Monday, May 22, 2006

Why I protested?

Friends and family alike asked me why I so wanted to attend the mass rally that was held to oppose the reservation quota on 20th May 2006. Was it the ‘Rang De Basanti’ effect? Glamour and the romance of the situation nudging me? Or just my juvenile dream to take part in a rally and fulfill the filmi dream of protesting against unmerited?

The answer is none of the above. With the passing years I must confess that my brain has become more analytical than ever before. Reading the newspapers analyzing the news and putting 2 and 2 together is an art that I have learned to appreciate and apply.

Well for starters…the obviousness of it all. Reservations are nothing but a calculated political move to extract the maximum by churning the issue of caste based reservation in a nation divided on the caste and religion lines. The reason for this sudden and out of nowhere proposal…simple again the elections in UP where Rahul Gandhi or Rahul baba (as he is called in the Congress Party circles) has to prove his metal and has to ostensibly command the throne rather than demand it. In the heartland of backward classes where Mulayam Singh Yadav is the man currently at the helm of the things this is a brilliant move by the Congress Party thinkers if their goal is considered in isolation. What will be the ramifications of all this on the nation…well only time will tell!

Why are the reservations an option to be considered in totality? Is the main motive behind the reservation tactic only political? NO. There are economic reasons as well. The most powerful and the developed economies of the world bank on education for a huge portion of their GDP. India has a great potential to tap this market. The opening up of the education market will lead to various private universities who will in turn have to pay tax to the government. This tax would be extracted from the students in form of exorbitant fees. In order to comply with these fee structures the students (in most cases their parents as well) will be forced to take loans from the banks. Thus the movement of money will accelerate giving an impetus to the economy. A government under the prime-ministership of the former finance minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is expected to usher in another era of economic reforms like the one in the 1990s. The possibilities that the prospect of reservation opens are huge. With reservations in government institutes hiked to almost or more than 50% will ensure the forced diversion of deserving students towards the private institutes. Thus forming a complete circle of economic growth.

The reservation issue is considered to be an internal affair of the nation. The involvement of the international community seems distant. But there is a twist in the tale. Though not proven till date it is a theory in its nascent stage. India is aiming to achieve the status of a developed nation by the year 2020. This poses a severe threat to the position of the already developed nations which also face the danger from the great market potential that India possesses. In a volatile situation like this it is not a far fetched assumption that the lobbies around the world are exerting a pressure to create a situation whereby the brains of India are forced to migrate and serve their purpose and their nation. The international educational universities also see this as a chance of opening their branches in India to provide education, train the Indian minds according to their requirements and harness their potential to further the cause of their own countries and thus robbing India of its ultimate strength---manpower and brainpower.

I was able to analyze this and know the various reasons that Arjun Singh, the HRD minister of India proposed the reservation. Then what was the reason that pushed me join fellow professionals from varied fields to protest the proposal? To begin with I believe that life has given me a chance to fight for something I truly believe in i.e MERIT. Secondly, it might sound filmily clich├ęd but I did it for two reasons (i) for myself…I would not be able to live with myself after living through the injustice of it all and not even protesting the wrong; and (ii) for the generation that will come after me…when they will be disheartened and look at me with tear filled eyes because of the fact that someone less meritorious than them got a seat at the medical college, or a job at a prestigious post at least I will be able to tell them I tried my best!!!