The Castes and Reservation

There are no two opinions on the fact that disparities exist in the Indian social system and that we should end these disparities. But the main problem is the policy of reservation. When a classless, casteless and the socialist system is a matter of prime importance, this is used as a mask to target the vote bank.It’s true that the character of our system of caste in Indian society created fissures which needed some sort of bridging. The reservation system was a part of this process. The provision of reservation in the British period was mainly in government jobs and in the Legislatures. In 1950, India, began formal reservations. Initially reservation system was for 10 years only. But in every review it was found that this system needed to be continued.

In 1989, then Prime Minister V. P. Singh, on the recommendation of the Mandal Commission began implementation of reservation as a weapon of his politics, it received widespread opposition as well as support. At that time the question was not about the Mandal commission’s recommendations but on the prime minister’s intentions. It was believed that he was using it to put down his opponents, both within and outside his government. However this policy continued even after he was removed from the Prime minister’s post. It is crucial though that the Political debate must focus on the main issue of social inequality , putting aside the politics of greed and the vote bank. In its recent decision, the Supreme Court has also questioned the effectiveness of this policy, while allowing in higher educational institutions a 27 per cent reservation for OBCs. The Supreme Court has admitted that the disparities should be ended, but it also commented that it does not think serious efforts in this direction are being made. The Judiciary has also given instructions to the Union executive to analyse and discuss the achievements of the reservation policy from Independence to the present day.

If six decades after independence, the declared goals have not been attained, obviously the situation merits a serious dialogue. The judiciary has emphasised that reservation was initially intended only for a decade, but the policy was renewed, suggesting that backwardness is not decreasing, (in fact might be increasing), making a dialogue on this policy very essential.

It is also a fact that our reservation policy in education does not solve the entire problem. It is only a small cog in solving this problem among various other processes.Quotas may help the country’s larger interest in the efforts to bring equality, but it creates fears of obtaining special concessions on the basis of birth, and side tracking of Merit, quality, and, personal achievement. The reservation for the backward castes being the most in Tamil Nadu has yielded some interesting facts, though there has been tremendous improvement in the status of the lower castes vis-a vis the upper castes, some sections in the upper castes have been deprived of equal opportunity of education and have suffered, resulting in an unconscious reverse discrimination.

The problem is not about rising above prejudices to create practical solutions. The problem is that the present political parties want to remain in power by hook and crook thus making it impossible for the present leaders to speak the truth about the Vote bank politics. The policy of appeasement of the other backward or Scheduled Castes / Tribes as a policy is bound to continue. Now the position has been that the Gurjjar society, and some areas in the Jat community in Rajasthan have also begun to demand reservation. The result is that after 60 years after achieving independence the basic concepts of equality and harmony begun to disappear.

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