On Rohith Vemula’s first death anniversary, caste becomes a hot topic. And when we discuss caste, how can we not speak about the reservation system in our country’s educational order?
Answer these questions. How many of you or someone you know has failed to get admission in a college of your choice because of the reservation system? How many of you had to compromise on your dreams because of the system of reservation, having changed your stream because you were in the general category? Bayside Journal spoke to some people who have been handed the short side of the straw that is reservation.
Saiprasad Khedekar, a 28-year-old resident of Mumbai, had to opt for a lesser-known college in Maharashtra after paying a donation of Rs 1 lakh, only because he lost out to the reserved category. “My friend who had got much lesser marks than me easily got into the college because of reservations, whereas I had to run around looking for other colleges to take me in. I finally settled for a college in Chiplun.”
There are others who claim to have similar stories. Niharika Salvi, another resident of Mumbai, says that there should not be any reservations based on caste system at all. “I really wanted to get through to Ruia College (Mumbai) but I failed to do so because most of the seats were reserved and the remaining open seats were grabbed by other more deserving candidates.”
Not all parents can afford to pay colleges more than the expected fees (read: donations). In such cases, the student, however deserving, is unable to find a place in reputed institutes. The entire process of getting admitted to a college turns out to be a harrowing experience for students in the open category.
Aakash Vora tried getting admission in engineering colleges but was unable to. He had to finally settle for a BSc degree. He often wonders how different his life would have been had he been an engineer.
Shashikant Bhadoria, who hails from Gwalior, is staunchly against the system of reservation. He often goes on rallies protesting this “absurd” system of letting “less-deserving students take opportunities that are better suited for more deserving candidates”. He says, “I am not against reservations. But I am against caste-based reservations. If the government can come up with an reservation system based on the financial background of candidates, then it would be the best.”
And this makes us wonder how the country would be if reservations in colleges and the job sectors were based on the economic background of the candidate rather than the caste. It would definitely be a positive step towards the elimination of caste-based hatred in the country. Yes, students end up hating those who get admissions on the basis of reservations. Caste-based reservations in colleges and job sectors are creating a new class of people who hate a particular section of society because their hard work does not get them the desired results. Every hard-working candidate is confounded by how someone who scored lesser found it so easy to study in an elite institute.
Deswick Correa, 39, another Mumbaikar, has some points that I personally agree with. According to him, “There should be no caste-based reservations. The government should provide free education for all till class 12. After that, a reservation system depending on the financial background of candidates will see to it that every person is judged only based on merit. It is a dire need for the government to completely eliminate casteism from its roots. And the current system of reservation only adds to casteism. There should be no mention of caste, creed, or religion in any of its forms or platforms in every sphere of the society.”
How many of us agree with this? Caste-based reservations were traditionally meant to be a temporary solution to problem of casteism in our country. But instead of genuine progress in that aspect, the reservation system has become more and more politicised over the years, causing people at both the end of the spectrums to be dissatisfied. Don’t you think it is time to be more innovative to get rid of the casteism altogether?