So little time… so little to do

July 3, 2008

Patriotism in question

Filed under: arbit — Priyam @ 12:43 am
Tags: , , ,

It is said that patriotism is the love for one’s country. I will argue more towards love for one’s countrymen, one’s culture and heritage. And pride, yes ! The latter is very important. You have to be proud to be Indian. But lately, I have been less proud of the happenings in the country. With election approaching, it seems like the country is being held at ransom by Ram, Shyam and whosoever can be an Indianised version of Harry. I have known people who have left India in search of greener pastures (read dollars and affluence); I have known people who have left India in search of better opportunities; I have known people who have left India in search of knowledge. In each of these classes many vow to return, many vow not to. I do not doubt the patriotism in either camp. However, it seems that such a question does arise in my mind about those who are entrusted with the reigns of the nation. Let me cite few reasons for my doubt :

  1. Reservations in higher education : I admit that reservation has its positives and negatives. But reserving seats in portals of higher learning when options for even the general public is limited. The supreme court has made its verdict, but the ruling coalition seems to be of the opinion that this will not have significant impact on its vote bank. Hence, play a more populistic politics. What stuns me perhaps more is the silence of the opposition. It’s a known fact that opposing such a movement is not going to go down well with the minorities. Who cares if the country’s bastions of higher learning and pride are raped.
  2. Reservations for faculty positions : This is just mindless. Take into account that the minimum requirement for such a position is a PhD. So even after a PhD one would need the help of a crutch to further ones career. Does that not bring into question the quality of the education itself ? It becomes laughable when you consider the fact that the IITs find it difficult to fill in the required faculty positions even from candidates of “forward classes” since they are not ready to cut down on quality. The reservation however comes with a clause. In case the reserved seats remain unfilled for a whole year, they are dereserved. By which time the ruling parties can claim their victory in the election and the whole issue is forgotten. Who cares if the IITs have to make do with fewer (or even worse, lesser qualified) faculty ?
  3. Sections of the society are now fighting to be qualified as backward classes. Way to go. Does this seem like reservation taking the country forward ?
  4. The creamy layer is rightfully omitted from such favours. This I totally support and believe that economically driven reservations are needed to level the playing fields considering the fact that education provided in governments schools are rarely enough for most to make it to one of these IITs and the extra tuitions are by no means cheap. However, it blows my mind when the income cap is proposed to be increased to become 4.5 lakhs per annum. (Not to mention that some states from down south thought this should be 10-25 lakhs !!). I still remember that only a couple of years ago, the graduating class from IIT-Bombay itself had offers that hovered around the 2.5-3 lakh mark. 4.5L means that people with sufficient means can still take refuge of the soceital clutch while the really poor are still left to limp by. Good idea, bad execution.
  5. You think reservations are the only problems that I have ? Well, let’s now focus on other issues, but related to education. The center believes that more institutes like the IIT need to be opened to cater to the need of the nation. True, and this is not only of the applied sciences, I believe. Hence proper funds and efforts need to be channeled to deal with the setup of these educational centers. But the heads of our nation seem to be in a hurry. No prizes for guessing why ? The result – 6 new IITs created and made operational within months ! It would have been a plaudable effort but I somehow cannot come to overlook the real reason when I consider that some of these do not even have a campus yet. They will be run out of the various existing IITs. Not to mention that some of these themselves are undequiped to deal with the increased load that they will take on from this year. Creating opportunities is good, but it comes back to bite you when done in an unplanned haphazard way. It’s a sin when you have ulterior motives behind the goodwill !
  6. Ah ! Who can forget religion. Our country has been so successfully divided on this issue that this can just not be let go by our politican “brains”. Shrine board gets allotted land. Result – bandhs, curfew. Land allocation revoked. Result – ditto. And oh ! Have you heard ? The nuclear deal is apparently anti-islamic ( Read this).
  7. Coming to the India-US nuclear deal. It has come to such a serious issue that the government might crumble over it. The ruling party no doubt seeks to credit itself with the deal during its tenure. While the opposition and others not gaining enough momentum out of it are obviously opposed to the hurry. Again hurrying is bad. But somehow my trust has become so thin that I only see the fact that denying such a deal with be more of political gain than saving the country of a fiasco for these parties. Such a shame (if that is indeed the case).
  8. And last, but not the least, opposition parties acting in the true sense of the word. Crude oil prices have been rising alarmingly internationally and the government can only absorb so much of it. This results in inflation and growing food prices. However, India is not the only country affected by it. While this is a major political debate everywhere, I feel the opposition in India is going overboard by suggesting that the ruling parties have been unable to curb rise in prices. They have taken to the streets, forced bandhs and strikes on people. In the end, it is the people who end up paying more for the fuel, as well as not being able to earn the extra money to do so. Somehow this is not politics for the people. Certainly not of the people and least of all by the people. I obviously need not remind the readers that bandhs have already been outlawed by the Supreme court of India.

Even though I have been concentrating on the negative issues that have hogged the limelight recently, I must also point out that there are still achievements of my countrymen that make me proud to be an Indian. Sadly, these quarters of satisfaction are rarely provided by the “netas” of our country.

My patriotism is being tested. I revolt in the form of this blog. My voice (and likewise millions of my countrymens’) will obviously not be heard by the ones plotting their personal gains at the mantle of power. Thankfully our country seems to be doing well in spite of the government and the babus. Wonder how long that will last. Jai hind.

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