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Reservation how far justified

New Delhi, Wed, 22 Aug 2007 Pallavi Sharma

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Aug 22: Issue of reservation in higher central educational institutions is not settled yet which was triggered by the Central Educational institutions (reservation in admission) 2006 bill providing 27% reservation to OBC’s. The bill was passed by the government along with 93 rd amendment act to enact the legislation on the same.

The story is not complete. There are various loose threads in the whole development. Since then student community did their arms up in opposition to such caste based reservation.

Issue is alive as Supreme Court is hearing petitions on the issue. Earlier Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the legislation but two days ago Supreme Court asked the petitioner what is wrong in giving 27% reservation to a population which constitutes 52% of the total population.

Before we jump to any hasty conclusion let’s consider some important aspects of the prevailing situations and different facts related to the story including the motive of government behind this piece of cake called ‘Reservation’.

Even after 60 years of independence government has failed to provide education to all even at primary level (if we leave manipulated official statistics). There is no qualitative education for the 70% of population living in villages.

One questionable aspect of the basis of reservation is who are the weaker sections? Do ‘weaker sections’ ‘backward classes’ and so called ‘lower castes’ denote the same fraction of society? This in itself a debatable issue on which none has clear cut answers.

Can each and everyone out of 52% be provided relief by 27% reservation? Who will take care of the left ones? If backward class is the same as lower caste the question arises does everyone needs this positive discrimination to rise in society. What about those 30% selections in IAS exams belonging to OBC category.

Reservation in spite of all the claims of social justice and equity seem to be a face-saving posture and a curtain to cover their failure to create the necessary and required infrastructure for the countrymen. The only solution for the problems of people with the government is to divert the opportunities instead of creating more ones. Simply government failed to cater to the needs of their countrymen and now dividing the society to save their face.

Is not this taking bread from the mouth of so called higher castes and classes and giving to the weaker ones instead of instead of preparing more?

Often the argument of social justice and social equity is forwarded by the supporters of reservation. But one question arises is reservation doing only social justice and not injustice to other section. It definitely expands the opportunity of the backward classes but other face is that it restricts those of others too.

What kind of equality they want to generate? That those who have been privileged ones should be equally at disadvantage or unprivileged ones should be equally privileged.

The quotes from Ambedkar’s speech in constituent assembly are given to support the action. He talked of contradictions of political equality and social and economic inequality. He also said that if such denial of opportunities continues then our political democracy will be in danger otherwise those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of democracy.

Are these words not applicable to the young generation who is frustrated at their deprivation? As this brigade is well educated, well aware, revolt may have far-reaching impact. Deprivation whether of (so-called) lower caste or upper caste creates an underneath tension in society which results in negative developments.

Our youth is ready for reservation but not caste-based but economic backwardness. Economic backwardness is something which cut across the boundaries of castes now.

Brahmins in certain areas pull rickshaws, clean toilets. They also work as coolies. Most of them work as domestic helps in Andhra Pradesh. Purohits who have public image of exploiters earn meagre income and not able to support their family and give good education to their children. Don’t they deserve state help?

Students coming from backward classes also support that instead of reservation in higher classes better training and educational facilities should be provided to the candidates. Once they enter college they become equals and they don’t need reservation at least at post graduate level.

What boils down is that reservation can not be an alternative to the need of creation of more infrastructure, more employment opportunities which will raise the economic as well as social standard of all.

Contradiction of political leadership comes to the fore when on the one side they appeal to the nation to get united, stay with harmony in society and on the other hand create such frictions on the lines of caste. They pit one section of youth against another to hide their own failure to deliver to the needs of people.

This is mainly an economic problem which is given social colours. Injustice has been done in the past to a large section of population but does that mean that present generation should be given the same treatment.

Reservation is not eradicating injustice but doing the same with the minority of upper castes. Main motive behind the lollypop of reservation is to keep their vote bank intact. Divide and rule. Glaring example may be conflict between Gujjars & Meenas in Rajasthan. Politicians put one caste against another.

If they really want to dispense social justice and equality why not to provide the support at primary and secondary level of education. Why not to ensure their entry to schools and retention. Why not to create such environment and infrastructure which enables them to generate income and raise standard of life. Some quote this debate of reservation as a class war. I think it is not. It is result of meagre resources and vast population now. It is politics.

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December 27, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Nice observation. But I don't feel the situation would be better even if the reservation is based on financial conditions. The majority self employed people donot reveal their actual income to the govt. It is often a mere 10 to 15 % of what they actually earn. It becomes to measure the criteria itself.

However, govt is obliged to provide free primary education for everyone. This should be implemented at higher levels education also. Higher education should be given to everyone and for the poor class, extra efforts to be put. Slowly, those who deserve will come up. In that manner govt should look forward and try for a class free society.


October 11, 2007 at 12:00 AM

If India is a secular state, why this discrimination does exist.Actually our politician have nothing to do with nation's or masses uplift.To compensate their weaknesses they want to gain favor of these communities in order to get their votes I think they annonces these like privilege

sanjay bansal

August 29, 2007 at 12:00 AM

i say reservation not on the basis of caste but on the basis of economic status. why not to provide then minimum standard of living who are not ble to cater their day to day life. and i will praise the author of this article for raising the quetions while summing up the issue.even indian citizen should raise this issue, this the right time to come up & say this should not be an issue of vote bank policy but there must be a solution to this problem so that the balance could be maintained.thanks & regards


Arun Jain

August 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM

India at 60. what does it mean?? Has india retired or taken an appointment to bring india among growing world. Well after go through article above i dont want to explain the dark or bright aspect of this implementation but must say " India does not have proper education norms", which is biggest withdraw of success.


August 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Nice and articulate, but live like a person born in an untouchable family and you will realise what reservation has done for them. Good question for how long. Ask your self, have you guys given what was due in true earnest. Women are striped, men are killed just because they drew water from a well belonging to people of upper castes! Where are we, in 21st century India and this is what it has to offer to untouchables. In America they say, no one is unwanted even the Blacks. In India untouchables are persona non granta. So as long this feeling is there reservation shall continue. Change your mindset and politicians will have no agenda for reservation left to exploit!!

rakesh gupta

August 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM

what is wrong in giving 27% reservation to a population which constitutes 52% of the total population.?
It means 30%(on merit like civil services) +27%( due to reseravation) =job 57% for 52% of OBC.
with regards
rakesh gupta


August 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM

totally agree with all the points on this article... but whats the point ... we can just talk about it ... will this article make any difference???? i dont think so ... we cant get anything unless the uneducated and greedy politicians are around ...

gopal nigam

August 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM

It was not too long ago Britisher ruled our country by policy of "divide and rule" Our politician hvae learned from Britishers and they are using it very effectively. They are not interested in welfare of backward class and they care least about the welfare of our country. They are only interested in ruling India by any means possible, fill their pockets and rule India for generations to come.


August 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM

These reservations even after 60 yrs. of Independance is a shame. what are the politicians doing for these 60 yrs. Looking after themselves. The real poor people don't get anything. Look at the SC/BC hostels. Does evev one of them run properly? It is a national shame. All poor people should get education by scholarships but not by reservations which are enjoyed by the elite.


August 22, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Good article......
The way the politicans are trying two shape this country It is time for the literate to call it quits!

If U look at world history such myopic views has led to the collaspe to great civilisations !

Maybe it is time for the collaspe of this civilasation.... Most of the highly educated people r already out of the country ! When the wise leave the land then doom is not far.


August 22, 2007 at 12:00 AM

You did it. You put it in perspective. The fruits of reservation have been devoured by undeserving candidates for long. Its time poeple who need it get it irrespective of caste or creed.



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