TODAY -

E-Pao! Opinions - No reservation Rhetoric please

No reservation Rhetoric please
By: Deepak Chabungbam*



Mr. Ranjan Yumnam, in an extremely well-written article, has passionately argued for demanding SC/ST status for Meiteis. He has given three justifications:
1. we are "chinkis" like our fellow ethnic groups and our "pride and ego" should not come into the picture
2. if Brahmins are demanding reservations, why can't Meiteis do the same?
3. if we can accept the tag OBC, why not the tag SC/ST?

My article seeks to present an alternative viewpoint while accepting the fact that "Reservation is like a general train compartment: those who are inside are always in conflict with those who want to get inside".

At the outset, I should emphasize that my arguments have nothing to do with any "pride and ego". Nor am I implying any kind of social hierarchy. Nor do I consider the tag SC/ST (or the tag OBC for that matter) derogatory in any sense of the word. My personal opinion is that Meiteis are as much as a tribe as any other ethnic group in Manipur or NE India is. And there is no doubt that our society is a highly egalitarian one-something I'm enormously proud of.

People from other parts of the country may refer to the Mongoloid stock collectively as "chinkis" but we also collectively call them "mayangs". This is, of course, an altogether different issue and has no relation whatsoever with a political issue. This adequately settles the first and the third points raised by Mr. Yumnam.

Which then brings me to the second point. First of all, I would like to place on record the fact that every democracy that is committed to equity and justice needs some form of affirmative action. Having said that, I note with regret that the policy of reservation in education and employment, as it is practiced today, kills merit and quality. It has unfortunately evolved into a policy that is steeped in shibboleths. Far from being a tool for achieving affirmative action, it has today become an anachronistic concept.

The recent moves by the BJP and the Congress to outdo each other in extending reservations to some upper castes, which have received a lot of flak from various sections of the society and the media, only confirms the fact that the policy of reservation has become a huge political enterprise.

What reduces this whole exercise to a huge mockery is the sharp drop in public sector employment. The latest data released by the National Sample Survey (NSS) shows that the rate of growth of employment in the public sector has declined from 1.52 % for 1983-94 to -0.03 % for 1994-2000. This is only expected in a liberalizing economy that is becoming increasingly market-determined.

Since the Civil Services seem to be the flavour of the day, lets see what is in store there: till the early 90s, the annual intake was around 800-1000 but the number has increasingly dwindled reaching an all-time low of 285 this year. Well, job quotas are fine but there are no actual jobs to be given.

Although originally intended to be a strategy of empowerment, reservations have degenerated to become a strategy of enslavement, of creating a widespread culture of social and political dependency.

Therefore, it is only pragmatic that instead of presenting ourselves as a commodity in the political market, we should focus our attention and channelise our energies into issues that are of more relevance in the context of the new economic order in which the market rather than the state is becoming the primary source of economic opportunities. Maybe, we could start with clarifying which textbooks our thousands of students should be studying and who should be prescribing them.

Secondly, it sounds very appealing to argue that reservation would get us jobs in good numbers. Yes, as things stand today, we might land up with good jobs for the next 5 or even 10 years. That is the short-term benefit. After the initial bonhomie, the party will be over sooner than later.

But have we ever wondered why we are in a position to exude so much self-confidence? Why can we make sweeping statements like "… with the added advantage of reservation allotted to us, we may eventually see a sea of Manipuri talent sweeping all public examinations in India." with so much conviction? The point I'm trying to make is that any benefit that might accrue to us will only be as a direct consequence of years of "living in the thick of action".

There are certain inherent advantages of growing up in a competitive environment: we have been extremely hardened and we have become sophisticated. Our fighting instincts have been put to the extreme tests and the competitive spirit in us has transformed us into an intellectually rich community. Needless to say, there are a number of achievers in a number of fields. We, as a community, are today way ahead of others in so many spheres primarily because we have been "pushed" into the vast sea of tough competition. We can discount this aspect only at our own risk.

The human intellect works in perfect synchronism with the environment in which it is placed. Change the environment and human productivity changes accordingly. Therefore, if we tell ourselves that we are being discriminated against and that we should seek reservations, then we've got our priorities seriously wrong. At a time when our society is doing a lot of active soul-searching, one cannot help drawing the obvious inference that getting into that frame of mind is not only misplaced but also would be counter-productive as it would only lead to further degeneration of our society propelled by a lax attitude towards our work and education. This is regressive and is totally unacceptable.

There is a myth propounded by us that reservation is the panacea to all our ills and that SC/ST status can emancipate our community. The truth is that reservation as a tool of affirmative action has been as effective as our population control methods. Reservation without qualifications won't emancipate us. It's not that the day we become SC/STs, most of us will land up in good jobs. And it's definitely not that people who get into, for example, the Civil Services through some quota are there "just because of the quota". That is where the "Lyngdoh argument" comes into the picture.

Ranjan passionately writes: "I would rather be a Lyngdoh instead of being a Meitei loser". Well, this is not the first time that I've heard such statements from many a Meitei student. This has indeed become extremely fashionable. The truth is that Lyngdoh was an extremely bright student and he made it to the IAS as a General category candidate at the age of 21. We have no right to downgrade the accomplishments of this achiever from the North-east by associating him with some "quota".

This, therefore, is a hollow argument. It is not reservations that will sustain us in an increasingly competitive atmosphere. The solution lies in changing our attitudes to work and career; and in cultivating discipline in our work-culture. We need to relight that fire of enthusiasm which will make us starve and strive for excellence. This is the need of the hour.

The idea of reservation was conceived as a means to an end. Years of being in the thick of intense competitive action have given us the means today. We have a number of achievers in a number of fields. And I can proudly proclaim that Meiteis have the intellectual wherewithal to overcome our economic backwardness.

Years ago, when we were given the offer, as Ranjan very aptly points out, our pride and ego rejected it. We boarded another train… that runs much faster. Today, we seem to be ruing our own decision. These are hard times indeed for all of us. And this is when we should collectively strive to rise to the occasion. This is the time when our determination should be steadfast and our latent energies should be brought to the fore. This is definitely not the time to meekly surrender and cry for concessions. Is not proper then that instead of jumping down from a running train and decelerating our social and intellectual progress by further reinforcing our laid-back attitude to life by advocating seeking concessions, we should be telling our children and students what we can achieve if we put our heart and soul into our individual endeavours?

Our "collective destiny" cannot depend upon some preferential treatment meted out to us by the state. We have to be the authors of our own destiny. We need to be highly realistic in our approach to such issues, which have the potential of transforming to highly emotional ones. We should cautiously guard against presenting ourselves as political fodder to unscrupulous elements. Reservation has become a farce today. It is at best a political tool. We should take the lead in emphasizing that the essence of affirmative action should be shifted from quota to market participation.

I cannot accept the sacrifice of our competitive spirit at the altar of reservation. We need to be far-sighted in our thinking and forward-looking in our attitude.

When the going gets tough, the tough in us should get going…for our own sake, let us not apply brakes.


* The writer is an officer of the Indian Revenue Service and readers are free to comment
on this article at dchabs@yahoo.com


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Final: Hazari/Tombi Polo #1 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Events Schedule
  • #TB hotspot cannot be on blindspot
  • United Metal 3.0 @Imphal
  • My name is Kom, Mary Kom
  • Swachch Bharath Swasth Bharath
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Online booking site
  • The Killing Fields (2013-17) :: Timeline
  • Mary set on Olympic gold
  • For every causes, there is a reason
  • Moibung Khunou -near khurkhul :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #4 :: Gallery
  • On the Naga Framework Agreement
  • Media Challenge: Glance from hills #1
  • GIS day at NIT Manipur
  • Pangal Leader Mohammed Hanif Shah
  • NPF questions Speaker convening meet
  • Painting Exhibition by Babli Das (Tripura)
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Looking out for possible measures
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Cultural Program @ MCA :: Gallery
  • Parihal, Nimshimphy, Neilianthang: eMing
  • Ningol ChakKouba @MBC #3 :: Gallery
  • Oh dear Daddy, see I a Native Proud: Poem
  • Buddha's metta and karuna #3
  • Narendra Modi will never play Nehru
  • Photo Caption Contest by Whakal.com
  • General Call to All Former NPF Leaders
  • Penguin Readathon & Book Gifting
  • ENNG opposes inclusion of TCL..
  • Report alarm for Arunachal
  • Loktak witness drastic fall in migratory birds
  • Lecture on 'Rohingya Resettlement'
  • 'Weaves of Ching-tam' @London :: Gallery
  • Opening: Jadonang Football #1 :: Gallery
  • Robert's Weaves of valley & hills at London
  • Remembering boy..felled by fake encounter
  • Reorganisation of North Eastern Council #1
  • Sangai Photo Awards 2017 : Contest
  • Meeyam meekup nahum singna leibiyu
  • HighWays : Govt. needs seriousness
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #4 :: Gallery
  • SDG Consultation: NE :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #1 :: Gallery
  • Distribution Patterns of the Asian Eye
  • Sustainable Development Goal Consultation
  • Wrangle in Mapithel dam: Legal perspective
  • In the Slums of Heaven :: Poem
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony for AR Martyrs
  • Time to take a bow, Robert
  • Create jobs for NE to stop trafficking
  • March: Mera Houchongba #4:: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival: Ideas for a change
  • A shadowy dreamer :: Poem
  • Winter - A blessing in disguise for us ...
  • Course in Nanotechnology at NEHU
  • Pamel : Serene Natural Hub, near Lamlai
  • Vacancy at YVU Financial Services, Thoubal
  • System Operators @PR Enterprise, Khurai
  • Just by showing concern will not change..
  • Food Stall @Phayeng #2 :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #3 :: Gallery
  • The moment :: Poem
  • Board exams decoded
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 2
  • Conference : North East in Globalized Era
  • NE-IAS launched to support Startup India
  • Painting Competition on Conservation
  • Ramkung Pamei is new MHJU Chief
  • Charuangc 2017: Rongmeis in Delhi & NCR
  • Priyogopal (Senior Artist)- Photo :: eRang
  • Kabui Dance @Jadonang Football:: Gallery
  • Fashion @NE Festival, Delhi :: Gallery
  • Deviance and Corruption in Kangleipak
  • Applied health research is vital to #endTB
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 1
  • Tri-nation Motorcycle Rally reach Imphal
  • Traffic woes continues
  • Kwatha festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
  • The threat to balkanize Manipur
  • Cry of a Dying River - 6 :: Poem
  • Biological based integrated Congress grass
  • 3rd Audition of Fagi Unplugged
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Of clean environment
  • Paonam Lily (Archery) Reception :: Gallery
  • North East Fest @ Delhi :: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #2 :: Gallery
  • IBSD, India & VITO, Belgium signed MOU
  • First angioplasty for in-stent restenosis
  • RIST Popular Talk-33: Quantum Hall states
  • Commonwealth alumni event of NE
  • Lecture on The Rohingya Conundrum
  • Tri-National Motorcycle Rally
  • 3rd North East Fashion Week at Itanagar
  • ILP Nov 30 deadline: Why not only for valley
  • Expected changes, do we see ?
  • Festival of Raas Leela #2 :: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #2 :: Gallery
  • Code of silence: Concealing gender justice
  • God Rules Over All :: Poem
  • Five day 'Flower Show' at Ukhrul
  • Go birding to honour Bird Man of India
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Uphul Waiphul and Leikhom Leinang
  • A reminder to Central Govt.
  • Assam, Manipur bid to better ties
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Pune :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #2 :: Gallery
  • Meitei Pictographic Writings :: Book Review
  • Careers related to mental health
  • Beauty & Money for a purpose
  • Human rights infractions in Mapithel Dam
  • AMAND Ningol Chakouba at Pune : Report
  • Chef Required at Kakching
  • NHPC Raising day at Loktak Power Station
  • Mary Kom enter Asian Ch'ships final
  • Of ST demand, ILP, peace talk
  • For elderly people
  • Prof. Nongmaithem Tombi Singh : A Profile
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #2:: Gallery
  • U-17 Footballer honored by Guv :: Gallery
  • Just in favour of nocturnal life
  • Dance of Fire Flies at Autumn :: Poem
  • North East Festival bids farewell
  • Protest over Naga pact
  • Agenda of Govt spelt out at DBC, Maram
  • Nurturing the future
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #2:: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Weekend @Delhi #1 :: Gallery
  • History will not forgive us
  • A girl :: Poem
  • Pre-merger political party struggle
  • JRF wanted at NIT Silchar
  • Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party
  • Welcome to Southern Nagalim greeting
  • March: Mera Houchongba #3:: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #1:: Gallery
  • Taxi- raising Air Pollution in Ukhrul
  • Back to basics to #endTB: Do it right
  • Man with Flower's Life :: Poem
  • Skill development training with MUDA
  • Quiz Competition at NE Festival
  • Free cataract operation at Loktak
  • Traffic control- still a flop show
  • Pui Thangamliu -Photos #1 :: eRang
  • NH7 Weekender [28 October] :: Gallery
  • Surjalal: Fellow of American Physical Society
  • Ithai Barrage for Irrigation: Beautiful Promise
  • NE Festival 2017 starts off
  • The Sun & the Cloud :: Poem
  • Land encroachment at Lamka College
  • Salesian College Grabs UK Project
  • Nagaland CM met Rajnath reg. Naga issue
  • Ranked 5th in women safety: stereotyping?
  • Prime focus
  • Miss Kut #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #1 :: Gallery
  • Kangujam Chinglensana (Hockey) feted
  • reach the tipping point for childhood TB?
  • A round of applause for N Biren, CM..
  • Link Research with Education for NE
  • Culture is beyond Religion: Najma Heptulla
  • Vacancies @ Chirag Estate, Gurgaon
  • Defection of some party workers : NPCC
  • ST for Meiteis: Final say rests with Delhi
  • Understanding responsibility
  • Chavang Kut @Tengnoupal :: Gallery
  • Sub-Junior Girls Football #2:: Gallery
  • A crusade for a greener Manipur
  • Tourist Guide as career option #2
  • 'Govt working for inclusive development'
  • Namsai gets Buddha relic from Thailand
  • 5th NE Festival at Delhi: Program Schedule
  • 20th Asian Charter for Human Rights: Video
  • National Unity Day at Ukhrul
  • NPF MLA present at all parties meet
  • Of three Ws and Politics
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #1:: Gallery
  • Happy Kut Wishes :: e-pao Flash
  • Let's be racist
  • 3rd Ningol Chakouba, Delhi : A Report
  • Dr. Rahejuddin Sheikh : Best Director Award
  • I Am In You To Feel Myself :: Poem
  • Conference: North East in Globalized Era
  • Seeking contributions : Library Centre
  • RGU Celebrated National Unity Day
  • Run for Unity organized by AR
  • Of traffic chaos and mad rush
  • What if Pan Naga Hoho is final settlement
  • Chothe: Shabu Hong Rein :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • IT Employment Devlp Course :: Gallery
  • NH7 Weekender [27 October] :: Gallery
  • Red Light Area in Manipur ?
  • IT Enabled Employment Skill Development
  • Football in India needs encouragement
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • Meeting on Hornbill Festival 2017
  • Territorial integrity : No to separate admin
  • A confusing solution, if happens
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #1:: Gallery
  • Candle light for Belinda Morse :: Gallery
  • Hills are Better
  • Wedding :: Poem
  • Candle lighting in memory of Belinda Morse
  • NH7 Weekender: 2nd Day Report : 28 Oct
  • RGU launched Clean and Green Campus
  • Territorial integrity: All party meet sans NPF
  • Exhibition of Pottery Crafts #2 :: Gallery
  • Phayeng Cultural programme :: Gallery
  • Khongjom War Memorial #3 :: 360 ° View
  • Ichangi Laidhi #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakkouba by Paomee:: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Kolkata :: Gallery
  • Tourism Day @ Phayeng #1 :: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Sikkim :: Gallery
  • Ningol to her mapam lamdam :: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Mera Men Tongba :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Kh Ninthoinganba
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thounaojam Jeakson
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Nongdamba Naorem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Dheeraj Moirangthem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Amarjit Kiyam (Captain)
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thangjam Boris
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Wangjam Suresh
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Md Shahjahan
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #4 :: Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS