Merit – Whatever happened to it………?

I remember the days of the anti- Mandal, anti- reservation agitation, wherein was a part of one such march that went to Parliament House. Later on we learnt that a young boy who had nothing to do with the protest was hit by a random bullet and killed in Police firing. The sad part of all such ruckus is that innocents are mostly harmed and affected. Lumpen elements take control and normally get away with almost anything.
It is also extremely distressing that hitherto affluent communities have upped the ante on seeking reservation benefits in various states.
Whatever happened to merit ?
Whereas we could lay the blame at the door of inept politicians for having hung the carrot of reservations to fortify their vote banks – it is disconcerting that there is no murmur of protest from student organizations who went to town regarding the JNU issue.
Merit, professionalism and progress of the country are inextricably linked. If we continue to pander to casteist considerations and calculations – we will remain divided in the true sense and the Make in India/ Swach Bharat/ India Rising/ Incredible India etc will continue to remain only slogans at various promotional events.
Countries which have promoted meritocracy have gained and others have been lost in the quagmire of conflict. So as the insane, rowdy lumpen elements fan the caste fires, we ought not forget that we are ‘humans’ first.

Imagine the tragedy of a country, whose Army has to appeal to the public to keep calm and ensure a honourable farewell for a 22 year old soldier who laid down his life in Kashmir for Jind? for Haryana? He laid down his life for an idea of India, which is difficult to comprehend for this majority!
Did the terrorist’s bullet ask if he was a Jat/ or a non Jat ? I wonder.
A request to all right thinking people in authority, be it in politics or judiciary – please do not abandon the meritorious and the professionalism they bring to the system, else you might be the ones at the wrong end of the stick, when you desperately need them to deliver…..
Don’t blame a ‘brain drain’ phenomenon for the mess. You forced the brains out, cause you wanted to accommodate the others. As you sow, so will you reap!!!!

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OROP

“Jis desh ka jawaan sadkon par, us desh ka durbhagya hai” – Promises made at a pre-election rally in Rewari will come back to haunt this Government. Whatever be the claims made at various levels, the truth is that OROP, as per the definition accepted by the Indian Parliament has not been granted.
Do not make promises to humble soldiers, if there is no actual intent of keeping them. The monetary difference is just a fraction of public money looted by white collar criminals, some politicians as well.
The soldier doesn’t beg, the soldier is only asking for his rights.
Media blackout of the protest at Jantar Mantar and the attempt to give it a political colour and discredit the soldiers will never succeed.
The soldier works for the flag and nation ; not for a particular government. Alas, that is something that a politician or a bureaucrat will never understand.
It’s still not too late to realize this and correct the anomalies.

Enduring freedom for all

“By taking the time to educate ourselves on our history and the people who shaped this nation, we can more fully appreciate the ideals set down by the founders. . . . It’s a reminder that our work is to sustain freedom and ensure that rights and liberty belong to all our citizens.” – Admiral Michelle Howard, in response to “What does Black History Month mean to you?”

Adapting the above further – in today’s age of increasing sectarian strife; it’s a grim reminder by the Admiral that we need to do that much more to ensure enduring freedom and liberty to all citizens. Look into our glorious past, introspect and move forward. True, not just for America, but for the entire world !

Caste based Reservations

Political opportunism and expediency hit a new high (or shall one say, low ?) when the constitution amendment bill providing for 10% reservations for economically backward (!) forward castes in government jobs and education; was passed by both houses of the Indian Parliament in just two days. 

Few issues with the current thought process come to mind – 

1) it only reinforces the deep rooted division/ bias on the basis of caste, which was the original idea of the reservation policy in the first place – to gradually dissolve these barriers. 
2) Reservations were intended to enable the ‘oppressed castes’ to overcome decades of oppression at the hands of the upper castes and provide them equal opportunities in education and jobs. So, does India now believe that 70 years of reservation policy have in turn made the ‘economically backward among the forward castes, ‘oppressed’ and is that not reverse discrimination ? 
3) Will the clamour for reservations based on religion and size of population, not increase ? Already one reads of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference mooting such a proposal, which would readily find support among parties like the IUML.
4) Does an annual income of Rs 8 Lakhs per annum translate into economic backwardness ? Was this figure arrived at after any statical study ? Is it true that 95% of households in India would then qualify ? So is it a gimmick only to increase vote banks ? Does it mean that a mirage is being sold down our throats ?
5) Do political parties need any more self goals to prove that they are out of touch with the socio-economic narrative of India ? Or do they take all voters to be fools?
6) When will this reservation policy be extended to the private sector ? After all government jobs are shrinking, right ? 

Some have been hailing the new variant of the policy as a ‘sixer’ and a ‘masterstroke’. Good luck to all those who invent and implement these policies. 

If at all there is to be reservation in any form, it needs to be extended only to those who are actually economically disadvantaged and not on the basis of their origin. Its interesting when a Weighted Index for Caste-based Reservations was proposed by a Member from the Ruling Party, just a few days back in Parliament, he was vociferously opposed by all mainstream political parties. At least his proposal could have been debated and this could have been a first step towards moving towards reservations based on economic considerations. 

The need of the hour is to create more jobs and opportunities, not create social divides and widen fissures. Wish we had more Statesmen and Stateswomen in the Indian Parliament rather than mere politicians. Says a lot about us as an informed electorate – we sent them there in the first place ! 

In the meanwhile, the brain drain goes on unabated, as merit continues to be sacrificed at the altar of political expediency and vote banks. Its bloody tough being a student or a government job aspirant in India. #Caste#Reservations.

Weighted Index in caste based reservations in India

Somewhere between the cacophony of Sabarimala and Rafael….an important statement was made in the Upper House of Parliament by Dr. Vikas Mahatme (an OBC BJP Member) who proposed a ‘weighted index’ system for monitoring and managing caste based reservations in India. His proposal was immediately opposed by all mainstream political parties including the Congress, as they saw an imminent threat to their captive vote banks.
Dr Mahatme’s proposal is noteworthy because it is in keeping with the ideals of the founding fathers of the Constitution , who conceived a truly egalitarian society with equal opportunities to all. It is also revolutionary because it will help reservation reach the hitherto untouched and truly marginalised segments of the population. It will prevent cornering of caste based benefits by the socio-economically forward and educated segments of these castes.
I think it is an idea whose time has come and the Parliamentary Panel would do well to study this suggestion and examine, how to incorporate the same into a law.
Respect to Dr Vikas Mahatme, who has raised the prestige of the Upper House by this path breaking suggestion. #DrVikasMahatme #WeightedIndex #Castebased #Reservations.

Naseeruddin Shah and his fears…..

I agreed with Naseeruddin Shah’ s assessment of Viraat Kohli’s behaviour. However, his assessment and opinion which he shares in an Amnesty International video; about India being such a ‘dangerous’ place to live is not agreed to. India is one of the most open societies in the world to live in. The unfettered freedom borders on disrespect and blatant disregard for the law. If the law enforcement agencies worked without fear and fervour, we could have better conditions. We are a country and a people passing through a churning phase , as does the earth and the universe. Please don’t spread a fear psychosis, Mr Naseer. I could name a number of countries where things are far worse. Don’t give others a handle to manipulate. I thought a man of your intellect knew better.

Politics today

World over, politicians love to discuss everything else other than the real issues facing citizens. In recent memory, even the AAP, which apparently appeared to be different, flattered to deceive.
Someone, rightly said ‘Politics is the last refuge of the scoundrels’ and in most democracies, the real power is centred around politicians. It’s a different matter whether they really use that power for social good.

Is sneaking into a temple in the dead of the night in dark attire, actully a tryst with history ? That, followed by rabble rousing protests are they more important than reconstruction of a state ravaged by flash floods in the not so distant past ?
Similarly, is throwing inconsistent allegations on an aircraft deal more important than debating and trying to solve agrarian and industrial distress ?
Sad state all around. Nothing new in 2019 !!