There has been a big outcry against the Reservations Bill that the Honorable HRD Minister has pushed into Parliament. Will it get passed? Looks certain by the way PC and Man are going about it.
It seems like a drive past memory lane for me....
Long before Arjun Singh even dreamed of the welfare of OBCs, engineering students in maharastra were going through similar difficulties. I still remember 27th May 2000 when I held my XII standard result in my hand and exulted at hitting a 95.66% in Physics, Chemistry and Maths combined. I was crazy about Telecom then (attributed to herd mentality), and thought that securing a Merit seat would be easy. In those days we had a system of Merit Seats and Payment Seat. The fees for the Payment seats being almost 5 times the fees of a Merit seat. Also having worked hard over the last one year at the XII standard State Board exam, I wanted to secure admission to a well known college ( ... Since we all know brand names make a huge difference ... )
Imagine my shock when inspite of having a Bombay rank of 561, I could not get a Merit seat in a decent college. Bombay had 131 engineering colleges affiliated to Mumbai university in 2000. There were about 10 decent colleges each having intake of 60 for all streams, Some ministers blessings, made many colleges revise intake to 90 a lil' later. Yet here I was with Telecom being 3rd option after Information Technology and Computer Engineering, still not able to get a Mert Seat. Why? Becasue there were reservation tally ran somewhat as follows:
15% Scheduled Castes
7.5% Scheduled Tribes
2% Nomadic Tribes (1)
1.5% Nomadic Tribes (2)
1.0% Nomadic Tribes (3)
19% Other Backward Classes
1% Displaced Kashmiri Pandits
1% Physically handicapped
2% Some other shitty quota (I think it was displaced people along the Maharastra Belgaum border)
1% Defence personnel
1% Govt of India
To make matters worse, the Govt introduced 30% reservation for girls. So if you were a guy, you had 35% (15% went towards 'Open Category girls and 15% in 'Reserved Girls category") of 48% 'Open Category Seats' only. That made 16 seats for 'Open Category Boys'. In a private college there were 50% Merit and 50% Payment seats. Meaning for a guy like me I would get to choose from 8 seats only! In government colleges there were 16 seats for 'Open' boys
Doing the rounds of the admission process, Dad and me came across one of my college friends who was taking up the issue of reservations in the Bombay HC. We joined a forum of like minded people, spent some cash and hired MP Vashi, a prominent Mumbai lawyer to fight our case. We got a stay on the admissions. We thought it might lead to something fruitful. But the decision got a 'tareek' and the student community was losing out. Finally admissions comenced in September, some 3 months after the whole thing started, just because students were losing out if the term started late.
Through some divine intervention, I decided to take up Mech at VJ. It took me one full year to accept the fact that I was cheated. (Its a different thing that it turned out to be the best decision I took in my life!) I was bloody mad with the system. Went to the extent of lamblasting some guys in my class who had taken the backdoor entry. These guys were well off economically, yet they claimed to be backward. It was the same story in all other institutes. The irony of it all was that in the same class we had a student with 45% PCM. Thanks to the 'Reserved Girls' category. It was crazy. But I was alone.
TIll today nothing has changed. And thats where I say that nothing will change. Because for every guy who is against reservations I have seen 10 guys for it. One of my classmates wants to write to the Prime Minister, Finance Minister (possibly God too!). What a waste of time. Others want to go on a morcha. The morcha is supposed to comprise of a handful of MBA students. Will Delhi fall? I doubt. On the other hand we have a multitude of poor, uneducated people who attend political rallies in villages hoping that 1% of the speeches materialise. They think that such measures will really improve their lot. So they all go out in huge numbers and vote. The first year MBA students will not, I dont think even 10% of them exercise their franchise. Caste politics will win, the morchas, petitions, blah blah notwithstanding. Letters to the PM, FM, God will be used as toilet paper. My Dad wrote files and files of complains to the BMC (Bombay's famed Municipal Corporation) and they had just moved their little finger. Morchas will lose steam when classes begin. The noise will become a whimper when exams begin. The whole movement will be put to sleep. History will repeat itself, just like it did in 2000.
I hope I am proved wrong.