Saturday, April 15, 2006

Rang De Basanti

Today, I saw the movie Rang de Basanti, a story about how 5 happy-go-lucky Indian youth get transformed into fiery revolutionaries and finally give up their live for a cause.

It left a deep emotional scar on me. It brings back the question that I keep asking me often.

What does freedom mean for a nation, where a girl gets raped every 4 seconds, a child is forced in slavery in work and taken away from education, where a person gets traped in bonded labor and a person is discriminated by untouchability and poverty? What does prosperity mean for those people who doesnt even have access to basic necessities food, clothing & shelter and where thousands die of hunger and malnutrition and totally avoidable diseases everyday? What does development mean for a nation where hundreds of millions earn less than $1/day and 400 million people can't even read or write any language? What does equality mean for those people, who cant draw water from the well, due to their lowly birth? What does opportunities mean for those people who dont even send their kids for primary education?

How do we attain Azadi for the nation of India?

Whom are we going to get our freedom from? Is it going to be from the foreign powers that imperialize(d) us? Is it goin to be from those worst criminals who rule us under the guise of politicians and make laws for us? Is it goin to be from the totally corrupt beurocrats whose misplanning kills our nation everyday? Is it goin to be from those law enforcement persons who commit as much crimes as those, from whom they are supposed to protect us? Is it goin to be from the govt. officials who badly enforce all of the governmental measures? Is it goin to be from the caste and religious leaders who seek to whip up the emotions of the people and gain sadistic pleasure? Is it goin to be from those poor-quality teacher, killer doctors who do false operations, deadly engineers who design those collapsing bridges .....

We have thousands of people from which we need to get freedom from, and this we use as an excuse for our inaction. We hide behind the walls of coverdice, by blaming everyone around us. We hide behind our silence that veils our impotence. If there is something that we need to get freedom from, It is WE whose coverdice and impotence sustains the despots. It is our silence that grows the clutches of violence. IT is our inaction that puts our nation in peril. If we watch a crime happen before us, and dont stand up to it, we are as much part of the crime. In this way, every one of us are CRIMINALS.

We need to change ourselves. We need to wash our sins of inactivity and corruption. We need to feel guilty of every minute we waste, as we lose a chance to save someone from violence. We need to feel guilty of every resource we waste, as that could have been used to save hunger and death. When there are people who commit suicide for Rs.10000 ($200) of their agricultural loans, unable to raise their family due to drought and famine, we need to know the preciousness of what we have. It is our success and prosperity that we are goin to work on and channelize them for the growth of everyone of us, not by the stupidity of communism, but by market prosperity and entrepreneurship skills.

We need IAS officers, professors, engineers, scientists, lawyers and social thinkers who can set our economy and society on a roll. We'll solve the problems of society by our collective will and potential. If every educated youth, taught an illiterate to read and write a basic script in a year, within 5 years, we can wipe out the whole problem of ILLITERACY. If each one of us could just share our success to a rural kid and motivate him/her and provide them basic information, we could wipe out the whole problem rural in-development. And We need the revolutionaries whose thoughts can set the society on fire and whose ideas can inspire whole fields of thought.

Everything is in the realm of us, but still we find it comfortable to be stupid, loser, cowards who grumbles against everybody else. It is WE who are going to change....


Friday, April 14, 2006

How can you accept Poor quality

This going to be my last post on reservation. I want to move on and cover wider stuff concering the world. If someone could not be convinced by the previous 6 articles, on this blog that illustrated the perils of reservation, let them as well be. A last try on those people.

IF you are an avid fan of cricket (or some other sport) how much tolerant are you going to be if the best player of the team (say Rahul Dravid) is going to be dropped just becaz he is a forward caste person and you need to provide chance for a person who totally doesnt play good cricket (say, someone like me) just becaz he is from lower caste and/or poor and/or from backward regions and/or he has some physical diability. More, if the match is goin to be as critical as a worldcup final against Australia or Pakistan. Wont people go on riots.... Can I justify my inclusion stating that I'm from a backward community that has never played Cricket in the last 1000 years and thus didnt have a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD :-)

If you have such standards for something as trivial as Cricket, why not for Medicine or Engineering or Management. If you believe that a bad player can affect your stupid sports team, how can you allow those bad players to come into critical services, on which your life and survival might depend on.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Change of name

As you would have noticed, I've changed the name of this blog. I felt that the articles here should have a force and voice of their own than the dull "Balaji's titles" suggest. But, I'm not sure whether this would affect the overall coolness of this blog that chararectrized the moderate nature of it till last week.

Readers, what do you suggest? Are you comfortable with this name, or shall we change to something else, or shall I revert back to the existing title? Kindly comment on it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I'm against the whole concept of reservation

While listening to some of my friends on reservation, I got the opinion that many of them are against only the percentage or its implementation, but very few question its own principle. We have been so schooled that we are made to think that "Reservation is indispensible". I see that many of my friends find it so hard to rethink the whole concept.

Some of them argue that there must be reservation atleast based on economic levels, sex or physical ability. Even I was tempted by this seemingly convincing argument. After all, I'm highly sentimental and particularly I'm very sympathetic towards physcially diabled people. So, should I make an exception?? After, thinking logically, I feel the answer is NO. There should not be any reservation of any kind. Why?

Suppose, our reservation practice is ideal and we really find a downtrodden person and want to elevate him. Say, we give him a position of a civil engineer. Since, he was not qualified in the first place, he might not be able to compete in the exams. Ok, lets make further concession and allow him to pass, seeing his pitiable conditions. Since, he was not qualified in the first place, he might not get jobs that his peers would get. Again, we make concessions and give him a job and so on. This process continues for life and we made that guy a slave to our whims. He becomes forever dependent on us and all his self-respect is gone. what would be left of him?

But, worse, what if that guy designs a bridge? Since, he never came by meritorious means there is a high probability that his designs will be sub-standard. Thus, there is a greater chance for its collapse and if it collapses what happens? We 'uplifted' one guy and pushed down a whole group of people in the form of accidents and death. For his upliftment, the entire society gets punished!!! This is not an hypothetical story... It happens in everyday INDIA.

Thus, after his admission
1. If he is not allowed to pass - both the instituion and his resources and time are wasted
2. If he is allowed to pass and doesnt get a job, the instituion's recruitment standards get lowered and he is doomed
3. If he gets a job, the entire society is put in a danger

Whatever be the case, his admission is a lose-lose situation for everyone.

If s/he were a doctor, s/he could put so many life's in danger through improper medication and inability to stop diseases. If s/he is a teacher s/he could put the career of so many students in peril. If s/he is a researcher, nation's R&D gets impaired.... Now can you begin to see why we have so many problems around us.

Now, ironically the backward sections of the society are more in danger, because of their lack of choices. The economically forward people have a choice of good doctors, good teachers and sometimes even good road (like the Mumbai-Pune expressway). Or they can even leave the country. But, the poor and downtrodden have to deal with all these sub-standard doctors, engineers, teachers, administrators and their lives are doomed.

Thus, reservation is one of the cause for India's rural in-development. If people really care about the poor, downtrodden and the illiterate, we should work really hard to remove the whole concept of reservation.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A letter to the Indian President on reservation

(Mail delivered on April 10, 2006)

Dear Mr. President,
I read in the press that your excellency have shown a sense of approval for the reservation polity in elite institutions, by arguing for an increase in the seats of IITs and IIMs and giving them for the backward castes. I feel it is disturbing, for the following reasons.

1. Can those institutions increase intake without affecting teaching and research quality?

2. If intake could be increased, why is it not done now and released into mainstream merit?

3. What about the brand image of IITs and IIMs? So far, they represented the elite Indian students and this brought all their prestige much above any other Indian institution.

4. How do we address the issue of brain drain? We overseas Indians would like to come back to India and teach, research and start great educational and commercial institutions. But, now we fear to come in. Similarly many of the IIT-JEE passouts would be readily recruited by American Universities and IITs would lose our cream right from undergrad.

The main arguemnt is Merit. Your excellency has shown as an great inspiration by fighting hard from a poor rural boy to grow into the most loved President. But, if we introduce reservation we would lose such people, as those who use reservation can never come out of guilt, forever.

Any person of any background can grow up in the present India, by just using his/her brain. There are so many institutions and eventually we would recognize such talent. Such heroic struggles would become a great pride for that person. But, now these people are going to be deprived of the most basic essence of human life: competition.

I would request your excellency to seriously reconsider your position on reservation. The upbringing of handful of backward caste students should not be at the cost of India's institutions of pride. If our national institutions get diluted we face a very grave risk of economic collapse, in this highly competitive world environment.

Reservation Vs. Communism Vs. Racism

Also read: Crime against Humanity

A letter to the president

One of my friends put it fantasically - "Unity in diversity what politicians say, lets distribute fools also uniformly". Reservation, like Communism, is bad not just for its implementation, but it is rotten in its whole principle.

There are intelligent guys in every community and every walk of life. They have different economic and social backgrounds and so I agree that there is no equal competition. But, the purpose of this life is its competition and the struggle.

There was story about a scientific experiment involving a caterpiller turning into a butterfly. As the students watched the butterfly struggling to come out of the coccon, a student took pity and helped the butterfly out and after a few minutes it died, because it was denied the opportunity to struggle and develop strong wings (Strory paraphrased from "You can win", pp.46)

From animals to humans to everything in life, the purpose is in its struggle. The greatest of human stories lie in this. This is one reason, why some of the great rich men came from poor backgrounds, inventors came from not-so-educated backgrounds. Guys like HEnry Ford, Mahatma Gandhi, Thomas Edison, Hellen Keller.... fought against all odds.

So, even if its conducted ideally, reservation removes the whole purposes of lives of backward communities. It kills their motivation and inspiration. But, the problem gets infinitely larger due to corruption and despotism. So-called forward communities get punished and face India's version of genocide. It also continues the caste system (people are decided by birth) and produces a cycle of guilt on those who use the reservation system. Even after 60 years of Independence, I'm called forward caste and is it not unconstitutional...

Reservation, like Communism and Racism, are from the rotten ideas of 20th century. They are conceived, produced and practised by fools, despots and psychotics who had bitter experiences in their childhoods. Let us not continue it in the 21st Century. Even if it practised in a lower scale, a holocaust is a holocaust and even if the criteria for selection is different a genocide is a genocide. Reservation falls in the same category - whether we practice in a lesser scale or whether we use different criterion, we are doin grave injustice to the future generations.

Reservation is a crime against humanity

Also read: Reservation Vs. Communism

A letter to the president

What is common between German Holocaust, Srilankan Genocide (that wiped off all the top-performing Tamils in 1950's and became a seed for today's crisis), Russia's communism and India's reservation? They are all wars against a performing minority by unperforming majority. Worse, the war is so subtle that the victims are deaf against the drums of war. It is a slow and painful torture...

I wrote my previous post on the draconian proposals to introduce the concept called 'Reservation' (which literally means, specific sections of society should be entitiled to a minimum number of positions in an institution regardless of how poor r they for the slated position) in India's elite institutions. The article was quoted in Times of India. Few people wrote me back. From their opinion and from what I found on other news sources, so many people favored reservation should be based on economic or dwelling place background (people from rural places should get a preference). The biggest problem in this approach is the concept of reservation itself. I'm not saying that reservation should not be based on caste, etc. I'm saying that there should nothing called reservation itself - be it based on caste, sex, economic level, etc.

I believe that institutions should be based on performance, just as how the sports are based on pure performance. If someone doesnt have a skill to score century, forget becoming a Tendulkar. U cant become a Tendulkar or Agassi or Schumi unless u perform like them. Simple!!! It nurtures competition, inspiration and motivation. It also helps the society know who is a TEndulkar differentiated from some poor batsman. Tendulkar is Tendulkar, Einstein is Einstein, a donkey is a donkey and A is A.

If suppose Indian cricket board decides that 20% of Indian team should be from rural places, or should go to poor or lower castes, or if olympic committe decides that 30% of olympic medals should go to underprivileged wont you consider the proposal bullshit? Or suppose, if the Nobel committee decides that some poor scientist X's work is better than Einstein's Relativity just because X is poor or from underprieveleged sex or community, wont you feel the committee is doing injustice to science?

Reservation is not just illogical and stupid, but it is a crime against humanity. By giving the undeserved a place, you r denying the life for a deserving candidate. Whenever you reserve specific portions in an institution you kill the hopes and aspirations of those young guys, whose life is destroyed by denying him/her a place. You are also belittling the good performers from those underprivileged sections, who would have won positions on merit. By providing reservation for seats for poor performers in their community, the entire society would see even that good performer as someone who is unworthy of merit. This cycle of guilt and inferiority complex would run ad-infinitum. Thus, there wont be any motivation for persons from those communities to perform and only this can bring down their community, and not the absence of their people in the big institutions.

Reservation based on any criteria - caste, creed, background, economy, sex... denies a good performer a chance, in the society. You are unjustly punishing him/her for the sole act of good performance. Once a society punishes a performer for good performance, the society loses its right to E X I S T.... (In case of Germany, millions were dead and Europe was transformed, for Russia it collapsed and disintegrated and Sri Lanka has plunged into an everlasting crisis. Which one of these paths, do you desire for INDIA?)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nathula Pass:Bringing India China together

While India and China are affecting the world in a big way, the trade between them is still low, even with the breathtaking growth since 2000. There is an enormous potential for these 2.3 billion to trade, as these two countries complement each other, in most things. For trade to happen in a big way and to end tensions at the border, border trade is a key thing. If the trade and cultural interactions happen in an ideal way this could create the world's most power trading zone in the economic history of this planet. It would also bring lots of jobs to the often impoverished border residents. Now, with the building of a big market near Nathula Pass, Sikkim, this is goin to happen, soon.

Nathula Pass is a beautiful mountain pass, at a distance of around 56 kms from the Sikkim's capital of Gangtok. It has one of the highest motorable roads in the world, at a height of around 15000 feet!!! When I went there immediately after its opening to the public, in 2004, I had a breathtaking and unforgettable journey. The beutiful green and snow covered mountains betray the tensions that surrounded this pass for almost 40 years. China claimed this entire state, while all its people and rulers want to be in India. Finally, China had to concede and now they have recognized this as a part of India. I hope the border trade goes further in building a strong India-China.

Read More:
Outlook article
India Daily's editorial