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Readerspeak: Quota can be bitter pill

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Last Updated: April 27, 2006, 18:00 IST

Readerspeak: Quota can be bitter pill

I understand the sentiment of a forward caste student who scored 89% but had to sacrifice his education for a backward student.

The quota row in India is heating up with HRD Minister Arjun Singh coming under attack over his proposal to reserve 27 per cent seats for other backward classes (OBCs) in premier educational institutions in the country.

On Wednesday, general category students of medical colleges went on a strike to protest the quota. The stir heated up to an extent where students of five Delhi medical colleges clashed with the police when they were stopped from marching towards Arjun Singh's residence in Delhi.

Here is a letter received by IBN Live from a reader who talks about her experience as someone who belongs to an OBC family.

I do understand the sentiment of a forward caste student who scored 89% but had to sacrifice his education for a backward student who scored 65%. It sure is unfair.

The student has put in days of sincere effort to score that much and it sure breaks his/her heart when a seat is denied. I understand the pain, the agony, the anger.

I too was a student. I had scored very high in schools, got admitted to an NIT purely on the basis of merit, had done post-graduation from NIT with very good scores.

I belonged to an OBC family, but had never taken the sweet-sugar-candy called reservation because I truly believed in the sanctity of merit. I never had to use it to reach anywhere.

Life was good until I reached NIT, because the majority of students (almost 98%) belonged to upper-castes.

During school education I don't remember many things which confused me except this maths teacher, who once asked me whether I copied from the girl who sat next to me, who was an upper-caste.

I always stood first and the question was insulting even for my young heart. And there was this guy who sat behind me in college who verbally doubted me to be a SC/ST because I was dark and had dravidian :-)) looks. I have nothing against any of them.

It was more difficult when I reached NIT, because most of the girls didn't want me to be their roommate. I was not the bubbly, carefree soul because there were things which worried me. I missed the friends who would walk with me, talk with me and share with me.

Those four years were the loneliest with no good friends to share. There were four girls in college who belonged to SC/ST and they always shared the room together.

It was miserable to watch them cling together and distance themselves from the general crowd. I did manage to squeeze in with some well-wishers.

Now, when I say that I understand an FC boy/girl's pain, how much does he/she understand the pain and unfairness an OBC boy/girl undergoes, who has been denied not a seat but the very existence on his/her own mother land!

Bharathmata is my mother too. But one lookthrough a backward's kaleidoscope, the world looks very dark, darker than his skin.

(The writer, Sreeja, sent her feedback to IBNLive. The views expressed are her own.)
first published:April 27, 2006, 18:00 IST
last updated:April 27, 2006, 18:00 IST