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How Kanishak Kataria Unfairly Used Reservation to Top IAS Exam

Kanishak Kataria is the topper of UPSC Civil Services Examination, 2018. The result was declared on 5th April. He belongs to SC category. This is only the second time, after Tina Dabi, that an SC candidate has secured All India Rank 1 in UPSC CSE. The duo has successfully challenged the notion that merit is a property of a special section of people. They have shown us that merit is nothing but a social construct and that should remain open to all.



Kanishak has always been a brilliant student. He was also the topper of IIT – JEE examination in SC category. Overall, his AIR in IIT – JEE was 44.
However, there are some facts which make this success of an SC candidate little bit disturbing.

Kanishak and the Idea of Reservation

The success of Kanishak is a matter of great rejoices, especially because of his category. However, by the same reason, his success demands urgent attention to the reservation policy. Why?

Kanishak doesn’t deserve to be categorized as SC for UPSC CSE. I am not talking about caste. But, I am talking about this entire idea of ‘affirmative action’ coupled with discrimination. Educationally and Socially backwardness are two main criteria for reservation. Kanishak is neither educationally backward nor is socially backward.

Kanishak has done B. Tech. from IIT – Bombay. His branch was Computer Science and Engineering. IIT Bombay houses the best Computer Science branch in India. IIT Bombay ranks the best Indian university in various international rankings. It is the most prestigious engineering institute of India. After completing B. Tech, he worked with Samsung in South Korea and then came back in India to work with an USA based start up as a data scientist. 

And, this guy who has passed out from IIT – Bombay and has such a brilliant career record needs reservation to get a job. YES, he used reservation to get a Government job.

But, he is a topper. No?

That’s true. The smart guy Kanishak has scored brilliantly in Mains Examination (Written). The score card is yet to be released. However, his score in Preliminary Examination was well below the cut off for General Category.

The smart guy Kanishak kept on preparing for Civil Services Mains from the very start. Even during preliminary examination when other candidates were devoting time for mugging up facts and getting concepts cleared on contemporary socio – economic issues, the smart guy was still preparing for Mains.

Kanishak knew that given his SC category, it is going to be easier for him to crack Preliminary Examination.

What if Kanishak had not used reservation?

Then another SC guy (may be more deserving – socially and educationally) could have cracked UPSC CSE.

Had Kanishaka prepared well for Prelims, he would have easily cracked UPSC CSE with flying colors.

What about Economic and Social Status?

Apart from being an IITian, Kanishak is also the son of an IAS officer (Rajasthan cadre). His mother is also an IAS officer. He has always studied from the top notch schools of Rajasthan. He did IIT Coaching from Resonance Classes. And, went to Vajiram and Ravi for UPSC CSE preparation.

It is tough to believe that he had any sort of discrimination at any point of time. After all, he belongs to the privilege class.

Kanishak’s father, Mr. S M. Verma, had already used Reservation to become an IAS. His mother had also used reservation to become a civil servant. His sister used reservation to crack PreMedical Test. She is currently doing MS in ENT from SMS Medical College. Many members of his maternal and paternal side are IAS and RAS (Rajasthan Administrative Service) officers. For God Sake, the family should have thought to give opportunity to another Dalit.

Kanishak should have avoided reservation. He has not done anything illegal or wrong. But, what he did is morally wrong.


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