Reservation: How to Kill Merit: So, the results and college admissions season is here. And this time I’m a part of it. I’ve written an article on this topic a year ago and yet here I’m. This time I feel the pain, discrimination, and low. The reason being reservation.

While every time I take up topics I include facts and statistics based (my lots of other blogs are the proof), this time I’ll talk in layman terms. Not many statistics will be presented. Also, because statistics don’t do fair justice to this topic as the data is many a time old, small sample size, irrelevant, or just not a true representation of the reality. Anyone who has studied statistics/economics in their school would know that stats are just tools and not conclusions. Stats can be delusional.

So, without further ado let’s jump right into our article or my opinion article Reservation: How to Kill Merit


Reservation: How to Kill Merit

First I’ll like to make it clear that discrimination on the basis of caste DO EXIST. Casteism is an IMPORTANT ISSUE. In urban areas I barely witnessed caste discrimination, it was more focused on the class divide. Now it’s true that a good percent of the poor were SC/STs but it’s also true that if a person of that same caste happens to be someone’s neighbor, that residential society won’t discriminate.

And if it makes you any happier, I apologize for the atrocities committed by my caste in history.

I did witness caste-based discrimination in rural areas though. But again if a low caste man happens to be a high-ranked official he/she won’t be discriminated against. I believe society has come to have a place where money and influence rule. Class divide, VIP culture, etc have replaced caste-based discrimination.

Question yourself how often will a Dalit be subject to discrimination if he/she is a Police Inspector, Politician, Bank official, etc. Question yourself if an upper-class Hindu of the lower middle class will be treated fairly in a VIP party. Would his/her children be treated fairly in a school/college famous for the rich aristocratic class?

Today take up ANY competitive exam and go through its cutoffs for different categories. There will be a good difference of THOUSANDS IN RANK in different categories for any particular college. I ask WHY? Same class, same fees, same circumstances but different cutoffs. How do you justify a student who didn’t get a seat in his/her dream college because somebody thousands of ranks below took it? How do you justify the pain of millions of such aspirants? What wrong did they do?

How do you justify it to those students with not so affluent backgrounds? Somebody on Twitter said, “take admissions in private colleges”. Why should somebody leave something that is meant for everybody? If that was the case then the Supreme Court could have said go to a different temple in the Sabrimala temple judgment. Somebody said that “lots of seats are unreserved”, how that justifies someone from thousands of ranks below getting my seat? Also, those unreserved seats are fought by everyone, it’s not for General categories only.

Reservation: How to Kill Merit

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. I’ve not read the Hunger Games but I have watched the movie series and despite being a fantasy, it depicts politics and society flawlessly. After power was overthrown, the leader of resistance proposed a new ‘temporary’ hunger games for the citizens of the capital only. She justified it as a resolve for all the oppression. Politically speaking, it could have been a good move. But the Mockingjay and few others voted against it.

Many tackle this with arguments of oppression and privilege. First I’ll like to say that PRIVILEGE IS NO CRIME. Every one of us is privileged. You with a healthy body is privileged for someone, you who can spend 500INR on a T-Shirt is a privilege for someone who buys T-shirt for 50-100INR in a footpath, you who travels everywhere by car is privileged for someone who uses cycle or public transport.


Another argument is the history of oppression. This argument is used by many eminent personalities. Some go as far as stating that hundreds of years of oppression change one’s mindset. One whom I personally admire a lot said this and went on to say that his history affects his performance. Now, Mughals and Britishers ruled and oppressed almost all Indians, do you feel that during your exams? I’ve studied with SC/STs and OBCs, none of their’s mindset is affected by such historical oppression.

And I can firmly say most are ignorant of all the oppression or his/her caste identity. Yes, its true that if the society one lives in discriminates then that might affect one’s mentality. But as I said its not that prevalent anymore and more depends on one’s economical status. Reservation may have been relevant 70 years ago but not anymore! We cant recognize underprivileged categories just by their caste.

Also Read: Sex education VS India: Everything that’s wrong

Modern Problems Needs Modern Solutions

Reservation: How to Kill Merit

Oppression is now directly proportional to economical status. Some say that reservation will continue till caste-based discrimination prevails. Any society in a given time discriminates one or the other basis, body types, skin color, birthplace, religion, caste, sex, creed, class, and much more than I personally know about. The answer is no reservation.

We should take examples from the American society or Britain or Canada. Do you think discrimination is not there? In the USA, blacks are forever discriminated yet schemes, initiatives, legal frameworks, judiciary etc help counter the issue from its very roots. Asians were attacked randomly at public places, Mexicans were seen as foreign troublemakers and what not.

And I don’t say that these issues have been successfully tackled but yes improvements have been seen over the years. Many times in many places reservations were adopted but never as severely and permanently as in India. Reservations were meant to be judged after 10 years. Which does give a clue that reservation was supposed to be a short-term measure. It hints that policymakers saw reservation as a quick problem solver and never meant to be continued for 70+ odd years.

We should question why is it required after 70 years. Is it a successful policy even?  In India, we seek short and quick measures for everything, so that we don’t have to work hard. Sensational rape case? Encounter! Too many rapes? Ban porn! High crime rate? Ban alcohol!

Sadly enough none of these policies ever work. Rather create chaos. Unaccountable and absence of juridical processes in cases would only give a loose end to fake encounters. Instead of banning pron, more emphasis on sex education can tackle a lot of issues at once. Banning alcohol never worked but rather gave birth to smuggling, illegal and unsafe liquor and more.

Once an SC/ST medical student passes UG from a tier 1 college with his general category batchmate, isn’t he/she already at par? Then why offer reservations in PG courses as well and even jobs too? And that wasn’t enough, his/her kids too? WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF RESERVATION?

Some say the sweepers, cleaners, servants, laborers are mostly lower caste people. It’s true, I agree but do you think that it was because they failed to get into the IITs? or because the State failed its duty as a welfare state in providing quality primary education. Literacy is a major issue in India, why is that? If you don’t want your labourers, maids, cleaners’ kids to have a bright future then he/she must finish schooling and not just for the sake of it.

He/she needs vocational training, quality education to compete in mind-boggling exams like NEET. It is only a rare phenomenon that someone cracks such exams without coaching. Aakash, Career Launcher, FITJEE, the whole city of Kota and others run coaching businesses worth billions. Who funds them? Just the upper caste Hindus? A family may not eat well but it makes sure they pay lacs in fees to these centres.

When news comes in that thousands of PhD holders apply for a peon job, what caste do they belong from? What does such news articles depict? Who is at fault?

Also Read: Men Rights VS Pseudo Feminists


How Reservation is a Political Weapon

Reservation: How to Kill Merit

The dirty side of the reservation is how reservations only increased with time, how more and more communities are protesting for it, how fake certificates are prevalent, how reservation has killed merit and encouraged meritocracy, how the reservation is the strongest political tool, how soddenly caste is not a factor when it is someone’s vote bank. How even the SC subtly acknowledged that reservation is a forever subject as no party will ever dare.

Every single election, parties fight on who gets whom. They have made a name for themselves as the leader of a particular community. Yet 70+ years of political representation and manifestos failed to even address the issues at hand.

Reservation doesn’t serve the one who needs it rather the ones who are already served. Tell me how does a poor Dalit admit his ward to IITs, IIMs, NLUs etc? Would he have the money to pay for tuition fees, hostel, stationary etc even if his ward is eligible? Remember Super 30?

Tell me how do you expect such caste to uplift when the education you provide in government schools is pathetically poor. Leave competing for face to face in exams as brutal as JEE, NEET, CAT and others, a student of such schools lacks basic knowledge of primary level topics.  Where is the aggression on that?

I’m a law aspirant and every year there is a debate if CLAT is elitist, if 4,000INR for forms is justified, if 1,000INR per objection is justified, if 50,000INR under 36 hours for counseling is justified and if at last 10-12 lacs of fees is justified. And it does strain on my family’s very modest income. Where is the aggression on that? Where is the aggression when IITs, NIITs, IIMs, JNU, NLUs increase fees many folds?

How can the underprivileged afford quality education?

Where is the aggression when eminent political leaders are shown eating in the house of a lower caste or sharing food with a community or tribe? What does it show? It shows that DESPITE being a VVIP of maybe a different/superior caste, he/she is READY to eat with the lower class. Treating humans as equal is NOT ACHIEVEMENT but NORMAL and must be just another quality as civilized humans.

Nowadays corruption is skyrocketing. I’ve witnessed struggling deserving and financially beaten candidates asked lacs of bribes for government and even private jobs. How did reservation help him/her? If the reservation doesn’t kill merit then why don’t we ask for caste representation in Indian Cricket Team or the team in Olympics right now? Or armed forces? Or in Nuclear or Aeronautical research centers run by GOI? Why did the Supreme Court then say that highly specialized medical fields shouldn’t be reserved?

Because we all know the consequence of otherwise


A Way out of Reservation

Reservation is and will always be a debate. It is an easy way out and keeps the masses happy. No political party will ever dare to touch this issue as it would literally mean the assassination of all political aspirations. But still, I’ll very briefly list down probable solutions

  1. 50% cap must be strictly adhered. Some states like Tamil Nadu, Orissa etc go as way as 60-65%. It is gross discrimination.
  2. SC/ST, OBC reservations must be reduced and that reduced percent should be transferred to the EWS category
  3. Newer caste-based reservations shouldn’t be encouraged
  4. Caste reservation would be available to 2 children per family for all past, present, or future generations. This data will be directly linked to Aadhar
  5. All caste-based reservations must depreciate every year by at least 5%. This way we slowly phrase out these reservations.
  6. Government should aggressively bring in scholarship programs for top rankers with a family income of less than 7lacs in all competitive exams like JEE, NEET, CLAT, CAT and others.
  7. Private institutions too must support such meritorious students financially.
  8. Government should level up its schooling to multiple folds. Better faculty, quality education, strict governance, reduced administrative workload on teachers, competitive attitude towards different schools and state boards as seen in private schools.
  9. The education budget has a downward slope. As per our population and workforce, we need a good percent of the budget on education.
  10. No bullshit implementation of NEP. Lots of underqualified (from all categories) that up fields that don’t suit them well.

That was all from Reservation: How to Kill Merit, do share if you agree with me. And as always, AGREE TO DISAGREE


Also Read: Elections In India: The Tale of Two Things

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Anubhav Kumar Das

Anubhav Kumar Das

Anubhav is the owner of Forever Pieces. He is a published author and poet. He is a part-time freelance writer and maybe found strumming the guitar for gigs on festive weekends. Besides all these, he is also an exhibited artist and photographer.

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