Reservations issue…

So the cabinet seems to have cleared the bill paving way for reservations for OBCs in central universities (including IITs, IIMs). Thankfully there is some sense in the cabinet and they have said (at least on paper) that the implementatino would be in a phased manner.

I was watching “Face the nation” on CNN IBM late this evening, and in that Rajdeep Sardesai pointed out that according to some survey, more than 50% of Indians want reservations.

This brings us to the issue of the number (rather the percentage) of people who have been classified as “backward”. I don’t have the figures with me (and I’m too lazy to get them) but I believe more than half of India is classified as “backward”.

Taking a further step back, I’m wondering where Mandal drew the line to classify castes as forward or backward. He could’ve been driven by his own caste (I think Mandal is a SC surname, so he didn’t have an incentive there; but he could well have been under the diktats of someone who might have benefited directly or indirectly (in terms fo vote banks)). Alternatively by drawing the line where more than 50% of the population would “benefit”, the reservations would automatically have “popular mandate”. Another reason could be that if Caste A were in and Caste B out, politicians of B would oppose the implementation of the recommendations. But A has to be included for “strategic” reasons. So include B, and C and D also.

On an unrelated note (this is an impromptu post, so i’m meandering), I remember a certain group taking out a demonstration in Madras the other day asking to be classified as “backward”! I won’t be surprised if, in the near future, the oxford english dictionary were to redefine “backward” as “privileged” or something…

Students in Delhi have said they’ll revive their protests tomorrow. My best wishes are with them.

Update 1
I forgot to add this yesterday (thanks for reminding me) – a number of numerically and politically dominant (and not really backward) communities are classified as OBCs. For example, in Karnataka the two dominant communities – Lingayats and Gowdas are classified as OBC. In the North Jats are OBC.

Update 2

tells me that Mandal was a Yadav. Explains a lot of things.

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