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   The other day, I had gone to a friend's house... (July 9, 1990)

The other day, I had gone to a friend's house and he was telling me how difficult it was getting his son admitted into a college.

"With the Mandal Commission report, our children are nowhere, they have no chance of getting a college education," he said.

"Come, come, it is not as bad as all that," I said. "Merit still counts."

"That is what you think, " my friend said. "I took my son to three colleges this morning only and all the principals told me that they were helpness. They had to admit 27 per cent of students belonging to the scheduled castes, even though they knew that my son was more intelligent that all of them combined and would be an asset to their colleges."

"What about the remaining seats outside the 27 per cent? They could have admitted your son to one of those," I said.

"You have evidently not read the Mandal Commission Report," he said. "As any store-throwing Delhi university student will tell you, besides the 27 per cent reserved for schedulted castes, another 22 per cent is reserved for scheduled tribes. I am telling you, entire colleges are from now on going to be filled with schduled castes and tribes. If our children have the misfortune of not being born one of them, they have the option of either being rickshawwallahs or boot-polishwallahs."

"Now, let me see," I said. "Twenty seven per cent plus 22 per cent, that makes 49 per cent. That dtill leves 51 per cent for merit students. Which is not at all bad, Mr. V.P. Singh has left majority of seats open for general admission."

"Haah," said my friend. "Don't tell me you have not heard of OBC! Well, what about the other backward classes. Five per cent of the seats are reserved from them. That makes it, even according to your own calculations, 54 per cent of the admissions reserved. Where does that leave my son!"

"I understand your position and sympathise with it," I said, "And I can only wish that some seat will be available to him."

"What is the use, even if it is available! He has failed in his SSC." My friend said.

 
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