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”

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  3. Nitin, very good arguments and a timely post.

    It is fundamentally about the principles around which India organises its society. Equality of all citizens is among the most fundamental of these principles.

    Yep, yep. Something I have always felt. Equality somehow doesnt seem to be the goal of all politicians in India – even the “for-equity” communists.

    And as for the misuse of reservations – well we saw that amply in Tamil Nadu, dint we? With reservations creeping to 69% – overcoming the SC’s stricture against it breaching 50%. With such high degress of reservations *everyone* will want to claim his/her community is backward on whatever grounds.

  4. Hi,

    I read your article and there are a number of things that I want to respond to.

    Here they are.

    1) Every government action or inaction affects India deeply. Ours is a system deeply dependant on the government environment. Having said that, it is important to examine the role of the government. Government’s role is to ensure that all political stake holders in this system (read as voters) should have their interest protected. To say that it is all votebank politics is restating the obvious. Nithin, that is what democracy is aobut and that is what we should be proud about. Politics is the ultimate representation of people’s wishes. In my world that towers miles above any notion of science, logic and everything else. I am sure there will be a time for science, logic and everything else. But that time is not now. We have miles to go before social egalitarianism is achieved. Before we can even consider merit as a factor of selection. Being meritorious is no holy cow. What is however important is a fundemantal right to opportuity. Untill that fundamental right is achieved we can put in cold storage merit.

    2) economics rides on cycles. Cycles of consumption, competition and capital. These are not fuelled by merit. They are fueled by demand and supply of certain skills. That is why you have a booming IT industry in India today. We dont have the best programmers, but we have tons of decent programmers. That is why infosys which would never hire a person less than an engineer during the mid 90s now hires people of all eucational background. Then they dint have such a big requirement and now they have a lot of requirement. All their so calle merit standards were thrown out of the window just to make money. Which is the real hard truth. Now tell me why should GOI play any part in it ? should its role not be the protector of the least developed sections of the society ?

    3) “Merit” (as it is used by nithin) starts very early in a person’s life. Right from the time he gives his first exam. Class 12 plays a vital part in estimating one’s “Merit” (as it is used by nithin). This is the reason why I spoke of “Merit” (as it is used by nithin). There are no competing school systems in the world for this. We dont need to address class 12 if GOI devotes adequate energy to develop all industries equally. If we have a system where all labour sections have economic potential to earn a decent and honorouble living for the individual. That sadly is not the case which means there is a high demand for certain streams of education and near zero demand for certain other streams. That is why GOI has to step in and in the short term balance the opportunity for the oppressed class. I would love to throw the whole school system out of the window. It is one of the most stupid systems in India. Much worse than our political system. But its not practical as it will throw out of gear a large number of people. Reformation is more ideal than revolution. Untill then reservation should be enforced in all educational streams upto 75%. Sadly this does not include the IITs… yet.

    4) I would have loved to comment on the indian cricket team. But doing so would be trivialising the issue to the crass levels of club sport. I think its beneath me to even respond to such an analogy. Frankly who cares, if Indian cricket team is selected like this or that. Afterall not more than 11 can play ? its not going to alter the socio-economic reality of india esp in the villages where oppression and suppression still is the norm of the day. It just fills the coffers of a few rich individuals who have lofty tastes.

    5) In principle you are correct when you say “As far as the private sector is concerned, it should be free to use whatever qualifications it sees fit to select employees”. But I would like to know how do they select and would like to comment on how they select. This debate the way I look at it should not have any areas which are black-box in nature. To say that since they are pvt. sector and are putting their own money, dont interfere is ok and acceptable, but it certainly merits a look into and see what are the core principles these people are using. isnt it ? Having accepted the fact that a class 12 examination is not the exact measure of a person’s merit, then why do still companies go based on criteria like degree, percentage etc.
    Its because they dont have any other selection critiera to rely on. Marks and the existing system of merit is just a criteria for selection. They dont care to see all other factors if a person doesent measure up on this scale. Do they ? If forced by the GOI they can be made to account for caste as a selection criteria. Afterall, it shouldnt bother them where their workforce comes from. Let the take the best workforce and let GOI decide where the best come from. I dont agree to the argument that companies would move out of India if you have reservation. They would move out only if they dont make money here or if the save more somewhere else. Money dictates their motives and not principles. And as I said in point 2) (see above) economic cycles are not dependant on weather you have star employees. To reserve employment to certain sections of the population doesent take away the fact that you cant fire them for non-performance. reservation in selection, performance is something else which the companies will judge for themselves.

    I think, I have adequately responded to all your points. I just want to say one last thing. The current educational system was established by Lord Mccauly (thats why indians are called mccauly’s children) to supply officers, clerks and beuracracy for the company and later the empire. It is not necessarily the best suited for India. Like many things the british left for us we need to critically question and relook these institutions vis-a-vis their relevance for the population. Merit therefor need not be so sacrosant and the last word for any discussion. We as equal political stake holders cannot accept any holy cows in our midst. Everything exists for the benifit of all, if it doesent benifit us we should have the conviction to throw it out of the window.

    POint to ponder: Who is better “merited” (using nithin’s words) to study civil engineering in IIT (Chennai).

    a) a son of a maestri (traditional building contractor), who scores 70% in 12th.
    b) a son of a brahmin clerk in a bank who scores 99% in his 12th.

  5. Vasu,

    You asked:

    POint to ponder: Who is better “merited” (using nithin’s words) to study civil engineering in IIT (Chennai).

    a) a son of a maestri (traditional building contractor), who scores 70% in 12th.
    b) a son of a brahmin clerk in a bank who scores 99% in his 12th.

    You didn’t mention what they themselves want. I presume that you assumed (and want others to assume) that they both want to study civil engineering. In that case, it’s pretty clear. It does not matter what their father’s do (or how good they are what they do), the chap who scores 99% gets in. I suppose you would argue that it should be the maestri’s who gets in.

    Here’s something for you to ponder. Let’s assume the world is ordered according to your scheme. What if the maestri’s son really wants to pursue a career in banking. Do you think he should be doomed to remain in the ancestral line of business?

    The lack of social mobility, if you will recall, was the reason why the caste system — with all its faults that the Indian Republic now seeks to correct — came about in the first place.

  6. Nithin,

    The curse of this nation is this. you spend public money to educate people in IITs and they return the favour by flying off to US and working for Defence department and NASA. They then come back and hold court about their stolen achievements. We honour them with pravasi barathiya awards and applaud the effort.

    The maestri’s son goes unnoticed because he cant mug and puke answers as well as the brahmin boy does. But he can build a better building. really who cares.

    Have social mobility as long as the suppressed class are given that mobilty first. Ultimately removing caste is not pretending it doesent exist. It means removing the inequities amongst caste itself.

    vasu

  7. In absolute terms any reservation is bad, but looking at the society and even after 50 years of independence and ‘equality’, caste persecution exists. Equality should mean equality for all, not just some classes. I’ll start with a example, how many of us have not taunted, or seen, a backward class student being taunted in school, or frankly, even at work in some places?

    If not a single political party has come out opposing it bad will definately mean they are catering to vote politics. But it can also mean they have so many people in their constituencies who are depressed classes and have not had a fair chance at having an upwardly mobile culture.

    Reservation will only ensure that ‘good’ people from backward classes are filling the positions, not just any guy. Frankly, private sector can take care of itself.

    Regarding economy, the more people have money, the better the economy will be. It is the Indian tendency to save, and higher classes after earning suitable amount of money, go for saving. If distribution of that money goes in more hands, more people will spend, and there will be a greater equitability in society leading to better fortunes for everyone.

    A few more points about why reservation can lead to more economic gains is here http://unsaid.blogsome.com/2005/12/19/in-favour-of-job-quota

    About GreatBong’s post:

    1. Historical injustice should also mean rebuilding temples over mosques: If mosques and temples were people, it would’ve been a considerable idea.

    2. A higher class official is likely to discriminate against a lower class person only in government : GreatBong should get out more often. Almost all privately held company have higher caste people. A bania company will preferably hire banias, a brahmin owner company will preferably hire brahmins. Not so much the case now may be because of demand supply, but still a bare truth.

    The argument of market forces: If market forces were allowed a free hand, the bubble would not’ve developed. The stock markets (including in India) will never crash and lead to dismay all around.

    The argument that all supporters of reservation gain to benefit from it: Absolutely false. In fact, all supporters of non-reservation gain to benefit from non-reservation as they take away a sizeable bunch of people out of the competetion.

  8. Vasu,

    You are avoiding answering my question. I used your own example to highlight to you that the policy you advocate won’t deliver social mobility for the suppressed classes. You state:

    The maestri’s son goes unnoticed because he cant mug and puke answers as well as the brahmin boy does. But he can build a better building. really who cares.

    The point is how do you know who can build a better building in advance? Aren’t you underestimating the value of a civil engineering course? Isn’t is possible that the ‘brahmin boy’ can build a building of at least similar quality after graduating from the engineering school?

    You also argued:

    I am sure there will be a time for science, logic and everything else. But that time is not now.

    Even the case for reservation needs to be argued using science, logic and reason. A rational debate on the merits of reservation is possible only on these terms.

  9. >>The point is how do you know who can build a better building in >>advance? Aren’t you underestimating the value of a civil >>engineering course? Isn’t is possible that the ‘brahmin boy’ can >>build a building of at least similar quality after graduating from >>the engineering school?

    The thing is while gaining admission the current system admits only the brahmin boy… not the maestri’s son. The truth is we cant know who can build a better building, unless a building is built. Why then the holier than thou approach of saying the brahmin boy’s 99% is a merit while the maestri’s son’s practical workmanship isnt ?
    One thing is clear, the brahmin boy if given a chance would study civil engineering and do mainframe coding for TCS/Infosys. What a waste of time and public money. Dont deny that this doesent happen. During my years atleast, I know that 70% of IITians never did what they were trained for. They all went where the money was. Atleast the maestri’s son would add to his practical skills. The brahmin boy’s son would only squat and waste a seat. This doesent come from prejudice, but from having seen 100s of brahmin boys argue and do the things that I just said. My point is merit as a criteria as being judged on academic parameters is no more or no less than once socio-economic background. Indian government has to be compassionate towards the struggles of people who have endured thousands of years of abuse. Its not a matter of explaination or logic, but an article of faith. which is where I come to your next point.

    >>Even the case for reservation needs to be argued using science, >>logic and reason. A rational debate on the merits of reservation >>is possible only on these terms.

    hoaa… I was talking about political rights vs merit logic.. Argument for merit might be appealing because it looks ogical and scientific but political wishes are more improtant than blind logic. Many people dont even know what it is to be suppressed and oppressed. So logic doesent cut much ice here. Thats wht I meant.. please dont misquote me in parts..

    I think a much thorrough understanding of india’s socio economic reality is necessary. One book that is wonderful is Sainath’s “Everybody loves a good drought”.

    thanks

    vasu

  10. Atleast the maestri’s son would add to his practical skills. The brahmin boy’s son would only squat and waste a seat.

    Sure, the maestri’s son would not go for a higher paying IT job and help out his family but rather stick to the tradition and go for a lower paying civil engineering job. Looks like the maestris you know are all altruistics folks. Can I have their number for my house repair job?

    One book that is wonderful is Sainath’s “Everybody loves a good drought”.

    Says it all.

  11. I was talking about political rights vs merit logic.. Argument for merit might be appealing because it looks ogical and scientific but political wishes are more improtant than blind logic.

    It seems that the Indian idea of ‘political rights’ is the majority enforcing it’s will upon the minority to extract preferential treatment.

    This is in stark contrast with the idea of individual rights intended to protect individuals from the whims of the majority.

    You are glorifiying the worst aspect of a democracy.

  12. Its funny that becoz he is a maestir’s son he will not go for Infosys/TCS and help the family business. I am sure that if at all he can make out to Engineering he will search for a good money making job like any one who did eng whether he is a maiestris son or some others son

  13. Nitin,

    It is pointless talking about principles in the face of naked display of grabbing. As Winston Churchill once said, the sheep may pass countless resolutions on vegetarianism, but it would be quite useless if the lions had a different opinion about it (I am not quoting it exactly).

    Upper castes (synonymous with Brahmins to many) in India are a minority. To be very frank, they live at the mercy of the majority. Just like ethnic minorities in many parts of the world, the more succesful they are the more they become the target of politics of envy and eventually naked grab (think ethnic chinese in Indonesia, Tamils in Burma, Indians in Uganda, Fiji). This is a sad fact. Until now, upper castes in India were relatively unharmed because the rest were not united in their hatred of upper castes or united politically. The rise of the BJP has actually gone a long way in advancing that unity. The current COngress dispensation unlike past Congress dispensation has come to power on the basis of anti-BJp, ergo anti-upper caste. So, we should not be surprised. Things will only get worse.

    Finally, as long as the private sector was not churning out jobs (I mean organized sector jobs), nobody really cared about reservation in this sector. Now, that they spy a golden goose, it is too much to expect restraint.

    If this were truly implemented, it would be bureacratic nightmare. Imagine how they are going to monitor, if ABC company is actually fulfilling its legal obligation to quota. Imagine the potential for extortion. The local MLA, MP threatening to create a ruckus of ABC company did not comply with his “requests.”

    I would advise upper castes to go about getting BC certificate from the tehsildar for a few bucks before the “price” of such certificates go up.

  14. Nitin,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and have found the points it makes to be very well-made on important issues such as these recent attempts to expand reservations. I am in complete agreement with you here that for a given job, it is the employer who has the sole right to decide how his money is spent. This includes who he hires too. The evolution of reservations in India represent one of the worst perversions of the democratic process I’ve ever read of, destroying equality in the name of creating it.

    Vasu, why the fuss over a guy who gets into Civil Eng. at an IIT and then decides after graduation that he wants to work at some IT company writing code every day? As far as I know all human beings are free to do as they wish, having a fundamental right to the “pursuit of happiness” as we’d say here in America. I know several people amongst my own family and friends including Indians, Americans, and others who have pursued careers vastly different from what they studied while in school and they are thriving. German language majors who write code for bioinformatics firms, restaurant owners who were sociology majors, authors who graduated from law school, etc.

    IMO, each individual knows best what career they should pursue and thus that decision ought to be left to them. I’d rather judge someone by how well they do at their chosen vocation than whether they are working in the exact field that they obtained a degree in. This dispute here has roots in the central defect that I notice in India today, the tendency to deny individuals the right the right to choose things for themselves.

    With that said, your points about inequality of opportunity (your example of the brahmin’s son vs. the maestri’s son) and India’s education system being a British creation that is out of touch with today’s needs do have merit (no pun intended). On inequality of opportunity, my feeling is that the problem ought to be tackled from the bottom up, not by a blind system of affirmative action that simply gives people preference based on religion or caste, often ignoring the fact that they might not have had an adequate educational experience during primary schooling to prepare them for the job or professional school in question. IMO, more money needs to be pumped into neglected primary schools in disadvantaged areas and reservations by quota need to be abandoned completely in favor of a system that at public schools onlylooks at each candidate for admission based on a set minimum admittance criteria (by scores or by a point system that takes into account scores, extra-curricular activities, and application essays), giving preference to those SC/BC candidates who meet this admittance criteria. This would ensure that those who are admitted are actually qualified, instead of merely having been born into a SC/BC family. However, at private institutions, the government in my view has no right whatsoever to encourage, order, or force a policy of affirmative action (or any policy for that matter, beyond equal treatment laws).

  15. I guess, Mr. Manmohan Singh’s lasting legacy will be creation of a perfectly Orwellian system that Soviets couldn’t devise in their 70 years of power. Egged on by Ms. Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council with the help of hypocritical European social experimenters (children of who grow in a normal competitive meritocracy based society back in Europe), PM Singh is turning the clock back by bringing the entire economy and educational system under reservation system.

    Now birth will define everything in India (instead of prior government controlled activities). If you want to work at Infosys – sorry you were born to the wrong family. If you want to do an MD – sorry by birth you are eliminated. And so it goes, the entire population will have quotas for every aspect of their lives – education, work, may be entertainment and travel next based on one’s caste (religion is coming next after Andhra Pradesh’s path breaking).

    Soviet Communists dream, Orwellian nighmare. Forgot becoming a super power, we’ll be waste another century dividing people into various quotas for education and jobs based on birth.

    And screw those checks and balances. Beloved Indira showed the way.

  16. Rahul,

    I’m sure you’ll agree that even Indians (and people from other developping nations) being able to come to USA is because of a quota system for granting visas. It has provided a salvaging point for a lot of people whose potential would’ve otherwise gone waste in their home countries, apart from financial prosperity.

    If not a reservation for the backwards, then what is the other least ‘explosive’ alternative to bring about a change in the situation of the depressed classes?

    Srinivas:

    The local MLA\MP can create a ruckus even today on any other flimsy ground, will it give him one more reason, Yes. But how many companies today have not paid bribes to get their buildings approved, water, electricity approved, etc.? The very fact that you have the means and the money to circumvent this problem by bribing the tehsildar proves my point about Indian society being unjust to a large majority of population who are not rich or connected enough.

    Private sector was not touched before because it was itself in need of ‘reservation’ which it was getting in the form of subsidies, and lots of companies being run by higher castes would’ve been happy with that arrangement if it was left onto them. This same case can apply to depressed classes too, but then that is why WTO was in a bottleneck for so long (even today to a very large extent). The countries waited until their industries were ready. India is trying to do the same thing, its waiting to get rid of the curbs of reservation until there is more just and balanced social and economic climate.
    If it was 5 years earlier, it would’ve been too early, if its 5 years later, it might be late. The right time is now to get every caste on board the economic rocket blast(as we all hear that India is on a cusp).

    Chandra:
    In India, Birth still decides for a vast majority in India what you will do in life, not just which job or course you will take up and where. But may be not from the side you are talking about but from the other.

    I’m sure people still remember what happened during the recent tsunami response when even the relief was biased against the Dalits. Can we still claim to be on a fair ground?
    Already the Indian minorities are drifting, Indians will unnecessarily alienate another big chunk of its population which in fact, wants to stay within the Hindu religion rather than convert. Its a security and a social hazard, if nothing else. I have raised thse points on my blog too.(http://unsaid.blogsome.com/2005/12/19/in-favour-of-job-quota)

    How many from the depressed classes have the means to respond to the questions being raised against reservation, on the internet, newspapers or else where? How many would be capable of even reading what all the fuss is about?

  17. /////Rahul,

    I’m sure you’ll agree that even Indians (and people from other developping nations) being able to come to USA is because of a quota system for granting visas. It has provided a salvaging point for a lot of people whose potential would’ve otherwise gone waste in their home countries, apart from financial prosperity.

    If not a reservation for the backwards, then what is the other least ‘explosive’ alternative to bring about a change in the situation of the depressed classes?//////

    Sachiņ, sure, Indians can come to the USA because of a quota system. But that a system for immigration into a country is far different from a system for university admissions processes or job applications. For immigration, there are different angles such as national security that have to be dealt with. Plus, since immigration policy is made by the US gov’t and is something the US gov’t is entitled to do as it doesn’t trample on the individual rights of US citizens, quotas as determined by Congress and signed into law by the President are fine. But, in the case of a private individual or a corporation or a private university, the gov’t has no right to intervene whatsoever.

    Hence, the only area in which affirmative action legislation by the gov’t would at all be legitimate IMO is in public universities and in hiring for the gov’t bureaucracy. But even here, I don’t see a blind system of reservations that says “check this box for ____ SC/BC” and then gives those who check the said box acceptance to a university or a position as a public servent to be an effective system. Forget whether it is explosive or not, it simply isn’t effective as it discourages those who by some measure of merit (test scores, job experience, etc.) would have been better qualified for the job from applying when they know they haven’t got the right last name to land such a heavily reserved job or university seat. Such an implementation of affirmative action based on strict quotas isn’t effective, easily becomes a votebanking tool, and creates tensions in society.

    Yet, as you said, what other alternative is there to bringing about a change in the situation of the depressed classes? IMO, the solution is a different approach to admissions and job applications. Take into account more than just test scores. Take into account extra-curricular achievements and work experience, especially that which might be relevant to a job in question. Also, for acceptance to a university, developing a set of minimum criteria, an admissions cutoff of either test scores or some point system that takes into account test scores and other factors that apply to all students and then allowing disadvantaged students who meet or exceed the criteria to simply be admitted would be better than having set quotas that could end up being filled by underqualified people simply due to their being of the right caste. This way, [i]qualified[/i] students from disadvantaged/SC/BC backgrounds would be given a chance instead of having their scores lined up against students who were able to attend lots of tutoring classes. However, this minimum cutoff is extremely important as IMO it lends legitimacy, and speaks of a set policy to ensure all who study at an institution meet its standards.

    Sachin, I just had a bit of an epiphany. It is said there is discrimination against Dalits (SC/BC, Dalits, what is the appropriate term here? thanks!) and in general, there is still a caste-based mindset in India so that birth determines much of one’s life. In that case, what better way to ensure that employment is provided by hte private sector regardless of caste differences than to bring into the private sector in India players that have no reason to look at caste? FDI!!!! That’s the solution to India’s caste woes!!! Foreign companies don’t give a damn about the caste of those they hire. If Wal-Mart sets up shop in India, it won’t care if its employees are Dalit, Kshatriya, Brahmin, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, or whatever. IMO, doing everything possible to bring in more FDI (namely, improved infrastructure along the lines of the Golden Quadrilateral and getting rid of restrictive labor laws) with an emphasis on attracting manufacturing would be best. It wouldn’t be a silver bullet but it certainly would do more than any sort of reservations as it would be growing the pie rather than cutting it up and allocating it free of any caste-based prejudices.

  18. An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind – Mohandas Gandhi.

    Sachin & Vasu – Are you not in favor of a wrong to correct another wrong?

    Contrary to what someone wrote earlier about reservations being hard to implement, I believe that they are the ‘easy’ way out. Publish a caste list, publish a percentage and put out the directive. Easy to remember, easy to follow. Inequality is not so simple. It is well-known that caste based reservation does not account for financial status. Should the rich from reserved castes be given reservations at IIT? Reservations to promote equality of opportunity cannot be as simple as what caste you were born in.

    You yourself agree that caste based reservations are needed only now while we are unjust and unequal in our society. So tell me – on what basis, in future, are you going to know that X caste has crossed the line to be no longer backward? or will they remain backward forever?

    Do not look for easy solutions to difficult problems.

    Honestly, I cannot even believe my eyes as I read your very articulate and abhorrent comments. And your very strange ideas about caste factor in schools and jobs. I studied at IIT and I am not from any high caste. I don’t recall any incidents, events that ever made me notice what my caste was. I worked in a chemical production plant in India, I don’t recall my caste or any one else’s being noticed. I am not saying that it never happens but to magnify the problem as a crisis is not just alarmist, it is dangerous to our nation.

    Lastly, I want to comment on the constant example of civil engg from IIT – an undergraduate degree gets you cognitive skills. These skills may have an engineering flavor or arts but to imagine civil engineers only making buildings is confusing a BTech with a vocational diploma.

    Nitin – Thanks for raising awareness about this issue. You are a true patriot.

    Sorry for the rantish post.

  19. While both sides of the coin ought to be seen before coming to a conclusion in a debate, the points put forward by Vasu are simply ridiculous.

    POint to ponder: Who is better “merited” (using nithin’s words) to study civil engineering in IIT (Chennai).

    a) a son of a maestri (traditional building contractor), who scores 70% in 12th.
    b) a son of a brahmin clerk in a bank who scores 99% in his 12th.

    The answer is that the guy who does well in his IITJEE exams will get through. If he is not fit enough to clear the IIT through merit, he will not make a good engineer.

    And then ,

    “The truth is we cant know who can build a better building, unless a building is built. Why then the holier than thou approach of saying the brahmin boy’s 99% is a merit while the maestri’s son’s practical workmanship isnt ?”

    Wow, I didnt know that practical workmanship comes in handy to study Civil Engg papers like Structures.

    “One thing is clear, the brahmin boy if given a chance would study civil engineering and do mainframe coding for TCS/Infosys. What a waste of time and public money. Dont deny that this doesent happen. During my years atleast, I know that 70% of IITians never did what they were trained for. They all went where the money was. Atleast the maestri’s son would add to his practical skills. The brahmin boy’s son would only squat and waste a seat.”

    And therein lies the irony. The maestri’s son will also pass from IIT and then join Infosys for M/f programming. I have a friend of mine who did his PhD in Aerospace engg and is not finding any jobs . He is contemplating switching to software to work on database.:) Ohh, what a waste of a seat, years of hard work and rigor!! 🙂 Make mechanical engineering jobs as glamorous as software and you”ll find all IIT mechanical engineers do “what they were trained for”.

  20. Vasu,

    Are you aware, that when you say:

    POint to ponder: Who is better “merited” (using nithin’s words) to study civil engineering in IIT (Chennai).

    a) a son of a maestri (traditional building contractor), who scores 70% in 12th.
    b) a son of a brahmin clerk in a bank who scores 99% in his 12th.

    you are inherently reinforcing, and using, casteist logic – which would dictate that a cobblers’ son *has* to be a cobbler cos “he has got practical experience with it”?

  21. I think, there has been tremendous mis-understanding about what I have said. Firstly, I am very surprised that people are

    portraying those who are able to top the educational system in india as victims. I dont view this whole issue as a

    victimisation exercise. I believe in an educational system which is inclusive and does not deny education to anyone. If

    someone wants to study civil engg.. he/she should be provided with a seat, irrespective of how much marks he/she has scored.

    Unfrotunately there arent enough seats available within the system for everyone to study. This means there is going to be acompetition. While competing one has to take into account one’s background because a person from a backward caste has had a harder struggle uphill. Selection and rejection of candidates based purely on marks is a grea disadvantage to these people.

    Either that or create enough seats all over India to cater to the demand.

    In 1994 there were very few computer engg colleges and only those few who could get into these courses got into the computer
    industry. The reason why you have today so many computer professionals is because of a pvt. educational setup (NIITs,
    aptechs) who werent selective on who they teach. I am saying instead of having education as a ring for proving who is better, make education a stage to learn and earn a decent living.

    Its really sad that most of the people who have commented on the issue are skirting away one’s social responsibility to erase inequalities in the system. Atleast the reservation system has brought up 100s if not 1000s of people away from a life outside of mainstream economics. This to me is more worthy of celebration than a single brilliant scientist discovering something great. MY outlook is from a social Angle. There are 100s and 1000s of families who want to educate their kids but are not accomodated in the system. That to me is crime bigger than denieing some highscoring brahmin kid a seat in IIT(Chennai) becauese someone else needs it more.

    ~ cynicalHerd said

    >>One book that is wonderful is Sainath’s “Everybody loves a good drought”.

    >>Says it all.

    This book has actually documented the poorest and most backward districts of India and the verdict is clear. Caste is a reality in India. To say that forget caste is for people who have their bellies full. For most of them its a reality that suppresses their progress day in and day out. By reserving seats based on caste, you would level the 100s of years of inequality they have undergone. Nothing wrong about this. I think this is worthier cause than anything else.

    To call it as a “wrong” (in response to two wrongs cant make a right) is blinker-viewed. We are just correcting a historical wrong.

    ~epoch

    >>It seems that the Indian idea of ‘political rights’ is the majority enforcing it’s will upon the minority to extract

    >>preferential treatment.

    Need not be if the govt. and society creates enough seats in courses for all who want to study. Till then, we need to tilt the balance a little bit in favour of those who cant reach out.

    >>This is in stark contrast with the idea of individual rights
    intended to protect individuals from the whims of the
    >>majority.

    The issue is not about someone’s rights being trampled. No one says that a brahmin should never study or something like that. Just that when there are limited resources, we need to help those who really need it. Infact that is the role of the government. Take from those who have, and give to those dont. Thats what makes us a society. Otherwise each one of us should fight for our own protection by taking guns and this will become a hunter gatherer society. Why need an army. Why should that guy die fighting for you ? When you draw resources from a common pool and further your life, others have the same rights to do so. These institutes of learning should cater first to provide education for all. Excellance and greatness will come later. There is realyl no pride in saying we have five IITs in our country. There is a great deal of shame in saying that we have only five IITs. Imagine those lakhs of people who are denied IIT education every year. To beat your chest about it and say, “see how tough IIT competition is ? therefore india is better than the world” is silly. When I see that, I see lakhs of crushed dreams who have a right to study in that institution but are denied that. That to me is trampling of one’s individual rights.

    Right to education is enshrined in the constitution. It just stuns me, how people have forgotten that right so conviniently.

    >>You are glorifiying the worst aspect of a democracy.

    I disagree, that is the best aspect of democracy. The people’s wishes translates into law. Its a law of the people, by the people for the people. The law is passed after debate, discussion and a broad consensus (2/3rd mandate). How can you say thats the worst aspect of democracy ? because of a few brahmin kids feeling left out ? It doesent matter because weather you are a brahmin, SC, ST etc. you have the same political rights. nothing mroe, nothing less. Thats what makes this country great.

    ~vrreddy

    >>Its funny that becoz he is a maestir’s son he will not go for Infosys/TCS and help the family business. I am sure that if

    >>at all he can make out to Engineering he will search for a good money making job like any one who did eng whether he is a

    >>maiestris son or some others son

    Doesent have any basis. Why dont we try it out and gather empirical evidence. Find out how many brahmin kids out of IIT are doing what they were trained for. Lets have a 10 year 70% reservation in IITs to SC/ST/BC/MBC and see what happens then.

    ~liberration

    >>vasu my friend, your views are abhorrent.

    liberation my friend, that tells me a lot about your perception.

    ~RahulBR

    First of all, When an Indian gets into harvard or any other school, he or she gets in because of a policy by that institute to have diversity in its class rooms. Its another matter that these people have the necessary academic qualifications like GRE SAT etc. But some part is played by their ethnic background in their admission. This is what they mean subjective criterial of selection. Why then do we have so much opposition for that same principle adopted for the benifit of indans in india ?

    I have a feeling that we are being unfair in judging that all those who come by reservation are not qualified enough and somehow are inferior. Today in tamilnadu where the reservation is highest in india 69% in most courses and 75 % in law etc. the evidence is clear. It was the first state to have such a far reaching reservation impact in the country. Look at what has happened. The state is heavily industrialised, economy is not concentrated in a few big cities but is spread out fairly equally. Social and health indicators are one of the highest and for a state which lacks natural resources education is a big part of peopl’e life. This couldnt have happened without reservation. Moreover those categories which were reserved and had a lower qualifying cut-off percentage 10 years back are almost at par with open category cut-off percentage. Its evidence that

    with time reservation really levels the playing field. The cut-off from BC reserved quota are just around 5 marks (1/3rd of a percent) lesser than the OC cut-off..

    why cant we take social standing as a criteria for selction. I think the key remains in the perception of education by all of view and the way it differs from how i percieve. Education is like water, power, roads etc. There should be no qualifying criteria and its the govt. supreme duty to provide education to all. Care a rat’s ass for qualifying critiera. Who is to judge that I should or shouldnot become a civil engg.. and why ?? That to me is negation of fundemantal rights of the indian citizen. But untill that happens and there are enough college seats, we have to ensure that large sections of our population who are not ready for brutal open competition has a heloing hand. There is nothing mroally or unprincipled about it.

    Foreign companies dont give a damm about what happens to the society they operate in. That is why we need the govt. to ensure that there are reservations and more restriction on labour policy. People should understand that companies come into india because india has lax labour laws and its easy to get around many of the restrictive labour policies of the west (e.g. minimum pay, overtime etc.). We need to ensure that while opening up the economy, the legitimate rights of the workers in our country not sold out just because we want more FDI. FDI as fast and as much as it comes, would exit equally fast if something goes wrong in the economy. Remember SE Asia economic crises ??? Money chases money in capitalism, thats what capitalism means (literally). I dont think there can be moral principles based on the statement “money makes everything legitmate”. There are other human factors which have to be taken care of irrespective of weather foreign companies care or not. Infact, on the contrary if india grows faster (which it can only if the suppressed people get a decent opportunity to earn and live well and escape social oppression), these foreign companies would have more reasons to stay. This is to placate the palpating heart of
    many of the capitalist friends out here.

    ~Manu

    >>Honestly, I cannot even believe my eyes as I read your very articulate and abhorrent comments. And your very strange ideas
    >>about caste factor in schools and jobs. I studied at IIT and I am not from any high caste. I don’t recall any incidents,
    >>events that ever made me notice what my caste was. I worked in a chemical production plant in India, I don’t recall my
    >>caste or any one else’s being noticed. I am not saying that it never happens but to magnify the problem as a crisis is not
    >>just alarmist, it is dangerous to our nation.

    Manu – I dont know to which caste you belong to. But to whichever it is, please see what is the state of affairs in the bottom 70% of your caste. Many people who dont have educational background suffer for long. I think it is important that most people get educated and get decent jobs. I think by seeing a few from the backward caste who have lifted themselves up from the misery of oppression, we can call the job fully done.

    >>Lastly, I want to comment on the constant example of civil engg from IIT – an undergraduate degree gets you cognitive >>skills. These skills may have an engineering flavor or arts but to imagine civil engineers only making buildings is >>confusing a BTech with a vocational diploma.

    Sorry to say manu, as much as you are a student of logic, you are not a student of history. When IITs were formed in my money (public money) they were formed with this unique vision of creating the engineers India needs to build the country AND NOT TO IMPART COGNITIVE SKILLS. in the absense of checks, ballances and enforcement machinary many people (close to 75 %) have studied in my money (public funded) and gone ahead to further their own individual interess. I know its not your fault, you just grabbed the oportunity you got.

    I want others who really deserve to get the opportunity. If bachelors degrees are for developing congnitive skills, its time
    we changed that. Atleast then we will have the right skills imparted to people so that they develop their own vision to build
    things. Not just sit and clean mainframe code for TCS.

    ~Dodger

    >>And therein lies the irony. The maestri’s son will also pass from IIT and then join Infosys for M/f programming. I have a

    >>friend of mine who did his PhD in Aerospace engg and is not finding any jobs . He is contemplating switching to software to

    >>work on database.:) Ohh, what a waste of a seat, years of hard work and rigor!! Make mechanical engineering jobs as

    >>glamorous as software and you”ll find all IIT mechanical engineers do “what they were trained for”.

    Hmmmm.. how shall I react to this. Well, its a sad story. My room mate was a PHD in lasers from IITs doing MF maintenance for TCS. Real waste of my money (public money). I agree with you that other industries should be given the opportunity to flouris as much as IT has flourished. Lets have employment based tax benifits. Let those companies which fullfill their social responsibilities get tax benifits and let those who donot fullfill pay higher taxes. Ofcourse all this comes later. First lets have reservation in pvt. sector and withdraw income tax benifits to all industries esp. IT and Biotechnology.

    Intelligent and educated people like you all should shoulder a little more responsibility to think for the good of the nation and a good way to start is get to the hinterland and find out the real situation over there. Once you are fully impressed with the reality out there, you will definitely see the reason behind why reservation is going to help lift a lot of folks from their oppressive environments.

    I do acknowledge that reservation today is not working 100% towards this ideal. There is a lot of corruption in this system. But so is there in the courts, in Income taxes, Exise, police and literally all institutions. What are we going to do then ? Throw out all institutions because they are corrupt ? Thats like throwing the baby with the bathwater. We got to clean up corruption by having more accountability and if we can bring accountability within reservation, we can make it work well and fast. Then maybe 50 years is enough to level the playing field. After that happens, we can talk of individual liberty and rights of all as being equal.

    Its not quiet glamorous and important actually to feel supremely happy if India becomes a superpower or not (someone said that, dont know who?). Whats important is, that India’s internal unequality should be erased once for all. Its not asif, that we miss the bus now, we will never get another opportunity. IF instead of 100 million upper-middle class folks trying for it, if we have 1 billion indians of all hue working togather it is more likely we become a true superpower confident right from within.

    I also agree with Sachin’s argument that instead of helping 5 guys get salaries of 1,00,000 each if we have 50 guys getting a swalary of 10,000 each we would be creating a fast growing economy because the consumption levels of the 50 guys would be much higher than that of those 5 guys. To do that, we have to re-orient our educational systems towards producing job worthy individuals in all spectrum. Its a sad waste of money and resources to just impart a few cognitive skills in three years.

    thanks

    vasu

  22. Infact that is the role of the government. Take from those who have, and give to those dont.

    Says who? Right to property is also enshrined in the constitution.

    Why need an army. Why should that guy die fighting for you ?

    Note that ours is an all-volunteer army. Coming from a famliy of servicemen I can tell you that our forefathers did it for their own interest no one forced them to do it.

    When I see that, I see lakhs of crushed dreams who have a right to study in that institution but are denied that. That to me is trampling of one’s individual rights.

    Is ‘Right to study in IIT’ a fundamental right? The last time I checked the answer is no. Right to education, yes. But what happened to the ‘education cess’ collected by UPA govt to support primary education from ‘greedy capitalists’. The last time I saw, not one paisa of that went to the primary education, nil, nada.

    because of a few brahmin kids feeling left out ?

    Yeah, 69% in Tamil Nadu and 70% (nor sure) is Karnataka means only few are left out. In other countries, this is called tyranny of the majority.

    Why dont we try it out and gather empirical evidence. Find out how many brahmin kids out of IIT are doing what they were trained for.

    Au contraire, lets do a survey of all SC/ST students from IIT graduated so far. Let’s see how many of them stuck to their major despite better offers to switch to IT/management/whatever. That’ll show if it is only the brahmin students who are ‘greedy’ and go after the money.

    First of all, When an Indian gets into harvard or any other school, he or she gets in because of a policy by that institute to have diversity in its class rooms.

    What are you smoking? It is for the ‘other’ Indians (native), Hispanic, African-American, Women (desi or otherwise)?

    This couldnt have happened without reservation.

    Not taking away the achievements of Tamil Nadu, are you sure about the above? Is this the only reason for the industrialization? There are other policies like tax incentives, better infrastructure, etc. To give you a counter example, Kerala which has a better social, educational indicators than TN suffers from a bad industrial sector. Why? it is because of the Left’s bad economic policy. So it shows that haveving good education and social indicators has nothing to do with the state of the industry.

  23. Vasu,

    Although you claim to base your case on democracy, your arguments reveal not just contempt for freedom and individual rights but also bigotry and prejudice towards ‘upper classes’. In this comment, I will demonstrate why your arguments are not only undemocratic, but are of a decidedly Stalinist variety.

    In principle you are correct when you say “As far as the private sector is concerned, it should be free to use whatever qualifications it sees fit to select employees”. But I would like to know how do they select and would like to comment on how they select.

    On what basis? Unless you are a shareholder or an employee, you have no right to interfere in its decisions. As a potential customer, you can choose not to buy its products if you think it engages in practices that you dislike.

    Have social mobility as long as the suppressed class are given that mobilty first

    Remember that thing ‘all animals are equal but some are more equal than others’? That’s George Orwell.

    I believe in an educational system which is inclusive and does not deny education to anyone. If someone wants to study civil engg.. he/she should be provided with a seat, irrespective of how much marks he/she has scored.

    Sure, this is possible in a free market. If students are willing to pay the full fee for the course, then yes, whoever desires a seat can get one. Perhaps it is a good idea for the government to entirely get out of higher education?
    But you argue that the government involvement is necessary. Not just any involvement, but one of this kind:

    Take from those who have, and give to those dont. Thats what makes us a society.

    No that doesn’t. It makes us Robin Hoods.

    In 1994 there were very few computer engg colleges and only those few who could get into these courses got into the computer industry. The reason why you have today so many computer professionals is because of a pvt. educational setup (NIITs, aptechs) who werent selective on who they teach.

    You contradict yourself here. You agree that private institutions have successfully created so many computer professionals without being selective (ie without reservations).

    Its really sad that most of the people who have commented on the issue are skirting away one’s social responsibility to erase inequalities in the system.

    Two things here: first, those who disagree with your solution are not necessarily disagreeing with you on the problem. Second, you cannot simultaneously argue for deprivation of rights and imposition of responsibilities. When you do that it’s called slavery.

    There are 100s and 1000s of families who want to educate their kids but are not accomodated in the system. That to me is crime bigger than denieing some highscoring brahmin kid a seat in IIT(Chennai) becauese someone else needs it more.

    That’s an argument to deny some people their rights because of other people’s needs. It’s the same as saying that I can take my neighbours third car (which he simply parks in his garage) because I need it to go to work.

    By reserving seats based on caste, you would level the 100s of years of inequality they have undergone. Nothing wrong about this.

    That is an argument for removing inequality, not an argument for reservations based on caste.

    These institutes of learning should cater first to provide education for all. Excellance and greatness will come later.

    There is a case for the state to provide primary education for all, perhaps even secondary education because it has positive externalities. Higher-education is not a right. As for the ‘excellence and greatness will come later’ argument, that’s what the Soviets, ex-Communist states said before they collapsed. That’s what India’s government schools have been saying for 50 years. Greatness and Excellence have proven elusive.

    Education is like water, power, roads etc.

    So do you also suggest we have reservations for the use of water, power and roads now?

    why cant we take social standing as a criteria for selction.

    We can. But the selection criteria must match the purpose.

    That is why we need the govt. to ensure that there are reservations and more restriction on labour policy. People should understand that companies come into india because india has lax labour laws and its easy to get around many of the restrictive labour policies of the west

    Your observation defies reality. Contrary to what you suggest, foreign companies are not creating jobs in India because labour laws are tight and the labour bureaucracy is a nightmare.

  24. Vasu,

    I have never allowed this blog to contain racial, religious or communal prejudice & hatred. Your comments in this discussion have challenged my determination to summarily delete comments that I consider offensive. You are most welcome to participate in discussions on this blog, and put forth your views forcefully, but you must respect these ground rules.

  25. Nithin,

    I suggest you chill. Despite the differing opinions and course of this argument not one statement of mine has hatred. In fact, I am a brahmin myself and in your analysis I have been victimised by the system. Fortunately for me, I have been witness to the caste oppression practiced in rural India and can with conviction believe that Reservations are a must.

    I also understand that many of you have the same degree of conviction when you say reservation is rotten. Whatever the opinion might be, I dont hold any of the arguments posted here as contemptuous. Passionate arguments they might be, but definitely not contemptuous.

    Hence this real wonder in my eyes, what did you see of what I wrote which was based on racial hate ? Are you being too defensive about the issue ? That happens many a time and is totally understandable. I read all the posts I posted and figured out, the only area of objection could be for using the term Brahmin. To me Brahmin is a symbol of Upper castes though I agree there are a lot more uppercastes than just brahmins. Maybe I shouldnt have used the word “brahmin”. How else can one talk of reservation without using the word brahmin or uppercaste. Yes, I am guilty of being politically incorrect. Apologies. Is that hatred ?

    On the contrary personal remarks on my statements were made by some (Abhorring). Dint bother me actually, but then for sake of completeness I thoutht I would let you know (in case your eyes dint pick it up). I take all these in stride because, somewhere I thought no one means any illwill to anyone else here and no one has an intention to flame out here. Atleast I dont.

    So I suggest you look within you for your defensive reaction to the post. But then, this is your blog and you are the boss. Please feel free to delete any/all post of mine you consider offensive because of racial/relegious/communal prejudice & hatred.

    If you do think that my opinions are offensive, just let me know I will hold my horses and not disturb the peace in your neighbourhood.

    regards,

    vasu

  26. Although you claim to base your case on democracy, your arguments reveal not just contempt for freedom and individual rights but >>also bigotry and prejudice towards ‘upper classes’. In this >>comment, I will demonstrate why your arguments are not only >>undemocratic, but are of a decidedly Stalinist variety.

    where is the bigotry against upper caste ??

    >>On what basis? Unless you are a shareholder or an employee, you >>have no right to interfere in its decisions. As a potential >>customer, you can choose not to buy its products if you think it >>engages in practices that you dislike.

    I meant, to discuss how pvt. companies hire their employees ? Is discussing their methodology in a pvt. forum is in your words ” undemocratic, but are of a decidedly Stalinist variety”. Now who is having prejudices ? I think its fashionable these days to brand anyone who asks you uncomfortable question questions as a communist. Ever heard of McCarthy ? I think I am well within the rights to ask how a company conducts itself in the public sphere. The company exists as an individual (comapnies act) and is subject to the law of the land. If as a citizen, i cant question a company who can ? arent you curtailing my freedom of expression ? think.

    Sure, this is possible in a free market. If students are willing to pay the full fee for the course, then yes, whoever desires a seat can get one. Perhaps it is a good idea for the government to entirely get out of higher education? But you argue that the government involvement is necessary. Not just any involvement, but one of this kind:

    The govt. can and should entirely get out of running colleges esp. IITs. IITs should be disbanded the land given back to the people from whom it was acquired and the brand IIT protected not to be used by anyone else. Let govt. then allow people to freely setup pvt. colleges in the country and lets have as many as we require. There will be enough and more seats for all castes and there wont be any compliants. I think thats a very very sensible idea. The reason I am questioning IIT is because, IITS are funded by public money and till now there has been no accountability from the institute or from its students. Its been a free lunch all the way.

    >>Take from those who have, and give to those dont. Thats what makes us a society.

    >>>>No that doesn’t. It makes us Robin Hoods.

    Ofcourse it does and whats so wrong about that ? Otherwise many of them would die.. So we should just let them die ? sacrifice the slower lambs just because they cant run fast ? I think thats an argument which lacks compassion.

    >>You contradict yourself here. You agree that private institutions >>have successfully created so many computer professionals without >>being selective (ie without reservations).

    I think you understood it wrongly (or rightly ??). My argument is here is an example where there is no selection criteria. If I have the money, I can learn computers and I dont need to be the top 2% of the society to do so. Ofcourse The money part is there because they are pvt. companies. But the point is not that. The point is we need a gaurenteed education system. Evaluation is fine. Denial is not based on merit or any other criteria. This is purely a function of demand and supply. Take away the money part you will understand the model of education I am talking about.

    Higher-education is not a right.

    Higher education is a right. I differ. You cannot and should not deny higher education because you donot have adequate seat. If this philosophy is firmly entrenched, you can find a way to meet the demand for education. The government has to work towards that.

    As for the ‘excellence and greatness will come later’ argument, that’s what the Soviets, ex-Communist states said before they collapsed. That’s what India’s government schools have been saying for 50 years. Greatness and Excellence have proven elusive.

    Excellance pertains to quality which I am sure is very important. But thats not what we are discussing here. By me saying excellance comes later, I dont mean we dont need it atall. That would be silly isnt it. But excellance taking a priority over giving people their rightfull educational needs ?? Thats unacceptable. Who cares for a Central Electrochemical Research institute when thousands are dying to get a decent livelyhood for themselves. Govt. has forgotten its most important reason. Not to engage in discoveries and advance the global human community. Its first accountability is to the people of this country. Humanity and scientific advancement now is misplaced priorities. the soviet system collapsed. yes. but before it did, it achieved one of its main objectives. bring about equality. today a russian czar’s grand kid is no better or worse than a peasant’s of the same era. they are peers now. Soviet system collapsed because there was no democracy. Imagine kruchev getting ellected with 99% of all votes polled. I believe in democract and majority of the people do want reservation. What do you say for that ?

    So do you also suggest we have reservations for the use of water, power and roads now?

    We dont.. everyone gets water, irrespective of weather he scored 99% or 23%.. I am saying treat education also at the same level. You will get educated weather 99% or 23%. I am sure there is a way out to achieve this.

    vasu
    p.s.: do let me know if this post offended you. I will stop posting.

     

    Ed: To improve readability, this comment has been reformatted using the <blockquote> tag

  27. Manu,

    Irrespective of whether you have used reservations in the past or no, You are a perfect example of why I favour reservations. As education grows, there will be people in the lower classes who will realise that they need to step aside for their much lesser fortunate bretheren to make use of the special concessions.
    Reservation ultimately need to go away, and I’m sure they will when their time is up and served their purpose.

    Nitin,
    I’d like to pick up on a thread which is relevant to the argument here.

    “On what basis? Unless you are a shareholder or an employee, you have no right to interfere in its decisions. As a potential customer, you can choose not to buy its products if you think it engages in practices that you dislike.”

    If I own a bullock cart and can only drive a bullock cart, Why are they stopped to go on some roads while the cars are not? I’m also a shareholder in that same road as I’ve paid my taxes. Car riders will find it inconvenient no doubt, but then someone should either train me on driving a car and then help me get a loan (I’m poor I can’t afford high interest rates), or the government should not take away my taxes for those roads all over the country where I can’t take my bullock cart (which is much more ludicrous idea). Majority of lower class people are disunited and do not have enough money power to force any company not to behave in a certain way, so going by what you have advised, how can they retaliate against that company?

    “About roads and electricity, etc.”
    I’m not much in favour of doing that and I hope it never will go that way, but again the fact is that majority of dalit clusters do not have as regular enough electricity as higher caste clusters. In many places, water is already segregated (so one component among the others mentioned is already basking in glory). Also, in some western countries, even some of the roads are divided between bicycle riders and automobile riders. Do we need to follow the same examples, NO as it does not fits into Indian conditions.

    “About government involvement”
    If government involvement is not necessary, then (giving another example which I repeat) why should the government interfere by bringingin checking mechanisms even when the stock markets crash. If free market was such an ideal thing (it much better than many others though), then there would never have been any scams or market crashes. Everything would’ve been taken care of by the eventual rise of harmful-agenda\lobby driven policies.

    Although, admitedly, I do not subscribe to many of the pro-reservation arguments given here, but it should not mean that there is no merit in positive discrimination for the under priviledged, or the core thought behind the arguments. The ‘Real’ argument should be who should get reservation and who should not, and the the processes and mechanisms to take them out when and where they are not needed.

    Ed: To improve readability, this comment has been reformatted using the <blockquote> tag
  28. Most posts are too long and passionate…keep it coming

    Sachin, I don’t think anyone has any illusion that Indians are not prejudicial. The issue is not that there are problems. The issue is how do you deal with them.

    I would rather have the government hand out deprived children (I prefer economically deprivation families and children rather than caste based – so that it would include all deprived Indian children, not just Hindu children) books and study material and let them show interest in education and schooling. If the kids want to go to movies all year instead of studying, so be it. They have their chance until they are 16. No caste based reservations are needed for university education and jobs. It’s really that simple.

    It will take years and decades to get it right, but if the system was in place in, say, the 60s – things would have been much better for all Indian children by now. The hard work for government is providing quality schools and education until kids are 16. The easy reservation solution hits everyone (make no illusion, everyone – forward, backward, and everyone else – is impacted by reservations). We know what governments usually do.

    Also, when does the reservation system stop? Why would anyone study if you get a 90% anyway? Why would anyone work if one can’t get fired because the caste quotas have to be maintained? Caste system is permanent because the government is prompting them by offering incentives to keep the system intact. The reservation system will never end until caste system ends. You see the pattern…

  29. wow! Vasu and Sachin – you guys really need medical attention.

    Manu – I dont know to which caste you belong to. But to whichever it is, please see what is the state of affairs in the bottom 70% of your caste. Many people who dont have educational background suffer for long. I think it is important that most people get educated and get decent jobs. I think by seeing a few from the backward caste who have lifted themselves up from the misery of oppression, we can call the job fully done.

    Who said I was “oppressed”?! My point was that I never even remotely noticed my caste, leave alone get oppressed. The 70% of the less well-off people in my caste/family did not pay attention to their education. They decided it was better to relax at home than to apply their minds to Math, Physics and Chemistry problems for extended periods of time to get through JEE.

    Irrespective of whether you have used reservations in the past or no, You are a perfect example of why I favour reservations. As education grows, there will be people in the lower classes who will realise that they need to step aside for their much lesser fortunate bretheren to make use of the special concessions.

    Reservation ultimately need to go away, and I’m sure they will when their time is up and served their purpose. I bet that’s exactly someone said to exclude the lower castes from social opportunity thousands of years ago. And now you are having fun writing opposite opinions on the Acorn. I never used reservations and I think any self-respecting citizen will not. A crutch is a crutch, no matter what caste you come from.

    My point remains, reservations are the easy (and wrong) way to solve difficult problems of inequality. Additionally – the idea of economic equality is gone. Focus on equality of opportunity, which is already available in India.

    Ed: To improve readability, this comment has been reformatted using the <blockquote> tag
  30. Gentlemen, no need to insult Vasu and Sachin by asking what kind of weed they’re smoking or telling them to get medical attention. Their opinions are fair game, but personal insults towards them aren’t. Let’s keep it polite, eh?

    Manu, I think you explained what I was trying to get at more clearly than I did. Reservations based on either a %tage or raw number quota are the easy option but do not really solve anything and simply create resentment. If I understood you correctly, then I agree that an affirmative action policy should take more than just one’s surname (caste) but also look at one’s financial status and other parts of one’s background that truly determine one’s opportunities in life. As you said, economic opportunity is where the focus should be.

    Vasu, sorry yaar but I find your reply to me to be riddled with errors. True, Harvard and many other institutions here (both private and public) have affirmative action policies. But, your innocent question of why India cannot have a similar system shows a lack of understanding on your part about how affirmative action works in the American context. We DO NOT USE QUOTAS here in the US. The University of Michigan, which is in my own state, was taken to the Supreme Court a few years ago over this issue and it was decided that quotas of any sort and point systems that awarded points simply for racial, religious, gender, or other background (caste would be added in India’s situation) for the admissions process were unconstitutional. Instead, what many universities use is a policy of encouraging diversity. Minimum standards for acceptance are set by admissions committees each year and EVERY single application is reviewed. Only those that meet the standards are looked at (and these standards could involve pt. systems that account for test scores, work experience, grades in school, life experiences, alumni parents or family members, and FINANCIAL SITUATION). Into that mix, diversity based on gender, race, religion, and sometimes nationality (to get a good number of international students, such as students from India) are looked at as often times, more students exceed the standards than can be accepted. Each university varies in what it does at this pt. regarding admittance of minority students but in this manner, it is ensured that all minority students who are admitted actually are capable, versus simply admitting a fixed number each year regardless of qualifications (which is what an inflexible %tage or raw numbers based quota does). This, I’d imagine, is the complicated solution for what Manu described as a complicated and difficult problem.

    Furthermore, Harvard pursues this policy only because its board of trustees decides to do so. Nobody forces it to do so as any government doing such a thing would be violating the rights of that PRIVATE institution. The University of Michigan on the other hand is a public institution and thus the government can legislate what it can and cannot do, including forbidding the use of quotas. If Harvard, Princeton, MIT, or Yale wished however, they could implement quotas. Yet the point remains, a simple quota is nowhere near as effective as a thorough system such as that in use here because it does not at all take into account whether an individual is qualified.

    Furthermore, such a system does not perpetuate preferential treatment for people based on their last name once they have attained a certain level of achievement. If my grandfather was discriminated against but got into a university via affirmative action, became successful, and now two generations later I’m applying to university, there should not be any preferential treatment for me as my family has already benefitted plenty from it. If I still get preferential treatment, then the system is being abused. And that is what happens in a system like the one found in India of simple quotas that don’t look at a person beyond his or her last name.

    On foreign companies, you are guilty of a straw man attack of sorts. You see yaar, I didn’t talk about any of that stuff, I merely suggested they do not discriminate based on caste as they do not have the caste prejudices that seem to be widespread throughout Indian society. They will recruit only on merit, whether it be a construction worker’s skill at laying bricks or a software engineer’s code writing ability. As for labor laws and such, au contraire, compared to the US, UK, Australia, and countries in East Asia that have developed well, India’s labor laws are actually extremely restrictive. Did you know that one has to get gov’t permission to fire a worker if one employs more than 30 workers? That right there captures the essence of why FDI has failed to pour into India while it pours into China as fast as one can snap their fingers. Furthermore, these labor laws that were designed with the best of intentions only apply to the ORGANIZED SECTOR. With fewer than 20% of Indians working in the organized sector and most working in rural areas or in small businesses, these labor laws don’t even apply to the vast majority of the Indian work force. But, they do hold back foreign companies from bringing money and thus jobs to India, especially in the manufacturing sector where these laws give them the most headaches. The sooner these laws go, the quicker the average Indian can go from working for a family member, local fellow, or in a field and not having anything guaranteed by the law to working for a foreign company where he’s guaranteed a wage and where if things go amiss, it will get noticed due to extra scrutiny on foreign companies.

    As for the SEast Asian economic crises, look at those countries. Look at Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand. They have greatly higher standards of living than India due to pursuing sensible policies. The only thing that has held India back was a socialist mindset, a mindset which sadly you seem to have. Also, you say that if the socially oppressed people are put on equal footing, the economy will grow, and foreign companies will stay. This lacks any logic whatsoever based on the policies you support to accomplish this. Private sector quotas will drive away foreign companies and kill Indian companies’ competitiveness. The economy will stagnate. Foreign companies will not come. Your approach consists of CUTTING UP the pie, whereas my suggestion of allowing more foreign companies in would GROW the pie, and grow it without regard to caste.

    And with this post, I’ll have to rest my case. It certainly is an interesting topic and I’m glad Nitin brought it up, though I’m sad that these policies are actually seriously being considered. A great leap backward indeed.

  31. PS, sorry for the YELLING. I have no idea how to do italics and bold on here so I used CAPS instead.

  32. Again, reservations will only ensure that deserving candidates from depressed classes will fill the positions not just any person who will not be suitable, and the HR managers will quite amptly make sure of that.

    Rahul,

    When you spoke about the litigation in USA regarding Michigan University, I’m assuming you were speaking about the Gritter case. Below is a summary of the Judgement.

    “The Supreme court held that the law school’s interest in obtaining a “critical mass” of minority students was indeed a “tailored use.” Judge O’Connor noted that sometime in the future, perhaps twenty-five years hence, racial affirmative action would no longer be necessary in order to promote diversity. It implied that affirmative action should not be allowed permanent status and that eventually a “colorblind” policy should be implemented. The opinion read, “Race-conscious admissions policies must be limited in time. The Court takes the Law School at its word that it would like nothing better than to find a race-neutral admissions formula and will terminate its use of racial preferences as soon as practicable..The Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.”

    The decision largely upheld the decision in 1978’s Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case which allowed race to be a consideration in admissions policy, but held that quotas were illegal.

    The courts left it to the University in US. In India, the government left it to the private sector, but not a single company did anything even resembling what companies in USA do about diversity, so its bound to take corrective measures. Diversity in US means not just black and white but all the cultures too. Its mainly a land of immigrants which could afford to start from almost scratch. Unlike India where tradition is embedded in the minds.
    If Harvard is practising positive discrimination ,its for some reasons, and an important one is moral, which no Indian company has shown, that’s why no need to legislate.

    About the SE countries, the things you state are not entirely true. Malaysia followed a positive discrimination policy during its greatest period of economic upward movement. Singapore follows an unwritten policy of positive discrimination to maintain an economic and cultural balance in favour of the ethnic chinese population. Indonesia has only recently (last month, if I remember correctly) brought a law to have no discrimination in jobs, after pressure from groups donating money for tsunami (among other things). I’m in the dark about Thailand though.

    Regarding MNCs, they will have their own policies of hiring. But are all hiring managers and executives going to be foreigners?

    Chandra:

    You are absolutely correct that its an ever going cycle in a country like India. But again what is the other best alternative?
    There is a danger that the number of depressed castes will only increase in size, but that has to be checked with democratic and judicial processes. Why block the whole process for a large eligible mass, which has shown results.

    “when does the reservation system stop?”

    Like I mentioned in an earlier comment, this question along with setting up processes for when and where to take away the special treatment, should be what the real discussion be about.

    Besides, who says that the Dalits filling up a position can’t be fired for non-performance? Someone mentioned Indian companies having to take permission from courts to fire, well, I guess he\she forgot what happened in early 2001 in India. Also, there is a reason why companies take people as temps or on probation.

    As I mentioned in another comment, Dalits are not in a position to retaliate against discrimination, neither monetarily nor united or educated enough.

    The biggest of Indian companies (although who have their origins before 1990s) were a certain caste majority companies. The owner’s caste decided which castes the company will prefer while hiring.

    Educated people like here in this group realise that caste discrimination should not happen (I hope), but how many people who have not seen how fast the world is changing can tell that?
    When the educated majority have realised that caste system is redundant and is only back firing on their growth vis-a-vis other countries, there will be a demand from within to take away the quota practise.

    Nitin:
    I guess some has messed up your web page. I can’t see a thing on here.

  33. Well i strongly support nitin on the issue-

    The only argument that people supporting the reservation is that , it is a way of getting oppresssed/backward , disadvantaged communities equal opportunities. Though the reason is absolutely correct but the means to achieve this is not.

    1. It is not correct to associate social backwardness to economic bakwardness, this point has been oft debated in this post, and the conclusion seems to be that the government is going about the round about way of providing reservations for their own selfish interests. And people are naive enuf to feel that this will help the backward classes in attaining equality in the society.
    There have to be other soluions, As per human nature a person who is assured of a job will not srive towards working hard to attain that position, so the overall competency will suffer.

    2. If there are reservations higher eduation then why are they needed in the private job market at all…. The government should take measures to get compulsory education for eveyone…Ex. If person X did not get proper proper schooling then having reservation for a job doesnt make any sense, On the other hand if X has studied at par with his so called upper class then he/she does not need the aid of reservation, we can trust that person to be aware ofthe ooportunities available. In such a scenario having a reserved job will do more harm then help to him and his competency and skill development.

    3. People who argue that the plight of people from backward classes getting harassed by class mates etc, should know that reservation is not going to help remove this condition.
    a. It will lead to resentment from more deserving candidates if they are deproved of good higher education as well as a better job merely due the fact that they were born in so called upper class (whatever that means)
    b. MOST IMPORTANT WE CANNOT HOPE ANY TYPE OF DISCRIMINATING BOUNDRIES TO BLUR BY ENFORCING THE BOUNDRIES, RESERVATION DOES JUST THAT IT ENFORCES THE SO CALLED DISCRIMINATION BETWEEN PEOPLE RATHER THAN DOING AWAY WITH IT.EX. IF THERE ARE PEOPLE IN MY COMPANY WHO ARE FROM ANY BACKWARD CASTE THEN I AM NOT AWARE , IF TOMORROW SOME PEOPLE JOIN THE COMPANY AS A PART OF SOME RESERVATION DONT YOU THINK I M BOUND TO TAKE NOTICE THEN…

    SO LETS NOT ENFORCE THE ALREADY PREVAILENT SOCIAL DIFFERENCIATION IN OUR COUNTRY BY FOLLOWING SUCH MEASURES.

  34. Rahul. Thanks for clearing the air about me and sachin being racially prejudiced and hate mongering. owe you one on that.

    While quoting the principle of affirmative action as in USA, I understand that the social situation in the USA isfar different from that in India. Just to give you a bird’s eye.

    1) India has age restrictions on almost all higher education including govt. positions.

    2) India has a much steeper social problem than that of USA, where the affirmative action is for a minority of secion (25%) while the majority (75%) are caucasians.

    3) Therefore the provision for giving opportunities to the minority is much easier than that of India.

    4) Also USA has much higher population to seats ratio and it is pretty easy to accomodate those worthy of affirmative action. My guess is 100 times that of India. (Total number of people / Total number of college seats).

    5) Education is not the only path to prosperity. There are 100s of skilled non-college educated workers who earn decent living. This is not the case with India. If you dont get educated in college/engg, you are out of the economic boom and going fast down the drain towards perrinial poverty. Therefore the preasure for education is much more in india than in USA.

    Though in principle I understand that affirmative action needs an expiry date, one cannot pre-decide what the expiry date is. That is difficult to predict and is useless. What we shuold be focussing on is result on the field. Have a benchmark result to achieve it and disband reservation once it is achieved. Babasaheb Ambedkar in his speach to the constitutent assembly as the chairman of the assembly said the same. He was however naive to predict 50 years for that. He thought independant india would freely reform and adopt affirmative action and we can achieve our cherished goals as a nation.

    My appeal to all those who talk of principles of reservation, should understand that the social situation in large parts of india are explosive because of tremendous oppression not just of SC/ST but also MBC and OBC classes. The first level of egalitarianism has been achieved with the BCs getting on par with the rest of the forward castes. The SC/ST and MBC OBC population in india is close to 65 % and we cant afford such a large section of the population to be left out of the race.

    Thats a reality which will come back to roost our country, if we dont grab the opportunity now and expand the prosperity base right now.

    And as sachin pointed out, Americans have truly gone liberal (even those form the bible belt of the south) and have acknowledged the past atrocities and are willing to make amends for that voulenteerly. This is very visible not only in their political space but also in the corporate and business space. That is yet to happen in India. There are still disturbing arguments floating around saying that SC/ST people are non-meritorious and they are not good enough.

    Reservation apart from giving tangiable opportunities in the economic sphere also acts a as a tremendous boost in self esteem for those who have been in the receiving end of the caste game. Tiruppur and coimbatore the two big economic zones in tamil nadu are built by the entreprenuership of Gounders, Nayakars. If the perriyar movement hadnt taken solid ground and thrown open the reservation regieme in tamil nadu, many of these people would have been still suppressed. Now these guys are amongst the most confident and competitive businessmen you can see around there.

    Even in tamil nadu, there is a long way to go (50) years. This process has started in bihar and UP. My guess is those states that have truly achieved social egalitarianism and included all sections in the developement process are the ones which are going to take india to greater heights. Thats the real super power status. Bihar, Bengal, UP, TN are the states to watch out for.

    vasu

  35. I have heard all the anti-reservationists say that their views, why reservationi is not workable.

    Keeping in mind 50% of population of India 500 million people are denied education and social equality. What are the solutions you guys can come up with ?

    I think we can go on and on why something is good and something is bad. We are just bogged down by extreme positions which is good for understanding but cant produce a meeting ground.

    instead, we can think togather and figure out a system where these 50% would be brought under the economic/social mainstream.

    Can you guys, start putting your heads togather and come up with ideas ? It would be a great exercise that way so that we can really look at the core problems and try to solve them instead of sticking to prescribed methods.

    vasu

  36. Rahul,
    You are comparing USA and India.Did u look into the social set up USA deeply, the total population of hispanics and the blacks will overtake the whites in another 30 years.That is the amount of minorities in USA.But how many hispanics and blacks do you see doing well in life.In my office i dont see any black guy working as a software engineer, I see hispanics later in the evening, they come into the office to clean my trash and the office restrooms.I see black guys come into my office as movers, as security guards.A country which attained its freedom hundreds of years before us hasn’t progressed much on the social front.But i can say that is not the case in india,ever software organization has a certain % of Backward caste peoples.50 years of independence and 15 years of mandal look where we are, india has reformed its social setup more than USA.

    U said ******Furthermore, such a system does not perpetuate preferential treatment for people based on their last name once they have attained a certain level of achievement. If my grandfather was discriminated against but got into a university via affirmative action, became successful, and now two generations later I’m applying to university, there should not be any preferential treatment for me as my family has already benefitted plenty from it. If I still get preferential treatment, then the system is being abused. And that is what happens in a system like the one found in India of simple quotas that don’t look at a person beyond his or her last name.******

    what do you say about george bush getting into Yale??.

  37. Vasu, you quote the industry in Coimbatore and the dominance of the “Goundars and Nayakkars” who, you claim, would be suppressed today but for the Periyar movement which you say led to their becoming self-confident and successful.

    As someone that spent a lifetime in Coimbatore, with intimate friends in those communities you mention, I find your statements simply laughable and at complete odds with the facts.

    The textile industry was and to a large extent remains dominated by the Naicker community.
    Real estate, farming, and the hosiery industries are largely dominated by the Goundar community.
    That has been the situation for long, and long before Periyar. Note that again, long before Periyar was a presence the economics of those industries were in the hands of those communities.

    The Naickers and Goundars didn’t need any help from Periyar in any manner. They were largely successful and settled and self-confident on their own, well before those to whom you attribute their success.

    Coimbatore’s success is largely to the entrepreneurship and success of these communities which set up numerous educational institutions there as well.

    They are in general economically well off, large in number, and very powerful in influence. Guess what? That means they had the right leverage politically to claim status as “backward class”. As “backward classes” they benefit from the reservation system regardless of everything contrary to being backward in any way.

    Doesn’t this defeat the very point about reservations you are making? Are you going to dodge this question by pointing elsewhere and evading the issue?

    There is a place and need for affirmative action in India. The folks most in need of that are the SC/ST and others similarly deprived for long. Why, I’d assert the women in India — in every community — have been denied their due as well for long and hope you’d agree they merit affirmative action way before the Naickers, Goundars, and Vasus of the world. Many Naickers and Goundars agree with me on that. Maybe Vasu will carry the flag for them now!

  38. The central issue is : How do we create a framework or a platform, from where we can have a meaningful discussion of reservation ?

    It turns out that this is really much harder than it seems. To give a concrete example: a north indian can never ever understand the reservation system in Tamil Nadu and vice versa.

    The central problem is a lot of castes are riding piggyback on the hapless SC/ST/Dalits who bore the brunt of oppression. There is absolutely no measurement available in any form to judge the actual impact of reservation on various communities.

    Can anyone tell : how many Mudaliars have been admitted to MBBS courses based on reservation compared to say, Nadars ?

    Mr Vasu obviously does not know what he is talking about. Gounders have always been dominant in Coimbatore and Salem. Periyar had nothing to do with it. Mudaliars have always been the wealthiest and most influential community in Arcot, Kancheepuram, and Tiruvallur districts, Periyar and Anna had nothing to do with it.

    The greatest problem is that of land ownership. These so called backward communities have successfully diverted attention from themselves onto the brahmin community. That is the greatest contibution of the Dravidian movement. The Dalits own a negligible (1%) of the land they have been tilling for years as bonded laborers or petty lessees of powerful communities such as Thevars and Gounders.

    Reservation is an absolute requirement for SC/ST/Dalits. It can even be increased to 30% from the current 22.5%. The entire OBC list must be reviewed and a detailed caste-wide study must be conducted of the land ownership, professional courses, public jobs, home ownership, per capita income.

    Mr Vasu has absolutely no idea about the power and history of Naickers and Gounders. Unlike SC/ST/Dalits their history is one of power and affluence. Nope – they were never prevented from entering temples or drinking water from wells. This is because they *owned* the temples and wells and the entire countryside. The brahmins were nothing more than priests who worked these temples and lived in pretty sqalid agraharams. If you dont believe me – go to almost any temple (say Bannari Amman temple) – ask who built it and who is the hereditary Dharmakartha. While you are in the vicinity – go to boarding schools like Lovedale, Good Shepard, Kodai international. Try to find out the composition of the “oppressed classes” there.

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