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Two-glass System in a Central University: The Unseen Ways of Caste Discrimination

by Hany Babu on Monday, 16 July 2012 at 13:21
the university of delhi is the biggest central university of our country. it is said to be ranked above all the other central universities. since it is situated in the urban space of the national capital, a typical (read upper-caste, middle-class, urban) person will wonder, what relevance does caste based reservation have in such a university? how can one talk about any caste discrimination in such a space? isn't it time we moved on beyond these systems? moreover, the liberal space of our universities like is under attack from all kinds of imperialist and neo-colonial agendas, so shouldn't we be spending our energies fighting those battles, so that our system can be preserved and protected? but let us look at the procedure of getting admission to this university.

if you want to take admission to the undergraduate programme of this university, you need to fill up a pre-registration form and register yourself. there is provision for online registration. there is also provision to obtain the pre-registration form and the bulletin of information against a payment of rs. 100/- from twelve centers situated in various parts of the city. the bulletin of information printed in colourruns into around 70 pages and has all necessary information about the combination of subjects required for various courses, a detailed city map which shows the location of the colleges (which are around 63 in number), addresses and phone numbers of the colleges, details about Grievance and Placement cells, university ordinances related to admission and other related processes, even last year's cut off marks (so that you can get a rough estimate of what kind of chances you have with your percentage of marks. pretty impressive.

but all this is available only to the general (and obc) category candidates. what about sc/st candidates? oh, they don't have to pay anything.

ok, but can they register online? no. (don't ask why....) and since they don't pay anything, they should obviously be satisfied with what we give them as alms.

so, all we can afford is an eight page Bulletin of Information. (did you ask whether it is coloured?)

what about the combination of subjects, addresses of colleges, Grievance Cell? well, all these are irrelevant to them. (you will get to know why they are irrelevant if you have the patience to read through...)

ok, there is no online registration facility, but there are candidates in far flung places, can a friend or a local guardian collect the preregistration form and the information bulletin on their behalf. of course not! have you ever heard of anyone collecting alms on someone else's behalf? you have to appear in person with the original of your caste certificate and the original class X and class XII certificate. (we don't want our alms to get wasted by the wrong person collecting it!)

ok, you are ready to take pains to come to Delhi (or to go and collect your original certificates and back), so that you can get the benefit of studying in these elite, secular, liberal temple (!) of learning.

but since we are short of staff, we can't afford to have 12 centers all over delhi for sc/st... there are only four centers. (you are only 22.5%, so how can you ask for equal number of centers? you can't beat us in logic!)

what about all those who cannot come to delhi or produce all the certificates in time? well, they can always apply as general category. you need to go through all the painful steps only if you are asking for special privileges.

we have also reduced your burden by limiting the number of choices you can indicate in your pre-registration form. well, you can't be complaining. thirty choices are good enough. you might say, if you are keen on a particular course and you are willing to take it wherever you get it, and if that course is offered in 15 colleges, then your 15 choices are gone. well, these are all nitty-gritties that no one has time to bother about. beggars can't be....

now, we are sure you will have complaints about the fact that our children can register for as many courses and colleges as they want. our children are meritorious, so who will dare to curtail their freedom to choose anything from the innumerable courses and colleges of the university. if each of the 63 colleges offers on an average 5 courses each, sometimes we may need to keep all the 315 choices open because we never know where we may get an admission. anyway, why am i spending my time explaining all this to you....

ok, you are asked to make 30 choices. are you sure you can exercise your choice carefully enough? because the order in which you indicate your preferences determine your fate. (what am i saying, your fate was determined at the time of your birth! how can getting admission in a college or a course of your choice change it?) anyway, if you are inquisitive about how we write the scripts of your lives (in whatever small way that we can), let me explain this to you. imagine you filled a particular course (or college) as your 24th choice and another course (or college) as your 25th choice. (now, don't ask whether it is humanly possible to fine grain your choices to that kind of precision... the problem with some of you is that you ask too many questions....) now the wonderful computer software will compute in its own mysterious ways and maybe it found that you can get your 24th choice. the computer allocates that choice to you. and as all the other things that you got at birth, this choice also cannot altered. you are wondering whether you would have got your 25th choice? well, that is like wondering whether you would have been born in your neighbour's house...

well, my son could only get a course/college he did not prefer at all. he has taken admission. after all, if he gets a better course/college when the next admission list comes, he will just cancel this admission and go and take admission there. have you ever heard of a beggar who takes alms and says that can i return what you gave me today if i get something better tomorrow? choices and options are not the prerogative of all in this wonderful country of ours.

... to be continued
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