Greetings from Noida. I belong to Patna but currently residing in Noida to earn my bread and butter. I am neither Dalit nor OBC but my upbringing happened in a very remote and secluded place in Jharkhand and had close proximities with underprivileged class kids. I studied, played, eat, danced, enjoyed outdoor activities with them for my entire childhood. So, even though I am born in upper caste (Kayastha) family, my attitude, thought process, opinions are in contrast with typical upper caste mentality and I know I am not alone such upper caste guy, I have few friends from upper caste too who simply refuse to buy any upper caste or Urban middle class mentality and they fight these evils at every possible forum.
I am not surprised to see the attitude of media in the current ongoing controversy on reservation. The media run by shrewd intellectuals who are not just promoting anti-reservation protest, they are deliberately spreading all sorts of misconceptions. they are doing exactly what they did during Mandal-I in 1990.
The print and electronic media are at their best trying to create 1990-type hysteria over the reservation issue (quota in IIT, IIM & other central universities & private sector). Voices of "merit" and captains of industry are on record as to how a few hundred seats in management/technical/medical schools will erode India's competitiveness in this age of globalisation.
Voices & faces of "merit" are being heard & seen in various forms (like debate, protests, blogs, e-petitions, articles in newspapers etc.) in media. With strong support from media, the votaries of "merit" have succeeded in raising the noise to such a level that Govt. is now ready to lend a ear to them.
What is interesting (& perplexing) to me that such an intense opposition to reservation is not talking about facts & figures. Have these protestors able to produce any study/research paper on this topic of utmost concern (which according to them will kill the merit and thus destroy the nation) ? Isn't it expected from these most meritorious, most vocal, most concerned section of the society that their argument should be backed by solid facts and studies?
How many newspapers and TV channels have presented /referred well-researched studies/papers on this subject? No, probably they assume that all of the world will take their arguments against reservation on their face value.
But the world does not move in this way any more. But their ways of protests, the very tone and tenor of their reactions against reservations speak volume about their bias and prejudice against the very large section of the society.
Just few days back, in Delhi, the future generation of doctors resorted to sweeping roads in protest, implying the traditional profession of tens of lakhs of Dalit safai karamcharis is a lowly, ignominious one, and it was prominently telecasted over number of TV channels.Believe me, had this happened in any European country, they would have to face series of court cases against them. Yes, in a democratic country they have very right to protest but what right do they have to insult those who earn their livelihood by sweeping roads?
Can they dare to resort to "puja path" in protest against reservation? During the anti-Mandal agitation of 1990, upper-caste students mockingly polished shoes - with utter disregard for people who depend on such labour for livelihood - mourning the 'death of merit'. They were merely expressing contempt for such work; these were just photo-ops. Even if it comes to remaining unemployed, upper caste would think it below their dignity to consider sweeping, shining or mending shoes. They merely wanted to convey that such jobs are not meant for people who have 'merit'. The meritocrats would rather be underpaid in sweat less jobs than sweat it out as shoeshiners or sanitary workers even if paid more.
Contempt for certain kinds of labour goes a long way in hindu culture and is integral to the definition of the caste system. But what are they (protestors) trying to achieve by this kind of vulgar form of protests which have absolutely no rationale.
Can these votaries of merit show a single case of dalit failure on account of lack of merit? Surely, over the last five decades they must have amassed a lot of examples to bolster their prejudice; they may just present a single example to illustrate their point. The fact is they have none.
They just want to talk in air with casteist rhetoric. It is this attitude of the upper caste elite that drives Dalits/oppressed/OBCs inwards to take shelter under their identities and create hurdle in breaking the caste barriers; it damages their psychic frame and alienates them. Precisely for this reason, we come across apologetic arguments from some who have benefited from reservation. The media and protestors have been trying to perpetuate misconception about reservation.
Reservation, after all does not mean sitting people merely by birth without cognizance of their capability as it is mischievously made out to be in public. The premise behind reservation as a mechanism to of uplifting people is basically wrong one. While it is projected as a measure of uplifting ‘low’ caste people, it conveniently hides the intrinsic disability of the Indian society to treat all people equally and justly, which necessitates an externally imposed mandate of reservation. It is not the disability of the dalits/oppressed but the disability of "Indian society" that necessitates reservation.
The correct premise behind the Constitutional reservation - that it is a countervailing measure by the state against the socio-cultural disability of Indian society to treat people from the untouchable/oppressed castes as its own. It is a mechanism to ensure that the "deserving people" from these oppressed castes get their due share because otherwise the deep entrenched socio-cultural prejudice will never let them have it as can be seen in the sectors where this mechanism does not exist. It is a mechanism with which the rights of certain sections of society are PROTECTED, because left to itself society is incapable of doing it.
Let me emphasise once again - Reservation is NOT to uplift underprivileged class, it is to protect deserving candidates' due right and share because otherwise the deep entrenched socio-cultural prejudice will never let them have it.
Why don't we have our own news papers dedicated to 300 million dalits, even if 10% of dalits buy our newspaper, we will be able to run without much financial problem, if you guys are interested in working with me on a new news paper, please write to me. We need to start a news paper and make it a mainstream news paper. There are wonderful writers from our dalits all over the world.
write to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
i am currently compiling a list o international and indian news blogs that we should start visiting and updating with views and information about pro-reservation protests.
The Times of India and Mumbai Mirror, like much of the media has taken a very strong anti-reservation stance and in the process is broadcastingrabidly discriminatory, demeaning, and insulting reports regardingScheduled Castes and Tribes.
Please read and if you wish to do so, sign the petition regarding this issue, online at:http://www.PetitionOnline.com/toimm506/petition.html
The petition recommends that the Atrocities Act be applied to the people responsible for humiliating dalits and adivasis through the Times of India and Mumbai Mirror.
Send an email to DeputyChiefMinister@maharashtra.gov.in
asking for legal action against this kind of media reporting.D.Parthasarathy , IIT Bombay
Good that you came up with this....all my support for your work. I got a mail forwarded "protest against anti-reservation brigade and Join US" which asked us all to join in protest in Delhi. It is impossible for me to come to Delhi right now...But I hope you wouldnt mind if I put that mail in my own blog.
Smrti, Hyderabad Central University