Redefining The Reservation
Published On : 27 Feb 2017
Article Category : Others
Mantriji Content Manager
Caste based reservation is rather a very sensitive topic to write about and many people will be offended by your views if you don’t share their perspective. It is immensely difficult to accept something that is contradictory to your nature. But in order to come to a logical solution we must first understand the problem, its gravity and number of lives that are going to be affected by it.
What is caste based reservation and why was it introduced?
Caste based reservation system is program to protect and empower the oppressed castes of India from discrimination. Caste based discrimination has been a part of Indian history where upper caste had frequently and constantly dominated the lower caste people. It is still prevalent in India and discrimination is not only in economic term but also social and political forms. In order to overcome this exploitation and oppression and to empower the socially oppressed cast, Dr. B.R Ambedkar adopted the concept of cast based reservation. I respect this idea because it was the need of the hour at that time. India was a society with many inequalities and Ambedkar and other policy makers wanted to level the playing field for all the castes. But gradually the concept took different form and totally swayed away from the defined path for which it was introduced.
So why don’t we try to change it and bring a proposal to the table that could be widely acceptable? Is the current reservation system so perfect and utopic that it cannot be reformed?
We are holding on to something that was introduced in the British era and following it blindly without thinking about its consequences on the society. If someone even think of reforming the reservation system, he/she is tagged as anti-Dalit or anti- poor. Changing and eliminating are two different things. We have seen what this current form of reservation can do. The recent protests of JATS in Haryana and Patel’s in Gujarat are some eye opening cases where people are opting for violence to get their community included in the reserved category. I hope that no other community start a similar agitation for caste based reservation because that will be detrimental to growth of India.
Given below is the present caste-based reservation system of Union Government:
We talk about providing a level playing field in the name of caste based reservation, but that should be applicable for everyone who is poor and has suffered. Instead of thinking of a prudent solution we believe that cast based reservation is an ultimate solution for all our problems.By applying caste based reservation we generally assume that all the backward caste people are poor and destitute and all the upper caste people are rich and prosperous. But is it the real scenario of India?
Has this system helped in narrowing down the social and economic disparity?
No one can contradict that there was caste discrimination in Indian society and the current form of reservation has helped to curb it down to some extent. We can see many people from SC, ST and OBC are holding position of power. Their social as well as economic status has improved. But clearly the advantage of reservation is not reaching to the masses. Only a few people are reaping its benefits and no one is even bothering to look into the problem.
Why general category people are against it?
Let us visualize the story of Caste based reservation:-
When you were a child you don’t know about caste and reservation. You didn’t know what caste is till you give a competitive exam. You studied very hard, scored near perfect marks and yet not able to into top colleges since you belong to general category while your friend with same economic background got selected with very low marks because he/she belong to the reserved caste. That was the first time you learn about the significance of caste and reservation. So the first impression of caste based reservation will be very frustrating but then people will try to justify it by bringing the point of centuries of social discrimination and economic inequality.
You accept this fact and move on but the story of reservation doesn’t end here. After completing your graduation (not from IITS or other top institutions) you think of doing a post-graduation. After putting arduous efforts and scoring excellent marks, you didn’t get call from top institutions whereas same friend who went to IIT’s (because of reservation) again got selected in top B schools even after scoring half of your marks. Now, you raised your voice against reservation but your voice is shut down by giving the same old logic “centuries of social discrimination and inequality”. Your friend attended better college for his graduation, so how come the inequality parameter be there?
But the story doesn’t end here. The same guy gets better job as he did post-graduation from Top B School (due to reservation) and earns nearly twice as much as you do. Now, after 15-16 years same story repeats with your child. Your friend’s child got admission into top college even after getting low marks whereas your son has failed to secure a seat even after top-notch marks and the justification to support it remains the same.
You cannot keep on repeating the same logic for every situation. It is like giving same pill for head ache, stomach ache or fever. At some point the rationale needs to be changed if you want to justify it to the younger generation. Because the current system is only generating frustration among general youth. Instead of mitigating the social difference among castes it is acting as a catalyst in division of society.
The story of reservation started much before independence and is still continuing. We need to ask everyone this important question-“Does the son/daughter of person, who has already availed the benefit of the reservation, needs another reservation just because his ancestors had suffered in the past?
The topic has become so much controversial that no one wants to discuss it. When someone even tries to speak for a change in the present reservation system, people start creating chaos. For political parties, reservation is tantamount to vote bank. Since reserved castes forms a major source of votes so no one dares to talk about a change in it. Recently RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, came under severe criticism from all political parties just for suggesting a review of the existing reservation policy. This simple statement became a major tag line in Bihar elections. The political uproar was so huge that he had to retrieve his statement.
It is very amusing that we live in a country where anti-India slogans are defended in the name of freedom of free speech but you cannot express freely about your views on reservation policy.
I am not against the reservation system but instead I oppose its implementation in the current form. We have to understand that we cannot demand U.K or Portugal to give some sort of benefit to Indians in their countries or to have some seats reserved for us in their schools, colleges and jobs because they have colonized us in the past.
Can Income and economic condition be the criteria of reservation?
Income cannot be the sole criteria to decide reservation but is one of the essential factor. While providing the caste based reservation we should also look into ones economic and social status. Neither the child of IAS or IPS officer of any caste shouldn’t get the benefit reservation nor should a postman’s child be denied the quota. Uplifting the poor should be done irrespective of his caste.
What can be done?
- Provide reservation to the Required One: We need to make sure that the reservation should reach to the needy. It is better to give reservation to the son/daughter of some backward farmer then giving it to some Dalit IAS or IPS’s son/daughter.
- A onetime policy: A change in policy can be made which will enable a reserved candidate to his quota once or at max twice in his life-time. Also, when he has exhausted his quota, his son/daughter cannot avail the reservation again.
- Free education: It should be provided to all children up to age of 15 whose families cannot afford the education expenses. Also, internships can be provided to students so that they can earn along with their studies.
The aforementioned steps are not ultimate guide path and suitable changes can be done according to the requirement. We have to start somewhere to improve the current reservation structure or else the frustration and vexation will grow more and more and the primary objective of reservation (to bring social equality) will be failed. Every system has some pros and cons and constant debates, discussions and reforms only make such system stronger, but clinging to past and remaining adamant to the change can lead to total disaster. Let’s not make this system to usher our thinking. It’s time to think rationally and logically, it’s time to eliminate the caste barriers and reach to the needy people.
Tags : Caste Reservation India Politics