The base issue to focus on, is not the division of the available opportunities, caste, community, colour, language, latitude, or, longitude wise, but on the creation of more and more opportunities, in every area, in the still developing country so that every citizen has a fair chance to attain his/her full potential, writes Prof. H C Pande
The genie of reservation, having come out of the Mandal bottle has found cosy accommodation in the armoury of the political parties and has become their ultimate weapon to win the elections. The genie is presented to the public as the one who can solve all the developmental problems faced by the country, be they economic, or, social, or, moral, or, whatever else. All one has to do is to command, and, the matter is taken care of,even by the time genie would say ‘Yes Master’. The political parties are not aware that the genie,now,has learned from them,the art of duplicity and would always say,Yes Master,create some more problems,and,then go and hibernate.This is,as would be expected,since the political masters are experts in giving the dodge with a capital D.Poll promises have always had little to do with the post-poll performances.
The base issue to focus on,is not the division of the available opportunities, caste, community, colour, language, latitude, or, longitude wise, but on the creation of more and more opportunities, in every area, in the still developing country so that every citizen has a fair chance to attain his/her full potential. From education,to training,
to employment,to entrepreneurship,and all avenues of advancement should be equally accessible to all citizens.
With the chequered history of the country any number of problems and inequalities have accumulated over the centuries,and,no matter,how many manifestos are released,with or without sloganeering,or orations delivered from public platforms,there can be no immediate solution to these issues.Hard work over decades,at several different levels,is required to bring about the necessary transformation to become a truly modern nation.There is no magic wand solution,and,certainly not,the catchphrase of reservation.
The need is of competent manpower,at every level in adequate numbers,in varied areas.The clear objective should be to utilise the best that is available and train,more and more to meet the enormous present and the future needs.The astonishing and rapid development of the city-state of Singapore,was,primarily,due to the relentless efforts of the founder and the first Prime Minister,Lee Kuan Yew.In a B.B.C. interview he was asked about the main factor influencing the growth of Singapore with its diverse population. P.M. Lee replied that in Singapore they believe in meritocracy,and they do not bother themselves with the past nationalities of the Singaporean citizens,who could be Chinese,Indian,Filipino, Indonesian,Malaysian Thai or whatever.The point is simple.To make up for the lost opportunities of the past decades,or,maybe of a century or two,the best available Human Resource has to man the action stations,whether it is for effective administration,or,optimal industrial productivity,or,efficient agricultural production, competence is the watchword.The issues of social and economic backwardness have to be solved as quickly as possible to avoid their further accumulation.In terms of the current scenario the problems are oversize and the need for fiscal resources is several sizes larger.To set right the current imbalance in terms of the economic and social realities,creation of wealth is the first requirement.The faster the wealth is created the quicker the imbalance can be bridged.Let wealth be created with the best means at hand,and proportionate amount be utilised to develop competence of,and ,in the service of the underprivileged sections of the society then only,inequalities can be leveled up and a truly egalitarian society develop in due course.The bigger line need not be erased but the shorter line has to be made longer.
When there is only one loaf of bread and ten persons are to be fed the real solution lies in working hard to bake ten loaves and not just fight over the one you have.Viewed in the terms of providing proper standard of living for the huge population of the country, the fiscal means,as of now,are minuscule,and the urgent need is to multiply them several fold.Unfortunately the politicians with their devious mind-set are only comfortable with division,not realising,that,division of zero yields only a zero.
(Prof. H C Pande is Vice Chancellor Emeritus, BITS, Mesra)