AlgoMantra, b. 2005

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Algebra of Quota Protests
Emphasis: Control and generation of Electric power equals political power on a democratic stage. There is no difference, virtually. The government acts as a clearing, forwarding and distribution agent, sometimes by proxy.

Part - I

When you study at the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur, one of most enduring lessons you learn during the four-year course is a line attributed to David Gilmour : "If you give a stratocaster to a monkey, don't expect him to sound like Pink Floyd." The question the Indian government faces now is how many Givson Jumbos should be given out to rhesus macaques, how many Hobner F-holes to langurs, and so on, while the guitars gently weep.

According to the Manmohan Singh government, 27% seats at medical education institutes should be reserved for people of backwards classes (OBCs), perhaps even more. The students are arguing for a meritocracy, while the government leverages its options to protect the electorate. Both parties ignore the massive penetration of the Internet in India, and the merits of long-distance education. Is it possible that with the presence of countless cybercafes and mobile phones, educational institutions
may have to radically alter what they currently offer?

They have always offered degrees and jobs, yes, but there is a sudden realisation in the face of quota protests that some education could also be (possibly) imparted by these institutions. The Indian Institutes of Technology may admit some of the best brains in the country, but once inside - they offer little more than textbooks, bored professors, sexual repression, and out-of-date laboratory equipment. Please note that such an atmosphere can prepare you for hell in professional life, and as such, it is the best education you can get anywhere on earth. In comparison to this, the cybercafes of India offer everything except coffee - airconditioning in the summer, casual banter between cubicles, cheap rates for surfing, and occasional hideout for a
snog with your mate (IITs on the other hand, have a pathetic sex ratio).

The students of India are slow on the uptake that the institutions they are fighting to get inside "are" the factories that generate backward classes. Educational reservations are really mechanisms of distributing the profits of economic liberalization, and a disturbing type of bribery to the poor. After all, which sensible farmer would dream of reaping the harvest before he has sown it? Which teacher would expect a dakshina before his student graduates? The Government of India has a massive programme for self-employment, and it is surprising that self-education has never occurred to them as an alternative approach to learning. How can it, when the government has little or no role to play in it?

The real question is how many students of this country cheated through their 7th grade algebra paper, or solved the equations themselves. Here is presented the algebra of reservation quotas – for all to see and critique.

Part II

Asumption: There are two kinds of people – forward and backward.

Logic: It is common sense that only backward people would want reservation quotas, since it is only in their favor. If you're a forward rooting for backward quota, you are really backward in forward clothing and should be beaten up.

Algebra: Let us assume the population of India is P, and that Y people are already inside the said institutions which take in X people every year, and emit the same number annually. It is widely rumored that India is a democratic republic, where more than 50% majority is needed to pass any bill as a law. Now, the proposition of reservation quotas effectively says that:

More than 50% of X students seeking admission to institutions containing
Y people are backward, and therefore need at least 50% reservation for
those people (sic). X/2 students are backward, at least, and the same
number forward when they get in.

Number of people in society total at this time are (P-Y), out of which X are seeking admission. If India is a democracy it is necessary that more than (P-Y)/2 people are backward, and that is why they are given 50% reservation. X/2 backward people are added to the institutions and that same number pass out as 'forward" graduates or retirees. The total number of people of both kinds in society, outside of the Y people undergoing "forwardification" now changes:

Less than (P-Y)/2 would be added with X/2 = forwards

More than (P-Y)/2 – X/2 = backwards

For the reservation of 50% for forwards to remain in effect, it is necessary
that, assuming that the Y people who have gained access to institutions
do not count yet:

(P-Y)/2 – X/2>(P-Y)/2 + X/2
…………..which is an impossibility!

So the situation will keep oscillating between forwards and backwards
having the upper hand. In fact, it would be necessary to ensure that
more than 50% people remain backwards for reservation laws to be
effective. The law will unquestionable lead society to a situation
where a minority would be ruling over a majority.

A majority of Indians believe that this is already the case.

Part III - The Truth

1. All industries and large-scale organisations run on electricity, including
the supply of water, illumination, airconditioning, and communication.

2. The nation state depends on electricity to maintain its relevance. If the
government cannot provide electricity to its people, it has no reason to exist. The constitution was also printed on a Movable Type press (which runs on electricity too)

3. In 1910 when electricity was brought to Bombay, and mill workers were
expected to work overtime in the night, they revolted. This started the nationalism movement which overthrew the British Empire in 20 years.

4. Energy prices have been raised in the shadow of the protests, quietly - by Reliance. The government says that there is no more subsidy available. The UPA government has focussed most of its attention on nuclear plants and the energy problem since its inception.

5. All educational institutions depend solely on electricity for their functioning. They are, in fact, social machines that run on electricity. Can you imagine an IIT without electricity?

6. Essentially, reservation quotas are a way of distributing electricity (for studying) to aspiring students on a caste to caste basis. Shocking, isn't it?
5 Comments: Post a Comment
Blogger barbarindian said ..

Was that the original remark? I thought the original remark was by Waters:

If you give a man a Les Paul guitar, he doesn't become Eric Clapton.

1:24 PM 
Blogger Fadereu said .. i said "attributed to" since my own memory was hazy but the idea is there.

thanks for the correction :)

9:37 PM 
Blogger murmur said ..

They take in x people a year, and then "forwadise them"

But X < 0

This is not an impossibility. Because this is the opperative assumption of any "institutionalisation". You are less than a person, infact you are so small that you and others like you cannot even become perceptible (even in statistics!). Until you pass through and get sorted into forwards and backwards.

A slightly unreleated question: in democracy, the majority stablizes and unstable state (which is unstable because things have not been sorted into majority and minority through electoral ballot) are transformed into stable ones (until the next election). As you pointed out in your earlier work, "unstability" should be constitutive rather than cyclical (every 4 years etc). My question is : once the majority "wins" then does not the minority become non-existent, completely silenced, etc? Is not the very framing of majority and minority (with majority winning) designed to erase the minority after the win? What to do with the minorities who do not agree with the outcome of the election? etc.

6:43 AM 
Blogger murmur said ..

sadly, zizek asked it years before, and in a much cleaner way

8:25 PM 
Blogger Fadereu said ..

My question is : once the majority "wins" then does not the minority become non-existent, completely silenced, etc? Is not the very framing of majority and minority (with majority winning) designed to erase the minority after the win? What to do with the minorities who do not agree with the outcome of the election? etc.

So are we assuming that 100% of the "registered population" is voting? Okay, fine - so logically speaking the minority has been declared alien in the DwO context - discarded from the constitution as "refuse". So in the context of "continuous democracy" where, to begin with, unstability is the norm - people will be able "retract their votes" and change their minds at any time, leading to oscillations. However, since after some drama people would like to keep one stable government in power and see what it does, they will make sure that the minority stays happy, short of eliminating them.

In case of an equilibrium at 50% - the one person who is in opposition to the rest of the country remains happy with the status quo. Or else, he could bring the government down with one singular vote retraction.

Does that make sense? I think more math is required but an argument could be made for this in the age of ubiquitous media.

Perhaps the situation will appear by itself?

4:37 AM