Monday, May 14, 2007

Reservation Quota to be hiked to 95%

So goes an advertisement for Videocon Airconditioners. One of the most offensive ads I have seen in recent times. With a tagline "Stay cool No matter what". It wins the uncool ad award hands down.

The ad shows the front page of a newspaper "NOON NEWS" that carries this news:

Reservation Quota to be hiked to 95%

"The superior court today accepted the government's plea to increase reservation quota in educational institutes. High-profile institutes such as IISs and the IINs too, will now have to reserve almost 95% of their seats for candidates belonging to scheduled castes (SC) and backward class (BC) from the coming academic year.." (it goes on)

How is it that such a blatant mockery of people belonging to scheduled castes and backward classes passing off without a resistance? Or has everyone taken the tagline too seriously?

[Ad on the backside of Air Deccan magazine Simplifly May 2007 issue]


Anonymous said...

Very strange! Since I heard that Videocon is one of the few companies actually following the implementation of reservation in pvt sector! (i am not sure of this fact, tempted to counter check now). bindu

Charles Frith said...

If Video Con do follow the reservation rules then it's fair to say that they are just holding a mirror up to Indian society. Not necessarily racist. Questionable yes, racist. Possibly not.

Pijush said...

Exactly, it’s an advertisement and why to take it so seriously? Nothing about being raciest in this one. Take it easy yarr!!

gargi said...


unwinding centuries of history.

sudeep said...

Charles, "if videocon does follow reservation rules.." does not make much sense, as regardless of what they follow and what they don't, I feel the ad is in bad taste. Holding up a mirror, yes. But that is also in some way "validating" that sick and racist mindset of the "upper" layer of the society.

Like this ad that holds up the preference for a baby boy.

I believe answer to Pijush is contained in this. An advertisement or a movie are all part of the "mass media" that reflects and also constructs the mindsets. The newspapers have also taken a big role in pouring oil to the "merit" campaign. (To the Meritorious, a poem that was published in the mainstream print media during Mandal I).

To see what all can come under the word "racist", check this booklet by the European Union (pdf).

Charles Frith said...

Hi Sudeep. My point is that a mirror is just a mirror. If the ad is racist so are the people it's aimed at. What would be more productive would be to explore discussing why it's racist. Reservation is after all a bias in favour of one group to neutralize another bias is it not?

sudeep said...


"If the ad is racist so are the people it's aimed at."

True. But a mirror, as you suggest, can help understand the reality to an extend and it often complements it.

When such a thing goes uncontested by the rest (there are other people in this society who are not "aimed at") I think it gives an impression that that attitude is "granted".

This discussion here, for instance, does not take it for granted that it is universally ok to feel heat when there are people who get admissions through reservations. The links from blogbharti and global voices also helps in not leaving it as a one-sided affair. Some others who read this post (who had not seen the ad) also said it was good that I pointed this out.

Even when someone makes it to "top educational istitutes", the "quota" students feel the heat. Be it IITs, IIMs or AIIMS. So what about another ad on the same?:-) [Not allowed to play cricket, a report that appeared in The Telegraph]

Charles Frith said...

Hi Sudeep. Prejudice is a lot more complex than would at first appear. I wrote about it here if you have the time to work your way through it. I'd be interested if it helps you gauge my viewpoint any further. It's set in India coincidentally.