Posted in Economic

Will elite schools in India now open up to Municipal school kids? Agama Temple priests one and all? Modi and Yogi answer!

“Pichai Eduthaanaam Aandi, Adhai Pidungi Thinnaanaam Perumal”

So Modi has come out with 10% reservation for economically backward FCs fine. So is it now time to throw open the doors of city’s elite bunch of schools Churchpark, Vidya Mandir, PSBB, PSSS, Shishya, Lady Andal, Chettinad Vidyashram, DAV, SBOA, Maharishi and Rajaji Vidyashram to BPL family kids by the same logic? A reservation of 10% to start with? After all in India, discrimination/disparities stem right at pre-school levels. The school you attend defines who you are and your future. The rags-to-riches stories of Abdul Kalam and Ambani are one in a million. Otherwise for average Indians, it is rat race all the way. The gulf the society creates right in our Kinder Garten stage among the future citizens of the nation is already unbridgeable and extreme that under-devepment and poverty and the resultant Reservation criteria will have to become a vicious circle, with no option. Reservation comes into play where recommendations or carefully accumulated/cultivated intelligence of generations of well bred forefathers/ancestors cannot come to the aid of certain sections of our society. Reservation is thus the lifeline to the hopeless lot of poorest of Indians.

What reservations could not provide, recommendations/references have been taking care of for the upper middle classes. Schools to autonomous/deemed universities, the better-off of India have not been left out in the cold even in the so-called suffocating climate of Reservation. My autowallah makes almost 20-30 k per month in current times. He has always been able to give his family a decent living, being their sole bread winner. One of the things that touched my heart about him was, how his children were denied good schools because of his profession and because he and his wife were illiterates. Finally, he fought with a school management and secured his kids admission. Of course, they started with a clear disadvantage. Could not keep up with peers, could not follow up with brutal academics being first generation literates in their lineage. The poor father relented, pulled them out and enrolled them with a heavy heart in corporation school where the children at last could make some real friends. Denied bank loans as he can never produce a salary certificate, my autowallah still pawns his very source of income and livelihood : his auto (the three wheeled tuk tuk) if ever he has to change it/go for a new one or has to meet up with unexpected expenses. Whereas how generous India is with Ambani family, Mallya, Adani group.

Is not reservation meant for those like my autowallah. It is easiest to find excuses like the third generation dalit IAS benefiting out of quota system, in our urge to deny social justice to those who really deserve it. My maid who works for me for last 13 years for another thing. How come these men/women are in these menial professions, I ask myself. Where in India do we have dignity of labour about anything. Why is my subzi wala a subzi wala. Why is the corporation scavenger/sweeper in my street what he/she is. Why is not a FC working this profession. Why is a chakkili a chakkili. Why is a vettiyan a vettiyan.

Every FC who is rejoicing in Modi’s (anticipated) announcement today must ask these questions to himself/herself. And by the way if you are ever to enjoy an ancestral home, estate, heirloom, all the more reason to ask yourself, who and how your ancestors blocked from his/her path to progress that you could make it big today. Well, I do not know about my compatriots, but I sure do ask myself these tough questions.

These days one sees communist-bashing happening in a large scale in India. Communists are not a mushroom that sprouted out of nowhere. They may have become unfashionable today in the world of capitalism, but thanks to them, a lot of injustice has been corrected in the past as well. Someone has to ask the questions. Someone has to advocate. The ones who dared to ask difficult questions were probably called communists. Trade unions fought for just rights. Capitalist cronies can never figure out what it means by social justice and equality.

So reservation is social evil? Then why is reservation still practised in Agama temples throughout length and breadth of India, will Modi and Yogi answer? Not even the constitutionally granted Reservation Quota system could break the jinx could it? Salvation comes in many ways. But would it ever, to someone who by virtue of his birth (alone) has in fact the cheek to imagine that ONLY he was gene-selected and pre-programmed by God to serve His purpose in His abode over others.? How about opening a Vedic school cutting across communities and training priests for Agama temples impartially.

Recommendations can make an auditor an RBI director in India, so why should such a pampered community seek reservation. Recommendation plus Reservation to the privileged class could prove to be a deadly combo – lethal blow to India’s underprivileged. Very conveniently, Recommendations do not go into records.

Jayalalitha Jayaram, when she was Tamil Nadu chief minister, mandated a penalty of Rs.20,00,000/- for government medical college students who enrolled for their PG course at state expense – in case they were to opt out of three to eight years of rural health service on completion. Not sure whether the bond system still holds good in Tamil Nadu (after the NEET introduction in post Jayalalitha period: the only way they could do it). PM Modi must similarly enforce a strict penalty of minimum Rs.30,00,000/- on FC IIT undergrads and post grads and PhD scholars who graduate at the expense of tax paying citizens, if they want to flee abroad after having received the finest education the nation has to offer. Bond for IIT grads to be made mandatory.

Reservation for FCs can be compared to something like borrowing out of the beggar’s bowl. Though, Reservation is not a concession we are offering the most downtrodden and suppressed communities of India. Reservation is the compensation that they justly deserve.

Modi has been wrong in many matters. NEET for one. NEET they said got you medical seats on merit basis. Only that private medical institutions have since upped their antics in the knowledge of pricing it right for the right candidates. True medical colleges are accessible to aspirants today more than ever but there is a collateral that has been overlooked in the process.

Medical degree is unlike the technical engineering course. Medicine necessitates practice and intuition. Rural candidates in Tamil Nadu stood a good chance to medical admissions before the enforcement of NEET. On graduation, they went back to their villages and served the purpose, filling up void in the far flung areas and rural outposts. Reservation worked well on these grounds. How many NEET medicos of present times would serve rural India on graduation, will Modi answer. How long before Ambanis and Adanis take over our scattered village, taluk and district government hospitals and turn them to corporate businesses.

Like medical schools and hospitals, government of India also had established a banking network of thousands of service branches to cater to rural population along with post offices – not with a profit motive. Serviceability was the goal. Nation building was the idea. This is how the state owned banks have functioned for a good 30-40 years since the late 60s’ when the then PM Smt Indira Gandhi nationalized them in one stroke.

MBBS doctors in pre-NEET days were accorded service-record based MD/MS seats in government hospital-colleges after a customary entrance, on serving rural health centers for a length of time. No doubt quota doctors benefited immensely out of this which they passed on to the rural pockets they serviced. Depending on the discipline the MBBS doctors worked, their super specialty area was determined . No wonder a friend was 40+ when he won his PG seat finally in Madras GH/MMC after a 15 year practice. Experience counted and made difference. Now experience has no relevance as one sees how NEET has been securing the academically brilliant but practically nil experienced medicos the coveted PG seats. The friend who turned 45 when he finally added two alphabetical letters MD besides his MBBS is an epitome of knowledge with hands-on experience, no wonder. Diagnosis was accurate without the help of machines for these doctors of old school. The man served government hospitals in rural sector as stipulated by Tamil Nadu government for nearly eight years before he quit. Today we see under 30s so easily clear NEET PG entrance and secure the super specialty seats and MD seats in the state/country. And then making their way straight to swanky five star hospitals that bill /milk us patients in lakhs. Starting pay for these new age MDs is 1.5 lac, experience zilch but for a short stint that may be with private hospitals as well. Machines think for them. Thank you a ton Prime Minister Modi, what a great service to India in deed. And what a medical fraternity you have helped create for India’s future.

You think the former prime ministers of India, the men who drafted our constitution, the men who drew up our reservation bills did not do their home work? Probably they did a far better job than you. And a fair assessment.

I once had a procedure done with a lady gynaecologist who may not have been the brightest or ultra sophisticated in the block, but she was good with her hands. Quota doctor of course. She knew what she really needed to know. Just like midwives served the purpose until very recently not only in Indian but world history. More than learned knowledge, I understood it was a knack that you had to perfect in. A surgeon’s job is essentially a butcher’s. Only that, he/she knows the names to the blood vessels and arteries. Medical acumen comes from experience, practice, not to be gleaned out of mere journals and bound volumes of books. The community doctor’s ease and expertise, I did not find even in my regular hi-fi gynaec who boasted of a hotshot career. This one was known to me and she worked for a primary health center that charged me nothing. I was treated free. Ever since I have changed my opinion on reservation category doctors who muster experience with skill. This kind of medicos work with rural poor basically. They develop excellent rapport with nursing staff and paramedics. Primany health centers run by state government in Tamil Nadu are best in the line, run and managed very efficiently. The teams see infinite number of cases anyday. NEET just managed to destroy such a beautifully orchestrated, carefully constructed and self sufficient medical system in my state. I wonder what will be the future of these government health centers in the age of NEET aspirants. Whether the BPL family women will be comfortable with the suave NEET MBBS doctors who mostly pay their way to medical colleges?

Very soon, health care in rural India – the meticulously nurtured catacomb through the length and breadth of the country – will be replaced with sophisticated corporate business-like hospitals. Modifications? Ever since the IT boom in India from the 1990s, health care is already a mega buck maker, with health insurance companies playing an ace role in the scene. NEET is good, but the side-effects of NEET will be felt by poor rural Indians in the long run.

Indian judiciary prides itself that it is unconcerned of the guilty going unpunished using loopholes in the legal net. It takes care to ensure that not a single non-guilty is served with injustice.

Reservation in India must be viewed the same way. The idea has never been to exclude the creamiest but to include those disadvantaged by design. those living in the fringes.

India’s Karma is this. I , as an individual, cannot do much about it than empathize, given my limited capacity. But it is reckless of those in power to absolutely misuse their power.

For one thing, caste based quota system was enforced because social discrimination in India has always been and still is caste based. Reservation was devised as a formulation to correct the historical injustice done to certain sections of our society. For another, it is easy to manipulate one’s economic status and cook up figures. Reservation has still not been able to stop the FCs from furthering their goals because they have already established a deeply entrenched support system that will see them to economic safety whatever the circumstances. Things are in proper place for FCs.

Reservation is like parking slots for the disabled. Those who cannot get in can drive around and park elsewhere. They can still make their way to their destination. The disabled cannot, without difficulties.

I am based in gulf where it is not uncommon to see a particular state people from India holding advantageous position. A network. Some of us have not had such a helping hand in life. More than anyone, I have more merit and moral rights to air my views on Reservation.

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PS: Having said all this, I still hope, reservation of 10% for FCs materializes, for we can shut them up once and for all with that. Today, there is a tendency in India to downplay the achievements of the backward/stagnated classes who have made good with or without the crutch called reservation, fighting a tough battle all the way. First generation literates are mocked at, berated by those who have had headstart in academics and other arenas with plenty of opportunities thrown their way. India has never had a level playing field for everyone. After this move, the FCs will have none to blame for their stale genes or mediocrity.

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