Monday, September 07, 2015

Greed is Good

Many people in India today are anti-reservations. I used to be too. I used to call it reverse discrimination.

But the more I think about it, the more I feel that the anger against reservations is driven by, more than anything else, greed.

It is greed, in the garb of meritocracy, that asks that those, who have been deprived of their rights and equal opportunity for centuries, must compete with the privileged ones on an equal footing.

It is greed, that allows us to give in to the delusion that we are somehow more worthy of that college education, or of that job, than those that had the misfortune of having been born in an economically unfortunate family, in a poorly educated family or in a region where there were no good schools. We take pride in our accomplishments, not realizing that we were able to achieve them because we were given a very big head start just because of where we were born.

It is greed, that allows us to overlook the suffering of the week and the disenfranchised, and demand a better life for ourselves. It has to be greed, for what else, while walking by the slums every day, could make us talk about that air conditioner that we want to buy, or that new car or house that we can't afford.

It is also greed, that makes some people, many of whom have enjoyed the fruits of the discrimination of the lower castes and the underprivileged, who have been blaming reservation for all the ills of India, ask for their own pound of flesh. They don't see reservations as a way of creating equal citizens. They don't see reservations as a reparations for caste discrimination. They just see it as a way to "get theirs".

It has to be greed.

We all give in to greed, form time to time. It is within us all. But I remember a time when we used to be ashamed of it. It is unfortunate that we have lost that shame!

Greed without shame...

There is this line in the movie Hollow Man - "It's amazing what you can do... when you don't have to look at yourself in the mirror any more"

Well, the busy and fast paced world of today gives us no time to look at ourselves in the mirror, and it is indeed amazing what we are doing.


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