Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Students of the Medical Colleges of Orissa have joined the ongoing agitation of medicos in various parts of the Country against seat reservation for OBC candidates in elite educational institutions.
Seat reservation is a future program. It has no applicability to the present students. In no way the present medicos are to be affected by the proposed bill. So their present stir is meant against future generation. In future, students of backward castes would benefit from the bill. In future, the bill will help the disadvantaged class in getting admission into elite educational institutions. Thereby, in future the weaker section of the society will fetch opportunity to materially prosper by having well educated fellows in its fold. Why the present students are opposing the future of the country?
No medico can say that he or she is personally threatened by the reservation proposals. It is unfortunate that when they are not at all threatened by the bill they are opposing it.
It is they only from amongst all the students in hi-tech pursuits who are vitiating the streets against a national proposal to extend benefits to the weaker section. As doctors they are supposed to have sympathetic hearts for the socially disadvantaged. But their acrimonious opposition to the national proposal to provide help to the disadvantaged in future is a biting indicator to the selfish class motive of the present medicos.
It is everybodys knowledge that medical profession enables the practitioner to whisk out money even from the dead. It is most assuring of continuous income. Hence the advantaged class is so determined to have this profit-fetching avenue under its control. Looked at from this angle the medicos stir makes one feel that it is driven by class interest of the advantaged against the disadvantaged.
Yes, the class interest of the advantaged. In earlier days, we have seen meritorious children of poor families were getting seats in medical colleges and pursuing their studies on scholarships and loan stipends. But now plutocratically formulated joint entrance tests have changed the scenario.
Now it is almost impossible to find a medico who, coming straight from a plus two science course, has entered into a medical college. Every aspirant for a seat in a medical college is taking intensive coaching for years, as required, spending huge amount of money in specialized coaching centers. So the medico community is a community of well-to-do people constituting the upper echelon of society. And, they are mostly the upper caste people. Most of them are resourceful. Therefore, receiving extensive coaching for medical college entrance is monopolized by them. This syndrome has become more specific after the party of the Upper caste, the BJP, could grab power and commission agents belonging to this segment became remarkably richer. Those who support this segment, irrespective of caste factor, have benefited in BJP regime, just like scavenging jackals benefit from siding with the tigers, by acquiring political patronization for trade and commerce and project finance. Hence, over and above the upper caste people, this neo rich community floats medicos of India. Because these are the fellows who are able to bear the cost of coaching, they are able to get selected for medical education.
If seats are reserved for the OBC students, the monopoly of the upper caste people shared with their trusted acolytes in medical education will decline and the design to transform health service into a never-to-incur-any-loss-industry under their control will collapse. Therefore they are in no mood to allow weaker section to get any seat that they can net through money in medical colleges.
There is no question of passing out on quota basis. The proposed law never contemplates that medical degrees shall be reserved for the OBC. Whoever cannot pass the examinations cannot get the degree. But the nation cannot remain a mute witness to the present scenario that whoever cannot get coaching cannot get admission. Therefore reservation of seats in medical colleges for the OBC candidates cannot but be a must if society is to be saved from monopolistic control of the rich over medical education and possible industrialization of health services.
If they refuse to understand this, time will come, we may be compelled to witness violent resistance against the resistance of medicos to official offer of seats in medical colleges to the weaker section. The fury and hatred with which Mumbai Police beat up the medicos before the Governors residence there portends this to happen.
Why this hatred? Why this fury? Notwithstanding how vociferously we condemn it, it would be a wrong if we do not try to find out the answer.
I do not know who had commanded Mumbai Police to beat up the students. Even if there was a command, the furious hatred that was gushing out with every hissing of the lathi was peculiarly personal of the beater. Why this? Why some Police personnel of the lower strata displayed so much hatred against agitating medicos?
The lower strata of Police must be having men who can never afford coaching to their children to pass out the medical entrance test and therefore, reservation of seats might have been seemed to them as the last hope. So in the medicos agitation they might have seen the ugly face of their class enemy, which might have infuriated them. I cannot say for sure, but I cannot deny this possibility.
On the other hand the medicos should assess their situation through introspection. They know that collectively they can cause any society shudder. They are inseparably linked to medical college hospitals and therefore their position is essential. They can disrupt patient care in their respective hospitals and can drag the medical community to their forum in a solidarity campaign. Therefore they are in advantage in any agitation on any issue. They have scant concern for patient interest, specifically when they are in a mode of collective bargain. Unless one is a patient or relation of a patient in the out door or indoor of a medical college hospital when the medicos are on strike, one cannot estimate what damage they cause to human life. Those who mercilessly beat up the medicos at Mumbai – as we saw through the media lenses, their number would be not more than five – might have been provoked by suppressed wrath over some such damage experienced in paralyzed hospitals during such a strike. The Supreme Court of India has put a ban on strike by medicos keeping in mind the damage such strikes cause to the patient. If the medicos abandon their hospital responsibilities, the Supreme Court cannot come to the spot to ask them to retreat. Naturally therefore when any sufferer will get a chance to avenge the damage, he may mistake the striking medicos as havoc makers as a group and treat them with the contempt the pattern of which Mumbai has witnessed.
The Union Government deserves unreserved support in this issue of reservation. Medicos and for that matter comfortably placed community of technocrats cannot be allowed to destroy our collective entitlement to social justice, a petal of which is offered through reservation for entrance into elite educational institutions.
Dear Arjun Singh, stand strong. In this particular matter right thinking patriots must support you.