Daijiworld News Network - Goa
From special correspondent in Panaji
June 9, 2006
World-renowned singer Remo Fernandes has now openly come out over the reservations issue. In an exclusive media interview to daijiworld.com, this singer of international repute castigated politicians and government officials for, in his own words, superficially attempting to uplift the downtrodden communities through reservations.
Excerpts from the interview given to Ares, special correspondent of daijiworld.com, in Panaji.
1. What are your views on reservations?
Reservations are nothing but a shirking off responsibility on the part of our Government. Their attitude is: "Let's not do a damn to uplift the backward classes by working for their education and health and so on and so forth; we'll just sit in our air conditioned offices and pass a law forcing everyone to reserve seats/jobs etc for them, and our work will be done for us."
It is pathetic that these classes are still backward decades after independence, because our governments have failed to uplift them by providing good schools and colleges which would ensure that they would then be eligible for professional seats through merit, not reservation. Let's not forget that these backward classes are still maimed and raped and enslaved by the higher castes, and yet no finger is lifted to stop all this. Today's newspaper states that a tribal father sold his twin babies for Rs. 100. The government does nothing to protect these tribals' interests. Instead their forests and lands are wrenched away from them, by the government and land developers, who work hand in hand - and then the government has the gumption to dole out Reservations! That is so convenient, because it requires no work from the government whatsoever!
2. Do you feel that it was right for the doctors to hold everyone to ransom on this issue by not working?
It is so easy for us to say that doctors should never go on strike, that their profession is noble, that they hold life and death in their hands - but then does our government treat them with the respect they deserve? Are their voices and opinions heard, unless they go on strike? I feel unworthy to judge them and say they did wrong by striking.
3. Hailing from the Catholic community, which is considered a minority community at the national level, don't you think that your views would be deemed anti-minority?
I would consider it an insult to be given a seat or a job because I belong to a minority, and not because I deserve it. It would make me feel like an inferior beggar who is given a free meal at a charitable institution. Instead, I would like my government to uplift the minorities through proper education, health, roads, drainage, and so on - for which we pay taxes anyway - so that the minorities can stand on their own two feet through merit, not sops and alms.
4. What do you suggest is the solution for upliftment of downtrodden communities?
The solution is that instead of our politicians siphoning off billions of rupees which are actually meant for the upliftment of our backward people and areas, instead of government officials stealing from the schemes which are supposed to help these poor - they even steal food and medicines and blankets and tents meant for flood and earthquake victims - so we know exactly what happens to our taxes which are supposed to help the backward classes]... well, the solution would be for the government to stop its own thieving, and do the job they're expected to do with the money we pay them as taxes - instead of making us pay all that money, and plus make us and our children bear the brunt of Reservations.
5. Do you feel that vote bank politics has stooped down to the lowest level in India?
Of course. Nothing is sacred for our politicians anymore, only the vote. And the vote is sacred only because it gives them unlimited money through corruption. No god, no religion, no place of worship, and above all no human life is sacred for them: in the name of god, religion and humanity, they outrage us and our country. If at all there are anti-national elements in our country, it is our politicians and government babus. Well, it would be morally correct to protect our motherland from anti-national elements, wouldn't it?
6. Do you feel that such reservations is mockery of meritorious students?
It goes deeper than that - it makes a mockery of all the taxes we pay for the upliftment of the backward, taxes which are robbed and squandered by our politicians and government officials. And the greatest irony of all is that a whole lot of learned people [economists, sociologists, journalists, and many others who have suddenly become 'reservation experts'] are eagerly coming up with various proposals and blueprints for diverse forms of reservations, debating whether we ought to reserve this way or that way - while what we need to do is get rid of the root cause which makes Reservations necessary in the first place! And this root cause is nothing but the corruption, apathy and laziness of the various governments our poor country and people have had to suffer all through these decades.
Click here to read Remo's earlier interview to daijiworld on his music, esp. the spiritual kind