Affirmative action or preferential treatment as people call it, forms one of the cornerstones of the socialist democracy of India. This has been the subject of many critically acclaimed films. ‘Aarakshan’ starring Amitabh Bachhan and Saif Ali Khan, graced by the charms of Deepika brings out this Indian story from both the perspectives(we will talk about preferential treatment of Khans in bollywood some other day). But this issue can force comics like me(i like to call myself that 😛 ) to change parties, defect and take the side of social media ouragists(if you are one… bhai case mat thokna ).
Let me begin with a story. I live in a hostel, where the authorities are benevolent enough to show us a movie ever two weeks just to make sure that we don’t turn into ascetics and renounce the world. That day the school was screening ‘Airlift’. It was the Republic Day, patriotism was oozing out of every heart. Seats were arranged. People started tickling in, wearing pyjamas that were red and white ( Modi’s fashion sense never fails to inspire people). But something shocked me. A few people were piling 3-4 chairs together to give themselves a better view. The crowd took up this as a competition. Soon all the chairs were gone. The show began. Few students came in late. Abuses. Not-so patriotic sloganeering. References to each others mothers. People who were seated argued that they were short, and hence needed a shot in the……ass to be able to see clearly. But then a 6-ft guy sat on top of a pile of chairs recreating Liliput.
This is the situation India faces today. The rich and the influential, definitely get preferential treatment, not so sure about the poor. The Supreme Court formulated the ‘creamy lavyer’ doctrine forbidding those with annual income above 5 lakhs from the right to reservation. But this has serious loopholes. What about my friend,Pintoo who got a caste certificate issued using his influence and showed his father’s income as 4 lakhs. This is one time when one actually wishes license Raj was still there.
Another dangerous trend has been the increase in the demand for reservation on caste lines. The Patels took to streets last year demanding their inclusion in the list of OBCs( India’s first deputy PM was a Patel, Gujrats present CM is a Patel, some Patel girl is a part of the British Cabinet, Patels are diamond businessmen) this explains why Hardik Patel was tried for sedition :P.
This demands a major policy change by the government. But no one is willing to risk it. Caste is a reliable vote bank and no government, however committed to the process of development will take this step.
So do we set ourselves on fire like they did when Mandal report was accepted, the onus to burn your anus is on you. This is the bottomline(literally :P)