Reality Check India

The OBC script

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 16, 2006

Excellent post that points out how reservations to OBCs are unfair to SC/STs.

Whatever one’s views on reservation, the claims of OBCs are not the same as those of SCs/STs. Our founding fathers were wise to recognise that. OBCs have been capitalising on a narrative of injustice which is not theirs, and in the process compounding greater injustice.

The current debate is being totally hijacked by talk of merit. The real issue is more like this.

"Now, my friends we have all come to the point where a quota system is going to be impilemented whether you like it or not. Let us talk about *who* the OBCs are and their actual station in society, before giving them the benefits" This is the line of thinking we should be pursuing.

Everyone knows, any increase in the number of seats reserved to OBCs will instantly be cornered by wealthy and educated OBCs like Mudaliars, Lingayats, Pillais, and others. This is because these communities have really smart students who can easily beat the Forward castes exams and in the university proper. Why would they not ? They attend the best schools, are well respected in society, have both parents and grandparents who are educated, have access to the best tuition classes, and so forth.

4 Responses

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  1. kuffir said, on April 30, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    i think you have correctly identified the real issue. but,
    ‘OBCs have been capitalising on a narrative of injustice which is not theirs, and in the process compounding greater injustice…’ this seems to indicate that the obcs don’t have a narrative of injustice of their own. do you agree with it? if yes, what do you think are the reasons behind their poor representation in the institutions currently facing the prospect of more quotas? are they a)an inferior sub-species of humans b)they’re stopped by unnamed constraints. which is true?
    ‘Everyone knows, any increase in the number of seats reserved to OBCs will instantly be cornered by wealthy and educated OBCs like Mudaliars, Lingayats, Pillais, and others.’
    categorisation within the obcs restricts excessive access to certain prominent communities in some states like a.p., the yadavs, munnuru kapus and the gouds(the largest obc castes) in the state do not get greater access than others because of categorisation. and the creamy layer too, if assessed and monitored carefully can help prevent such cornering of seats etc.,
    are you sure you are not against reservations ? because this is a familiar tack that every anti-reservationist picks up at one point of time or other..

  2. realitycheck said, on May 1, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Kuffir-

    Yes, this indeed is the primary concern.

    I never attack the "concept" of reservation. How can anyone be against such a noble goal of providing equality to all ?

    The *system* of reservation (not the concept) in place is broken beyond repair. To extend this broken and runaway system to IIT/IIMs/AIIMS is totally uncalled for. That is the primary issue being discussed here.

    I hope you can understand why my examples are mainly from TN. One cannot have knowledge about all regions in India. The so called OBC group is twice the size of the population of the United States. Membsership in the OBC group is relatively aribitrary and is generally reflective of the political clout enjoy by each community. To complicate things further, OBC components themselves vary wildly from state to state.For example , Mudaliars are a OBC in TN but FC in Karnataka. How can you explain that – given that their area of dominance runs contiguous from northern TN, parts of Andhra (Chittor) and South Bangalore. To this day many Mudaliars/Pillais from Karnataka/Maha come and study their high school in Chennai so they can access the OBC seats. I have nothing against that either, they are just improving their chances in a society where the government deliberately keeps the education supply low.

    Regarding creamy layer, I dont have much to say given that all the creamy layer clauses are totally ignored by states like TN. The current DPA ministers from TN are intensely lobbying to get the creamy layer exclusion stipulations removed across India. See here for a link "Karunanidhi writes to Manmohan to do away with creamy layer"

    There has been no monitoring of the beneficiaries of reservation – nor has any social studies been done to ascertain how communities have progessed relative to each other. You cant dole out benefits based on a assumption of backwardness you dont measure at all.

    Regarding OBCs from TN, I can tell you that according to available statistics (which were actually released as an accident – a post about it later) – for the years 2004 and 2005; Only 40 people from the open competition made it compared to 140 OBCs. This is in addition to the 220 seats exclusively reserved for OBCs. So that makes it 360 OBCs and 40 so called forward castes in medical college in the last 2 years.

    In other words, OBCs in TN are so dominant economically, socially, and educationally that they send 9 TIMES the number of FCs into medical college. You can walk into any elite school (sishya, american international, any boarding school in ooty/kodai) and you will find no or little signs of any FC. Of course we would like official data – but we can only talk from personal experience and observation. The government does not even like to publish easy to access data like OBC breakup of college admissions.

    The real statistic however I am interested in is the breakup of the OBC seats. The open secret in TN is that the bulk of OBC seats are going to a handful of communities like Mudaliars, Pillais, Gounders, Chettiars who have all the resources at their disposal educationally to compete. Sometimes they have even better resources than their FC counterparts due to their economic and political superiority.

    I dont know about other states, but I would be very very surprised if the dominant politically influential communities took any steps to harm the interests of their own community vote banks.

    Please share your views. 

  3. murali said, on June 17, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    sir, you have clarified many things which confused me and cleared many musty corners in my mind.thank you.

  4. deepak appadurai said, on July 11, 2007 at 6:13 am

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