How often do you use the public transportation?
If you do, you must have become aware of the fact that few months back, as if out of nowhere, a new notice appeared above certain seats of all the public buses, microbuses, and safa-tempos: ‘seat reserved for the ladies’, and ‘seat reserved for the disabled’ (I doubt the latter as even being politically correct).
Then, more often than never, instead of a lady or a ‘disabled’ person, you must have found a ‘perfectly abled gentleman’ comfortably settled in those seats and snoring. Snoring over the ‘rights’ of the ladies and the ‘disabled’?
And, I can bet, during all those months you have never come across even one single event in which any lady or ‘disabled’ claimed that it was her seat, so that the one seated leave it for her.
This is just one example. Just keep your eyes and ears slightly alert: you will find innumerable examples of how the so-called reservations are laughed-out-loud in workplaces, recruitments, queues, and, in fact, everywhere.
Whenever any international treaties, pacts or agreements are concerned Nepal is among the first to sign them, and usually the only one not to implement them. And the same is true for its internal plans and policies. Any proposal brought into the house is passed without any detailed discussion regarding its implementation and its consequences. Once it is passed and the policy is formed, nowhere is a body to implement and supervise it.
Reservation per-se is neither good nor bad. If the individuals, groups, or the communities obtaining reservation exploit it positively to upgrade their status, and work ahead for a day when they will not be in need of any such privilege, then it can be well-justified. But, on the other hand, if they are grabbed by the ones already satiated to saturation, and never reach the targeted individual and groups, as is happening so far, having reservations or not doesn’t make any difference.
Rather than making a preposterous display in public vehicles, genuine reservations, if they are really meant to bring significant changes, must be made in education, trainings, and the opportunities of self-empowerment. Once an individual becomes capable through such trainings and exposures, she will opt more for challenges and competitions rather than hang around for a reservation.
I just imagine a situation in which a microbus coincidently filled by an all-lady group, is just about to leave when a gentleman comes and demands that his share of seat be given to him. How would you settle that dispute? Think.
(The Kathmandu Post, March 25, 2008)