How do you feel to be born in a general family in a country where ‘reserved’ is preferred than ‘deserved’?
If the biggest reason for your frustration is not being able to get into IIT or IIM then you have to congratulate yourself on being one lucky guy to have the privilege of being in the top 3% of the country to suffer a problem that many would kill to have.
If your question is aimed at trying to find solace then maybe the following list of privileges that upper caste Hindus enjoy in India will cheer you up. Please read my answer link given below:
Deepmala Prasad’s answer to How do upper caste people (in Hinduism) who believe that upper caste privilege exists really know it exists? What experience made you realize upper caste privilege exists?
Still if you believe that losing out a couple of opportunities in your entire lifetime defines your identity then let me tell you a little secret that will perhaps make you feel slightly better or maybe just make you feel less miserable about the context of history.
You are not a person.
You are a product of your genes. They go a long way toward determining if you would be physically imposing or weak, smart or stupid, calm or anxious, energetic or lazy, and fat or thin.
What your genes left undecided, your upbringing mostly took care of — how you were raised determined your values, your attitudes, and your religious beliefs.
And what your genes and upbringing left undecided, your environment rounded into shape — what culture you were raised in, where you went to school, and who you were friends with growing up. If you had been born and raised in Saudi Arabia, you would be a different person today. If the Nazis had won World War II, you would be a different person, still.
So, even when personal choices finally come into play, you’re still choosing within that framework — you can choose between becoming a poet or a software engineer, but only because you were raised in a world in which other people had already invented both poetry and computers.
That means every single little part of your life — every action, every choice, every thought, every emotion, every plan for the future, everything that you are and do and can potentially be — is the result of things other people did in the past
These mostly dead people shaped every little molecule of you and the world you inhabit. You are the product of what they did, just as they were the product of those who came before them. You are, therefore, not a person any more than a leaf is a tree. It makes far more sense to think of yourself as one part of a whole (the “whole” being every human who has ever lived) than as an individual — you benefit from the whole’s successes, and you pay for its mistakes as if they were your own — whether you want to or not.
This is not abstract philosophy, this is not something you can choose to believe or not believe — this is a statement of physical fact.
Refusing to acknowledge it will only leave you endlessly confused and frustrated.
Refusing to realise the privileges you have that others clearly don’t and to think you are your own person is something that will make you bitter about the whole world.
So really if you want to make tomorrow a better world you have to commit to equality in your society. And for that you need to understand what equality is. And for that you need to see what your own privileges are and how you can bring those privilges to those around you.
That means you can’t think of your life as a story. You have to think of it as one sentence in a much longer story … a sentence that doesn’t make any sense out of context. But, understand the context, and you will understand your life.
The “deserved” vs “reserved” debate and how the past defines it
1,000 years ago, if you were a genius born on a farm, it didn’t matter — it just meant you were going to be a genius who shoveled shit. A hundred years ago, if you were a genius who was born a female, it didn’t matter — you were going to be a genius who stayed home and changed diapers.
50 years ago, if you were a genius who was born a Dalit, it didn’t matter — you were going to live your life as a genius shit scavenger.
we have tried to take down more and more of these arbitrary barriers because we realised the world badly needs all those geniuses out in the field doing genius things. (Thus came the various anti discrimination programs such as Harijan Act and Reservations and quotas.)
I don’t even mean “Einstein” type geniuses — humanity needs people who are geniuses at teaching, plumbing, repairing air conditioners, dancing, etc. And for millennia, we were arbitrarily telling 80 or 90 percent of our talented people that they had to clean carcass, sweep floors or dig crap ditches, purely because they weren’t born as upper caste Hindu male. Progress came when we started pushing for things such as universal education and literacy, along with rights for minorities and women to pursue careers and advanced degrees.
We can’t just collectively agree to make the context of history go away, any more than a bunch of leaves can get together and decide that there is no tree; the roots of history are still feeding us. Dalits are still stuck in slums with terrible schools and and pathetic opportunities where they’re being groomed for a lifetime in the sewer system. Even those who have finally escaped from that hopeless reality continue to face subtle and sometimes overt casteism (denied renting houses in upper castes, social quarantining) And regularly being reminded of their status with various violent means (subtle, casual casteism, honour killing,rape) these people don’t even know there is something like SC/ST atrocities act.
Can you imagine the relief of being spared of that disadvantage, by accident of birth!
So really isn’t the whole “reserved vs deserved” point moot and meaningless?
World is far far far too big to draw assumptions basis a handful of experiences from around you. You have to understand the bigger picture. You must try to figure out What part you can play to ensure that everybody around you, from your maid to your sweeper to your watchman feels assured about his/her self worth that’s not dictated by his place in the society but what he believes he/she can be.