KAJAL CHATTERJEE, KOLKATA
RESERVATION in education, employment and promotion is definitely a very retrograde step as well-qualified candidates are forced to make a way for less qualified and less talented people. Quality takes a beating, very often, rendering great injustice to the well-deserving candidates who miss the bus because of the quota system. Social justice would be much better served if irrespective of demographic credentials, students from the underprivileged backgrounds get free education, coaching and books. But thereafter admission to universities or offers of employment should be based on sheer merit. However, the real picture is absolutely different: more and more communities are demanding reservation. And various political parties and governments are also championing the reservation system with renewed zeal. Any aggrieved person holds every right to protest against reservation through peaceful civilised means on the basis of principles, but targeting the beneficiaries is simply not done. It must be remembered that candidates from the reserved categories have not framed the laws. The reservation policy was introduced by the government; people belonging to the reserved categories merely avail the facility in absolutely legal path. So the principled fight against the reservation policy should not ‘inspire’ anybody to spew venom against the beneficiaries. Moreover there is no reason to believe that the beneficiaries are generally inefficient. As a matter of fact, I have closely seen how many employees coming from the reserved categories work much more efficiently, assiduously and sincerely than many of their counterparts from the general category! So though the reservation policy is undesirable as many eligible candidates lose out in the bargain, but it must also be admitted that intelligence or quality is not the sole monopoly of the people belonging to upper castes. In this context, the vilification of Maroona Murmu, associate professor in history at the Jadavpur University, is highly condemnable. Students have every right to post their opinion in the social media against reservation, but they hold absolutely no right to indulge in personal attack by invoking her tribal background and questioning her intellectual credentials in most barbaric manner.