Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Sarasu, the lady doing our household chores has 3 daughters. She is a single parent as her husband, who was a bit mentally challenged, left them one day. Not that his presence helped things any better but it seemed they had no 'male support' (as the neighbourhood would put it). She took great pains to marry off her first daughter. The dowry thing was not much of a problem as Sarasu got her daughter married to Sarasu's own brother. The second daughter did her schooling (in a corporation school ofcourse) till 9th and then joined a fancy store as a sales girl and would also do house hold chores in the evenings. She also managed to go for typing classes in her spare time.
The third daughter - Ambika, was also quite inclined to studies. She too was in the same corporation school as her sister. She also worked in the houses in the day and evening times. Many considerate landladies did their little best to help the girl - like buying notebooks (books and school fees were waived off - being a Corpn. school). Seeing a little girl in her early teens, rush to school after the household chores in the day and then seen in the evenings sweeping the front yard in her green school uniform was definitely a heart-kindling sight. How many of us are really lucky and blessed - we never realise until we see people like Ambika.
With the meagre money that the whole family manages to earn, the girl could not think of any other luxuries like a study table, guides or even tuitions. So she would approach me or my mom for any doubts in Maths and English. Inspite of all this, she managed to score close to 70% in her 12th standard board exams this year!
Now would this 70% be comparable to 80% which I would score given the fact that I have access to all the luxuries that I can afford which the girl cannot. Above all there lies the simple fact that I can choose to just study study study whereas Ambika would first think of ensuring that her family gets atleast 2 meals a day and then comes studies, degree and whatever!
Okay - but should I be deprieved of a seat inspite of getting 80% and Ambika be given the seat inspite of getting just 70%. That definitely seems unfair but what is the repurcussion of me not getting the seat and Ambika getting it? A degree, a job, a better salary would do great wonders for Ambika - probably change their whole lifestyle whereas me not getting a seat is kind of okay, I can manage to get into a private college or a payment seat or worst case try for an improvement and get into the same college next year.
But one thing which I fail to agree is caste cannot be an assessment factor here because though many downtrodden families have made advancements, there are many many really worthy candidates who are left out. I remember, during my PG days, a candidate who got about 5000 Rs. as SC/ST scholarship, would be seen on a shopping spree every Sunday - so now you know how the scholarship money is spent? At the same time I have also known a boy belonging to SC/ST category not knowing about scholarship but still has a dream to study and also another who made good use of the scholarship and got a plump job and thereby uplifted his family to a better level. There is also the son of a poor temple priest I know who was left behind - just because he belonged to the forward community. He had to settle for something other than his desired course because he missed the bus by a narrow edge!
The main drawback in our country is that the government has failed miserably on the primary and secondary education front. A student studying in a corporation school is absolutely no match for a student in a private school that too with the same sylabi. Instead, the government is all bent to give reservation at top level education, which is definitely not a welcome decision. The credibility of instituitions and the candidates would go for a toss if merit is comprised at *that* level. Instead primary and secondary level education should be upgraded and improved to higher standards - at par with good private institutions. Reservations could be given to children of hapless families - their fees waived off, all amenities provided and enough encouragement given upto say school and under-grad level but beyond that it seems meaningless.
So my take? Reservation is definitely necessary but where, for whom, till when is something to be debated upon!