India Needs a Sincere Debate on Social Mobility

I proposed some radical views way back in 1985 on the changes and after 30 years those are still valid.

I had extensive discussions with a son of the deputy CM who was a close friend and senior at GMC Nagpur and he being from the same class of so called deprived, I had very eloquent and open debate on who should get the underprivileged benefits.

1. Proposal was to get reservation once in academic life
2. In profession/career, they can possibly get it once or may be twice
3. Once the family gets the reservation, the progeny should not get reservations
4. Those with economically backward should be included in the system
5. Those with absence of milieu should also benefit from reservations

Of course, these need refinement but these are still valid. I am for reservation but with major amendments. We cannot be having a section of society with lack or under privileges. We still have to bear it… We all have been victims of reservations sometimes in life but we as a nation have to bear the burden to get those underprivileged unto mark.

It is inaccurate to think that we don’t have extempore and outliers in this community. How can you forget Ambedkar and people of his like from India. Of course, we have the likes of Carl Lewis, Michael Jackson, Williams’s sisters & scores of basketball, music and Hollywood luminaries in United States.

The debate on reservation is not about those outliers, it’s about those who fall within the 2 SD populations. I am not suggesting the reservations should continue in its current form or order. It definitely needs over hauling.

It’s about underprivileged and equal opportunity in non-selected fields. It’s not about a class that is the current beneficiary. Let me rephrase it. Why should, ex a child from business or a Brahmin who is deprived of privileges, not qualify for those? We all know a simple observation, a doctor’s son becomes a doctor easily, a businessman’s son steps in his Dad’s footsteps. A politician’s son can successfully become a politician, of course because of his family connections but more because of the traits he learned while he was growing. A Patel can start running a motel right when he is 18 but change the professional aspirations. Let that doctors kid run a business, or that businessman’s kid become a professional and we realize, they both don’t fare well. Why? They lack the milieu, that environment which nurtured those traits. Milieu imparts a whole lot of advantage. Conversely, it deprives many for lack of it. Summarily, it is those deprived that need an incentive, an opportunity to grow, an equal opportunity, let’s call it reservation. Hardin Patel or few upper class people demanding reservation are not wrong.
The way we want to avoid societal content amongst those enjoying the benefits of current reservation is inappropriate, so also it is wrong to create another class and possibly community of deprived aspirations amongst current non-milieu people. These are my views, unchanged for the last 30 years.

I agree, this system if reservation has been exploited by many including politicians. India is not the only country with reservations. India is not the only country with reservations, if you review current world political order, you will see many countries having those guarantees in place for deprived lot.

Equal opportunity guarantees are again guarantees to a limited sector of opportunities, not a whole life cycle. We in Maharashtra never had reservations for super specialization.

There is no reservation for the post of top executives including top leadership positions like PM, President etc. So, we do have no reservations too. Again, again I am insisting we should have it in certain places and not universal.

To become a smart nation, we need to drop those vestiges of the past and adopt a new model for growth. Just not get and implement technology from the west to develop smart cities. Someone asked me yesterday, let’s understand the upstream questions. You cannot be asking me for a blind folded commitment. So is true here… To have meaningful change, let’s work on people and process. It’s fine to replicate smart models for infrastructure from the west, but to be smart country, let’s change.

Let’s drop these shackles from the past and move on. On reservations, we still have that four tier approach on Sanatan Dharma existed or was created. We should expand it to exclude that model and expand it to include a deprived underprivileged model. That will include a wider gamut of population. It should be about under privileges under deprived (UPUD). Don’t give knee jerk formulated responses; think out of the box on what I suggested and after reflection, we can always talk.

Why India needs a new debate on caste quotas http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-34082770.

This needs to change, Now!

All Parents (Especially mothers)

This is little long (pardon me for that), despite, I thought of sharing this.

Like many amongst us, our son is our only child and like all Indian parents do, our focus and efforts are all directed towards him. Except our professional choices (smiles), he has always been part of all aspects including decision making. I am sure, you all have similar lifestyle.

After returning home, we miss him in every corner and aspect. For this week, I was WFH for the remaining week and despite being a father, I should admit, I became recluse and was unable to focus. The sense of solitude was numbing me internally. However, I explained myself (and shared it earlier) that it is no different than his absence while he was on vacation or when I am working Mon – Thursday (from client site).

All mothers on this group, you certainly remember how you all felt when got married and left your parents. I believe, you all might have had almost similar feelings.

I recollected my days when I left my parents’ home at the same age for graduation. I had that sense of little anxiety but the feeling of independent and the professional opportunities were overwhelmingly exciting. I had a whole future ahead of me and many things to do so. I never realized I would be leaving my parents or be a guest at my home forever. I would never understand why my mother’s eyes were wet or father voice quavering. I always thought, I brought them the academic laurels and they must be happy about it. I never separated myself from my parents, brother or home. They were a constant part of my life, never separable. Parents, however, knew the truth that once I leave, I would hardly return home. I never realized their loneliness. I believe, all our kids are in the same phase.

Conversely, those parents whose kids did not qualify for best schools, are they truly happy? Kids have an exciting future ahead of them. Keeping them under our care after a certain stage may stunt their growth and actually, hinders their progress. We all have a reason to be proud that our kids had a vision and dared to take the efforts and the leap. Now, it is their turn.

These thoughts are very well reflected in “Siddharth” by Hess. It tells what “parental roon” i.e. paternal loan is.

I am also sharing a story, you all will like. ‘Struggle is a friend’

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily.

But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened!

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were allowed to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Get off your cocoon and start to fly!!

Life is a full circle. And fulfillment of life lies in the completion of the circle.