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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Meritocracy, neo-casteism, perspiration in Reservation

I am trying to articulate arguments in response to various blogs and comments that have been posted on reservation issue and I will continue to pitch in till the Voice of the Meritorious is heard and understood.

Its remarked that selection of the best in entrance examination is a flawed system, for the "best" is relative, "crammers" select themselves, "richer" people who have access to better facilities and education hold the cards of advantage and the "highest" scorers are not necessarily the best engineers or doctors or businessmen or administrators. This argument, I believe, must be the very argument against reservation as well, for among them too, it is these "richer, cramming bests" who enter the colleges.

We must however never forget that brilliance is not the only criterion for selection in these exams, crude cramming gets you nowhere, "rich" parents can provide better preparation, but outcome is a result of PERSPIRATION, a hard work spread over months, a determination that helps you to do your best and this personal best needs to be GOOD ENOUGH to get you somewhere.

Reservation is my idea of NEO-CASTEISM. Divide and rule. The hypnotic mantra of equality can been beaten to death by communists and socialists. It does not matter if human beings are born with equal physical and mental capabilities, for four thousand years of humanity has seen that it requires perspiration, inspiration, talent, capability and training to become anything better than average. I will not expect people to rise to same level even if they have same facilities available to them. If you don't trust my argument, look at any family and you will see how different the children turn out to be. Mere facilities ensure nothing.

As someone remarked, IITs have a minimal cut-off and there is no reservation for people when they take internal examinations. Brilliant argument. So lets locate statistics and see how these students have fared over last fifty years, for they were "smart" enough to graduate from class. Do the same for people in every medical, engineering and other college, for some people harp on how reservation is just required to get these sections through the door. Do quota people ever do as well as their other counterparts? Those who do, the select few, would do so well without the need of quota. The majority fares badly. Go check the statistics. But it does not matter, for reservation allows these guys to get jobs more easily again. The quality is compromised at admission stage at first, then again at the hiring stage, and then again during the time of promotion. If education can rescue the SC/ST/OBC from their lack of opportunity, reservation at every subsequent stage is redundant. Isn't it? A doctor who gets in by virtue of caste, graduate by virtue of caste, and in spite of taking extra years to graduate, and having the worst scores in class can become a good doctor in the end, but pray if that is so, why must the others from more "priviliged" classes be not given the same "equal" opportunity. Isn't this neo-casteism?

The argument about what the so called cream of the nation has offered to the country is a just argument, and in stead of my harping on how many billions of dollars and how many jobs have been created by this cream, I will ask the skeptics to check it themselves. Also I will ask them to make a caste wise comparison to understand how valuable reservation has been.

I firmly believe the most meritorious will beat the odds irrespective of how many seats they are supposed to fight for. But I also think that lesser number of seats will produce lesser number of competitive people. In the world of competition, of free market, in the global village we can rise through education that provides skill and capability, and those who cannot walk without the crutches of reservation will only hamper the country's progress.

I simply cannot comprehend how many generations are needed before the reservations can be removed. For in last fifty years, some families have benefitted from reservations for atleast two to three generations, and mind you, they form the "cream" in the reservation class, for they select themselves.

Those who talk about how poor the people from some of the reserved classes are, need to understand that poverty cannot be uprooted through reservation in professional degrees and jobs, but by creation of better opportunities as well as the capacity in these people to make most of these opportunities.

Most have argued here that families must not be allowed to benefit from reservation in more than one generation. I think if there has to be reservation, my logic of selecting best prepared candidates demands that if the second generation people are better, I'd much rather have them occupy those seats than undercooked candidates. But of course, this logic defeats the whole argument about using reservation for improving socio-economic condition of several classes, and by virtue of this seemingly convulated argument, I wish to suggest that NO RESERVATIONS is only end to this conundrum.

A word about meritocracy: merit is subjective, true, but thanks to system of merit, millions like me are able to get the returns, the value we deserve for having worked much harder than my other classmates. There are too many smart and intelligent people in India, there are too many hard working people too, there are rich and poor people, but the ingredient that tied me to my other classmates was I knew that we all have had toiled our way through, and we all had some level of intellect. This training and confidence is the reason why students selected through hardest competitions command respect in all spheres of life, get fat pay checks and have a deserved good life. It did not matter how rich or poor their parent were, we got through for we knew things at that age that required something greater than talent or intellect or facilities can ensure. It required mixed blessing of perspiration, inspiration, intellect and dedication. It is these values we need to enshrine in everyone to become better.

Equality of opportunity is the ideal we need to achieve.
Other equalities are intrinisically impossible due to human nature.

Let it be a level playing field. Like animal kingdom, let it be survival of the fittest.

5 comments:

Vivek said...

comments from sulekha.com


denice _menace comments:
on Apr 27 2006 12:43PM delete this comment block this user
Foggettit Maria you can't make sense to these people, coz these people are thinking from their hat , they don't seem to interrogate the facts and see the socio economic factor of the BC.Obc's, especially tribals.

Maria S comments:
on Apr 27 2006 12:33PM delete this comment block this user

"I am trying to articulate arguments in response to various blogs and comments that have been posted on reservation issue and I will continue to pitch in till the Voice of the Meritorious is heard and understood."

Ok Vivek,

Since this seems to be a passionate discussion, on all sides..why not? I'll share some of my thoughts (mind you, it is not pitching, but simply "pitching in" to hopefully make it more interesting!)Your voice is certainly heard:-)

"Its remarked that selection of the best in entrance examination is a flawed system, for the "best" is relative, "crammers" select themselves, "richer" people who have access to better facilities and education hold the cards of advantage and the "highest" scorers are not necessarily the best engineers or doctors or businessmen or administrators. This argument, I believe, must be the very argument against reservation as well, for among them too, it is these "richer, cramming bests" who enter the colleges. "



Don't think, the entrance exams are flawed..simply that it is not an 'ideal/perfect' measure, which indicates/predicts the 'full potential' of a candidate/applicant. But, I agree..we 'need some mechanism' to help us with the selection process..so, tests have to be constructed in order to use them as "one measure."
It could be true that candidates from certain groups/castes do have some 'advantages' among their own, but they still represent a "certain segment" in a society- which was/is socially underprivileged/underrepesented and may have certain "socio-cultural differences" (same as in religious, state identities)...variety/diversity...adds/enriches to our life experiences..and being around people who are from "different backgrounds" (in a college/univ setting)..imo, has its own advantages...



Reservation is my idea of NEO-CASTEISM. Divide and rule. The hypnotic mantra of equality can been beaten to death by communists and socialists. It does not matter if human beings are born with equal physical and mental capabilities, for four thousand years of humanity has seen that it requires perspiration, inspiration, talent, capability and training to become anything better than average. I will not expect people to rise to same level even if they have same facilities available to them. If you don't trust my argument, look at any family and you will see how different the children turn out to be. Mere facilities ensure nothing.



Whoa,"Neo-castesim"....that sounds awful!! And why do you keep bringing up "communism" and "socialism"...in the caste context?? I think you are once again...taking a page out of the (American) Republican talking points..Does seeking "diversity and equality" make one a communist?

But, you are right..."mere facilities" ensure nothing..



" Do quota people ever do as well as their other counterparts? Those who do, the select few, would do so well without the need of quota. The majority fares badly. Go check the statistics. "



'Quota people'? Well I was not a quota person, but many of the people- who had the opportunties, because of certain quotas, did/are doing well....



"A doctor who gets in by virtue of caste, graduate by virtue of caste, and in spite of taking extra years to graduate, and having the worst scores in class can become a good doctor in the end, but pray if that is so, why must the others from more "priviliged" classes be not given the same "equal" opportunity. Isn't this neo-casteism?"



A person may have entered medical school by way of caste...but does not graduate, just because of it...And isn't it all assumptions on your part..to think it takes longer/they get the worse grades?!(asif, they have inferior brains)

Who knows? In case of a medical emergency...a quota doctor may save my life or yours! (and perhaps, we won't even know it)



I simply cannot comprehend how many generations are needed before the reservations can be removed. For in last fifty years, some families have benefitted from reservations for atleast two to three generations, and mind you, they form the "cream" in the reservation class, for they select themselves.

In my view...it may be necessary atleast until 2020-2025, to achieve somewhat of an equal playing field.



A word about "meritocracy": merit is subjective, true, but thanks to system of merit, millions like me are able to get the returns, the value we deserve for having worked much harder than my other classmates. It required mixed blessing of perspiration, inspiration, intellect and dedication.

(And lots of luck...in being born into certain castes, who for generations happened to have the opportunities, resources....long before the untouchables/the lowly..were seen as "worthy" to be included in so many walks of life!")

"Equality of opportunity is the ideal we need to achieve.
Other equalities are intrinisically impossible due to human nature.
Let it be a level playing field. "

I think we can all agree with that...we may only disagree with the various approaches!



Like animal kingdom, let it be survival of the fittest.

Vivek, it is a highly competitive world...but, we are not animals...we are humans, and the weak have their "own value", and we have to look out a little for each other... Happiness, glory and the 'good-life' are not only for 'high-achievers'!

Maria

Vivek said...

more from sulekha.com

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Meritocracy, neo-casteism, perspiration in Reservation
by: Vivek Sharma on Apr 26 2006 7:09PM in Current Affairs
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denice _menace comments:
on Apr 27 2006 12:43PM delete this comment block this user
Foggettit Maria you can't make sense to these people, coz these people are thinking from their hat , they don't seem to interrogate the facts and see the socio economic factor of the BC.Obc's, especially tribals.

Maria S comments:
on Apr 27 2006 12:33PM delete this comment block this user

"I am trying to articulate arguments in response to various blogs and comments that have been posted on reservation issue and I will continue to pitch in till the Voice of the Meritorious is heard and understood."

Ok Vivek,

Since this seems to be a passionate discussion, on all sides..why not? I'll share some of my thoughts (mind you, it is not pitching, but simply "pitching in" to hopefully make it more interesting!)Your voice is certainly heard:-)

"Its remarked that selection of the best in entrance examination is a flawed system, for the "best" is relative, "crammers" select themselves, "richer" people who have access to better facilities and education hold the cards of advantage and the "highest" scorers are not necessarily the best engineers or doctors or businessmen or administrators. This argument, I believe, must be the very argument against reservation as well, for among them too, it is these "richer, cramming bests" who enter the colleges. "



Don't think, the entrance exams are flawed..simply that it is not an 'ideal/perfect' measure, which indicates/predicts the 'full potential' of a candidate/applicant. But, I agree..we 'need some mechanism' to help us with the selection process..so, tests have to be constructed in order to use them as "one measure."
It could be true that candidates from certain groups/castes do have some 'advantages' among their own, but they still represent a "certain segment" in a society- which was/is socially underprivileged/underrepesented and may have certain "socio-cultural differences" (same as in religious, state identities)...variety/diversity...adds/enriches to our life experiences..and being around people who are from "different backgrounds" (in a college/univ setting)..imo, has its own advantages...



Reservation is my idea of NEO-CASTEISM. Divide and rule. The hypnotic mantra of equality can been beaten to death by communists and socialists. It does not matter if human beings are born with equal physical and mental capabilities, for four thousand years of humanity has seen that it requires perspiration, inspiration, talent, capability and training to become anything better than average. I will not expect people to rise to same level even if they have same facilities available to them. If you don't trust my argument, look at any family and you will see how different the children turn out to be. Mere facilities ensure nothing.



Whoa,"Neo-castesim"....that sounds awful!! And why do you keep bringing up "communism" and "socialism"...in the caste context?? I think you are once again...taking a page out of the (American) Republican talking points..Does seeking "diversity and equality" make one a communist?

But, you are right..."mere facilities" ensure nothing..



" Do quota people ever do as well as their other counterparts? Those who do, the select few, would do so well without the need of quota. The majority fares badly. Go check the statistics. "



'Quota people'? Well I was not a quota person, but many of the people- who had the opportunties, because of certain quotas, did/are doing well....



"A doctor who gets in by virtue of caste, graduate by virtue of caste, and in spite of taking extra years to graduate, and having the worst scores in class can become a good doctor in the end, but pray if that is so, why must the others from more "priviliged" classes be not given the same "equal" opportunity. Isn't this neo-casteism?"



A person may have entered medical school by way of caste...but does not graduate, just because of it...And isn't it all assumptions on your part..to think it takes longer/they get the worse grades?!(asif, they have inferior brains)

Who knows? In case of a medical emergency...a quota doctor may save my life or yours! (and perhaps, we won't even know it)



I simply cannot comprehend how many generations are needed before the reservations can be removed. For in last fifty years, some families have benefitted from reservations for atleast two to three generations, and mind you, they form the "cream" in the reservation class, for they select themselves.

In my view...it may be necessary atleast until 2020-2025, to achieve somewhat of an equal playing field.



A word about "meritocracy": merit is subjective, true, but thanks to system of merit, millions like me are able to get the returns, the value we deserve for having worked much harder than my other classmates. It required mixed blessing of perspiration, inspiration, intellect and dedication.

(And lots of luck...in being born into certain castes, who for generations happened to have the opportunities, resources....long before the untouchables/the lowly..were seen as "worthy" to be included in so many walks of life!")

"Equality of opportunity is the ideal we need to achieve.
Other equalities are intrinisically impossible due to human nature.
Let it be a level playing field. "

I think we can all agree with that...we may only disagree with the various approaches!



Like animal kingdom, let it be survival of the fittest.

Vivek, it is a highly competitive world...but, we are not animals...we are humans, and the weak have their "own value", and we have to look out a little for each other... Happiness, glory and the 'good-life' are not only for 'high-achievers'!

Maria

Ponniyin Selvan comments:
on Apr 27 2006 11:45AM delete this comment block this user
Vivek,

Like you said, we need a level playing field and reservations are the means of providing such.. Right now, this is like an athletic race with well fed athletes and handicapped persons. Reservations are methods used by the govt. to counter the handicap.

Your (and others') arguments that I agree with, are against the "creamy layer" garnering the reservations defeating the purpose. We should come up with a review of who has benefitted from such schemes over the last 60 years and remove the folks who are misusing the schemes..

In the world of competition, of free market, in the global village we can rise through education that provides skill and capability, and those who cannot walk without the crutches of reservation will only hamper the country's progress.

There is no proof that "reservations" will hinder country's progress.. On the contrary, we have clear proof that it helps. The southern states (especially TN and Karnataka) have applied reservations (around 69%) in their educational institutions / jobs for more than decades.. and are amongst the progressive states growing economically and attracting a lot of FDI. Reservations help spread the opportunities to a large base.

Naive Indian comments:
on Apr 27 2006 11:23AM delete this comment block this user
Vivek,
A brilliant piece! Yes, apart from the usual typical arguments, there have been some new(and strange) arguments. First, it was asked what the IITians have done to the underprivileged people. Strange! I think those who have been demanding reservations in the name of the underprivileged sections ( and reaping the fruits) are more obliged to do something for them in stead of asking others to do it. Second, a bizarre argument: that a reserved category student should not be judged at the input level, but only after all the successive exams, and so on. Funny! What a student does in his later life, and how best he fares is not the point of discussion. The point precisely is how can you justify selecting a candidate with a rank of 1,00,100 for admission into an engineering college in preference to a candidate with a much better rank( 25,000). I can give many such examples. The point to be stressed here is : no one will ever say that all the people belonging to the so-called backward classes(remember, that's the word our Constitution uses) or Dalits are without merit.None in his right mind will say that. There are morons on either side. But , while the one with reservation can manage to get a seat, the other one can't. Many people argued that merit is relative. Fine. But in such cases, who has relatively better merit? The entrance examination into an engineering college, or medical college, or for that matter, any type of entrance test evaluates the candidate's merit only at that point. That being the case, the ones who are getting seats with such ranks cannot claim to have got them on merit. And, as you rightly pointed out, the fruits of reservation are being reaped only by the elite sections of the reserved classes ad infinitum.Well, perhaps, the argument of '5000 years' will start all over again!

Vivek said...

from desicritics.org

#1
The Hissing Saint
URL
April 27, 2006
10:08 AM

I believe if the Govt really needs to show its commitment towards the upliftment of the backward sections of society they need to abolish the system of reservations and put in place a system of scholarship.

This will ensure that if any student - whether SC or ST or not SC or ST - is meritorious but unable to afford a certain line of education he will be not be left out.

#2
Sujatha
URL
April 27, 2006
10:15 AM

HS, thanks for pointing out the hanging >/i>.

I too believe that the solution is strengthening the elementary education system. Fix the problem at the root, not at the tips of the branches.


#3
deepti lamba
URL
April 27, 2006
02:00 PM

The problem with the reservation policy is that the rich and the poor might get their seats but its the middle class who will/are feeling the squeeze.

Vivek said...

more from sulekha.com


Vivek Sharma comments:
on Apr 27 2006 8:12PM delete this comment block this user
Maria,

Your comments, like your blogs, are invaluable.

When I mention communism or socialism, I do so for these were the ideals that allowed many intellectuals in last century to perish thinking they will create equality in the world. This is a philosiphical question that cannot be settled easily, but I think historical evidence and difference in how siblings turn out to be shows that the expectation of equality of effort or talent is flawed.

I insist on underperformance exhibited by most people from quota, and this is easily evident from the records that can be dug out from most colleges. Even after four years of professional education, they seem to almost always require another string of reservations to get them a job.

Your calculation of 2025 is similar to the twenty year timeline set out by the constituent assembly in 1950. I think of reservation as the only mechanism of keeping caste based divisions alive. There is a significant poor population in the so called upper castes as well, who suffer from similar lack of opportunities, and I see no reason for them to be put at a disadvantage compared to the richer lower castes that can benefit generation after generation from quota.

We human beings will always have society divided into haves and have nots. My most vehement opposition to reservation rests on two arguments: 1) it does not ensure "have nots" benefit 2) it allows people to have what they will not benefit from having for neither they have worked hard enough to have it, nor they become capable of valuing it.

We need to take steps forward. Not backward. Our reputation is built on efficiency, not social equanimity. The meritorious really drive the economy, and when I talk about reservation, I see the imminent danger of our falling into traps of handing out qualifications and jobs to the undeserving thousands, and comprimising the progress of a whole nation.

chaman comments:
on Apr 27 2006 8:10PM delete this comment block this user
To all concerned:
Please read this piece by another blogger at another site.http://o3.indiatimes.com/new_horizon/archive/2006/04/26/641646.aspx#Comments
re: What we Indians need now is Casteist Quota sys
Another blog on this.. but still nothing happens buddy.

I fail to understand why the rich LC guys fail to understand this simple logic. I fail to understand the benefit to those needy sections when mr.Singh is increasing the quota? Have any one of them ever justified or thought about it?


1. What is the purpose of reservation?
Very few understand this. The purpose is to lift the people who are living in very bad conditions to the normal standards of living. And mostly if you guys go and see the villages, you will understand. There is a need for reservation and not only reservation but also help is needed to these people.

2. Is the current reservation system helping?
Frankly, the answer is a big NO. Why? This is because out of the 50 seats reserved, maybe 1 or 2 of the seats will go for the sector to which it has to help. So it is actually counter productive. The other seats are taken over by the undeserving (like rich lower caste people) candidates and thereby a massive misuse of the system can be seen. One more important thing to note is that these person who have come in using quota will not be able to sustain in a competitive world.

3. Who is preventing the upliftment of dalits?
Its the rich category of obc's. Most of us are not opposing the reservations, but instead they are only insisting that these BENEFITS GO TO THE DESERVED CANDIDATES and ALSO THE KIND OF BENEFITS THAT GO TO THEM. Also they indulge in unnecessary upper-caste bashing to mislead everyone.

4. Is it really necessary for having reservations in IIM's etc?
NO. Why? It really doesnt help the poor dalit who is in need. It is only for the elite dalits/sc/obc to become more richer and richer. They and their offsprints will keep preventing the deserving candidates and thereby the privilges does not reach the needy.

5. Do they need reservations in job?
Yes in govt and No in pvt.
NO - Once the education has been provided, the person will get the job based on his own capacity. Once the dalit/obc/sc/st has been educated, he can get the job on his own merit. He will be able to compete provided we set up a competing environment. Otherwise it will be counter-productive for himself as well as the nation.
Yes - 90% of entry level jobs in government has to be given to these people. This will help them to stabilise in their life, give good education to their offsprings and thereby create a social equality. You dont need to make a person RICH. All that this reservation needs to do is to make a person afford the education to their children. The entire social structure will change. This reservation will help the dalits who have not been able to pursue higher education due to various reasons and bring them on par with others in the society.

6. Is reservations justified for Promotions in govt reserved jobs?
Yes - But this should be LIMITED TO 2 PROMOTIONS. After that he should make an effort to compete with the rest for further promotions. This will build a competitive nature and is good both for himself as well as the country.

7. Is reservation justified in private sector?
No - Private sectors are profit driven. There are lot of obc/st working in private sector even today. Moreover anything in private sector means we are majorly touching the urban population where reservation is not necessary. There should not be any language/religion/caste in private sector.

8. Who are the people insisting on increasing reservations and upper caste bashing?
Its the elite obcs/dalits etc who have had a good education etc. This is the greedy section in the obcs/dalits/st's who want to get richer and richer and they dont care what happens to other members of their own community. They are pointing the fingers at the upper-caste members to escape from the eyes of deserving candidates who are not getting benefitted. SO THIS GREEDY SECTION WILL NEVER AGREE TO WHAT WE SAY. THEY WOULD NEVER WANT THE UNDERPRIVILGED IN THEIR COMMUNITY TO IMPROVE SINCE THESE PPL ARE ENJOYING BENEFITS IN THEIR NAME.

9. Any viable solution? How can we know who needs reservation and who does not? Can we prevent misuse?
Yes. though misuse cannot be prevented 100%, it can be reduced drastically.
Following ideas to take india further into future.
a. Eradicate caste system. (should not have to fill in any caste column in any forms)
b. Free and standard education to be provided by govt. until 12th (PUC). In villages, any child going to school with regular attendance will get some stipend/clothes/food every week.
c. Create a paid team of "social-helpers" whose job is only to monitor, educate and make sure the benefits reach them.
d. Fully functional libraries providing text books for the students, both in rural and urban areas.
e. Interest free long term educational loans (payable only to colleges/institutions) to candidates who want to pursue higher education.
f. 90% - 100% reservations to the entry level jobs in government for students who studied in government schools/colleges. 2 bonus promotions for these reserved category people.
g. Some benefits for pvt sector companies employing persons who have passed out studying in govt schools/colleges.

10. Looks like the "caste" is not mentioned in prev. solution?
Yes. The whole idea of the system is to create social equality and eradicate the devil called "caste"

11. Will eradicating "caste" bring social equality?
Yes. Along with generations, people will forget associating themselves with caste. With more people getting educated, will bring in a sense of confidence and new ideas. It will push them to explore new fields.

12. Will it benefit the opressed obc/sc/st?
Of course. Designed for that. Do you think increasing quotas in IIT/IIM will help them?

12. But what about IIT/IIM?
Who are we helping by increasing quotas in Engineering/medical/IIT/IIM? Have any idea?

13. But what about the oppressed obc's/sc/st. They will be backward.
Can give numerous examples but for now, respected Dr.APJ kalam would be sufficient eg. Reservations are not able to bring the best out of them. The obc's/st/sc are not inferior. Just allow them to compete, but from the school level. They cannot face the competition all of a sudden at IIT level having come thru reservations all along.

14. But still i want to vote for the politician of my caste....
Cool. Just answer these for yourself. Do you think only the person from your caste will do good for you? Has laloo helped all yadavs? Does he know every member of yadav community? As a CM is that is job? Do you think he will bring in water only to your house in your area? Finally do you think only a politician from your caste can do anything good for you?

Now there will be whole lot of other bunches like Dr.rajan and his set of imposters singing the same old thing.. "5000 years of...blah blah blah". Carry on. Let me waste no more time...

charlie said...

Well, it is the same old story that has been retold umpteen number of times, by youngsters who never learnt to be social in the true sense. These people jump up, at the slightest hint, of losing their privilages they enjoy because of the privilages their parents and grand parents had enjoyed.

They are very passionate because they never learnt to think in a dispassionate manner.

Anyway, let me put my record straight, I do not belong to any OBC or Dalit. I have studied in an IIT. If you are interested in my dispassionate thoughts, you can visit my blog

http://caste-reservations.blogspot.com/