Monday, April 10, 2006

Getting Into IIT: Clear The Toughest Engg Exam Ever, Or Be Born 'That' Way

I came back home after giving IITJEE, one of the toughest public competitive examinations, and one of the first things I see on the television is some politician arguing in favour of taking my chances of getting a seat and giving it to an OBC. How insane can politicians get!?! 50% quota of seats reserved for undeserving students in the top engineering institutions of India. The most revered graduation degree in the whole of India is being given to people who need not deserve it or work for it.

IITs are the jewel on the crown of Indian education. The world has woken up to the might of IIT engineers and the clout they command in the world now. The IIT engineer has even made it into Dilbert comic strips, described as a person 10 times more intelligent than the rest of the office put together and trained to sleep only on national holidays. IIT is supposed to be a non-political, elite institution of the brightest minds of the country taught by the best teachers of the country. Same goes for the IIMs which are in fact even more revered than the IITs. Those highly exclusive seats being kept aside for other people whether they earn it or not. My point is not to talk about the IIMs or the IITs though.

The point is this. 60 years after having attained independence from the British whom we accused of dividing India and laying seed to communal friction, our government is not even trying to bring down the walls of hatred and prejudice that communities have for each other. There are severely oppressed OBCs in India, I admit. They do not all get the education they have a right to get. They do not get the same job opportunities as a result and remain economically and socially backward. To relieve them off their plights and bring them on the same platform as the rest of the country, you have to educate them. They have to get the same opportunities as everyone else.

How is giving reservations and quotas everywhere the answer to this? You should build them their own schools if needed. Primary education should be made easier. Give them economic assistance if that is needed. Lesser costs in hospital bills, subsidized rations, exemption from certain taxes maybe. But there has to be a point where you take away these crutches and these supports, and you allow them to stand up on their own feet. The method of bringing an oppressed section of society from the depths of misery to the prosperity enjoyed by other sections, is to offer them the tools to do so. Some people need only schools, while others might need subsidized fees in these schools and a few more such benefits. Thats ok. But their progress has to be directly linked with the effort they themselves put in. If they have the ability or the drive to help themselves then, they do so. Otherwise they can stay where they are.

By giving them undeserved seats in such esteemed institutions we are not only being unjust to lakhs of hardworking General Category students, but also raising another wall of hatred and disparity towards these classes of society. When IIT students look at each other, they see equals. It is a badge of recognition and respect when you say that you're from an IIT. But that won't happen anymore. Pretty soon when you see an IIT-ian you will look enquiringly at him and wonder if he actually cleared IITJEE or just got in due to birth. An OBC IIT-ian will be instantly rubbished and treated as an undeserving entrant, defiling the intellectual might of the IITs.

The government was up in arms about IIM-Bangalore launching an overseas branch in Singapore. Politicians vehemently complaining about the need to provide education to Indians first. Consolidate your base in India and then try to conquer the rest of the world. Then they do this shit. What will the standard be of IIT and IIM passouts in a few years now? How many OBCs who pass out will even land a good IIM standard ka job?

Once they are rejected by most companies since they didn't actually clear IITJEE and CAT and hence earn their right to this degree, what will the government do? You can't employ all these MBAs in government jobs. So, are we going to have job quotas in the private industries too? "If 20% of your employees are of OBC origin, your company gets so much subsidy in taxes" or "You have to keep 50% of your MBA employees from OBCs else you pay so much extra taxes"?

Basically, all this is not about doing the OBCs any good. OBCs are being treated as pawns in the hands of politicians in their game for power. Anything for votes is the mantra.

1 comment:

Pranav said...

i guess its a very bad decision by the government. there are more than 50% non OBC people who are slogging their ass for a place in one of these institutions. It is true that most of them do not get proper education but that does not mean you go on giving those people undeserved advantage. By increasing the % the government is only suppressing good talent and the prosperity of our country. It is due to this suppression that there is a lack of high quality professionalism and people prefer going abroad for education and work.