Saturday, April 08, 2006

Of Mandal and Patkar

Really, people must be confused on reading the title. What do these two people have in common or in difference or in any way to be related so. Let me make things a bit clear. Now Mandal here refers to the now famous or infamous Mandal Commission and its recommendations. For people still in the dark, let me be a bit more clear. The Commission has something to do with increasing reservation for the backward classes in institutions including the IITs and the IIMs. A lot of debate has been going on thanks to the recommendations. One striking point is, if a person is able to come all the way upto a postgraduation degree, then it just means that the person has been able to afford and cope with all his education upto then. Does such a person need more reservation for further studies? Should'nt the government be concentrating more on providing primary education to everyone? Fine, let us assume it is necessary. Let us assume that the government is trying its level best to emancipate the needy and backward people. Going under the assumption that most of the backward people would be illiterate and hence poor too,the government is in turn trying to emancipate the poor. Agreed.

Its at this point that I am struck by the irony. By now, even if you have not got familiar with the Mandal Commission and its recommendations, you would certainly be knowing about the uproar created by the fast observed by Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar. To put it in a nutshell, it has something to do with the problem in rehabilitation of numerous poor people due to the raise in the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam. This lady was forcibly removed from wherever she was fasting, after a week of callous attitude on part of the Government and admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences where she still refuses Intraveneous food. What is this lady trying to do? Is'nt she fighting her utmost for the cause of the poor?

If the Government is really bothered about the condition of the backward classes, should'nt it be concentrating more on such pressing issues than bringing in a reservation which is going to benefit more the second and third generation of such backward classes, to be more precise, socially, but not economically backward classes, who know most of these facilities and hence are able to avail them without any trouble?