Affirmative Action, Reservation


There is such a debate raging about reservation.


In a business, where meeting customer demands is the sole criterion in the workplace, and competitors - spread across the globe - are working overtime to outclass us, there is no option but to give each job to the best hand we can get. To create such hands, we train them making all the investment that is necessary. For training to succeed, we recruit and retain only those who have enthusiasm and aptitude. Clearly, language, caste, creed or historical issues do not matter in any part of this process.


Still, can a company ignore the social issues relating to the communities in which it operates? No, by taking license to operate a business in a community, it assumes a responsibility to be socially correct and active there.


We employ people from all corners of India, though most are from the South. They speak many languages. We do not register their caste or religion. The workplace is vibrant on account of this diversity and I look forward to again have non-Indian Hicalites. I have seen a highly successful company that employs only those who share the caste and language of the promoters; the entire workplace teems with people wearing the same caste-marks on their face, speaking just one language everywhere in it. It is none of my business; their promoters probably feel virtuous, as being respectful of tradition. I am not comfortable in such a workplace.


Also, of the community we are in, we should respect its culture, its traditions, its languages, and proactively do what we can to further strengthen them.


Reservation? I feel strongly for the less privileged and the wronged, even if it happened only to their forefathers. I like that they are given free and easy access to healthcare, that the right of their children to free education is secured, generous union budget outlays are made for health and education, and that any fetters that prevent access to opportunities are vigorously removed. We should root out any potential injustice that can happen to them: child-labor, dispossession, any other exploitation. All of us should accept responsibility to ensure a free society. But the one who is selected for a job should be fit for it. The job could be any: doctors who heal, engineers who secure safety, educators, administrators, singers, pilots, soldiers; only he that is most fit for the job should have it.


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