An Evening of Films and Discussion on Reservation and Dalit Rights
Arjun Singh, India’s Education Minister, recently proposed that 27% of seats in educational institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management be set aside for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). This proposal has sparked off protests from students and the institutions and intense debates as to the merits of the proposal in the main stream media as well as in the blogosphere. Are reservations necessary? Is this a political gimmick? Are reservations at the higher education level the way to bring about development among the OBCs or is it a bit late in the day (the argument being that OBCs should receive better education at the elementary level so they can compete for seats at the IITs and IIMs based on merit, rather than on some entitlement based on caste or economic factors).
Peoples’ Union For Civil Liberties (Karnataka), Peoples’ Democratic Forum and Pedestrian Pictures are presenting an evening of films and discussion on the topic, “Reservations: Typecasting Dalit Rights?” on Sunday, May 7, 2006. This event is open to the public.
The venue is Ashirvad, SBI Circle , St. Mark’s Road, Bangalore – 560 001
Two films will be screened between 3 – 4.30 pm:
Untouchable Country, dir. by R.R. Srinivasan, 30 mins, an introductory film, speaks of the emergence of untouchability as a concept from Hindu scriptures.
Resilient Rhythms, dir. by Gopal Menon, 64 mins, deals with a range of dalit responses to their marginalization, from armed struggle to electoral politics.
The film showing will be followed by talks (4.45 – 6.15 pm ) by Indudhar Honnapura, Dalit Sangharasha Samithi, Shivsundar, Journalist, Lankesh, and discussions (6.15 pm onwards).
Via e-mail the organizers say that several crucial questions on the issue of reservations have been obscured and write that they hope that the discussions will address the following issues:
- Is the myth of merit (that forms the basis of rejection of reservation quotas) in reality a projection of the idea that birth determines knowledge and capability of a person?
- How important is reservation within the private sector? Why have IT organizations like Azim Premji’s Wipro rejected this concept outright?
- Can we consider caste as an identity that perpetuates economic oppression in addition to social discrimination? Isn’t it impossible to construct the Dalit movement solely as an identity based movement?
- Do reservations divide the society further or are they paving the way towards equality?
- Reservations are essential rights, but does the road toward a casteless society end there? Can we say that Dalit rights cannot be achieved without larger systemic changes in the socio-economic sphere?
For more information call Pedestrian Pics on 94483 71389 or 99860 31428 or 98868 00642 . Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.