Shame on IITS and AIIMS management & anti activists May 28, 2006Posted by chella in AIIMS, IIT, Reservation.
Read the whole story till the end also read who is the author- Chella
Charles J. Ogletree Jr
He is a professor at Harvard Law School and a member of the Stanford Board of Trustees.
My dreams became reality as a result of my Stanford education. My father, who grew up in Birmingham, Ala., and my mother, a native of Little Rock, Ark., never finished high school. They grew up in a segregated South that offered few opportunities and many obstacles for African Americans. I grew up in Merced, Calif., in an environment where many of my peers viewed merely staying alive and getting a job as a successful course in life. But, with a push from my parents, I was determined to be the first in my family to attend college. With help from high school counselors, I discovered Stanford. And thanks to an aggressive minority outreach program by the admissions office, I was given the opportunity of a first-rate education. Without affirmative action, I would never have applied to, and certainly would not have attended, Stanford.
We must keep affirmative action — and keep refining it. It is a small but significant way to compensate victims of slavery, Jim Crow laws, discrimination and immigration restrictions. It is also a means to assure that institutions such as Stanford will celebrate and foster that which they simply cannot avoid: diversity in a democratic society. Affirmative action admissions policies seek to realign the balance of power and opportunity by doing what is, at heart, quite simple: affirmatively including the formerly excluded.
There are critics of affirmative action who claim it is no longer needed, or unfairly discriminates "in reverse" or "stigmatizes" admitted minority students. I disagree.
Those who claim affirmative action is no longer needed believe that the field has been leveled. But they ignore alarming figures. Last year, only 1,455 African Americans received PhDs in the United States. During the same year, 24,608 whites were awarded PhDs. The truth is that while America has made progress on racial issues, these changes are recent, vulnerable to being reversed and in fact nowhere near completed.
Those who cry "reverse discrimination" base their views almost exclusively on a belief that minority test scores are too low. But they fail to acknowledge that test scores and subsequent performance in college have a correlation that is, to say the least, inexact. When we insist on test scores as an ultimate measure of merit, we exclude, once again, students who have not had access to good public education or to funds that pay for preparatory courses for those tests. We exclude those who, given the opportunity, will display their ability.
Finally, those who would eradicate affirmative action because it "stigmatizes" minorities have two flaws in their argument. Stigma is the product of racist attitudes that still persist today. As a result, killing affirmative action would do little, probably nothing, to ameliorate the stigmatization of minorities. Indeed, one wonders, even for the few whom affirmative action might arguably stigmatize: Would they feel better and achieve more being excluded from a good education entirely? That question ties into the second flaw in the "stigmatization" argument: Opponents rely on the exceptional case, not the rule. (Just as they tend to point to the minuscule number of failures rather than the many successes.) The majority of minorities strongly favor affirmative action because of the benefits and opportunities it affords.
I was attracted to Stanford precisely because of its affirmative action programs. Here was an institution that clearly recognized that some people enter life with different abilities and opportunities, and that standardized tests were not the only way to judge issues of character, creativity and intellectual promise. When I arrived on campus, I found there was no affirmative action in course selection or grading. I was expected to compete with my peers on an equal basis. I learned that success was not automatic. I got my bachelor's degree in three years and graduated with distinction. I spent my fourth year obtaining my master's degree, and giving serious thought to the next stages of life.
The experiences of many of my minority classmates is a ringing endorsement of affirmative action. Most came from families where the parents had not gone to college, and many were from single-parent households. Moreover, many went on to become successful doctors, lawyers and business leaders, and others are prominent school teachers, public servants and entrepreneurs.
It is my hope that one day we will no longer need affirmative action. As our society becomes more diverse, the need for specific programs aimed at targeted groups will obviously diminish. However, that time has not yet arrived. My two teenage children, who are both college bound, are far better qualified to navigate the educational waters than I was 25 years ago. Despite this laudable progress, they are still judged in everyday life, by race. They are constantly reminded by comments, innuendo and circumstances of their ethnicity precisely because we have not been able as a society to overcome the issues of race.
The affirmative action policies promoted by Stanford recognize that, for more than 300 years, African Americans were treated differently because of their race. The important efforts over the course of the past 30 years by government and private institutions have gone a considerable distance in facing up to this history. It will not take 300 years, or even 100 years, to address the sad legacy of our nation's past. We have made a lot of progress. This is no time to turn back.
Charles J. Ogletree Jr., '74, MA '75, is a professor at Harvard Law School and a member of the Stanford Board of Trustees.
AIIMS and non merit admissions May 25, 2006Posted by chella in AIIMS, Reservation.
NEW DELHI: The main grouse of AIIMS students – at the forefront of the stir against 27% reservation for OBCs – is that merit is being sacrificed at the altar of votebank politics. But they forget two things: 25% reservation that AIIMS graduates get in PG admission and the Supreme Court judgment of 2001 that declares the earlier system of 33% reservation for them bad in law.
In fact, the SC, while stating that 33% institutional reservation is "unconstitutional", agreed with the findings of the Delhi High Court, which had earlier set aside the reservation.
The HC had found that "AIIMS students, who had secured as low as 14% or 19% or 22% in the (all-India) entrance examination got admission to PG courses while SC or ST candidates could not secure admission in their 15% or 7% quota in PG courses, in spite of having obtained marks far higher than the in-house candidates of the institute." HC had analysed admission data over five years.
The apex court also agreed with the HC that the "figure of 33% reservation for in-house candidates was statistically so arrived at as to secure 100% reservation for AIIMS students. There were about 40 AIIMS candidates. The PG seats being 120, 33% thereof worked out to be 40." That meant all 40 AIIMS graduates were assured of PG seats.
Merit here was clearly being sacrificed, the study showed. For instance, in the January 1996 session, an AIIMS student with 46.167% marks – lowest for an AIIMS student that year – got PG admission.
However, an SC student with the same grades was admitted but denied coveted course such as obstetrics and gynaecology. The SC student got shunted to community while AIIMS students easily won berths in prestigious disciplines.
Twelve AIIMS candidates were selected even though they got less marks than the SC candidate who secured 60.33% marks. Similarly, 16 AIIMS students got admission to PG courses even though they got less marks than another ST student who got 62.16%.
Basing itself on this study, SC said, "Institutional reservation is not supported by the Constitution or constitutional principles." "A certain degree of preference for students of the same institution intended to prosecute further studies therein is permissible on grounds of convenience, suitability and familiarity with an educational environment," it added.
Preferences, the court said, had to be "reasonable and not excessive…Minimum standards cannot be so diluted as to become practically non-existent." In the similar vein, SC said, "It cannot be forgotten that the medical graduates of AIIMS are not 'sons of soil'. They are drawn from all over the country."
The court reasoned that these students had "no moorings in Delhi. They are neither backward nor weaker sections of society. Their achieving an all-India merit and entry in the premier institution of national importance should not bring in a brooding sense of complacence in them".
Extending the damning logic, the court said in preserving quotas for its own students, "the zeal for preserving excellence is lost. The students lose craving for learning."
Most of the Nadars, or Shanars as they were called sometimes, in the southern parts of Travancore were impoverished migrants from the areas of present Tirunelveli and Ramnad districts that lay to the east of the Travancore state. These poor migrants were members of the land-owning agricultural community which was well off in its native regions. The poor Nadars were driven into the parts of Travancore by famine and a hostile social condition in their native areas where they had come under increasing attacks by the Marava and Nayakka castes. The migrants were only economically weak while being socially at par with the Nairs of Travancore.
The struggle began when the Nairs, fully supported by the Namboodiri Brahmins and Pillais (VeLLALAs), began depriving the Nadars of their social status by imposing various caste codes on them. The Nadars, being new-comers and far less in numbers, initially submitted to the dictats of the ‘National Council of Pidagaikars’, the supreme caste council of the Nairs of Travancore which annually ‘reviewed’ the compliance of caste codes by various castes in the state and devised new codes to ‘maintain’ the caste hierarchy while supervising and reinforcing the existing practices—all, under the sanction of the rulers (who belonged to the Pillai caste) and the Namboodiris.
The codes imposed on the Nadars included the following: Nadars must remain 36 paces from a Namboodiri and 12 paces from a Nair. They should not carry an umbrella, or use foot-wear and remain bare-foot always. The wearing of golden ornaments was prohibited. No Nadar should build a house with more than one storey. They should pay an exorbitantly high annual poll-tax. The Nadar women should not carry water pots on the hip, as was the custom, but should carry it on their head instead, as a sign of subservience.
The ban on covering the breast was only one among these numerous ‘rules’. This was strictly implemented by the state officials, who were mostly Nairs, among the other similar restrictions. They went to the extent of stripping the Nadar women in public, when found guilty of wearing the ‘sari’ with its one end passing over the breasts.
It must be remembered that the Nadar women in the Tamil country wore the ‘sari’ covering the breasts just as the women of any other caste there. The Nadars were not used to such repressive practices in the regions where they lived prior to the migration into Travancore. Hence, the struggle was only inevitable, given the violent repression unleashed by the Nairs with the blessings of the rulers. It was a case of state terror.
That the missionaries sided with the numerically weak and impoverished Nadars was only a natural course any modern and humane persons would take to. There was no enmasse conversion of the Nadars to Christianity as Radhakrishna Warrier states. The percentage of Christians among the Nadars of this area, even today, is only about twenty, while the number of Christians among the Nairs and Vellalas is only close behind.
Moreover, branding the Nadars as very low in the caste hierarchy, as being lower than the Nairs, is also basically wrong. There was a large Nadar population in the Tamil country, in areas from Tirunelveli to Tiruchi and
Coimbatore. They were never known to be inferior to any other major caste in the region. They were in no way less equal to the Nairs of Kerala, though it is true that the migrant Nadars in Travancore were an economically weak and ‘yet to be naturalized’ group in the place of their domicile.
The migrant Nadars possessed no agricultural lands in their new home. They had become landless labourers. One occupation that a large number of them took up, in circumstances where there were no opportunities for better undertakings, was toddy tapping. Their counter-parts in the Tamil country were mostly a land-owning agricultural community that was also traditionally involved in mercantile activities. (Toddy tapping was the vocation of a section of all communities in their respective areas of domination. The Maravas, Vannias, Mudalis, Gounders, etc. did the toddy tapping themselves in the respective areas where they formed the majority of the population. It was not an exclusive craft of the Nadars.)
It may be recalled here that the Nairs were the backbone of Travancore’s administration as they formed the majority of the state’s officialdom. The police and army were made up of them. More importantly, they were among the ‘original inhabitants’ of the state juxtaposed to the ‘alien’ Tamil speaking Nadars. The rulers naturally sided with these numerically superior ‘locals’ who also formed the major portion of the population of the adjacent state of
Cochin and the other petty kingdoms on the western coast.
Language also played a significant role. The language of the state of Travancore was Malayalam, which was also the mother-tongue of the Nairs, Namboodiris and the Pillais, the three communities that allied against the newcomers who were Tamils. That the Nadars were required to pronounce the word ‘kOzhi’, etc. to ‘qualify’ to cross the border check-posts (a discriminatory visa rule?) was an insult since any migrating poor and unlettered people can not be expected to pronounce difficult words properly.
The story of the Nadars in nineteenth century Travancore state is one that clearly depicts how a section of a well civilized community is subjected to degrading and discriminatory suppression in its adopted home by a numerically and politically more powerful community of equal status that is driven by selfish economic and social policies.
The stigma of the Travancore suppression still remains. The Nadars are generally thought to be toddy tappers by others as a result of the large-scale adoption of that vocation by migrant Nadars in Travancore under repressive conditions during the eighteenth century.
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Sunday, May 21, 2006 (New Delhi):
A survey has found that at least 64 per cent people back reservations for OBCs in colleges and the private sector.
The poll by NDTV-MODE comes as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh completes his second year in office on Monday.
The full survey to be broadcast on NDTV shows that the call for reservation will increase support for Singh's government and his Congress party.
At the same time 57 per cent people said reservation was a political gimmick to win votes and 37 per cent disagreed.
Separately, 70 per cent of participants in the poll said Congress party's Rahul Gandhi should join the government and 23 per cent opposed the idea.
The survey over the past five days involved 4000 people in 15 states and Union Territories.
Presented At: United Nations World Conference Against Racism
Social Justice Retrieval Forum
India has been practicing Caste System for the last 2000 years. Hindu India is divided into 4 castes. Brahmins are the highest caste, they are the priestly caste. Then come the Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas
(traders), and lastly Sudras (menials). A fifth group the untouchables (numbering 200 million) lie outside the caste system.
This division of Hindu society was based on Caste laws first set out in the Manu Smriti (The Laws of Manu), dating to the third century. Men are supposed to be punished for sins of past lives by being consigned in low castes.
The untouchables were not allowed to enter the temples. Their touch was
considered a sin and it made a caste Hindu impure. Shockingly, even
their shadows were considered impure. This discrimination unlike Apartheid
is not based on the colour of skin or the race, but on the caste into
which one is born. Untouchables are treated inhumanly worse than
Brahmins, (priestly class) are considered supreme and education became
their property. The Sudras and untouchables were denied education. If a
Sudra happened to listen to Hindu treatises cruel, inhuman punishments
like pouring molten tin in the ear were meted out.
Because of centuries of persecution of the untouchables under Brahmin
tyranny, when India attained independence (1947), the father of Indian
Constitution, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, made a provision for reservation in
all Governmental positions and educational institutes to ensure that
Untouchables and tribes (also known as Scheduled Castes /Scheduled Tribes)
were adequately represented.
The 'untouchables' prefer to be known as "Dalit" for it means broken,
crushed, destroyed and it represents the position of untouchables and
tribes. We use the word Dalit in the leaflet.
As per the constitutional right of reservation, Dalits are entitled to
obtain 22.5% of the vacancies in State postings & admissions to courses
of study. This percentage tallies with percentage of Dalits in the
Brahmins have monopolized entire educational sector in India. The
Brahmin caste forms only 3% of India's population but it occupies all top
scholastic & legislative positions. They deny the Dalits even basic
In this pamphlet, we bring out the plights of the Dalits and the
various harassments they face in one of the premier educational institute in
India- The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were established in 1959 for
the purpose of providing higher technological education of world
standards to the poor downtrodden students, who couldn't afford to study
abroad. The institutes are in the cities of Bombay, Delhi, Gawhati, Kanpur,
Kharaghpur, and Madras.
Indian Institutes of Technology are declared under the Parliament of
India (Act 59 of 1961) as Institutes of National Importance. These six
institutes totally get an annual grant of Rs.9000 crores from the Indian
Government (approx. US $ 2000 million), yet sadly these funds are not
utilized for the benefit of the downtrodden.
Even these top institutes have not been spared from the disaster of the
caste system. The institute at present does not implement the
reservation policy for the Dalits. The reason for this vindictive flouting of
social justice norms is the Brahmin domination in the administration and
teaching at the institute.
In the IIT Madras, out of 427 faculty members (teaching staff) only 2
faculty members belong to the Dalit community. Both these members only
belong to the lower cadre. Also, this means that instead of 22.5% of
positions being allotted to Dalits only 0.4% reservation is being given.
If the proper process of reservation is followed there should be 96
Dalit faculty members.
Also, although Muslims form about 15% of the Indian population there is
not a single Muslim faculty member in the Institute. There are only a
handful of Christian faculty members.
Around 400 faculty members belong to the Brahmin community. This means
that the Brahmins occupy 93% of the teaching community in the institute
although their percentage in population is only 3%. About 15 faculty
members belong to other Hindu castes apart from Dalits or Brahmins.
The selection to the B.Tech degree is based on an All India Level
Entrance test called the JEE (Joint Entrance Examination), which is held
commonly for the 6 IITs.
Discrimination against the Dalits begins at the stage of applying
itself. The Dalit students are issued coloured application forms whereas
other students are always given white coloured forms. This year the
application forms given to Dalit students were pink in color and last year it
was green. This is a shocking case of modern day apartheid, and a
greater shock is that the answer sheets of Dalit students are also coloured.
This year (2001), 537 students were selected to join B.Tech in IIT
Madras. Of these 503 students belong to the general category and only 34
students belong to the Dalit community. Instead of 22.5% reservation
eligible to Dalits only 6.3% is being filled up. If reservation is properly
implemented there should be 121 Dalit students in B.Tech course.
Only a handful of the Dalit students who clear the Joint Entrance Exam
are allowed to join the Institute and some of them are forced to take a
one year training called Preparatory Course and they are taught school
portions once more. The institute then conducts internal exams, and a
few of them are selected to join the institute & are made a year junior
to upper caste classmates Conducting of Preparatory Courses only to
Dalit students is violative of Right to Equality and is a highly
Dalit students selected for the B.Tech are continuously harassed & they
are wantonly failed in courses by Brahmin faculty. This is facilitated
because student's caste is mentioned in the roll call given to Faculty
members. Very few Dalit students are allowed to complete their B.Tech
degree and many discontinue. Dalit students are entirely denied
admissions to other programs like M.Tech, M.S. & Ph.D.
In the Department of Mathematics, IIT Madras, till 1998 no Dalit
student had been selected for the Ph.D. program. Despite appearing twice for
interview a Dalit student Mr.S.R.Kannan was not selected. For selecting
him Dr. (Mrs.) Vasantha Kandasamy, an Associate Professor of the
Department had to appeal to various social justice forums to see that he was
selected. Till date he is yet to be allotted an office room in the
Dr. Vasantha fought for the Dalit scholar, so she is harassed in all
possible ways. She was selected as Associate Professor in 1996, but she
is denied her right salary. Despite being a highly qualified
mathematician having published over 350 research papers in journals & conferences,
she is discriminated because she is espousing the cause of Dalit
education. She has guided 11 students for their doctoral program – Ph.D.
In an effort to put a stop-gap to the Dalit movement the IIT Madras
administration is victimizing Dr. Vasantha. She has sent over 62 letters
of appeal to the Indian Government to do justice but no action has been
taken. So, Dr. Vasantha will be directly approaching the United Nations
Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
Over 200 cases are pending in Honorable Courts in Madras against
Director, IIT Madras, for the past five years & some of these cases are
regarding denial of reservation for Dalits.
Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam and Dalit Panthers of India along
with 21 other Dalit organizations have formed a Social Justice Retrieval
Forum and are fighting for the rights of Dalits and reservation policy
in Indian Institute of Technology IIT, Madras.
We pray to the International Forum of WCAR to support the cause of
Dalit Education in IITs, and recruitment of Dalit Teachers in IITs and
include the same in your agenda.
IITS: DOING MANU PROUD May 20, 2006Posted by chella in IIT, Reservation.
Dalit Media Network
Nandanar, a dalit rebel-activist of the bhakti period, sought access to
the Shivaloganadar temple in Tiruppungur and the Nataraja temple in
Chidambaram, to which the 'untouchable' Pulaiyars provided hereditary
services (supplying leather for percussion instruments). For this, the
brahman clergy derided him. The Tamil saivite tradition went on to
appropriate the political resistance of Nandanar in the great hindu habit of
'assimilation'. In Sekkizhar's Peiryapuranam, a 12th century saivite
hagiography, the dalit martyr is made to undergo a 'conversion' – he gains
access to worship only after his caste-oppressed pulaiya body is
purified' by the sacrificial fire, and lo! he then emerges as a brahman sage
– tuft, caste thread and all. Siva is shown to accept the dalit after
he undergoes a trial-by-fire. In reality, Nandanar was burnt to death.
Incinerated. Today, many dalit students at the Indian Institutes of
Technology have to survive a 'Preparatory Course' fire and come out
unscathed if they have to do BTech. Not much has changed. The dalits fought
for temple-entry; today they fight for entry into IITs – temples of
The IITs, like the peethas of Adi Shankara, are established in
different parts of A-k-h-a-n-d Bharat – even Guwahati has one (though the
Kaladi revivalist would not have reckoned with hindu colonialism in the
northeastern belt). The brahmans zealously guard both these institutions.
They would not have a dalit as Shankaracharya. 'Purity' has to be
maintained. Nor do they want a dalit instructor at an IIT. 'Merit' cannot be
compromised. The IITs are quite like the romanticised gurukulas/ vedic
pathasalas where most nonbrahmans, women, dalits and adivasis were/are
not allowed. Merit in this country gets reduced to clinging to
something for centuries and denying the same to others.
The institute admits students purely on the basis of merit.
IIT-Madras, Handbook 1999
Imagine a student of law, history or engineering being told to undergo
an extra year of a 'Preparatory Course', pass it, and then get to the
usual two- or four-year term, because she happens to be dalit. Consider
this happening in Nagpur University or Osmania or Annamalai. Or
Jawaharlal Nehru University. But this does not, would not, happen in these
places. It happens only in the Indian Institutes of Technology; in their
BTech courses. Many dalits and adivasis who get admitted into IITs are
'counselled' into first attending, and then passing, a Preparatory
Course. IITs were not required to implement reservation for students till
1973. When they were forced to, they did it most reluctantly, adding
riders – cut-off mark, prep course.
At the outset, dalit and adivasi students have to submit coloured
application forms for the Joint Entrance Examination, JEE. (For JEE-2000,
the colour was pink.) They are then given coloured answer sheets as well,
while 'others' get plain white ones. Defenders of the system argue:
This is fair enough. How else do you identify the applicants and fill the
quota? Dalits and adivasis have to write their names on the
answer-sheets, unlike 'others'. With mere roll numbers and uncoloured sheets,
professors would not be able to establish whose papers they are correcting.
The Preparatory Course – meant to 'uplift', not empower – is informed
by very gandhian perceptions of what the disprivileged need. Much of the
Preparatory Course is a revision of Class XI-XII syllabus. 'Their
basics are poor, you see. Bad schools. Poor English. They can't cope.' Since
IITs grossly violate the provision for affirmative action in faculty
positions as well, dalit and adivasi students are taught the Preparatory
Course by (mostly) hostile caste-hindu teachers. Such unabashed
discrimination is not practised at any other engineering, medicine or
humanities course in the country. Which is why, it is argued, IITs are a cut
above the rest. And a dalit or adivasi, if she fails – or is made to fail
– the Preparatory Course, has to forfeit her seat. One whole year is
lost. They must start all over; try their luck elsewhere – if they have
been able to salvage any selfrespect, stamina. There is a case here for
the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act (1989). A person is punishable
under Section 3(1)(x) of the Act if he "intentionally insults or
intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a
Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view". In IITs – a public place –
a dalit student is insulted, intimidated and humiliated. This is also
violation of Article 14 of the constitution.
But a leading English language magazine has another story to tell.
'These six engineering schools are perhaps the only truly free and fair
centres of learning in India' (Outlook, 29 May 2000). The brahman-baniya
controlled media pays gushing tributes paid to IITs, and the civil
society is indifferent to what really happens on these campuses to dalits,
adivasis and women. In Chennai, of course, the IIT stands newly, and
more aptly, abbreviated: Iyer-Iyengar Technology.
The faculty of 427 at IIT-M has only 2 dalits; and they have made it
without positive discrimination. According to Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam,
a non-electoral activist organisation which seeks to combine E V
Ramasamy Periyar's ideology with Dr B R Ambedkar's, and has been spearheading
the campaign on this issue since March 2000, the institute does not
have a single Muslim faculty; there are 20-odd OBCs. (At the time of
writing, in a tactful move, a dalit was appointed registrar of IIT-M. He has
a poor record in his previous assignment and has only 18 months of
service left; moreover, in IIT-M, the Dean-Administration is more powerful
and the registrar does not command the same status as in other
universities.) According to the management of this 41-year-old institute, IITs
have been 'exempted' by the government of India from implementing the
22.5 per cent quota for dalits and adivasis in faculty positions. The
Public Relations Officer, Pattabhiraman, says the reservation policy
needs to be followed only when the basic pay for the lowest post is less
than Rs 8,000. 'That would be the case when you start as a lecturer; in
IITs we follow a different cadre system where you start as an Assistant
Professor with a higher basic. So no quotas need to be filled. That is
the government rule. Even the Mandal Commission says so.' Asked if this
is not violative of constitutional provisions and if he could show the
relevant 'government rules' that imply this exemption, Pattabhiraman
just insists they are following the rules.
Sujee Teppal, an adivasi student who topped the Andhra Pradesh common
entrance test (EAMCET) for engineering in her category, was keen on a
BTech from IIT. At IIT-M, she was asked to take the Preparatory Course
route. At the end of it, she was failed in one subject, Physics. (Her
Class-XII Maths-Physics-Chemistry average was 94 per cent; she had a
centum in Class XI Physics.) After the issue was taken up by the Periyar
Dravidar Kazhagam, and the subsequent coverage in the local press – which
got interested, typically, after Sujee attempted suicide – and
following a directive from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes (dated 8 July 2000), the IIT management tried to cover
its tracks, conducted another test for Sujee and other dalits-adivasis
who were failed along with her, and cleared some of them for BTech. A
much-harassed Sujee has now been assured of direct admission into MTech
(without having to clear GATE) by the management. First, you are
humiliated; then your silence is bought. Several dalit employees have been
similarly gagged. Says an employee denied promotions and increments for his
outspoken views, 'The management plays one dalit against another,
sometimes showering petty favours on one group, manipulating resistance.'
The IIT-M director, R Natarajan, offers a different rationale. 'IIT
faculties do not have to follow the reservation provision just like the
defence, space and medical super specialities sectors. We follow it only
for one cadre, Scientific Officer, which has a low basic of Rs 2,200.'
Even the usual excuse – 'we do not get qualified, meritorious dalit
candidates' – is not offered; total exemption from affirmative action is
claimed. For student intake, the director and his deputy, C R
Muthukrishnan, maintain that they implement the quota, whatever be their
'personal views about the lower cut-off mark' and the quota system as such.
Does any other university in the country which awards an engineering
degree have this concept of a Preparatory Course? Unlikely, says Natarajan.
For faculty posts, the PRO and director explain how at the bottom of
the employment notice, the fine print says: 'All things being equal,
preference will be given to SC/ST candidates.' And all things not being
equal, this preference rarely ever happens. The probability at IIT-M:
2/427. In IIT-Bombay, the management is more straightforward and unabashed.
According to a recent report, 'IIT-Powai does not have any Dalit
teaching staff, even though 22.5 per cent of posts are reserved for them.
Faculty members feel that the 'IIT's standards will be compromised if
reservations in this area are implemented,' says a faculty member, with
pride' (Indian Express, Mumbai, 12 Nov, 2000).
It is not a glass ceiling that dalits, adivasis and women (who have no
protective discrimination whatsoever) in IITs have to reckon with. It
is a solid, rusty, iron ceiling. And it is so low, you constantly hurt
your head even when you walk half-bent. The IIT establishment justifies
the policy of non-implementation of affirmative action without
realising the social significance of having dalits and adivasis in faculty
positions. The need for reservation and a rejection of the brahmanical
'merit-alone' theory has been beautifully articulated by Devanesan Nesiah
in his comparative study of affirmative action in the United States,
India and Malaysia (Discrimination with Reason? 1997).
Even in respect of jobs for which recruitment is on merit, as measured
in terms of specified qualifications, there may be justification for
reverse discrimination resting on efficiency criteria alone. For example,
a Black, Dalit, or woman student might find it easier to establish
rapport with, and learn better from, a teacher of the same category.
Further, such a person could serve as a role model, and inspire and motivate
others of that category, helping to augment the pool of human
resources. Moreover, enrolling a member of a minority group into the management
can help to broaden the network of contacts, resulting in increased
efficiency in respect of further recruitment and various other
transactions. Affirmative action may be the only feasible way, initially, to
breach the barriers either on account of prejudice or the narrow
self-interest of a closed network. Another factor may be diversity, which could
bring substantial benefit to the entire community. Thus selection based
on 'merit' alone may be inefficient … Clearly, the 'merit' criterion
is not an inherently 'fair' basis of distribution of rewards, since it
may depend less on effort and more on genetic and other factors over
which the individual may have no control. That the merit criterion
benefits the clever is, in itself, no reason to adopt it (Nesiah 1997, 288,
The government obviously has decided to look the other way when the
IITs flout constitutional provisions. All the six IITs in the country –
and this is likely to be true of other elite institutions such as the
Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Science – given
that they are perceived to be 'highly specialised apex institutions and
centres of excellence for higher education in engineering and
technology' (Chitnis cited in Kirpal 1999), seem to be getting away with not
observing the rules of the game. These institutions depend on heavy
subsidy – the annual central assistance to the six IITs amounts to about Rs
499.18 crores (Government of India, 2000, 125), IIT-M receiving Rs 88.64
crore this year – but do not implement reservation. This is not
surprising given that even for student intake the IITs, unlike almost all
other government-run educational institutions, were exempt from
implementing the dalit and adivasi quota till as late as 1973 (Viney Kirpal and
Meenakshi Gupta 1999 23, 31). When this was done as per the Chandy
Committee recommendations (1972), which specified that the Scheduled Castes
and Scheduled Tribes be taken into IITs 'down to the zero mark at the
Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)' (31), the results were 'disastrous'.
Most of the first batch of dalit and adivasi students found it extremely
difficult to cope at the IIT and were failed or forced to drop out.
Hence, 'the system of a two-thirds cut-off point at the JEE as the more
reasonable alternative' was suggested in 1977. 'In 1978 all the IITs
adopted the system which continues to be used till today' (32). In 1983,
the Preparatory Course was conceived, thus further blocking the prospects
of dalits/adivasis. How dalit and adivasi students make it to these
discriminatory institutes of learning is a unique process that needs
On direction from the Union Government, SC and ST students scoring upto
two-thirds of the marks obtained by the last GE [general category]
student on the merit list [sic] in the JEE are directly taken into the
first year of the BTech programme, under the reservations scheme. Students
who score below the two-third JEE cut-off point and "x" marks are
assigned to the Preparatory Course where they are given one year's rigorous
training. On obtaining a certain percentage of marks in Physics,
Chemistry, Mathematics and English at the end of the year, they are
registered for the First year of BTech, failing which they are asked to leave so
that they may join some other college. The SC/ST students may pass the
programme with a reduced number of credits, i.e., 22 credits per
semester as compared to 28 credits for the GE students. Nonetheless, to earn
the BTech degree, they have to complete the total number of credits
common for all (categories of students). The unique aspect of reservations
in IITs is the total absence of compromised standards (such as grace
marks awarded to SC and ST students). The concessions offered end with
the reduced cut-off point at entry, the reduced course load during the
semester and the six years (against the five for GE students) to complete
the four-year BTech programme. The degree awarded is on a par with the
GE students (Kirpal and Gupta, 36, emphases added).
The study, Equality Through Reservations, by Viney Kirpal and Meenakshi
Gupta – both have taught Humanities at IIT, Bombay – is based on data
collected from IIT students belonging to batches beginning 1989 to 1992.
It says, 'During the period of data collection, there were
approximately 5,868 general category students and 616 SC and ST students in the
IITs' (49). Percentage-wise, this works out to 10.49 dalit and adivasi
students out of the total intake – less than half the quota is being
'filled'. Though awash with statistics of all kind, this book, devoted to
examining reservation in IITs, does not bother to work out this
all-important figure which amounts to flouting the reservation norm. Nor does
the Viney-Meenakshi effort tell us one word about the status of
reservation at the faculty level. The authors, while admittedly concerned with
how best the disprivileged students can 'integrate' with the
'mainstream' at IIT, are not even alive to the inherent discrimination wrought
into the idea of a prep course. They do not see any moral turpitude in the
very premise that some dalits and adivasis must undertake an extra year
of study (but then they do not see caste as immoral, vulgar); it does
not occur to them that such discrimination is not institutionalised
anywhere else; nor are they alive to the absence of dalits and adivasis on
faculties, and this affecting the social balance in IITs. To top it
all, they use the term 'merit list' while referring to nondalit students,
reinforcing postMandal notions of 'merit' being the prerogative of
caste hindus (they are born with it, they always-already have it);
something that is deemed to be unforgivably compromised, and even essentially
absent, among persons who avail of affirmative action.
Most caste hindus spoken to express the opinion that it is good that
IITs do not take the reservation provision seriously; this enables them
to maintain 'standards', unlike other institutions. And since they are
'forced' to take some dalit and adivasi students, at least the
Preparatory Course hurdle must be cleared. The Bombay Indian Express reporter
who, briefed by the Dalit Media Network about the situation in
IIT-Madras, filed a report ('Dalit Quota Opens Doors But Reservations Remain',
quoted earlier) on the problems faced by dalits and adivasis in
IIT-Powai, conveyed to us excerpts of a conversation in the reporters' desk. 'I
wish you had got your facts right about the IIT piece. These people you
are defending are dumb fucks who should be where they are. You don't
know how many deserving students [as always, the case of some relation is
cited] don't get in because of these duffers.' This would be a
representative brahmanical response to any 'debate' on atrocities in the IITs,
or on the subject of 'reservation' as such.
A fact is most dalit and adivasi students who make it to the IITs have
internalised the logic of the Preparatory Course. A typical
rationalisation goes: 'Look, they are not protesting… take a survey, and they
all want the Preparatory Course without which they would feel further
alienated.' Meenakshi and Viney reinforce this opinion, 'Of those who
attended the Preparatory Course, 75 per cent felt that the Course had been
helpful' (83). Seventeen-year-old dalits, who are within knocking
distance of a BTech from an IIT, cannot be expected to reject the
Preparatory Course as discriminatory. They might not be in a position to see the
politics of it; and even if they do, it would prove personally too
costly to act on such injustices. It is a classic case of saying the victim
loves the physical or epistemic violence s/he is subjected to, when
forcefully extracted tolerance of such violence is made a precondition to
some material gain (in the IIT context, a BTech). We must realise that
they are being forced to record consent/ approval of their humiliation;
they internalise the logic that making it to an IIT matters most, even
if it means an extra year and dirty looks from caste-hindu students for
the 'lower cut-off mark'. In IIT-M, there have been cases where some
dalit/ adivasi students have been coaxed by the management to opt out of
the BTech because of their 'poor grades/ nonperformace' in return for
diploma certificates, or sometimes, a BSc degree. Here too, the
management argues that 'some degree' in the case of dalits would be better than
'being stuck doing BTech forever'. And since there is no academic audit
in IITs, decisions of the all-powerful senate and the director's whim
go unquestioned. This is academic and intellectual terrorism. Would our
dalit and adivasi MLAs/MPs take it if told that they – but not other
MPs – have to undergo a training course, similar to the IIT Preparatory
Course, before they attended parliament?
One basic anomaly is overlooked. If for 25 years IITs have been
implementing reservation for students, why is it that hardly any dalits and
adivasis hold faculty positions? Technically, the IITs want to show that
they are indeed satisfying the dalit/adivasi need to be part of what is
an elite setup at the student level, but in effect they are producing
(dalit and adivasi) technologists and engineers who will not be
recruited by these very institutions. However, in lower-end posts, ('Class IV'
employees), the scenario is predictably the opposite. In 1983, there
were in all 800 dalit employees in IIT-M. Of these, 796 were scavengers.
Here the brahmans stake/d no claim. There were four dalit LDCs. ('Caste
system is not merely a division of labour. It is also a division of
labourers' [Ambedkar 1987, 66, emphasis original].) Reservation norms were
being overlooked even for non-faculty posts till a Suraj Bhan-led
delegation of dalit and adivasi MPs – that materialised at the behest of a
dalit employee in IIT-M – enquired into the situation that year. The
director then was the now-Padmashreed P V Indiresan. And his views?
'Higher education is, and has to be, elitist… admit only those students who
can cope with global standards in science and recruit only those
teachers who have an international reputation for research… Both the
Constitution and our politicians prohibit any institution from exercising
academic freedom' (Outlook 23 Oct, 2000, emphases added). Indiresan,
well-known for his anti-reservation line, has been particularly belligerent
in the postMandal phase (for which the present government has bestowed
on him a padma award). Says T Jayaraman of the Tamilnadu Science Forum,
'From media reports, it is clear that there is strong resistance to
reservation in IITs. The extraordinary attack launched on the reservation
policy by an IIT director (P V Indiresan), in the presence of the
President of the country (Zail Singh) during a convocation ceremony, for
which he did not even receive a reprimand/ reminder that affirmative
action was a constitutional guarantee, reflects the situation in these
institutes… such views stoke the perception that there is a real
contradiction between reservation and 'merit', instead of arguing that in a
country with a long history of discrimination based on caste, 'merit' must
be suitably tied to justice, equality and affirmative action.'
Jayaraman, a professor at the MatScience Institute, Chennai, is also of the
view that IITs, by never having made a serious effort to identify dalits
who are meritorious and recruit them in the faculty, give credence to
the counterposing of 'merit' against reservation, and this amounts to an
attack on the reservation policy itself.
M S Swaminathan, who by running an institute that takes his own name
has made an institution of himself, is a former chairperson of
IIT-Madras. On being contacted, he refused comment on the antidalit atmosphere
prevalent in IITs, saying he was no longer associated with the institute.
But he did say, 'Any questions on agriculture, I will answer.'
At a time when the IIT establishment (in Chennai) was being attacked by
dalit and OBC groups – for not implementing reservation on the faculty,
and ill-treating/ harassing dalit and adivasi students – Outlook
featured a panegyric which began: 'What was Jawaharlal Nehru's greatest gift
to the nation? … what is the one unimpeachably visionary,
unquestionably positive thing that he left us, something for which we should be
grateful to him? A radical thought, but worth considering: Nehru's
greatest gift to his nation was the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
And the world seems to agree' (Outlook 29 May, 1999).
But we do not.
Outlook's cover story, 'Doing India Proud', highlighted the
'achievements' of several 'IITians' ? needless to say those of men, mostly caste
hindu; and amidst all the recent hype about information technology, most
'achievers' were those who had emigrated to the US as computer and
technology coolies. The feature shows how casteist and sexist lies when
garnished with bias can assume the taste of truth. In a nation where
specific subcastes within dalits are forced to continue to carry caste-hindu
shit on their heads and enter overflowing sewers, the IITs perpetrate a
caste culture which would have pleased a Manu, who proscribed the Book
for the OBC-sudras, dalit-untouchables and women (who together account
for about 90 per cent of 'hindu' population). The non-implementation of
reservation in IITs is something that is welcomed even in 'progressive'
circles. 'No dilution of merit here please; at least spare these
institutions.' The issue is sought to be swept under the 'merit' carpet. The
merit carpet takes flight. Sitting on it are caste hindus. A brahman
steers it. But who made the carpet? Who wove it, made patterns on it? And
where are they?
The result: IITs remain virtual brahman monopolies; modern agraharams.
And they are supposed to be doing India proud. We would rather believe
that the contribution of IITians is the same as a brahman-dominated
game like cricket. Both give the caste-hindu middle class a falsified
sense of achievement.
Genderwise, the IITs fare even worse. Sandipan Dep, deputy editor with
Outlook: 'What was my IIT education all about? It was about IITians:
400 academically exceptional boys (and 12 girls) on a campus…' The
girls come in parenthesis. It's all about boys. Despite all those headlines
and reports we have seen for years about girls doing better than boys
in Class X, Class XII and other state and central board school exams, it
is (mostly caste hindu) boys who have enough 'merit' to enter the IITs.
And the few girls who make it must prove themselves male enough. 'From
one coast to another, women engineering students have shared their
relief on being accepted by the men in engineering as one of the guys'
(Sally Hacker 1989, 49).
Some letters responding to the Outlook feature raised the issue of
nonrepresentation of women. 'I was horrified to see not a woman mentioned
in your entire story. Forget the alumni, even the on-campus photos
didn't feature any women. Is your outlook so biased?' Another asked, 'Are
all IITians men?' (Outlook 12 June, 2000). According to the news report
cited earlier with reference to IIT-Mumbai, '(T)he situation for women
students remains dismal, with less than 200 among the almost 3,000
students in the bachelor's and master's programmes. For Dalit girls, things
are even more bleak. The first Dalit girls, numbering all of three,
were admitted in 1997. Since then, their number has increased by one every
year' (Indian Express, Mumbai, 12 June 2000).
One of the few dalit girls doing BTech in Mumbai is says, 'If you are
in a coveted department like Computer Science and Engineering, the guys
wonder aloud how a woman could get through and if they know you are a
cata student, there is an audible 'ohh' which seems to answer their
question.' ('Cata student' is caste-hindu IIT lingo for those who make it
using affirmative action. In IITs, as in other campuses in our country,
dalits tend to be allotted only dalit room-mates; dalits also do not
figure in IITs' famed alumni associations.)
The problem is not just with the IITs, which merely represent the
perverse culmination of a larger social bias ingrained in our education
system; our anti-dalit, pro-caste, gender-insensitive syllabi which tend to
reinforce existing hierarchies. A system that allows most IITians to
take the first flight to the US after completing their BTech. A system
that privileges the privileged, and even pays Rs 500 crores per year for
it. The 1999-2000 Union Bugdet accounts for Rs 4380 crores (revised) on
'secondary and higher education' (Government of India 2000). Of this,
Rs 499.18 crores went towards the six IITs. This works out to 11.4 % of
the total expenditure in this sector. (This figure does not include
what is spent on subsidising the general tuition, exam, hostel fee etc –
about Rs 15,000 per year per BTech student (IIT-Madras Handbook 1999),
insignificant compared to what private engineering colleges charge.)
After spending/ subsidising so heavily, 'India' seems to gain nothing.
'The take-home package for campus recruits ranges from Rs 4.5 lakhs to 7.5
lakhs per annum plus other perks' (The Times of India, Delhi, 12 Nov,
2000). And whom do they serve? The frontpaged ToI report gushingly
begins: 'The Americans want them. So do the Koreans, Japanese, Singaporeans,
Germans, Canadians and the French.' Even from a purely investment point
of view, the IITs seem nonviable. If the IITs are to have any social
value to the country which foots their bill, there must be an effort to
completely overhaul them and cast them anew.
Admittedly, the IITs are fashioned after the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) and the California Institute of Technology (CALTEC)
(Kirpal, Gupta 68). And it shows. The result is communities which have
dealt with leather for centuries – who perhaps can be reckoned with as
the first technologists of this country, who knew how to turn animal hide
into beautiful bags and shoes, and for which reason were treated as
'untouchable' (Kancha Ilaiah 1996) – would rarely ever make it to these
IITs. These institutions are not meant for them.
At IIT Guwahati, where 'every hostel room has an Internet connection'
the BTech, Design, course is adapting to 'local conditions'. And how?
Says Sudhakar Nadkarni, head of the department: "In years to come, this
will be the course to apply for." Nadkarni is adapting the design
course to local conditions too. Bamboo and cane craft for instance. "We get
master craftsmen from the northeastern states who impart training to
our students who then try to adapt the designs through mechanisation," he
says. Top technology meets native Indian talent. That's the way, one
suspects, Nehru envisioned the IITs to be (Outlook 29 May, 2000).
But will these craftspersons from 'northeastern states', in all
probability adivasis, ever make it to these IITs either as faculty or
students? What will be the 'merit' of privileged, elite male students from
across the country in comparison to the 'merit' of the nameless adivasis
who weave magic on bamboo? And what is the IIT student up to here? These
technobrats will computerise traditional adivasi designs using CAD/CAM.
Will the craftspersons at least be termed 'visiting faculty'? Will any
settlement be paid? And will that do?
Dalit and OBC intellectuals have pointed out how the equivalents of
today's engineers and technologists in India hail from what would be
dalit, shudra and adivasi groups. The lohars (smithies) who deal/t with
metal; the dalits who deal/t with leather; the potmakers and toddy-tappers,
the sculptors, ropemakers, and boat/ship-makers…; the aboriginal
adivasis who found cures in herbs for which swadeshis and videshis are
today vying for patents; the yadava women and men who domesticated wild
buffaloes, milched them, made butter, ghee (which basically fattened
brah-man stomachs); gardeners and tillers… all came from subaltern groups.
A brahman, of course, discovered the zero. But today, IIT-M has seen
only brahman directors – P V Indiresan, L S Srinath, N V C Swamy, R
Natarajan – in the last 20 years. The chairpersons of this institute also
tend to be brahmans – U R Rao, M S Swaminathan, Kasturi Rangan.
Technology has been brahmanised. The tussle for the top slot, it seems, is
between kannadiga brahmans and tamil brahmans at that. Caste struggle.
The Central Leather Research Institute in Chennai, which neighbours the
IIT, is headed by a nondalit; a brahman in fact. Caste hindus dominate
the place. Traditionally, most caste hindus kept away from leather –
they still do. Now, brahmans-as-technologists can take charge of CLRI,
but would do never get their hands 'soiled' tanning leather themselves.
The brahmanical scriptures lay down that to touch leather would pollute;
only dalits are to do leatherwork. Today, the research agenda on
leather is decided by nondalits; people who never treated leather but
treated, and treat, leather-workers as 'untouchable'.
A note on my incursions into IIT-Madras. As a nondalit, outsider trying
to listen to and gather the stories of dalits – students, faculty and
other staff – I was aware of the politics of power inherent in such
situations. Forcing oneself on dalits in IIT-M, who on occasions had to be
coaxed into believing our 'good intentions', was difficult. In most
cases, there is great personal risk for the dalits who open up. Two
lower-end staff members were penalised by the management for allegedly
sticking up PDK's anti-IIT posters (condemning the 'brahman durbar in IIT')
on the campus. A faculty member was quickly stripped of his 'additional
responsibility' as SC/ST Liaison Officer when he refused to
deny/condemn, as demanded by the management, the contents of a pamphlet that
denounced the antidalit atmosphere in IIT-M. An employee, who was associated
with the first Dalit Employees Association, and at whose behest a
delegation of dalit MPs visited IIT-M to enquire into the problems faced by
dalits, is willing to tell it all because he has less than two years of
service left, and thinks he has nothing to gain or lose (though he
grins: 'Maybe they will delay/ deny me my retirement benefits'). Most
others – 2 faculty members, students who are most keen on wringing a BTech
out of this scary place – are terrorised into silence; breaking which
would mean jeopardising their already vulnerable position. 'Once you
enter this place, the rest of your energies are devoted towards survival.
To fight these people is unimaginable,' says a dalit employee who
avoided campus accommodation because 'the place stinks. They have constructed
two temples here. And you must see all the brahmans gang up on Thursday
or Fridays, flaunting their caste threads and chanting some vedic and
Gita nonsense. It is most offensive and communal.' One or two persons
speak, requesting anonymity. 'But what will come of your effort? Suppose
you publish all this, would things at IIT change? You will come, talk,
write and go… we have to continue to live/study on this campus, face
the same set of hostile lecturers/ management. Eventually, your booklet
will reach the hands of the management; in no time they will figure out
who would have spoken out… and they will make life worse than what it
already is for us. For all of us. It is like what happens in villages.
One dalit would have 'offended' the caste hindus by sitting and sipping
tea before them; and if he did not repent the crime, the entire dalit
community would face a social boycott. Some non-IIT people would perhaps
come to know of what happens in these institutions. But they can do
nothing about it. Nothing will change here.'
Outside the CLRI gate, a dalit-arundhatiyar sits and waits for work.
The CLRI takes 'pity' and organises occasional workshops for those who
traditionally deal(t) with leather – arundhathiyars, madigas, chamars….
It seems the CLRI is accessible to all 'traditional groups' dealing
with leather and is quick to arrange for them an interface with latest
technology. (A colleague whose brahman father holds a managerial post in a
Jharkhand mine, says he knows of only one adivasi who holds a top
management post in the firm. Most adivasis work as diggers. And Jharkhand
has a predominant adivasi population.)
In Australia, the settler whites are at least saying 'sorry' to the
'stolen generation'. And an aborigine wins a gold medal in Olympics. In
the US, there is a public discourse against racism, though discrimination
continues. But 'hindu' India, despite putting in place theoretical
guarantees in the constitution, continues to treat its aboriginals most
shabbily, and no questions are asked. In the name of 'merit'; in the name
Some larger questions remain, irrespective of whether we get the IITs
to respect constitutional provisions on reservation and equality or not.
In all likeliness, since the very basis of technology in these
institutions is brahmanical and pseudoscientific, even those few dalits who
make it to these places, in the process of surviving and emerging
successfully out of them, are likely to imbibe/adopt values which would
alienate them from their own backgrounds. (It is like getting dalits to live
in an agraharam for four to five years, and then letting them out.)
IITs, in their present shape, are likely to produce dalit technologists who
would be constantly looked down upon by the brahmanical group, and who
may want to dissociate themselves from commitment to any subaltern
cause. Caught in a double-bind, they stand doubly alienated. IITs embody a
hazardous combination of the worst of western capitalist-driven
technology's social insensitivity and the worst of the local caste system –
the only aspect of postAryan culture that has survived, in one form or
the other, for 3000-odd years. And casteism in IITs is only a reflection,
or an extension, of what is the larger reality in our caste-driven
society, where those who benefit most (the caste hindus) by retaining caste
tend to see casteism only in the form affirmative action – reservation
– for dalits, adivasis. 'The country has gone to the dogs because of
reservation,' some retired brahman settled (thanks to an IITian son) in
Illinois would lament in a letter to The Hindu.
So, what do we do with the IITs? Can they be reformed, made to change
their agenda, mend their ways? Can IITians forced to be more accountable
to the nation which subsidises them? Would that be practicable? And
what about rewriting and radicalising the very premise of 'technology' to
render it more gender- and dalit-sensitive? That would of course mean a
long haul, starting with recasting school curriculum where we need to
initiate an anticaste discourse and combine it with respect for and
dignity of labour. (During the antiMandal agitation, caste-hindu students
mockingly polished shoes – with utter disregard for people who depend on
such labour for livelihood – mourning the 'death of merit'. They were
merely expressing contempt for such work; these were just photo-ops.
Even if it comes to remaining unemployed, caste hindus would think it
below their dignity to consider shining or mending shoes. They merely
wanted to convey that such jobs are not meant for people who have 'merit'.
The meritocrats would rather be underpaid in sweatless jobs than sweat
it out as shoeshiners or sanitary workers even if paid more. Contempt
for certain kinds of labour goes a long way in hindu culture and is
integral to the definition of the caste system.)
In a postcapitalist world where even some dalitist ideologues are
arguing that if we can't beat the forces of globalisation let's join them
and make the best of it – the logic being it can't be worse than
brahman-baniya capitalism and may perhaps help unshackle capital from the caste
forces – what do we do with IITs which become recruiting grounds for
MNCs? Right now, the only answer one can think of – most impossible and
impractical though it may sound – is: close down these institutes. Which
is what it would boil down to if the state were to, with determination
– another most improbable thing – insist that all the IITs (and IIMs
and other 'secular' agraharams) strictly implement the reservation
provisions both in faculty and student intake, and scrap the blatantly
discriminatory Preparatory Course, colour application forms etc. There would
then be at least 80 dalit students doing BTech in each of the six IITs
every year. And each IIT would have to recruit at least 80 dalit and
adivasis as faculty members. Then the caste hindus, led by the brahmans,
would say, 'Merit is being buried alive in this country'. To demand a
sincere implementation of constitutional provisions of affirmative
action in IITs would be the equivalent of saying priesthood and the right to
initiation in brahmanic hinduism should be given to all – dalits and
women. Which means we would be asking caste hindus to consider the
possibility of a dalit as Shankaracharya/IIT director.
The IITs are not alone in flouting reservation norms in faculty
recruitment. They only seem to be doing it most unabashedly, proudly. In the
same city, the Madras Institute of Development Studies, which boasts of
several 'progressive' Fellows (who have no teaching obligations so that
they concentrate on pure academic social science research), too, does
not respect the reservation norms. And this seems to be the case with
most universities according to a 1999 study by the Delhi-based Forum of
Academics for Social Justice. 'In the 239 universities and 7,000
colleges covered by the study, SC/ST members appointed under the reservation
system constitute less than 2 per cent of the nearly three lakh
teachers' (Frontline, 14 April, 2000). Jamia Millia Islamia has only three
dalits/adivasis on its faculty as against the 106 required; Jawaharlal
Nehru University has 15 dalits instead of the stipulated 89; in Aligarh
Muslim University where there need to be 263 dalit instructors, there is
not even one; in Benares Hindu University it is 14/ 257. All these are
central universities. Not that state universities have a decent record
on this count. The IITs can now smugly tell you, 'Look, we told you
'Ooooooooo!' The brahmans would cry. 'We would rather flee the
country.' Then let them (never mind that at one point of time crossing the seas
meant losing one's caste; but the brahman comes first, his rules next).
But they would not. The government, safe in the hands of a brahman
prime minister who gets his name from forefathers who should have performed
the disgusting vajapeya yagna, if at all its hands can be forced on the
reservation issue in IITs (suppose all the dalit, adivasi and women MPs
miraculously joined hands!), will instead announce that the IITs would
be privatised. MoUs would be signed with MNCs; Microsoft would take
over one IIT, GE another, Siemens…. Then the caste hindus would say:
Let's now see how you untouchable duffers get in. Let them privatise IITs
if it comes to that; let the meritorious caste hindus pay an
unsubsidised fee – it could run into lakhs of rupees – for a BTech…; but the
state should not be allowed to drain Rs 500 crores a year and not
implement affirmative action provisions by which it is bound.
The postMandal Chanakya, Narasimha Rao, realised that to counter the
rise of the subaltern castes the public sector units should be
closed/privatised. Today, a former World Bank employee, Arun Shourie, presides
over the Disinvestment Ministry. And if we insist on reservation in IITs,
the government will begin disinvesting them – 'affirmative action would
render them nonviable and they would have to be shut down'. Actually,
we don't have to insist that the IITs be closed down. All we – dalit
leaders, activists, dalit politicians, MPs, MLAs, writers, lawyers… –
need to do is pressure the government and courts (where 78% judges are
brahmans (New York Times, quoting dalit activist Martin Macwan, 16 Nov.
2000) into ensuring that the reservation provisions are honoured. That
our constitution be honoured. Honouring our constitution would indeed be
a dangerous proposition (if the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act were
seriously implemented, most caste hindus would land up in jail) . But
let us insist on it. The fight for social justice in IITs might seem
insignificant compared to larger battles that need to be fought against
caste. But IITs have come to epitomise the caste system; they are the
contemporary agraharams, the science and technology equivalents of what
the maths of Shankaracharyas are in the religious realm for hindus. (To
reinforce this connection, the IIT-M Handbook lists one 'Kanchi Kamakoti
Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Endowment Award' under its
various schemes of financial assistance for students.)
But what do we do with a regime that has put in place a constitution
review commission? Tomorrow, there might be a new constitution which
might scrap all affirmative action provisions (they broke a mosque and
nothing happened to them; in fact, they came to power). And the caste
hindus righteously would quote Ambedkar, no less, to support this. 'Even
your Babasaheb wanted a review of reservation in 10 years.' (They would
never remember, quote or do anything else that Ambedkar said or wanted.
Not certainly his Annihilation of Caste.)
Yes, we may prove those sceptical dalit employees and students in IIT-M
right. Nothing is going to change IITs. They will be what they are.
They will continue to treat dalits and adivasis the way they have been
doing. As someone said in colloquial Madras-male Tamil, Oru mairum aagada.
'Not one pubic hair can be made to fall.' Maybe, we should then parse
them. The IITs. They must be great places, after all, since they all say
so. Let us then join the chorus and praise these famous institutes. Let
us sit back and enjoy the carnival of brahmanism being played out here.
6 Dec. 2000
Ambedkar, Babasaheb Dr. Writings and Speeches, Vol 3. Government of
Maharashtra, Bombay: 1987
Government of India. Expenditure Budget 2000-2001 Vol 2. New Delhi:
Gupta, Meenakshi and Viney Kirpal. Equality through Reservation. Rawat,
New Delhi: 1999
Hacker, Sally. 1989 Pleasure, Power and Technology: Some Tales of
Gender, Engineering and the Cooperative Workplace. Unwin Hyman, London: 1989
IIT Madras, Handbook. 1999
Ilaiah, Kancha. Why I am Not a Hindu. Samya, Calcutta: 1996
Nesiah, Devanesan. Discrimination with Reason? The Policy of
Reservations in the United States, India and Malaysia. Oxford University Press,
New Delhi: 1999
பார்ப்பனீயம் ஒழிந்தால்தான் ஜாதி ஒழியும் May 19, 2006Posted by chella in Hinduism.
1 comment so far
www.tamil.net Amalasingh wrote in a community
பார்ப்பனீயம் ஒழிந்தால்தான் ஜாதி ஒழியும் என்பது பெரியாரின் ஆணித்தரமான கருத்து. அவர் ஏன் அவ்வாறு சொன்னார் என்பதற்கு அவர் பட்ட அவமானங்கள் சான்று. பெரியார் பார்ப்பனீயர் அல்லாத உயர் ஜாதிக்காரர். எப்படி மகாத்மா காந்தியை இரயில் பெட்டியில் இருந்து வெள்ளைக்காரன் கீழே தள்ளி விட்டதால் அவர் மகாத்மா ஆனாரோ, அதே மாதிரி, பெரியாரும் பார்ப்பனீயத்தால் அவமானப்படுத்தப்பட்டதாலேயே அவ்வாறு சொல்ல நேரிட்டது. பார்ப்பனீயம் என்பது ஒரு கொள்கை. பார்ப்பனீய எதிர்ப்பு என்பது ஒரு எதிர் மறைக்கொள்கை. பார்ப்பனீயத்தை ஒழிப்பதால், சமத்துவம் ஏற்படும்.
சாதி என்பது தமிழர்களின் அவமானச்சொல். சாதியை எவர் கடவுள் பெயர் சொல்லி ஒரு பெரும் கட்டமைப்பை ஏற்படுத்தி சொகுசாக வாழ்கிறார்களோ, அவர்கள், சாதியாலேயே அவமானப்படுத்தப்படுவார்கள்.இப்போது பாருங்கள். நீங்களோ, நானோ, அல்லது ஜோவோ, என்ன ஜாதி என்பது நமக்குத்தெரியாது. நீங்களோ, நானோ கூட பார்ப்பனராக இருக்கலாம். நான் இன்ன சாதி என்று சொன்னால்தானே அவமானம். நீங்கள் போடும் லேபலைத்தானே நீக்கப்பார்க்கிறோம். உங்களையேவா?
Tata industries has agreed to back caste-based reservations in the private sector. The move has the potential to jolt the Industry, which is hostile to the Union Government's promise for affirmative action outside the public sector.
In a communique sent to Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar, Chairman of the Tata conglomerate, Ratan Tata, has informed his readiness to back the Government initiative for upliftment of the SC/STs and other underprivileged social segments through affirmative action in the private sector. Discuss: Reservation in private sector will hurt Indian Inc's profits
Tata group is preparing its own plan on the shape that affirmative action can take. Corporate sources said the decision of the Tatas to draft their own proposal points to the possibility of the business house settling for voluntary action over Government legislation.
The Tata-Government dialogue began after Kumar addressed Indian Merchants' Chamber in Mumbai on September 21, initiating what the UPA has called a National Dialogue to evolve a consensus on the issue.
Tata wrote, "Tata group certainly understands the social responsibility that all Industry should carry to bring social justice to SC/ST and other minority or underprivileged sections of our community. We would happily support your initiative."
He promised to revert to the Government with some 'finite proposals' on what he can do 'to support your initiatives'.
Following correspondence with the Ministry, Tata wrote another letter on October 4, reiterating his commitment to affirmative action and drafting of a plan that would back the Government initiatives.
Tata is the second business house after Videocon to give a nod to affirmative action and the first one to commit itself in black and white. Rest of the industry has voiced concerns on the issue.
In its fresh bid, Government has recently dispatched a letter to as many as 71 chambers of commerce and business bodies, stressing on its need for such affirmative action for SC/ST and also sought their views on how they thought the same could be carried out.
The significance of Tata's letter to Kumar can be gauged from the fact that the Group of Ministers formed to hold a dialogue with the Industry has discussed them.
Sources in the GoM, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, said they plan to turn around the hostility among private employers by telling them that if the 'Tatas could agree to affirmative action, then the argument that caste quota would compromise merit was baseless'. The GoM has planned to meet in December again.
If the Tatas' view is any indication, the Government may be veering towards a compromise where Industry voluntarily accepts to give representation to the marginalised sections of society and Government can do away with the thought of a legislation.
The Prime Minister has on several occasions announced that the caste quota will not be imposed on private sector. The Government left the door for a compromise ajar when Kumar told the Indian Merchants' chamber that, "I would really stress that if industry and business can, on its own initiative, come forward and consciously make an effort to employ those amongst the marginalised groups who are qualified and eligible, we would not even need to discuss the issue of legislation for reservation any further."
Republished from Dalit Voice
Under the Institute of Technology Act 1961 (“Act 59 of 1961”) passed by Parliament, six institutes were declared as “Institutes of National Importance”. One such institute is the IIT Madras. Every year these institutes receive Rs. 1,000 crore from the Govt. of India (HRD).The IIT Madras is situated on a 300-acre campus in the heart of Madras for which the credit goes to Chief Minister Kamaraj. Despite the IIT being located in Tamil Nadu, the representation of Tamils here is minimum.
It has become one of the foremost Brahmin bastions all over the world in the field of academics. In the past four decades of its existence the Brahmins who occupy all the decision-making positions have dominated it. In all these years of existence, the Institute has not had a single Dalit or Backward Caste director.
In the past decade, large-scale financial irregularities and mishandling of public funds have attracted the adverse notice of the public and the media. The arbitrary selections and appointments made to the post of faculty members have been challenged under several writ petitions. In fact, within this short period of 10 years over 200 cases have been filed against it.
Human rights violation:
Though the Constitution guarantees reservation (human rights) for the OBCs and Dalits in matters of education and employment, this policy is not followed here either at the level of student admission or faculty selection.
Out of the total faculty strength of 450, only two are Dalits despite the constitutional mandate that 22.5% of all positions must be reserved for the Dalits. Hardly 50 faculty members are BCs.
The rest of the faculty are upper castes, most of them Brahmins.
Writ petitions on reservation in faculty pending before the court are:
(1) W.P.No. 5415/95 filed by IIT BC Employees Welfare Association; (2) W.P.No.16528/95 filed by the Vanniar Mahasangam; (3) W.P. No. 16863/95; (4) W.P.No. 17403/95; (5) W.P. No. 4242/97 filed by Dr. Muthuveerappan; (6) W.P. No. 4256/97 filed by Dr. W.B. Vasantha Kandasamy; (7) W.P. No. 4257/97 filed by Dr. W.B. Vasantha Kandasamy and (8) W.P.37020/2003.
To escape the constitutional mandate, it has cunningly followed the “contract” system hiring faculty members on “ad hoc” basis. Faculty members from the upper castes are eventually made permanent.
To escape legal problem advertisement is published. All the advertisements will not stand up to review. Because all material particulars will be clearly absent: number of vacancies, number of positions reserved etc.
As in faculty positions reservation policy is not followed in student admissions. It was only in 1978 it first thought of reservation to Dalit students. But this 22.5% quota is not completely filled up. Instead the eye-wash of using lower cut-off marks is said to be followed. Besides, in a gross violation of the fundamental right to equality, Dalit students who gain admission to B.Tech are made to undergo a one-year preparatory course before being admitted to B.Tech.
No reservation exists in the IITs for Backward students. There is also no relaxation of criteria. In the name of merit, the legitimate rights of the deprived castes are denied. In September 2005, a writ petition was filed in the Madras high Court seeking 27% reservation in IITs for OBC students.
IRREGULARITIES DURING NVC SWAMY PERIOD
Occupying office illegally:
The Director of the Institute during the year 1995 was Dr. N.V.C. Swamy. He retired in April 1995 but continued in the post till June 30, 1996 under the pretext that his appointment had been extended. He had by then attained superannuation and was well over 60 years. The appointment of the Director of the IIT requires the prior approval of the President of India who is the Visitor of all IITs. Without the presidential approval, the then Education Secretary of the HRD Ministry, S.V. Giri, sent a DO Letter No.12-17/95 TSI (Oct.31, 1995) giving an extension to N.V.C. Swamy for three months. The Faculty Association of the IIT filed a writ before the Madras High Court (W.P. No. 15486 of 1995). This writ petition was admitted and subsequently Swamy resigned.
Recruiting 80 faculties:
During his illegal term as the Director, Dr.N.V.C. Swamy hurriedly advertised and filled up faculty positions. Within three months he appointed over 80 upper castes to faculty positions. Reservation policy was thrown to basket.
NVC Swamy went to the extent of reissuing advertisements to ensure that his favourite candidates were selected. For instance, the advt. (No. IITM/R/8/94) for the post of Associate Professor, Maths Dept., was clearly given “the candidate should have a basic degree in Maths”. If this criteria had been strictly followed an upper caste man would not have been selected.
So to select their favourite, Dr. S.G. Kamath, who had a B.Sc. degree in physics, to the post of Associate Professor, they changed the very selection criteria. For this, they issued a re-advertisement No. IITM/R/1/95 relaxing some of the previous criteria and taking out this necessity for basic degree in maths itself. Though the advt. invites applications only from those who hold first class degrees, a second-class degree holder, Dr. A. Rangan, was selected to the post of Associate Professor in Maths Dept. At the same time, though Dr. W.B. Vasantha was extremely meritorious she was not selected because she belonged to the OBC community.
Reservation policy not implemented:
According to the Board resolution no.11 of 1994 in the 145th meeting of the Board of Governors, it was resolved to implement the reservation policy as per the Ministry of Human Resources Letter (1/11/1993). Also, the Office Memorandum of the Dept. of Personnel & Training (13.01.1995) extends the reservation to BCs in civil posts and services to be filled by direct recruitment to bodies like the IIT.
In the faculty selections that were carried out during the five-year tenure of Dr. NVC Swamy the constitutional mandate of reservation was clearly missing because it was blatantly breached.
The IIT BC Employees Welfare Association headed by K.N. Jothi filed a writ (WP No. 5415/95) before the Madras High Court challenging the non-implementation of reservation. After the filing this writ petition, in all the appointment orders given to the posts of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor, it was mentioned:
Please note that the High Court of Madras by its order dated 17.4.1995 in W.M.P. No. 8893 in W.P.No. 5415 of 1995 has made the following order: the offer of appointment is subject to the result of the writ petition.
The Vanniyar Sangam filed a writ (16528 of 1995) challenging the non-implementation of the reservation policy for the OBCs. Similarly W.P. No. 17403 of 1995 was also filed for a similar purpose.
He undertook frequent foreign trips in the name of signing Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with universities abroad. During these trips, he never took clearance from the Ministry and the Reserve Bank. He also collected donations in dollars for corpus fund from the alumni of IIT who were living abroad. But he never deposited the amount in the IIT account. IIT sources said the amount collected ran into a few crores of rupees.
Illegal lease of institute property:
Dr. Swamy leased the Institute’s sports stadium to a private company, Chemplast Sanmar, violating the IIT Act that says: that no part of the Institute premises can be leased or rented to anybody. The premises of the Institute can be used solely for the purpose of research and student activities. (Act, Chapter II 6(j) and 7(2).
Creating 197 categories of posts:
As the Director, he had created over 197 categories of workers which does not exist anywhere in the Act and statutes. The same sources said he gave illegal promotions to his favourite cadre.
R. NATARAJAN PERIOD (1996-2001)
1996 faculty recruitment drive:
As soon as Dr. R. Natarajan took over, he too issued an advt. for faculty positions. In these selections, those who were the favourites of the ex-Director, and those who protested in a signature campaign against the Faculty Association for filing a case were given promotions as if it was a reward.
The appointments and the advt. were unnecessary because only a year ago there had been an enormous selection process at the faculty level. This selection was also filled with all kinds of irregularities. No reservation was followed at all for the OBC/SC/ST.
Caste, not merit:
For the post of Professor, 98 were selected but some of them did not even have a single Ph.D. guidance, no PG project guidance and hardly half-a-dozen research papers. Merit and excellence were not taken into consideration, only caste played a prominent role. This selection was also challenged (W.P.No. 4257/97) by Dr. W.B. Vasantha Kandasamy as there was no reservation for BCs and it did not follow the Supreme Court order in the Indira Sawhney case (AIR 1993 SCC 477).
Dr. Muthuveerappan, an OBC faculty member of the Mechanical Engg. Dept., also challenged the faculty selection done in 1996 before the High Court (WP No. 4242/97).
Even in the list of those selected faculty, there was not a single Dalit. There would have been hardly half a dozen non-Brahmins.
Ad hoc appointments are resorted to effectively deny entry of weaker sections into faculty positions. These ad hoc appointments are effected in the nature of selective reservation for persons who are connected to a coterie which is at the helm of affairs at the Institute.
During 1986-1997 it made over 180 ad hoc appointments to the faculty positions under 17 job titles. Nearly 80 of them have been made permanent subsequently.
After R. Natarajan took charge, between Nov.1995 till 1998, about 37 appointments had been made without recourse to the regular selection process. These appointments were made through the backdoor thereby shutting out open competition and genuine merit. The IIT Act does not allow such contract appointments.
In 1998, the Backward Class Employees Welfare Association represented by its Secretary, Prof. N.R. Neelakantan, filed a writ (W.P. No.3570 of 1998) challenging these ad hoc appointments.
Faculty recruitment drive:
In 1998, it issued an advt. (IITM/R/3/98 in the Hindu April 25, 1998) for the post of Asst. Prof. in the various departments flouting the constitutional provision of reservation for SC/ST/OBC.
This advt. was basically aimed at regularizing and making permanent those appointed illegally on the ad hoc basis. The BC Employees Welfare Assn. headed by Prof. N.R. Neelakantan filed a writ (W.P. No. 6313/98) before the High Court challenging this advt.
Dismissal of Natarajan demand:
Ex-MP, Era Anbarasu filed a quo warranto writ (W.P. No. 12128/98) before the High Court seeking the dismissal of Director, R. Natarajan.
Natarajan had fabricated his date of birth. According to the record, he joined first standard at the age of 3. Besides, instead of a proper meeting of the IIT council comprising 33 members, only three people had met and selected him. He was also accused of having plagiarized research matter which is pending before the High Court of Madras (W.P. No. 7775/97).
Employees Union strike:
Employees of the IIT staged a series of protests against Natarajan in 1999. The strike lasted for 120 days and T.R. Balu, Union Minister for Shipping, had addressed the employees.
The Director was furious that T.R. Balu asked him to come down from the fifth floor to meet the employees. The IIT comes under the parliamentary constituency of Balu.
Natarajan later took revenge by sacking the office-bearers, dismissing them from service, conducting inquiries and serving them show-cause notices. All this resulted in a series of writ petitions being filed in the High Court and several of them are pending even today causing extreme distress to the employees.
1999-2000 faculty recruitment drive:
Towards the end of his tenure in a hurry he wanted to promote all his favourites and henchmen. Hence an advt. (No. IITM/R/5/999) was issued on Nov.3, 1999 inviting applications to the posts of Asst. Prof, Associate Prof. and Professor. The selection was kept in abeyance for around a year.
The interviews were hastily held from Sept.11 to Sept.25, 2000 and the results were announced at 8 p.m. on Sept.25. The selected candidates joined the very next day. He arbitrarily recruited over 99 people, a great majority of them from the upper castes to fill up these positions. Not even a single Dalit was selected. Against this a writ (No. 17835/2000) was filed.
MISCHIEF DURING M.S. ANANTH PERIOD
Arbitrary selection of 130 new faculties:
Immediately after M.S. Ananth took over office in 2002 he issued an advt. calling for applications to the post of Asst. Prof. Those selected were Brahmins. However, he soon changed his tactics.
In a stealthy yet massive recruitment drive over 130 faculty members have been hastily appointed since 2003 without open advertisement or a regular selection process.
In a recent interview to rediff.com (www.rediff.com/money/2005/may/23iit.htm), Dr. Ananth said:
I have hired 130 faculty members in the last three years, of who 36 have B.Techs from various IITs who’ve done Ph.D. abroad and come back. But I have lost 90 by retirement and so I am running very fast to stay where I am.
This large-scale appointments reveals the undue haste, lowering of eligibility criteria, favouritism of recruiting alumni and absolute lack of transparency. Moreover, with a callous disregard to social justice and the constitutional mandate of reservation, not even half a dozen Dalits have been selected as a faculty member.
To facilitate this hasty, biased selection process, the advt. on the Institute’s website (http://www.iitm. ac.in/Faculty%20 Openings) says:
This is a standing advertisement. There is no specific requirement on when a candidate can submit an application. Applications will be accepted throughout the year. Candidates who meet the prescribed qualifications need not wait for any formal announcement of recruitment to submit an application.
The ambiguity is apparent because even the number of vacancies is not announced. To broad-base this arbitrary activity, applications to the entry-level position of Asst. Prof. is invited for all the 15 departments in the institute.
Norms and guidelines for selection are wilfully abandoned and unbridled power to select less meritorious candidates is given to the respective departments. The standing advertisement states, “the departments have the right to set different as well as higher norms, while shortlisting, taking into account the requirements of the departments”. This paves way for a pathetic dilution of standards.
Today, even the universities stipulate five yeas of research and teaching experience after receiving the doctoral degree as the basic eligibility criteria for the entry-level lecturer positions. Yet, in a shameful role-reversal, IIT Madras stands stripped of its halo of high quality, the standing advt. relaxes the eligibility criteria and invites applications for the Asst. Prof. position from “candidates who expect to receive their Ph.D. within the next six months” adding that “their appointment to the post, if found suitable, will be subject to their receiving the degree”.
Hush hush appointments:
Worse in the rediff.com interview, M.S. Ananth accepted that the IIT Madras has “adjunct faculty who don’t even need a master’s degree”.
Faculty appointments have been bestowed with an infamous history, having been consistently challenged in judicial avenues for the past decade. Since then, it has shied away from open advertisements and opted for using the internet-based standing advt. which makes the entire exercise shrouded in secrecy. The regular selection process has been subverted by resorting to the tested technique of bulk back-door entries.
This is taking place because the Brahmins here are extremely averse to recruiting people from Dalits and BCs. By using “standing advertisements” they can overlook reservation and deny equal opportunity.
Now a fresh advt. has been issued in the press on Sept.26, 2005. It calls for applications to the posts of Professor and Associate Professor. No mention is made of the number of vacancies. Like all the previous times, only Brahmins and upper castes will be selected. No reservation policy will be followed.
Unless this is prevented all the vacancies shall be filled up and for decades no non-Brahmin can enter the institute.
‘What more ‘ do the upper castes want? May 17, 2006Posted by chella in Reservation.
The Rediff Interview/Udit Raj, Chairman, SC/ST Federation
May 16, 2006
Dr Udit Raj (formerly Ram Raj) is the chairman of the All-India Confederation of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Federations.
In 2001 he embraced Buddhism. "Conversion is a rejection of whatever caste stands for. It is a great walkout from Hinduism," says the man who is now a follower of Dr B R Ambedkar and supports conversion as "a healthy process."
In an interview to Managing Editor (National Affairs) Sheela Bhatt on the current anti-reservation movement favouring reservation for Other Backward Classes, Dr Raj spoke about why reservations are important for Indian society.
How do you see the vigorous protests of medical students against the reservation policy for OBCs?
I don't think it is very vigorous. Few medical students are doing it. In fact the media is helping them.
On May 2 and May 10, we had our agitation which was much more bigger but the media didn't report it or gave little coverage. This shows that the liberal voice in India is shrinking.
Unfortunately, the Indian Medical Association is also going on strike. On May 11 students and IMA protestors disrupted traffic at India Gate, New Delhi. We never do that. We restricted ourselves to the Jantar Mantar area assigned to us by the police.
It seems the doctors want to draw more attention. It shows the protestors' mindset. Medical students were protesting with brooms and trying to say that some (kind of) labour does not have dignity. Every labour has dignity. This is unbecoming of doctors.
If professionals like doctors behave like this it shows they are not interested in academics. The doctors' protest is illegal and against the spirit of the Constitution.
There is a background for their agitation. There is a big change in the law.
In the last winter session, Parliament amended the Constitution. It was the 104th Constitutional amendment where Other Backward Classes have been given reservation in IITs, IIMs and universities.
The 104th Constitution Amendment Bill is dangerous
On August 12, 2005 the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in the case of P A Inamdar & Others versus State of Maharashtra and others that the state can't impose its reservation policy on minority and non-minority unaided private colleges, including professional colleges and medical colleges.
My organisation, the Justice Party of India, Left parties and many others strongly protested at a huge public meeting. It was attended by leaders like (Janata Dal-United leader) Sharad Yadav, (Communist Party of India-Marxist MP) Nilotpal Basu and (Communist Party of India Secretary) D Raja.
We protested that we will not accept the Supreme Court judgment. Later, the 104th Constitution Amendment was brought and passed unanimously by all the political parties except two members who abstained. The OBCs were given 27 per cent reservation but at that time nobody opposed it.
Why didn't the doctors oppose it then?
Because the media is playing a greater role now. When Arjun Singh gave a statement nobody opposed it for a week. But the media started going to campuses for stories and reactions. The media took up the role of agitators in this issue by opposing the government's move and the protests gained momentum before television cameras.
In Bangalore more than a lakh supporters of reservation came out on the streets but no television channel reported that. How do you explain it? Dalits and OBCs are coming together and supporting the government that is not taken as news.
What are your arguments for having quota in higher education even for OBCs?
First, wherever reservation is implemented in the southern states it is working well. In Mysore state in 1921, reservations were implemented. In Kolhapur state it was introduced in 1902. In Tamil Nadu reservations are up to 69 per cent but nowhere have you seen a law and order problem.
Two, in Tamil Nadu, the education standards and administration are not compromised. What these students are protesting about is the issue of merit. What is merit? They are talking about something that is achieved with the help of cramming, tutoring, support by public schools and knowledge of English.
India doesn't have to its credit in the international arena any great invention of modern times achieved by students in general categories. They get higher marks to get into big universities. But these big institutions don't think merit should also consist of patriotic feelings, hard work, honesty and a humble aptitude.
For our society these are not element of merit. Not many Dalits or OBCs have the money to fit the current merit criteria.
And just give me one answer: Why are these doctors not opposing the colleges who disregard merit and take money in form of capitation fees?
Why are they not opposed to the NRI quota?
Why are they not opposing those inferior students of private medical colleges who are rich? Is it not affecting the medical profession?
The medical students should call off their strike because it is not in the interest of the nation. The integration of society is more important than any other thing.
Reservation is the method to integrate society; it will take time but have patience.
Facts don't support the argument that it will integrate society.
Till the reservations were given, Dalits in Indian society were totally isolated. They were living on the outskirts of villages and were humiliated. But after reservations they are sitting side by side with the upper castes.
They are now in state assemblies and Parliament only because of reservations. How are you forgetting that? Similarly, the OBCs will gain now. Although it will shrink the privileges of the Dalits for the sake of justice we the Dalits want reservations for OBCs!
Reservation serves the purpose of social harmony.
If quotas are introduced now, eventually there will be reverse discrimination. How will it bring about social harmony?
For long, in many places 70 per cent to 80 per cent seats were open in the general category. The upper castes were using it. Right? Now they have been given 50 per cent of the total seats whereas the upper caste population is just 15 per cent. I think that is good enough. What more do the upper castes want?
It is a good deal that 15 per cent of India's population has 50 per cent of the seats. Do you want India's majority on the streets agitating against this 15 per cent? What do you want us to do? Do you want the majority population initiating the demand that let reservation be given on the basis of the proportion of the population of each caste?
Whatever reservation now exists for the Dalits and tribals is not filled up by them? OBC reservation may also remain underutilised.
Blame it on the mindset of the upper castes. Many Dalit medical students are suffering because during internal assessment, they become victim of biases. The Dalit student's identity is known and the supervisor knows he is poor in English and that creates a bias.
Only in India are Indians victims because of their lack of knowledge of English. It is not just lack of sophistication, it is the mindset of the upper castes that is a hurdle in filling up posts.
Why don't you understand that (Human Resources Development Minister)Arjun Singh's action and politicians' support to him is nothing but vote bank politics?
They will have to support reservation otherwise a majority of India will throw them away in the coming elections.
Even if politicians don't support reservations from their hearts electoral equations are such that they have no option.
The agitators must understand the combination of Indian society and where they stand! They should part with the pie of cake they have!