The Government proposing caste based reservation for admission into postgraduate degrees earlier and more recently caste based reservation for promotion resulted in a significant amount of furore from most parts of India; or should I say from most ‘upper caste’ population of India. This is quite natural and expected- after all who wants to share their piece of pie without a little grumble?
I don’t mean to say that the Government’s intention in bringing this proposal is centred on the welfare of those castes in question; more likely than not it’s just one of their diversion tactic from the number of times the Govt has been caught with their pants down in recent times in various scams of all kinds. They also clearly did put the bill in the house on the last couple of days of function of parliament when they knew clearly that the house isn’t going to function due to BJP protesting the Coalgate scam. They clearly played this timely move of appeasement to save their face among the target population. As they say “Jab G*** lagi fatne, to khairaat lagi batne!”
The move did bring out the intended effect on the stupid Indian psyche naturally- the ‘upper’ caste workers of public offices in different parts went on strikes and the whole hoopla did create a momentary diversion of public attention to some extent.
There was a lot of noise on social media scene about the whole idea of reservation and especially about necessity of reservation in promotion, postgraduate studies etc. The commonest argument you hear is that the reservation has been here last 65 years and that means that equality has been achieved. Fair enough; it’s only been a few thousand years of caste-oppression; how much more than 65 years do you need to wipe it out, right? There were people saying that there reservation should only be offered to one generation or even just one member of a family so they get a chance at being in the mainstream. That’s fair too: after all the social stigma against the lower caste used to be only against the elder son of the family only, right? The rest of the family always got to sit shoulder to shoulder and dine with the ‘elites’ of the town all the time. I’ve compiled a few here:
Some were not actually trying to put up a facade of liberal thinking and equality in the society- they just showed the dirty arse of the ‘elites’ proudly in the public. Here they are: http://storify.com/bhavinjadav/reservation
Just among all this noise I noticed this story this morning:
Shocking: 25 SC/ST MBBS students deliberately failed in exams, 4 doctors found guilty. AIIMS under scanner too. http://t.co/Z4AE5JEb
10/09/12 11:01 AM
I read this and tried looking into the news through Google search to see how this event has been reported in our Main Stream Media- and not surprisingly, I found that the media has hugely underplayed this event. Most of the media websites that have published this piece have used the words like ‘Allegedly’ etc while there are news pieces that substantialise that an investigative committee actually has found that caste based bias and discrimination happened against these 25 students in one of the top medical colleges right in the capital of India.
The chain of events that I understand is like this:
-25 students of certain ‘lower’ caste(s) were failing a particular subject (Physiology) over repeated attempts over years at the Vardhman Mahavir Medical College- Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi.
-In 2010 they decided to get together and appeal for investigation into this matter as they suspected foul play.
-NCSC (National Commission for Scheduled Castes) investigated the examination and evaluation process and came to the conclusion that caste based bias was practised against these students and they were deliberately failed by the faculty at the said medical college.
-This matter was brought to the Delhi High Court that upheld the views that discrimination was practised and ordered a re-exam of these students. They were given independent examination and assessment- at which 24 out of 25 students passed the said subject well.
-These students were given specially marked roll numbers in the class and identified in the class as ‘Court Group’. They obviously had missed out on the time in their next year of study due to the court proceedings and re-exams. Because of this they were blocked from proceeding through the next year of the college.
-The students went back to the court saying that the time was lost due to the discrimination practised by college and not out of their free will- the Court accepted this and asked the College to make amends and hold special classes to make up for the lost hours and education for these students (Which again, the College failed to comply with)
Mind you; the students that failed these exams are not Dumb students who have made it to the medical college just because of the Reservation and have no merit. To be placed at the Vardhman Medical College, Safdarjung Hospital even on Reservation quota, these students must have Central Entrance Test (CET) ranks higher than General Merit students of the Army College of Medical Sciences. Some of the students that failed ranked as high as 08, 14 and 17 in the CET.
Now let’s see how these are reported:
The India Today reporter Neetu Chandra makes this headline saying “SC Students ‘Allege’….”
While the subject matter- if you care to read it through the link above- clearly says that it was already established at that time through NCSC statement and Delhi Highcourt judgement that the Caste Bias was a fact that was also acted upon, and not a mere ‘Allegation’ as the reporter tries to pass it on.
They run pretty much the same story with headlines again using ‘Students allege bias….’ carefully avoiding the sensitive word ‘Caste’.
Again, if you go through the news matter under the article, they do have the details of the NCSC report and the Delhi High Court orders etc including the fact that the College never agreed to even comment on the matter, let alone agreeing to an internal inquiry into the matter.
Mid-day and IBN kept the reporting to a fair balance- they have reported views from both sides, at the same time identified the actual merits of the students involved. This is the earliest report of the ones I found on the subject and has no mention of the NCSC or High Court proceedings because of that.
Deccan Herald, by far seems to be the only one that reports the news un-coated just as it is. The facts inside remain the same of course- but the honesty in the headline is the only thing different from all others. Kudos to Jyotsna Singh
I tried searching
-Times of India
websites with various key-words like ‘Safdarjung’, ‘Vardhman’, ‘Caste’, ‘Bias’, ‘Medical’ & ‘College’ in various combinations and permutations as well as individually- but found that these Media Giants haven’t even bothered reporting this incident at all!!
Such discrimination by one of the top Medical Colleges in India, Such selective muting and modification of the news, and you still think that people from ‘Lower Castes’ have a fair chance based on their abilities without need for reservation in India? Really?