Posted by: aravindang | April 10, 2008

QUOTA VERDICT – A RIGHT OR WRONG STEP

This post will be my longest up to date. But I request you to spare some time for reading this completely as this is an issue everyone needs to know about.

The reservation of 27% seats in Government funded higher education institutions (like IIMs, IITs, AIIMS) has been upheld by the 5-Judge bench including the Chief Justice of India with the catch that the creamy layer should be excluded. I am summarizing everything I feel about this judgement in this post.

The creamy layer definition by the bench is pretty thorough with nearly every adequately earning professional left out(except that it is a bit hard on film and media professionals). The complete creamy layer definition will be available in tomorrow’s papers. Refer from there as it will take too much space in this post. The conditions have ensured that it will be very difficult to fake as a non-creamy layer OBC student as you cannot hide your parent’s education easily. Also the list will be reviewed every five years.

There is a widespread opinion that such a reservation will divide the country’s youth and destroy the quality of future professionals but what has happened now is inevitable. The amount of reservation is also considered extremely high considering the last caste based census in India was in 1931. But then caste ratio changes are not going to be too drastic even after a century, unless something dramatic has happened. Nothing of that sort has occurred in the past 70 years, so the government could be justified in using that census. The reservation became 27% thanks to the supreme court barrier of not more than 50% reservation. If not, only God knows what percentage would have satisfied the politicians.

Many feel that socially and economically backward people are not getting a fair chance against those who go to highly paid coaching classes. The difference can now be more than erased with this reservation excluding the creamy layer. If some more conditions are added along with the current judgement, I feel that social and economic justice can be achieved while at the same time satisfying vote-mongering politicians.

First: These creamy layer conditions can never be changed by any amendment or any parliamentary bill with that power reserved only for the 9-judge bench of the supreme court. This will ensure that all the research and work done by the judges doesn’t go to waste because of the politicians’ craze for populist measures. It will also prevent the creamy layer from lobbying for a change in the quota restrictions.

Second: The creamy layer conditions should be extended to the SC/ST quota of 22.5% as well. Economic justice should be done for impoverished SC/ST as well. This will prevent wealthy SC/STs from entering higher education unfairly.

Third: The court should also specify a minimum cut-off for quota students as well( just like what IIM-A and IIM-C did last year). This will prevent all non-creamy layer OBC students who have only just passed the previous grade from entering into higher education. Though this might look a bit unfair to these non-creamy layer students, it will ultimately save them precious time,money and self-confidence as it will be very difficult for them to survive for long in such high quality institutions. A case in point being the number of SC/ST students in IITs who are struggling to complete their course.This will also ensure that our country’s future professionals are no mugs in their field.

Fourth: If after this expunger, some reserved category seats are left unfilled after a particular date (that might probably be the case in many institutions because of this huge share of reserved seats), those seats should be thrown open to the general category. If this is not done, the above judgement will only result in a reduction in the number of seats. This addition will also ensure that at least some of the OC students get justice.

Fifth: The court should consider the number of such seats that are thrown to the general category and should device a mechanism to reduce the reservation in steps proportional to these numbers. When the reservation reaches 0% (that might well be an unfulfilled dream), India would have achieved complete social and economic justice and would have a generation of youth with equal opportunities.

Sixth: Finally, this judgement on reservation should not be forced onto private multi-national companies ( even if it is done to private educational institutions) in future.Companies have a right to choose their employees and interfering in this process to more than a reasonable extent will cause economic loss due to pull-outs as well as damage India’s reputation worldwide.

If all the above amendments could be added to today’s judgement, then I think this could well be a step in the right direction. The parties would have delivered on their election promises and all the members of the public would have got similar if not equal opportunities.These steps could well result in dissolution of the powers of the legislative in the quota issue(as some might argue), but as this situation involves a lot of vested interests for the legislative this could well be left with the judiciary with periodic check by the legislative, the executive and the press. Thanks for reading up to here and you can give your opinions as comments.

Posted by: aravindang | April 9, 2008

PARTING THOUGHTS TO MY BATCHMATES

The days of education have come to an end for most of us, barring a few who are opting for higher studies. It has been quite a long (and happy) journey from LKG or PreKG to final year graduation. Nearly everyone is troubled about parting ways with college friends. It is difficult, but life has to move on. The closest of friends will definitely keep in touch for the longest of times. Almost all of us have decided what our future paths will be. Now it might be wise to decide how we are going to progress through those paths.

Either we can rush through day and night without caring for anything else in pursuit of our ambition and be the happiest person for two days after achieving it (before running behind the next challenge) or progress steadily towards the goal while giving due respect to worldly duties,relations and friends and at the same time being happy everyday. Yes, I do agree that winners chase their dreams relentlessly but even those people get their greatest ideas when their mind is at peace and out of work.

Some of my friends keep calculating how much money they need, how much they have to earn, where to save them and when to invest them. Planning ahead is important, but in the case of money, when does satisfaction come? 3 lakhs for a village house to 40 lakhs for a house in the heart of the city or 1 crore for a bungalow, the ranges vary for every need and everybody’s demand is more than their current status. One day we will have to realise that no amount of money will make us happy or secure. Ultimately, happiness is in the mind. Money is essential to life. But we earn to live and not live to earn.

Instead of spending so much energy in developing our children’s wealth, we can spend that time equipping them to develop what they want, themselves. I have always been impressed with the old Indian economic model which was praised by every traveler to this land. There weren’t many poor people nor weren’t the aggressive multimillionaires. Contention is the key to such a system. Money wasn’t distributed perfectly evenly, but money wasn’t everybody’s goal. There was more than a fair amount of sharing and charity and the society was happy as a whole (according to all the historians). When we have become more individualistic and self-ambitious, we have lost the ability to appreciate the value of neighbourhood, society and relations. For every minute spent in non-personal activity is assumed to be one minute lost in the race to become the richest and the most famous person in the country (or the world for some).

What were once routine things that people did in the olden days have now become social services worth a medal. There aren’t anybody to take responsibility even to push a stone off the road, for it might cost them valuable seconds. I request all those who read this to view one of my favorite videos that i have added below. You can also share your views on this topic and argue against it. I hope that you will all take responsibility in the society when it matters, for I always believe that if people with ability and values do not take responsibility, then it falls into the hands of those who lack either or both of these which is good for nobody.

Posted by: aravindang | March 14, 2008

PROJECT WORK – FINAL YEARS’ ULTIMATE DILEMMA

The moment I say that I am a final year engg. student (technology student to be precise… Too much nitty gritty? thats an engineer!), everybody ranging from my relatives, well- wishers, friends and strangers ask this same question, ‘how is your project work going?’ and follow it up with ‘have you got a job?’. Though one can understand the significance of the latter question which does play a major role in life, the frequency of the former amazes and tickles me at once.

For one, when was the last time somebody failed in their project work? Ninetynine percent students get somewhere between 170 and 200 no matter how their efforts in the six months had differed. And for two, how much or I daresay what (if any) weightage does a final year project hold on our first job. Its obvious that from our second job, only experience counts.

And this brings me to the dilemma that students face when choosing what to do for their final year project and how. One can choose a company internship which can either be a great learning experience or end up as a waste of six months(some might want to differ here) depending on the firm you choose. Some might just get a letter from the company without even bothering to be present there.

But all students are not lucky. Some might not get a company internship and some might even be prevented from giving such a try(like us.. We are implementing only IEEE papers). So what are the other options? Either you trust yourselves(or your friends in some cases..hehe) and start doing it at your home and college or you go for buying out entire projects from the so called project centers(i have always believed project center is where you do research rather then buy projects before coming to engineering).

And what does the second option cost? Anywhere between Rs.6000(if you are extremely lucky) to Rs.20000(if luck is not your cup of tea). Though you share it between say three, still I think this is too much of your parents’ hard-earned money on something which you can manage yourselves(and something that is not too consequential). For one can always get 140 even if your project is some crap and you can get above 160 if you can just convince the external that you have tried something. Sometimes staff’s favourites might get more than a real breakthrough project.

Also what does this extra marks you gain from spending so much give you? Not even 1 aggregate percent even if you gain a whooping 40 marks. The project centers make use of the students’ dilemma to make more than a lakh a year for two to three weeks work. Its no wonder that some of my friends are thinking of opening one after some years.

So what I would suggest is believe in your ability to code and complete your project or atleast talk yourselves out of trouble during the review if you fail to complete the project in the first place. Even if both the above strategies fail, what you are going to lose is nothing significant. But if you succeed in your mission, that great satisfaction you get on completing the project will be worth more than what you gave for it(proved by personal experience!). So like all self-believing, high-sounding professionals,”Its my way or no way”.

Posted by: aravindang | February 26, 2008

A bad experience and an opportunity to ponder

What I am going to write in this blog will not make you more wealthy than what you can be. It will neither make you knowledgeable than what you are now nor will it make you more popular. But if it helps any of you to get over some hard times in life I will be more than happy. I would like to describe a bad experience which I recently had and give my views on how to use it to improve the quality of life.

Since I am currently a final year engineering student, I am describing it from such a point of view. Recently (say 4 months back) one of my schoolmates committed suicide. The guy had all the famous bad habits (smoking, drinking and drugs too I heard) even while we were in the tenth grade. He was fighting with the staff and even the local rowdies many times during his school days.When he and his friend were there in our class we would take the footballs from even our seniors and start playing in the school ground and the seniors would leave the ground. Such was their fame during school days.

The circumstances that led to his ill-advised decision were these: He stole a necklace of his mother and mortgaged it in his friend’s pawn shop and spent the money in ways u could easily guess. When he didn’t pay the monthly due in the fourth month, his friend’s uncle came to his house and informed the parents. Thats when they realised the loss of a jewel and they gave him a piece of their mind(expect any different?). He immediately committed suicide.

I had always thought that this guy didn’t know fear. But inside his heart, he had been a coward. I do not want to disrespect the dead here but what I am telling is the hard to digest fact. When some of his friends went to condole his death his mom cried to them and blamed them for not mending her son’s ways. It was then that they felt really bad and pondered what they could have done earlier. Yes, the majority of the blame lies on the parents who couldn’t raise him properly, but the friends and classmates who spend a lot of time with him could have done more for him than chatting (mainly gossips) and taking him along for treats.

Only then I understood that suicide has become an ever-spreading epidemic taking emotional and weak-hearted people along the way. As we are nearing the end of our college life, we will have to take a lot of responsibilities. Some of us might reach the top of the ‘wealthy ladder’ while some of us might lead a normal middle-class life.

But there might also be some who struggle to make ends meet. It might be because we couldn’t find a job or were dumped by the MNC which hired us for some reason. It might happen to you, me, anybody. The important thing is not to lose belief in ourselves. When we feel that life is not worth living any more, we must realise that there are some true friends just a few calls away who could sort out our problems or atleast empathise with us. I would like to quote a dialogue from OSO here which I liked, “Life is like a film, it always has a happy ending. If the ending is not happy, then it is not the ending at all. There is still some part of life that is yet to be lived”.

Most of us who read this (I hope 100 %) are matured enough to know that galloping to our end leaves a very bad legacy. But what I have learnt is that it does not suffice to be brave ourselves,but it is also our responsibility to make those around us brave enough to face life’s situations and sense trouble when one is around. After all, the one who suffered most after his death was the friend who lent him money on the jewel (He also later died when he fell from a bus talking in his mobile. Quiet tragic! Thats something I want to write about later). I pray that what I have written here doesn’t prove useful for you in your life (despair, depression and suicide are three things you can do without), yet Iam writing this in any case.

This is my first blog and if it helps in preventing one suicide my purpose is served. I invite you all to give your opinions on these as well as blog about something that you want to change in this world.

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