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OBC tag and its nuances

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata

Indian citizens are categorized into four different groups – General, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and there is More Other Backward Classes. Well, there are more categorisations in the name of xyz name.

Our Bishnupriya Manipuri community falls under the Other Backward Class Category. There is a debate going on in the whole country with the issue of providing 27% reservation to OBC candidates in Central services and now proposed-to-introduce in the Centrally-funded educational institutions. But does this reservation help we Bishnupriya Manipuris in any way.

It is a big issue. I am not sure about what others feel but at least for me its a big issue. I feel humiliated to use the category name OBC, along with my name. But people would say if it helps anybody procure a better life, why not grab the opportunity.

Now, the million dollar question is, did any Bishnupriya Manipuri ever got a better opportunity after using the category name OBC in their resume?. Or is it just that we use it because we have seen our parents and elder brothers and sisters use it or is it just that we are asked to give a tick mark in the box next to the OBC category from the first day we fill up any form, it has become a habit.

Now, my question is, if at all we are not getting the benefits; why are we writing 'OBC' in bold letters along with our name?. Did anybody ever think on this issue? I always think and feel humiliated to use it. Because I was deprived being in this category.

I also used to write OBC in the category section in all my admission forms, like any other Bishnupriya Manipuri student. After procuring a First Division in my Metriculation examination, I submitted my admission forms in two reputed colleges of Guwahati - Handique Girls' College and Cotton College.

I always wanted to study in Cotton College. But I had a inner worry in my mind, as I felt, the marks I secured were not up to the mark. But everyone said that as I applied in the Arts stream and that I was in OBC category, I need not worry.

On the day of the admission, me and my father reached the Cotton College Administrative Building much before time. After half an hour the admission procedure started. The students were called one by one by their names along with their total marks.

When my turn was coming closer, I was a little tensed and excited too. My total marks were 560. But all of a sudden when the marks reached 566, there was an announcement that the admission procedure has been stopped and that it will be resumed after completing the OBC category was over.

I was quite sure to get an admission as the general category marks reached 566 and I being in the OBC category was six marks away from it. So, I was a bit relaxed. The admission procedure for the OBC category was started. But to my surprise it started from the candidates who secured 674. Anyways, the procedure continued and it reached 561.

A boy securing 561 was called and I also slowly and steadily started to move towards the dais, as the next turn was mine. But all of a sudden there was another announcement that the admission procedure for OBC category was complete and that they were going to resume the admission procedure for the general category once more . Hearing this I climbed up the dais and talked to the management that if the general category's admission is resumed again why could not I be given the admission, as my marks met the criteria.

But they very bluntly told that it was not possible since I submitted the form in the OBC category and that the reserved quota was filled up. I tried a lot to convince them but in vein. I had to return back with a broken heart. My dream of studying in Cotton College remained unfulfilled by one single marks. I regretted for submitting my form in the OBC category.

For many days I could not fetch me out of this incident. Though I got admitted in handique Girls' College, another most reputed colleges of Guwahati, yet I could not concentrate on my studies. I kept on thinking, if the students who secured better marks would have applied in the general category, I would have been admitted.

I also thought, as we are given the tag of backward class, how come the students from general category who secured lesser marks than us were admitted. In what ways is the Government helping us giving us a big tag - Other Backward Classes. But this incident made a deep impact in my life and hence forth I promised to myself not to use the word OBC along with my name anymore and after that I never used it once.

Now, whoever is reading this article might be thinking that its a one sided story. But the intension of writing this article is not to mislead anybody but it is an urge to know if any Bishnupriya Manipuri got benefited using the OBC category name. If the answer is yes (5% being benefited) than its worth using it but if its a big NO NO than it needs a serious thought. So, please let us know if anybody is benefited or may be humiliated, being in the OBC category.


  1. It is definitely strong and legitimate question that whether we are at all benifitted by using the OBC tag....i also can not remember anybody in our comminity is benifitted by the reservation nor come across with any....Are we really thankfull to V P Singh or the Mondal Commission....a total perplexity....

    Anyways.. nice concerned article....

    On a lighter note... a TV ad by MRTCP instantly strikes in mind which says..."Jaago Grahak Jaago".

    Well done Mam Ranita ...all of your posts are quite commendable and sensible too...



  2. once again a smart piece of writing by me the caste based quota system is a funny one,think of a doctor/engineer belongs to a quota doing a decent job how come he/his family is backward now with the education & living standard but still his children with help of OBC or tribal quota get admitted easily while the actual backward student is unable to compete as he's from a village school.

  3. hello Ms Ranita,

    urs each and every article call it posts are GREAT and masterpiece in itself.

    it was a fun day for me reading ur article and BN one's.

    so i failed to stop myself commenting urs and on BN's.

    nothign to add, u are jsut fantastic. urs efforts are really inspiring. it is inspiring me to jot down something or the other related to BM.

    but i dont have anythings related to it. i born and brought up in australia, what is bm is my mom and dad. no more,

    reading ur article gives me to expand my knowledge and understanding aboout the BM community.

    do not stop wrting here. by friend australian friends are also reading ur article and they regularly reads whatever u have jotted down here.

    ur article are refreshing, full of warmth. i think u love to wrtie on BM. u dont just write to write, i see a warmth in u, and in ur wrting. u feel it and then write.

    well, it is becoing a short article. i must stop.

    good sailing. and hope u are in goog health.


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