Reservations: Not an Anti-Poverty plan!

A wise man once said,”You cannot make new history by forgetting old history”.That man was the Architect of our Constitution-Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, the same Constitution which gives us our freedom, our liberty our justice.

Before reading further with preconceived notions and ideas, I would like to share a quote of the great Mahatama Gandhi, he said,”India will be completely developed and free from its social evils when the last man in every corner of every village in this country gets to excercise all the rights enshrined in our Constitution Freedom,Liberty,Justice,Equality,Fraternity and along with this basic amenities to survive and lead a life of dignity-Fundamental Right,Article 21 Constitution of India.”

Should jobs, schools, and universities promote diversity with reservations or quotas? This question has long evoked strong and passionate responses. People come to the debate with preconceived ideas and stands, and rarely change their minds. As a result, India is left with little consensus on the reasons for reservations and whether or not reservation is a useful policy.

A major issue that recently surfaced the nation is that of the agitations by the Patels/Patidars in Gujarat, the Marathas in Maharashtra and the Jats in Haryana and neighbouring states, demanding inclusion in the list of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs) and provisions for reservation on that basis. This is in conflict with the Constitution.These are dominant castes whose members are major landowners in their states. Some of these castes have leveraged their advantageous position in agriculture to diversify and enter business, trade and industry in addition to state services.

Social transformation and building of economic and cultural capital takes time to be passed on from one generation to another. It is an all too commonly held belief that people from general castes are meritorious inherently. Yet, the ability to decipher test answers or speak confidently in an interview is often the result of being nurtured in an environment that is a result of accumulated economic, social and cultural capital. Children who grew up in a dominant caste household are often encouraged, supported, and helped to succeed by other members of their caste groups, while reserved category students rarely have such networks to draw on.

It is also important to reconsider what is meant by “merit”. The ability to answer test questions correctly is certainly not the only, or even the best, predictor of how well someone will perform in school or on the job. It is worth noting that many reserved candidates have reached schools and jobs in spite of economic and social disadvantage as well as overt exclusion and discrimination. Because they have succeeded in the face of adversity, they bring a different and desirable kind of merit to a school or workplace.

Some people say that they oppose reservation because they believe in equality. However, reservation is a policy tool that promotes equality rather than undermines it. The primary reason why reservation was written into India’s Constitution was to ensure representation of all social groups in positions of power. When people from all social groups are represented in government, higher education, and in business, it is less likely that traditionally marginalised groups will continue to be denied fundamental rights and access to their fair share of society’s resources.

Not an anti-poverty plan

Finally, some people say that they oppose today’s reservations because they believe reservation should be made on the basis of income rather than social background. However, reservation is intended not to be an anti-poverty programme. The government has many programmes which are, in principle, accessible to all poor people. Reservation exists because, in addition to being more likely to be poor than general castes, Dalits, backward Muslims, and Adivasis face social discrimination and exclusion that poor people from general caste backgrounds do not face. The fact that the right to education, the right to own land, the right to conduct business, or to pursue a well-remunerated occupation has been reserved for men from high caste backgrounds for generations means that government must take steps to correct the unequal distribution of rights.

Reservation is a policy tool that is used not only in India. In many countries, reservation or other types of affirmative action are used to try to overcome human prejudice based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, caste or any other group identity, and to encourage representation of and participation by groups traditionally excluded and discriminated against. One way to make these measures more acceptable and help people better understand the historic, social and cultural background behind reservation would be to educate children in schools about caste, ethnic, gender and regional diversities and the need for public policy interventions to make society more equal and fair.

CASTE MAY BE BAD. CASTE MAY LEAD TO CONDUCT SO GROSS AS TO BE CALLED MAN’S INHUMANITY TO MAN. ALL THE SAME, IT MUST BE RECOGNIZED THAT THE HINDUS OBSERVE CASTE NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE INHUMAN OR WRONG-HEADED. THEY OBSERVE CASTE BECAUSE THEY ARE DEEPLY RELIGIOUS.PEOPLE ARE NOT WRONG IN OBSERVING CASTE. IN MY VIEW, WHAT IS WRONG IS THEIR RELIGION, WHICH HAS INCULCATED THIS NOTION OF CASTE. THE ENEMY IS NOT THE PEOPLE WHO OBSERVE CASTE, IT IS THE SHASTRAS WHICH TEACH THEM THIS RELIGION OF CASTE.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s