Monday, March 07, 2011

Reservations - Castes

Recently, I watched a program on reservations. In the entire program, they have never cared about the root problem.

Few people advise to introduce reservations based on the economy status. But, a higher caste student has always better opportunities than a lower class student. Even if the higher caste students are poor, they would be having some relatives who are rich, and they help them. They are getting better career guidance then others. In higher castes, the people have societies, and they are helping their caste students. But, for lower castes, there are nothing like that.

The correct solution in this case is, providing help to everyone who are in need. If a poor person cannot study because of lack of financial support, give loans to everyone who needs it. Right now, it is not at all easy to get an education loan. Make that simple, and provide easy way to get the loans. By that, all the poor students can study without others' help.

I personally benefited a lot from the library in my home town. The library used to have all kinds of magazines including career guidance. By reading those magazines, I got a fair idea on what to do next. Establish the libraries in all the small towns and villages, and provide different kind of books and magazines. That will help everyone in that town/village, and not just people of few castes.

The societies in higher castes came because of no help whatsoever from the government for anything. If a particular caste is getting all the benefits, where is the need to form a society and donate money to that? I would say, if there is a social organization, it means, the government has miserably failed in solving the problems of the people who are getting help from that organization. In an ideal environment, there will not be any NGOs, and even if they are there, it would be bare minimum.

Caste discrimination cannot be removed by removing the reservations. Even before reservations came into picture, the caste discrimination was there. So, both are independent.

There are many reasons and types for caste discrimination. Many people have restrictions on castes for marriage. That is also one kind of discrimination. But, it does not effect others. In places like Tamilnadu, just by knowing their caste, we can say whether that person eats non-veg or not and vice-versa. For many people in Tamilnadu, by knowing the day to day activities, it is possible to guess their caste, and by knowing the caste, it is possible to tell their food habits and few other things. In those places, the caste is essentially nothing but, the behavior of the person. When a person wants to give his/her house to a tenant, most of them prefers a tenant who has same habits, i.e., who is of the same caste. Here, caste should not be seen as a social barrier. It is the way a person lives. In this case, it is not possible to remove caste from the system, and there is no need to remove this type of caste system. Because, in this case, the caste is just a name given to a behavior. This type of discrimination does not harm others.

Go to any engineering college or medical college. Ask any student whether they know the caste or the category (OC, BC etc.) of other students. You will get the answers from most of the students. Ask the employees of any private company about the caste or category of their colleagues. Most of them cannot tell. Probably, in Tamilnadu, they may tell whether they are brahmins or not (if they know whether they are veg or non-veg), but, other than that, it is very difficult to tell.

Discriminating the students based on caste makes the students discriminate based on the caste.

Only foolish people think that, by asking everyone their caste and discriminate based on that removes the caste system from the society.

In foreign countries, everyone gets the same quality education and health irrespective of their financial status. That's why, they don't need reservations. If we also get that level, then we can think of whether to keep the reservations or not.

Here, they themselves agreed that, quality education and health is not reaching everyone. Instead of fixing the root problem, they try to solve it partially by creating discrimination and in the process they create frustration among many people and make people fight with each other. If they agree that, in 60 years, they could not eliminate discrimination, when can they eliminate it?

I know many IAS officers who did not get a good rank but came by reservations and has done really good. I know many other higher caste IAS officers who got a very good rank, but do not know anything.

Here, the root problem is, an IAS officer who did not get a good rank is performing much better than a person who got a very good rank. It means, there is some serious issue in the selection and ranking itself. Instead of fixing the problem of selection and ranking, if we bring the caste into picture, it will not solve anything.

I agree that, there is no selection criteria which is absolute good. Even in the exams conducted by IITs, many times, people who do not have good knowledge gets in. But, Civils and Group Exams are very extreme. There is not even a single relation between the exams and the work that they do. The exams do not test the capabilities of the person for the position that he/she is applying. Civils is common test for thousands of important posts in India in Administrative, police, foreign, postal, trade, railways and many others. Even within IAS, there are many different posts like Collector, Managing Director of different organizations, secretaries to the ministers etc. If we just take secretaries to the ministers, almost every secretary requires special skills in their ministry. Each ministry like Finance, IT, Agriculture, Health etc. requires special knowledge in that field. Those who have studied a lot in those fields can contribute more and others cannot contribute that much. There is no relation between what the officers are doing to what they were tested. If there is no relation between the rank and the contribution, there is absolutely no relation between caste and contribution as well.


  1. I cannot really understand how "discrimination does not harm others." Discrimination of people by definition is harmful.

    As a country, do we want to build a merit-based society or encourage mediocrity?
    Every time we "reserve" something for a low-merit person, we are stomping on the future of a high-merit person. Is this how we encourage improvement?
    The points you mentioned where caste system is good is to do more with culture. Food habits are easy to find out than discriminating by caste.
    Why should people marry in the same caste? Many people answer that they want to keep their gene pure, which is bull shit (not scientific). Belief system (religion) makes sense, but caste?

    I happen to be one from the so-called higher caste but from a middle class, I was denied the best education in the country and had to go out of country for it. Now people ask me why I do not want to come back. Why can't we have sufficient schools for all? Is it so hard to build schools and get teachers? There would be no need for reservations in that case right?
    Even for any job, do you select a candidate who can finish the work or weigh based on the way they were born, which they have no control of?

    I would definitely recommend a financial status based subsidization of education, I would not call it reservation though. Let the poor be subsidized for the education, let middle class pay partially and let families that can afford 100% pay 100%. Make sure there is no inequality in the school between children.

  2. When I said discrimination is not harmful, I was talking about the behavior and culture and that is also at personal level only. For example, in cases of marriage or giving house to tenants, if somebody discriminates others based on caste, it is not harmful to others. Because, they have right to select the spouse and tenant, and they prefer somebody having same habits and culture. If the caste represents their habits and culture, then there is no issue in selecting based on caste.

    The discrimination based on caste is not applicable everywhere. In places like Tamilnadu, if you see brahmins, 99% of the cases, they are vegetarians, and vice-versa. Similarly for other castes, it is 99% of the time, they are non-vegetarians and vice-versa. But, we cannot say the same thing for A.P. In A.P., if a person is a vegetarian, we cannot say which caste that person is. Caste does not have any role in the behavior or food habits or anything.

    The reasons that they give for marrying a person of same caste are rubbish. But, still few people prefer to marry same caste people because, everybody else is like that. In case of arranged marriages, if somebody marries outside caste, it becomes difficult for others to get married. That's why many people, eventhough they are broad-minded, they prefer from their own caste.

    All these are only at individual level. If I have the right to select something, I also would have the right to chose based on caste or not. But, Government should not discriminate in anyway. If government provides resources for everyone, there will not be any need for reservations.

    Related Link: Politicians way of solving problems

  3. Very ture. If you sum up all your articles, it will end up with the government's incapability to eradicate the root causes of the existing issues. Blaming the government would initiate another enormous topic of 'Why are people choosing the idiots who are incapable of solving our day to day problems?'. Anyways, nice analysis.

  4. In present days India lacking a abled leadership every individual starts bargaining with government thas the pity and our leaders are not in a position to tackle with it bcoz they are incable lacking leadership qualities bcoz reservations are there in political fabric also so merit should be encouraged not social and economic base