Monday, April 14, 2008

Anyone can cook

Now that everyone and her grandma has already written about their views on the reservation, I will pull out my post which I had written in response to this post.

I had expressed my opinions in the comments which I will post below with a few edits.
First the assumptions that "Forward castes = Brahmins" and OBC = "dalits" are lazy metaphors at best and at worst, poisonous opportunist rants.

For all the talk about “upper-caste reactionaries”, in the last 10-20 years or even 50 years after independance, hardly has one law been implemented that can be termed “upper caste reactionary” in nature. On the other hand, many laws have been passed “intended for hte benefit of the downtrodden” Whether they have achieved that is a different matter altogether.

According to the surveys at hand, OBC population is between 32-52%. ( a 52% population was shown as rationalization for 27% reservations for OBCs). An SC/ST population combine of 24% in total means that the forward castes make up about 26-44% of the population. In a properly functioning democracy that means no greater clout than the rest of groups and in a skewed system like ours even less so. In such a case, the argument that "upper classes hold all the aces" doesn't hold.

It is true that performance is not solely decided by genes. It is also dependant on nurture. But that is all the more reason that we do away with reservations. Reservations were drafted in with the "noble intention" of leveling the field for socially disadvantaged. However, it is serving only to promote mediocrity.

Whatever be the rationale of caste system, it is a fact that it was used as a vehicle for oppression. It doesn't mean that the upper classes shall now be punished for the sins their ancestors committed.

Unfortunately, reservations in India are seen as a) punishment for the centuries of oppression and b) opportunity to gain (unfair) advantage. The rhetoric of hatred against upper classes attains new heights by each passing day. For example this part of which I will quote below

is one-sided diet itself, that was loaded with cereals—then seen as the cheapest, and the most easily available source of calories. Consequently, this decision, in turn affected the minimum daily wages, the determination of the poverty line, and not to mention, making the Public Distribution System what it is today, i.e. a machinery doling out rice and wheat at cheap rates, but no meat, egg or nuts, or any non-vegetarian food at all. So in a country where vegetarians are a definite minority, we now plan our daily meals based on a notion of a Brahminical notion of a “easily available, balanced diet” *

Anything and everything is turned into a upper class conspiracies against lower classes. We also have people like this who can say something like this

"We should close down the IITs and the IIMs as they pander to the upper-caste economy of the country. Those who pass out from these institutes use their technical and managerial skills to earn dollars abroad. Are they using their skill sets to the benefit of the agro-based economy of the country? Tell me, with rising incomes of our B-school graduates are farmer suicide rates coming down? So what is the use of such education if it cannot be put to any use within the country or for the uplift of the majority of the population who live in villages?"

Its stupid enough that I wouldn't bother commenting about. But turns out he is the HOD at political science department, Osmania university. He also featured on a debate on TV, in which he was calling for "intellectual equality". Excuse me! but I would like to start an agitation for athletic equality. (London 2012, here I come!).

Did I forget to mention that nobody ever cares about or even dares to mention caste in a private organization? People like Mr.HOD above will still argue that its because everybody there belongs to upper class, the organizations are dominated by upper classes and therefore we need reservations there too. However, it might just be respect born out of the fact that everyone there has earned it.

Hatred and revenge will not lead us anywhere. "The Holocaust" is perhaps the most glaring example of where hatred can lead us.

I will borrow a quote from the movie Ratatouille, "Not everyone can be a great artist, however a great artist can come from anywhere".


Anonymous said...

Please also see:

shrek said...

Thanks. I've read it, but it would've been a lot better if the methodology used was described. I will try to find it.

Puthali said...

he he...u've gotten gud @ keeping ur word... :)
'n yea tht post i shared on reader was actually more 'coz of the essay 'n not the blog...i didn't know the history behind the word 'dalit', had never given it a thought, so found it interesting...
its really sad that even in this day you have atrocities being committed against dalits, just 'coz they r dalits...