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Even so, I know for certain that it’s not going to be a bed of roses. I grimly predict that some affluent parents will warn their children not to mingle lest they pick up germs and other filthy things – it’s sad isn’t it that all the money and the education in the world cannot make some human beings act like, well, humans? Laughably, this attitude is from people who hire the parents of the very same children to cook their food, keep their houses spotlessly clean, drive their cars, tsk.
I also predict that not some but very many children in the economically weaker section will go home weeping after school and have emotional scars that will take years of expensive therapy to heal. It’s only natural when a child of the driver of the Indian economy and a child of the driver of his car share the same space but not the same resources. Consider the expensive iPad versus the pocket-friendly Akash tablet (if and when Akash actually does work without glitches). Perhaps I’m being facetious here, but can Angry Birds really bridge that gap?
While we’re about it, let’s also consider the negative attitude of a few of India’s ridiculously expensive schools where students are routinely taken to villages in Thailand to hose down cows to make them (the students, not the cows) more balanced. Why Thailand instead of equally needy villages in India? Perhaps this has something to do with inflated travel and lodgings bills that are presented to parents – and teachers in charge of the trips getting free tickets? With the RTE in place, would such indulgences be possible?
Finally, do you really believe that the government (whichever government happens to be in power) will cheerfully honour its promises and pay the fees for the reserved seats without tedious amounts of paperwork that will straggle into the next century?
So yes, I do have some fears about the reservations. But I’m biting my tongue. Mainly because the good that will eventually come out of it will outweigh the bad. Make no mistake, this is a revolution even though it’s not trending on Twitter. And despite the fact that it’s a bloodless revolution, some children will get hurt by the attitudes of nasty affluent parents, insensitive teachers and apathetic governments. That, however, is a price that must be paid.
Rupa Gulab is a columnist and the author of Girl Alone, Chip of the Old Blockhead, and The Great Depression of the 40s.
The views expressed above are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of the views of the Mahindra Group.
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