It is not often that I forget to reschedule a draft, leading to it being published erroneously. And, of all the posts, it had to be this one…
It is almost poetic, the way this happened, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, without further ado, let us talk about the elephant in the room; and might I add that any symbolism here is accidental but, once again, poetic.
Yeah, you probably do not need to check the dictionary to know what the word means, right?
But do you really know what it means?
As we head into the great season of Examinations and Admissions, we will find our Facebook feed filled with a very specific type of posts, most which go along these lines:
He got 92 marks
I got 192 marks
Now, he is in his IIT Hostel, enjoying ultra-high-speed-broadband
I am sitting at home, posting this using the Jio SIM whose days are now numbered
Okay, I admit, I am just paraphrasing, but it does touch a nerve, am I right?
But does reading such random spews of misguided anger help you understand the situation? I doubt it.
I must mention that, for several years, I have tried to ignore such posts, attributing them to sore losers polluting the internet with their petulance. There was a time, last year, when I did write a post on the topic, but I never published it, because… Well, I do have a book to sell, and I simply do not need the negativity.
However, over the past year or so, I have seen a rise in the voice of the aforementioned losers, and they have never had any strong, vocal opposition.
What worries me most is the fact that this rhetoric has been employed by seemingly intelligent, educated youth from affluent families.
Of course, the word “affluent” is highly relative. For the moment, let us employ it for every person reading this on a personal electronic device not bought through his/her personal income… Or a sold kidney or something…
Anyone, I think it is time for me to speak up on the matter because, as a man much greater than us all once said:
“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.”
― Albert Einstein
Of course, now that I am speaking up, I would like to remain fair, although the same can no longer be said about my skin. To that end, I intend to equally hurt the sentiments of all the three sides of this debate.
1. To The Sore Loser:
“Those who plead their cause in the absence of an opponent can invent to their heart’s content, can pontificate without taking into account the opposite point of view and keep the best arguments for themselves, for aggressors are always quick to attack those who have no means of defence.”
― Christine de Pizan, The Letter of the God of Love
Let me begin by saying something that, unfortunately, needs to be said out loud:
CASTEISM STILL EXISTS.
Yes, one really cannot discuss a caste-based system without first discussing casteism, right…
Of course, it may no longer be as overt as it once was, particularly in the urbanised areas of our country, but it still does exist. Also, do note that two-thirds of our population still resides in villages and such, where the situation can be far direr.
Even a sideway glance at a newspaper would bring to your eye at least one incident of such discrimination any given week, but who has time for a newspaper these days, right?
I cannot, at this moment, dive into the nuanced topic of casteism. Still, I think the Khairlanji massacre from 2006 ought to be brought to your attention. I would not speak much about it, for the matter is still sub judice.
Coming back to the topic, let us discuss your most popular arguments…
1. The ‘Reserved vs Deserved’ Argument
This one, let me tell you, drips with the rankest sort of social prejudice, and quite frankly, does not even deserve our time.
However, let me just say that while meritocracy may seem like a tempting idea, always remember a very simple fact. If you cannot make it now, you will not make it then.
2. It goes against Equality
Well, guess what? Affirmative action, which is the correct term, is not meant to create Equality directly or by itself. Instead, it is meant to ensure participation of every oppressed minority group in the society, through easier access to education and employment opportunities.
Inequalities created through millennia of discrimination cannot be undone in some 70 years.
Nonetheless, data indicates that India has grown closer towards socio-economic equality than it has ever been in the recorded history.
Of course, a lot still needs to be done.
3. Nobody else does it
Well, just because you do not know something does not make it true.
You should probably read about the implementation of Affirmative action in the US, and elsewhere, in one form or the other.
It is also noteworthy that their actions are often in response to oppression lasting a couple of centuries, not a couple of millennia. Hence, their measures need not be as drastic as ours.
Yes, it is not exactly a quota system, and I don’t see how that is better. Without the quotas defined and declared, the admission officer could probably just say, “Hmm! I feel like having Mexican, today…”
4. It is inefficient
So are diesel-powered vehicles… But they are still prevalent in India, are they not?
Just because a scheme is inefficient, or ineffective, or insufficient, does not mean we totally scrap it.
Try to learn about the ObamaCare hullabaloo, when you get a moment.
And, until you do, let me offer the following analogy:
If you are expecting to have a child and decide your current residence is inadequate, would you first sell the current house before finding another more suitable?
Now, this scenario is tough enough for a nuclear family… Imagine the predicament faced by the head of a family of 1.2 billion people.
What other arguments are there? I cannot remember them all. There is only a limited amount of nonsense a human mind can contain, and I like to keep mine reserved for the fictional kind. Looks like, even here, you fail to make the cut.
Of course, whenever further arguments keep cropping up, I will keep updating the post.
Now, one can only hope that you try to accept facts as they are, understand the underlying reasons, and stop whining. But you probably won’t do that, would you?
2. To The Smug Beneficiary:
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
― John F. Kennedy
Yes, you are well within your rights to claim this opportunity to safeguard your future, and only a fool would let that go… Right?
Well, that might be true for now, and granted, the literacy rates and representation in public sector jobs has increased in the past few decades, but is that enough?
Have the benefits of these schemes truly permeated throughout the community, or are they now being hoarded by certain families, generation after generation?
Soon, this would create a bigger gap between the lower and middle class, which would lead to class struggles and greater segregation.
This was, after all, meant to be a temporary crutch for a community crippled by generations of injustice. What happens when it is time to remove the crutch? Can the community stand on its own feet? If not, can it lean on your shoulders?
After all, one must admit that the system has its flaws, and a consensus cannot be reached when only one side is making all the noise.
But hey! You got yours, so why bother…
3. To The Silent Bystander:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
I can understand the preference for silence. After all, that has been my own stance for as long as I can remember. However, I do believe that there do come certain points in history when every individual has to take a stand.
We have all read about our Independence Movement, the French Revolution, the American Civil Rights Movement, and other few events that changed the course of history, largely for the better of humanity.
Another change is on the horizon.
Where do you stand?