Thursday, 7 July, 2022
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IIT, IIM evaded faculty reservation for years. Modi now wants to undo exclusion

The level of social sensitivity is discouraging at India’s premier institutions like IITs and IIMs. They must share the burden of improving things now.

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It is extremely difficult to imagine that the so-called premier institutions of India like the IITs and IIMs successfully evaded the reservation norms all these years in the name of institutional autonomy and using an archaic notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training. “As of January 2018, of the 642 faculty members across the 13 IIMs, four were from the SC and one from the ST categories,” according to a survey conducted by an IIM Bengaluru alumnus and its faculty. This means just five people from more than a quarter of India’s population. If this does not indicate the collective hypocrisy in the name of social justice, then what will?

Even though the principle of reservation was constitutionally guaranteed, previous governments conveniently looked the other way as institutions remained tardy in fulfilling the quotas.

No wonder then that the level of social sensitivity was extremely discouraging at these institutions. “Caste plays a significant role in handholding and mentorship in the entrepreneurship ecosystem,” wrote R. Vaidyanathan, a retired professor of finance at the Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru.

In his bookCaste as a Social Capital, Prof Vaidyanathan repeatedly asserts on the role of caste networks and the ancillary benefits they provide like access to credit, sharing of ideas, and exploiting connections for profitability. Therefore, caste and individual growth are inextricably linked with each other and viewing it in silos would be misleading.


Also read: Only 11 SC/ST teachers in 20 IIMs, staff & graduates praise govt push for faculty quota


Towards equitable representation

The recent notification from the Ministry of Human Resource Development for reservation for socially disadvantaged groups in IITs and IIMs will ensure equitable representation and social diversity in the faculty positions. The Modi government has walked the talk. This decision reflects that ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas’ is indeed an article of faith for his government.

Milind Kamble, founder chairman, Dalit Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry who is also serving as chairman, Board of Governors, IIM, Jammu, said, “We welcome the decision of the central government to allow preferential treatment for candidates from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories in recruitment of faculty members at IITs, IIMs and other premier institutions. This is an excellent policy decision that would provide opportunity for growth to everyone. There was very little semblance of social diversity at the leadership level of these institutions but with this move of the government, we will soon see people from SC and ST categories assume the deanship and directorship of these institutions.”


Also read: How China makes it possible for a German to study ancient Indian math in its university


Reservation’s broad reach

Reservation has long been mistakenly viewed as a poverty alleviation scheme by a section of our intelligentsia. But it goes beyond that. Reservation is a tool for upward social mobility, dignity and respect. A huge section of the Hindu population has suffered oppression and institutional exploitation in the name of caste for a long time. The new Dalit assertion is focused on representation at key decision-making positions in government, media, judiciary, civil society and so on. Milind makes a powerful point when he says that Dalits now seek deanship and directorship of these institutions and they are not satisfied with a mere job to make ends meet.

A Dalit head of a centre at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) also embraced the Modi government’s decision but with a caveat. The professor said on the condition of anonymity, “Since the inception of the UGC (University Grants Commission) in 1956, there were attempts to provide reservations in faculty recruitment in these institutions. Only in 1974, in a vice-chancellor’s conference, concerns for reservation at the entry-level were raised and subsequently applied. The idea of positive discrimination at senior level was mooted by the UGC in 2006 but ignored by successive central governments. This move will be effective only if the executive authority becomes more socially compassionate otherwise after handful recruitments, Dalits will be isolated, humiliated and finally forced to leave.”

Having more Dalit faculty in institutions like the IIT and IIM is especially significant because their students go on to take up jobs in the private sector and multinational corporations. These are spaces that must expand and diversify their talent. They often operate in a vacuum with no caste understanding or empathy.

Thus, a fair share of the burden now lies upon the implementing authorities to realise the Modi government’s policy for recruitment. The government and society need to work in tandem to undo years of oppression and exclusion, and usher in a new era of social, political and economic justice. It cannot be more relevant than today when we celebrate 70 years of adoption of our Constitution.

The author is an Assistant Professor at Patna University. He is a member of the state executive committee, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, BJP’s youth wing, Bihar. Views are personal.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. My vote for Modi if he manages stop the evasion of IIT management evading recruitment from lower castes. We need to bring out Indian students out of the Brahmanical tradition of learning by heart without learning and system where kids who afford expensive coaching are only the successful ones. We cannot improve education by denying, by exclusivity or by rote learning. We need to bring diversity of thoughts and background to education system to create innovate. India needs innovators and innovators cannot be build relying on old traditions. Times have changed and we need to change to keep us relevant.

  2. Its high time to end reservation on caste system
    Complete system gets disturbed by non deserving people, you travel luxury, sit together, study together but on caste name you simply enter without scoring is really shameful.
    15/20 marks cutoff difference is huge in high profile exams, shame to the country that it is trying to promote non competent person which will suppress countries growth

  3. Really bad decision.
    Reservation on any basis should come to end.
    Jobs should be given only on the basis of excellence capabilities for the development of our country INDIA.
    If government wants to help anybody provide them good education system and moral values. Inculcate best in them, make them competitive enough so that they can proudly grab that job.
    It’s been really a long time, the day on which this caste based reservation started. Earlier it was implemented for few years but for political benefits it’s goes on increasing.
    True story from my college days of one of my classmate, he was from SC/ST category, I heard him saying, we don’t want reservation. We want to achieve but with our hard work and capabilities not with reservation.

  4. People all over the world respect IITs & IIMs for quality of education and excellent engineers/ management graduates they produce. Only well deserving candidates irrespective of cast/ creed/ sex/ religion should be considered for faculty positions. Please spare them from reservation policy. In fact entire education system should be out of reservation system if we really want to improve and complete internationally.

  5. If best candidate is to be selected, I think the selection should be from candidate s from all over the world. The lack of diversity is causing too much damage at the cost of tax payers money, even some Japanese students could not cope with it

  6. Seriously? Is this what is meant by caste representation??

    It’s not my point to undermine the SC and ST castes. But let’s face it, these people have been reaping the benefits of caste based reservation system for way too long ! Since independence, it’s been 72 years… There will be n generations of SC and ST category students and professionals that have uplifted them using this boon. But why now?? Why even after getting uplifted and getting better, why still reservation is needed? The problem is within the people itself ! People from each category just think about themselves, these include the general caste people too. No matter how much reservation and all boons we provide, the ones who rightfully should get the advantage still get sunk because of those who’ve already moved on to a better place. And reservation, instead of uplifting people, is drawing a huge Fucking rift in the society by making the society casteist. Who the hell said Reservation is secular?? And who in their better goddamn minds thought that having all types of caste in an organization means having a secular organization??

    The IITs and the IIMs have been one of the premier institutes of India, and a shining jewel in our country’s crown. They’ve produced a horde of the best engineers and project managers and IT professionals all around the world, be it General or SC or ST or OBCs. And it is not that these institutions are undermining the law and not giving others fair chance. The main goal of these institutions is to provide the best for the students to make them better. And the teachers, professors and doctors who are better than the rest will obviously be taken in ! There’s no caste representation or secularism when it comes to education.

    Education shouldn’t be mixed with casteism. The only way this ends if we totally abolish the caste system and get a reservation system based on a family’s salary. This seems to be a more fair kind of a reservation system.

    An example of this is the Indian Military Forces. The don’t give a shit about which category you’re from or if you have some special benefit. If you are fit for the job, you’ll get yours. If you’re not, then you won’t. When it comes to protecting and serving the country, it should never be a caste war on the border lines with the enemy.

    I’m sorry if I’ve hurt someone’s sentiments. But i never undermine the Indian Constitution and it’s principles, and i abide by the fundamental rights, and I’m very happy for it ! But we need to realise that it is high time that we stop the caste based reservation that makes our society more casteist, and make it a economy based reservation, where you won’t be judged for being from a different caste, and everyone gets a fair share of expressing their views and opinions !

    I thank you for letting me express my views

  7. As on date, a very few institutes are left in our country where meroticracy prevail .Top institutes in the areas of medicine,engineerring, management should be spared of caste based reservation.Selection of faculty should be strictly based on merit and not on any other consideration.Any compromise on this front would only result in mediocrity creeping into the top institutes. We need to be proud of our top institutes and not create policies which will result in decline of quality of education that they provide.

  8. What is about defence..?? Try to implement reservation. There. Already you have made lethargic.. And not to think. For a section of the society by so called reservation. So they can breed any number of children. As all will get reservation. When there is a easy job easy placement why these people will think. Not only in govt. In pvt technical institutions they exist by doing internal politics. Brain empty. Now Mr Modi wants to spoil the better institutions.

  9. Proportional Representation in all opportunities in all sectors-government and private is the only solution to empower the weaker sections and to protect them from the exploitation of casteist and authoritative forces which are using Merit as an instrument of oppression. As long as there is corruption, cronyism and prejudice( it’s the caste Hindus who made this country so corrupt and poor), there is a need for the reservation, or better version of it, the Proportional Representation for all communities. Let Brahmins have their 2% reservation, let banias have their 4% and so on. With IT tools available, we can implement this better than the current reservation system. This shall ensure that no caste cries foul and feels cheated.

  10. These are the best institutions in the country on par with international schools. Its merit before reservation and that is the only criteria. Please don’t create a political vote bank pocket with such nonsense. There’s no requirement of reservation here…just merit….period.

  11. For God’s sake, please let capability and excellence prevail at least somewhere! Don’t ruin everything for the country in the name of caste and oppression! It’s actually the talent of other castes which is being frustrated by such rules in our country and the output of whatever we do becomes average or below average.
    Please give ideas which help empower the oppressed while not pulling down and dividing the country further. Give them opportunities to learn, and let them compete thereafter! Please let talent and competence prevail, and help others sustain themselves in many other areas available to them, irrespective of their caste, creed or sex!
    I HAVE THE SAME VIEWS AS RITU JI
    THAT,S WHY COPIED.

    • Yes, thanks Kunal. In written result 60-75 % candidates are from sc, st obc but in final result after interview hardly to fixed quota. Before reservation of obc, it was absolute to null (specially to first class jobs). It is a challenge- remove interview and see the game.

  12. For God’s sake, please let capability and excellence prevail at least somewhere! Don’t ruin everything for the country in the name of caste and oppression! It’s actually the talent of other castes which is being frustrated by such rules in our country and the output of whatever we do becomes average or below average.
    Please give ideas which help empower the oppressed while not pulling down and dividing the country further. Give them opportunities to learn, and let them compete thereafter! Please let talent and competence prevail, and help others sustain themselves in many other areas available to them, irrespective of their caste, creed or sex!

    • My take: Those idiots who are crying for so called MERIT, Let there be a common ENTRANCE EXAM. Remove your so called INTERVIEW system. and then it will be crystal clear that the interviewer himself/herself is casteist. In current scenario they are scared of losing their hegemony. I bet that more than 75% people of the UR cateogry faculty will be from just only one caste ie BRAHMIN. They dont want to share the bread from deprived ones. First of all IIT,IIM have to follow the Reservation system in their PHD program..then there will be abundant number of eligible candidates from other deprived cateogries (obc,sc,st)

      • Even in so-called merit system people who can afford coaching centre fees triumphs. Historically what is passed off as merit based system is and were a patronage based system.

  13. What is the need for caste based faculty in technical jobs? Are they going to create a new software which helps dalits? Obviously no. Faculty reservation in arts and humanities is needed but there’s no need in technical institutes.
    Instead of hiring from world renowned experts to improve our rankings, rather we are going backwards.

  14. The real threat that India faces is from the likes of neo-nazi caste extemists like Guru Prakash. To the best of our knowledge no one prevented any SC/ST or the so-called OBC from studying, competing , excelling or securing positions in any institution. Week after week, we are assaulted by such vicious casteist nonsense. What is “diversity” which is repeatedly touted by these caste extremists? The constitution does not recognise any such term. There is no oppression. On the contrary, the nation has been oppressed by the lies and falsehoods peddled by people like Guru Prakash and Dilip Mandal. It is shocking that a man with such vicious mindset, who does not hesitate to peddle lies weak after weak is a professor. With this mindset, one can imagine the oppression that that Un-Reserved Class Hindu students must be suffering at his hands. It is also shameful that the Print has made hate peddling one of its agendas.

  15. One of my mentors had a very important saying: “access without preparation does not equal opportunity”. The real problem for many under-represented communities is that there are not enough people in the pipline so rather than try to manage OUTCOMES , the proper approach is to improve preparation and opportunities so that qualified people are in the pipeline. The aim is EQUAL OPPORTUNITY not EQUAL OUTCOME.
    IITs etc also have to compete with international institutions around the world for ranking etc. as per the HRD directive. YOu realise that there is no special quota in intnernational rankings or nobel prize etc, right?
    Would you like reservations in Test cricket Im leaving out IPL since it is a private league) for example or our Olympics team ? why not? what is different in these?
    There are a couple of points that need to be raised: (1) can the author state under what meaurable conditions can any community be considered as “not needing reservation quota ” any more. Absent such criteria, this seems to be discrimination in another form. (2) has any community that was previously under reserved category for 70 years been deemed to “not need reservations any more”. If not, then perhaps the reservation approach has not worked, since its stated goal has not been achieved.

  16. When iit selects a candidate for a teaching position, they should select the best available candidate without looking at the persons caste sex or religion. This is what the private sector does. What is the discrimination that the author sees here?

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