Monday, May 22, 2006

Quota Sikka

"In Delhi, 94 medical students who were on a fast for 96 hours collapsed in the hunger strike. The media has been prohibited from covering this event, so he wanted me to forward it to as many people as possible."

"Subhash shrivastav (AIIMS Student ), has died b cos of hunger strike protesting against reservation & media is not covering it. Please pass to everyone you know. "

These are the SMSes that are doing the rounds from yesterday.

I believe that education and sports should be on the basis of merit, and merit alone. This lobbying, quotas...they have been used, misused and abused to such an extent that everything seems like a big farce. From the time I can remember, I can visualise my mom coaxing me to study well, for "we get only a meagre percentage of seats in good institutions, we are not eligible for any Quota. And we dont have that kind of money either. So if you don't study now, you CAN'T study later." I suppose it is the case with most of you guys of my generation, for whose parents, a program was a show on the television.

As a kid, I always wondered why anyone would need a quota, or any kind of reservation. Did it not make him start with a lacuna in his heart? Even if he did well, would he not feel the guilt that he did not run the whole race? And if he did not do well, did he not feel remorseful of denying a better person a chance to prove himself? My questions remain unanswered.

During my CET, I saw many of my friends who had a quota, but opted to take seats from the general category. They did not turn up on the dates scheduled for sports quota. Instead they came according to their ranks, on the day the general quota seat selection was on. Reason: They wanted to come up the stairs, and not make use of the lift.

And now this hullabaloo over the reservations in premier institutes of education. For "backward classes". Pray, someone please tell me who are these, and in what way they are backward. I can understand reservations for the physically handicapped, but branding a sizeable chunk of the nation's hale and hearty youth as 'backward', and giving them reservation teeters on the edge of absurdity.

If they are financially backward, by all means give them sops. Reduce their fees by 50%. In cases of exceptional performance, waive the whole fee amount, no issues. But why compromise on merit?

Reservation on basis of caste? Does birth determine performance? It only reeks of the rancid sectarian politics being played here. If you ask me, I would ask for removal of the caste field in every application there is, and have it introduced in the fee payment challan, so that the "backward classes" can avail financial benefit.

There was a protest march arranged in Pune yesterday, from University circle to Corporation circle. In case you missed it, you can sign an online petition here. And there is a blackout planned today from 2000 to 2015 hrs. All lights, TV, mobiles will be switched off, protesting Arjun Singh, and the Government of India, who failed to respond adequately to the youth of the nation, which is sitting hungry in the hot sun. A government which persists with its reservation policy, which has proved to be its "Quota Sikka".

PS: In the deepest of my heart, I wish this agitation will wake some sane mind in the government, and lead to abolition of quota, altogether making merit alone, the deciding factor.

Cross-posted in Que Sera Sera

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Democrocy Side Effects!!!

Also posted in my own blog

As everybody in India, I am also proud to be citizen this democratic country. But past few days I am getting thought about our democracy. Are we really justified in calling ourselves democratic? Well few incidents in recent days have fuelled these thoughts.

First issue is the reservation for OBC’s. Well nobody in political circles is prepared to investigate the real problems and needs of this issue. Govt does not have valid data about OBC social status in India. But nobody can dare to ask for sake of loosing votes. Just fuel public sentiments and derive political mileage is motto of the politicians. Does anybody have nay data on how this reservation policy has actually helped real needy people? Can the govt explain why the percentage of reservation gone up from 8.33% in 1950 to 50% (67% in places like Tamil Nadu). But who cares. For politicians these communities are just vote banks even these kind of issues don’t help them in long run. Remember the biggest debate of last decade it was Mandal vs Madir. And see where are two leader who were at forefront of these issues L. K. Advani for Mandir and V P Singh for Mandal. In fact V P singh has now come down to local issues like slum demolition in Mumbai.

He was who introduced Mandal report which likes of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had rejected to implement. In fact Rajiv Gandhi once said the report to be can of worms (how correct was he!). But I think Congress and Sonia have short (or convenient) memory. Thanks to vote bank politics of democracy.

Another issue is banning films like Da Vinci Code. I can not understand if the film gets released in Italy/Rome why it can not be shown here. Let people decide what to watch and what not to watch. Again Govt feels to look after the minority vote bank of Christians. I am sure there would lots of Christians who would not mind release of this movie. But still there are hurdles for movie even if majority of people want to see it. (including good amount of Christians). But some Bishop or Mulla creates a hue and cry and whole thing stops. This I call as Minority appeasement.

Today I think the debate between people like Agarkar and Tilak over Good Governance or Self Governance took a wrong turn. I think Good Governance was required before self Governance. Of course I don’t want to suggest the freedom struggle was un necessary. I truly respect all people who selflessly sacrificed their lives for our freedom. But after 50 years of freedom why these politicians are still making billion fools out of us. To me only the colour of the ruler has changed and not the style of ruling that is divide and rule on caste. Shame on us!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Calling all Puneites

Hello Puneites,

If we want Business in Pune to flourish then we have to fix the city infrastructure.

Better Roads group Pune, is organizing an public event to protest against the pathetic conditions of Karve Road and PMC's callous handling of projects.

All Pune people are requested to join us in the morning on Sunday, 21st May 2006 we will form human chain along Karve Road for half an hour. We won't disrupt traffic nor will we stage a rasta roko. In most peaceful manner and in large numbers we will make PMC hear us.


For details please check the files section in the group

Yours truly,

- Better Roads group.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Online Petition for Improving Public Transport in Pune

Please foward this to - Friends/family/satff/colleagues/students/
Print a copy for you society notice board and local cyber cafe,

Pune is amongst the most polluted cities in India. Due to growing wealth within the low/middle-income groups, the number of cars, two and three wheelers plying on the roads have increased substantially. Pune traffic has become increasingly unruly and dangerous.

Individuals could easily consider giving up on their 2 wheelers and cars, provided an efficient public transport was available. There may be a need to cut down on the number of rickshaws as well.

This petition is aimed at solving some of these
difficulties and will be sent to the Civic and State authorities.
To sign the petition visit:  

Petition Details:
Pune needs an efficient and a safe rapid public transport system in place. We need not look too far for inspiration. Bombay can serve as an example.

We request Civic & State Transport Authorities to implement the following -

1) Allow private public transport system within Pune.

Existing PMT buses should not only be increased in numbers but also replaced with modern energy efficient vehicles.

3) Further all major parts of Pune should be linked with each other.

4) PMT should function more like a Corporate providing detailed information on bus frequencies, time-tables & ensuring bus-stops of high standards (but not occupying entire width of pavements).

3) To ensure a rapid transport system, create dedicated bus lanes on major roads.

4) Encourage use of Public Transport by introducing competitive fares (including season & annual passes).

5) Discourage use of personal vehicles (2 wheelers and cars) by introducing a road tax collected as a percentage of the amount of petrol used/bought. This way road tax cannot be evaded and will be proportional to amount of use of cars.

6) Restrict rickshaws to periphery of Pune. If there is fear of job losses, rickshaw drivers should be given an opportunity to re-train and become a part of expanding PMT or any private public transport enterprise.

Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra

Dr Joglekar
(adhirajjoglekar at yahoo dot com)