Yes, I have benefited from reservations. Twice. No, I’m not in support of reservations.

Why not? Because its like a drug. You are shot up to the moon when you hold the admission slips in your hand. And for the rest of your life, you have to contend with the question “What if I was in the open category?” It will follow you everywhere. It will attend the course with you. It will be there when you finish the course. It will be there when you start your job. Because, you know, that job has been possible because… Its difficult to be without a clean conscience – how can you figure saying “I believe in meritocracy” when you are where you are by stepping over so many heads? How do you drive away that bitter feeling you get when you know you have driven away your chance to be counted among equals; because all your achievements are based on one act of inequality?

And yet, I find myself coldly unapologetic. If I don’t deserve a seat; well, I have seen others with better academic records who don’t deserve it either. But that is neither here nor there. I’m going to be out of the system soon. And I don’t want it to go to dust by the time my kids (what? OK, your kids – the future of this nation – you get the idea) enter it.

Thite has a plan. In short, reservations are simply to be rejected out of hand. Thats asking the caste people to play fair – simple enough. I’ll repeat my doubt – if you are asking us to come up to your level for judgement, can you guarantee that in a prejudiced society, we will be granted a fair decision? America was once split between whites and blacks during the course of history. Indians still look for shades of brown. If only Eklavya had refused to cut off his thumb, history would have been a bit different.

Please don’t counter this by saying prejudice doesn’t exist now. It does. Look for people asking your caste right after they ask your name. I have gone through that rigmarole – each time my hope that the second question won’t be asked has been dashed. People can’t let go. They want to be assured that they are God’s granted – superior.

Still, I don’t support reservations. Its bad enough for the system. Its also bad for those whom its supposed to work for. How? Other than a corroded soul? Look at any organisation which has reservations. The lower and middle levels will be filled with reserved category candidates. And it will be used in all of the arguments against reservations. Look higher. The top. I doubt you will find a caste guy there. Inspite of reservations, the power centres of our nation have always been with those who have had it traditionally – guess who? The people with a hotline to God. My point is – reservations don’t damn work! If after setting aside 50% of the seats for 50% of the population, not ONE can break (and stay) into a power centre being controlled by someone from the other 50%, then reservation is not the solution, if it ever was; which it wasn’t and still isn’t. I want that stranglehold to be broken. That exclusivity to be removed. I’m game for fair fight. And I’m ready to slug it out if even you add our past records as a liability.

And here’s what I say should be done. And its as utopian as Thite’s plan.

Ambedkar may have been a genius. Ambedkar got respect because he competed and won on equal terms. His mistake was asking to make the battle easier for his caste brothers. Respect can not be earned by reservation. He should have had a bit more trust in his people. If he could make it to the top, what was there to stop the millions from atleast goddamn trying to fight it out on the same terms? One generation is all it takes to grab a hold. If he could do it with his determination alone, what in seven hells made him think that a generation as inspired and determined as the one in the post independence years could not make it? They would have brought around a revolution if he had asked for it – why wouldn’t they try reaching out into the society on equal terms? Simply becuase Ambedkar thought they couldn’t. Benevolent over-protective big brother. And now we believe we can’t either.


Affirmative action begins and ends with the belief that you can take on the world on its own terms. Stand on your own two feet. If you are ready to fight, I’m ready to lend you the weapons and train you. Thats what the caste people need.

You want your kid to get a good job. For that he needs a good education. Are you ready to forego 10 years of income loss while he studies? Yes? Does your kid want to study and get a good job? Yes? Good. Then we will make sure he clears primary and secondary school on equal terms with others. We will teach him to score – to compete and achieve – on par with others. We will make sure that the education he gets is not just marks on paper. We will teach him that there is education beyond books and schools and institutes. We will make sure he is aware and proud of his identity and yet, is not dependent on it.

Does he want to study more? Is he ready to be among India’s best? Is he aware of the struggles? Does he know the price of failure? Of success? Can he rein in his pride if he succeeds? For there is even more to achieve if he reaches the top. Yes? We will help him out. By now he knows how to compete on equal terms. We will just show him the rules and make sure he understands them well. Money and other mundane things? Surely your son, now among India’s best, can pay us back; or better, use it to bring others, like him, up among India’s best.

That goes for the daughters too.

Did I mention anything about reservations? I think not.

9 thoughts on “reservations

  1. Amey kulkarni

    You don’t believe in reservations and still you benefit from them- why?
    Just because other more “undeserving” (I agree on that) people get in with you. But then that flaw needs to be corrected. The reservations flaw need not continue till the other flaw exists.
    The main problem is where do we stop? The OBC category includes very prominant castes eg lingayats(they decide the government man) in Karnataka, the Jats in Rajasthan, the Yadavs in UP …. The reservation business kills the urge to strive because when you know you are going to be given something without doing anything, you do nothing. I know of such cases of complacency and we have one such case in our class itself.
    About the control- who is the Vice chancellor of Mumbai university? or should I ask what caste?

    The solution you have given is perfect and it must be implemented with vigour and urgency.
    Also one must realise that poverty, illiteracy etc all such evils affect everybody irrespective of the caste and there is no data available on which strong conclusions can be drawn.
    Caste data was last included in the Census of 1931.

  2. rvbhute

    The first time I “benefited” was for the electronics course in 2000 – and I don’t have to justify why I was qualified for that. The second time I “benefited” was in 2002 – even here, I quit after the 1A round. Thats it – I stopped working the system ever since. I paid 16K bucks – same as you – for the course every year. The “benefit” that I’ve extracted from the reservation system is this – to be judged leniently on standards that are deemed important by the system; but not relevant to my skillsets. The views I’ve expressed crystalised somewhere in 2005. Trust me, I did not use caste for my placement. I don’t “still benefit from it” just because “other more undeserving” people are in with me. Are you implying I’m undeserving and there are others more undeserving? This, from a guy who couldn’t interface a 30V circuit to a 5V logic circuit after topping courses in Electronics and IC design. Amey, I wanted to be polite but… FO.

    Why does the reservation flaw need to be removed before the other flaw? Are you talking about prejudice? Surely both are equally bad? And as one existing for a longer time, prejudice qualifies to be eradicated first, right?

    You know – your response is the first I’ve seen to this issue (and I’ve seen a lot of flak about this on the net) that names specific names and dates and so on. No brains, independent opinions or logical arguments; so just parrot out other stuff, right? Those details were entirely un-necessary to the debate. We all know you have lots of useless information in that head of yours – put it on your blog please.

    Exceptions. They prove the rule. Just like your one stupid district (out of more than 600 in India) where Brahmins are BPL. Or a former Dalit president. It just highlights how dire the situation is. As for your census shit, last time I checked, the 2001 census has details about SC/ST. And our bureaucracy has enough skills to collate data about any factor you ask it w.r.t. the census data.

  3. Haridas Dave

    One Word – Applause !!!!!

    You have said all the things which I think of and would probably talk off as well, there is no additional things which I would like to say, which would make the point against reservations more concrete, other than, Well Said !!!

  4. Amey kulkarni

    Well bhute, you seem to have completely missed the spirit of my comment.
    Its pretty useless talking to you because when you realise that there is some scope for argument(contradictory view) in your territory (areas where you believe your competence/influence/interest/concern lies, you come down to abusing.

    Just don’t post anything on the subject anymore.
    Lets decide to restrict our interaction to areas where we may not stand in front of each other.

  5. Varun

    I would like to keep it short and sweet…

    The Government is concerned about the poor class and their “inability” to compete with the “cash rich” higher class, keep separate government Aided schools and colleges, where they can get “quality” education(LOL!!).

    But Keep this Bull Shit out of Professional Courses /Colleges like IIT’s and the IIM’s.
    One message to all those taking such quotas,
    “To be in the IIM’s, you need to be the best.You think you are
    the one… come and Prove it in open”.

    One interesting view point though. Anyway, getting into the IIM’s is very much a dream. So if they degrade the institute by taking such people, then the quality of managers available from IIM’s would degrade. So Corporates would have to come to some of the Lower Engineering Colleges to get quality people.That means it would benefit us Average people:D

    What Say guys???

  6. rvbhute

    What abuse? Seriously! You spit out teases, innuendos and double entendres and in general, bug others like its your second nature. Couldn’t handle a little return fire? OK then, do let me know by email where exactly you think I abused you. I would want to avoid it in the future. And don’t you jump into arguments too? Why do you think you are included among despos?

    This is my site. You stepped out of line when you asked me to desist from posting on this topic anymore.

  7. vidyadhar

    dude o dude…
    i know whom u r calling the people with hotline to god ..
    well it doesnt matter to me much…but that just shows ur bitterness towards them…
    its not totally unjustified..because they have done something generations ago and maybe they still feel they are the best…but dont u feel they are generally still the best…
    they are hammered badly by reservations since 1950..but the no. of them crossing the bars has never reduced…
    and dude even if this 49% reservation stuff creeps in..they wont suffer for sure…coz they are immuned to it…they know their hurdles by now and know how to counter them…
    even whne the reservations were announced…only other open categories protested..did u see neone with a hotline to god…protesting fiercely..coz they know what they will get….they know how to counter the odds,,, they are countering from years…
    go and see the open category listing for any institutions admissions…u will find majority of them…
    being from one such family…i can remember from the days i was about to go in 10th..i was always warned to study hard…coz i had to get the admissions in good college..then i need to be the best..just because reservations were the main hurdle…
    this is the scenario in every house like mine…and these boys work extra to achieve what they want to..coz their fight is not against the papers…but also against the system which is a hurdle in itself for them….
    and when after doing such long toil…they reach to the top…why u tend to criticise them…why u think the system has been partial to them in placing them above all…they are their just because they deserve it..they have fought the battle of their life…
    and everyone below them..are their because they had everything never thought of reaching the top..its as simple as it is…
    and as for the reservations policy..i dun like it that much…but i never oppose it fiercely…coz i know its gonna be here to stay for long…i simply dun care…even my son may face it..and he has to study and work hard to overcome it..if he cant..its his fate…
    and yes i dint mention girls..coz they have a separate quota…

  8. Hrishikesh

    I agree in part to your solution. Sure, study hard, and make sure you deserve the seat. But then, don’t accept the reservation. And ensure that no one does.

    Yes, I know, I know. If you don’t accept it, others will, and in fact, you’ll end up reducing one more seat for the open category. But if you do accept it, you are letting them keep the policy. And worse, one day you just might feel that why bother with all that hard work when I can still get thru with the bare minimum.

    You = any general person, not to be personalized.

  9. rvbhute

    All everyone is talking about is competence in the field – that is pertinent to the discussion, I agree. But when the talk turns to how the nation will be harmed, its progress impeded; when the talk turns to broader issues, why doesn’t anyone address prejudice? Why the silence on that? Why not talk on “educating” the higher castes and reverse-brainwashing them about caste and social prejudice along with the scrapping of reservations for the lower castes?

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