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Policy makers and 'friendly weapons'

Quotas will help in deepening the existing differences, says our surfer.

india Updated: May 23, 2006 16:37 IST

Keeping aside the counting of different types of inequality existing in the current society, it's important, though, to understand and give due consideration on the form it may take.

Our societal arena is already getting strangulated by economic depravity, illiteracy, political disempowerment, absence of health care, and perhaps, myopic view of the life, prevalent amongst us. There are also powerfully uniting features in the manifestation of these severe forms of depravities. This is partly because different types of handicaps reinforce each other and creates a conducing environment for occurrence of other in the presence of one.

The same people are poor in income and wealth, suffer from illiteracy, work hard for little reward, are uninfluential in politics, lack socio-economic opportunities, and treated with brutal callousness and victimized by law keepers, police and administration.

Some of us are rich, most are not. Some are highly educated; masses are illiterate. Some lead luxuries life and are hedonist, while many have to toil hard to get one square meal for a day. Some are politically power-bearer; others cannot even influence anything. Some are loaded with opportunities for advancement and better life; others lack them to the basics altogether. Some are treated with great respect by the police or administration; many are treated like dirt if not less. These are different kinds of inequality issues that require urgent attention.

In this backdrop of situations, policy makers of the country are creating a "friendly weapon", which will help in deepening the already existing inequalities in the society and also help in provoking divisive hatred. In fact, there is evidence that so called affirmative actions in favour of lower castes has tended to do much more for the economically less strained strata of those castes than for those who are weighed down by the combined burden of extreme poverty and lowness of caste. The overall effect may be to strengthen these inequalities and class divisions rather than weaken them. The 'reserved' posts often go to relatively affluent members of disadvantaged castes.

No policy can be effective without taking account of class background of members of the lower castes. The impact of caste, like gender, is substantially influenced and hence, swayed by class. In this way these affirmative actions can be seen as "friendly weapon", there is still a great deal of this phenomenon in current Indian public policy as it stands.

The announcement by Honourable HRD Minister Arjun Singh is not very different from these ones, and in fact, a new step in the sequence. The creation of different quotas in higher pursuits had, is and never will help us to solace our socio-economic inequality.

At the current pace of development and global competition, I am afraid, India cannot tolerate any set backs whether it's overt or occult (these friendly weapon).

Even though India has many more university-educated people than China has, the latter has made remarkable progress towards universal literacy, while India lags far behind.

China has shown remarkable development in global trade and marketing, and the products that China exports include a great many that are made by not particularly highly skilled labourers, but schooled and literate nevertheless. Also, this relative promotion and reservation at higher levels of advanced education will increase the dependency ratio- number of dependent lives on an advanced educated person.

So, there are ample reasons and proofs to promote primary and secondary education in India.

Abhishek Jaiswal is a medical graduate from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi (2000 batch) and he can be contacted atabhishek_jais@hotmail.com.

Disclaimer
All views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the surfer and do not necessarily represent those of HindustanTimes.com.

First Published: May 23, 2006 11:32 IST