A few days ago, The Hindu reported that the TN Assembly had passed a bill approving 3.5% reservations for minorities (Christians and Muslims) within the 30% quota already existing for backward classes. This 3.5% for minorities is yet another attempt at affirmative action, although whether it really serves to uplift the downtrodden is questionable. The trend towards affirmative action through special quotas seems to be never-ending. Think about it; Tamil Nadu has the highest percentage of reserved seats totalling to a massive 69%, leading even the Apex Court to say that reservations must not exceed 50% if they are to retain their relevance. But no, our politicians have found a way out of the quagmire. They simply create extra seats in engineering and medical colleges to accommodate the reservations-less students and circumvent the Supreme Court ruling. Anyway, the point here is this: what does the rest of the world do if this reservation trend continues? How do good students belonging to unreserved categories get admission into good colleges or get government jobs if this quota goes on increasing?
More importantly, does this quota system really help those who need the help? I think the Times of India got it right this time. We need to start thinking beyond quotas. Far from working towards the abolition of the caste system, the quota system actually reinforces caste identities and helps in entrenching the caste system more firmly in Indian society. The creation of several caste-based political parties is clearly a pointer to this trend. Why can’t we rise above petty considerations of caste, religion and community and look at the capacity of the person in question. How does the caste of the applicant to a college or a job matter if the person concerned is capable of carrying on his duties to perfection? Perhaps it is time to look at another way of providing affirmative action. Or perhaps we must now move on from our caste-conscious behaviour and learn to think beyond it.
PS: On an unrelated note, anyone noticed that all those people who left comments on my previous post (saying I was the one who was bullshitting) are men?