Riya Dabi has 15 . securede rank in the prestigious UPSC Civil Services Examination. Four years ago, her sister had surpassed this exam and she had become a sensation among Indian youth.
There is no denying that the success of the Dabi sisters is inspiring. They have managed to crack India’s toughest competitive exam with such an amazing All India ranking. They have also managed to score great not only in their category, SC, but also in the general category.
Napoleon once joked that ability is nothing without opportunity. Brilliant students from Dalit and marginalized communities proved Napoleon’s right. However, some questions have also been raised about Dabi sisters using reservations, which they shouldn’t.
Like her sister, Riya also did exceptionally well in the second stage of this exam – written (and interview) exam. She sailed through it and performed brilliantly. However, her performance in the preliminary phase was not good. It is the preliminary stage through which the two Dabi sisters have sailed because of their category.
When students of the General category were preparing for the prelims, she put in hard work for Mains. She was aware that with a little knowledge she could easily sail through Prelims – the most unpredictable stage, and that’s what she did.
SC/ST and creamy layer
As you may know, there is no creamy layer in the SC/ST category. This only applies to OBC (and now also to General). That is why you will hardly find a candidate under SC/ST who is really worth making use of the reservation. Take the example of Riya Dabi (and also Tina Dabi).
Riya Dabi’s grandfather was a senior officer in CISR. Needless to say he used reservation to get there. His status was very high and there was never a single moment when he was discriminated against for being a Dalit. His son Jaswant Dabi, Riya’s father, was educated at Birla School, Pilani and technical training at DSE, Delhi. He had reserved to access both these institutions. Jaswant didn’t stop there. He again used reservation to crack the UPSC Indian Engineering Services (IES) investigation and had joined the Telecom division. The Vajpayee government had given him another chance to get reservation – in promotion. He wholeheartedly accepted the offer and used reservation to get promotion. He has become general manager of BSNL, the company that has burned thousands of rupees to Indian taxpayers.
When you think of Riya’s father using reservations at various stages, stop and look at her mother. Her mother – Himani Dabi – has also used reservations to get into NIT – Bhopal. She also cracked UPSC IES and came from the same batch as Jaswant. She also used reservation here.
Do you think they should be clubbed to death as socially and educationally retarded? That is the criterion for making a reservation. Now an economic criterion has also been added for the General category. They clearly do not meet this criterion.
Be it Tina or Riya, none of them should be called socially and educationally retarded. They are not. Why would they reserve then? What if Riya hadn’t used a reservation? Well, then someone else could have become an IAS officer – someone from the Dalit community. Maybe someone who deserves it.
There is no doubt that what Riya (or even Tina) has done is wrong. But she is just an example. Browsing through the list of SC candidates who made it to UPSC CSE final list, you might be surprised. You will not find a single SC category candidate who can be called socially or educationally or even economically retarded. This is the case every year without exception.
If you scan the list of the General or OBC category, you will find many candidates from humble backgrounds reaching the final list. But you won’t find anyone in the SC and ST list. Why?
It is high time the government took the step to review the prevailing reservation system in the SC/ST category. You can increase the reservation based on their population, but introduce the concept of a creamy layer.
As you celebrate Riya Dabi, remember that there is also a Preeti Hooda in the same list. She also cracked UPSC CSE. She is of the general category. Her father is a bus conductor at DTC.