Should reservation continue even after 7 decades?
Ancient Indian society had varna system based on work rather than birth. They complemented each other and lived together harmoniously. It got distorted by various external looters/attackers in our country who divided us based on caste, religion etc. It resulted into some bitter behaviour like discrimination and untouchability in our society against few castes for centuries. It is a black spot on our great ancient society. These brothers are really respectable that despite all those evil things and bitter experiences in society they didn’t abandon their religion. The Pain of these brothers is real, deep and genuine. I could realise a fraction of that while talking to mother of my childhood friend. It was really thought provoking point, can their unemployed youth open a tea shop in village?
Indian constitution makers were born during British rule and almost all were part of freedom struggle. They incorporated best features of various constitutions and wanted to take care of all sections of society. They introduced reservations for backward castes. They dreamt to make India a country where people from all religions, faith, caste, language and region can flourish and contribute to growth of country.
A sick family member is given better care, special food and more attention than others. Based on this family concept constitution writers had provisioned 10 years reservations for them. Their intention was good, (hopefully) not politically motivated so didn’t imagine of future problems.
What new challenges have come up?
The original concept of reservation was for those castes which were really socially backward for centuries and were not part of mainstream society. Our politicians created another reservation in the name of Other Backward Castes (OBC) just for political gain and divided society. This new OBC quota has triggered a new series of violent agitations and divide like Gurjar reservation agitation in Rajasthan, patels agitation in Gujrat, Jats agitation in Haryana, maratha agitation in Maharashtra.
These agitations have destroyed crores of rupees of public property, taken many lives, created atmosphere of hatred in society. Public property worth more than Rs 20,000 crore, 30 lives plus private property, business loss, Govt compensation, image loss to country were destroyed during few days of Jat agitation. This money could have got employment (loan of Rs 10 lacs to each unemployed youth) for 200,000 youths, feeding more than 10 lacs people. Would it not have been better for society? Who can compensate loss of loved ones to those families?
Our politicians divide people and play nice caste politics on reservation. We don’t vote honest, committed, qualified, right candidate but corrupt, criminal, ineligible, not doing any good for constituency even for own caste. This is killing sound principle and spirit of democracy. We have seen all this for last 70 years and it didn’t work. Can we change this and vote only right candidate above caste, religion, region etc factors?
- Reservation has created more caste based hatred in young minds from childhood and every day we fight on the name of caste. There are caste based groups in school, colleges, universities, work places which don’t go along each other, disturb social harmony.
- Politicians have started politics of giving reservation on religion, income, rural/urban basis. It is working to further divide society, create hatred what Britishers had done for years.
- Now around 90% reservation benefit is taken by those families who have already taken benefit of reservation. Only fraction are first time beneficiaries. Now well to do people of same caste are taking benefit and not letting reach to those who are still deprived. If reservation has not enabled them to stand on own feet then forces us to think purpose of reservation itself.
- Our constitution writers planned it for 10 years and had provision to review and extend it. It has become nice political tool and all political parties come together on this issue (though they don’t come together even on issue of national interest) and silently extend it. There has been not a single objective review and correction to this. There are various castes which are now more well off by many criteria (say if number of IAS, IPS ratio according to population is considered one criteria) than even general category castes.
- It is killing merit, stopping right talent to go at right place. Best talent is migrating from country and serving developed countries.
- Reservation in promotion is questioned by many and considered highly de-motivating to our work force. A person got reservation in admission to educational intuition, got reservation in getting highly competitive job. Why is reservation required now? Why don’t we have faith in capabilities of these and set a competitive work environment.
- Like Chak de India everywhere we see person from caste x, y, z but none Indian. We are not fighting together against our problems of food, clothes, houses, drought, drinking water, corruption, unemployment, electricity, water, health service but fighting with each other. Is it better to have country with reservation and problems or country with basic needs available to all even without reservation?
- Has caste based reservation resolved (at least for the castes getting reservation) all problems? Our problems will be better solved when we all work together for nation. Like water problem in drought hit district of Maharashtra is hitting everyone irrespective of caste. Can this problem be solved by reservation (then reserved castes should not be facing this) or fighting in the name of caste? It can be handled if all responsible politicians, bureaucrat, NGOs, scientists, Govt, research institutes and people work together to handle this problem. Then it will be solved for all castes/religions living there. Same is applicable for so many other problems of country.
What is solution?
Give opportunity to live with dignity to all people as per basic spirit of constitution. Take strict action against anybody insulting, suppressing or harming dignity of our brothers of any caste. How powerful the person may be! Provide below help to our brothers from lower castes (who faced untouchability) and tribals who really need some hand-holding.
o Govt, NGOs and society must work together to ensure their 100% kids reach school. Because education, not reservation will uplift all of them permanently.
o Support students financially (through current scholarship scheme or something more) so that they don’t drop out because parents can’t afford education cost or want children to earn.
o Establish counselling and preparation centres (may be at lower cost) in colleges, universities where these students can prepare for competitive exams and can compete with others. Let there be same bar for everyone and help needy to compete with others.
o Provide job oriented courses, easy loan to start own business for these youths.
o Well to do people including politicians, rich, higher positioned (who had availed reservation benefit) who care for their caste so much right now must come forward to help others on above listed lines.
Let’s come up with innovative ideas to over come caste boundaries and people from all castes living together harmoniously some of them are like:
o Nowadays youth is going out of caste line in search of life partner especially in big cities. Gradually it is increasing and will help to break strong caste lines.
o Indian mindset is to know other person caste, position and make prejudice, behave accordingly. Can people be encouraged to write father name, village name etc as surname like people in many parts of country already doing as great tradition (showing respect to father and village) rather than caste name. Like nobel prize winner writes his name as Kailash Satyarthi.
o Lets discourage culture of people asking castes during interaction. Like in RSS people are addressed with first name and caste is not discussed at all.
o Caste must not be deciding factor for a voter but other real qualities anticipated out of people representative.
Economists say bringing international automobile players and creating best competitive environment will help country, industry rather than stopping foreign competition. Why is this principle not applicable in this case? Remove reservation, support these youth, set right competitive environment and they will definitely compete with others. Many students are already competing in general merit. Why don’t we believe their capabilities and tell them you can do better even without reservation.
Reservation should be given to a child who is first time user (whether used in Govt service, election or opportunities like petrol pump) in his generation. It MUST be implemented right away. Those who are well placed by using reservation are taking up share of those still deprived. Many good people from these categories accept this fact and have proactively started this appreciable step. All other political reservations like OBC must be stopped right away.
Set deadline (say not to renew on coming expiry) to eradicate reservation without any provision to extend or bring in any form back in future. Make sure our politicians never talk again about reservation.
African community in USA faced similar situation but their leaders didn’t go for reservation. Obama became first African origin president in USA in around more than 250 years of independence. All Americans worked together to fight their problems and it became a developed nation today, reservation might not have taken country here. While Dr Bheem Rao Ambedkar became part of constitution making body and first law minister without reservation but based on merit in this country. Valmiki ji, Ravidas ji, Kabir ji are all well respected saints of this great country irrespective of their castes.
Let us all work together under tricolour to live together and fight together with problems country is facing. It will help to provide basic needs like food, shelter, clothes, education, fresh drinking water, health services, work for hands and take country to world leader position.