The Reservation Monster; This way we are doing violence to merit


After qualifying their 12th standard with flying colors and celebrating the joyous moments with family members and receiving accolades from all-round, agonizing thoughts start haunting the meritorious students about their future. Not because the flame of hard labor stops illuminating their competitive sprit and efficiency takes a back seat, but the specter of reserved category starts casting its shadow. They see their future being gouged out by the icy claws of mediocrity. The very gushing wound inflicted in their psyche that they are elbowed out of the race and knocked down not by someone more talented and more deserving, but one that is nowhere in the competition, but still manages to gatecrash and runaway with the theft. Put in other way, slaughtering talent is the reward for inefficiency. And what is more terrible is the cover of legislation which venerates this murder.
Let us see how the reservation scheme kills the interests of Kashmir speaking people. The present format under which reservation works in the state of J&K is like this: Reserved Backward Areas (RBA) 20%, Schedule Caste (SC) 10%, Schedule Tribe (ST) which includes Gujars, Bakarwals etc 8%, Actual Line of Control (ALC) 3%, Other Backward Classes (OBC) 3%, Ex-service Men other 2%, physically Disabled persons 2%, Sports 2%. In 2010 the state Assembly enacted the law that reserved 8 percent government job for scheduled castes at provincial and district level. The people in valley protested but to no effect. The die was cast and one more fleshslice from Kashmiris was nibbled and relished.
We have to remember Scheduled Caste are predominantly from a Hindu community of Jammu. And the benefits are to be reaped exclusively by them. Add to it the special employment drive aimed to provide government employment to migrant Pandit community under special economic packages. It all boils down to virtually strangulate Kashmiris economically and deny them their due and legitimate share in governance.
Reservation brings gross injustice. Its spill-over effect keeps weeding out the “poisonous“ Kashmiris to protect the born privileged “sanctified souls”. The goddess of luck keeps circumambulating the house of her devotees, kissing them one by one, hugging them for all times to come. Right from seeking an admission in a professional college to the appointment in the government service and then to grabbing promotions, the deity fattens on the blood of the talented youth, she curses and despises most. One time benefit doesn’t satiate her. She is always in Ha’l min mazeed (Is anything left?) mode. She loves to desire sadistic pleasure to see a fate-bitten OM (Open Merit) student, getting say 172 points, visiting a psychiatrist regularly and a dropped 72 stealing the “merit” under her powerful wings of affection.
Reservation on one hand, balances the deficiencies, on the other it mars all the efficiencies. It winnows the grain of merit to dust, promotes husk of mediocracy to rule the roost. No problem, if the categorized fortunates are dropped from OM category in competitive exams, they can attack from back door. In case OM is secured by him/her, still ownership of both places is reserved for the categorized community. Take one get two is the mathematics of injustice they reap the bumper crop of.
It is only Kashmiris speaking youth who is at the receiving end, neither he has a parachutelike device to help him to land in safe reservation zone, nor any special drive to pull him out of the morass of deprivation. More gut wrenching is the fact that while over 50% jobs and higher positions are consumed by the categorized minority, more than 80% Kashmiris speaking find themselves frying in the pan of injustice!

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Hassan Zainagiree

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