Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Clouds of suspicion

One of the reasons given by quite a few anti-reservationists is to claim that quotas end up victimizing the beneficiaries, because their non-quota peers would scorn them. I'll leave aside for the moment what such an attitude says about the scorners. I was looking for s suitably strong rebuttal to this stupid charge (preferably from a quota beneficiary); quite coincidentally, I found just such a rebuttal by an American blogger:

[Because] of Affirmative Action, there are clouds of suspicion over African-American students... like those students are only there because of a hand out. [My] response? Who gives a crap?

It's the most bogus argument you could make... Sure, you grew up in a crappy neighborhood in a overcrowded school with no budget and no library. Sure, we could help you by giving you the opportunity to go to college... but it would be too unfair to make you deal with the scorn of some of your classmates. You'd be better off without an education.

Some people go to college, work hard and succeed in life. Others go there, drink a lot and drop out. The bottom line is this: Anybody who goes to college and makes something out of themselves deserved the opportunity to go there. So some losers point at a kid and say he doesn't deserve to be there. So what? Would that kid be better off with no college education? Is that better than having a bunch of 20-year-olds think less of him for a few years?


  1. Anonymous said...



  2. Anonymous said...

    You are merely talking about a peripheral issue (which is not even claimed by main debators) and claiming points for the central debate. I call foul.

  3. Anonymous said...

    what will you say abt the following comment, made by a meritorious student (Mr. Yogesh Patwari) of a centre of excellence(IIM Bangalore):

    "Read in the papers that VP Singh and Arjun Chamar are strong contenders for the Prisident's post when it falls vacant next year...
    Half the country is spitting on their names and they are hittin for the big post..
    Will Arjun Chamar's enthu remain the same now that his Mauni Baba has prophesised in favour of agitating medicos.. "

    note the word "chamar" which is a casteist derogatory term...

    so much for those who say casteism dont exists, and guess these are the cream de la cream of our society.

    BTW I dont even see any pun/sarcasm in it, and if there was one there had to be a better way of putting it

  4. Anonymous said...


    You raise an important point.

    I doubt if any student from IITs/IIMs will actually hate a Chamar (I mean a real Chamar, a person who makes his living tanning leather etc.). I sincerely doubt they will hate a student who comes from a Chamar family who makes it on his own steam to these colleges. Actually, SC/ST students are usually not resented at all. Many students and upper-caste academics actively support the SC/ST reservation (ask Abi for examples). As a mater of fact the current general secretary of student council in IIT Roorkee is from OBC background. The doc spearheading the AIIMS strike is Mandal.

    So, in reality we may have broken free from the casteist past. When in the above message Arjun Singh is called Chamar, it could be merely symbolic.

    Let us take another example. Say, I hate a person, I call him a Bast##d. Now, is there a logical reason to hate a person born out of wedlock? No!

  5. Anonymous said...


    What I intended to connvey was the dichotomy of saying casteim is non/near-existant and then using the same casteist abusive words which have been used for centuries to humiliate people of lower castes. Dont you think that if today we really meant that caste doesnt matter, we will go on and show some deceny and stop using casteist slangs, even if its a merely 'symbolic' gesture ?

    I agree with all the arguments you use( in fact I dont want to generalise also, let me reiterate that most of the forward caste people are far from casteist and are similar to the instances you have citied)

    what I am more preturbed about is using a casteist slang to convey your disrespect/anger towards someone. You said that the word is symbolic, but symobilc of what ? Is it a valid way of conveying your thoughts? For me it conveys more of prejudiced mindset than anything else.

  6. Anonymous said...

    //I sincerely doubt they will hate a student who comes from a Chamar family who makes it on his own steam to these colleges.//

    No need to doubt. It is very well confirmed. if not why are they opposing this caste based quota, where as they never opposed Economy based quota when both compromise merit

    Can you give an answer for this question

  7. Anonymous said...

    Thanks for putting this post. I have a similar compaint against those who say that reservations has made them think about caste. They say- Otherwise they were happily rubbing shoulders with others not knowing their caste.

    If knowing about someone's caste changes your attitude and mindset, doesn't that make you discriminatory? Its like saying, I was quite OK with him till I knew he was SC/ST/OBC.

    Why can't you continue living the same way and treating him the same way after you have discovered who he really is.
    (I refer to this at my blog-

    There is a movie on this from Hollywood (School Ties) where a student is ashamed to admit he is Jew. The true nature of his friends (who are discriminatory) comes out when they realize that he is a Jew.

  8. Anonymous said...


    You are exactly right. Perhaps we need to commission a language panel to come up with caste/gender neutral expletives. I am not kidding, they have chastised the English language and made it politically correct.

    Its like saying, I was quite OK with him till I knew he was SC/ST/OBC.

    Not quite. People are always ok and do not care when the SC/ST/OBCs make it on their own steam. People are still ok when SC/STs make it through the quota. As you know, there has been no agitation against SC/ST quota and these quotas exist since the beginning. An OBC student, who gets through the quota is resented, because of his manufactured victimhood. The same way we hate a shoplifter.

  9. Abi said...

    Thank you all for commenting. I didn't realize that this would turn into a discussion on casteist language! It's a pity that people tend to use intemperate language even in public forums, thus vitiating the atmosphere. I would just point it out, condemn it, and move on.

    When someone gets an edge (through, for example, quotas), it's natural for that person to take advantage of it, right? The 'victimhood' is not 'manufactured' by him/her; it's recognized by the larger society. Under these circumstances, 'resentment' towards a specific person (and all the nasty things it leads to) must be pointed out and condemned.

    So, Barbarindian, please don't say anything that even remotely condones this sort of behaviour. I know you don't like quotas (except, of course, the AIIMS quota), but use of analogies like 'shoplfting' is sick!

  10. Anonymous said...

    So, I am being made out to be an evil-minded casteist idiot here... No, problems with that.. as long as people realize that they are being exploited and that this is all a big hogwash to justify several decades of inaction on the Govt's part..

    How I hope that you would have read my other posts too and not zeroed on something which I am not proud of writing. I apologise in case my comment hurt anyody's sentiments.. but it was mere rhetoric and a swipe at Arjun Singh, who inspite of being hailed as the saviour of backward classes, would not want to be called a chamar. Hypocrisy is sometimes the norm and not the exception.

    however, I have deleted the scrap from the community's thread.. as somebody else too might twist the meaning to support their seemingly perfect arguments.