The Recent Movie 83 and it’s re-introduction of debate of quota politics and the Myth of Merits
It is said that the one game that connects India is Cricket. One of the glorious victories of the 1983 World Cup was again re-memorized by the movie based upon that named 83, directed and written by Kabir Khan, Starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone and others. With re-emerge of the pride and happiness of 1983’s victory, the other thing that emerged was the debate and discourse around Affirmative Action and in other words, Quota Politics.
The recent film contains the dialogue ‘कोई कोटा शोटा से नहीं आए हैं सेमी फाइनल में,’ (We aren’t in the semifinal due to quota) was trolled mainly on Twitter.
The dialogue that uses the word quota was in a similar way it has been used, rather internalized and generalized in the mainstream. By speaking/using quota word, the ability of the people is devalued and degrades, here in the dialogues also we can see that how the dialogue itself is very problematic when it is used in the sense that the Affirmative Action or Reservation that is there to fill the gap of Social Exclusion and Stratification in the society is seen as merely Positive Discrimination, but it becomes a tool to Humiliation, Degrade and Devalue people in general and students in particular who are at the margin from centuries.
Interestingly while Twitter brought the issue of casteism, the mainstream news was more focused upon a cheating controversy where UAE-based financer blamed Vibri Media after they invested approximately Rs 16 crores. The significant point is that when on the one hand, we see cricket as something that connects people but here certain people, and their issues are systematically neglected in the mainstream. The controversy directly or indirectly reintroduced the debate or myths of ‘Competing Equalities’ and ‘Exclusive Inequalities’ where one’s capabilities, hard work, and struggle is seen from the lens of whether they are aided by affirmative policy, without the consideration of enough knowledge about and around Caste, Casteism, and Why Affirmation.
The ‘Myth of Merit’ was always so prominent that it was never recognize caste issues. However, it always failed to accept and ignore the Selective, Elite, and Exclusive system where the marginals are still at the margin but now with the hope and only hope of Affirmations. Ambedkar’s “I am not a part of the whole at all, I am a part apart,” is something that remains the same even in the contemporary time, where the vulnerable and marginalized people always face and feel Social Exclusion, Insensitive Hegemonic Attitude in the Brahmanical Society, which is dominated and ruled by few, where these majorities are actually turn into a microscopic minority which is invisibilized by People, Government and State.
The portrayal of the people and their issues in the media is always problematic, stereotypical, and sometimes erased. When we see how “caste has killed the public spirit, caste has destroyed the sense of public, caste has made public opinion impossible,” it is the media who are further encouraging casteism through their movie portrayal. If this (Media) is one of the pillars of democracy then, our democracy is definitely casteist itself. Period.