Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reserve those for me

No points for guessing what this article is about. V P Singh in the early 90s and Arjun Singh in 2006, villains extarordinaire. Now that I've got the initial frustrations out in a civilised manner, lets look into this whole nasty business on reservations.

Most of the pro-reservations activists have only to say that reservation is a must because for 2000 years, brahmins ruled the roost and the OBCs were left in the lurch ever since, simply because ancient Hindustan was a caste based society. That's correct, but how would getting into an IIT or an IIM help correct the mistakes of the past really baffles me. If there is some magical way, I wish we could erase a few other mistakes, like the Kashmir problem, the second world war, the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre, etc. Another point which was raised by a shameless man called Dr. Kancha Illaiya, a dalit activist, is that the upper castes are only better than the dalits because they know English, and he goes on to add, 'take away English from them and they (rest of the people) are zero'. In my humble opinion, if that were the base problem, why, Dr. Illaiya, don't we settle for reservations for dalits and other down-trodden communities in primary education institutions, help them master the English language, and then let's see who really comes up trumps in an entrance exam?

A lot has already been spoken about how the 'creamy layer' would be the only ones to benefit, and the poorer, econimically backward ones would continue to remain poor. Actually, there's nothing anyone can do about it if we implement what Mr.Mandal suggested. Instead, as suggested by experts, let reservations be there for those economically backward, irrespective of caste.

I'm sure those for reservations would point out that being from an upper caste, and economically well-off family, I would naturally be against reservations and hence, anyi-dalit or even racist. Let me tell you something about myself and my background. According to Outlook magazine (April 24, 2006), my community, the bunt community, come under OBC category. Ask any Shetty, and I can assure you that they'll stare back at you as if you've spoken in Latin to them. My father was the last of 7 children and had 1 shirt and a pair of shorts for a year, and this went on till he was about 10 or 11. His father was a farmer, and feeding 7 children was always a problem. My father today has a Ph.D in Biochemistry and works at the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences as the head of the department of Neurochemistry. And he sure as hell did not have any seats reserved for him anywhere. Shouldn't this inspire people to try and beat the system that is trying to beat them, rather than become part it? So all this talk about not being able to make it big without reservations is nothing short of ludicrous.

Reservations in IITs and IIMs surely aren't the answers to our country's problems, most of which are pre-independence (actually, a lot before that). This would only trigger a wave of new problems, solutions for which would be impossible to find.

A few facts to ponder upon:

“Reservations were a part of the constitution when it was released in 1950. However, that was supposed to be a temporary measure and was to last for 10 years” –lawyer from Supreme Court (he’s a constitution expert)

Article 334 talks of reservations in the Houses of Parliament, and that is to be done away with 50 years from 1950. The 79th amendment of the Constitution took effect on 25/1/2000 and extended it from 50 to 60 years. How, you may ask? Simple: AMENDMENT

Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth
(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
(2) No citizen shall, on ground only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to -
(a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or
(b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained whole or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of general public.
(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.

This article had the above 3 clauses when it was released in 1950. However, soon afterwards, when lawyers looked into the Constitution, they saw a fourth. “Oh my God, where did the fourth clause come from?” Do you have any guesses as to where this fourth clause mysteriously appeared from into the Constitution? No points for guessing, AMENDMENT, in 1951, added INSPITE OF THE SUPREME COURT OUTLAWING QUOTAS IN EDUCATIONAL ADMISSIONS (in 1950).
The fourth clause reads:
(4) Nothing in this article or in clause (2) or article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

The fourth clause is in direct contradiction to the Article itself, but hey, AMENDMENT. No arguing.

SC % in India: 16.2 % of India’s population
ST % in India: 8.2% of India’s population
OBC % in India: Even Government doesn’t know!
TOTAL % of SC+ST in India: 24.4%

Literacy rate among SC and ST is 37.4%.
IT’S JUST 37.4%. The rest of them are ILLITERATE, meaning no school education; they can’t even read A, B, C.

These facts are according to Registrar General of India J K Banthia (he heads the Census) based on the census of 2001.

So we want to have 49.5% reservation for a population of 37.4% of whom a very small % (God knows how small) reach to a stage where they can apply for a master’s degree, out of which a majority who do reach the master’s stage are the WELL TO DO SC/ST buggers. Cool. The rest can rot in the hell holes like they have been doing so all along, right?

I can foresee the next AMENDMENT, clause 5 of Article 15 in the Constitution:

(5) Nothing in this article or in clause (2) or article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any religious minority.

Then the % for reservation will be increased to about 70% or 75% from the present 49.5%, in spite of the Supreme Courts ruling that reservations MUSTN'T EXCEED 50%. And you want to hear the explanation? Here goes: “The Supreme Court has said no reservations beyond 50% for SC/ST/etc, didn’t mention anything about reservations for religious minorities.”

That’s all those crackheads do; they’ll conveniently AMEND the Constitution. “I want to fuck Aishwarya Rai, let’s AMEND the Constitution.” “I want to hump Bipasha Basu; let’s AMEND the Constitution.” That’s all they’re doing, and at the rate at which they're going, sadly, that's all it's gonna take!

You bloody Indian

“Stop says the red light, go says the green, ready says the yellow one, blinking in between”. I’m sure all of have heard this little rhyme when we were kids. I’m also sure that today, more than 90% of ‘us’ still have no problems in jumping a red light, or breaking the signal when we realise that there are no vehicles coming from the other side. I have just introduced you to one of the several unique identity traits that can only be described as ‘Indian’. Welcome to the world of the Indian mentality, where things like ‘good Samaritan’, ‘respect for the law’, and ‘law-abiding’ have been replaced by things like ‘we are like this only’, ‘so what…why should I’, and ‘swalpa adjust maadi’. Wake up and smell the coffee people, this is the India we live in and the ‘morning after’ pill has probably replaced the morning coffee.

Our country’s borders aren’t big enough to hold the whole lot of us and we seem to be bursting at the seams. And so what does the wandering man do (read wandering Indian)? Well, he just hops onto a plane and says, “America, here I come”. Our people aren’t content with what they have here; agreed that’s human nature, namely the more you get the more you want. But what I really mean is, as if having dirtied the boulevard on M G Road or Cubbon Park wasn’t bad enough, we want to go and dirty Wall Street or Trafalgar Square or the Kruger National Park. Is this really what being an Indian is all about? Not really, some argue, saying that the ‘visiting Indians’ at Wall Street do not indulge in practices that would put the country to shame in the eyes of the westerners. How true, and this is where the Indian hypocrisy comes into picture. They sure don’t dirty Wall Street but have no problems dirtying Dalal Street because that wouldn’t be putting the country to shame in the eyes of our fellow citizens simply because ‘we are like this only’.

Racial prejudices against darker skinned individuals and in recent times towards Asians and Indians in particular have been on the rise. This obviously is because of the fact that we are better than the ‘firangs’ when it comes to skilled work. But make no mistake; our people aren’t any saints when they touch foreign shores. They indulge in all the vices that can be indulged in and some even make a living out of it. Set the vices part of it aside, and just consider the simple act of using the waste paper bin. When you go to any multinational company’s office or for that matter, any Indian government office, you will certainly find a waste paper bin. Go into any professional college, where the students are being molded into professionals, and you can be certain that in most cases you will not find one and even if you do, it would be gathering more dust from not being used. I can also go further and say that I did not find one in my classroom when I started my engineering.

The ‘chalta hai’ attitude seems to have been hard-coded into our systems, some kind of genetic anomaly. How else would you explain the action of a group of men urinating on a wall that clearly mentions in two languages ‘do not urinate here’? How can we justify the action of scores of children who throw their toffee wrappers out of the car window in full glare of their parents, contrary to what they would have learnt in school a few hours ago?

If you happen to be really sick or have met with an accident and an ambulance is the only hope to get to a hospital on time, then my sincere advice to you is don’t believe that sort of rubbish. In India, the general public hasn’t got enough time to care for themselves, why on earth would they care for some faceless entity inside the ambulance. In which country would you find vehicular movement absolutely undistracted by the sirens of an ambulance? Sincere advice again, don’t fall sick or grievously hurt yourself where the ambulance would be required because you would be better off without one in trying to reach a hospital.

Our country is the Republic of India. A democracy in the third world that has withstood the test of time and hasn’t fallen prey to a dictator’s wet dream. A democracy. Hah! What kind of people, living in a democracy would be crazy enough to vote for the Communist Party of India (CPI and CPI (M))? We democratically voted in the world’s first communist party in 1957 i.e. the Kerala government of 1957. I’m sure the rest of the world would have had a good laugh at our expense then as they do now since we have the bloody commies giving support to the union government and dictating terms to the government. How could the founders of the constitution even dream of allowing such a concept and not spot the anomaly that has crept in and do something about it?

If you think I consider myself a patriot and do not fit the description of the above-mentioned types of people, that I probably am a role model for all Indians big and small, young and old, forget it! Don’t waste time thinking about what I think of myself, but think if you fit the bill of an Indian, who upon doing what he does in free India, is called a ‘bloody Indian’ when the same actions are performed in a foreign land. If you do, I have good news for you; you are in the majority, and I have a dirty feeling that you and those majorities are here to stay for quite some time.

You’re probably wondering where I picked the title for this article. Well, a friend of mine was on a safari in the Kruger National Park along with his parents, father’s friends and a few other westerners, one of whom was a big, domineering German lady. After emptying a can of soda, a desi threw the can out of the truck they were traveling in. And the German lady bellowed, “You bloody Indian, pick that up!” He deserved it, we deserve it but our country sure as hell doesn’t deserve it.
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