Reserved Power - It's yours, not being yours
It was quite a messy crowd in the Delhi Metro before the two girls entered the same compartment I was in. Well dressed in business attires, they looked like they were going to some job interview. Of course, it was a pleasure for me … for natural reasons.
“Excuse me”, one of the girls said to a man, “This is reserved for ladies.”
I looked at the man, must be in the mid-fifties.
“Oh sorry”, he said, getting up and giving them the seat.
The girls were right.
Or, were they?
Although that seat was reserved for ladies, who do you think needed it more?
That was just another day, but it sparked a thought. While we were growing up, we must have studied a lot about how women were subjected to atrocities in the name of traditions or culture. Same goes with any group of people, which we, the human beings, thought as weaklings amongst us. In the history, there have been many social reformers to lead and many social movements to succeed. However, even today, we are trying to fight rapes, female feticides, caste system and religious riots.
Government does its part. You ask “How?” and I’d say “Reservations”. Oh wait, let me clarify that my tone is not sarcastic. It’s just a top-ranked one-word answer for a one-word question. Reservations are definitely good.
But, to what extent is the question!
For how long is the question!
Let’s take the caste-based reservations for instance. It’s been there since independence. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar dedicated his life for the uplift of backward classes, proposed a separate electorate for them, but only the reserved seats in education and employment was accepted. But how many of you know that he proposed reservations for just 10 years?
It’s been 67 years since Indian Independence and after a certain level, it all became just another political agenda. We have politicians saying, “We need to bring more of our people” as an excuse for votes. Not education, not qualification, but caste as eligibility!
Moreover, people remove surname from their children’s registered name, get a fake caste certificate so that they have the opportunity to grab some reserved seats!
There’s caste system, then many layers of crap and then this mentality. Trust me on this; it’s not so easily going to change. Any politician, who raises a voice against caste-based reservations, is doomed to lose a hell lot of votes. So, they can’t and won’t, but you can.
Fortunately, I never faced any issues with reservations, neither in education nor in my career. But I have seen students from the so-called ‘general’ category paying more fees than richer students from the listed ‘reserved’ category. It didn’t make sense to me then; it doesn’t make sense to me now. Shouldn’t you decide how much money a student pays for something so important as education, based on his/her parental income, not on his/her caste?
Education should be equally available to everyone, irrespective of his/her socio-economic background. We should provide them support in whatever is needed.
To solve a puzzle, we need to find out the exact missing part and this missing part will be different for each individual. For one, it may be caste and social mistreatments, but for another, it may be lack of economic resources.
I would not talk about why employment reservations can slow down the development. As they say, “Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.”
People say that reservation is needed to remove the caste system. But do you really think it’s working? I don’t think so.
Something, which is decreasing the discriminations, based on caste or gender, is the Indian Penal Court and its strict laws against them, not the reservations. Caste-based reservations are enforcing reverse-casteism. I have seen people telling their children to work harder as no seats are reserved for them! Does this sound like communal harmony to you?
Moreover, government doesn’t allow reservations in Defense because it can’t compromise with that sector. So, does that mean we can compromise with who becomes a Doctor in government hospitals, an Engineer in the Energy sector or an Officer in State Administration? No, we can’t.
Dear people, I am a Brahmin who eats non-veg, doesn’t remember what puja is on which day and doesn’t have a single picture of any god in his room. Although I do believe in God, that’s all I do for that matter. I am telling you this because it doesn’t matter to me what caste anyone belongs to.
What I want to convey at the end, is that reservation is not your right. It’s your duty, a duty to understand when to use a helping hand and when to provide one. Reservations were introduced to empower people to walk together, not to make them win some race.
This goes for any power you are privileged to have. You might do awesome even without it, but there might be someone who needs it just for a better survival.
Quite similar to cultural traditions, it’s better to do away with them when they stop making sense.
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