The supreme court order staying the OBC reservation issue has leashed out a series of reactions across the land. This time I kept my pend in check waiting before adding my two penny bit.
Last summer was one of discontent as many young students took to the streets to protest: each each side having its protagonists. Students sat on hunger strike, gandhigiri made the journey from screen to street. No one really heard as the powers that be huddled together and got what they wanted or so they thought.
Institutional heads were roped in and some wishy-washy formula was evolved. Quietly petitions were filed in the highest court but the hubris was such that it would even take on the Gods!
Then came the supreme court stay order, a rude wake up call that sent everyone into a flurry. bandhs were called, protests abounded a new cause was found to defend setting the dreaded caste and social divide into motion. Passionate debates were aired on TV and strangely every voice of reason was shouted down by those with extreme positions.
As if no one wanted to find a solution. A retired Professor echoed my thoughts as I tried desperately but in vain to highlight the sad reality about the abysmal state of primary schools. His effort to steer the debate in that direction was countered by a venomous retort branding him as an enemy, validating the point that I have often made about the conscious effort of the powers that be to ensure that a large segment of the population remain illiterate and hence a vote bank easily manipulated.
As the debate carried on one realised that no one was actually interested in the plight of the little Ramus and Jyotis who may have been born in the right caste but who will remain illiterate and whose only hope will be little efforts like project why that ensure that they do not drop out of the gaping holes of the education net.
Last week I went to the Greater Kailash outlet of Cafe Coffee Day. To my utmost surprise a beaming young man in his smart red uniform came to my table and said: Ma’am don’t you recognise me, I am Shiv and was a student at project why! I was taken aback as I remembered him 5 years ago still a shy adolescent who barely spoke.
I must say he was not standing at the portals of an IIT or IIM, but somehow he had stepped on the other side of the fence on his own merit, without reservation with just a little help because someone had believed in him.
The reservation issue will never die as no one will allow it to. It is to good a cause for politicians and for what is now known as the creamy layer. For those who barely survive nothing will change; no one wants it to.