Friday, June 02, 2006

Anti-Reservation Protests in India

In recent weeks there have been many protests against the system of caste-based system reservations in India – especially reservations in institutes of higher education. I broadly support the principle of caste-based reservations. However I do have certain misgivings about the way this principle is put into practice.

Reservations and Merit

Most people who hold an anti-reservation viewpoint claim that caste-based reservations are inherently opposed to merit. Slogans like “murder of merit” are common in the anti-reservation movement. I disagree with this point of view. After all, what is the definition of “merit” ? In India admission to educational institutions is primarily based on obtaining high scores in designated examinations. Can we seriously claim that these exams are truly accurate mechanisms for measuring merit ? To a certain extent, examinations in India do measure a candidate’s level of education, but to an even larger extent doing well in these exams depends on joining the right coaching classes and learning the appropriate exam-writing techniques. If, by “merit” we mean innate talent or ability, then our exam system fails miserably to measure it accurately.

To those who claim that merit is seriously undermined by reservations I ask: do you believe (as I do) that merit (i.e., innate ability or talent) is randomly distributed in society, and is not the exclusive preserve of certain upper-caste groups. If merit/ability/talent is truly distributed randomly in society and the selection process was fair, surely one would expect all castes to be represented in various professions broadly in the same proportion as their share of the population. Clearly this is not the case by a very wide margin. Although caste data is scarce, studies, as well as anecdotal evidence indicate that the vast majority of elite professionals in India belong to the upper castes. For example, Santosh Goyal studied the caste composition of 3,129 top executives of 1,100 large companies in the Indian corporate sector. He could ascertain the castes of approximately two-thirds of these officers from their names. He found that Brahmins accounted for 41% of the total, even though according to the 1931 census Brahmins comprised only 4.32% of the total population of (undivided ?) India (link). If one rejects the idea that upper castes are in some way genetically superior, one has to accept that the social mechanisms through which innate ability is translated into certifiable skill are inherently biased in favor of the upper castes. In reality these unfair social mechanisms work as a form of reservation in favor of upper castes. I believe that any program of affirmative action that seeks to correct this historic unfairness should actually be seen as a form of de-reservation.

Reservations and Efficiency

One argument of the anti-reservation activists is that reservations reduce the efficient functioning of organizations. To a limited extent, I do agree with this argument, at least for those positions that require a very high level of prior specialized technical training (as opposed to innate ability). For example positions that require super-specialization in say neurosurgery may not be ideal for reservations. However this argument is less and less valid as one goes down the level of training. For entrance into a bachelor’s degree program, one does not need any kind of highly specialized technical training; high school level education is sufficient. Moreover evidence on the ground indicates that reservations may not necessarily harm efficiency. For example, in Southern states such as Tamil Nadu reservations are much more extensive than in Northern states. However, the state administrations as well as the industrial sectors in the Southern states have performed no worse (and in most cases much better) than in the Northern states. Moreover, in the U.S., one can see that some of the most competitive and efficient companies such as GE, IBM, etc. follow affirmative action policies to increase diversity (link and link) without any apparent loss of efficiency or competitiveness.

I do agree that reservations may cause some small reductions in efficiency in certain situations and may impose some costs, but I believe that on the whole the benefits to society are likely to be even larger. For a discussion on the costs and benefits of reservation see this.

Reservations and the Creamy Layer

Another major argument of the anti-reservation activists is that reservations help only the already well-to-do among the Schedules Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs), and the “truly deserving” do not benefit in any way. There is an element of truth in this argument. It is true that those who benefit from reservations are likely to be from among the more prosperous and better educated in their caste. However, I believe that in spite of this, reservations and other forms of affirmative action do serve a useful purpose. First of all, regulations already exist to prevent the highly privileged among the OBCs from taking undue advantage of reservations (link). Secondly, it is clear that even in the open (i.e, non-reserved) category, people from the creamy layer among the upper castes, those with access to the best private schools, coaching classes, etc., have a disproportionately high representation. So this phenomenon exists for general category seats as well, not just for reserved seats. But most importantly, it must be remembered that the primary purpose of caste-based reservations is to reduce inter-caste disparities. Nobody claims that reservations will directly reduce disparities among individuals within the same caste. Here is what the Mandal Commission Report says. “When a backward class candidate becomes a Collector or a Superintendent of Police, the material benefits accruing from his position are limited to the members of his family only. But the psychological spin off of this phenomenon is tremendous; the entire community of that backward class candidate feels socially elevated. Even when no tangible benefits flow to the community at large, the feeling that now it has its ‘own man’ in the ‘corridors of power’ acts as morale booster”. In other words, it is hoped that reservations will help in awakening a new sense of aspiration and a new sense of possibility among those to whom opportunities have long been denied. To a certain extent, this new sense of possibility has indeed become a reality in modern India, and reservations (along with democracy and economic growth) have played a part in this. Author V.S. Naipaul in his book India: A Million Mutinies Now has this to say. “And out of this political frenzy there had come a kind of balance: for the first time in the history of India, perhaps, most people felt that they or their representatives, someone of their group, had a chance of getting to the warm center of power and money.”

Reservations in Higher Education or Better Primary Education

One more argument put forth by anti-reservation activists is that rather than having reservation of seats in institutions of higher education, it would be much better if the govt. were to concentrate on improving the quality of primary and secondary education. On this issue I broadly agree with the anti-reservation activists. I do believe that improving the quality and accessibility of basic education is critically important. The whole idea behind affirmative action and reservations is to provide improved opportunities to those groups that have historically been suppressed. The idea should never be to guarantee specific outcomes for certain chosen individuals. In other words we should try to give lower caste individuals a fair opportunity to become engineers or doctors, not somehow arbitrarily designate them as engineers/doctors. Guaranteeing outcomes is a sure way to discourage individual initiative, and suck the dynamism and vigor out of any society. The best way to guarantee equality of opportunity is to provide good quality primary and secondary education for all. The higher up the education ladder we go with reservations, the more and more we tend to guarantee outcomes rather than opportunity. Affirmative action at the primary and secondary school level is entirely about guaranteeing opportunity, not outcome. At the college level, affirmative action is a mix of guaranteeing opportunity and guaranteeing outcome, and at the post-doctoral or super-specialization level, it is almost entirely about guaranteeing outcome rather than opportunity. Unfortunately the current state of primary and secondary education in India is such that we are far far away from guaranteeing equality of opportunity for all. In this scenario reservations at a higher education level – at least at the college entry level – are absolutely necessary.

While I do agree with anti-reservation activists that basic education is of utmost importance, I have a feeling that their concern they express regarding this issue is not entirely genuine. I feel that they are using the matter of primary and secondary education mainly as an excuse to justify their anti-reservation stance without appearing to be openly unsympathetic towards the weaker sections of society. In recent years the govt. has indeed become somewhat active (at least compared to earlier) regarding basic education. In 2002 Parliament passed the 86th Constitutional Amendment making education a fundamental right (link). The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan program (link) has greatly increased funding available for basic education. The Right to Education Bill is currently in the process of being drafted (link). These are important basic education related issues and, if implemented right, can seriously improve the state of basic education in India. Unfortunately I find that many among the educated upper castes who are anti-reservation and claim to be in favor of basic education do not appear to show any great interest in these issues. For example, in the initial drafts of the Right to Education Bill there was a provision for reserving 25% of seats in all private primary/secondary schools for underprivileged children. In my view this would have been a step in the right direction. Unfortunately under pressure from the private school lobby this provision was discarded (link). Would anti-reservation activists – supposedly pro-basic-education-for-all – be willing to fight to preserve this 25% reservation for underprivileged children in private elementary schools ?

Reservations Based on Economic Criteria

Anti-reservation activists sometimes claim that they are not opposed to reservations per-se, only caste-based reservations. Had reservations been made based on economic criteria they would have fully supportive of the policy. I agree with them that low caste status is not the only disadvantage in India. Economic deprivation, rural upbringing, lack good schools in the vicinity, etc. are all important disadvantages for those desirous of getting the most coveted jobs in our modern economic and administrative system. I do believe that that low-caste status is possibly the most important disadvantage, and in any case, caste disadvantage usually coincides with other disadvantages. In other words, people belonging to low castes tend to be otherwise disadvantaged as well; they tend to be poor, lack access to good schools, etc. Various commissions and committees in India have found that most criteria of social backwardness come down to one common denominator: belonging to a low caste (see here). Even the Supreme Court of India has declared “A caste can be and quite often is a social class in India” (link).

On the whole I agree that economic criteria should be considered in affirmative action programs, but I do not believe that caste criteria should be discarded. Ideally a combination of caste, economic and other criteria should be used. In this regard I think that the new mechanism of affirmative action proposed by sociologists Satish Deshpande and Yogendra Yadav makes a lot of sense. The basic idea is that instead of reservations, candidates would be given points based on their social and individual disadvantages. For college admissions these “disadvantage points” would be considered, in addition to marks scored in the exams. A weightage of 80% for exam points and 20% for “disadvantage points” is proposed. This system of selection has already been used in a limited manner, and a similar system has been used at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. More details of this scheme are available here.

Crying Need for Better Policy and Better Data

If one is interested in learning more about the caste-based reservation system – or more generally about current state of the caste system – one is faced with an extremely frustrating situation. There is an almost complete lack of macro-level statistics and data (small scale village-level studies are available, which provide some micro-level data). Just consider: the most recent detailed macro-level data one can get about caste in India is from the 1931 census. After independence the govt. of India reasoned that collecting caste information in the census would only reinforce divisive caste identities and lead to unnecessary controversies, and stopped collecting caste data (except for SC/STs). While the govt’s intentions seem to have been good, surely some reasonable way can be found to collect caste data in the census in a judicious manner. Census questions should be designed in a sensitive manner, and maybe questions about caste should have options such as ‘inter-caste’, ‘unknown’, etc. As things stand today, it is impossible to find even basic information such as ‘what is the literacy-level of caste xyz’, or ‘what is the life-expectancy of caste xyz’, etc. The National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) has made a commendable start by collecting some limited macro-level caste-based data in the 55th round survey in 1999-2000. For discussion on the NSSO data see this and this. Hopefully something will be done soon to generate more comprehensive and better quality macro-level data on caste.

It is obvious that the govt. policy on caste-based reservations leaves much to be desired. Caste-based quotas have often been carved out by politicians seeking to curry favor with politically powerful castes – based purely on electoral calculations. In general, one often gets the impression that reservation policies are implemented without adequate preparation or study. For example, the OBC category is so huge – covering half the Indian population. Does it not make sense to separate this huge category into smaller segments, such as Lower Backward Classes (LBCs), Most Backward Classes (MBCs), etc., so that the benefits are spread among many castes, and the most dominant among the OBC castes do not corner all the benefits ? Moreover, politicians don’t seem to be making any attempt whatsoever to provide explanations to the anti-reservation activists and to win their confidence. After all, the medical students who are protesting against the reservation policy are not inherently evil. They may not be overly concerned about ensuring equal opportunity for lower-caste students, but they are simply worried about their careers. In their position, who wouldn't be ? I fail to understand why more – many more – seats cannot be made available in engineering, medical and management institutes. If lack of money is the issue, surely fees can be increased, and along with it some form of improved student loan system can be made available. Graduates of such institutions usually move on to lucrative careers, and paying back student loans should not be a big problem.

All in all, though I support affirmative action and reservations as a matter of principle, I feel that there is much much more that the govt. can and should do in the way it determines reservation policy, and in the way it collects caste-related data, which measures the impact of these policies.

A Final Word

The most precious commodity that any society possesses is its human resources. For any society to flourish it must strive to utilize its human resources to the fullest extent possible, which means it must strive to provide as many citizens as possible opportunities to develop and utilize their talents and abilities. I believe that a society like Saudi Arabia that systematically denies opportunities to its women, thereby forfeiting fully 50% of its available national talent, can never progress very far. Something similar happened in India over the course of history. As Dalit economist Narendra Jadhav has pointed out, one of the main reasons that Indian civilization – once one of the World’s most advanced – fell behind was that the talents and energies of the vast majority of our population was kept suppressed by the caste-system. Over the last 150 years much has improved and the unleashing of talent and energy long kept suppressed has allowed India to move forward. However, there is still much more talent and energy in India waiting to be released. In order to do this, effective and well thought out affirmative action policies such as reservations are essential.

Here is a link to Yogendra Yadav's illuminating FAQ on this issue.

Do also read this excellent piece by Siddharth Varadarajan, where he describes caste bias in the Indian media. Here's another one on the same topic by Dilip D'Souza. And another one by Albert at

A civilized exchange of letters between Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Yogendra Yadav (anti- and pro-reservationists, respectively) makes for interesting reading. Here is Dilip D'Souza discussing this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that Affirmative Action is not a "Quota". Quotas are illegal in the US.
Anyone with any interest in the truth, can find that out by a simple Google search.
One such link is here.
One could also look up the US Supreme Court rulings on Affirmative Action in the US universities, for some more on the same.
Another interesting fact, unlike the US till the 1960's which had widespread discrimination on the basis of race, Indian private sector does not discriminate on the basis of caste.
Lack of opportunity due to lack of education, does not equate to discrimination on the basis of caste.

June 08, 2006 7:08 AM  
Blogger Siddhartha Shome said...

"Affirmative Action" is a general term, which means giving preference to certain under-represented groups. The quota system used in India is indeed one form of affirmative action, though not the only one. This is what Wikipedia says "Reservation is a form of affirmative action, which is much more pervasive and stringent than practised in countries such as the United States, with the allocation of fixed quotas based on caste". As you rightly pointed out, affirmative action in the U.S. takes other forms, and not quotas. I am not saying that reservations is the best form of affirmative action. I would support any form of affirmative action that helps in moving towards the goal of all castes being represented in various professions broadly in the same proportion as their share of the population. Education - especially basic education - is the most important thing, and I believe some form of affirmative action should be practiced in high quality private elementary schools in India. In the absense of any other form of effective affirmative action program, quotas are at least better than not having any afirmative action program at all. I do not agree with your statement that "lack of opportunity due to lack of education, does not equate to discrimination on the basis of caste". This statement would be true if everybody had an equal opportunity to get educated. But in India equal educational opportunity for all is a far-away dream. Indian private companies may not directly discriminate based on caste, but the fact remains that almost all such companies' officials are upper caste - completely out of proportion to their share of the population. Hopefully the Indian private sector will take affirmative action seriously, and will come up with new and better ideas than the quota system.

June 08, 2006 8:13 PM  
Blogger Democratic Geek said...

Calling all Indians and NRIs who are opposed to the reservations in educational institutions like IITs and IIMs...
Please go to that site and sign the petition to oppose government's proposal to introduce 27.5% quota in educaitonal institutions for OBCs.
The link to sign the petition :

June 13, 2006 6:28 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Voices said...

Affirmative Action has far wider scope than our reservations both in letter and spirit. Please go through this and decide whether the anti-reservationists would agree to what AA did in US to be applied in India. Reservation actually reserve much less than AA.

June 22, 2006 4:26 AM  
Blogger Synical said...

A very good job again, Mr.Shome. What reservatons try to undo are hundreds of years os sustained violence and oppression. The anger beind a protest, though is also, not without its cause. At the end of the day, its a talk of survival.What one forgets in the debates, are the eras of sustained represion on scheduled castes and tribes. And comparing our governance to the US system is meaningless. The basic tenets osf both political entities differ. Thanks for the post again.

July 11, 2006 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm related 2 1 of ur friends. I read ur article and i believe its well written. Though u must understand tht not many bother 2 read so much info at 1 shot. consider pruning ur article further.Believe me when i say tht not many bother 2 read th editorial of The Hindu. But all tht i can say is tht this is more or less sometihn tht Arthur Hailey would work into his book(Bless HIm). & moral of th story- keep it short & sweet. not may like preachy stuff. trust me on this frm experience. TC

July 22, 2006 3:01 AM  
Anonymous pratap said...

well written
well asnalysed and thought from every angel
good work

September 19, 2006 11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... A nice video of real status of Dalits and distinguishing how dalit problem is different for OBC problems

October 28, 2006 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Krish said...

I just came across this post. I would like to point a paper on civil rights journal which clearly shows that Indian reservation system is more effective than the affirmative action system in USA

January 17, 2007 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Krish said...

Oops the link got cut.


January 17, 2007 3:51 PM  
Blogger Dinace said...

hi siddhartha

A well written post. I would just like to point out that caste based reservations are ailienating so called "forward" caste students and is bringing about a society that is more divisive and discriminatory ..only the people who are being discriminated against is changed. rather than bringing about a change in society where there is no caste this qouats system in fostering greater dependence on caste. I personally know people who have changed to backward castes to gain the sops in education. It took so many years for the underpriviledged to unleash their talents... and soon the circle will be complete when teh so called "forward" caste need to fight tooth and claw for their survival ... a battle which is more closer than people think as they are beingn pushed to oblivion with this higher and higher percentage of quoats. The supreme courts directive to review the process is good because people will atleast try to takea look at this problem and not blindly go on vote bank politics.

March 31, 2007 2:10 AM  
Blogger Creator !!! said...


Well written though .... but at times it seems that you have a personal grudge against the anti-reservation activists. The real problem lies in the fact that noone knows what they want. I should uphold that caste based discrimination is not acceptable but i think neither is reservation. Why take short term measures when you can go ahead and take some which will stay for a longer term.

I know very well how it feels like to lose a seat in the IIT to reservation. As mentioned earlier we are the ones being discriminated against now.

Please try taking a more open view of the situation. Although i m not a genius and cannot suggest anything that will transform everythin but i think with open minds we united can !!

May 30, 2008 2:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

recently this is the scenerio in the AIEEE Centeral Counselling - 2008, 4th July to 14th July 2008. For general candidates cutoff is 168, all seat full within 6 days, today is 11-07-2008, for the reserved candidates everything is open and continued. From one candidate belonging to SC category, I asked what is his father, JE in HPSEB. What is the need of reservation to that candidate I donot know what the hell the politicians are doing and thinking. Is there no politician/ political party having self respect and can stand with a menifesto in the coming general elections having only and only point to ‘VANISH’ the caste based reservation though I still favour the reservation but it should be income based. Poors should be gifted the benefits of reservation without considering their caste/ category/ sub-caste etc.

And this too only once in a life; not applicable at each and every step during the service teneour and for only single generation only. If a person takes the benefit of it, it should not be replicated to his / her wards, spouse, etc.

Look any the of the advertisement for the govt. jobs, Gen with 50% and SC/ST/ OBC with 45% are elligible. How is it possible. In a same village which is the remotest on any state with negligible facilities, will it be not that all candidates treated in the same way. How a general candidate can earn more marks if his father is poor and the category candidate is elligible with less marks even if his father is in govt. job.


July 11, 2008 3:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for the above comment , the picture is from NIT Hamirpur (HP)

July 11, 2008 3:08 AM  
Anonymous Sundar said...

As a tamilian and unfortunately belonging to a Brahmin caste in TN i had got 94 percent in my pre univesity undergraduate studies. It became impossible for me to get into medicine, my first love. In Tamil nadu the general category is hardly 10 to 15 percent. If a so called upper caste (I am a Tamil Iyengar) has to get into medicine he has to score nothing less than 98% and also a much higher ranking in the entrance test. I had to finally settle for an engineering seat in an REC in far off Punjab. My class mates and some of best friends got into medicine and engineering so easily in Chennai just by the virtue of the fact that they were bracketed under the lower caste. A close friend of mine from the Vanniyar caste(some are oBC/ some SC) got 62% and also a seat in the madras medical college under some reserved category. The friend was son of a textile tycoon whose father’s company had a turnover of 150 crores (at that time in 1991). Many other gounder, chettair, sc and OBC friends of mine also came from rich backgrounds and owned vast tracts of land. As a matter of fact I realised the castes of these people only during the time of college admissions. Wheras I came from an impoverished family, my father had died when I was 4 years old leaving my mother to take care of my sister and me. She did struggle to get us educated by doing odd jobs like cooking and selling agarbhatthis. All our lives we were at the mercy of moneylenders who were from an OBC caste (their caste I came to know much later after my indoctrination into the modern Indian caste pyramid of Periyyar, ambedkar and mandal). I could finish my education through these loans. No national bank would give me loans as we had no property or deposits.

Thankfully I was able to complete my engineering with 88% overall score and thankfully because of the economic liberalization and privatization I could get a job in a private firm. I have now worked for 12 years in the industry on an average of 12 - 18 hours a day. Made a mark in this place where there is no caste system and contributed immnsely to the companies i worked with. I have visited more than 20 countries. Stayed in 4 countries. Have done my higher studies from an american university while working. Thankfully i was saved from the poisonous clutches of reservation and the unjust government policies through private sector through extraordinary hardword and industry. Everyday I hope and pray that more and more Government functions get privatised in India. I am sure not many so called upper caste in Tamil Nadu will be as lucky as me or they have the strength to bear and overcome the injustice.

For my children and the new generation, everyday I pray and hope for the following:

1.Day by Day government becomes inefficinet and corrupt. We see the signs of it already by the corrupt BCs/SCs/OBCs. They have got theeir jobs without any struggle. Havent ever seen a government official work for more than 8 - 10 hours. That is the quantity of time , the less talked about the quality the better. But I wish it crumbles due to this inefficiency.
2. More and more government functions become privatized. The private sector reservation can never take into affect because of the very nature of private capital and ownership. It is just not possible except in some chamcha-lala companies.
3. Education beciomes more and more privatized due to influx of private sector / foreign universities.
4. Our Indian colleges like IITs / IIMs / RECs, Government owned medical colleges and other colleges gets discredited due to inefficiency and lack of talent and in its place, the universities owned and funded by private sector sponsors become recognized.
5. eLearning becomes more and more pervalent and this should allow easy access to knowledge and education.
6. Bank loans become easily available to the meritorious irrespective of caste as Merit and knowledge can act as sureity.
7. The private sector lobbies become stronger and influence the receidual government functions (Administration, police, revenue and other which cannot be privatized). We can see this happening already so there is lot of hope.
8. The castes become more seggregated and each caste asserts its identity. They the so called Dalit and OBC factions disappear as they are artificial constructs. The dalits consists of some thousands of caste with no commonality between them. There is nothing in common between a chamar and mahar or a gujjar. Chamars were cobblers, mahars were sychophants of the british and worked in the british army and gurjars were violent dacoits.

I am not saying that the private sector capitalistsw are angels. They are as corrupt as anyone else. But they are all driven by the profit motive unlike the lotus eating corrupt government institutes and politicians. This profit centerdness and their love for more revenue and profits will make them overlook caste, creed and color and look for efficency and merit. Therein lies the emancipation of poor students.
I was drawn to communism many times and always thought that they were the people who would uplift the working class proletariat. But the capitalist bourgouies have now roped in the petty bourgious dalit politicains like Mayavathis, Karunanidhi and mulayams and many others. I am sure none of these petty bourguious politicains like Mayavathi are concerned about the poor and suffering masses (the proletariat). They are just standing on caste identity to get the bougious among their castes to come to power.

August 12, 2008 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with sid on the following things

if one thinks the examination system fails miserably in india, examination system should be changed, not the way in which jobs and seats are given to people based on the caste. If one talks about a proper system no country has a proper system. If you think of US they look at SAT and GRE scores for giving admissions. you think this is the right way of doing things?? don't pin point at this kind of stuff. Your explanation and argument about an ideal system of bringing merit out of the students and aspirants doesn't hold good in this world.

Reservation and efficiency

In India reservation are everywhere. If one looks at the administration, I feel administration should go in to proper hands than, based on caste, religion etc. This reservation system will decrease the efficiency as many talented students will get out of the country once they can't find good oppurtunities in country. It is not some small reduction. It doesn't make any sense in providing reservations in each and every stage. For example a guy who gets inti medical college or engineering college on reservation doesn't need reservation for getting into a government job. I don't know how people justify it.

Reservations and the Creamy Layer

If the reservation system can't minimize the disparities among the people of same caste, it defeats the whole concept of reservation. In the constitution it says "a mere under representation of a particular caste shouldn't be the criteria for reservations". If reservations aren't utilized by the people who really need it(poor backward classes and poor SC, ST), it defeats the whole purpose.

I can surely say that, if one says reservations will bring equality among all classes of society its a myth. Its been more than 60 years since reservations are in place and I can see how much development is done and how inequality has been eradicated in the society.

I am not against reservation. But I don't know how can one justify reservations are being used by backward class people who are born and brought up in cities and have access to good schools and infrastructure facilities vs those who live in rural areas and don't have any exposure irrespective of caste.If one still says reservations are not killing merit, doing good for society and will bring equality among social classes of society, wait for another 30 years and see the difference

February 09, 2009 4:42 PM  
Blogger shushant said...

u all are wrong ok reservation is very important for india u people dont know or dont want show that u know the realty of india ,in so many villages of india the people of upper caste dont want to see the marriage of the sc/ct . u people always talk about the the news and research which is also owned by the upper caste people. for more more shoking news see my blog

February 28, 2009 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its no use living in this country reservation is not going to end ever
caste is more important than merit.better live and settle somewhere where your merit matters

January 21, 2010 6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shushant - You may be right abt the facts you have stated.. but are you freaking out of your mind not to see that reservation is just a stunt by the politicians. and the reservation is only helping them and not really the backward class. Just one simple Q. who stops a family however poor it may be from going to school. The answer is poverty. Reservation doesnt help poverty. It only increases it. Mayawati's garland or a dalit statue is not helping a SC/ST to grow or prosper. So please stop the upper caste vs lower caste debate. Instead debate about India and progress. and more about anti-politicians of today.

March 17, 2010 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello friends, i strongly oppose to the caste system reservation. Now see the criteria for bank exam. Fee for general category Rs450 and for sc st obc Rs50
passing percentage for general 40% and for sc st obc 35%. I am from a poor family my farther is a farmer. And my bad luck is that i am a general category person. We have Just seen that what happened whe RESERVATION movie released. We can see the fear of these category holders if the only anti reservation movie launched.

September 03, 2011 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This writer from lower caste suffers from inferiority complex and bigoted views like his community brothers. On one hand he says that his brothers who got jobs in reserved seats are as good as upper caste, on other hand he says that to help them compete an upstart has to be provided. These backwards know theselves that they are inferior. No matter how much you give them, they'll continue to rant. 64 years of reservation and they still want more?

March 06, 2012 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave this lower caste blogger ranting in vain. All of readers please join we're 8000 strong, we're growing when we'll be 1 lac strong we'll hold massive rallies and get politicians to revoke reservation once and forever.

March 06, 2012 4:48 PM  
Blogger Sumi Mishra said...

i hve to say one thing,
what is reservation?
they give seats on the basis of caste n whatever,
but is reservation relevent?
i mean if less educated people get into medical line, how MUCH harm it is to the society !
i think govt. gives reservation to save itself from it's duties.
instead of reservation, they are supposed to give evryone a good condition of living, so that they can get good education and achieve everything with their ability , not reservation.
moreover, IT is dividing the society
if u see in schools, we don't even know each other's caste or backgroud. we make friends and everything, but if they get what they don
t deserve, won't we hate them for that?
isn't it not dividing the society?

June 08, 2012 12:29 AM  
Anonymous Justanindian said...

Well said have represented the topic very nicely and explored it from every angle and also provided us facts and data.I have also my views on this debate of Merit and Caste and i would like to have your opinion about it..kindly visit "" to have a look at my article "What is the Definition of Merit In India?".

July 17, 2012 2:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are lot of logical fallacies in Sid's argument for reservations:
1."merit (i.e., innate ability or talent) is randomly distributed in would expect all castes to be represented in various professions "
Talent is not randomly distributed and its a factor of perseverance and opportunity. All things are not made equal. Pl. tell me one profession where all races / castes are represented as per their population. Take sports - long distance running is dominated by Africans, soccer by Latinos other than European et al. Jews are considered to be one of the most intelligent races.
2. Reservations and the Creamy Layer - Author is confused and contradicts himself. One one hand, he says that reservation sh'd be caste based and on the other hand indicates that poor people in General Category also suffer. The quote from Mandal commission report is an emotive comment and is bereft of any logic.
3. Take the case of Muslims - Muslims were rulers in India before the British invaded. Despite that many of them are still poor. What does caste have to do with this ?
4. Reservations in Higher Education or Better Primary Education - India is one of the few countries where pvt education during primary stage and govt education during secondary stage is preferred. The govt is pushing their obligations on pvt educational institutes instead of improving the quality of govt schools.
The other talks about '...their concern they express regarding this issue is not entirely genuine'. Does the author have genuine concern on people who are impacted by reservations ?

5. Reservations Based on Economic Criteria: The author while agreeing with the economic criteria unequivocally states that low caste is the most disadvantaged. True - 60years back. With majority of the MPs from this caste, it is no longer true. Being in minority ( religion or caste minority like Bramhins) are the new low castes.

6. Crying Need for Better Policy and Better Data: While data is required, it sh'd not be caste based data. It sh'd be poverty / Human development index.

Net-net, the article is a biased one and is opinionated. India is neither at a stage where Zimbabwe or South Africa is and we don't want to go that way. My take on the future of India:

1. Reservations on economic criteria - Religion / Caste sh'd not matter
2. Encourage inter-caste / inter-faith marriages

Reservation is a scourge pitting the in-defensible against the unscrupulous elements - There is no place for the discrimination in annals of history. Given the history of India, no-one and I say, no-one has been able to bully or brow-beat the rest in submission. Till then, at-least the educated in general category will continue to migrate to other countries.

June 06, 2013 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reservation has helped uplift many families from previously marginalised societies. I can't help but feel that reservation has also 'all of a sudden' brought an awareness to the upper castes about how wrong caste based discrimination is and they hence protest under the banner of 'equality'. You seldom, if at all, hear them speak about the troubles that the lower castes and tribes have faced over the centuries and continue to face.

November 06, 2014 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why are brahmins always pulled into such discussions when there are so mamy other castes imcluded in oc? you can say oc but why mentions brahmins? you don't see many brahmins in professions like business or politics or film industry etc. most if the brahmins come under lower middle class and middle class. brahmins only depend on education. why not ask for reservations in other professions, why target brahmins always?

August 06, 2015 2:09 AM  

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