Thursday, March 11, 2010

Laddu quota - UPDATES added

That is what we used to call the seats reserved for out of town AP-origin candidates in engineering. Because they used to get seats like, you guessed it right, laddus. Its a shame since some of them were really smart and would've gotten in anyways, but they got branded laddus all the same.

And all through my professional life I've always been aware of a slight shadow of shame because I used the 33% reservation for women in engineering. (Although I would have still graduated out with the same degree from the same Univ, reservation or no reservation. Still, I didn't need it, and I hated falling under that cap)

And now my government decided to further insult my intelligence and capability by reserving MP positions for me.

Great! Now when I go to the parliament, some moron can refuse to listen to my opinion because "I only got there by reservation".

Seriously, when will we stop fragmenting everything into quotas. I think that time is not far away when there won't be any general pool left for people to vie for meritoriously. It will all be "mil baant ke khana".

The nasty Congress guys have taken this reservation thing so much further (pervaded IITs and IIMs too), I have no words to react.

I am outraged. Period.


1) I forgot to include the viewpoint of this bill doing anything for the upliftment of rural unempowered women. One of the first questions that came to my mind was how are they going to ensure that a woman wins the election. Because reservation or not, you still have to fight and win right? Then Subhash mentioned that 1/3rd of the constituencies are going to be declared women constituencies. And only women can fight it. Wow! So now it gets murkier. How are they going to decide which constituencies be made women ones? More rural ones or more urban ones? And  how are they going to ensure that this is the best divide of all the combinations? And any day, reservation is a top-down approach. And I think what India needs is a bottoms up approach. Which is more difficult to do and so people pick the easy way out.

2) Reservation in AP engineering for women - One reader had a comment on why I used the reservation if I didn't want it. Well, the only way I could have avoided using that quota was not declaring that I am a woman. Which I don't think is possible. Whether I liked it or not, whether I needed it or not, after I took my choice of seat, one "woman slot" would be struck off from the pool. And also, the degree with which I graduated (ECE), I got, not because of my EAMCET rank, but because I topped the University (and all its affiliated colleges I believe) in the first year and actually took a branch transfer (from EEE). So it didn't affect me in the end anyway, this reservation thing. Except for casting a shadow.

3) I just checked the number of women in the Congress Working Committee. 4/25 including Sonia Gandhi. You'd think that a person pushing for a women's bill would do better than that for her own party. This is nothing but prepping for the next elections. How can I guarantee that most women will vote for me next time around. Let me reserve some seats for them so I can blow this trumpet in the next GE. This vote bank politics has become Congress's "baaye haath ka khel". They play it so deftly now that no one takes anything amiss. Lest it sounds purely as Congress bashing, other political parties and their internal setups resemble the same. Eg:

4) If any rural or urban woman, underprivileged or otherwise, has enough persona to be able to come to the fore, please lets not insult her intelligence and capability by implying that she cannot win against a man. This is sorry, really. If she can only win against a woman, then does she really deserve to sit in a parliament. Actually, considering the average intelligence level in the parliament, she still can deserve it I suppose but that is a different matter.


shilpadesh said...

I blogged about the same thing yesterday! It is a shame that we don't trust our women leaders to get to the parliament on their own merit! I have heard this ladies quota story umpteen times in engineering, and it is not fair!

DivSu said...

@Shilpa - I checked out your blog :) Yeah it is a highly unfortunate thing, what to do.

Rachna said...

I disagree. We are not looking at urban, educated women like you and me when we look at reservations. We actually want more women, who otherwise would not stand a chance of reaching the Parliament, to participate in the process. I don't think it is shameful. And, I certainly do feel that merit in the end earns you the respect you deserve.

another question -- why did you use the quota in your engg. college, if you did not want it?

Umang said...

Well, as always there are two sides to the story.

Reservation, when initially introduced in the country, was meant to be a temporary thing and meant to be phased out after x number of years. The politicians saw this noble idea (to help the weaker sections of society) and extended it indefinitely and expanded its scope much more than originally intended because they saw political gains in the same. This is highly unfortunate and from this point of view I see no need for women quota in parliament.

The other side of the story is that even now in our society women are suppressed to a large extent and there are issues of dowry, domestic violence etc etc. Unless you have adequate representation of women in the parliament, proper laws won't be made/enforced and women will continue to suffer. This has to change and what better way to bring in this change but to empower the women at the top level itself to raise and address the issues they are confronted with. From this point of view I support this move.

Now the question becomes why would Lalu, Mulayam and some others oppose the women reservation bill? I don't follow Indian politics enough to figure out the reasons but curious to know what's their reason. In any case I have no respect for them as national leaders, so it hardly matters to me what they think. :)

DivSu said...

@Rachna and Umang - I know that this bill is being pushed because of the women agenda and no representation and rural women being oppressed and not having the same opportunities as us urban women do etc. But really, do you think some rural woman hitherto denied some privileges will suddenly be made to fight the election and win and change her destiny?

Also, are we talking about uplifting underprivileged women? If we are, then the first thing that underprivileged women lack is education. Do you think it will do us any further good if more uneducated people go to parliament in the name of a feminist agenda? I don't think so.

@Rachna - In AP, even if you are a top ranker, you are given a seat in the "quota". One of my friends was a 120 rank holder. She could have gotten in anywhere. And she picked her choice of seat. But still she fell under the 33% reservation cap as in one less girl could use it. So was the case with me (I got 800). You never had a choice not to fall under that cap. They'd anyways put you in it. It is just the way it works.

Anonymous said...

How about if one were not lucky enough to have parents who think girls education is equally important. And one struggled their way through, yet did not get such a stellar rank.

One individuals "slight shadow of shame" is another individuals lifeline for a better and improved future!

DivSu said...

@Anonymous - In all likelihood such individual with such parents would be married off right after engineering and 50% likely that she'd spend time as a homemaker, thus wasting that one seat which could have earned some guy his livelihood :)

Rachna said...

You can see the editorial today in TOI and DNA to better understand how the quota will be implemented. There are two sides to every coin, and we can not just brush aside something because we disagree. You are entitled to your opinion, but the ground realities in India cannot be ignored.

Thanks for clarifying the AP system. It definitely was not meant as a personal attack on you. Just a little background, I did my MBA from NMIMS Mumbai and got 46th rank in CET,if not for the reservations, I would have got a seat in JBIMS which was no. 1 ranked as compared to NMIMS at no. 2. All the SC/ST, OBC quotas were taken up by those who claimed them, so I assumed a similar setup for you guys too.

DivSu said...

@Rachna - Whatever be the case, I think it is high time that we as a nation let go of the whole reservation mess once and for all. This is not just about women's reservation. Any form of reservation is bad. If you rally want to improve conditions, simply reserving a seat for someone is not going to help. All the NGOs doing some great work in uplifting women are furthering the women's agenda much more than the political parties who have pushed for this bill. I don't think anyone can disagree with that. And as a nation we have a mentality to not let go. So it will happen that even when women are fully empowered we will still stick this bill in, we will never let it go just as we aren't letting go of SC/ST reservations 60 years after we wrote them in. No attempt is being made to address the fundamental issue -that of ensuring education, health and nutrition at the lowest levels (be it women or other under-privileged categories).

shilpadesh said...

I am all for subsidising education for girls to give them more opportunities to be sent to school, to give their parents jobs so the girls wont have to work rather than going to school, giving them opportunities to find jobs, just making their lives better in general so they are motivated to rise higher. But reservation is NOT one of them. It has never worked, and never will!
And like you said it is all politics. Madam could have had more women in the CWC if she cared so much about women in politics!

DivSu said...

@Shilpa - Thank you :) For corroborating my views!

Anonymous said...

If AP did allow a woman to choose to not be included in the 33% quota, then you would be denying one guy a seat that he could have taken in the general quota! So given the system, the logical choice would be to choose to be included in the quota so as not to harm someone else's chance.

-K said...

I think if one gets a high enough rank, you get out of general quota. if for your rank the desired seat is not open in general quota then you fall into reservation. thats how i remember

DivSu said...

@K - Nope, first choice you are offered is the quota. If it fills up you can pick a general seat but invariably if the quota is full so is the general pool ;)

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