Reality Check India

Data before Quota

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on March 8, 2007

The Supreme Court reserved its judgment on the bunch of petitions seeking a stay on the recently announced OBC Quota in central educational institutions.  Abi has more links here.

Next significant date is March 13, 2007.

“How did you quantify the social and educational backwardness of OBCs as a class and not as castes as in SCs? Until and unless a full determination of these indicators is done, how could this Act be given effect to,” the Bench asked.

Source: Times of India

Sign of things ?

Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice L S Panta. “Unless and until it is determined by the Centre who is socially and economically backward, this Act cannot really be given effect,”

Source: FE

ASG Gopal Subramaniums’ arguments were along the lines of “we kept the open competition the same, so whats the issue ?”. Surely he knows that it is invalid because the quota is not just for todays seats, but also for future. Will a kid in 2010 accept that the open competition seats were kept the same in 2006 ? Besides, the main point in this case is, “unequal treatment of equals”. 

I suspect the Congress led UPA government knew the indefensibility of this scheme.  The cabinet should have listened to Kapil Sibal and HR Bharadwaj and not toed the line of dravidian ministers TR Baalu, Dr Anbumani Ramdoss, and Dayanidhi Maran.

Emboldened by the Sharad Pawar-Lalu Prasad support, the pro-OBCs Ministers responded with a “why-should-we-care-for-the Supreme Court” argument. This brought in Law Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj

Source: The Hindu –  How the Cabinet lined up on the OBC quota

Now, we have come to a stage where the so called social politicians have to show their true colours. They must act and ensure the really backward do not lose out due to the inconvenience of collecting data.

The question in front of the political class is this :

Do you support the OBC quota (or) Do you support the caste list ?

24 Responses

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  1. Goldstar said, on March 9, 2007 at 3:26 am

    While I completely support your view , what I can’t understand is this: When you can job reservations based on quota, why we can’t have educational reservations based on it?? The Supreme Court has accepted the Mandal commission recommendations. Was it blissfully ignorant of the fact that there is NO data to support backwardness? Has the SC suddenly woken up to this reality?

    Also, I fear this will just give rise to shrill voices from the dravidian parties and the likes of Lalu and Paswan to have reservations in the Supreme Court.

  2. xyz said, on March 9, 2007 at 4:39 am

    i agree with goldstar.

    I have a few thoughts to share with barb/reason.
    Pl pardon me if you find them offensive.
    From your posts it is clear that you are engineering graduates(perhaps barb is from IIT) .and professionals in the service sector.
    Brahmanas are a minority in the nation.
    There are huge opportunities in TN.If you can “adjust” with the likes of stalin,you can reap a windfall.Tamils are in need of professionals like you.They have to seek expertise from outside and might be happy to work with you.Have you thought of exploring opportunities in TN?

    After all,we live in an imperfect world.Hundreds of years back,our forefathers sought greener pastures in TN.There is no point in having an irrational faith in reason.

    Look at the way the “rationalists” have changed colour.Human beings are a mix of emotion and pragmatism.They cannot afford to hurt you.You can help the cooks and even i might come to you for help in getting some licence.

    The sc’s are numerically large and have their quotas.There is little we can do for abstract social justice.

    Barb,you claim india is an artificial nation heading for disintegration.Its economic prosperity is dependent on smaller,autonomous political entities.
    Why not try TN? May be you can make it real big.

    I have no right to give unsolicited advice.But we have been discussing this for months.I just wanted to share this thought.

    Gopal Subramanian has been kind enough to “assure” us that the number of seats in the open category will not decrease.

  3. Barbarindian said, on March 10, 2007 at 3:39 am


    Your question really has two parts. I believe that the first part involves my constant criticism of TN, specifically the Dravidian politicians. Let me tell you this, I do not have any specific prejudice against any peoples or groups in the world. But I do have strong reasons to analyze, dissect and critique policy and ideology. As far as ideology is concerned, I am helpless if people believe or practice it in private. As soon as it comes out in the open and violates (what in my belief are) my or others’ rights (as I believe in them) substantially and materially, I must protest. Dravidians like to be atheists and want to practice rationalism? Great. Dravidians go on a rampage of temples on unsubstantial charges? Pretty bad. Dravidians want to change the consitution? Ugly.

    As you can see, if Dravidians keep their ideology separate from policy, I would have no problem. I would even have Periyar’s photo as a screensaver. But like any other ideology, the goal is political and it is all a matter of dollar and cents. Just wait till Sikhs start demanding reservation, it will be 1984 all over again.

    Whether I will ever live or work in TN will depend on circumstances and who knows, it may be sooner than later. Many of my friends work there. I know what it takes.

    Your second question concerns my belief that India is an artificial country and it is heading for disintegration. The answer to this will be too long. Let me just say that must less provocation among much more homogeneous populations have led to wholesale slaughter and mayhem in the past. There are definite patterns on when a society is able to build consensus and surge forward while others mostly continue to bicker among themselves.

  4. Observer said, on March 10, 2007 at 5:10 am

    Mr. Baalu and Mr. Ramadoss seem quite agonized over “centuries” of oppression and appear very magnanimous in not demanding a “backlog” of corrective measures. Unfortunately, I think sometimes people do delude themselves into thinking they are oppressed and are due something. I believe that as long as there is even a single Tamizh Brahmana who is not subservient to the likes of Mr. Baalu and Ramadoss, this seething envy and false sense of oppression will not be satiated. I can only imagine the plight of the Dalit laborers who work on the Vanniyar farms (Ramadoss’ caste), who would demand a part of that land for “centuries” of oppression. It would, in all likelihood, unleash a tremendous wave of violence against Dalits. As Ramadoss has told Mr. Venugopal, “All I want him to say is he is sorry”. It is all about submission, acknowledging overlordship.

    The Dravida movement is primarily an uppercaste anti-Brahmana movement consisting of the landed castes who could not stomach that Brahmanas cornered a lot of the administrative posts under the British. The same Brahmana who was dependent upon the mercy of the Dravida landed castes, who conducted their ceremonies and rituals, was catapulted into a commanding role under the British. Not being an egalitarian society, Indians cannot easily tolerate reversals of roles of authority. As far as the Dravida OBC parties are concerned, once the Brahmana is battered back into submission, all this anti-Brahmanism will fade away quickly. Since TN Brahmanas are not a very violent lot, they have only two choices, accept a submissive role like before, or flee. I do not see them (us) becoming ultra-violent and rioting in the streets etc ever.

    Those Brahmanas who have fled should be very wary of returning to Chennai or any place in TN. Instead, cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi may be a better long-term choice. On at least this point, the Dravida OBC and the Brahmanas may be in perfect agreement 🙂

  5. Reason said, on March 10, 2007 at 5:45 am

    Goldstar’s comment –
    >> The Supreme Court has accepted the Mandal commission recommendations. Was it blissfully ignorant of the fact that there is NO data to support backwardness? Has the SC suddenly woken up to this reality?

    It is not clear if supreme court ‘accepted’ mandal commission recommendations. The idea of identifying and excluding creamy layer was not a part of Mandal recommendations. Supreme court added that condition during the mandal commission cases. Besides, a commission is a political entity meant for the executive, so the question of a court accepting/rejecting it does not arise – until [specific portions of] a commission’s recommendations are challenged in court.

    In this specific case, court has not made any order yet. When the order / judgment is out, we can see the reasons that the court provides. We should probably wait until then to ask or answer your question.

    And it is not true that the court has never raised these questions before. From the ‘M.Nagaraj vs. Union of India’ case (referred to in the Narendran commission judgment), you can see the following –

    “As stated above, the boundaries of the width of
    the power, namely, the ceiling-limit of 50% (the
    numerical benchmark), the principle of creamy
    layer, the compelling reasons, namely,
    backwardness, inadequacy of representation and
    the overall administrative efficiency are not
    obliterated by the impugned amendments. At the
    appropriate time, we have to consider the law as
    enacted by various States providing for reservation
    if challenged. At that time we have to see whether
    limitations on the exercise of power are violated.
    The State is free to exercise its discretion of
    providing for reservation subject to limitation,
    namely, that there must exist compelling reasons
    of backwardness, inadequacy of representation in a
    class of post(s) keeping in mind the overall
    administrative efficiency.”

    It is possible that in the earlier cases, the petitioners arguing against reservation did not raise the specific question of lack of data in adding castes to the OBC list. But reading the above para from a judgment (referring to compelling reasons namely backwardness and inadequacy of representation, and observing ‘At the
    appropriate time, we have to consider the law as
    enacted by various States providing for reservation
    if challenged’) – it appears that the court had thought about this.

  6. Reason said, on March 10, 2007 at 6:03 am

    xyz’s question has been answered very well by Barb and ‘observer’. In particular, observer’s comment is bang on – the dravidas want to batter brahmins into submission, for the brahmins to voluntarily accept a ‘second class status’, in return for basic safety and protection. And some brahmins already do that – I personally saw this resigned attitude from a descendant of a very illustrious brahmin leader of TN who argued that it is not really ‘chauvinism’.

    The 69% reservation will continue to fuel this OBC desire to keep brahmins in their place – brahmin hatred will continue forming their core because every creamy layer OBC reservation beneficiary in TN’s colleges and work-places knows that without this brahmin hatred, he would have to face the guilt in having benefitted in an unfair scheme.

    So – I am happy being out of TN. And to those brahmins still in TN – quit being apologetic about who you are. You dont owe your rights to the OBC dravidas.

  7. xyz said, on March 10, 2007 at 8:37 am

    Thank you for responding.
    Infact,i should have anticipated your response.But i wanted to share this thought.

  8. Bruno said, on March 10, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    By the way, why is the Supreme Court which is so concerned about Merit Permit Private College which admit students on the basis of their dad’s money and not marks

    Just wondering !!!!

  9. Sri said, on March 11, 2007 at 3:59 am

    Bruno,that’s one helluva generalization!!

  10. Reason said, on March 11, 2007 at 7:16 am

    >> why is the Supreme Court which is so concerned about Merit Permit Private College which admit students on the basis of their dad’s money and not marks

    Going by the exhortation of another of your kind here, why dont you implead yourself in one of those cases if you really want to know?

    but if you really did not know the answer to this, the answer is in the quesiton – a ‘private’ college that takes nothing from the government (which is run out of tax-payers money) by way of monetary aid or anything else should be free to do what it pleases. Just like every other ‘private’ enterprise. A ‘private’ institution like BITS-Pilani which is built on reputation will stick to merit. A ‘private’ institution like one of the many that dravida politicians run may choose money over merit or reputation (though they will preach social justice to everyone else).

    Would you argue for a 27.5% discount for OBCs in five star restaurants? that sounds silly right?

  11. mandumakku said, on March 11, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    there have been reports that the PG entrance exams,were rigged by NBE head Dr.Rajasekharan(a close relative of anbumani) to help tamilians get through in large numbers.Do you know the truth?There was a CBI raid on a broker in chennai.
    Perhaps Dr. Bruno can enlighten us.

  12. Ramanan said, on March 11, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I agree with ‘Reason’s reasons for living outside TN. However, I am surprised at the number of tamil brahmins who still want to go back to TN! I ask them if the anti-brahmin issue is of concern – and they don’t seem to be bothered about. I wish brahmins were more politically savvy..

  13. Revathi said, on March 12, 2007 at 8:24 am

    Dear Ramanan,

    Politics always divides and rules. One shouldnt take them seriously. Normal life goes on notwithstanding. A lot of people in Tamil Nadu OBC or otherwise, live in apparent peace with their neighbors. Anyway, in Tamil Nadu most friendships and kinships are based on caste. When my parents moved south after several years in the north, they met with a lot of hostility but it seems that everyone is hostile anyhow to all others except people of their own caste. So people advised them to find “people of your own type” and live peacefully. So that is what you do. There is no use being politically savvy if votes are based on caste and you simply dont have the number..

  14. Barbarindian said, on March 12, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Institute capacity expansion, new Institute creation etc. are already under way. The expected expenses have been budgeted in already. I believe a few IIMs have even started a session with OBC students.

    I wonder what effect, if any, the SC’s stand will have on this issue.

  15. Jai_Choorakkot said, on March 13, 2007 at 5:42 am

    From the otherindia site, posted by Abi:
    I expect the following ‘justification’ for the quantum of the OBC quota to attract a lot of criticism:

    On the allegation that there was no data to provide 27 per cent quota, the Centre said that “in the absence of caste data after 1931, there was no alternative to projecting the population proportion of SEdBC/OBC from the next best source, i.e. the latest available Census 1931; fault-finding in the database is an exercise of taking pot-shots and the methodology followed for identifying the various castes listed as SEdBC/OBC by the Government of India is valid.”

    From the quotes on justification, and the tone of the post, I would conclude that there are pro-reservationists who want data too. Lets not go around each demonizing the other.


  16. Barbarindian said, on March 13, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    You missed Abi’s sarcasm.

  17. xyz said, on March 13, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    i want to thank you for allowing me to think aloud on this personal questions to barb/reason and for publishing their replies.

    I commend your courage,because their answers were politically incorrect,and your blog is widely read.

    Regards and Best Wishes.

  18. mandumakku said, on March 13, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    There was a fist fight between DMK and CPM members today in parliament.DMK is finally realising that there are other states in india.Wonder how Hindu will report this boxing bout.

    It may be not be very long before you have to pack up for madras.The way things are going ,TN may have no more enemies left to make.Then they will have to fall back on their oldest foe.

    It was nice to see CPM members land a few jabs on one of the top DMK Kedis.rc,please forgive me ,i got really excited today.

  19. mandumakku said, on March 14, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    my excitement was premature.TR Baalu was cordoned off by DMK MPs.There seems to have been no harmful intent on the part of Left members.They just wanted to snatch the bill from Baalu.

  20. realitycheck said, on March 15, 2007 at 3:53 am


    Merit is not the issue here, it is two other things – Equality and Social Justice. If you are going to pick a candidate who has secured 98% over a candidate who has secured 99%, then there must be solid evidence of the existance of social and educational backwardness in that candidate. There must be a strong national interest in the form of social justice whenever such a candidate is preferred.

    Merit is not the monopoly of any caste. There are enough candidates from the current “OBC list” who can beat the so called forward caste candidates fair and square in any entrance test.

  21. realitycheck said, on March 15, 2007 at 4:02 am


    Thanks for your views, but be aware of what Dr Ramadoss (the senior) has accomplished for his Vanniyar community. It is nothing short of remarkable. You may argue that his caste politics divided people further, but *given* an environment of narrowing national interests – he did the next best thing – made sure his group did not miss out. If the game being played is caste politics he came out hitting sixes.

    Many others are trying to do a Ramadoss for years now, foremost among them are the tamil muslims who want a subquota. Year after year, they jump from DMK or ADMK and organize mammoth rallies.They are not making any headway.

  22. indica said, on March 30, 2007 at 5:18 am

    In my opinion, I believe that the ‘problem’ of OBC reservation cannot and will not be stopped in its tracks as long as it meets the demands of the majority and is implemented by the majority in favor of the majority.

    Hence, there are only a few natural courses that will help the situation self-heal:

    1. The people of today are venturing more into mixed marriages which causes more future citizens of india to fall evenly on either side of the OBC fence. When the population becomes very heterogenous in composition (chaos theory at its best) then OBC system will be stretched to it’s limits.

    2. If you notice, it’s the oldies of the dravidian party that can lay claim to the OBC tag in all its entirity. Call it what you may, ultimately, all the major big wigs in the south have married women of FC caste – for obvious reasons. So, this means the children of the future cannot be so passionate about the so called ‘injustice’ given that they will be of mixed parentage. At that point, no party will be more qualified to champion the cause of the so called masses and the issue will be forced up for debate once again.

    3. Clearly, the only weapon that a FC has is god-given brains over brawn.
    So,rather than waste energy crying hoarse over institutions that are going to go to seed anyway thanks to stinking dravidian politics, why not see this as an opportunity to open new doors ? Explore global institutions, citizenships and opportunities. This will lead to the creation of global leaders who will be much more sought after to lead the ‘locals’ so to speak.

    Ultimately, only out-of-the-box thinking is going to help FCs. Push, challenge but continously seek new alternatives.

  23. Revathi said, on April 4, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    “clearly the only weapon that a FC has is God-given brains over brawn”

    No, No and No. This is simply not true that FCs are more brainy or less brawny. Both statements are biased.

  24. indica said, on April 7, 2007 at 12:45 am


    The comment : ‘the only weapon that a FC has is god-given brains over brawn’ is not a discriminatory at all. I come from TN and I would be the first to point out that the OBC group is just as qualified as the FC group. The crux of the matter is that ultimately, the OBCs are having their way due to sheer numbers. The ‘FC’s are just minorities which is why they have been intimidated into silence in TN. Hence what the comment intends is given that FCs are outnumbered, the only recourse is to battle it out with mind over matter. Nobody,of course, can dispute that brains are indeed god-given (as with everybody).

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