I sat down to write one long, rambling post on the whole reservation comedy. Ended up writing one too but towards the end, I lost all enthusiasm for fighting with people. I hate confrontations anyway :) So that post ain't going to see the light of the day. Instead, here's an idea that will win hearts and minds. The only people who will oppose this policy will be IIT alumni but since their arguments will be completely colored by a deep shade of green, we can completely disregard them.
IITB batch of 2001, Bill tells me, had 27 women. Not surprisingly, he is not sure exactly how many men were there and gives me an approximate figure of 400. That is about 1 in 20. (Hang on, 1 in 43 apparently if you count just his CS batch.) Women account for about 48% of the Indian population (2% killed off and all that jazz). There is no question about the discrimination meted out to women through the centuries; no question that this discrimination pervades every section of society today. There is also no question that these women need to be given the right opportunities that would enable them to join the mainstream. That after 60 years of independence, we have only 5% of women in our top institutions of learning is a crying shame. (WTH is a crying shame btw?)
So, ladies and gentlemen, here's our new women empowerment policy - 45% of seats in all IITs reserved for women. For those of you who don't like the idea of reservations, lets call this affirmative action and we will add an extra x points to the JEE score so that these talented women will make the cut.
I can't even begin to talk about the advantages of such a policy. Just think about the diversity that these women will bring to an IIT campus. They will actually have more women than leopards in their campus, just think about it! Can you think of a more enriching experience for the depraved men of the IITs? The cream of our country will finally learn that there are such things as social skills, and showers. Next time they see a woman on the street, they will know that it isn't some strange extraterrestrial being that you keep gawking at but something as normal as the girl next to you in Machines class.
In case you are wondering that the advantages are all on one side, here are some benefits to the women - think of the improvement in self-esteem when they see all this attention they get which they would never have gotten if they didn't go to an IIT. As for the women who would get in without reservations, now that the proportions are not so much in their favor, they will actually start doing their own homeworks instead of getting the men to do it for them. And that as you all know will only help them in the long run.
I could keep going on. There are no downsides to this policy. The brand value argument doesn't hold - the drop in value is being more than balanced. When the men graduate from IIT and start working, they will actually do some work instead of spending hours leching at the receptionist. What more value can one ask for?
If you are still unconvinced, lets put this through a ballot. All current students of the IITs are eligible to vote - they get to choose between no reservation and 45% reservation for women. There's no question what they will choose. The only debate will be about the weightage given to good looking women. What say?