Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One more Reservation bill????

As an open category student I have been a first hand witness to the way reservations in educational and government institutions are misused. How it is used as a political tool to garner more votes by incompetent politicians and how easily it can fragment Indian society, which by the way is the key to win any elections in India.

I cannot express how angry I was with the Congress when the then human resource minister Mr. Arjun Singh just could not stop ranting about why the reservations for backward castes must exceed the current 51 %. He was visible in every TV news channel giving his opinions and views, managed to get a lot of support from a few and sparked out violent protests in Mumbai and other cities. But I guess all is well that ends well. The Bill never saw the light of day; however the congress managed to present a Dalit/OBC/ST/SC friendly face just before the elections. This could have been one of the reasons as to why they had such a good showing in the hindi heartland.

However when the Women reservation bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha, I was ecstatic. I had what so ever no doubt in my mind that this was history in the making. A day of which I can talk of when I grow old to my children or grand children and say “I was there when this happened”. Finally the right, left and central politicians agreed on something which was for the greater good of the country. Never before have I seen the Indian parliament so very much in tandem about an issue. Of course there were some unruly scenes in parliament, but guess it is not uncommon for the Yadav’s to make such a ruckus.

But then my mind wondered. What was so different about this bill? Why did I support this one when I am in general opposed to all and every reservation system anywhere?

Well as per rules of the Vatican, the process to declare a person as a saint does not start before at least 50 years have gone by after the person’s death. And the rule is for a good reason. Emotions need to be eliminated before you can take a decision or make a point or support a cause. I was not going to wait for 50 years to express my views on this matter or write this blog, but I did wait for a few days just to check out how I feel about it a little later. I am still quite positive about the whole affair. I still believe this will increase credibility of the parliament. Bring in more clean politicians and would by and large sensitize our law makers in terms of women issues.

But then I ask myself, Will this bill really make a difference?
If you ask the detractors of the bill they have the same points to speak of. Women will be little more than puppets in the hands of their Husbands!!! Parties must have self imposed quotas… etc. Countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan have more than 25% women in their parliaments and their lot has hardly improved… And the list goes on and on.

And Again I ask myself, how valid are these objections? Will this Bill really make a difference? I still cannot answer with great confidence. But I do feel, it will bring about a positive change. India should strive not only to be a land of equal opportunity but also a land where every one enjoys equal growth. Women have long been in the fringes of Indian politics. This will surely empower them to change India.

Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope the bill makes its way to the LS this very session.



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