hierarchical caste system. There is no running away from the reality that so long as such a hierarchical caste system exists or is preserved by votaries of the caste system, caste-based reservation will continue.

The only way of eliminating caste-based reservation is by abolishing the caste system itself. One does not see a move in this direction, particularly from those who are discomfited by caste-based reservation. To establish a truly merit-based society in our country, the caste system should be abolished through suitable legislation. The question is whether political leaders and statesmen are up to the challenge.

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The Quota System

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

THE government may not have realized that an anti-reservation agitation would come up as a great problem, when it decided to increase the reservation. The protests found its roots in Delhi and have spread far and wide beyond the expectation of the government. However, as expected, since there is protest against having reservation in institutions of higher education, there is support for reservation.

The caste system would have been long forgotten, provided there is no such reservation system. Needless to say, it has created some barriers, which will act as hurdles in the development of the nation. It need not be mentioned that a certificate of caste could be easily available, if one is willing to pay a bribe for it, as it is a well-known thing. So it is crystal clear that the rich, whether in general or Scheduled Tribes or Scheduled Castes or Other Backward Castes category, would be benefited the most from this system.

What is more evident is the difference is not in the caste, but between the rich and the poor.

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The Movie Controversy - Da Vinci Code

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

THE four words that every person muttered during the last four days were ‘The Da Vinci Code’. Hats off to the author of the book, Dan Brown, for his extraordinary work in literature. The novel is a work of fiction, but undoubtedly is very well written. The work of Ron Howard and Tom Hanks in the movie is quite good. But why was there so much noise on this fiction movie?

This film would have come to the theatres and multiplexes and gone like most of the other films. But because of these protests the film is getting unwanted attention and its marketing is also getting the advantage. Christianity is regarded as one of the most tolerant religions. We had reports from places saying that a man would fast unto death and there will be heavy protests at the places were the film will be screened. Why this intolerance?

Mr Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, the Information and Broadcasting Minister saw the film with other Christian leaders and the solution they came up with was showing the film with a disclaimer. A few months ago, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, the Defence Minister saw ‘Rang De Basanti’. If all of the ministers keep watching movies then who will govern the country and what is the censor board made for?

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A sneeze could give away your personality traits

Monday, May 15, 2006 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

"A-choo!" the sound that comes when you sneeze could reveal details about your personality, said a US body language expert.

Patti A. Wood, an Atlanta-based consultant who created the Achoo IQ Study for Benadryl, said a sneeze could offer a revealing look at someone's personality, reported the online edition of ABC News.

Wood categorised sneezers into four categories: nice, be right, get it done and enthusiastic.

Wood classifies you as a "nice sneezer" if you are a single sneezer and turn away when you do so. People in the category are characterised as being warm, helpful, supportive and nurturing of others.

Or are you the type to let a big loud sneeze out? These sneezers, or "get it done" sneezers, are found to be fast, decisive and to the point. They typically make the best leaders.

Do you always keep tissues handy and cover your mouth when you feel a sneeze coming? These are the "be right" sneezers and are typically the careful, accurate, deep-thinking type, said Wood.

The last group are the enthusiastic sneezers. These are the people with sneezes you notice - such as your grandfather whose sneezes perhaps terrify you, or your co-worker who always sneezes five times.

The enthusiastic sneezers were found to be charismatic and social and have the ability to motivate others.



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Rang De Basanti

Friday, May 12, 2006 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

Rang De BasantiImage via Wikipedia


Films like RDB try to jolt the youth out of the pathological apathy they exist in and raise questions in their minds. Like most of us, the protagonists keep saying that nothing would change in the state of affairs in the country, but as one of them points out- what do we do about it at all? We do not move a muscle to change anything.

The film does not incite violence- or shouldn't-- if the audience can be expected ot decode the message correctly-- but what it does raise through situations in the movie is the question as to whether all action to better the state of affiars is indeed futile. Perhaps one can make a small difference today- perhaps one can try to participate in the system in some manner in order to correct it from within.

Does that mean that the attempts will not be fraught with disillusionment? No. But as the parallelism of the Freedom Struggle also shows, it is the manner in which the protagonists of today's youth take the steps that will decide whether they will have an impact. I don't think Bhagat Singh or his comrades thought of the possible efficacy of their actions- they burnt with a passion not to give in to the oppression they lived under. Perhaps the movie tries to remind us what passion of that nature can do?

The movie should inspire the youth not with the warm fuzziness that dissipates once the movie is through, but with seeds of thoughts that will lead to actions once they take root.

To answer the question and agree that it does not incite violence, the last word is this- the movie provokes thought, and raises discomfort in the haze of apathy. I think the youth is mature enough not to let this result in outbreaks of violence.

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