Lets discuss whether reservation is necessary or not in India. Here, by reservation we mean the system for allocating seats in government jobs, educational institutions and elected bodies through the legal provisions by the Supreme Court. Reservation has not a long history but it has drawn more criticism than our caste system. The reasons will be clear after you go through the article. I would rather say in favour of it than what my family and social bringing compel me to do.
India has a long history of social stratification and the allied discriminations. The social system are made or evolve over a period of time for the sustenance and benefit of the society but overtime defects and demerits start sprouting when we start to reinterpret social order for our vested interest. It will be unjust to talk about reservation and put aside the caste system. The caste system was envisaged to increase the efficiency of the human collective efforts. If you may be quite clear that doing a job repeatedly you start increasing efficiency. In ancient time, caste was not a rigid compartmentalisation as it is perceived and insisted today.
It was based on the occupation you adopt. Overtime people started training their wards in the vocation they did as there was no such vacation or training school during olden days. And the system got perpetuated.
As long as people were busy doing their jobs and enjoying social pleasures, everything went ok. And when; people started more organised form of governance and city life. There began competition for the jobs. Real virtue of a society can be gauged by analysing how the society uses the scarce resources. Scarcity is the mother of all evils.
The differences in the Indian society were encashed by the political and social invaders who came from Central and West Asia. This was further enfueled by the European rulers.
No one in India really realised what was going on and why this state of affairs exist in India because we see the society through the lenses of community, creed, faith and many more to count. But, there was a man who had really understood the root cause and hammered it and nailed it in such a manner that future generation will realise it overtime. And I don’t think I need to recite his name as he was a facilitator for many great people.
India got Independence a new era of revolution and changes started taking place. I wonder at his calibre how he made such a fool proof mechanism for sustaining his ideas through the articles of the Indian Constitution. He had foreseen the wicked tricks of noble man. Imbibing the virtues of Human Fundamental Rights, Social, Political and Economic Equality and Equality of opportunities; Indian democracy took a giant leap.
Writer should not deviate from the central idea but he must be wise enough not to make his points in simple and light manner that the readers get a wrong impression. So, coming back to the topic under discussion; we will analyses the pros and cons of the ‘reservation’. Whether reservation is necessary or not is a subjective matter and everyone has right to present his ideas in a manner he deems fit? Every human being cannot be equal and I think the differences must be respected and considered in a considerate manner. Indian Diaspora is most diverse in the world. To utilise the optimum potential of the human efforts, state must come in action when a section of society is deprived of the opportunity created by the state from the natural resources of the nature for its people. A guardian takes care of every member of the family and he pays special care to the one who is most vulnerable like a little child. There can’t be competition between a youth and a child and so to avoid the competition engage them in different pursuits and if that is not possible then surely the child need extra privilege. And if you think, this is just then you must acknowledge that reservation does serve it purpose and it is necessary.
In India, there are many tribal communities who are deprived of education and other social benefits and if they need to be brought in the main stream of the society then there is need for reservation. In many remote areas and the rural India, there are segments of the society who have been deprived of such opportunities which is deemed to be the basic needs for respectful living are not accessible to them. And if you think that they will be able to stand against the elite and get admission in the schools on their own after lagging behind for generations then you must rethink. And I would suggest you to think like a human being not like an average Indian and if possible think and try to see through things after ceding the lens of your communal, regional and allied prejudices. And even if you are not able to see the need for reservation then there is real need for it.
In USA, during 1990’s the researches on the health conditions revealed that the Black has poor health and the reason behind this was that the White doctors refuses or discriminates in treating the Black patients. The American society believes in equality and democracy. They failed to realise the need for reservation and now they are implementing it in medical entrances.
In France, the country from where the concept of universal brotherhood and equality evolved, there are communities who are unable to compete with the elite, not because they are discriminated but because the equal opportunity becomes unequal for them to compete with those who are better endowed.
Whether you realise or not there is always a necessity for reservation if you want to make the best of human potential of the communities lagging behind in the social, political or economic spheres of life. If might is right then, right is might in democratic societies.
While analysing, whether the caste based reservation is worthwhile or not, I came across ideas that will really make you clap for the framer of the Indian Constitutions and the Supreme Court. Our administrative system is corrupt and the lower order officials are a bit ahead of their seniors. A few weeks ago I came across a statistics that around 30% Members of Parliament are in BPL list. There is high rate of corruption and discrimination in Block Development Offices from where the poor get their BPL cards, and the SCs and STs get their caste certificates. Now, the point arises if you make reservation of the basis of economic status then who will get benefits? Surely, the people who get the BPL cards and get elected as MPs and MLAs will also take the advantages of the reservation and the purpose of reservation will get nullified. So, the reservation on the basis of caste has assured that the benefits will go to the targeted community. Unless and until the mindset of people doesn’t change there cannot be real change in the society. If you think that economic consideration for reservation should be taken into account then you must praise the clause on ‘creamy layer’ of the Other Backward Castes.
There are still conscious efforts by the social elites to taste the apple pie of the reservation in the form of ‘Women Reservation’ but our great socialist and liberal leaders like Sri Lalu Prasad Yadav, Suprimo of Rastriya Janta Dal, and Sri Mulayam Singh Yadav, Head of Samajvadi Party, have done a really commendable job by opposing the ‘women reservation bill’ in true spirit. They demanded sub-reservation within reservation to ensure that the benefits reached to the desired communities. The social elites may brainwash you that the condition of the women is same whether in upper classes or lower classes. Let me clarify further the thinking of the great social leaders. How many women from SCs and STs are literate? Can they compete with the women of elite social groups? If ‘women reservation’ passed who is going to benefits? We do know that women of our family will be first to get benefitted not the girls and women visiting houses for doing the chores for ‘mem sab’.
If any of my readers think that reservation is necessary but ready to oppose ‘women reservation bill’ in its current format then I will think that my efforts have been worthwhile. It needs greatness to accept and support the cause of the weaker and vulnerable groups without aiming for pecuniary advantages.
“Debates, discussions reaching consensus are the basis of any democratic regime”. With a line from Amartya Sen’s book ‘Indentity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny, I will put an end to my short article.
Shashikant Nishant Sharma