I haven't yet expressed what I feel about the reservation issue on this blog. Today, I intend to break the silence, and I promise I'll write again about the issue.
But today, it is about the mail that I received. Of course, many of you must have been receiving mails that contain requests to go join a a protest march, a candle demonstration, mails with pics of protesting students, SMSes telling you how many people have been protesting, how many have been on a fast unto death, how many fainted and how many have been tortured by the police. However, the mail that I received today was a bit different. It just contained a link, and all it takes for one to get enraged is to read the entire interview of Arjun Singh by Karan Thapar.
Here is the link.
Personally, these were the interesting moments:
"Karan Thapar: Do you personally also, as Minister of Human Resource Development , believe that reservations is the right and proper way to help the OBCs?
Arjun Singh: Certainly, that is one of the most important ways to do it.
Karan Thapar: The right way?
Arjun Singh: Also the right way.
Karan Thapar: In which case, lets ask a few basic questions; we are talking about the reservations for the OBCs in particular. Do you know what percentage of the Indian population is OBC? Mandal puts it at 52 per cent, the National Sample Survey Organisation at 32 per cent, the National Family and Health Survey at 29.8 per cent, which is the correct figure?
Arjun Singh: I think that should be decided by people who are more knowledgeable. But the point is that the OBCs form a fairly sizeable percentage of our population."
Herein, one sees the complete ignorance of the minister. But wait, he goofs up further by immediately following up with this...
"Karan Thapar: No doubt, but the reason why it is important to know 'what percentage' they form is that if you are going to have reservations for them, then you must know what percentage of the population they are, otherwise you don't know whether they are already adequately catered in higher educational institutions or not.
Arjun Singh: That is obvious - they are not.
Karan Thapar: Why is it obvious?
Arjun Singh: Obvious because it is something which we all see."
Duh ?!! Dude, is it precise answers like these that made you the minister for Human Resource Development of this great country?
"Karan Thapar: Minister, it is not just in terms of 'need' that your critics question the decision to have reservation for OBCs in higher education. More importantly, they question whether reservations themselves are efficacious and can work.
For example, a study done by the IITs themselves shows that 50 per cent of the IIT seats for the SCs and STs remain vacant and for the remaining 50 per cent, 25 per cent are the candidates, who even after six years fail to get their degrees. So, clearly, in their case, reservations are not working.
Arjun Singh: I would only say that on this issue, it would not be correct to go by all these figures that have been paraded.
Karan Thapar: You mean the IIT figures themselves could be dubious?
Arjun Singh: Not dubious, but I think that is not the last word."
And obviously, you would like to have the last word on everything, won't you?
Look how the respected minister is cornered when someone he cannot refute, is quoted:
"Karan Thapar: Let me quote to you Jawaharlal Nehru, a man whom you personally admire enormously. On the 27th of June 1961 wrote to the Chief Ministers of the day as follows: I dislike any kind of reservations. If we go in for any kind of reservations on communal and caste basis, we will swamp the bright and able people and remain second rate or third rate. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost. And then he adds pointedly: This way lies not only folly, but also disaster. What do you say to Jawaharlal Nehru today?
Arjun Singh: Jawaharlal Nehru was a great man in his own right and not only me, but everyone in India accept his view.
Karan Thapar: But you are just about to ignore his advice.
Arjun Singh: No. Are you aware that it was Jawaharlal Nehru who introduced the first ammendment regarding OBCs?
Karan Thapar: Yes, and I am talking about Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961, when clearly he had changed his position, he said - I dislike any kind of reservations.
Arjun Singh: I don't think one could take Panditji's position at any point of time and then overlook what he had himself initiated."
I really do urge you, dear reader, to go through the entire interview.
And let me also tell you what I feel as a young Indian after having read what has been written in the newspapers, after listening and seeing what has been shown on the TV, and most importantly, after having spoken to students who've actively campaigned on the streets of Mumbai against the stupidity of it all...
I feel proud of fellow Indians who've decided not to sit back and allow party politics and feudal decisions to affect the lives of millions of youngsters. At least, they've had the satisfaction of doing more than just blogging on the subject.