The widespread protest by medical students across the country shows the anguish and the strong undercurrent that prevails in the country against the government's policy for reservations for OBC in professional course be it medical colleges, IITs or IIMs.
The protests are gaining momentum and now besides the medicos the IIT students also have decided to join the agitation. What the government and the administration has to remember is that; we are dealing with a highly meritorious class of youth of our country. They are the best and perhaps the cream of the cream of our society. To see them being mercilessly beaten for their peaceful protests by our notorious policemen invokes in us an anguish and anger. History repeats itself from the time of Gandhiji's Satyagrahis to todays - Medha Patekar's Narmada Andolan volunteers. In India the administration has always failed to learn how to deal with peaceful protests.
The politicians of our country have repeatedly played politics with caste, creed and religion. They will continue to use this card to their advantage. However the government should not treat this lightly. Protests can take a nasty turn and the student force and resentment can have widespread implication for the future of any government in this country. There are ample examples of this in the past - be it Bihar or Assam.
In India the problem is highly complex. The current political agenda is powered by coalition Government with regional powers ruling most of the decision making or more often decision postponement. There is seldom a unison view on any of the important issues and often the government continues to drag and postpone such issues. When things get out of hand; the government legislature has often shifted the responsibility of decision making to the Supreme Court. The constitution framework provides the government a very broad platform to operate from and many of the issues that are tossed to the Supreme Court do not have require any clarification as they have no constitutional ambiguities.
Where does this agitation go from here? So far there has been no serious attempts for a dialogue on this issue by the Government. The question we need to ask is can the minorities be helped by other means. Can there be a fair system for all. A high profile committee led by Sam Pitaroda (appointed by the Prime Minister) also felt that this policy will hinder the growth of the country; however they added that the same can be achieved by other means and a dialogue is required.
Merit in this country should prevail. More so in professional colleges; especially if the country wishes to continue to enjoy this path of progress. There is no place for politics in this area. This argument of equal opportunity to OBC is weak in today's context. Economical status is what decides the class in today's society and it is not CASTE - in this or any other country in the world today. We hope the politicians are listening.