If you've so much as ventured near the blogosphere in the last 72 hours, chances are you've caught some discussion on Arjun Singh's plan to reserve 50% of seats in the IIMs and IITs for the backward classes (BCs). There's been much outrage over the issue - many, many bloggers have argued that the policy is flawed and unethical and will serve little purpose but to effectively destroy the handful of high quality educational institutions that we've somehow managed to create. That if the government really wants to help the Backward Classes they should focus on primary and secondary education, so that children from these classes can get access to better quality education and be put on a level playing field for competitive exams. Anything else is just blind populism .
Personally, I think these critics are missing the bigger picture. How do a few decades of sustained economic growth, of growing international competitiveness matter, when there are centuries of wrongs to be righted? Why bother with something as arcane as development when there are moral principles to be corrupted? So what if destroying the best educational institutions in the country sets us back in the global war for talent, surely that's better than letting all these rich upper class types get away with the hypothetical crimes that their great grandfathers committed? What does the destruction of the IITs and the IIMs matter - it's not like they were set up to provide education, you know, that's just something that happened along the way. No, the real reason we have the IITs and the IIMs is in order to serve as instruments of social justice - it doesn't matter how little an IIT / IIM education comes to be valued, as long as the backward classes get full access to it.
And besides, the BJP got to destroy the Babri Masjid, we have to come up with something more harmful than that, don't we?
No, if there is reason to fault Arjun Singh & co. it's only because they're not taking this reservation thing far enough. I mean, if you are trying to give people things they don't deserve for no better reason than the fact that their forefathers were discriminated against, then why put them through all this bother of attending classes and working for grades. Why not just give them 50% of all bank accounts? Rename the RBI the Reservation Bank of India? That way at least you'd just be redistributing the pie, not destroying it . From each according to his ability, to each according to his family's need in 1836. In fact, come to think of it, why should BCs have to work at all? What about their right to laze about at home watching daytime soaps. Why not pass a law requiring 50% of all housewife positions to be reserved for BCs, irrespective of gender?
And why stop at money? If we are going around keeping 50% of everything aside for the BCs, how about other, more basic stuff. I propose that we reserve 50% of all trouser legs for BCs. Nothing like walking together cheek to cheek to inspire some real inter-caste bonding. And how about sex? Why should all these random Bollywood starlets get to choose who they confer sexual favours on? I say we reserve 50% of all such favours for the Backward Classes. Oh, and music, what about music? How about a ruling that restricts the B side of every tape to songs written exclusively for the BCs. Upper caste swine trying to listen to tapes will just have to get to the end of side A and rewind all the way back. That'll teach them to let their grandfathers be Zamindars.
Come, come, you'll say. All this is hardly practical. Perhaps. But I still think that the government is wrong to pick on just the IITs and IIMs. What we need I feel, is a more comprehensive No Behind Left Behind policy, that will ensure that wherever there's a seat, 50% of all assholes filling it will come from the Backward Classes. Here are some specific proposals that the minister may want to consider:
1. 50% reservation in all cinema theatres
Who are we kidding? Getting into an IIM is a piece of cake compared to getting tickets for the first show of the new blockbuster at PVR. I propose that 50% of all seats in all movie halls be reserved for BCs. Further, in a show of solidarity, 50% of all rear stall and balcony seats be reserved for front stall ticket holders.
2. 50% reservation in all car pools
Why should these damned Zamindars get to ride about in their cars with their families, while the BCs have to walk? I propose that the back-seats of all cars be henceforward reserved for the exclusive use of the BCs. Any card-carrying member of a backward class should be able to halt any passing vehicle and climb into the back-seat. To commemorate this landmark legislation, we should rename the BCs the BDCs - the Backseat Driving Classes.
3. 50% reservation in all public and private lavatories
50% of all stalls in lavatories across the country to be reserved for BCs. A special seat to be reserved in all lavatories for the exclusive use of Arjun Singh, because he's so full of it.
4. Reservation in India Fashion Week
The entire left side of the ramp during India Fashion Week to be reserved, so that 50% of all future wardrobe malfunctions will be available only to Arjun Singh and his cronies. After all, that's the closest they're going to get to seeing a half naked woman in their entire lives.
5. 50% reservation in the Electric Chair
50% of all criminals executed using the Electric Chair to be from the BCs. A great opportunity to redress the shocking wrongs of the past.
6. 50% of all seats at your table in the restaurant...
...to be reserved for Backward Classes. Thus giving a whole new meaning to the phrase dinner reservation.
7. 50% reservations in all sit-down strikes
50% of all places in sit-down strikes to be reserved for the Backward Classes. Upper Caste scum trying to protest this legislation are allowed to stand however.
8. 50% of all dogs trained to 'sit' to be owned by BCs
A critical first step to establishing a more cordial 'handshake' between dog owners of different castes.
9. 50% of all furniture sales to be made to BCs
A bold move to strike at the very root of the problem. Possibly called the Chair and Chair Alike policy.
10. And finally, 50% of all seats not reserved for BCs to be reserved for BCs.
After all, these are seats that BCs don't have a fair chance of getting into on a purely competitive basis, do they? So let's reserve 50% of them. And then let's reserve 50% of the 50% that's left. And 50% of that. And you know what, we could keep doing this for every election in the foreseeable future. (Apparently it's a principle of something called Ma-them-at-ics. One of those things I didn't bother to study because I knew I'd get a reserved seat anyway). Hurrah! Who needs the Nehruvian legacy anymore. Permanent power, here I come. What's that? They've given my seat away to some illiterate farmer because he happened to be from a BC . NNNOOOO!!!
If you're against the reservations and think I'm being too flippant: Okay, okay, I know it's not funny. I know it's a serious issue. Believe me, I'm mad. If you really want to know how I feel go see the last two minutes of Planet of the Apes - the bit where Charlton Heston goes "Damn you! Damn you!".
If you're for the reservations and are offended: All I can say is, notice how the post is entirely consistent with the new policy. I personally have reservations about exactly 49.5% of the jokes in it.
1. The other thing I wonder about is, even if it's just a cheap political trick, is it a cheap political trick that will work? I mean, if you're a starving and oppressed Dalit farmer somewhere in Eastern U.P. do you really care that some fat businessman's son with a fake BC certificate is now going to be able to get into the country's premier institute?
2. That sort of redistribution is supposedly already happening, btw. It's this thing called taxes. And god knows they're close enough to 49.5% already.
3. Actually, come to think of it, that's not a bad idea. If there's one position that we can safely reserve for the Backward Classes without running the risk of ending up with someone less competent, it's Arjun Singh's position in cabinet.
Categories: Rant, CurrentAffairs