Wednesday, 20 June 2007


No matter how hard they try, there's no escaping their identity. The merit list displayed on the notice board announces it. This rank is their introduction to upper-caste seniors, during friendly ragging sessions, which could later become an outlet for the frustration of general category students.

Like the final-year AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) student, who made a reserved category fresher sit on the ground while a brahmin fresher sat on a chair, next to him. The senior asked him to say, "I am from a lower caste," repeatedly, to show him his place in the premises, where he had gained an "easy" entry this year.

Hostels then become ghettoes. In AIIMS, quota students chiefly occupy the top two floors of the hostel. An engraved message on the door of one quota student on another floor asked him to "get out of this wing".

Final-year student Ajay Kumar Singh still recalls the day he shifted from room number 43, which had leakage problems, to number 45. The whole wing was otherwise occupied by general category students, who promptly put up a board on top of the common carrom board, "Everyone except occupant of room number 45 can play."

A reserved category student, who managed to become the gym secretary of AIIMS, resigned from his post as the financial secretary (a general category student) refused to release him funds. "He was chased around and beaten up by the executive heads of the student council," says Sunil Chumber, sub-dean of AIIMS.

It is believed that several professors are on the side of the anti-reservation battalion. That's why during the recent agitation, some pro-reservation students hid their faces behind their placards, so that their professors wouldn't spot them. Once their pro-reservation rally was even mistaken by newspapers as an anti-reservation demonstration. Dalit students survive through a hard skin formed after a whole life replete with insults.

Some have heard upper-caste neighbours call the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar airport at Nagpur, "the scheduled caste airport". Some have lived in colonies where upper-caste boys wouldn't lend them their cricket bats.,curpg-2.cms

No comments: