There is no royal road to science and only those who do not dread of its fatiguing climb have a chance of gaining its luminuos summits.
-Karl Marx

Nov 26, 2008

Reservation : is there a third position possible

It is now and then that the politics of support and opposition uprises. Huge population of students and youth has been divided on this issue and it has created a rift and bitterness among best friends. In this scenario we would like to share some important things with the supporters and opponents of reservation. At first to the opponents of reservation you say that caste based reservation, in higher education especially in engineering, medical and scientific research will result in declining standards of services and will be like compromising with merit. If you are so concerned with merit and decline in standards of services why did not you raise your voice when NRI and management quota were fixed in private medical and engineering colleges. Did not you feel that there will be a decline in standard of services if seats are sold on basis of mo0ney in these institutes? Are all progenies of rich are born intelligent? Have you ever joined hands to resist this? Every year thousands of engineers, doctors, scientists, after having obtained degrees on the expense hard earned resources of common masses, take road to America and Europe to mint more money! Have you ever opposed this tendency and government policies that encourage it?
The truth behind wave of opposition to reservation principally is that there is no concern about competence, justice and national interest but centuries old deep rooted “anti-dalits” and anti-backward castes casteist prejudices hatred and reactionary customs and rituals. People fail to see that even if reservation is removed; all savarna students will not get education and employment.
To the supporters of reservation
Despite numerous social-political changes and capitalist development, even after six decades of political independence the venom of caste is deeply rooted in social fabric of our country. Even today 90% of dalit population is toiling as poor peasants and agricultural labourers in fields and labour in industries. Reservation in higher education makes no sense to them as their children are mostly school drop-outs. As a result, the fruits of reservation are mainly reaped by that population of dalits which has already raised living standards and is referred to as ‘creamy layer’. Today around 70_80% of OBCs are living under miserable conditions. It can be claimed with certainty that here also advantages of reservation will produce a creamy layer among them. Reservation to poor OBCs on basis of income certificates is also a complete nonsense. We all know that how income certificates are made by corrupt bureaucracy of our country. If reservation could do any good to dalit and OBC it should have made any significant difference in extensive population of dalits in last two decades. Statistics tell us that no such thing has happened, and reservation makes no sense for extensive dalit population. In these circumstances, we appeal to the supporters of reservation that they should pay attention to the fact that our real fight is not share in shrunk opportunities, but for free and equal education to all. Then only we can liberate extensive population of dalit and OBCs.
Although our position is quite clear but we would like to repeat in the end. We believe that reservation is a part of ‘divide and rule’ policy of ruling class. Today when nearly 80% of our country’s population is afflicted by poverty and misery, talking about reservation is like standing on the top of a building with a small bowl of rice and needy people waiting at the bottom, a certain percent of rice for the weakest, a little lesser for less weak and so on. The truth is that, this is not going to satisfy anybody’s hunger. Moreover, it creates contradictions amongst hungry.
Today the real motive of the student-youth movement is to fight for “equal and free education to all and employment to all” rather than splitting amongst themselves on reservation. If system is not based on profits of capitalists but functions for needs of common mass, then education and employment can be provided to everyone, a system which is completely governed by common masses then and only then chains of these century old worthless traditions will break and humanity can march forward.
We hope you will ponder over these questions and you will contact us even if you disagree. Come, let’s sit together, do not split but unite and launch a struggle for an equal society and system by engaging our collective strength and wisdom.

Responsibility of a scientist

Every action has equal and opposite reaction. This is a basic law of natural science. This law holds its counterpart in the human society also: ‘oppression breeds resistance’. This is a basic law of social science. But the lives in the campus seem to defy this law!
Silence is reigning in the campuses for past two decades; there has been no student movement over real issues. What is the reason behind this exception? We must try to seek truth from the facts. Before we jump to any conclusion, let’s cast a glance upon the facts related to the higher education in our country.
In India only 7% of the eligible population reaches to higher education, for past two decades as per government’s policy, seats have continuously been decreased and fees have been increased. The deduction in seats is not absolute but is relative in comparison to the number of applicants. Government has itself accepted that traditional higher education (B.A., B.Sc. etc) has lost its ‘signaling effect’ or are no longer job-oriented, whereas professional courses like engineering and medical have become belongings of higher middle and higher class. Management courses are not even affordable for higher middle class, only higher class can reach there. After the period of liberalization and globalization India’s education policies changed a lot and government is spending lesser on higher education and students are made to pay from their pockets. Till 1970, government was spending 1% of GNP which was reduced to 0.35% during the 1990s. In 1983, before implementation of new education policy, government had been paying 80% of higher education’s expenditure but in 1999 it was reduced to 67%. On the other side also, in engineering and medical education government is withdrawing its hands. Till 1960 there were only 15% private seats in engineering, but till 2004 this figure increased to 86.4%, in medical education also it has increased from 6.8% in 1960 to 40.9% in 2004. In management institutes this number is 90%. From all these statistics it is quite evident that government is privatizing the education, making it a commodity. Government itself has conceded that we are witnessing a jobless growth and has also contended that producing jobs is not responsibility of government!
The motive of all such policies must also be seen. If a student from humble background reaches higher education, he/she will soon comprehend the reality of this “competitive society”, his/her anger towards the system will be much greater and this feeling might prove to be very dangerous. So it is better to make these very dreams themselves so costly that common students cannot afford them.
The commodification of education is also the reason behind the changing class character of the students’ population; issues of the common masses do not concern them. That is why the social law of resistance fails to apply within the boundaries of campus. That law will become functional only when the sensitive students within campus will associate themselves with the struggles of the 93% eligible population who does not reach the campus. Only then, one can imagine of any change.

Oct 25, 2008


'Scientists for Society' is a forum of such students of science who believe in the fact that source of all knowledge is social and productive practice; who understand that such practice in the modern era cannot be done individually; who recognize the reality that this very kind of practice is the most essential thing for the survival of the entire human society and even the non-organic world; however, the majority of the common people who undertake the 99 percent of productive and social activities of the entire world are singularly bereft of any kind of knowledge or basic necessities of life and live an awful life. We believe that this pathetic and unjust condition can be accounted to the fact that all knowledge, skill and physical power today is in the service of profit and profit-makers. Science also serves the purpose of generating surplus and profit for certain classes, while it reinforces the wage slavery and subjugation of the toiling masses, who, ironically themselves are the originators and creators of the all knowledge.
We believe that as long as all human activity and knowledge serves the interests of the capital rather than becoming a boon for the entire toiling masses and thus entire humanity, the present condition of the world will continue in which millions of people die of hunger, not because there is no food, but because the profit motive would not let that food reach the hungry; which is plagued by chronic unemployment, poverty and imperialist wars; which suffers from the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
We intend to become that kind of scientists who understand that they have a huge debt to pay back to the society which fulfilled all our needs so that we can study and grasp all the knowledge created by humanity through ages and generations; who are not merely running like dogs after corporate money; who think not only about their careers, but recognize their significant and essential social responsibility; who believe that present system has to be changed radically to establish and develop a much more rational, humane, scientific and just system and who accept that they must determine their role in this struggle.
With Revolutionary Regards,
Scientists for Society.

Introducing "The Spark"

The period of 2007-08 has been proving to be a year of dramatic ups and downs for the world economy. The whole world has constantly been shaken by the mighty ripples of the U.S. financial crisis. As most of us must be knowing, this is the worst crisis the world economy has faced since the Great Depression of the 1930s. With the fading glory of the world capitalist system, the India Inc story, as the mouth-piece of capitalist houses call it, is also sinking. The IT sector has lost thousands of jobs since the inception of the present crisis. The banking sector, share market, aviation etc also are in dire straits. Share market sank below 10K, Jet Airways announced retrenchment (which it had to roll back), India Airlines announced to send 15,000 workers to send on leave without pay, a number of banks have announced retrenchment and various financial firms have been rocked to the hilt. Clearly enough, the "India shining" fable has come to an abrupt halt!
However, somewhere deep inside our hearts, don't we know that the India has always been shining for a certain minority? All ages have been Golden Ages for the richer classes and Dark Ages for the common masses. The Arjun SenGupta committee concluded that 77 percent of Indians live on Rs.20 or less per day; W.H.O. report tells us that 46 percent of Indian children are malnourished; even countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ghana and Senegal are ahead of India in the human development index of the United Nations. So, as concerned scientists we must not forget the other picture, which is in fact the true picture of India and we should adopt a scientific approach of analyzing every problem with the aim of resolution.
All of us know that everything has order behind it. From H-atom to sun, everything has some rules and laws governing it. The basic brick of the constitution of all matter is atom (which is composed of even more subtle particles). Different constitution and configuration of atoms give different forms to different matter; physical conditions on earth allowed development of organic matter and finally organic life, humans are the highest form of this organic life; Since, their inner physical world is governed by some set of laws, the society which they have created has evolved through some laws and follows certain laws of motion. As scientists concerned with the problems of the society in which we live, we must understand the laws of motion of the society apart from the natural laws of motion. We as sensitive youngsters must understand and find the way out of this misanthrope system and society which has profit motive as the principal mover and inspiration behind every economic and social activity. Social needs and 80 percent of the total population has been pushed into the oblivion and the interests of capital and corporates rule everything.
‘The Spark’ is a platform which intends to bring social scientists together, invite rational and justice-loving sons and daughters of Indian people to come and join a drive to understand the society and its laws and understand, not just for the sake of understanding it but for the sake of changing it. We invite all such friends to discuss about what role we can play in bringing about a radical change in the system and the society and what kind of alternative should be put forward. We wait for you...