Quota Raj : A La Jallianwala


On Vaisakhi day (the Sikh Harvest Festival) on 13 April, 1919 about 25,000 men, women and children, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians had gathered for a peaceful protest meeting against a set of draconian laws known as the Rowlatt Acts which gave the British rulers sweeping powers such as press censorship, detention without trial, and arrest without warrant. A British officer called Brig-Gen Reginald Dyer, blocked the only exit from the enclosure and, without any warning, ordered his troops to fire into the crowd. Official records said 379 people were killed and 1,200 wounded but Indian sources insisted the toll was much higher, with over a thousand dead. This sparked off the freedom movement under the magnificent leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Jallianwala Bag record of British Raj will be put to shame from June, 2007 when our Human Resource Destruction (HRD) Minister wants to install the Congress monarchy sponsored anarchy of Quota Raj. Brig-Gen Reginald Dyer killed only 379 people or a little more than that on 13 April, 1919 at Jallianwala Bag. By launching Quota Raj from next year, Arjun Singh wants to deal a death blow to the flower of India's youth who want to compete and survive in a competitive world of intelligence and knowledge.

In the murky mire of Indian politics today, most of our politicians have no more independence in politics than there is in jail. A political war in India is one in which everyone shoots from the lip. The UPA Government's political machine is a united minority against a divided majority. For petty politicians like Arjun Singh, politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. In my view, the Quota Raj is the surest road to total national destruction in this glorious era of ever-widening vistas of globalization of business and universalization of knowledge.

I am not therefore surprised that National Knowledge Commission Convener Pratap Bhanu Mehta and another member, world famous Sociologist Andre Beteille have resigned from the panel over the on-going Quota Raj Reservation Controversy, declaring that quotas in elite institutions violate the cardinal principles of a knowledge-based society. A majority of the Members of the National Knowledge Commission had clearly asserted last week that the Government should not extend reservations to OBCs as proposed by the Human Resource Destruction Ministry and had called for the maintenance of status quo on the issue till more effective avenues of affirmative action were explored.

In his resignation letter Prof Andre Beteille has clearly indicated that the quota proposal is a cynical misrepresentation of recently-enacted provisions of the Constitution. In his view, any such policy would be unwise and has clearly stated that caste-based quotas are not mandatory under the Constitution. Pratap Bhanu Mehta has said that the government's measures are not based on an assessment of effectiveness and the whole proposal of Arjun Singh is incompatible with the freedom and diversity of national institutions of excellence. According to him, such a move would thoroughly politicize the educational process, injecting an 'insidious poison' that would harm the nation's long-term interests apart from the fact that such measures would never lead us to social justice.

When a King asked Euclid whether he could not explain his art to him in a more compendious manner, Euclid replied that there was no royal way to geometry. Euclid said with humility that other things may be seized by might, or purchased with money; but knowledge is to be gained only by study, and study to be prosecuted only in a quiet academic atmosphere of cloistered seclusion. Arjun Singh would dismiss Euclid today as highly communal, saffronized and non-secular by his goofed up programme of gangsterism of Quota Raj.

Arun Shourie in his brilliantly written piece "The State as Charade" V P Singh, Chandrasekar and the rest? quoted from the Mandal Commission Report based on which the fraudulent superstructure of Quota Raj is being raised by the Human Resource Destruction Ministry today. Mandal wrote: 'In the end it may be emphasized that this survey has 'NO PRETENSIONS TO BEING A PIECE OF ACADEMIC RESEARCH'. It has been conducted by the administrative machinery of the government and used as a 'ROUGH AND READY TOOL' for evolving a set of simple criteria for identifying social and educational backwardness. Throughout this survey our approach has been conditioned by 'practical considerations, realities of field conditions, constraints of resources and trained manpower and paucity of time'. All these factors obviously militate against the requirements of a technically sophisticated and academically satisfying operation.'

On the basis of such an 'unscientific' and inaccurate report, the fate of 'yet-to-be-born' are being decided in an authoritative manner by a minority Government in 'SECULAR INDIA' today. In an incisive article in the print media recently, on this subject, Dr P V Indiresan, former Director, IIT (Chennai), wrote: 'Reservation in Tamilnadu can also be declared as a failure on two counts: Even after three-quarters of a century, the backward castes are unwilling to compete openly. There are third, even fourth generation beneficiaries of reservation who are unable to get over their dependence on the handicaps reservation provides for them. It appears reservation is a crutch, not a remedy.'

Arjun Singh wants to provide a crutch, not to the genuinely physically handicapped or the genuinely economically handicapped persons in India but to the politically-sponsored, politically promoted and politically sustained so called backward classes of India which is just a sordid creation of our political parties for being used as powerful instruments of caste-based vote-bank politics. The founding fathers of our Constitution spoke only of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and never thought of an ever-burgeoning lists of backward classes in post-independent India.

As a natural corollary of the Reservation Principle, teaching posts have been reserved on caste basis in India. That is a cardinal error. What our students need most are the best teachers available, not the least qualified ones. Dr Sowell, a distinguished professor from Stanford, was once asked on his visit to Madras (as it was then) whether he would prefer Black teachers to teach Black students (Prof Sowell is Black.) His answer was, 'I do not care whether the teacher is White, Black or Blue; I want the best!' If Dr. Sowell had the misfortune of working in the Government of India, he would have been dismissed from Government service as an abettor of communalism and saffronism for coming out with that highly sensible statement highlighting the importance of quality in higher education.

I am imagining what will India be like after sixty years in 2066 when Arjun Singh's dream of total Human Resource Destruction based on Quota Raj would have been realized in full measure: At an Alumni meeting to be held on 1 January, 2066, I expect to participate not as one belonging to OBCs (Other Backward Castes) but as one belonging to MBFCs (Moderately Backward Forward Castes) along with my friends belonging to the NSTs ('Non-Scheduled Tribes') then expected to be in a political league with the OBCs.

I can imagine one of the participants writing on the party held in 2066 in the year of the Lord 2096. This is how it is going to be described by him:

"We sipped champagne and talked about how so many of us had progressed from reserved seats in the IIMs to reserved jobs to reserved promotions. Unfortunately, the party broke up when a Non-scheduled Tribes faculty member objected to the OBCs dancing with all the pretty girls he wanted equal opportunities for every caste at each dance as per Government quota notification. I pointed out that the Non-scheduled Tribes had exceeded the quota of champagne reserved for them. The party ended in a pitched caste battle resulting in 1137 deaths (beating Brig Gen Dyer's poor record of 379 lives at Jallianwala Bag in 1919!). Soon after these unfortunate deaths dedicated to the memory of Quota Raj of 2007, a gigantic statue of Arjun Singh was installed at the entrance of Lok Sabha in New Delhi under the banner 'Mohammed Gazini of Quota Raj."

All those centuries of unabashed oppression by the OSBFCs (Only Slightly Backward Forward Castes) and the OMFCs (Other Mildly Forward Castes) must be rectified in favor of the SIBCs (Slightly Improving Backward Classes), SLIBCs (Slowly Improving Backward Classes).'

Further, I cannot help visualizing a non-secular, non-communal proposal in the Human Resources Destruction Ministry for coming out with a nationally declared National Anthem of Quota Raj. It is called Arjun Singh's Anthem – Disunited Heart. It runs as follows:

May we be secularly disunited in heart 
May we be secularly disunited in speech 
May we be secularly disunited in mind and mindlessness 
May we be secularly disunited in our prayer 
May we be secularly disunited in our goal 
May we be secularly disunited in our resolve and irresolution 
May we be secularly disunited in our misunderstanding 
May we be secularly disunited in our offering 
May we be secularly disunited in our feelings 
May we be secularly disunited in our hearts 
May we be secularly disunited in our thoughts 
May there be perfect unity of heart, mind and soul and body if alive 
Only in our solemn commitment to Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka 
To the complete and total exclusion of Bharat Mata!    


More by :  V. Sundaram

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