Why A Success Should Be Deserved And Not Reserved?

by Dr Qudsia Gani

Those who are raised on survival have a better perspective on life than those who are raised on love. The great people are usually not from so great families but have come from great circumstances.

Kashmir innovators Refaz and Ishfaq being awarded by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

A P J Abdul Kalam had dreamt to get into the Indian Air Force (IAF), which had advertised eight positions that year. His serial in the merit list was ninth. So he could not join the IAF.

This must have happened with many of us that we missed some target in life by a whisker. Missing a target marginally is a bigger feat than achieving it minimally.

Success comes when preparation meets the performance. According to Winston Churchill, success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. Therefore, every time you think you missed a hit, it is actually God redirecting you to something better.

We did see Kalam becoming the ‘Missile Man of India’ as he is popularly known as. He was further raised to the position of the President of the country by virtue of which he was also the supreme commander of the Defence forces. He was the architect of India’s integrated missile development and when he returned to DRDO in 1982, he oversaw a project that resulted in a number of successful missiles, earning him the moniker.

At one place, Kalam says, ‘I was a disadvantaged child from a non-educated family, yet I had the advantage of being in the company of great teachers.’ They made and moulded his future.

A group of Gujjar Bakarwal men and women protesting in Srinagar against the idea of including Pahari Speaking People (PSP) into ST fold on September 12, 2022. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

What is needed is to come under the guidance of a guru and what is not needed is to come under the umbrella of reservation. We either step forward into growth or back into safety. And whose say in this matter can be better than that of BR Ambedkar himself. His grandson Prakash Ambedkar had stated in an interview, ‘Legislation doesn’t change the people. That’s why BR Ambedkar didn’t believe that reservation of constituencies or jobs for Dalits would change the way Indian society looked at its lower castes.

The caste system in India was essentially meant to be an occupational division but it took an ugly turn over the years creating serious social divides. Thus, the call is for reformation and not for reservation.

In this writeup, I would appeal to the clergy and not the office-bearers to take up the cause.  For the former it is achievable besides a duty, for the latter it is neither achievable nor a duty and not so easy.

On the other side, the benefits of reservations would least reach those who were meant to be uplifted. They are least aware of the programmes, policies and polities. Had it reached them in bulk, the socio-economic disparities would have been greatly narrowed down by now. What is there in principle is far from what is in the practice.

The reservation in elite jobs in the name of RBA, OBC, SC/ST are availed by those who by virtue of their prosperity status are either delinked from such remote ancestral history or may actually not belong to the same except by way of having a certificate declaring so.  As such incidence kept pooling in and around, they became visibly clear over the time.

Those at the helm of affairs have taken a serious view of the same. At a local level, for example, a recent Jammu and Kashmir Government order no. 893-JK(GAD) dated 02-08-2022 has made it mandatory for employees claiming reservation to put in seven years of their service in the backward areas, which they claim to belong to. The order reads, ‘In terms of subsection (2) and (3) of section 3 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and Rules framed thereunder, it is mandatory for a government employee who has been appointed as an RBA/ALC candidate to serve for a minimum of seven (07) years in such areas. A large number of employees, however, have not fulfilled this condition despite availing benefit of reservation under these categories.’

Let us take the affirmative action, let us acknowledge the grievances. Let there be whatever kinds of schemes and yojanas for education and rehabilitation of the historically deprived and marginalised people, let the poor be fed and clothed, let the opportunities reach the distant doorsteps, let there be domestic and healthcare subsidies for them, let them earn their livelihoods on some concession, but let not the merit be marred by putting an uneven scale across the communities and there are fair reasons why that should not happen.

On June 27, 1961, in his letters to various chief ministers, prime minister Pandit Nehru had written, “It is true that we are tied up with certain rules and conventions about helping Scheduled Castes and Tribes. They deserve help but, even so, I dislike any kind of reservation, more particularly in service.”

Dr Qudsia Gani

It compromises merit and maintains the caste distinctions. Mind and mettle are an inbuilt chip, which is not harmed by hardships nor does the ease in life improve its hard disk. The adversities rather make us better at resolving issues and solving problems.

Generally speaking, those who are raised on survival have a better perspective on life than those who are raised on love. The great people are usually not from so great families but have come from great circumstances. Be it an Abraham Lincoln of the USA born in poverty and sitting under street lights for reading a book or a Lal bahadur Shastri popularly known as homeless Home minister of India. During the term of his prime minister, he would make serious requests to his son to not use his identity. At the time of his death, his only material asset was an old car, which he had bought on instalments. What made them great would make us great too, what prevented their failure would prevent our failure too. Let us not get reserved for success, let us deserve it instead. Let us empty the reserve and fall in an open competition.

(Dr Qudsia Gani teaches Physics at the Cluster University Srinagar. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Kashmir Life.)


  1. Well , this is nothing but a general opinion that all the reserved category candidates don’t deserve any job. (feeling pity on you mindset). If you are on the other side (reserved), you might have different view about reservation. Its ironical to hear morality from a kashmiri (most corropt breed, nepotism in blood).


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