The reservations issue has thrown not only the blogosphere but also the mainstream media and the general public into a frenzy. Debate and arguments are encouraged in a democracy but I am not too pleased with the quality of the debate in any form of the media. Opposing parties have stooped down to hurl personal abuses, suggest law-breaking behavior, or completely sidetrack the counterarguments and go on talking about the only point you know. I have had to approve tons of comments in the moderation queue on the “Youth for Equality” posts every day and most of them hardly qualify as quality comments.
In light of such crass exchange of ideas, one honest and qualified debate took place in the mainstream media between Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Yogendra Yadav. Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s letter of resignation from the Knowledge Commission was widely circulated. This prompted a response from Yogendra Yadav, who addressed some of Mehta’s criticisms and Mehta judiciously responded. Now,this is the kind of debate we should encourage and be exposed to; not just in the case of reservations but any issue pertaining to national or local policy. My opinion regards the reservation issue closely reflects that of Mehta’s and I agree with the need for social justice but disagree with the method of reservations to ameliorate the caste divide. I find myself in complete agreement with the following paragraph from his response to Yadav:
My argument on diversity and freedom leaves substantial room for the state to enact radical policies; like you I believe it will have to do so, but more intelligently. But should policies in all institutions necessarily have to follow the same model? And in a country where even people who agree on the objective of social justice are deeply divided over the means to achieve it, is not draconian homogenising going to exacerbate social conflict? I think genuine pluralism requires that we find a modus vivendi to balance different and equally important values: social justice, diversity, autonomy, freedom, creativity, efficiency. Perhaps I trust society too much, but perhaps you trust the state too much, and good historical sense requires being wary of both in appropriate measure.
A must-read for all.