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.