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DU?s unreserved outcry

Education standards will take a backseat if casteism takes over.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2006 01:41 IST

It is a time of strange predicament for Delhi University as it braces itself for the inevitable-plummeting standards of education. This is how DU academicians and students describe their feelings following HRD Ministry’s decision of inclusion of OBC reservations in DU’s education system.

A former DUSU President on the condition of anonymity, says, “DU students politics has always been a hotbed of caste politics. The major players here are Brahmins from Eastern and Western UP, Punjab and Mariana, Jats from outer Delhi and Biharis who are further divided into Bhumihar and Rajput categories.

In North campus colleges the tussle for power is between Brahmins and local students, south campus is a bastion for Jats while East Delhi is dominated by Brahmins.”

“Casteism will go up and so will the vote bank. Who cares about DU and education? The real issue is power and money and our political bosses know it,” he adds.

While some students fear criminalisation and greater caste divisions of student politics, teachers are more concerned about the future of education. Mohit, a first year student of Hindu College says, “I shudder when I think of my fate and that of my successors. Will I ever make it to IIM? What is the guarantee that an OBC candidate with poor score won’t get my seat?”

Manoj Khanna, member of  the Academic Council says, “Criminalisation and caste politics have always featured in DU. Most students from reserved categories are poor performers who either drop out or have to be shifted to pass courses. Most have gaps in their knowledge and they are unable to match DU’s standards of education. Now they will occupy seats of deserving candidates and make them.”

KMC College Principal Bhim Sen says, “This is ridiculous. The reserved seats will be occupied by children of Delhi bureaucrats, politicians, administrative officials and Delhi Police from OBC category. Candidates from other states don’t stand a chance and neither do deserving candidates from general category. Education standards will definitely take a backseat and DU’s image will suffer.” Most college principals are unanimous in this view.

Debraj Mookerjee an English lecturer at Ramjas College says, “Yes, casteism will increase. If they are given reservations in the vocational courses then the decision makes some sense because skilled labour is always required in the market. But how can we expect these students to work wonders in research areas like mathematics or any other course if there are gaps in their knowledge?What about the deserving candidates who have slaved throughout their boards to get high scores?”

Former St Stephens history professor Mohammed Amin who has taught generations of students for over 40 years says, “Even after partition all categories of students were coming to DU and making their mark. These days youngsters are adaptable to all situations provided the political bosses leave them alone. Reservation is not the way to empower anyone. Rather, a weightage system should be created to encourage meritorious OBC students to come forward.”

“The claims that casteism and criminalisation will increase by allowing a certain category of students is unfair,” he added.