Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Open Mike 9: Affirmative Action in India

Folks, our next open mike session will be at our usual meeting place:

@ 8PM in Arvind & Ashwini's House.
4201 Monterey Oaks Blvd #1911
Austin TX 78749

My suggestion for the topic is Affirmative Action in India

Some links:

[1] Customary wikipedia definition
The term affirmative action describes policies aimed at a historically socio-politically non-dominant group (typically, minority men or women of all races) intended to promote access to education or employment. Motivation for affirmative action is a desire to redress the effects of past and current discrimination that is regarded as unfair...

[2] Reservations in India
Reservation in Indian law is a form of affirmative action whereby a percentage of seats are reserved in the Parliament of India, state legislative assemblies, union and state civil services, public sector units, union and state government departments and in all public and private educational institutions, except in the minority and religious educational institutions, for the socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or the Scheduled Castes and Tribes who are perceived by the government to be inadequately represented in these services and institutions.

[3] Arguments for and against reservations
There are several arguments provided both in support and in opposition to reservation. Some of the arguments on either side are often disputed by the other, while others are agreed upon by both sides, with a possible third solution proposed to accommodate both parties.


[4] Mandal Commission Report by Dinkar Sakrikar
The report of the Mandal Commission has generated a furious controversy. A peculiar feature is that the controversy is not being fought between the right and the left; on both sides of the divide are ranged both right and the left.

[5] Why Reservation for OBC is a Must by V.B. Rawat

[6] Reservations: a larger perspective by D. Parthasarathy, IIT Bombay
A fairly detailed paper with some interesting comparisons.
Going by the logic of anti-reservationists that merit alone and not accident of birth should be the criteria for seats or positions, one can ask why a son (or, rarely a daughter) should get the property of a parent when the parent dies.

[7] Youth for Equality
I believe this group was at the forefront of protests against the UPA government's institution of the Mandal commission recommendations.
Youth for Equality is a forum which was initiated by the students of the 5 medical colleges of Delhi, to bring together those Youth (irrespective of field/caste/class) who feel strongly against populist measures (reservations on basis of caste/religion) which are wrong, unjust and harmful to India's future.

[8] Some prominent personalities against reservation

Reservations for forward-caste poor?
[9] Diluting Mandal by M. S. Gill
...Gill used to be an Central Election Commissioner in India and is now a cabinet minister?
The move to extend reservation to the poor among the forward castes not only goes against the basic concept of affirmative action, it also violates the spirit of the Constitution.

Links by email from Santhosh:

Here are some links that can help :

A PBS documentary on discrimination -

Here are a bunch of links that I think we should read up on -

Very informative comparisons can be drawn on racism and affirmative
action in the US. Here is an article by UT prof, Bob Jensen -

A paper on understanding merit -


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