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Reservation justified or not?

  1. Jul 18, 2006 #1
    Basically in India, we now have the Forward castes and Backward castes. The forwards basically have the rich folks/ educated/ well off (of course there are some poor there too). The backward castes were full of suppressed people. Not allowed to even cast their shadows on the FCs coz even their shadows are too dirty.
    Becoz of the long years of caste system (since c.200 CE) the BCs had gone to the depths of poverty, illiteracy and stuff.

    B.Ambedkar, the architect of our constitution, included a quota for the BCs in college education so that they get education. But only for 10 years.

    The present useless politicians want votes so they try to continue this reservation thing.

    I wan't to know what u people think about this system of reserving a certain no. of seats in a college for a particular group of community.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2006 #2


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    It can only be a good thing.

    We have a similar thing in the UK, although the difference between rich and poor is probably no where near as big.

    We have kids who go to state schools and kids who go to private schools. (I keep it simple by omitting independent etc.)

    Although there isn't meant to be one, the kids from private schools have always had a better chance to go, and do well, at uni. Not only do their teachers teach them how to pass exams and cope in the higher education environment, but their parents would always push them harder.

    Private education would typically also mean money and therefore they could afford to send their kids away.

    In the past, state school kids would likely get a grant which paid for their university education but now they have to get a government loan instead.

    This is a bad thing, but the government still want to "widen participation"; get state school kids through uni. However, they end up with a huge debt - but that politics is for another thread. Some unis even lower grades needed for state school kids because they know the kids aren't "trained" to get the high grades as the private school kids are. This isn't the teachers fault, as in a state school, crowd control sometimes becomes more of an issue over teaching.

    I guess I'm saying that it's essential to get kids who are less privilaged into higher education (but also that, that education should be free!).

    (Did I rant there? :smile: )
  4. Jul 18, 2006 #3


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    This sounds very similar to affirmative action here in the states. It is being challenged on many levels in the courts. It seems that the situation in Inda supports the policies, especially if there is a system in place that actually creates the two classes. I'd be interested to hear what Gokul has to say about this.

    IMO, here in the states, I take it on a case by case basis as I hear it. These cases lack one thing...common sense. I live near the University of Michigan where one of the more well known cases went to the Supreme Court. In that particular case, I felt the affirmative action was wrong. Others I have felt differently. The biggest factor I use is whether the people applying can cut it academically at the institution they are trying to get into. I understand that underpriveledged people may not have as good of an education. However, schools should not lower their standards to meet affirmative action quotas.
  5. Jul 18, 2006 #4


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    Like AA, the ethical/constitutional difficulty is that it is, itself, a form of discrimination, and at face value is inethical and a violation of the US Constitution (not sure how India's works). However, if an oppressive or discriminatory situation exists, such things can be allowable as a temporary, ad hoc means of leveling the playing field.
  6. Jul 18, 2006 #5
    Well this is simply a matter of ethics.

    There is no natural law that makes people equal. Inequality has been a common theme in the history of humans.

    The Indian caste system is very old and is rooted in tradition.
  7. Jul 18, 2006 #6


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    I fully agree.
    However, I would like to add that NOT advocating (temporary) measures to level out existing unjust inequalities is in practice the same as endorsing these inequalities.

    Of course, it is a matter of debate what sort of measures is appropriate..
  8. Jul 18, 2006 #7
    Well what do you mean by endorsing inequalities?
  9. Jul 18, 2006 #8


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  10. Jul 18, 2006 #9


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    Ack! While I respect your opinions, I most vehemently disagree. As a student living in India, I can say from my experience that reservation is very discriminatory and unethical, and also doesn't work.

    But that doesn't make it right! IMO, The Indian caste system is a form of segregation and oppression. It's a form of apartheid.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2006
  11. Jul 18, 2006 #10

    But pratically every society has castes.

    Sure there are exceptions but generally laywers sons usually become laywers, and garbage collector sons usually become garbage collectors. Nothing new under the sun.

    That is simply the way it is.
  12. Jul 18, 2006 #11


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    I'll make a slightly off topic post in response.

    First, the ancient caste system is practised only in rural parts of India, mostly in villages. In most towns, especially the crowded cities, the caste system has mostly vanished, except for reservations and such policies.

    The point about the Indian caste system, as it's practised in villages, is that you're born into it. There, caste dominates where people live, who they can marry and the work they do. Unlike other societies, there's no choice (see [1]).

    The HRW made a report on caste discrimination, which you may want to read (see [2])

    Finally, the government is scared to take any firm action against the caste system for fear of losing votes.
  13. Jul 18, 2006 #12
    It is the same in the US, but covered, people don't like to talk about it here. We are supposed to be "all equal" and there is "justice for all".

    How many sons whose dad is an autoworker do you think marry the daughters of physicians? How many trash collectors do you think live in Bell Air?

    Were people live, who they marry, how much money they make, pretty much it is all defined by who your parents are.

    You may call it right or wrong, just or unjust. But really it is how the world works.
  14. Jul 18, 2006 #13


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    The point I'm trying to make is, it's not at all like the US! You many want to read those refs.
  15. Jul 18, 2006 #14


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    I agree with Russ.

    The big challenge is coming up with a program to correct past injustices that actually works.

    Education is just one part of culture. Mandatory bussing from one neighborhood to another only works if the bussed students actually have a strong interaction with the students in the 'better' schools. It won't work if you're just bussing a new sub-culture to a different school. Improving the quality of schools in targeted neighborhoods also won't work unless you also work on the overall culture of the targeted neighborhoods. If the BC has fallen to the depths of poverty and illiteracy, then students probably don't get much support outside of school for improving their performance.

    A quota system at the university level will only work as well as the program at the elementary and high school system worked. If the lower level education program didn't build the targeted students' skills, then admitting a higher percentage of them won't do any good.

    That doesn't mean an affirmative action program has to immediately start cranking out PhDs for the targeted group at the same percentage as the general population. The program should be able to show a steady progression, even if the progress is slow.

    At some point, there does have to be a transition plan to phase out the quotas at least at the same rate that progress is being made. The idea is to spark a change for the better, not provide an eternal entitlement - eventually everyone has to earn their own way. Still, thinking the program could achieve equality in just 10 years was probably overly optimistic, considering it will take at least 16 years for the first group to progress completely from pre-school to college graduate under the program.
  16. Jul 18, 2006 #15


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    No, it's not the same in the US.

    In the US, the law will be enforced upon anyone that retaliates unlawfully against an violation of the "caste system". In India, there is little hope for protection under the law in virtually all rural and many urban areas. There is no "justice for all" in India.
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