Friday, May 04, 2007

'Affirmative Action', Symbiosis style

Taking yet another historic step towards empowering India's masses by spreading the light of knowledge, Symbiosis International University voluntarily decides to implement the recommended 27% seat allocation for OBC students. This is being done by creating additional seats over and above the sanctioned intake of each programme...

- ad in leading newspapers earlier this week.

This increase starts with a 7% hike in seats this year, going upto 27% in two years time.

This ad was cannily released right after the IIMs released their admission list, minus OBC quota. The OBC question will come up once again for hearing on May 8 in the Supreme Court.

Given the time the judicial system is likely to take, the OBC issue may remain unresolved by the time the academic session begins in June. So what happens to OBC candidates? Well, most likely, they would have given other admission tests like Symbiosis SNAP.

So Symbi swings into action. This is both a chance to gain some PR points with politicians and assume a sort of higher moral ground. "Affirmative action", after all is practised in American universities. Sounds so much better than 'reservation' as well.

The trouble is this:
- Nowhere on the Symbiosis website do I see a mention of SCs and STs. If one must begin to 'empower India's masses' on the basis of caste then surely you can't start with OBCs.

- There is no mention of creamy/ non-creamy layer. The whole debate about merit vs reservation rests on the argument that caste does not necessarily equal backwardness. An OBC and a Brahmin with similar economic and educational backgrounds should be treated as equals.

In fact there is no mention of the word 'underprivileged' with OBC at all, so one can only assume this initiative is going to empower those who can pay for their education.

- The use of the term 'affirmative action' is misleading. As the Princeton Review notes:

..affirmative action is not about quotas—that is, it's not meant to force schools or businesses into accepting or hiring a certain percentage of minorities or women. Instead, affirmative action is meant to level the playing field and ensure that schools and businesses are not intentionally discriminating against minority groups.

No college is permitted to have separate admissions criteria for different racial groups; all students must be in competition with one another regardless of race.

What Symbiosis is implementing is a quota. Voluntary it may be, but the spirit behind it is pure commerce.


  1. Clap Clap Clap!!!!

  2. yup! its nothing but just a publicity stunt. Talking about "Affirmative Action" does not suit a university like Symbiosis where you can get admission for any course so long as you have the money and are ready to pay for admission under "Management Quota". In fact, by adding additional seats, they are likely to mint more money from the so called OBCs

  3. Basic funda behind this advert is $$$.

    Excellent post Rashmi...& very good points raised.

  4. Hi Rashmi!

    Nice post, surely it is a nice tactic by symbiosis. In a country where the politicians are playing this dirty game, more people are bound to join in.

    Although I feel the end will be very different. Symbiosis will try to do the selection with reservation, somebody will start a court case and after the results/ just before the results some ruling will come... politicians will shout... blah blah blah .....

    (All this has been said keeping in mind that on May 8th Supreme Court will throw government's petition in a dustbin)

  5. I agree its a neat trick to assuage the politicians and also to earn more money off the 'creamy layer without merit'. So in effect, Symbi is affirmatively/voluntarily lowering its entry-by-merit norms.

    I dont think the SC can hold out for very long against the OBC quota - all political parties - representing the majority of the Indians - want it. Its only the 'upper castes' who get the wrong end of the stick - maybe in a few years, they'll also demand for a quota..I hope.

  6. Reality unearthed !!!

    Under the name of OBC quotas, all the netas rake in the moolah and leave all the students including the OBC ones high and dry ...

    Just promises ...

  7. so true! Even i was disgusted with the blatant commercial points they wanted to get from that ad.
    And like u said, not like these students are going to be unable to pay for their education.

  8. I guess this way they can bypass Government regulations on seat increases etc.

  9. It is like striking two mangoes with one stone.You can proclaim
    your committment to social justice by admitting rich OBCs who can afford to buy a seat.Govt. wants to
    give subsidy to rich OBCs by admitting them in IITs,IIMs under quota.In symbi there is no free lunch, social justice comes with price.Pay and empower yourself.This
    'best' of both worlds-is it not

  10. You've seen it through ! Its commerce. Not social justice !! Well done !

  11. its no longer about giving quality has becoe an industry now...with publicity stunts like this by Smbiosis( very surprising) and IIPM as a norm


    //The whole debate about merit vs reservation rests on the argument that caste does not necessarily equal backwardness.//


    Is it the truth......

    Do they treat an OBC and Brahmin with similar economic conditions as equal. If so what is the funda behind this post by Reality Check

    The famous places of worship, including Madurai Meenakshi temple, Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy temple, Palani Dandayuthapani temple, Tiruchendur Subramania Swamy temple and Mylai Kapaleeswarar temple, do not have a Brahmin as arangaavalar in the administrating committees

    See the facts, Rashmi...

    The guys are more concerned about the CASTE of the person appointed as Trustee

    The esteemed blogger, is not at all bothered whether the trustees are rich are poor, handicapped or not etc.... It all burns to caste.

    Please understand that backwardness was NEVER determined by Economy or Educaton in this regard... Dronachari asked for the thumb of his disciple not because he was poor ... Education was refused to the poor boy because of his caste...

    It is Caste that is the most important Criteria for Backwardness.... That is where backwardness lies in India ...... Why can't you see this simple fact

    Wake Up !!!

    (Sorry, only those who sleep can be woken up.... not those who pretend to sleep)

  13. Symbiosis University is spreading globally, to ensure their plans are not by any Govt moves... the management has come up with this PUBLICITY stunt.

    As pointed out in the article, Symbiosis university programs dont come cheap, it means only OBC who can afford to PAY for education will benefit out of it. The whole concept of quota for underprivelaged is thrown out of the window.

    As an alumni of Symbiosis, I am confident the university think-tank is using Management/ Marketing/ Branding skills they teach students to BEST use in such manners.

  14. Today is May 8th and the Supreme Court has very wisely ruled that the matter requires consideration by a larger bench, may be a Constitution Bench. This will take not only time but sure enough open the Pandora's Box of politicians dividing the country on the basis of castes.

    Going back on history of evolution of castes in India, the four divisions were for who will do the various services to the community and thus was the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vysya and the Sudra communities came into existence. Over a period of 5000 years, our own Indian brethern split, divided and sub-divided these four castes into innumerable parts for their own convenience and comfort. Now, the politicians are having the cake, cream and the bakery by extra polating the Mandal Commission for their vote bank.

    If they (the politicians)were so concerned about the upliftment of the down trodden, why not increase the primary and secondary schools to cover all villages, increase the primary health care and allow the government run colleges to charge what the private colleges are doing for the higher education.

    But the sad thing is that even the current generation of students and youngsters are not seeing what is being done by the politicians in the name of castes and religions. Unless they wake up and revolt, we will go down in history as a nation of backward communities.

  15. An OBC candidate topping the IAS is fantastic. Watch the CNN IBN discussion. Cheers.

  16. doctor bruno,
    Even if I agree that caste determines backwarness and even if we all agree that mandal comission was right in suggesting 27% OBC quota, the fact still remains that politicians are playing to the vote banks and if somebody in the government really wanted to do something for the less privaledged, there should have been proposals to create world class schools & hospitals in all our villages and cities where there can be quota for all sorts of groups.

    In our pathetic government schools with little teachers and open toilets, only people who go are those who cannot afford private schools and these are the very people who are less priveledged and who need a helping hand from all of us. But no body wants to work at the root cause as it may not fetch votes. After they learn (arguably so!) in these schools, then we want to give them a seat at the IIMs. All are hipocratic advocates of the quota system.

  17. sir t is very easy to say about economically powerful obc dont u know what brahmins have done to india in last 50 years even the so called creamy layer where not allowed to go foe higher post by the so called higher caste hisher caste has always wanted power for themselves and they will always want tnat for their whole life theu have always commited crimes againsyt soscially backward classes and they will always do in oue constitution there is noyhing called economic backward class there is soscially backward class and what do u think the medical fees and the mba fee can be paid by normal obc every obc shold be lifted

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