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Mujhko NRI Bana De
|by Usha Kakkar|
I was in eleventh grade when Mandal-1 triggered caste wars on the streets of New Delhi and Rajiv Goswami immolated himself in Delhi. However I was unaffected as I was in Paris, secluded from the games politicians played with the futures of many bright students. As luck would have it, I did land up in India a couple of years down the line and found myself incapable of landing a seat in prestigious institutions for a masters program. That was when Mandal first hit me, personally.
I heard over breakfast today that a youngster in Delhi immolated himself. Did this child even think of the consequences when he lit that match? Did it worry him even slightly that Goswami died in 2004, alone away from the media's glare, a fallen hero. None of his friends and supporters, who made him a symbol of student protest, were with him when he died a sick, paralyzed, unemployed and definitely disillusioned man.
Mandal-2 has increased my resolve to stay out of India, forever. I have made the journey "home" many a times in the last decade of my adult life. Each trip motivates me to do something for the country, whose passport I hold onto proudly. I pick fights with upright 'NRI types' whose sole source of entertainment on flights is criticizing their country of origin. Back home, I try and salvage the honor of NRIs by defending their breed.
However this time, I am not going back. Both Arjun Singh and Manmohan Singh have finally managed to do what others tried - boot me out. I am not certain that I do not have a future in country that is driven by vote banks and caste politics.
Will my children have a future in India? Will they get the education they deserve? I can foresee myself standing in a queue trying to get admission for my toddler into nursery school. By then, these politicians would have enforced Mandal in playschool too. The only other alternative for us from the 'higher' and hence advantaged castes is to be very very rich so that you can afford to send your children to institutions abroad where they are judged on merit and not their surname. This country is no longer hospitable to people who are not worshippers of Mandal Baba.
Do I wish to go to a country where I would not qualify for government jobs because I do not belong to a certain caste? Next on the cards is reservation for Muslims and Christians. And the present administration is threatening to extend the reservation system to the booming Indian corporate sector. At every dinner conversation, I hear that the future markets lie in India and China. However by extending reservations to the private sector, the Manmohan Singh regime is ensuring that caste dynamics cripple that area too! What happened to good old-fashioned merit? It is truly unfortunate that Meritocracy is being upstaged by Mediocrity.
Today I filled in a migration application. Today I joined the ranks of NRIs who complain and criticize.
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