Posted by: Vikram | August 25, 2008

Of caste, cutoffs and the IITs

The Times of India had a headline story about the IITs apparently ‘lowering their standard‘ for lower caste students. No room for the agitations in West Bengal or a BJP man burning a Dalit boy. The pathetic Indian media continues to indulge its lecherous middle class at the expense of its seething underclass. The article says that,

This means that with the last general category student scoring 5 in maths, 0 in physics and 3 in chemistry in JEE 2008, an SC/ST student who had scored up to 40% lower- 3 in maths, 0 in physics and 1.8 in chemistry – was given a seat in the IITs.

Wow ! What a tyrannical injustice !! How could that exalted temple of learning, the IITs, commit such an abomination !!! How dare they let a kid from the abused, oppressed and exploited underclass of India get into India’s pride inspite of committing the heinous crime of scoring a full 2 points lower than the lowest upper caste candidate ? Does anyone else smell the reeking hypocrisy here ?

The comments almost all endorse this middle class mockocracy,

This is the problem with this country … and then we wonder why we are a 3rd world country.

Yes of course, India is a 3rd world country not because of its appalling inequality in education, sanitation and health but because we let some oppressed people into our self-glorified IITs. The response of the upper castes has always been to make the reservations an issue of meritocracy. Rarely, if ever, have they looked at it as a social justice issue. If they were so worried about India’s future, they should have mentioned before anything, that reservations at such a high level of education without adequate investment in basic education will do little for the lower castes. But instead, they always emphasize that reservations will lead to a decline in ‘India’s global competitiveness’.

Almost every comment from the upper castes reeks of hypocrisy, here a meritocratic recruiter’s reveals his pangs,

Too bad for all IIT-ians. Now managers like me will screen out SC/ST/OBCs from IIT in our recruitment efforts. No more direct entry for IIT-ians in the corporate world as a result of this reduction in quality.

So, even after graduating from an IIT (possibly with good grades) a lower caste student can expect no mercy. After all, (s)he took the place of the deserving Brahmin boy, what about all the money the Brahmin’s father spent on coaching classes ? So does the corporate world not hinder India’s competitiveness by ‘direct entry’ for IIT-ians regardless of achievement and expertise ?

It seems that only a few can see the truth,

Frankly, I don’t know where all this talk of IIT “quality dilution” is coming from. I hope its not my fellow IITans. Only a dumb hiring manager will hire you just because you went to IIT. Trust me, you don’t want to work for a dumb manager. I can tell you who is not to blame: the SC/ST students who get into IIT through these stupid quotas. Given a choice, I would have done the same thing to secure my future and so would you. Let me tell you what else does not bother me: a “lower quality” IIT classroom. In any given IIT classroom, the professor would think he was blabbering in a graveyard if it wasn’t for the 3-4 students who actually take interest. More quota in the class will probably only improve that situation.

The IITs are a national resource, created and maintained by the government for the people. It is not a breeding ground for any kind of corporate elite, but an institute of national importance. And nothing is more important in India today apart from equality for its masses.

Comments source: The Times of India

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Responses

  1. I agree with you on reservation. However I do not agree with you on one thing. Not all of these so called “Dalits” are backward. Majority perhaps. The problem is the religion and belief in India that is the cause of “caste”. If you want an equal society you need to attack the root of the problem giving a few token seats in a few colleges will not help. In any case why should these people be dependent on constitutional charity if they aspire to be equal partners in the country? However till someone or the other is not ready to take the bull by the horns reservations should continue, perhaps then people will at least realise that in order to solve the problem we need something more drastic.

    Absolutely, my point was once again to highlight the middle class’s lack of understanding of social matters in India. I did mention,”If they (the middle classes) were so worried about India’s future, they should have mentioned before anything, that reservations at such a high level of education without adequate investment in basic education will do little for the lower castes.” Something drastic is needed, but that might also lead to even greater instability.

  2. Regarding the reservations,being one among who benefited from this,I know it sounds unfair for the rest.But,unlike those comments in the post,I know its no way diluting IIT’s quality.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog..Your blog is one good blog,will come often.

    Thanks Oite

  3. You have rightly identified the problem. Had quality basic education had been provided to all, this ‘problem’ of reservations in institutes of higher learning would not have arisen at all.

    It seems there is vested political interest in not focussing on basic education. The likes of Laloo can only flourish when there is illiteracy, exploitation and ignorance.

    The middle class cribs, with some justification, because it gets unfairly squeezed out due to caste based reservations. The disgust should not be, and hopefully is not, directed against dalits who get into IITs.

    Getting in only one part. People conveniently forget that good education and training can work wonders. That is the opportunity that dalits need. That is what India needs to find ways to provide.

  4. You suck, darling! Yes, frankly, being at IIT, I’ve seen that none of what you’ve written is true. I do agree that government must do something for the cause of the economically poor people(not socially oppressed, because that is a phenomenon that is very much in co-relation with the economic status of a family), but reservation, certainly is not the way to do it. And any IITian, would agree that the government is wasting away seats, giving it to undeserving candidates on the basis of caste. (And do not give me ur usual ‘ELITIST’ IITs reproach, coz that is totally incorrect). No professor (or student, for that matter) really cares abt one’s caste, but it gradually becomes evident after 1 or 2 quizzes, as to who has entered the insti by reservation/caste, and who has entered by merit. Even afterwards, no one really does anything that mounts to oppression on Dalits in IITs, because we simply don’t care. We’ve(and the profs too) got far more things to worry abt than oppressing a Dalit.

    Lastly, since u’ve never been into an IIT, take note of this: A professor would never feel he is teaching in a graveyard, not atleast in the IITs. Barring a few back benchers, all of the students at IIT participate in classroom discussion, given that the prof makes the subject interesting enough for the students. And, with more reservations, that certainly won’t be the case.

    The comment about the professor feeling that he is in a graveyard was not my own, but that of an ex-IITan himself. I simply quoted him. 😉 I never claimed that Dalits were oppressed in IITs. I merely pointed out the middle-class’s hypocrisy in emphasizing reservations being a major problem in India, when in fact the real problems lie in basic education and health among other things.

    Next time, before you comment on some article or blog post, take some time to properly read and understand it first. 🙂

  5. Hmmm…. Have you given a thought to who actually suffers because of reservation?

    The middle class, Already overburdened rising inflation, pollution,etc. The reservation just adds another nail to the coffin.

    Why not create a reservation for the economically backward? Or for that matter give concessions to students from a rural background so that the economic status quo improves.

    No of course not, where would all the political parties be then?

    Its really easy to blame the middle class for its lack of acceptance and flexibility and open-mindedness. Have you ever given a thought to what a 99 % student feels when he/she cannot get into one of the to Indian schools on merit and a 40% gets it on the basis of what his great-great-grandfather was?

    Someone, I think you are considering an extreme case and being a bit of straw man/woman (perhaps unknowingly). To conclusively prove your claim that reservations discriminate against the highest rankers, you will have to show me research that a certain high percentage (say more than 50 %) of the high ranking upper castes do not get into the college they want to. You will also have to show that a large percentage of the lower castes who get into due to the reservations are the ’40 %’ scorers. As it stands, your argument is non-scientific and spurious.

    The Sachar Committee report (and much other research) conclusively shows that there is an extremely high-correlation between being lower caste and being poor and having parents who are not educated (this should answer your great-great-grand father comment), both of which are extremely important obstacles to obtaining a university education.

    Most research papers I have read have indicated that India’s social uplift programs have mostly been a success, if this does not seem to be true to you, it is probably because the uplift had to be from such a low level.

    Obviously, the politicians will play their ‘votebank’ cards, but they have to if they want to survive as viable politicians. It is the middle class’s fault that it did not sustainably organize and mobilize itself. Please read my post on the Dalit movement.

  6. reservation of SC/ST’s are not an answer to raise from their oppression. Once they get in the poor things just can not cope with what is going. Many take more than 4 years to complete. They are the ones who are not keen to go in for Masters. They just come for the name and the fame. They get weeded out.The talk outside the classroom and not inside. The DAC students also belong to the same club. Next time if somebody want to make sure that is an IITian – just ask his JEE rank. He won’t spill it out so easily, because they rather hide who they are. They are not the PR types and they don’t seek it either. It is others who has put them on a pedestal, not they themselves. They are phenomenal creators, original thought (outside the box types).RAW INTELLIGENCE. if you want a workhorse, don’t hire them. BAD choice. Don’t put many of them in the same group. waste of resources. . I call them “Diamonds in the dust” and the US universities and industrial environmenal culture have help these guys bloom.
    i agree with most of The Recluse has written – though it may not be dot on with the title of the post. mine too – sorry about that.

    The worst part is if they are going to hire faculties in the sc/st quota. that is a nightmare waiting to happen.

    it is a pleasure to go through your archives…nice reads

    Anrosh, I am sorry but your comment is full of generalizations and blanket statements without any factual backing. Please look up the Sachar report, ascertain the facts and perhaps then you will understand this issue better.

    I would like to comment separately on your assertion that IItians are ‘Phenomenal Creators’, there is actually very little evidence for this. A very small fraction actually end up as innovators and it is not very clear what their IIT training has to do with this. In fact, an engineering education is focused more on knowledge and techniques for problem solving, the role of creativity is small especially at the undergrad level. I had an undergrad education in both mathematics and engineering, let me assure you, math (esp. higher level) requires much more creativity than engineering.

  7. You are a true patriot. You are the one who really loves India and cares for it. This is what is genuine patriotism – to care for the masses who are underpreviliged and poor who form the majority of Indians. All those patriotisms like cheering in cricket matches, cheering for rich IIT NRIs who have left India for money sake are all artificial patriotism and just a show.

    Thank you for your kind words Harsh. Please keep visiting and commenting.

  8. Vikram:

    I agree with you that the uplift of our lowest social groups should be the primary goal of each and every government. But there are many ways to do it.

    It isn’t enough to claim that there’s a high correlation between caste and poverty. There’s probably also a high correlation between being a farmer and poverty. Gender, urban/rural upbringing and various other indicators have a lot to do with poverty. In spite of the claims, insistence on using only caste and religion is political, not scientific. I wrote an article: Reservations – The Right Way on a better way to implement reservations.

    An alternative solution is to use the resources to implement universal primary education for various backward categories. You acknowledge this yourself,

    And I can’t resist: your comments should be restricted to the ToI commenters. You are makng broad generalizations by railing against “the upper castes”!

    Armchair, you are right, I was perhaps too broad in my generalizations, I did write this particular post in a fit of rage.

    However, I did acknowledge that these reservations are not the best social justice strategy

    If they were so worried about India’s future, they should have mentioned before anything, that reservations at such a high level of education without adequate investment in basic education will do little for the lower castes.

    I just dont like how we upper caste’s are trying to hide behind meritocracy here, when we were anything but that for many centuries.

  9. Vikram:

    I like your point that the upper castes were anything but a meritocracy for centuries! I think this injustice was obvious to people even thousands of years ago — Ekalavya’s example in the Mahabharata comes to mind.

    But, though we acknowledged it, we never did anything about it!

  10. hi guys!
    i think that people who are socially backward need caring hands!
    they need encouragement and a feeling of security
    so that they can gain self confidence and self respect
    and then this will be the key to their success!
    if uppercast people really belive in GOD and they think that they are wise then plz! help these socially backward people in what ever way you can !
    this will be the real patriotism and then we will be the world’s best country!!!!

  11. Just let me know one thing, y would other countries in the world doesn’t allow these types of reservations, if not for castes but for some or the other minority groups existing in every country?

    • For a very simple reasons, other countries never had any social oppressions like India. Thats y.

      • No social oppression like India ? Heard of slavery? Does America have a reservation for people with ancestors who were slaves?

  12. I would not waste my breath, nor demean myself, through vitriolic remarks about this post of yours (although a number of such remarks come to mind)

    However I do have a couple of questions –
    1. Why do you feel that the lower castes need reservation? do you feel they are intellectually handicapped?
    2. do you have any idea how much difference 2 marks make in JEE ?
    3. Why do you want to ruin a perfectly fair system to bring about equality? the very thought of such action seems illogical doesn’t it?

    I agree that your posts brings to light many problems that do exist in our society and system. but the inferences you draw from your facts and the solutions are indicative of an extremely biased or an extremely ignorant mind to say the least.

    Regards

  13. I am fed up with this IIT brand stuff considering them as only few elite educational institute . they are bunch of islands of excellence whose contribution is very low to Indian growth.The pseudo intellectualism of middle class to success in IIT and IIM and cover all private and goverment sector to their hold is suffocating. First, they prefer coaching factories like FIITJEE, BT or Bansal classes for their kids and then they boast about equal ground.
    I agree with you that “IIT is not a breeding ground for any kind of corporate elite, but an institute of national importance. ”
    Social biasing towards lower caste is more discomforting in every walk of life.Reservation is must for social upliftment of scheduled caste and huge investment in education sector is necessary to improve condition of India.

  14. I am a person of technology but belive that social reform is far more diffcult to obtain than technological development. When an educated person does not change his attitude to the persons differing in the caste,the scenario is not going to change.The rat race to IIT is very small part of that,the mindset of upper caste is very rigid and traditional.
    Concerning your topic go through http://atrocitynews.wordpress.com/2008/07/12/caste-virus-breeds-in-iit-labs-a-report/

  15. Indeed, Himanshu, social reform is far more difficult than technological reform. If you think about it, human beings could not create relatively just and free societies till the middle of the 20th Century. We had so many technological achievements but it took 3-4000 years of civilization and 2 world wars.

    Unfortunately most of the world, especially India is far from a just society.

    And the road ahead is not going to be easy.

  16. I find that you are being a trifle biased here. I passed my engg. from one of the best NITs. In my time, there were hardly 4000 seats in IITS compared to nowadays.Unfortunately my rank was lower in IIT then, and i preferred to get into a good NIT.
    You are talking about the Sachar Report here.But,tell me,isnt it just a report which takes into account all the backward castes in India and not the concentration of such castes from the localised places(towns or cities) from where students generally make it into IITs.Could you please justify why I should not feel cheated when my friends who were far more well-off than me,and had access to good coaching made it into IITs just because they had the good ol’category tag, and I didnt. Being from an NIT,I know, only such well-off students can make it into IITs or NITs than their not so economically sound counterparts. Please dont state such meaningless reports to justify your theory.I have seen the ground facts and know negligible students from the disadvantaged background made it into the category seats which has actually been reserved for them.Even the creamy layer theory wont work here because the limit of annual income there makes a mockery of the process.
    And kindly,do not state the cutoff marks in IIT as an excuse.You may not be aware how much difference in ranks 1 mark makes nowadays.Kindly make a proper enquiry before just stating anything.
    I have nothing against the persons who make it through these categories.Unfortunately,from what I see,hardly anyone from those could stand the competition one faces there.They mostly return unplaced after a dismal 4yr stint.
    Afterall,there is a reason after all why these entrances are so tough.It is so because only the ones able to survive the tumultuous journey can face the grind there.
    Anyways,as far as I am concerned,this issue has ceased to bother me.Even this time,I narrowly missed an IIM seat,which I could have bagged if so many seats werent reserved.Anyways,I have just accepted that I have to make it in those limited seats.Cribbing wont help,i guess 🙂

  17. I really like your blog. It’s nice to see a phoren-based Indian who doesn’t write pernicious boondoggles about India for a change.
    Anyway, as one of those idiots who wasted two years in the IIT rat-race, reservations in institutes of higher learning is a topic I feel very strongly about, so I couldn’t stop myself from writing here 😛

    What I don’t agree with:

    1) “This means that with the last general category student scoring 5 in maths, 0 in physics and 3 in chemistry in JEE 2008, an SC/ST student who had scored up to 40% lower- 3 in maths, 0 in physics and 1.8 in chemistry – was given a seat in the IITs.”

    These cutoffs are academic. These are merely the minimum marks a candidate should score in order to be ,considered for the common merit list. FYI, the last person from the general category to make it to the common merit list last year had a score of around 170, if I’m not mistaken. The SC/ST merit list had a much lower cutoff, about 100. So here is the actual difference, my friend. Your points are valid, but it isn’t advisable to use such misleading figures. And in any case, I doubt you have any idea about how much two marks can affect one’s chances. (Stressing the actual cutoff difference would have made for a much stronger argument against reservations, IMO.But our Newsmedia isn’t exactly known for being responsible :P)
    2)Puh-lease, that upper-class middle class nonsense has so been done to death. The urban “upper-class” “middle-class” you’re directing your ire at(ppl like us) doesn’t consider caste a big deal. That is also true for the industry. That is the cause of all our mockocracy 😛
    3) Who’s to say the “middle-class” comprises only of “upper castes”. I know many of my friends, from “middle-class” “upper-middle-class” families who belong to the “depressed” classes. What’s more is their families are economically as “forward” as my parents are, if not better. Like someone said, there is NO co-relation between caste and poverty. That is something the Sachar Commission report, (and you) conveniently ignore.

    I’ll just put this question which some TV-waali had
    asked VP Singh.
    “Who do you think deserves reservations more? A poor Brahmin or a rich OBC?”
    Or to put it another way, what do you say when a “middle class” guy grabs a seat actually meant for kid from the abused, oppressed and exploited underclass of India ?

    I’m sure as someone deeply involved in social science, you’re aware of the poverty among several “upper” classes, especially in North India.

    “So, even after graduating from an IIT (possibly with good grades) a lower caste student can expect no mercy. After all, (s)he took the place of the deserving Brahmin boy, what about all the money the Brahmin’s father spent on coaching classes ? So does the corporate world not hinder India’s competitiveness by ‘direct entry’ for IIT-ians regardless of achievement and expertise ?”

    I’m sorry, but this is bulls**t .The whole idea of mockocracy is that caste not be a criteria for merit. The lower caste student with good grades you’re referring to probably would not need reservations at all.
    4)”what about all the money the Brahmin’s father spent on coaching classes ?”

    Obviously, my father has a right to feel angry when a guy whose father spent the same amount of money on the same coaching class gets in with shit marks just because my ancestors had not allowed his ancestors into a stupid temple!

    Rest of the things I whole-heartedly agree with. I agree reservations are needed, but I also feel a rethink is required on the definition of “deserving” of reservation. I also agree that “Quality Dilution” talk is nonsensical. After all, the IITs are educational institutes, and not MNC employee factories. In anycase, theI also agree that the middle class(us) are the real cause of India’s problems with our mindless criticism, lethargy, and the endless glorification of pseudo-patriotic NRI IITians just to feel good about ourselves. I also feel the now-in-phoren IIT grads are propounding a very disgustingly elitist argument about “mockocracy”.

    To sum up, my heart goes out to the brilliant tribal/dalit villager, who struggles to get into a decent college. I’m all for his being in the IITs. But I’m absolutely against a rich city slicker getting in with poor marks just because of a technicality. That is a mockocracy of your whole theory isn’t it?

    I feel you’re being unreasonably biased here.

  18. Akshay, welcome and thanks for your questions.

    You said, “Who do you think deserves reservations more? A poor Brahmin or a rich OBC?”

    This is an attractive but flawed question. Let me try and explain why. First off, reservations or any social justice initiative cannot be perfect, they will definitely miss out on some sections of the people they are created for and might negatively impact some other sections of society. But one cannot make this the sole criteria for judging them.

    Just like engineers work on physical models that only approximate reality and miss some features of the process, social science has to work on models and approximations that may miss some dynamics. But broadly speaking, you are much more likely to find a poor Dalit than a poor Brahmin. This does not mean that poor Brahmins dont exist, just that they cannot be identified as easily. And this certainly does not constitute a good argument for the state to stop helping the poor Dalits who do form the bulk of the poor.

    You said, “The urban “upper-class” “middle-class” you’re directing your ire at(ppl like us) doesn’t consider caste a big deal.”

    I would recommend that you read Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s essay, ‘The Burden of Democracy’ to see how even though caste is not a big deal on the surface of things in urban India, it does manifest itself in social relations in the cities. I would say urban India is a society that shows strong residuary caste like structure. Think about maids and ‘servants’ in middle class homes, do they not have food sitting on the floor instead of a dining table ? Is caste not evident in how toilet cleaners and ‘kachrewalas’ are treated ?

    The middle class urban Indian is not aware of caste, but that does not mean it doesnt exist. Caste is an extremely powerful force, especially in the Gangetic plains.

    You said, “Obviously, my father has a right to feel angry when a guy whose father spent the same amount of money on the same coaching class gets in with shit marks just because my ancestors had not allowed his ancestors into a stupid temple!”

    And this is perhaps the biggest problem of all. Urban Indians like you and me dont realize that caste goes way, way beyond letting people into a temple. It is a rigid, almost unescapable hierarchy that denies people their humanity. I want to you think for just a day, how you would feel if your peers in day to day life considered you an untouchable, wouldnt share food with you, wouldnt drink from the same tumbler as you and in some cases not even look at you while talking to you. Then you will start to realize the depths of humiliation that a lot of people in India’s villages go through.

  19. “It is a rigid, almost unescapable hierarchy that denies people their humanity. I want to you think for just a day, how you would feel if your peers in day to day life considered you an untouchable, wouldnt share food with you, wouldnt drink from the same tumbler as you and in some cases not even look at you while talking to you. Then you will start to realize the depths of humiliation that a lot of people in India’s villages go through.”

    I don’t deny all that for a second. I’m all for the upliftment of these people, and I support reservations in higher learning instis, but I ask for some mechanism which ensures that the people who actually suffer what you describe as part of their daily life are the real beneficiaries, and not economically well-off “backward classes” who have the same opportunities as I do, and more. I mean let’s not have some “karmawaala discussion here, as if I’m to pay for what my ancestors did to his ancestors.

    But then again, the poor fellow who suffers the discrimination you describe wouldn’t even be thinking of IITs. He may not even know that they exist. He may be struggling just to get into primary school .
    Eventually a rich “SC” from a swank metro runs off with the seat meant for him, by virtue of some familial contract. I’ve experienced this (however indirectly), and have read about many experiences too. I gave JEE this year and I missed out on good courses because of reservations.
    So did many of my friends. I also know many friends who got into IIT with as low/lower ranks as mine because of reservations. And it’s not that we oppressed them and mistreated them. Not as if they couldn’t afford coaching. All because of a certificate, huh?
    That’s why I think this reservation system is a failure…
    But I realized long back that debating about reservations was futile. I’ve learnt to stop whining and to live with it 🙂

  20. “Think about maids and ’servants’ in middle class homes, do they not have food sitting on the floor instead of a dining table ? Is caste not evident in how toilet cleaners and ‘kachrewalas’ are treated ?”
    I wouldn’t mind at all if the maid wanted to sit on the dining table. And in my house atleast, kachrewalas/maids/other employees are treated pretty well, although I can understand what you’re getting at. Sometimes I cringe when I see people treat their drivers/servants the way they do. And it’s usually upper-middle class and rich people, yes.

  21. Quoted test: “…but I ask for some mechanism which ensures that the people who actually suffer what you describe as part of their daily life are the real beneficiaries, and not economically well-off “backward classes” who have the same opportunities as I do…”

    Akshay bhai, are you aware of Creamy-layer and its implication? In very simple words it says, no reservation for rich OBCs, and this is not a new things, more than a decade old, I am surprised how come you have no clue about it. This should also answer that TV-wali’s question which is no more relevant.

    Quoted text: “…And in my house atleast, kachrewalas/maids/other employees are treated pretty well,…”

    “Pretty well” is the key phrase here, it does not matter if you treat them pretty well or not, what matters if you treat them 100% equal in your heart and mind. I would not hesitate in saying that 99.9% ppl do not do that in India, but pls dont quote me on this stat.

  22. I think,you hindus are waisting your time by discussing resevation ,give dalits,muslims,christians,buddhist ,OBCs, a seprate country,they will be happy in their country and hindu will be happy by drinking cow urine and eating cow shits ,what a great ideas.if you people are not still satisfying with dalit holcaust in India then give nuclear bomb to each caste groups ,all problems will solve in one strokes.

    Kumarpushp, such comments are unwelcome here. Please see the About Me and this blog page for comment policy.

  23. I really like your blog.I am from the upper caste and an IITian,so I probably have a bias.But there are two things in reservation I have a problem with:
    1)The economic status of ‘atleast’ 25% of reserved candidates is much higher than that of mine.One one hand they block seats for their own castemates and on the other block those of the economically backward general category.Therefore caste cannot be the only consideration.
    2)The expansion in seats for reservation carried out is too fast and the institutes are struggling to cope up with it.All this is because the government was in a hurry to win elections.

    I am all for positive discrimination provided it is done the right way

  24. I would also like to add that reservation has in fact helped more people to get into IITs(incl. gen cat) which is good.And talk of student quality dilution is bullshit because quality was diluted the moment coaching centers began.Also,I am happy about the fact that there is an income limit on salaries of OBC’s.So a lot of my concerns have already been addressed.I just hope the government pours in enough money so that these drastic measures of reservation and expansion have the fuel to be successful and keep IIT’s atleast at their current status.

  25. @ Pavan, I greatly appreciate your views. This is the kind of response that I hope most young Indians have. I am not claiming here that reservation is the be-all end-all or the best way to achieve social justice. And you are absolutely right in pointing out that a more than acceptable number of entrants through reservations are not in need, although again I appreciate the fact that you give a plausible number not the usual rhetoric that ALL lower caste entrants are well off.

    If you refer to the point I make trust in my latest post (Three flaws ..) it is easy to see why our society has reached such a deadlock over this issue. The truly disempowered lower caste folk dont trust the predominantly upper caste middle class that to be quite frank seems more interested in its self advancement than caring about the lower castes. The middle class does not trust politicians from the lower castes due to a mixture of incompetence, corruption and their own mildly disguised biases.

    Until these fundamental aberrations in our society are not dealt with, these conflicts will keep perpetuating and repeating themselves.

  26. @Vikram — I skimmed through the (long) comments section so I might have missed some of the stuff said. I want to point out a few issues :

    1. Reservation without de-reservation. If someone has availed this benefit once, make sure it’s not a crutch throughout life. eg – if you join college through reservation, you will not get a job through reservation. You have already been given one opportunity, and there are many millions more waiting in line for theirs.

    2. Economic and NOT social status. Though there might be correlation between caste/class and economic status, it is simply not true that everybody who’s poor is from a “backward” community. There are a LOT of economically backwards people who are unfairly being left out. How tough would it be to base reservations on say, per capita family income or a similar measure ?

    You wanted statistically significant examples of deserving general category students losing out due to reservations. Take the case of Tamil Nadu, where colleges have 70% reservation.


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