Solidarity With Striking Doctors

May 19, 2006
Vivek Sharma

My striking doctor friends, and everyone else who is pitching in their protests against quota-raj, my most sincere regards and best wishes to you. I wish I was in the country to stand by your side, but in principle I am there as a brother in arms.

The time has come where we all join hands in raising the pitch of our voices to the extent that it is heard, felt and understood by everyone in the country. We need to fight the quotaraj to get the issue fixed once for all. The reservation culture has survived so long because we have continuously adjusted to the schemes of these politicians. No political party has spoken against the reservations shows a crisis in the country. If there is no member of parliament who comes out in open and expresses his disaggreement with proposed increases, of each one submits like the courtiers of Dhritrastra did when Duryodhana and Dussashan tried to disrobe Draupadi, (and this time no avataar, no Krishna is going to come), our whole social fabric will be torn apart.

Why is the President quiet? Why is the Prime Minister quiet? We need IIT and IIM Alumni association to make louder protests. We need all industrialists to raise pitch, for all they care about is profit, and our politicians would target private enterprise for giving next round of reservations. We need Ambanis to come out and speak that their father never relied on reservation and so opportunities come by for them who fight for them. We need all industry heavyweights to denounce the proposed increase. We need educationalists in US and India, the scientists and teachers, the academicians everywhere to put forth their strongest voice expressing concern about the repurcussions of proposed quota.

While China is trying to create world class universities, we are seeking to destroy the ones that have any hope to compete. How many generations have to be sacrificed before our politicians start to show some long term vision in making decisions for the country? When the National Education Commission already rejected the proposal, why cannot government accept their judgement. We not only need the government to remove the proposed increase, but also to make an assessment within next week to figure how the quota system can be abolished totally.

Some news sites (like the current edition of msn.co.in) are either trying to underplay the issue, and some others trying to argue only for "pro-quota" people. All bloggers and protestors, please remember that we need media to pitch in for us.

Well, if all political parties together decide tomorrow to fix quotaraj, all take the credit together, all remind themselves that divide and rule based on caste needs to end, all together pass a resolution against quota, the move can be reversed. We demand for equality of opportunity in country, and that is created by making everyone capable of competing exceptionally well. We need to fix the primary and secondary schools, not fill engineering and medical schools will people without decent schooling, and lower merit, for all practical purposes, like the best players in every sport, good professionals become so only if their education starts early. Provide free coaching at government run schools everywhere in the country for poor students, and see to it that courses are taught properly at schools at every level.

All this has been said out loud before. Yet everytime we repeat it, we do so to make our message propagate into their conciousness who have become deaf to the justness of our demands, blind to the disasters that they create by issuing freebies to win votes. My striking friends, may God be with you, may your confidence know that we are all together in this fight.

Vivek Sharma is a poet, an engineer, a scientist and a writer. He is published in both refereed literary and science journals, and his poetry was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He contributes articles to Divya Himachal (Hindi newspaper in India) and online to himachal.us, desicritics.org and blogcritics.org.
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May 19, 2006
09:50 AM

Shameless!!! Politicians are doing every bit to sell our country to the west just like a pimp lures a customer for a prostitute. The whole Reservation policy is a reservoir of corruption in India. The way the cops are lathicharging on those doctors and youngsters(only boys) is intolerable. Thousands are injured and millions are indirectly affected. And our dear Manmohan Singh, the so-called the honest man in Indian politics, is busy appeasing Sonia Gandhi. Disgraceful!!!!

May 19, 2006
10:27 AM


Posts like these would go a long way to address the issues.

Vivek Sharma
May 19, 2006
02:05 PM

More than just posts, people out in streets need the support of those of us sitting at homes who know the sincerity of the cause but sit on the sidelines saying "nothing can be changed in this country". We have to ensure that nothing less than abolishing quota makes us withdraw this time. More than just students, families need to be out on streets.

May 19, 2006
09:04 PM

India's middle class is now getting its just desserts, reaping what it has sewn through apathy, indifference and inaction over the opportunistically shrill propaganda from the Indian Left.

This is what happens when you stay mute to bad politics. It doesn't go away, it just keeps growing in size until it comes to swallow you.

People rarely speak up to oppose the Left, unless they are in dire peril. Well, that's just not a timely way in which to react. When it comes to "fight or flight syndrome" our Indian mainstream tends to choose the latter over the former, and now that they are cornered with few places to run, they wonder how they've gotten into this predicament.

This is why even though I'm a firm atheist, I always direct my criticism first and foremost at the mindless Congress/Left, because I know they are the most ruthless, corrupt and amoral political forces on the political landscape.

sameer momaya
May 20, 2006
12:26 AM

vivek -- even though i am not an SC/ ST or OBC and i have not eligible for any reservation quota benefit, i believe, in the larger context of the indian society, reservation is a necessary evil though with certain riders. Let me elaborate why:

The so called 'meritorious' students like you and me are very few in our country. It is a myth to say that every student who comes on a merit list deserves a seat. I am saying this because many of the students who pass the entrance exams like CET, CAT, JEE & other state govt medical / engg exams do so after attending special 'coaching classes'. They just cram their head temporarily with 'knowledge' just to get through the exams. In reality many do not have the fundamental strong intelligence to pass exams without these coaching classes. A very large section of the SC/ST / OBC people here are at a clear disadvantage that they donot have enough money to pay for these classes and come up to the level of other 'meritorious' students.

Due to the historical caste structure of india, most of the SC/ST people have been neglected & opressed for so many generations during and before the british rule. This has not allowed this large section of the community to rise to a decent level of intelligence & economic well being.

Now in the larger context of a democracy with a billion people, no government can appease each & every individual. The government needs to formulate policies that will benefit & uplift the most depressed sections of the society without unduly harming the already well-bred sections.

Having said this, i do agree that first a review of the existing quota system needs to be done and then a future policy (again with a period review) should be set by the government.

May 20, 2006
01:29 PM

Sameer, the fact is that these politicians aren't willing to build more and better schools in the underdeveloped rural communities whose interests they claim to champion. Now that's a measure that will help in social upliftment for the underprivileged.

But to instead allow lower-scoring students to leapfrog meritocracy and get seats purely on ethnic basis, will not uplift anybody. On the contrary, it will only compel the most talented people to flee the country in order to protect themselves from the discrimination of reservation quotas.

May 20, 2006
02:57 PM

The anti-reservation activists lack strategy.

They must make all sustainable India level networks. They must open more fronts to frustrate the politicians and provoke infighting among the politicians.

They must campaign for retirement age of 65 for Politicians.

At present, Govt is trying to buy time so that Doc will get drained with their emotions and will not be able to fight back after a few months.

The Anti-reservation activists have not yet been able to recruit Techies (who will face Mandal III next) and students of other disciplines.

It is important for the anti-reservation groups to create a couple of dedicated websites for their cause.

May 20, 2006
05:13 PM

Sumanth... thats a nail being hit on the head... we are too divided for a unified strategy.....

Thanks for this comment.

May 20, 2006
11:07 PM

The biggest problem with Mandal 1 was that there is no instituationalisation of oppostion built up. A fight like this cannot be done by a few morchas.

The other problem is that professionals have left the social arean to the hands of militant socialogists, extreme liberals who try to make a continuos approach towards social justice instead of individual justice.

Merely morahcas is not. Joining hands and finally building own channels is the way.

Build your own polictial lobbies , social research insitutes.

Morhcas are high intensity hammer. you also need low intensity lobbying and your own reseacrh institues. Do not depend on extreme liberals aor these folks to come with any kind of reasonable statistics

I is ironical that a police will arrest a decent man , elder women on a mere complaint of someone shouting ( 498a)

Yet when doctors bones are broken no arrest have been made

In essense

May 20, 2006
11:14 PM

So you say the police arrest women at a mere complaint.

Then why is sumant harping (at another thread)that women are not punished since centuries, it is high time that women are treated equally etc etc

You guys are all messed up in your thought process.

Your'll use women-gender when it comes to your mothers, sisters etc& how unjustly they are treated by the law when arrested for asking dowry....but the same women gender is not punished as per your whim and fancy whenever it suits you all.


May 22, 2006
12:29 AM

Sanjay #6 -- building schools at the primary & secondary level is a very long term & slow method of providing social justice to disadvantaged sections of society. What is the most basic measure for upliftment to happen?? It is economic well-being -- i.e.MONEY...Just think for a moment the following situation:
A poor SC/ST couple's kid today who has a certain level of required intelligence etc, is able to get admission to a premier medical institute because of the reservation...Now that will help his next generation to be economically better off and also get the required guidance & support from his father (who himself did not have this advantage because his parents were either illiterate & poor).
So in the given context of the indian society this will give the required short term boost to disadvantaged people so that they can catch up with the other sections of the society.

Remember, if this is not done, the gap between the haves and have-nots will get wider and a day will come when the have-nots will revolt and a civil-war kind of a situation may endanger the very existence of India (at that time merit, non-merit will have no meaning)....

But i do agree that this reservation has to be complemented along with more and better schools at primary & secondary levels, arrange for scholarships to needy students, and a periodic review of the whole reservation thing should be done at a gap of every 5-10 years.....

May 23, 2006
01:25 AM

Sameer, have you ever heard of BLUE COLLAR WORK?

Blue collar jobs are intended to employ the unskilled without having to provide a lot of training. That allows people to go to work and be productive participants in the economy, without having to resort to LYING BY GETTING A PIECE OF PAPER STAMPED TO SAY THEY ARE COMPETENT IN TECHNICAL SKILLS THEY DON'T HAVE.

Unfortunately, neither the Congress nor the rest of the Left are business-friendly enough to convince many to start building up factories in India to employ blue-collar workers. This is because the Congress and Left have at various times in the past, in the Arjun Singh style, imposed extortionist policies on factory owners in the same way as they are now doing to those seeking to become skilled services workers.

Arjun Singh's schemes will only make Indian degrees WORTHLESS. You can't create economic value by printing money, nor can you do it by printing degrees. If you go around printing lots of currency notes and handing them out to deserving OBCs, you won't suddenly create a new class of crorepatis. You'll simply wreck the value of the Indian rupee, as people drop it like a hot potato.

This does not take a lot of brains to see. But when we see the Indian govt ministers scrambling haplessly to declare their retractions and support for free-market policies, one can see that Indian govt ministers don't even have half a brain.

May 23, 2006
02:09 AM

Sameer, do try to explain these. If a person has taken the benefits of reservations, he is no more backward, isn't it? Then why pass on the benefit to his son, once he is no more backward? and if reservations could not remove his fathers backwardness, how will it remove his? what has changed in the process of reservation, that the father remained backward, but the son will progress.

Also, I have seen these pro-reservation people equate poverty with caste. Are there no upper castes that are poor, and socially and educationally deprived? then why divide the country in the name of caste based reservations?

Similarly, look at the castes that constitute OBCs. Aren't Kurmis, Yadavs and Jats the most powerful castes in UP, Bihar and Rajasthan respectively? Then how are they backward? In most states, Agarwals are upper castes, but in Bihar, they fall under OBC? Whenever any Caste becomes a vote bank, it forces the govt to add it to the OBC category.

May 23, 2006
06:03 PM

Mayank, it's because once you get into the graft game, it's a hard game to give up. Graft is addictive, including in its reservation-quota form.

None of the graft-mongers will be inclined to give up their graft. Do we see Natwar Singh giving up the oil bribes he got from Saddam? Nah.

Do we see spoilt-son Rahul running away from the imperial throne that his Queen Mother is seeking to hand him? Nahh.

Do we see any of the Sonia-sycophants giving up the perks and posts they recieve in the Congress Party in exchange for their cult-worship? Nahhh.

May 24, 2006
08:04 AM

Its time for some extremism, I can feel it.

Vivek Sharma
May 24, 2006
02:54 PM

The resignation letter of one of the members of National Knowledge Commission as well as the interviews of Bhargava and Sam (both members of the Knowledge commision) are must reads for everyone participating in this discussion.

Perhaps what we fail to perceive is that populism gained by so called enpowerment would be worthless if the ferment and divison in society is increased by reservation-aka-casteism policies.

No country can progress where the University level education is given to people not because they have the required intellectual merit and preparation to appreciate what they are taught, but just because they belong to a particular community.

Another rediff article points out that Brahmins might be the Dalits of modern India, and I think the reverse discrimination has been making the matters worse for poor people belonging to the so called upper castes.

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