Anand Fadeout

Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Reservations benefit the upper castes

Here is my two paise on the reservation issue. I for one do not think that this is in anyway a 'disadvantage' to the so-called upper castes of India. If at all I have anything against this policy of positive discrimination, it is that it actually perpetuates the perceived competence gap between the higher and the lower castes. The fewer seats there are available for general competitive entry into higher education, the better equipped will be the 'upper caste' candidates who get through, so if you look at it from the angle of the so-called upper castes, this policy only seems to reward the best performers among them, and discriminates against mediocre performers. On the flip side, it seems to reward mediocre performers from the lower castes (while it has no negative incentives for better performers from the lower castes either).

I have studied in educational institutions which encouraged positive discrimination, and even though there were noises being made about how hopeless it was for mediocre brahmins to get through, and how quality supposedly suffered in the larger scheme of things; in some Darwinian sense, it was actually natural selection of the fittest from the upper castes, and therefore I see no reason for the upper castes to oppose this kind of reservation.

If I were a casteist brahmin, believing in eugenics, I should silently encourage reservation, as in a sense it perpetuates the caste system, and vastly demarcates competence levels amongst the different castes. But for reasons not just restricted to a need for political correctness, I am not a casteist brahmin. And that is the reason why I am fundamentally against the current policy of reservations in higher education.

Another fallout of this competence gap I think will the perpetuation of the system of patronage. The caste hierarchy itself is based upon people receiving patronage and people acting patronisingly. Even though it is an amorphous entity called the 'government' that is the patron in this case, realistically, when there is a competence gap amongst students and professionals, and when this gap is demarcated by caste, it denies people of lesser competence a certain self-respect.

I know a dalit student who went to college with me. While he did gain entry to the course, he struggled to complete it. I had the advantage of having educated parents, a childhood devoid of nutritional deficiency, a good school, books all around me, computers and internet at home, satellite television, and what not; while he, used to go back home for the holidays, and come back to hostel with calloused hands and so many kilograms lighter.

The curse of being a brahmin in such a situation is that do you feel sorry for his misfortune? Or is that terribly patronising to pity someone? Do you feel anger at the system of your forefathers that makes this possible? Do you, with crazed romanticism want to do away with all caste identities? The reservation system does such a big service for brahmins. Apart from greatly improving their competence, it shows them the sights that their forefathers were in denial of. But does it also tell them that when they forgo a few more of their admission seats for the sake of 'their poor unfortunate brethren', they are perpetuating the system of patronage as well?

No doubt that the reservation system that got my classmate admission into college gave him a better go at life than he would have had in his village; and I am sure that his children, owing to a better-off parent would fare much better in school and college themselves. But I feel it has less to do with reservation itself, and more to do with the desire of this man to make a better life for himself on his own terms. Would he like his children to compete in the 'open market', or prefer to perpetuate mediocrity? Would our patronising government permit him to compete in the open market, by actually rewarding mediocrity?

Well the funny thing is that I am still a fucked up elitist who thinks that other people cannot think for themselves, and are merely pawns in the hands of patrons, and thus they would actually chose to be patronised. As you see, the ignominy associated with being patronised is the cornerstone of the dalit movement for self respect. My argument is that this is what is being undermined by reservations. It would be politically egalitarian if this notion of 'slavery is freedom' is extended to the upper castes as well. But this system of reservation attempts with a vengeance to do away with mediocrity in the upper castes; and worse still, confining mediocrity to the lower castes alone, by rewarding it.

Hypothetically, without reservations, competence levels amongst the upper castes (who would have lived in insular denial of their system) would actually go lower simply because they would take their status for granted. When the free market kicks in, they would be kicked out; while someone of a lower caste who would have had to prove himself/herself worthy through many trials would actually be more competent, and hence take their place.

In our country, the dalit movement found alliance with leftwing thought, and so it is perpetuated by all our political parties. And we all know what the left thinks of free markets. They believe in interventionist policies that artificially keeps certain conditions alive. Well that was what the caste system was all about—an unequal system that was kept artificially alive. Isn't there something so fundamentally wrong with leftwing thought that it actually defeats its own purpose if left to itself (i.e. in a democratic system)? Reservation is therefore the instrument of perpetuation of this artificial system, and also requires an artificial system to keep it alive. It is incompatible with the free market, which ironically is what our country seems to be moving towards.

12:12 am


Comments to Reservations benefit the upper castes

Hi Anand,

I think the reservation to SC/STs is a good thing. They are the real oppressed and even today Dalits (who are part of SC/ST) are denied their rights in villages etc. But the OBC community does not deserve any reservation what so ever. OBC constitue landlords and other land owners in states like UP, TN, etc. So this will reward their sons/daughter's lack of application.

posted by Anonymous Anonymous 

1:59 pm, April 10, 2006

Well written. I have to concede your point on the reservation system being advantageous for the upper caste, in turn forcing them to work harder.

End of the day, we are faced with the question, how far does this reservation affect the backward class? Only the most influential among the lower castes are going to be benefited. Added onto these, are the fake certificates which can be obtained very easily. So, the notion of improving the status of the lower castes is but what it is, a notion, and a gimmick at best.

Aside, from the above, the reservation also serves to add fuel to the fire, which is already burning between the upper and lower caste people.

I would show more confidence if the reservation more on economically backward rather than being caste based. But till that day comes,what happens the lower caste/economically backward people who fight to just live?

posted by Blogger Queer 

1:52 am, April 11, 2006

Thats a way far positive thinking Anand ! Its like "I am mugged & hit and i am very happy, because i have a reason to bunk my school tommorow".Our attitude should be to fix the problem instead of lauding the merits of the problem ..BTW please understand there is nothing personal in my remark my friend ,it was just my reaction.I would have replied the same to Anand iyer or Amjad ali or Arthur Fernandez

Queer's suggestion of segmenting people by economy instead of caste is a better idea..but still i dont accord with any reservation.Queer's point is true,my neighbor is a so called MBC and his cook is a so called Upper Caste, both have daughters.When they grow up, you know who will get educational priority

Demarcating by Economy is also tough and complex as economy is more volatile than the caste, we cant keep tab of the economical status of every person.Also today even the rich people get ration cards by bribing Tasildars stating that they are poor

Consider the mixed marriages between Upper Castes and Non upper castes..many of them do it so that they can make their children as Non Upper Caste..So is their kid a pure Non Upper Caste ? Does he/she deserve reservation ? Is any other kid different from this kid?

See the Global impact... all global companies respect pride of India which are IITs and IIMs..India has been taken seriously in global level technology due to them.. Reservation on this will just mean the world losing trustworthiness on them. People need graduates who are intelectually qualified and not just politically qualified.

I am not sure if suppression still exists in a large scale but even if exists can you guarantee its because of Upper castes only ! Do you really believe upper castes beat up SC/ST today and BC/MBC/DC remain pally with them ?? Are upper castes involved in any of the caste riots?

Even America had suppression of Africans initially but they dont have reservation today.They dont care about what happened hundred years back. Britishers looted our country and made us slaves ..are we remembering that and waging war today ? Why keep whining about past and screw the present and future?

Do you know how many lands of Upper castes have been encumbered by Non Upper castes ? Since UC are not good with Sickle and muscle they have been plundered by NUC..This left most of the UC as the working class while many NUC enjoy being business class. Do UC protest about it ?

The government gives education Funding to Non Upper castes, Gets them in schools, Get them an "Easy" admit in Colleges, again gives them aid, gives them a government job though they are professionly qualified or not, give them an edge in promotion.After all that government does to them, do you know how people repay their gratitude back to government ?? Sleeping in office, Getting Bribe, lacking responsibility, Misusing government property..This is what government achieves by Reservation policy. Even Upper castes also do the same but atleast they are not as obliged as Non Upper Caste ! So is this Reservation worth it ?

My conclusion is there is no correct way to adjust the system by lop siding with Upper Caste or with Non Upper Caste.Take examples of other countries who gives oppurtunity just to the deserved. There are lot of leaders who being a no body became even PM and Presidents, so if we have the STUFF we will succeed no matter what. We dont need government to keep pushing our bum.

posted by Anonymous Anonymous 

7:09 am, April 11, 2006

I dont know if you wrote in response to the specific case at hand today, which is reservation for OBCs in IIT/IIMs.

It is very difficult to oppose reservation to Dalits and SC/STs on any ground. Your specific example of a Dalit is exactly why their quotas are justified.

It is also very difficult to talk about OBCs without *naming* specific dominant communities within the OBCs. This is exactly why we Indians want to evade the subject as much as possible.

Would we want to talk about the actual status of Mudaliars or Gounders or Pillais ? Chances are we dont want to name any community - but that is exactly why anything we say wont make much sense.

Read this blog

posted by Anonymous rc 

10:53 am, April 11, 2006

The issue had troubled me since my high school days; the issue of reservations in educational institutions against various quotas SC/ST, minority class, female quota, NRI quota and all that shit.
I totally disliked it and thought how they can compromise education on basis of those things. What will happen if say a guy having a privilege of any of this quota qualifies MBBS entrance seeking minimal merit or rather below minimal merit and finally graduates as a Doctor? Will he give an excuse at the operation theatre that he cannot treat the patient as he failed to pass on that particular skill/knowledge and was graduated by luck because of the quota?
I understand that these class of people are poor and so need support, but they need monetary support – give them book bank facility, waive off the fees etc. but why reduce the required minimal percentage for these guys? The selection to admission for any kind of education should be purely on merit basis and there should be no second thought on this.

posted by Blogger Umesh Agrawal 

12:54 am, April 12, 2006

This problem is not only in college admission Umesh, it is also in getting government jobs and promotions.Now they are trying to implement this Reservation Virus in Private Job sctors also !

Guess they will implement this even in Railway & Flight Reservations based on caste :-)) Since the softer Upper Caste doesnt raise concerns this virus is bound to spread in every day to day life.There will reservations everywhere and the Upper Caste will soon be treated like Secondary citizens. Its shameful to know that even US treats them better than India as they dont demarcate a person based on caste or color !!! Thats why most of UCs run to these developed countries.

As Umesh said the doctors may not be professionally qualified if they have passed through Resevation quota. But do you know why the politicians dont care by giving Medical degrees in India to dumbos??Because if they fall sick they go to USA to get treatment and finally whom will they get treatment from ?? It will be another Indian working in USA !! FYI In USA 33% doctors are Indians. It will be the same Upper Caste Indian who would have denied a Medical admission in India by the same politician.Hence he was force to go to USA and practice !!!

I am a computer guy, If i was a doctor i will make sure none of these politicians return India safe.

posted by Anonymous Anonymous 

3:09 am, April 12, 2006

You have to look at this from another perspective too. There are other castes that claim intellectual superiority, not only brahmins. For example thakurs, who are not the harmless people we think of when thinking 'upper caste', have lorded over the dalits for ages. There is nothing wrong with reservations to bring the dalits up to speed. They are pitted against the landowner thakurs (i know this sounds like a rang de basanti like hindi movie script).

My issue with the reservations is that they are unnecessary now, 60 years after independance. One generation of reservations ought to be enough for dalits to climb the social ladder.

posted by Blogger Tamizhan 

2:22 pm, April 12, 2006

>>even though there were noises being made about how hopeless it was for mediocre brahmins to get through, and how quality supposedly suffered in the larger scheme of things<<

It is hopeless not only for "mediocre upper caste" people but anyone from that group that's short of outstanding. At the same time it benefits people from "lower caste" ranks that are close to mediocre. So some "upper caste" guys that are pushed out are actually better than some "lower caste" guys that make it into institutions. It's a big ego-masturbation for the relatively few "upper caste" ppl that make it in. It'd be a despairing and crushing exp for "upper caste" guys that'd have made it, if not for their "caste".

The meritorious "lower caste" guys will still make it in the 'open category'. So it's not really deriding on deserving "lower caste" candidates.

And certainly, it does affect the quality of the graduates and subsequent professionals.

posted by Blogger I 

10:42 pm, April 12, 2006

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

posted by Blogger I 

10:43 pm, April 12, 2006

Thamizhan, I agree your point about Upper caste Thakur Land lords but atleast the Upper Caste Thakurs dont exist in Tamil Nadu, atleast not now.

In fact they did existed, Years back brahmins also owned the land.But its all taken away by Non Upper Castes, this also includes SC/ST to an extent.

Land grabbing is the easiest way of making money TN..Dont get misleaded by films which shows always Landlords as the harassing guy, will explain what typically happens ...

1) Lets start with the root cause, TN government has a brilliant and most sensible rule in the history of the world "Uzudhavanukke Nilam Sondham" which means Land belongs to the one who ploughed and worked in it ! This was meant to bridge up the social imbalance between people. But all the working class took undue advantage due to this rule, I have travelled in government bus for more than 10 years so can i own it? I am working in S/W company for more than 8 years so can i own it ?

2) Typically the Non upper Caste guy working under Upper Caste will one day take his sickle out and tell the Land lord to get out of the land or if his UC Land lord want to sell the property NUC worker will ask for 50% of the money just because they worked in that farm land. Can you guys ask 50% of the company value if your MNC company is liquidated?

3) Now UC land lord has only 2 choices one is to take a sickle and fight which he wont dare against his rough NUC worker, another way is to go to Police. If he goes to police, they will say its a civil case and ask UC to go to court.

4) When this poor UC Land lord goes to court with the land registration paper, the judge just need to ask the Land encroacher to get out of the land because it is very evident that the land is registered in the name of the Land lord.Even a 3rd standard student can give this verdict by seeing the Land documents within a minute . But our Judge will take 15 years to give a verdict, no idea what is so complicated about this. By this 15 years the forceful NUC occupant will plough the land and get a village officer certificate for the same and automatically regardless of the case verdict the land goes to him LEGALLY !!! What great laws are there in India ??

Well, in the above example if the Land lord is also a Non Upper Caste then he will just choose option 1 which is taking a sickle out. Then the might wins amongst the two. But if Upper catse is a Land lord then there is no way he can win his land back legally or by force in Tamil Nadu!! Thats the reason none of the Upper caste are Land lords today ! On top of it the sons of the Non upper caste who encroached the land will also get educational and job Reservations. So there are more attrocities happening to Upper Castes in the post independence period, Dalits are not alone.

Bottom line is why Reservation when everyone have sufferered enough ? That too why reservation now after given it for 60 years, now that the Non upper castes would have stabilized. Are they planning to give for 1000 years more ??

posted by Anonymous Anonymous 

3:02 am, April 13, 2006

Hi Anand,
Your points are not valid on any reason ? Sory to say that. Question is not whether this reservation policy will help poors or not but it will definitely harm innocent upper caste people.
Let us be very practical . If some one wants to join Engineering or management he or she should deserve it ? No matter whether he is Brahmin or non-brahmin. One point more , not all upeer caste people get so called nutrious food and Computers etc which you have described. And why you are comparing SC and ST reservations ? Here we are talking of OBC reservation ? OBCs are involved in hand and gloves with doing atrocities against SC and ST people. You can see Yadavs , Kurmis suppressing SCs and STs then why we should reward these OBCs ? And why a poor upper caste people should suffer ?
I am sure of one thing . There is time of everything . This is not the time of reservation . Survival of India is dependent on India's calibre in every field of life. So the future of common person. IITs or IIMs are not well known for their infrastructures only ? They are known for more than that. Let ill prepared students from OBCs join them and end up joining government companies ! I am sure government will hike seats and will accomodate upper caste .
But I am sure of one thing India has no future. Only the individuals have future , as a country India will go no where.

posted by Anonymous Desi_EU 

2:29 am, April 14, 2006

Its not just this country - every community that was poor and was "oppressed", took to leftist ideology to start with. Its funny and has been happening around the world. Laugh it up mate - don't get so serious and all. Scares me :P

posted by Blogger Nilu 

10:09 am, April 16, 2006

Dear sir,
The article is good and presents other view . But , in what way it helps the un reserved (UR) candidate. If you rememeber , during Mandal 1 Period , it was decided that instituitons of higher learning, highly specialized jobs etc would not be reserved , then why such proposal in such a short span ? People are doing it for the votes. Now point is why we should suffer ? The problem with upper caste ( yes !) is that they do wrong things at wrong time. We are discussing here ( and there ) about reservations , its implications , social causes etc etc... Do you think aRJUN sINGH DOES NOT KNOW IT ..come one man be practical ....they all know it... but still they are doing it... WHY ? Think over it !!!! and u will understand which u do not want to... what I want to say.. Just do not satisfy yourself that u will go abroad and will settle etec etc... or reservation means more opportunity for us because we will work hard etc etc... Real cause of reservation is IMPOTENCY of uPPER CASTE PEOPLE. uPPER CASTE people behave in opporunistic way . ... Learn something from FRANCE bunch of people relaized government ...

posted by Anonymous Suggestions 

6:51 pm, April 19, 2006

Very deep and meaningful post, shows your intellectual capacity.

However, when asked to take a stand, hope you vote against reservations.

posted by Blogger barbarindian 

7:31 pm, April 20, 2006

1.60 years of freedom and still we are thinking this whole non system of reservation is still holds good.

2.When the whole world is going towards a quality based environment but still we indians think a caste based education is great.

3. What will be quality of work a lower caste guy will deliver when he enters and passes out with very poor grades. Think of doctors, engineers, bankers who will deliver a low quality job.

4. It will be a disaster to the growing economy where there will be growing amount openings and opportunities, but only a low quality resource pool will be available (with the exception of few high quality guys of upper caste).

5. when you say its good in a way that it pressures the upper caste to perform more, its a biased opinion too, since you are not thinking about how the ultimate quality of the future scientists,MBA's, engineers will be. (Thinking and talking in a brahministic way in this age itself is a sad thing.)

6. Only way to improve the situation is to let things on as it is, but increase the cutoff marks for reservations and make it in such a way that there is not more than 1 or 2% difference in cutoff marks between OC,BC,MBC,SC/ST's. For instance medical cutoff should be something like 197,195,193,191.

7. Doing this will be like hitting 2 mangoes in 1 stone. First only quality candidate will get through the system. Second if the lower caste reservations do not get filled due to high cut off marks, that itself will become a proving point and a reason to state in subsequent years for reducing the reservation.

8. By increasing the reservations its no solution for problem its just escaping from the problem and a way of telling that a lower caste that they are just getting weaker and inferior and they are getting discriminated more and more.

9. What is the point in proclaiming as a secular nation, but still do reservations based on caste???

posted by Blogger veda 

8:41 am, April 23, 2006

Guys, let us start a revolution. Let there be 100% Reservations! Let there be a new parallel education / job system, where the students / workers, management and even the friggin sweepers are appointed with reservations. And let there be 0% reservations in all the other institutions.

The time the OBC etc is born, he will have a certain admission into the reservation education system. He can study till whatever time he wants to. The teachers too are 100% from the reservation cadre. The reservation student after completion of his studies, will have an assured job in the Government. After all, didn't Nehru say that another purpose of the Public Sector was to generate employment?

posted by Blogger thelonelyfurrow 

12:52 pm, May 07, 2006


Thats a beautiful argument made passionately. In summary your article says,

"look dont patronise me. Give me pain and make my life hell. Let me enjoy the victory of overcoming a tougher path than that of a brahmin and let me have my self respect. Even if it means there is a risk of continuing in this oppressed state for another 5 generations to come. Ultimately I am an idiot who values the pride of conquering difficulties by myself while risking the future of my family and kids".

Moreover it also beautifully portrays how evil reservation is. Afterall reservation is going to make a brahmin more and more stronger.

I am also touched by your concern for your fellow brethren who were illtreated segregated and enslaved for a thousand years. Especially when you say "The reservation system does such a big service for brahmins. Apart from greatly improving their competence, it shows them the sights that their forefathers were in denial of. ...."

I love that statement of yours because you are passionately arguing a naked, violated and oppressed fellow human to endure a little more suffering (read for another 100 years) instead of take recourse to a door that is open right in front of him.

"You say that this door 'Dear Dalit' is not going to help you, because you are by nature incompetent and mediocre and actually you dont deserve this door. If this door is given to you all hell will break lose and this paradise we want to create in India will fall flat. Why ? because India would be filled with mediocres like you who will make my life a living hell"

Brilliantly argued. So brilliant that I am right now standing and clapping for you my friend.

But if you are a brahmin and reservation is actually a conspiracy to help the brahmins, why arent you supporting reservation ?

Ha... You are an Indian first and a brahmin later... sorry I forgot.


posted by Blogger Vasu the terrible 

4:37 pm, May 19, 2006

I am sorry I unleashed Vasu on you. Otha avon konjam loosu :-D

posted by Anonymous Suman 

5:48 pm, May 19, 2006

To Author :- Good article ,i appreciate your sorry feeling for low caste

To barbarindian :- You show very well charactersticks of a moron.


posted by Anonymous Anonymous 

12:11 pm, May 20, 2006

see . as a citizenof india you should understand what the game the politicians used to do and they are doing now & then .
If they are really bothered about equality then they could have taken different steps .see equality between citizens will come from heart . not like this .this they should understand who are playing vote bank politics;
see government can have data , ,if they really wanted to abolish the gap between upper caste & lower caste . they could have all the data of lowercaste people & poor people within this 58 years of independence. they can have data to make only one generation of lowercaste people to have benefits (reservation I dont like to use this words) such as jobs , educations .(this should not be continuous phenomena as people on receiving side will never say anything ). money should not be spent on generations just if they belongs to SC/ST/OBC. This is making the these students not to perform up to fullest. One generation which was young at the time of independence , now its there kids whom they tried to give best(reservation adds to that) of whatever they could have now they are ready to be own over there. SC (14%) ST(7%) and now (OBC 27%). They are simply adding new & new castes to take them under reservation .(nobody bothers about abolishing caste system from india, our politicians want them to be alive , so that a person like Arjun Singh(belong to uppercast) who is not having charisma, who is not even able to speak clearly because of old age ,are taking decisions on future of students ,this is his way of getting attention).See i belong to SC . i had tough times . I did well in class. i came 10 th in class out of 30 engineering student even though i got admisson in reservation . so people started accepting me .I am now very much on my own but , this kind of issues will just take people like us away from mainstream which i should say was in a way abolishing the caste system . if in this way india is taking thing then this issue will take us back in state before independence .give benefits to poor for school education make them such a strong that they will be able to face higher education on there own merit may be helped financilly . that only will divide the difference between all caste which was increasingly getting away from this generation mind . the people like arjun singh or one can find so many who wants to keep this alive .

posted by Anonymous Anonymous 

12:16 am, May 31, 2006

about theScythian Origin of Mudaliars, Bunts, Nairs, Ahirs etc.

posted by Blogger tuluva vellala (bunt mudiraja) 

9:57 pm, July 31, 2007

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