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Friday, June 08, 2007

An open letter to Lt. Col. (Retd.) K. S. Bainsla


I am a great admirer of the Indian Army and, therefore, its officers and men. This is not in the least because various members of my family have served or are serving this great institution in different capacities. It is more so on account of the fact that the Army has remained largely unaffected by the tools of divisive politics like communalism, casteism, etc., which have been used to polarise society by those who seek to create 'vote-banks', in order to serve their own vested interests.

It is on account of this that your conduct over the past few days seems, at least to me, to have been unbecoming of a former Army officer and a gentleman, as you have led a series of protests (some of which have been violent and resulted in a number of deaths, besides the damage of national property worth crores of rupees) to demand the Scheduled Tribe status for the Gujjar community, to which you also belong.

Reservation, as, I believe, has been amply demonstrated over the past 60 years or so, implies providing admissions into educational institutions or jobs in the government or public sector, on the basis of various criteria like caste, tribe, etc., to those who are otherwise not competent enough to have secured these on their own.

I would like to know if you, sir, would recommend reservation-based recruitments in the army, as well, and also whether any of your two sons who are serving Colonels in the army would be willing to lead such men (recruited on the basis of the reservation policy and not merit) into battle or into an anti-insurgency operation, if required. If the answer is no, then please do explain why you choose to campaign for reservations at all.

With your third son being employed with a reputed telecommunications company and your only daughter being an officer in the Indian Revenue Service, in addition to the fact that you, yourself, rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, after having joined the army as a sepoy, your family epitomises the spirit of merit and excellence and should be a role model for others in your community.

Therefore, I fail to comprehend the reasons for which you wish to breed and perpetuate incompetence amongst your people.

I believe you could do a lot more of good for your community, if you were to help concentrate the energies of your people on the provision of primary and secondary education and basic healthcare, or, rather, the lack of it. I suggest that you make use of tools like the Right to Information Act to find out about the funds allocated for these purposes and perhaps employ means like peaceful protest to ensure that the money reaches where it is meant to and is utilised properly.

I am sure that a man of your resourcefulness could make things start moving on other fronts like micro-finance too, which could help people, especially the poor living in rural areas, to become self-employed and, thus, lead to progress. Plenty of data on the subject are available online.

The formation of charitable trusts or societies for setting up educational institutions and health-care facilities is another idea that should prove very useful for the purpose that you have stated that you seek to achieve i.e. the welfare of your people.

I am sure that you can think of many more such ideas and sincerely hope that you shall start doing so at the earliest possible.

Yours sincerely,

A concerned citizen of India


Sidhusaaheb said...

A very well written and hard hitting post. Reservation has weakened the efficiency of the Indian administration already to the extent that nothing moves. Now they want it in the army and the private sector too. The fact that we have a 8% growth rate despite all this is miraculous.
Vinod Khare | Homepage | 06.09.07 – 8:06 am | #


To think of the growth rate we might have had without all this…Would China have been the fastest growing economy then or would it have been India?

However, the question here is how to let the benefits of economic growth percolate to those who still live in poverty. The answer, I am sure, is definitely not reservation. I have tried to make some suggestions in the blog post about measures that should be taken in this regard.

I have drawn an analogy about the army, because Lt. Col. Bainsla has retired from the army and this should help him understand the point that I am trying to make.

If we can not entrust the defence of the nation to incompetent people, then why should we leave other sectors open to them?
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 06.09.07 – 10:18 am | #


In total agreement with Vinod regarding the post :>

Who’s Lt. Col. (Retd.) K. S. Bainsla, by the way??
Asma | Homepage | 06.09.07 – 11:13 pm | #



He’s a former army officer who has been leading a series of protests, mainly in the Indian state of Rajasthan, recently, to secure the Scheduled Tribe status and hence reservations for his people i.e. the Gujjars. About 30 people, including policemen, have died, as a result. Negotiations with the Rajasthan govt. have resulted in the setting up of a committee to look into the matter. Criminal cases, however, with the charges including murder, have been registered against the retired soldier and he is currently in hiding to escape arrest.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 06.10.07 – 8:35 am | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

By asking for reservation, do they want to live in a caste ridden society forever? I think they are short-changing their future by this very short term thinking.Reservation is not the solution for uplifting the lower castes(as they refer to themselves), a change in ideology is required, society’s fabric needs to change,acceptance of an individual regardless of the caste he/she was born into. They should strive for equal opportunity, rather they should stress on being treated equal not inferior(hence no reservation). There cannot be equality but equal opportunity(and current system is far away from equal opportunity because of reservation).The society will respect them the day they achieve without the crutches of reservation.In my humble opinion, SC/ST(or anyone wanting to be)are playing on the defense, they need to play on offense because one can’t win on defense.
Thank you Sidhusaheb for another thought provoking post.(Sometimes when I think/write, I contradict myself and there exist too many loose threads, would appreciate your patience).
Mannat Gill | 06.10.07 – 8:39 am | #


As they say, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

You’re right!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 06.10.07 – 11:50 am | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

do you read comments on your other blog? I believe a lot of ppl. do not even know it exists.
Sifar | Homepage | 06.12.07 – 2:49 am | #


Er…which one?

I guess you are referring to ,which is my younger brother’s blog.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 06.12.07 – 7:36 am | #


I thought it was yours and you moved to bglore. Now I recollect that you did a post on your bro’s moving to Bglore….
Sifar | Homepage | 06.12.07 – 2:51 pm | #


Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 06.12.07 – 3:24 pm | #


Agreed that reservations does give the erstwhile under privileged a chance – but it is better to bring them at par with the privileged from the start, not sometime later when the stakes are so much higher
Smita | Homepage | 06.14.07 – 8:55 am | #


I think it is important to help people develop their capabilities and competence, rather than offering them anything on a platter. The latter option would cause them to be dependent on reservation for all times to come, besides burdening the economy with a set of less than competent people being ‘brought up’ at the tax-payer’s expense.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 06.14.07 – 10:08 am | #


As you have rightly pointed out, reservation is NOT the only way of removing poverty among the so-called backward communities.
In this competitive world, reservations can only widen the gap between the communities. Our netas want exactly that. What we witnessed in Rajasthan is power of ‘reservation policy’ to destroy communal harmony.
Madhanagopal B | Homepage | 06.14.07 – 9:59 pm | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

sidhusaaheb and sidhusaab … waah ji waah kiya baat hay :P
asma | Homepage | 06.15.07 – 10:59 am | #


@Madhanagopal: ‘Vote-bank’ politics, I believe, is one of the greatest misfortunes of our country and one we have brought upon ourselves, by playing into the politicians’ hands.

@Asma: Chips of the same block, you see…Aik hi thaali kay chattay-battay! :D
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 06.15.07 – 1:51 pm | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

For the last 60 years they were OBCs. Now they want SC/ST quota. Tell me if in 60 years as OBC’s they couldnt improve, will they improve by being downgraded to SC/ST ? Or is there more to it ?
Anonymous | 06.09.08 – 1:30 pm | #


First of all gujjar are not tribe or adibasi and means are not tooand jats are also not backwaed cast. The only tribe in rajasthans are vill and some others smaller groups.To give the ST status to Means are also faults and are not faier to the villa and others, so it is better to put the means to the OBC n rise some percentage of OBC quota as well as don;t put jats as OBC , is the most fearier option as i think,so no one be unhappy(may be jats, but they doesn,t deserve for OBC) hoping for kind respons .
Ayam | 09.24.09 – 5:47 am | #