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Has caste-based affirmative action worked?

October 17, 2007
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Indian industry has already made it clear to the government that job reservations and industry don’t mix…and that they will go by merit and merit only when it comes to hiring people. At the same time they promised affirmative action, without compromising on merit. In fact, the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry has introduced measures like scholarships and the FICCI (The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry has “plans to support entrepreneurs in India’s poorest districts.”

And Naukri.com, India’s biggest job portal has now started asking job-seekers to register their caste!

But the question remains: Has ‘affirmative action’ in educational institutions and the public sector by the Indian government over the past few decades worked? And will the new caste-based hiring by private sector companies work?

Just one example. Infosys has put in place a programme to re-train engineering graduates who have been unable to get jobs in industry. Though no jobs are promised at the end of the training, many of those who are re-trained do find employment in Infosys and others, outside. What’s interesting is that these people are not from poor families. They are children of professionals…the poor have not benefited.

But isn’t ‘affirmative action’ meant for the under-privileged, for the poor? Ofcourse not, not in India. Few amongst the poor can reach an engineering college even if a seat is reserved for them as the public education system is pathetic. And they cannot afford private schools or private tuition. Well, this isn’t anything new I guess…

But The Economist (Oct 6-12th issue) has an interesting article on the subject…and it busts some myths about the caste system in India, myths that foreigners often believe. The article acknowledges that while reservations are a good idea in theory as they are necessary to right “a big historical wrong,” they have not worked in India.

The main points from The Economist article:

Groups benefiting from reservations have got richer at almost exactly the same rate as the rest of the population
Since 1950, about a quarter of all seats in universities and jobs in the public-sector jobs have been reserved for dalits and tribal people and there were more reservations in 1993. Between 1983 and 2004, their spending power increased by 26.7%, compared with 27.7% for the average Indian and these are statistics from the National Sample Survey Organisation, a government body.

The real cause of poverty and backwardness is being obscured because reservation policies are being touted as a solution
The real problem is the government’s “rotten educational system” – basically the pathetic primary and secondary school education. The government has neglected its greatest asset – its people.
Those who stand to benefit from reservations in higher education and reservations of jobs in the private sector are the children of those who have already achieved some measure of success in life. Mostly on their own merit.

Only a minuscule percentage of employees will benefit if ever there are job reservations in the private sector.
This is because this reservation will apply only employees in the organised sector…which is about 2 percent of the entire workforce (firms with ten or more employees)! In any case, a lot of companies already employ huge numbers of other castes, particularly industries which have come up in tribal belts. E.g. Tata Steel.

India is being divided along caste lines
The Economist mentions the phrase ‘reservation inflation’ and that this is happening due to political reasons. Not only has politics become divided along caste lines, the politicians are dividing the people along caste lines. More reservations could be on the anvil.
This is ironical as in urban India caste divisions are reducing. Not only are inter-caste marriages rising in number, lower caste people from urban areas admit that they do not face discrimination because of their caste. In fact, according to Jeevansathi.com, a matrimonial site, 58% of its online matches involved inter-caste couples…
In my view, if this ridiculous divide and rule policy of the government doesn’t stop, one day we will have civil war on our hands.

The discrimination against lower castes is often rooted in class differences
There is an acknowledgment that class-based prejudice is prevalent all over the world . The truth is that well-to-do lower caste people face far less discrimination, if any at all as compared to their poorer brethren.

Companies do not discriminate against candidates because of their castes
Another very important point! The Economist points out that companies do not hire people based on their caste…which we all know ofcourse. And if in some family-run businesses, people of the same caste are hired, it is not because of hierarchical feelings, but because of the increased level of trust and bonding that the community might feel towards members of their own caste. This trust helps with accountability and dealing in money matters.

Update: A small study (4,808 applications for 548 jobs advertised in English newspapers over 66 weeks starting October 2005 were analysed) which was undertaken by the University Grants Commission in conjunction with Princeton University and it has revealed that two groups of people in India – Dalits and Muslims – face discrimination when it comes to getting jobs.

Reservations have worked in Tamil Nadu though
The reasons given for the success of the high level of reservations in this state are that the state is well-run, has high literacy rates, and businessmen from the reserved classes have come up (which has nothing to do with the reservation policy) as there has never been a stranglehold on business by certain communities, like in north India.

Injustice is something not to be tolerated…but to try and resolve a grave injustice by obscuring real problems is another very grave injustice that is being heaped upon the Indian people. An injustice which is going to cost the country dearly one day, in terms of discontent and hatred between different communities and castes.

(Picture is by me)

Update March 08: Infosys has trained 100 graduate and postgraduate science students free of cost as a pilot project in 2007, and now it is planning to train other poor students, mainly from the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC).

Related Reading: Supreme Court stays OBC quotas

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37 Comments leave one →
  1. oemar permalink
    October 17, 2007 10:22 am

    Good collection of poitns… In the long run, reservation in private corps will be bad for India… first of all these firms will lose credibility in the world…. there might be an actual drop in productivity as well… second, the companies which do not want to implement these reservation may opt to shift their head offices to, say, singapore…. this would mean further loss for economy…
    And justifying Reservation citing Tamil Nadu is like justifying Communism using China.

  2. October 17, 2007 10:34 am

    Nice post! The only thing that the reservation system seems to be achieving is division of India. When will the powers that be get the message?

  3. October 17, 2007 1:57 pm

    Reservation is one measure that I hate passionately. In fact, I hate anything that defines my identity on basis of caste, religion or region. I hate people in reality shows when they make vote appeals based on caste or region. I liked Chak de India..for this spirit..Indian spirit..team spirit…States ke naam mujhe sunai nahi dete bus ek naa sunai deta hai, India!!

    Of course, you can not hire a nincompoop at work just because they belong to a caste…I did a research..you know, there is actually no caste for underprivileged….so many brahmins, kayasthsmuslims are worse off than dalits..

    And I am outraged to know that naukri has asked candidates to fill in their castes..more we want to get rid of casteism..more we cement these caste-based identities with reservations…

    As for Tamilnadu, pro-reservation activists always throw this into your face that it works..you know would like to research more about it.

    And you, you are doing a good job of writer-cum- photographer-cum-editor. :)

  4. October 17, 2007 2:21 pm

    i am in big favor of reservations… and i see no reason why anybody should oppose it.

    //Infosys has put in place a programme to re-train engineering graduates who have been unable to get jobs in industry.//
    the problem is that the high caste Deans and faculty members of the school/college are incompetent and are not doing their job….

    reservation is in admission.. and its the duty of the faculty to teach the students… if a student is not learning.. then ask him to repeat the class or even kick out…. you cannot blame a student if the faculty member is not interested in doing their duty

  5. October 17, 2007 2:30 pm

    my comments r going under moderation… can you plz rectify it.

    //Groups benefiting from reservations have got richer at almost exactly the same rate as the rest of the population//
    now there is a lot of talk about reservations on the basis of economic levels… i oppose it because
    http://enagar.com/2005/12/22/reservations/

    1) it is impractical… in india hardly 2% of the population pay income tax (i.e earn more than 6$ a day) and because of the black/unreported income… distinguishing those who can afford from those who cannot is next to impossible.

    2) Unlike USA education in India is almost free, and there r more scholarships available than takers.
    e.g. the cost of my 16 years of education (central school, followed by B-Tech from IIT Kharagpur) was less than half of what I earned in my first year of professional life. even though I availed no scholarships

    Ankur, I have certain words which if used go for moderation. I am not sure which of your words is doing this, but even inside words make the comment go for moderation. However as you can see nothing has been ‘moderated’ in your comments. :) – Nita.

  6. October 17, 2007 2:31 pm

    Oemar, yes Indian firms will lose credibility if we hire people based on caste…read that whole economist article, they are shocked!

    Anshul, division of India and civil war one day….

    Poonam, thanks. :) we have to stop caste based reservations and make it for the economically disadvantaged.

    Ankur, why have you assumed that the teachers are ‘high caste’ ? Please remember that a lot of our people talent has fled abroad…and please do not think of them in terms of caste! People have fled because of a lack of good education here…and to say that high caste people are to blame for the poor quality education smacks of prejuduce..our country needs better infrastructure…and each and every politician that our country has had is to blame, not high caste teachers. Our univs are making do with poor quality teachers (whatever their caste!!) and many posts lie vacant
    And why have you assumed that the students who need help are only the ‘lower’ castes?? Unfortunately only the ‘lower’ caste students have been picked to be helped!! The others who are as badly off as them are being ignored…!
    Okay, if that is what you feel is the right thing to do, fine.
    What can I say to that?

  7. October 17, 2007 2:33 pm

    //Companies do not discriminate against candidates because of their castes//

    good, then the companies would have no problem in giving 10-20% of their seat for the 85% of the country’s population….
    btw even if they do, they can easily get away with what government does….
    1) blot the requirement (2 seats instead of 1)
    2) reserve the seat, but do not hire the SC/ST candidate.
    so in effect u get 1 high caste candidate for 1 seat.

  8. October 17, 2007 2:38 pm

    Ankur, I am not sure I understand you. Are you saying that companies should hire people according to their percentage in the population?
    Industry needs to hire the person best fit for the job…and yes that is required for the progress of our country.Do you not agree with this basic premise?

  9. October 17, 2007 3:03 pm

    //Ankur, why have you assumed that the teachers are ‘high caste’ ? //
    well, the biggest opposition against reservations comes from the faculty (remember the opposition from IITs against OBC)… i am sure the SC/ST/OBC won’t object to see more of the underprivileged getting quality education… so u do the maths.
    Ankur, I thought we were talking of the poor faculty in the not so good engineering colleges. We are not talking about IIT teachers…Nita.

    //Please remember that a lot of our people talent has fled abroad…//
    i am in a democracy.. and a free citizen has a right not only to choose the government, but also the nation.
    Ofcourse, they have a right. Did I even imply that they haven’t? Nita.

    //People have fled because of a lack of good education here…//
    i totally agree… infact a few months ago i had written a post about if Indian industry/GDP should grow at 10% p.a. then education system should grow at 15% to sustain it… i.e. we should have 1new IIM and 1 new IIT (plus other colleges) every year….
    unless higher education is made like a book.. (i.e. anybody and everybody can go get one) the country cannot become a super power….

    //and to say that high caste people are to blame for the poor quality education smacks of prejuduce..//
    give me one reason which explains why we add 1 national level college every decade or 2… instead of 1 every year?
    I don’t understand this question. Nita.

    //our country needs better infrastructure…//
    totally agree.

    //and each and every politician that our country has had is to blame, //
    in a democracy, people get what they deserve… so the fault lies with the voters and not the politicians.
    Yeah sure, but please don’t say high caste voters!! Because voters are of all castes.- Nita.

    // Our univs are making do with poor quality teachers (whatever their caste!!) and many posts lie vacant//
    most faculty members earn a fraction of what their colleagues in the pvt sector earn… plus the respect and the glory is diminishing (no longer does anybody believe in Guru Devo Bhava) so this was inevitable.

    //And why have you assumed that the students who need help are only the ‘lower’ castes?? //
    i have seen places in Rajasthan where the lower caste people are not allowed to draw water from the wells.
    bihar where the low caste farmer’s farms are regularly burnt weeks before harvest…. and u say these people do not need support?
    I am sorry, but I don’t think that not being able to draw water from a well entitles a person to get a job in Infosys. His ability does. A suffering person needs plenty of support in terms of good schools and a high quality to education to uplift themselves. And I sincerely hope that one day this will happen. – Nita.

    //Unfortunately only the ‘lower’ caste students have been picked to be helped!! The others who are as badly off as them are being ignored…!//
    then the solution is open a 100 more universities…. follow the german model… educate each and everyone who feels like attending to schools.
    Ofcourse, but if you are saying that in the meantime we should only try and uplift people of a certain caste and not all those who need it, then I don’t agree.- Nita.

    //Okay, if that is what you feel is the right thing to do, fine.
    What can I say to that?//
    yups its one debate that can go on for centuries. but the positive thing is that atleast people from all castes eat at the same table at the cafeteria.
    Exactly Ankur, You have proved my point! In urban India people don’t think of caste. I for one couldn’t care less what caste anyone is…but the government keeps reminding me! – Nita.

  10. October 17, 2007 3:11 pm

    //Ankur, I am not sure I understand you. //
    sorry , unlike you, I am no professional writer, so i have some trouble communicating.

    //Are you saying that companies should hire people according to their percentage in the population?//
    isn’t that the idea of reservations? the percentage is roughly that in the demography.
    harmful for industry. That is why people are opposing the reservation. Reservation should exist in schools, and at undergraduate level only, and that too for the economically disadvantaged. Well-to-do people jolly well compete at all levels…!- Nita.

    //Industry needs to hire the person best fit for the job…//
    agreed, but isn’t there something called CSR. the industry also have a responsibility in helping the most backward of the indians grow.
    According to me backward means economically disadvantaged and that is where we differ. – Nita.

    //and yes that is required for the progress of our country.Do you not agree with this basic premise?//

    what I am saying is …. thanks to the curse of Eklavya… there are more vacancies than sound applicants.
    the reservation works only when there is a dearth of job and plenty of qualified people…. if your Infy is not able to find graduates, then does it matter if there is reservations or if there is no reservations?
    If there are two undeserving candidates, then let the better one be chosen, irrespective of caste. – Nita.

    i remember an EPW article on how companies can escape reservations… (which is no different from what GoI does for govt jobs) i will see if i can find it again.

  11. October 17, 2007 3:40 pm

    If I may, Nita, your well documented articles should have a moral.
    This issue is really not that it should be caste-based or economy-based or religion-based.
    The issue is one of the morality of penalising a boy who can’t get admission to college or clinch a job, because someone poorer, ‘lower caste’ or minority religion took it without otherwise being more deserving.
    May I repeat that the individual is the weakest minority. It is he who needs protection, not a caste or community.
    I appreciate your warning of a civil war. These are my exact perceptions.
    I also agree with Oemar, Poonam and others, except, of course, Ankur Aggarwal.

  12. October 17, 2007 3:57 pm

    Hey…Nita..I liked your precise responses to Ankur :) I feel like saying my sentiments exactly…

    ..and Rambo..that was also a precise sum up….as you said, “..hat the individual is the weakest minority. It is he who needs protection, not a caste or community.”

  13. October 17, 2007 4:17 pm

    @ram….
    thanks for not agreeing….

    @nita….
    //If there are two undeserving candidates, then let the better one be chosen, irrespective of caste. – Nita.//
    1) reservation does not mean that an undeserving candidate gets selected…… or that the institution lowers in standard.
    if both the candidates are undeserving, then reservation or no reservation, its in the best interest of the company/university to hold back the seat till a good candidate pops up. and thats what happens everywhere….
    ofcourse, but that is not happening is it? India is exceptional in that sense.- Nita.

    //That is why people are opposing the reservation. Reservation should exist in schools, and at undergraduate level only, and that too for the economically disadvantaged. Well-to-do people jolly well compete at all levels…!- Nita.//
    1) I am confued… although all ur data highlights the shortcomings of reservation in education, you seem to be ok with it.
    Yes, I am for reservation is the so-called good schools, in fact I advocate scholarships for kids from kindergarden level in the elite schools, but only only the basis of economic status. But I am totally against any sort of reservation at higher education levels. And even at undergraduate level, only the bright students have to be chosen and their fees paid…you can say that I am advocating scholarships, that’s all, not reservation as such. guess I used the wrong word. – Nita.

    2) As I had tried writing before, in india the cost of the education isn’t so high that the deserving, but poor candidates cannot pay the fees. so making economic levels as a criteria would only make a mockery of the system.
    Ankur, Those who are economically disadvantaged are getting a bad primary and secondary education. They cannot afford a good school. Yes, not even a school! If you are saying they can, I am afraid you should simply go to the nearest slum and ask. I have myself paid the 12th grade fees of my maid’s child because she had no money!! Yes, she came from another caste, but I couldn’t care less. I only saw that this child got 75% in her 10th and deserved a chance to study further, but the parents needed her to work to support them.! I managed to persuade them not to do that…- Nita.

    3) ever wondered why nobody has every demanded reservations in Schools?
    because no matter what, there is always a good affordable school who is more than happy to take you (i paid 40/- pm for my schooling in Central school… and the teachers there are more qualified than ones in private school)
    Ankur, you have no idea about the state of Indian public school education so I cannot say another word. I have gone to these schools, I have coached students in these schools. Please read up about the public school education…to say that the poor can find a good school is a false statement. I have a feeling you are talking of the lower middle class while I am talking of the poor.
    Also people demand reservation in jobs and higher education because of greed and also because they can. The son of the woman who is being discriminated against in Rajasthan is NOT going to ask for it. He is the true discriminated against – the true poor….but the person who will get the benefit of the reservation is the son/daughter of a professional or otherwise someone who can afford a good education. He probably has gone to a good school and if he was not a lower caste he would simply have to lump it if he didn’t do well enough, but as he is, he can ask for something.
    - Nita.

    luckily, as per your data the same situation is there in infy and industry… so why would any high caste guy worry?

  14. bheroux permalink
    October 17, 2007 5:25 pm

    Thank you Nita on linking to The Economist’s article. I was present at a conference held on September 29-30th, 2007 at the Institute of Social Sciences on the theme “India-United States Scholarly Dialogue on Affirmative Action”

    (See: http://deactivate.wordpress.com/2007/10/03/india-united-states-scholarly-dialogue-on-affirmative-action/).

    Interestingly, a number of the points you highlighted out of The Economist came out during the discussions we had during the conference.

    In Le monde diplomatique’s “Manière de voir: India”, I read a comment suggesting that the Caste based system discrimination was largely imputable to the British colonial regime, which undertook to schedule “scheduled castes”. The ties between Brahmins and the British are a sketchy explanation for the social injustice some claim to suffer from, till today. I like better the outlook of Ankur Aggarwal who comments on poverty and discrimination.

  15. October 17, 2007 6:53 pm

    Bheroux, thanks for your comment.
    There are thousands and thousands of Indians who suffer discrimination and poverty and they are NOT all of a particular caste. Even Muslims in our country suffer discrimination. So why should only particular castes benefit, and not ALL those who suffer poverty and discrimination??

  16. wishtobeanon.... permalink
    October 17, 2007 6:57 pm

    Wasn’t the caste system abolished? By the way, I think it should be abolished from our social psyche. As long as people keep thinking in terms of caste, we are not going to have any progress. Why isn’t education reaching the poorest of the poor? Why is education still a luxury for poor people if it is free? A corrupt government will keep cheating the poor people into voting them to power on the basis of caste and religion and they continue the vicious cycle of poverty and ignorance. I just hope that these blogs will somehow result in positive action and a revolution in India.

  17. madhurisinha permalink
    October 17, 2007 7:56 pm

    Good Post Nita,
    I am with you.
    Primary and secondary school education should be given more importance than any (caste based included) reservation systems.
    Your article proves that reservations do not help those who need them most,
    it will never work in our country because those who need them most are not educated enough to understand its worth.

  18. October 17, 2007 7:59 pm

    Nita:

    About Naukri.com’s stance on caste, why not ask Sanjeev (Bikhchandani, IIMA 1989) the founder?

    You are a journalist and this is a legitimate query. He should reply. He is a very nice chap too.

  19. October 17, 2007 8:22 pm

    wishtobeanon, yes I too wish it can be abolished from the nation’s psyche! But there are people in urban India, many of them educated and well-to-do who want to keep it alive! I feel disappointed with them…
    In rural India, well, caste discrimination is rampant. Its disgusting, and evil and I feel that anyone who discriminates against people on the basis of caste (not being allowed to draw water etc) should be sent to jail for at least 10 years! Because they are making deep scars in the minds of the people, scars that people carry even if they make it in life. And then they want revenge. They want upper castes to suffer, even if they are NOT the ones who discriminated against them!! And this wanting revenge is what will divide people further. I am against all kinds of revenge, but if a person has to take revenge, take it out on the person who did it to you, not some innocent, hardworking, bright fellow indian!

    Madhuri, yes unfortunately the poor are being conned into believing that they will somehow benefit from reservations. I have talked to people who live in the slums, those who are to educating their kids and they think reservations are a magic formula to solve their woes! But I have taught some of their kids and I know it is with difficulty that they will pass even the 10th grade. Their teachers don’t come most of the time, and are actually quite useless. The school? Pathetic!! Corporal punishement is a daily affair, slaps, pinches. Teachers teach wrong stuff. They skip lessons. No accountability for them at all. Even a diamond may not be able to survive in these circumstances.

    Shefaly, thanks for that info. Let me see, I might ask him. But he just might say the companies want it. You see the government has more or less threatened all private sector companies…hire people from certain castes or we will force reservations.

  20. October 17, 2007 11:39 pm

    //the individual is the weakest minority. It is he who needs protection, not a caste or community.// I agree with rambodoc.

  21. October 18, 2007 12:51 am

    wow thats detailed u hit bullseye yet again
    Primary education and low cost quality primary education is sorely missed !

  22. October 18, 2007 1:48 am

    Nita, congratulations on this debate here! – you are doing an importat job of bringing such issues in your own country (sure this would be easily found on Google), and keeping overseas well informed about Indian development. Always applause!

    Only one thing to this post: sorry to be so ignorant, but I really have not idea what this “reservation system” is…Actually never heard of this. THANKS!

  23. October 18, 2007 3:09 am

    My stance on the caste issue is that free/discounted education for all (and specially economically backward – irrespective of caste or religion) till high school, and maybe in undergrad colleges, but not when it comes to jobs. At least that should be the goal we strive towards. There is so much division in the society based on caste today, and it seems like things are going to become a lot worse before they get better.

  24. October 18, 2007 3:50 am

    Amit: So ‘equal opportunity’ but not ‘affirmative action’, with the clear understanding that ‘equal opportunity’ is not the same as ‘equality’ which is a journey rather than a destination..

    Now lets take this complex, nuanced argument to the (m)asses :-)

  25. October 18, 2007 7:05 am

    Thanks Prerna, Prax, Amit!

    Axinia, reservation is just another word for affirmative action. In India a whole lot of seat are ‘reserved’ for those from certain castes and tribes, in govt. jobs as well as universitites. They get these seats with less marks. That is why there is a burning resentment towards them. As it is, there is a shortage of good universities and this makes it even more difficult for the deserving. The problem is acute in medical colleges. That is why many bright Indian are going abroad…its very very difficult to get admission because of reservation. And now there is a proposal that seats should be reserved even in top management institutes like IIM and colleges like IIT, the most reputed educational institutions in India, known the world over for their quality education! They are saying they will simply increase seats, but as already there is a shortage of faculty this means a lowering of quality of the education. It’s a terrible situation because it will take reserved seats to 50 percent of the whole. It will drive away talent from this country, it’s already is doing that.

    Shefaly, thanks. You put it well, a complex nuanced argument which only a few will understand!

  26. October 18, 2007 2:04 pm

    Nita, thank a lot for this insight – amazing, that this exists!! Now I understand many things better… And you are right, I have met here so many brilliant Indians, – I thought the main reason for them to immigrate is material, but now I see that the reason can be also the cast sistem!

  27. wishtobeanon.. permalink
    October 18, 2007 6:55 pm

    I was showing my complete ignorance and stupidity when I asked that question on caste system. This shows people like me should not comment on such matters! :-)
    I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that question. Believe me, I knew that caste system was still there(as they ask for your caste in govt. job application forms for the sake of reservation, which is the whole point of your blog)!
    You don’t have to post this comment.

  28. October 18, 2007 7:01 pm

    Wishtobeanon, you have always asked thoughtful and pertinent questions and your responses have always been sensitive.
    Ofcourse the caste system has been abolished! On paper too it has been abolished, in the sense that no one gets a job according to jobs which his caste is supposed to do! All discrimination of this sort is against the law and it doesn’t exist anymore…but you were also absolutely right when you said it’s still there in the social psyche of some Indians.

  29. wishtobeanon.. permalink
    October 18, 2007 7:31 pm

    Sorry to keep nagging…but isn’t job reservation in government careers a kind of caste system! I remember filling out caste options (where they ask to fill out whether OBC or SC/ST or other) in some job application forms about 8-9 years back. I haven’t read up much on the govt. job scenario in India recently.

  30. October 18, 2007 7:43 pm

    Well, job reservation would be a caste system biased in favour of the reserved castes. so it cannot be called caste system in the true meaning of the word.

  31. October 19, 2007 3:15 am

    Yea.. it’s more like reverse casteism.

  32. October 23, 2007 4:17 pm

    Nita, I admit I have not read the comments nor your responses to them. Because I find your opinion missing in your post. What do you think about caste-based affirmative action?

    I must admit it is becoming increasingly difficult for readers like me to try to discover your true opinion via your comments rather than the post itself. Given that your posts have such a large readership, it is difficult for someone to read through your large comments section and determine what exactly your opinion on the topic is, first hand. Discovering it via the comments section on your blog is like doing an archeologists’s job – digging through. :-)

    For e.g. in this case, after reading your post, I know what the CII position is, what the FICCI perspective is, and what the Economist has to say about it all – but I don’t have any knowledge of what you’ve got to say about it.

  33. October 23, 2007 5:43 pm

    haha Mahendra, you are not far wrong, although not entirely correct! :) It’s the journalist in me you see, we are trained to give all sides and try to give one’s opinion in a subdued manner as it is important for the reader to make up his own mind. I remember in the early days of writing whenever I gave my opinion very strongly, my editor would delete those lines and then ask me: So you think you are an editor? you can only write your opinion like this in editorial pieces.
    I do deviate from this in some of my posts, but I agree not so often. I do try and maintain a journalistic ‘decorum’ in my post because that is the positioning of my blog. My blog is not my opinions nor raves or rants. In fact very often an opinon piece can become a rant. This blog is about India and the aim is to be objective. Luckily this comes naturally to me as I am a middle of the path kind of person in real life. However I do feel very strongly about certain things, and these times cannot resist going all out. I have never been ‘politically correct’ as the various posts on my blog show, whether about molestation or about regional identity. I write my mind.
    If I only write pure opinion pieces, then I will have to start another blog and I don’t have the energy to start another blog. In fact my blog is not a ‘true’ blog in that sense, as many blogs simply give opinions. I like to think I give more than that.
    What matter is that this blog reflects my personality, that of a moderate! That is why I have a good readership. Never have I tried to imitate anyone’s style. I have not tried to be politically correct and nor have I shirked from giving my opinion.
    Most of the, if you care to read carefully, my opinion is very clear. I guess it’s subtly put in most cases.
    I talk more freely in the comment section but it is often in response to particular statements. Responses are often stronger as you are defending a position.
    But you have avoided giving your opinion Mahendra, even in the comments. :)

  34. October 24, 2007 2:09 am

    @ankur…100% support to your comments..i will soon try to do a post mortem of nita’s point and post a blog..

    People who have always read Times of India..will never figure out the benefits of Reservations..

    Ask them to read “The Daily Pioneer”

  35. October 24, 2007 7:25 am

    Hi Nitin. You are welcome to write a post on your opinon on pro-reservation, but why do you want to write a post simply to dissect my post? :) Don’t you think in that case it’s better to write your opinion here so that readers who come to my post read your point of view?
    And that remark about TOI? :D No one gets their ideas because or reading a newspaper. To say that I am brainwashed because of reading TOI is really a funny statement and totally illogical to my view. I think it’s more likely that I got my ideas from the way I was brought up – with no mention of caste in our home.
    One does not get brainwashed by reading a newspaper, not in a democratic country where people are exposed to all kinds of media…!

  36. October 24, 2007 9:52 am

    Nita..u got me wrong..actually i havent got thru the comments section thoroughly…and most of your and other’s ideas are expressed their itself.Only problem of expressing it here is that it would be just misssed by many people except you as ppl dont read comments when it goes in to this big…so thought of dedicating one post..isn’t it better?and you are always welcome to my blog to shoot me ;-)

    Abt TOI…that message was for the common people out there…am not saying “I” anywhere..just to add wat u said…your opinion is shaped bcos “with no mention of caste in our home”.thats good..but…i would say that can be taken as an ignorance to this whole caste battle..

    //One does not get brainwashed by reading a newspaper, not in a democratic country where people are exposed to all kinds of media…!

    Brainwashed is an extreme word..but i would say its surely impacts the readers who just stick to one idea and who is unware of the choices in the market…even urban india..

  37. October 24, 2007 10:21 am

    But I am not saying that I have not read about caste discrimination Nitin. I am well aware of what is going on in this country. :)
    However I still believe that it’s at the primary level education that ‘reservations’ have to be done and for ALL poor people.
    This also gives confidence to people. You know what happens when people get into jobs and colleges through reservations, there is resentment against them and they too can feel guilty…
    To my mind giving reservations to well-to-do people is nothing but taking revenge…and a travesty of justice.
    But I am looking forward to reading your post…
    and thanks for giving me the liberty to shoot you. :) My only weapon is my humble pen.

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