Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Majority appeasement?

Around the place I live there are many govt. and PSU offices. In every office premises there is a temple. Town planning office, MMTC office, Bank of India and even JNU Fine Arts College have temples maintained by them on their own premises. I am sure there are at least a few Christian and Muslim employees.

The PSU I worked for has a temple in every location. Every department has a specific place for pooja. When the pooja is performed work is at stand still. Prasadam is distributed. Muslim and Christian employees are silent spectators.
Ayudha pooja is a grand affair. Offices do not function because each instrument of work has to have a vermillion (kumkum) mark—computers and any other instrument of even Muslims and Christians are not spared.
Whenever I went for inauguration of a distributorship, I had to break a cocoanut before a photograph. If I happened to be at a location and pooja was performed there I accepted prasad in the way they accept—with right hand, left palm touching right forehand. On the occasions of Independence day and Republic day a garlanded picture of durga is placed on the pedestal where the flag post stands.

Once I was traveling with a senior. When he saw a temple on the roadside, he folded his hands, murmured some thing and turned to me and said he did the same whenever he passed by a durgah. Message was loud and clear.

Muslim officers, to realize their ambitions trying to please Hindu officers, tend to be harsh on junior Muslim officers.
When I was posted in Chennai, head of the plant summoned all managers who were to write confidential reports of their juniors. His advice was not to waste ‘outstanding’ rating on SC officers. His logic was SCs get the benefits anyway. I was shocked by his behaviour and thought he would be harsher on Muslims if I were not present.
  On personal level too a minority person has to please majority. If a Brahmin colleague visits my house, he puts forward many excuses to avoid taking anything including water. When I happen to visit his house, his wife, may be, washes those cups and saucers ten times or they have separate cups etc. for visit of minority people.
I had a telagu Brahmin friend in Bombay university hostel. Years later we happened to meet in Calcutta and he invited me with my family for lunch. My two-year-old son walked into their kitchen and the face of my friend’s wife (Tamil iyer) was worth watching.
A very interesting incident happened when I invited a visiting Christian manager’s family for lunch. They were in Hyderabad on a personal visit and I arranged IBP guesthouse. When I invited them for lunch his wife flared up. She said ‘ you people do not eat any thing in our house and why should we come to yours’. She thought I was a Brahmin.

Then there is informal reservation. Muslims and Christians are at the bottom of the heap when it comes to promotions in any organization. Reservation exists everywhere—in employment in private sector, admissions in private schools, promotions in public sectors and many other fields. I am talking of informal reservation.

Employment bias mars private sector – Study (NDTV) reporter Adhana Sharma
Saturday, October 27, 2007 (New Delhi)

 A study was released by the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies in collaboration with Princeton University. It reveals that in fact a person's caste and religion could be a hindrance in getting a job, despite equal qualification.

The study says that a dalit had 60 per cent less chances of being called for an interview, and a Muslim had 30 per cent less, as against their higher caste peers.

''Here in India, it is a routine practice for employers to enquire about family background and use it as a means for screening. This is an anti-thesis to what one expects in a merit based system,'' Professor Katherine S Newman, Princeton University.

We are in an officially/ constitutionally declared ‘secular democratic republic’ that guarantees equality. What should be the terminology for what it really is in practice?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lest you forget

The Telegraph Calcutta dated July 13,2013
Times of India of 14.3.2012