Friday, April 28, 2006

RESERVATIONS: Unanswered Questions

I was in class XII, and I decided to fill in the form for Joint Entrance Exam for the IIT's, and there was a column called caste and I went up to my father because I didn't know which circle to mark. My father told me about caste system and the reason why the column was there in the first place. Nothing wrong but a young guy knows that something called caste system exists and is something beyond the civics and moral science's books. Then we all gave the exam and when the results came there was a separate lists for some of my friends...again the same question why??? The answer is they belong to a different caste and typically addressed as scheduled castes. So now a person who just knew the people as classmates, friends, learns a new term for some of his friends. So to the extent my experience goes I feel that reservations are creating the gap more than they fill. But this wasn't enough, when I took admission in one of the government college and was staying in the hostel, I wanted to stay with one of my friend and wanted a room change, then I was informed by our warden that according to the rules the room has to be distributed as one general candidate, one scheduled caste/tribe and one OBC sounds damn funny. Since the person I wanted to shift with was also a scheduled caste the change did happened and he is my best friend still not because of his caste but because when he became my friend I was not aware that there is something as caste and there is nothing as good as pure friendship. This was not enough soon another phase started when the ragging started; the people were ill treated by the other caste seniors and all this because of the reservations. Till now even I became so proficient that I could tell people of their castes by their last names. Why all this hatred, I could never understand why??? The width kept on increasing when there were caste meets being attended by teachers themselves and we also got books form seniors based on our castes. I am really sure that this would not have been the intent when the reservation was introduced in our constitution. But the things have changed now and it is doing more harm than good. I am not against any caste or community but I have a few doubts and questions which the present form of reservation fails to answer may be at the time when this was planned it had a very valid existence but right now I find no reasons to support it. Some of the questions which my mind asks are-

1- The objectives of reservation were the up liftment of the people who were neglected by the country and the society and were the part of the country. Now first question is caste the only bases to identify the inequalities. Is there a possibility that someone who is also suffering from similar cause but doesn't belong to a particular caste? If yes then does that person deserve an address to his cause on the similar scales? Is there a possibility that a person who is not suffering from the inequalities gets undue benefit? If yes then the first thing is the system is not perfect and there are flaws and a better system can be brought in place. So the system can’t be assumed sacrosanct.

2- Now it has been more than fifty years since we have been implementing this system. Has it really been removing inequalities and poverty and economic gap at the rate 22.5% year on year? I don’t believe this because I don’t think that our population is growing at this rate and there has to be some visible convergence then. Anyways there is a 22.5% there is often news flashes that someone strips a dalit lady, and makes her roam around the village. How would reservation take care of this I couldn't see an alternative? Then you will tell me that there is dalit utpeedan act (I am not sure about of the act) but why??? I may sound stupid but my question is why??? If this is done to any of the person of this country the accused should be hanged because it violates the fundamental law of equality (why one more act to specify the caste of the victim, may be make him aware that she can blame her origin for whatever has happened to her). Second is poverty and economic gap, which is one thing which is addressed by reservation but to what extent. Does the system has proper checks, whether the benefits are reaching the needful and every needful is getting benefits. I still remember that the fee paid in our engineering college was refunded by the government for the scheduled caste/tribe students. And almost every scheduled caste/tribe student claimed it, though it was meant only for the economically weaker section of the society and the people availing it were mostly the affluent people who spent the money to purchase bikes, mobile phones, digital cameras and things which were distantly not related to the education on the other hand there were students from the so called upper caste but facing economic crisis at their home. They could just curse the system and expect that might be some banks give them loans which they would repay when they will start their lives. Not fair!!! is all I can say.

3- Then the measures are very qualitative, inequality, social, economic all these things are mentioned but there are no quantitative measures to check the real effectiveness. What is social inequality? Every one can stand anywhere, eat and drink anywhere, study anywhere, irrespective of any other thing except that he should be an Indian citizen. But what else can two people be equal socially. How do we found out that we have attained social equality? How??? What is our end result??? How can we be sure that reservation has done its job? Or may be it is not doing its job there are no metrics of these factors. Economic Equality is one of the most talked about factor, what is the economic equality... When every one owns the same amount of money than I can assure you reservation or no reservation this wont be possible. Or may be when the percentage of people below the line of poverty will be same for the every caste? Is that the metrics but do we track is reservation decreasing the people below the poverty line from the scheduled castes and tribe year on year and by how much, if it is reducing at a rate which is less than the growth of the population then it should be abolished as it not an effective way and something else should be tried out. Anything but there should be a clearly defined metrics and that too not it terms of time but in terms of result. So the reservation is not at all GOAL ORIENTED.

there are 100s of other questions in my mind but in the end all the things boil down to some of the few important that we as a nation decide something and take step and it doesn't even relates to our goal and we can't even measure how good or bad we have done for the country. Then I remember an old story of the cocoon which was struggling to become the butterfly and one of the children filled with emotions for the little creature and helped him out but the little creature never had the wings strong enough to fly. Are we doing the same to our fellow brothers by providing them help in their struggle? Especially in the light of the American society where the social and economic inequality between blacks and whites has been addressed very well over the years, also went through a similar situation from which we are going, there was a strong wave to get reservation for blacks during the reign of Abraham Lincoln, but it was turned down...and rest is a history..

So all I can say is that reservation is not the solution to the problems of the people as a matter of fact it is more of a gimmick which was once introduced with most sincere of motives but later turned into gimmick by the corrupt and polluted intentions of the Indian polity....

Posted by Prats at 12:58 AM  

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

THE ALGORITHMS


One of the first things which I became associated with when I seriously started pursuing computer programming was algorithms. "Algorithm is the backbone of a computer program", I can still remember the voice of my teacher who was trying to emphasize the importance of an algorithm for writing a piece of code. Yes, she was very correct, but she narrowed the scope of an Algorithm when she restricted it to computer programming. An algorithm is defined as a set of instructions or procedures which are to be followed to achieve the desired outcome. But the scope of Algorithms is not at all related only to the computer programs, there are many algorithms which are being implemented at places which are not distantly related to computers or programming. One of such algorithms affects our daily lives. Remember when u saw a new born baby, he comes out and opens his eyes in the world, following which he learns to speak and then learns to walk. Then with the growing age he starts education formal and informal. Then it turns out that he has become big enough and finds a partner for him/her. Then he gives rise to another new child and the things continue until he/she dies. All this is a complex algorithm, may be we can call it "The Algorithm of Life" and some how even the exceptional cases that happen in the process also resemble the way Algorithms perform. This similarity between a human life and Algorithm forces me to write something on the topic. Think of the time when a person gives birth to his child, a similar thing occurs with algorithms, which is referred to as branching when an algorithm initiates another algorithm. There are times when people pass of without completing all the stages of life, strange though there is a similar phenomenon with algorithms, those related to computer programming would have came cross the term 'Abnormal Termination'. Then there are other interesting similarities, like there are concurrent running algorithms with different parameters, and then there is passing of information between two or more algorithms. All these similarities are amazing which somehow bring to a holistic picture of a world as a huge computer, processing around six billion algorithms simultaneously, the output and processes going on in continuous fashion. All running like a matrix of numbers somewhere in the core. But one thing which haunts me is one terminology which I can't relate to the algorithm of life is the looping algorithms, that is the algorithms who keep looping with their own instances and the lead to....EVER HEARD OF A COMPUTER HANG?????

Posted by Prats at 9:02 PM  

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

ERASER

I have faded memories of childhood when I was learning to read and write. When first time I knowingly wrote something and then carefully holding an eraser rubbed it off to give it a desired shape. It all seemed like a magic how a tiny soft square could completely wipe of the marks on a paper. How the lines which appeared to be permanent and everlasting are disappeared in while when this small magical object comes into the motion. Since then it was always natural and easy to use an eraser. It was very easy to make some mistakes and then erase them off, shape things to our desire and remove every other unwanted line. Everything was normal and perfectly fine. Then I figured that there is one more eraser which is far more useful than the eraser I have been using. Another fact which struck me was everyone was using this eraser without even knowing that how they are using it. Like the eraser which can rub only pencil marks clean, this eraser also erases a lot of marks but leaves some marks unerased. This eraser is the eraser of time, which erases the unpleasant events from our memories. I don’t remember when was the first time my mother shouted at me, when was the first time when I was caught doing something wrong. Every bad memory has selectively been erased; all that remains are the messages. But as I grow up I realize that even this eraser is limited to the type of marks on our life. There are a lot of marks which are formed but can't be erased they stay there as deep marks in your heart lingering as painful memories, which are never erased irrespective of the passage of time. The writing word has progressed to create erasers which can erase almost everything. But in case of human lives it has been different no new erasers come up but life is constantly stained by marks here and there making an indecipherable criss cross along the pages of life and leaving all bitter memories for their to experience and feel!!!

Posted by Prats at 5:09 PM  

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

THE LAW of DUALITY

The outstretched fields and the high rise urban building. Vast stretches desert and the deep blue oceans. The two poles of the earth, the elliptical shape and the elliptical orbit of the earth. As a matter of fact this is a strange fact that almost everything that exists in this world has a dual, a symmetric counter part. The first time when I came across this fundamental law knowingly was years back. When I learned about the roots of quadratic equations which are the dual of each other but now I realize almost everything I have learned till now functions according to the law of duality, for a positive number there exist its dual negative number. For every operation which can be applied from as basic as addition an operation called subtraction exists as a dual and even for the complex operations like Integrals there exist there dual in differentials. Somehow there is an uncanny symmetry along every existing thing on earth. Even our bodies are symmetric around the vertical axis passing through the centre. This presence of symmetry around this world sometimes makes me feel strange excitement. One day when I was wondering about this law of duality and its scope I tend to realize that this law of symmetry is not only applicable to quantitave domains like mathematics and physics but also to the subjects as qualitative as social existence of human beings. There is an amazing amount of symmetry in our own social lives and most of our culture and religion are evolved in such a way that they uphold the law of duality. The basis of human existence comes through symmetry through a male and a female. Then the man's entire life in a normal case is also symmetric, his childhood and old age are duals where he requires care of others but still at one stage he learns and gains experience on the other hand he let other people gain from his experience. Similarly at the youth and adulthood are duals where one is independent but duals in youth where a person has lots of energy and less of practicality on the other hand has low energy but lots of experience. All the social interactions on this planet follow the law of duality.

The law of duality also enlightens the fact that when the two duals interact it leads to a generation of a new world or it encompasses the existing world. If we look at the examples we will find the two poles have in between the whole earth, the elliptical orbit generate seasons (they are also in dual). A male and female interaction produces child (though man has developed ways to interrupt or suspend the process but by default the law of duality holds). So we can see that law of duality is something which spans across almost anything and everything in this universe.

One more topic which I strongly believe is also considerably governed by the law of duality is what we call as love. If we see love as a process then it is nothing but an interaction of two duals, two people who are similar and yet very much different from each other, people who are same in some ways yet opposites of each other. Some facts which support the observation are, firstly there is no person in this world with whom everyone can fall in love, and thus it points to the fact that love is not a phenomenon which can exist between any two people given a set of considerations. The people ought to be duals of each other for the process to trigger. Now another thing that the intensity of love is also dependent across the extent of duality among the partners. The law of duality also suggests to the fact that lovers are generally involved in their own world and limit themselves to themselves, which also confirms to the law of duality that their interaction should generate a new entity or should encompass the existence set. Though there are exceptions due to the extents of duality in the social scenarios being immeasurable and qualitative, but still on the holistic picture we can very well see the Law of duality holding true.

Posted by Prats at 2:52 PM