Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fresh Air

If you, like me, felt claustrophobic the past few days, here's some fresh air:

Falstaff, true to type, makes a well-reasoned argument against reservations. With solutions. How I wish he had done this before and spared us that incoherent rant.

Dilip, here and here makes a case for.

Abi has some interesting links here.


Falstaff said...

Veena: The thing is, it never occured to me till yesterday that people might actually want to defend this ludicrous policy. That there may actually be people who were for it. I just took it for granted that people would see it for the nonsensical sham it is. So I didn't bother putting a serious post on it for much the same reasons that i wouldn't bother putting a serious post about how Salman Khan is not a poor victim of the justice system. Both ideas are equally ridiculous to me.

Ah well. It's probably just my trusting, optimistic nature. honestly, it's amazing how just when I think human beings can't get any denser, they do.

Veena said...

Falstaff: Your trusting, optimistic nature? Yeah right.

Even if I were to disregard the content of that rant(since we all know 42 is not so much about content), the writing was def below par. Wouldn't you agree?

As for people being dense, well, they are. You better get used to it. And this is a serious issue - I am not sure you can dismiss it like you dismiss the Salman Khan comedy. Call me dense but I am very neutral about reservations (though I think this particular round is complete nonsense). And yeah, I know every single argument against it, hell, if nothing else I had written them down (albeit not so well as you do) so many times for the debate team in school. But somewhere in the back of my mind, there are images of people I know, both in my classroom and outside in real life who would never have gotten where they are today, whose kids wouldn't have reached a stage where they don't need any kind of reservation if they had not availed of some reservation scheme in their lives. And yes, I do know the problems of extrapolating a few isolated cases to the entire population but regardless, I would like to see some study done in a state like Tamil Nadu to measure the success/failure of decades of reservation. And every time someone makes a case for/against it, I would like to see it treated seriously. That's all!

Veena said...

Falstaff: Now that I think about it more and since I am in a wishing mood, there's another thing I would like to see. I know that the people who get in through reservation obviously cannot get in through open category but I would like to know how many of their children would get in through the general category. Needless to say, I think that if we have to have reservation, we should cut it off after one generation - the kids cannot use it types.

Aswin said...

Hi veena,
Though not directly relevant to the issue of how utility of reservation percolates thro generations, I have some statistics reg the TN scene at abi's blog

Falstaff said...

Veena: See my new post. My point is - this is a serious issue, but reservations in IITs / IIMs is not a serious solution. Just as the Jessica Lal murderers going unpunished is a serious issue - but applying it to Salman Khan is a joke. In general, I'm against reservations, but there are certainly avatars of it I would be willing to discuss (the Right to Education Bill, for instance). But this particular policy is just plain ludicrous. You pass over the distinction in a quick parantheses, but I think that's the critical point - we mustn't let the debate over this specific policy be clouded by the larger debate about reservations. Set the two apart from each other and there's really no argument for the specific proposal that I'm arguing against - all the 'for' arguments are for the more general 'reservations are a good thing' case.

Oh, and I'm all for empirical testing - in fact part of my point is that we shouldn't be going around changing policy without it.

Veena said...

Aswin: Thanks for the statistics.

Falstaff: Ah well. Other than the fact that I am a little more to the left than you are on the general idea of reservations as an affirmative action tool, I do not think I disagree with you. As for this particular round of reservations, my biggest issue with it is that it is going to benefit a cross-section of people who do not need reservations at all.

My only issue with your rant was that considering the general level of hysteria in the blogosphere(and outside) where everyone and their grandma have been talking about everything from centuries of caste inequality to the Holocaust, I would have been happy if you, of all people, had put up that post you put up the day after. And c'mon, you have to admit that you didn't post the rant for the writing either :)

Falstaff said...

Veena: Fair enough. My big issue with reservations is that I see it as a form of protectionism - it doesn't create capabilities and encourages those who benefit to be uncompetitive. Am totally with you on the current reservation policy though. Specially since I feel that it will hamper our chances of pushing the government to come up with real solutions.

On the rant - I think part of the problem was I was reading a different set of blogs / talking to a different set of people. Almost everyone I read / talked to came back strongly against reservations, including (most strongly) people in development and looking at education issues. It's only after I put up the rant that I began to see some of the 'arguments' (and I use the term loosely) being made for the reservations.

Plus, what the hell. I don't want to be the super responsible person who can always be trusted to bring the voice of sanity to any discussion. I do enough of that at work. The whole point of 2x3x7 is to be provocative and irresponsible. And write what I like, not what is appropriate or high quality. It's just a blog - and contrary to what almost everyone seems to believe, I'm not trying to make some huge political or artistic statement with it. I'm just writing for the heck of it.

Plus, honestly, I thought the rant was funny. Incoherent, yes (what's a coherent rant anyway). Rough and unsubtle yet. Not particularly classy yes. But funny.

Veena said...

Falstaff: Ah, that word - Protectionism. I like the word regulations better. Must be the effect of growing up in Marx's..oops..God's own country. :)

The rant was funny, but it was like crass funny, obscene funny and not classy funny if you know what I mean.

Cheshire Cat said...

Crass funny = off-putting = unfunny

What really came through was the anger. And it really is OK to be very angry sometimes, no need for the veneer of humour.