Five years ago, as soon as DU released its first cutoff list, a zealous me rushed to check if I made the cut. Sadly my enthusiasm, like thousands of students every year, was short lived. Not only were the cutoffs unrealistic and ridiculously high, but I also noticed massive differences in cutoffs released for different ‘categories’. My naive self started researching what the reservation fuss was all about and the findings enraged me, to say the least.
So what is caste based reservation of seats in DU? Well, it is not restricted to DU. Reservation of seats basically implies that higher education institutions, public sector units & government bodies must reserve 22.5% of available seats for students belonging to Scheduled Castes (15%) and Scheduled Tribes (7.5%) and an additional 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes.
In order to fill the above seats, colleges allow relaxation from anywhere near 5-15% to the reserved category students. Reservation was done solely to uplift the economic and social status of ST, SC and OBC(s). I completely stand for the upliftment of economically weaker sections of the society but caste based reservation is no solution. The economic division between the general category and the reserved category is not clear. So if you are a general category student who is not financially well and have scored a mere (according to DU standards) 70-80%, you cannot reap the benefits of Delhi University education by claiming a reserved seat. Times have changed since the first implementation of, now archaic, caste based reservation and caste is definitely no proof of one’s economic status.
I find it ironic what was once implemented to ensure equal opportunities to certain sections of the society is hugely discriminatory towards another section of the society. I saw it this way, all my hours of hard work went in vain when I couldn’t get admission in the college of my preference solely because I am a general category student while an economically well off classmate of mine who scored 10% less than me got into a good North-Campus college only because of her caste. “Who is this system ACTUALLY benefitting?” I’m sure a lot of you have been in similar situations. Another hypocritical aspect of such reservation is that it does NOT provide equal opportunities rather it divides people on the basis of castes. As if religious differences were not enough, it further divides our society by labeling people as “General, ST, SC and OBC” instead of uniting them on a whole.
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So, whom is my anger directed at? Definitely not towards the students of reserved categories. My anger, like thousands of students who struggle to get admissions every year despite of getting good marks, is aimed at the policy makers. Caste based reservation is unfair and its negatives overtake the positives. In a country where poverty is widespread, reservation is necessary to provide people without resources with educational and employment opportunities, however caste based reservation is no measure of what should qualify an individual to enjoy certain benefits.
– Ex-Student, Delhi University