The Great Leap Backward

Reservations have no merit (or, India’s deepening crisis of selection)

Not a single political party of any consequence has had the courage to caution the government against deepening India’s entitlement economy (via Secular Right). When courts ruled against reservations in private educational institutions deeming them unconstitutional, parliament amended the constitution. The next target — and perhaps the biggest — is the private sector. If the populists have their way, the government of India will soon decide who private companies can hire. At a time when it needs to liberalise its labour laws to make industry more competitive and create employment, the Indian political system is veering towards doing just the opposite. Government interference in business decisions of private companies is not only perverse, but is widely acknowledged to have been a failure. It is widely acknowledged to be a failure not just in some country half-way across the world, but in India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may go down in history as the man who took the Indian economy out of one dark dungeon, allowed it to experience a tantalising breath of freedom, only to plunge it into another, darker dungeon.

The case against reservations goes beyond just economics. It is fundamentally about the principles around which India organises its society. Equality of all citizens is among the most fundamental of these principles. The argument for affirmative action — of which job and college seat reservations are manifestations — is that social, cultural and historical wrongs have left some communities more unequal than others. Reservations, the argument goes, help create the equality of opportunities. It is undeniable that the reservation policy, especially in the early years of the Indian Republic, helped empower large segments of India’s population which, for various reasons, had been cut off from political, economic and social opportunity. So did land reforms. But it is also undeniable that this system of reservations is now largely perverted by ceaseless pork-barreling. The absurdity of this can be seen from the fact that the number of ‘backward’ communities has skyrocketed, more communities each year clamour for the exalted status of being designated ‘backward’ and even ‘forward’ communities are seeking reservations to secure for themselves a piece of the pie. Far from creating equality of opportunity, when extended in such a pervasive manner, reservations have ended up creating the exact opposite.

One reader questioned why merit should be so important. He also mistook merit for performance in high school examinations. Merit is important because it is very often the only objective measure of a person’s potential to do a job. If the purpose is to have a winning cricket team, then it is far better (and far easier) to select a player based on his domestic record than on the basis of the community which he is born into. Of course, you don’t choose the cricketer based on his high-school grades, but on his domestic record — an objective measure of merit for the purpose concerned. What applies to cricket teams applies to management-, R&D- and sales teams too. Neither the Indian cricket team nor the Indian firm can succeed in hyper-competitive international contests if they choose anything other than merit to compose their teams.

But is it correct to interpret performance in say, high-school or entrance examinations as merit? In other words, is merit being measured correctly? As far as the private sector is concerned, it should be free to use whatever qualifications it sees fit to select employees. Where there is concern for public safety, like in the case of certain engineering professions or health, government does have a role in setting standards, but not in picking candidates. For the vast majority of private-sector jobs though, the government must yield to the simple truth that the employer not only knows how best to spend his money, but more importantly has the sole right to do so. (See GreatBong)

But should the government use exam scores as the sole metric of merit while selecting its own employees? Here there is a case for expanding the selection criteria to take into account various other factors like participation in social service and uniformed groups or achievements in sporting, artistic and other fields. Converting these into convenient, comparable metrics is not easy. Nevertheless, the selection criteria for public servants can be expanded to include various extra-curricular achievements that extend the scope of merit to something less academic in orientation. While this is a case for broadening the definition of merit, it is not quite the same of dispensing with merit and choosing entitlement instead.

India is facing a crisis of selection. It is clear that the culture of entitlement is pervasive in society and a vote-winner for the political class. But it is also a course that is certain to cause India, yet again, to lose the ticket to prosperity and development that every generation feels is within its grasp yet somehow slips out of its hand. In reality, it’s not slipping out at all. It’s being snatched out of their hands by a self-serving political class. Written constitutions are designed to help prevent such perversion. In the next few months, India’s will face one of the stiffest challenges yet.

82 thoughts on “The Great Leap Backward”

  1. Cogno and Vivekanand.

    To understand the travels of history and how discrimination of caste has been perpetuated, you should understand who the real owners of social IP were. Gounders are traditionally village headmen very similar to the Gowdas of Karnataka. Their role in the society was as enforcers of the king’s (whoever was ruling) wishes while the king’s wishes were often wishes of powerful brahmin matas holding the king for ransom.

    Even the land that many of the gounders got were the unwanted lands, which these people tilled using tenant farming. Gounders had become unwitting levers in the caste-power structure.

    My point is this. Gounders and Naikers were people who were denied education as educational systems were developed keeping in mind the needs of that time.priests for the temples and later bueracracy for the british. And the opportunities were primarily opened up to the upperclass brahmins.

    Entreprenuership is a common human trait and the success of gounder and naiker community towards transforming the economy of western tamil nadu is testimony to what self confidence can bring about in the community and letting that trait (entreprenuership) to bloom.

    Perriyar’s lynchpin “erode plan of socialism” in 1932 is widely considered the birth of social egalitarianism in India. If not for him and his powerful message of rationalism, the caste structure would have survived and thrived, especially when political india was virtually under Brahmin control (brahmins of the congress). It is because of his virulent anti-brahmin approach the dravida kazhagam was born as an apolitical social body in 1944.

    Except for brahmins, mudaliars and some rich chettiars literally no one in civil society viewed education favourabily. Education never really meant investment for 90% of the population. It meant jobs only to the brahmins, pillais and mudaliars because of their association with the british. For the chettiars, it meant contacts and favourable trade with the british. For rest of the population education was a fancy indulged only by the rich for the preteige and social standing. The gounders and the naikers (except for a few rich among the trading subcastes) never really had access to education.

    The rich gounders and naikers who you were talking about as being heriditarily rich are only a few sub castes of gounders and naikers who were involved in trading. Only the few rich among them who had access to education had the opportunity to become entreprenuers instead of clerks like the brahmins did.

    The wave of industrialisation begining in the 80s and 90s and increasingly now in the 21st century has been brought about by the singular effort of many many first generation entreprenuers who got access to education because of reservation.

    Some of my own friends, who have started their own industries in tiruppur and coimbatore were first generation entreprenuers.

    Education may not really give these people any extra skills, but it had given the loads of self confidence to venture into newer areas than their traditional trade and create prosperity for themselves and their society.

    I doubt this would have happened, had it not been for periyar’s pathbreaking struggle against caste segregation and discrimination in the public space. After all “self respect” is a word aptly associated with periyar.

    Moreover social egalitarianism and caste pride has become very high in tamil nadu especially among the lower caste. They no longer consider being a nadar or a vanniar or a kallar or a thevar as lesser than a brahmin or a mudaliyar. This self confidence would give people the drive to go into non-traditional areas and you will see a spread of prosperity.

    To some extent yes, the reservation system has been misused by some for freebies like (natukotai chettis claiming themselves as kongu chettis for getting reservation). These are minor abberations when compared to the scores of people every year who have an opportunity to move up the educational ladder.

    When I am talking of coimbatore and the gounders, I know what I am talking about.

    FYI, I have studied and lived in coimbatore and still have a lot of good friends there.

    regards,

    vasu

  2. I read this discussion here with much interest. This is one of those debates
    which tends to raise tempers (understandably). However, Some of what I have read
    reminds of the fable of the blind men and the elephant. That said, I have a few
    questions to pose

    1) Examples and anecdotes from personal experiences are interesting but are they
    trends ?
    2) Opinions are free but facts are sacred. Does anybody have real numbers on this
    issue ? Reservation is increasing but is that necessarily a bad thing ? How does
    one measure its effects ? More importantly can anybody define “BAD” and “GOOD” ?
    3) What is the frame of reference for this discussion ? Is the economy ? Is it
    about development of the underprivileged groups ? Or is it about an individual’s
    rights ? For instance, Vasu does make some good points about redistribution of wealth
    and its catalytic effects on the overall economy (my take on what he has written).
    This is probably a good thing from a macro perspective but explain that to the
    individual who was screwed in the process.

    The principle of reservation is not flawed. Its execution most certainly is.
    I reckon it should be as below
    a) If your father got the benefits of reservation then you dont. i.e. it stops
    with one generation
    b) If your father didnt get it and he is above a “certain” pay bracket, then you
    dont get the benefits as well. I am not an economist by training so I will leave
    it to others to suggest what the ceiling should be.
    c) If 1 & 2 dont apply to you and you are a candidate from a BC/SC/ST, then you
    get the benefit.

    Finally, I think this discussion will be a waste of time if people solidify into
    camps and grossly oversimplify things as either “GOOD” or “BAD” whilst missing the
    point totally. It is both! How you view it is simply dependent on your frame of
    reference.

    Thanks,

    regards,
    Karthik

  3. Very sensible points, Karthikeyan.

    From what I have seen, most of the “reserved category” people who get selected into difficult positions (such as engineering college seats) are not those who truly deserve it.

    If your schooling was from a public school, and you did not have the opportunity of good schooling/coaching/tuitions etc, you may feel that the bar for selection should be lowered for you. But you have no moral right to claim any preference if you went to the same school and coaching centre as another “general catagory” student, and you should definitely not be selected before him if he performs better than you.

    To give equal opportunities to the under-privileged (Note: caste/religion etc does not have any bearing here), lowering the selection criteria or reservation is an incomplete approach to treating the effect, not the root cause. A better step would be to try and lower the gap in opportunities between the rich and the poor. The government should try to improve the public school infrastructure, so that poor students from such schools are not at a disadvantage against the rich kids from private schools. It can provide grants and nominal-interest loans so that no poor kid has to miss school/college because he cannot afford it.

    Pro-reservation opinionists, aren’t the above, better approaches to solving the problem of inequality than coercive reservation on unaided institutions?

    Helping and teaching the child to walk on his own is a far better option than carrying him everywhere. By making it easier for the “historically suppressed” sections of society, they are not learning to cope against hardships. Rather, you are making them weak. You are breaking them down more thoroughly than 1000s of years of organized suppression would not have done. By proclaiming that reservation is the only way that they can reach coveted positions in industry and society, you are labeling them incompetent, and destroying their self-confidence.

    I do not doubt your motives, but you need to look at the broad picture. The problem you speak of definitely exists, and I don’t think anyone disagrees. But you need to ask yourself, will your solution solve it?

    Side Note: In such debates, one often tends to ignore the total import of a person’s post, and tends to attack individual sentences. I suggest people to cross-question the author’s views as a whole, and not individual phrases which may have been just rhetoric.

    Regards,
    Asif

  4. In case it escaped your attention let me draw a simple trace of Vasu’s logic: on certain hideous past practices everyone — the goundars, the naickers, hell, even the king — is absolved of any responsibility which is solely placed on the brahmins. And what about today’s equally hideous practices? be it the ill-treatment of the real dienfranchised communities, including women in all communitiess (including the so-called forward)? Oh, Vasu says little but if prodded, would likely say the brahmins are still to blame.

    That certain communities favored education and others didn’t should be ground for punishment and reward today. The educational institutions in Coimbatore, many founded by the Naickers, always had preferential admissions for the Naickers. And Vasu, I was born in and grew up in Coimbatore with friends from the mentioned communities dating back four+ DECADES. I do business with them today, as I have for long, and contribute actively to charity and philanthropic activities there. I don’t need your two-bits to educate me on the history of industry and wealth/economic distribution around Coimbatore.

    I can’t but say this: your bigotry is starkly evident and your blame-the-brahmins approach very visible. What a shame, as it seems the education you received may have served a woman or SC/ST/Dalit better.

  5. Hi all,

    Good to know the Coimbatore link runs strong. I’m a Stanite myself, and Sai Baba Colony/KK Pudur rocks! Here’s something I recall from my days in Coimbatore that contribute to lightening up this discussion. After all the passionate argumentation, some levity is certainly in order.

    Several years ago, the powers that be in Tamil Nadu decided to eliminate caste from society. As part of their ambition to eradicate caste from society, they decided they should get rid of caste names in street signs as well. So Chinna Subbana Gounder street was renamed to Chinna Subbannan Street.

    At this time, we were told that Madras’s famous Chetty Street, had been renamed to “Street”.

    [Commenters – please avoid personal attacks. Points can be made just as forcefully without being offensive]

  6. Congo,

    Sorry for challenge your ego in giving you my two piece of gyan about how I look at coimbatore. That was not my intent (to challenge your ego). I just wanted to share with you my view of how and why gounders/naikers were as much (if not more) victims of discrimination as perpetrators of the same. Historically speaking. As my name would suggest, I am a Brahmin myself and your claim that my views are anti-brahminic and bigoted is quiet untrue.

    I think, if you live a few years in a place and understand the society and culture of the place it is enough ? Are you getting into the spiral of proving who is better acqainted with coimbatore ? Is that enough to convince someone of your opinions ? I certainly dont think so, but then I may be wrong.

    As someone here said, it is damm easy to pick isolated statements and prove a brownie point here and there. But thats no use isnt it ? I am getting off the horse and I suggest you get off that horse too.

    Regarding gender discrimination let me make my stand clear. We need to correct that too and create a society where people are not looked at from which category/creed/gender they belong too. Protecting some of the women’s rights is essential for the health of the society.

    I donot blame brahmin’s as a community for what has happened. But I certainly do blame brahminical idea of puritanism, defiling nature of other castes and a general chip-in-the-shoulder syndrome towards anything that has to do with trade and ocucpation vis-a-vis education.

    Even today, the many temples (like the balaji temple in tirupathi) have not opened priest hood to deserving non-brahmin candidates. I personally know a lot of relatives in my family who consider non-brahmins as an undesirable guest. It just shames me and my principles have shaped in sucha a fashion that I despise these people and their ideas the worst form of human degradation.

    Nithin, The coimbatore connection does run strong. I studied in a college 20 km from coimbatore called sulur.

    vasu

  7. Vasu-

    Dude, most virulent anti-brahmins today are brahmins themselves (S.Anand of outlook fame).

    I understand your viewpoint and have met many of your type. Declaring that you are a brahmin does make readers go – “whoa ! look one of their own!”.

    I dont know what your motives are, but do you know that you can chisel a statue of Periyar with your teeth and you still cannot become a card-carrying member of the DMK ? Search google for “reformed brahmin”. So if you are trying to suck up to the powerful think again.

    Not all brahmins were educated prior to 1900 – not all brahmins are educated today either. There are cooks, temple priests, astrologers, and many petty workers in plenty. Many of them living in poverty and depending on handouts for survival.

    Dont bring personal anecdotes into the picture. If your family cant welcome brahmins, why must others pay the price ? These are personal interactions that cannot be used as a tool of public policy. You may not be welcome in a Mudaliars house either – that doesnt mean anything.

    Ok Balaji temple in Tirumala has a heridetary priest. So what, if you dont like that you are welcome to skip it. The customs of each temple are traditional and controlled by the Dharmakarthas. There are tons of temples where there are other communities as priests.

    The dominant jamins of coimbatore (gounders, naickers, naidus) who owned the countryside, temples, educational institutions – did not need the help of another naicker (Periyar) to give them confidence.

    On the topic of confidence : These OBC communities have enjoyed reservations for 60+ years now. Today, the brahmins is almost nothing (destroyed from politics, police, and slowly from education) How do we know when they have acquired confidence ?

  8. Except for brahmins, mudaliars and some rich chettiars literally no one in civil society viewed education favourabily.

    FYI.

    Mudaliars, Pillais, Chettis, are all considered backward communities today.

    In fact, a political party has been formed to accord MBC status to Mudaliars. New Justice Party (NJP), founded by Mr. A. C. Shanmugham (yes the owner of MGR university)

    Maybe Periyars views were noble, but today TN has descended into a battle for entitlement.

  9. Vasu’s antecedents and caste affiliations hardly matter to me. Bigotry is worth damning, whether his relatives or (as he claims, in reaction) his. All of that is irrelevant to the issue on hand.

    To initially condemn a community — the brahmins — and to absolve everyone else (including the proberbial “king”) — and then to wimp out with a “I am a brahmin myself” and “I don’t blame brahmins but I blame brahminical puritanism…” is laughable, if not for the bigotry it exposes. And a few years in college in a region is license to pontificate about economic distribution there. Oh boy, if you buy that do I have a bridge to sell you?

    The SC/ST/Dalits and women in all communities would benefit from affirmative action which, I assert, will flow back to advance society greatly.

    The sad truth of affirmative action in India to date is that the deserving remain denied. The undeserving, through populism and influence, ate up what was meant for others. And with that track record who is to guarantee an enlarged affirmative action program will serve society well?
    It is like giving an alcoholic 90% proof bottles of hooch. Witness the clamoring already among the undeserving who want to recognition as “backward” so they can join in the drinking…

    Per capita and without the economic advantage possessed by the mentioned communities the south indian brahmins have done more to help the SC/ST/Dalits than any other community (barring the Parsis). My friends in philanthropy concede that readily. They also admit those in control of land, resources, political influence — hardly the brahmins — engage in egregious violations of human spirit today. A visit to the villages and small towns will confirm that readily.

    So here we have problems of today to solve today. And the likes of Vasu — and there are plenty of other bigots to lend him company — come up with fanciful theories of the past to target some, absolve everyone else, and do nothing about what goes on around them today.

    Sounds like a comedy, if not for social train wreck it has already produced. An avoidable tragedy.

  10. Vivekanand/Congo,

    You are seeing ghosts where none exists. Where is the bigotry when all I am asking for is a legitimate social change. Sure there are many people who are poor among brahmins. But there are many people who are poorer and living in abject poverty. Did you hear, that farmers in tanjavur ate snails to keep themeselves alive when there was drouhgts ? These people are not just fighting current economic stagnation, they are fighting centuries of social injustice.

    Snails arent a delicacy for these folks. They eat it despite severe revulsion.

    I think, you are far too extreme in your opinions to understand how screwed up the social setup still is. I take it as a complemnt when you call me a reformed brahmin. But I dont seek any external acknowledgement from political parties like DMK for feeling secure. I am convinced of my position by its own merit.

    There are many long distant thinkers among these blog posts who search google for anything that they want. Wish life in India was as simple as it sounds. Google it and form an opinion.

    Sadly, I come from the old fashioned school of interracting with humans and opening up myself to their lives. If you dont do that, even a lifetime’s existance in a place would not take you anywhere.

    I guess, I have said all that I have to say about this kiddish argument “I have stayed in cbe for a lifetime and I know better”. Well if it helps you sleep well in that smugness, so be it. But one thing I am not worried about is the future where more and more underprevilaged classes take their social, economic and political future in their hands and collectively bargain for their legitimate rights.

    The future is secure for India. There is no developement unless the weakest of the weak are partners in that developement. You cant claim great strides (8% growth, superpower etc.) when you have 30% of the population on the verge of starvation. I would call that pure selfish and someone else called it “India Shining”

    vasu

  11. >>Vasu’s antecedents and caste affiliations hardly matter to me. >>Bigotry is worth damning, whether his relatives or (as he claims, >>in reaction) his. All of that is irrelevant to the issue on hand.

    Well you made it relevant when you accused (still do) me of bigotry and hatred. I am just citing reasons, why I am not against brahmins (as a group) but brahmin thinking of hoarding all things precious. Knowledge, money, power and most importantly social IP (as I would put it).

    >>To initially condemn a community — the brahmins — and to absolve >>everyone else (including the proberbial “king”) — and then to wimp >>out with a “I am a brahmin myself” and “I don’t blame brahmins but >>I blame brahminical puritanism…” is laughable, if not for the >>bigotry it exposes. And a few years in college in a region is >>license to pontificate about economic distribution there. Oh boy, >>if you buy that do I have a bridge to sell you?

    No, no one is absolved. There was a heartless system of social oppression that existed once and we need to correct the playing field. Therefore all I am saying is lets take some from those who were top of the system and give it to those in the bottom. I think you are reacting more to the ghosts in your mind than to my argument that lets do some reverse positive discrimination so that somewhere int he future we can have an egalitarian society. Congo, you have no idea where all my life has taken me. I would humbly suggest we talk of things that are relevant than how many years anyone has lived anywhere.

    >>I understand your viewpoint and have met many of your type. >>Declaring that you are a brahmin does make readers go – “whoa ! >>look one of their own!”.

    Well, I dont think readers are stupid enough to look at people who post based on their castes. Ok, the only reason why I said I was a brahmin was to tell you guys that there is no bigotry or prejudice in my statements. Atleast as long as I identify myself as a brhmin, I wouldnt have hatred for my own kind. Yes some of those puritinical beliefes do piss me off.

    >>Ok Balaji temple in Tirumala has a heridetary priest. So what, if >>you dont like that you are welcome to skip it. The customs of each >>temple are traditional and controlled by the Dharmakarthas. There >>are tons of temples where there are other communities as priests.

    The balaji temple in tirumala is governed by TTD a trust under the government. All temples are governed by the law of the land. It is a blatant discrimination on caste, if a hindu (non-brahmin) is denied the job as a priest just because he is of a lower caste. I think its time that changed. How can you claim heridetiral ownership on job ? is that not a residue of the age old belief that a brahmin is the only one who can preside over the deity ?

    now tell me who is bigoted ?

    I think, fundemantal to a society that is reformed is the fact that we should remove discrimination from our minds and help those who bear the burden of discrimination by removing some of those burdens. Afterall it is our society and if we dont do it, the people would do it by themselves by taking to arms.

    Every violent upheavel in Indian society has a deep social resistance to change and equality. Between resisting and destroying the society and changing from within, I chose the later.

    vasu

  12. Dude nice try, but you are evading the thrust of our arguments.
    This is a common bait and switch tactic that we must see through.

    We all agree that reservations to SC/ST/Dalits is a worthwhile idea.
    I will go even further than you, double their reservation – and monitor
    its impact. Satisfied.

    Let me bring you back to the main issue. Abuse of reservation by
    communities who are powerful, combined with scapegoating of a single
    community.

    Try to stay on topic, we all know which communities carried night soil,
    tilled the land, were prevented from entering temples, drinking from temple
    tanks and such. So spare us please.

    “farmers ate snails in thanjavur”
    I can pretty much guarantee they were not thevars,vanniars, or any dominant communities.
    sO you cannot extrapolate.

    “brahmins hoarding all power, knowledge, money, and social IP”
    Power – 2 MLAS (Jayalalitha and H.Raja) in a house of 230, compare with Thevars who have 93 MLAs
    today (search outlook)
    No brahmins in the entire DMK/MDMK/PMK party (by principle). No brahmin mayor,
    councillor, panchayat chief, in the entire state. You can count brahmin police
    on one hand, ditto with Magistrates, and judges.
    Money – Brahmins are not even close to being the richest communities. The
    richest tamils today are Nadars, Chettiars, Naickers, Naidus – sorry!
    Knowledge – 2005 MBBS exams only 40 brahmins got in out of 200+ seats
    (similar results for past 60 years). Other communities are as smart, or
    maybe even more than brahmins. Mudaliars for example have traditionally
    outshone brahmins in the field of medicine. CMC,VEC,Crescent,St Josephs,
    PSG, you name it – 99% of higher education is *not* controlled by brahmins. This
    was even 40 years back. What “knowledge hoarding” are you talking about ?

    “take some from the top and give to the bottom most”
    no argument there, how about this in practice
    take some from the top and give it to the other top people

    I understand where you are coming from. There are many in your
    community who have a false impression of being powerful, rich and socially
    mobile. I hate to break it to you. It is history man, gone!

    If you are already rich or middle class from your community, it might work out
    for you. You can migrate to other places or buy your way through college or otherwise.
    If you are poor pandit or cook, you are screwed. Your own community people will ditch you and not
    come forward to help. Instead they will wimp out and side with already powerful parties.

    In case you are wondering, I am a Forward caste originally from Andhra Pradesh settled
    in Chennai for ages.

    I live in Chennai, not in some far off land. I am an active member
    of many local groups. I am not a google boy.

  13. vivekanand,

    I agree with you that the one on top of reservation the mudaliars, chettiars etc. have bridged the discrimination gap. I also agree that these are folks who dont need much reservation anymore. That is why I cite Tamil Nadu as an example of a state which has covered some distance in leveling the social playing field. Also if you see the BC category of reservation, they are almost on par with the FC category in terms of cut-off marks. I think this is testimony that after some years of reservations “merit” as many people talk among those communities do come on par with open category. I think this is proof that things have improved for the BC communities.

    The OBCs are an entirely different ballgame. If you take the farmers, artisans (traditional and therefore a lot of chettiar sub communities like devangas), weavers, peasants, potters their situation is still the same as it was 50 years back. Just marginal difference. For as much as we are convinced about SC/STs where there is a no doubt about their reservation, there is no effort done to include the OBCs into the reservation category (except for tamil nadu). When north India was burning (courtesey mandal who advocated 50% reservation), TN already had 69% reservation in professional courses and 75% in some courses like law.

    This is one of the reasons why TN is a more eavenly developed state compared to many other in India. We started the ball for social re-organisation and the ball will continue rolling till the tasks are fully achieved.

    Having been a close observer of the social scenario in tamil nadu, I dont see this long term reservation regime bringing down the quality of workforce in tamil nadu. Infact, TN leads other states like maharashtra in many industries. I dont give therefore more credence that reservations bring down quality of workforce. Sample this, TN has one of the best healthcare records in the couuntry. This according to WHO.

    Why reservations ? the economic logic is self evident.

    If you bring more people into economic mainstream, the greater will be consumption and growth.

    The social logic is in the proof of the pudding. If education makes people think and read and understand the world much better, it will give them self confidence to question the things that happen in their world. It would help people to take hold of their destinies than just play crowd.

    Remember, the OBCs consititue the largest of all caste segments, though they are fragmented into multitudes of castes. The day they come togather, you will see a second revolution. I think it is good for India to channelise these revolutions into peaceful democratic way (like the ahinda movement in karnataka) than in violent upheavel of society (like the naxal revolution threatening the country or the earstwhile revolution by peasants during the rashtrakutha dynasty).

    The OBCs togather form more than 45% of the population.

    vasu

  14. The reason why the “cut-off” marks for BCs is now almost equal to the FCs is …(drum roll, please) because what used to constitute FCs is now the bulk of those calling themselves BCs. With just about every community that can afford to clamoring to make that jump to avail of benefits. Benefits meant for an entirely different group which remain underserved and denied of progress as the fat cats eat and drink their fill, ask for more, and join the general blaming of the brahmins while absolving themselves.

    Alternately, the very fact that the cut-off marks are about equal is good reason to discontinue the current scheme as those that need help have shown they don’t need help. Reorient the scheme to help those that do need it and remain on the sidelines…

    What else can you expect when that happens?

    I guess those that trot out this lame reason won’t be happy until the FC cut-off marks drop far below the BCs. For them that would constitute progress!

    TN was a leader in state economy through the sixties. It declined precipitously, losing ground to Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Punjab for two+ decades (precisely during the period you tout so blindly). It is only in the last several years that it has recovered ground and that is owing to leadership, geography (proximity to Bangalore, Singapore, and a manufacturing base) all of which have nothing to do with reservations.

  15. Vasu,

    I guess you are not going to defend your “eating snails”, “brahmins hoarding power, knowledge and education” statements. So let that be.

    Tamilnadu is more even than other states, who told you so ? If equality means crushing of a particular community than yes – you are right. If equality means helping those who have been really deprived, then TN is the worst off.

    Dalits are nothing in Tamilnadu. Have you heard of Keeripatti and Paapapatti ? How many Dravidian movement leaders are Dalits ?

    So what is your final statement ? You want the creamy layer excluded ? Tough luck. The entire Dravidian movement is against that. Have you heard of a non-creamy-layer certificate ? Probably not. Let me tell you – It is required for OBCs in Kerala to avail benefits. If you think something like that will come to TN – keep dreaming.

    Tamilnadu shows the finger to 50% reservation as well as to the creamy layer removal requirements in the Mandal report. No one can do anything about it.

    My friend – all the weavers, potters, from OBC communities have NO CHANCE against OBCs who attend American International, Lovedale, Good Shepard, Padma Seshadri.

    You might point out an exceptional one or two potters, weavers getting through – as a defense. This is in fact an argument for discountinuing the system for OBCs (or put severe monitoring in place to prevent abuse).

    Neither will happen, because this whole thing is a bait-n-switch game.

    As far as brahmins are concerned, please do some research before painting with such a broad brush. Baring two families (TVS and Amalgamations) – they are almost crushed in all spheres of public life. Do not have any delusions about it. The dominal social IP (your term) today is one of ridicule. Have you seen any tamil movies lately ? Have you listened to two hours of ridicule on Suryan (DMK owned) FM *daily* ?

    Final question : How do you propose to end reservations for a castes like Mudaliars ? They founded the DMK and still dominate. They can easily compete and beat brahmins hands down in any aspect of education.

  16. Offering women — who comprise roughly 50% of society — the benefits of affirmative action will go further, a long way further, in advancing social progress than what is being done today or envisaged in “new” schemes. Is there any doubt that women, regardless of which community they belong to, have long been denied benefits?

    Educate a man, you educate a person. Educate a woman, you educate several generations.

    I guess this won’t happen because such benefits can only be obtained through voting power and economic influence and the ability to disrupt others lives. Something those in today’s BC category and those clamoring to get that demonstrably show. Something that women in general and as a group don’t. Something the brahmins don’t. When was the last time you could say that about those in the BC set? And you call that progress?

    It is a tragedy that a program meant for social upliftment of those long denied was hijacked by others, far less deserving, who continue the misinformation, diatribes, and pogroms against the brahmins to skillfully distract attention away from themselves. State-sanctioned, society-approced bigotry. There is no other way to describe it. Witness Germany of the 1920s and 1930s for a different way to achieve the same…except that you read that in history books and you see this around you today, right now.

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  18. hello:

    i really liked reading this blog, of course i’m gonna check others related to this subject to contrast dieas but i like your version ans opinions, dont’ share it totally but it’s good to know people’s opinions…great blog..bye

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