Discriminations are usually resented, but positive discrimination is an acceptable practice throughout the world for upliftment of the downtrodden. The wonderful idea of constitutionally provided reservations for Scheduled Castes and Tribes in India was one such noble idea that has failed to deliver. Though meant for a definite period in order to allow time for the discriminated people to make up their lost time, the result of ‘eternal’ reservations is becoming one of replacing temporary crutches by permanent ones for the physically disabled. Instead of struggling to get over the historical disadvantages, many among the target crowd are getting cozy with the incentives and wish to be disadvantaged forever. Reservations in India are becoming counter productive in every sense. As usual, politicians belonging to the uneducated but cunning variety, are spoiling the whole system for their own selfish ‘votebank’ politics.
There have been aberrations in the unique caste system of India and many sections of Indian society have remained disadvantaged for generations as a consequence. The brilliantly designed Indian caste system literally became a curse when its intended horizontal structure was titled by vested interests into a vertical one with the ‘superior’ castes on top. Those who toil for good of the society became the lower castes and those who do not toil at all became their superiors. Hereditary lineage was the final nail in the caste coffin and those in the so-called lower castes became toilers forever even if some of them were much more brilliant than the upper castes. Successive generations belonging to such an unnatural setup ended up as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Indian constitution.
In the beginning, reservation in the fields of education and jobs was meant for providing a certain amount of positive discrimination in favour of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, which were listed in the constitution itself. It was also meant only for a definite period of time. The intensions were highly noble because the discrimination was in positive manner and none of the deserving from any caste (higher or lower) was discriminated against. Judgment of our highest court that all forms of reservations together shall not cross 50% of the total was also a brilliant one to keep the balance between merit and reservations. Such a balanced system would have definitely helped in churning our society into a better one.
One of the most important requirements of any system of positive discrimination is to provide a mechanism to weed out the beneficiaries in a progressive manner. Families who have already benefitted from a system of reservations must not continue to enjoy the same again. If the head of the family has already got the benefit of reservation, it is unreasonable to give the same benefit again to his children. He or she can continue to get the benefit of economic reservation, but definitely not the benefits of caste reservations again and again. If such a system was implemented in right earnest, we would have already had a just and merit based society by now. Instead the caste based political parties are still ruling and ruining our nation.
India had some of the best constitution makers that the world has ever seen. But all of them missed out the vital need for introducing economic based reservations immediately after 25 or 50 years of caste based reservations. If such a provision was there in the original constitution itself, cantankerous politicians and their political parties that survive only on the backwardness of their own castes would not have evolved at all. Now we have a situation when the country cannot be ruled without their support and their only aim is to perpetuate the caste based reservations forever.
Benefits of an economic based reservation policy are too well known. It is the best known method to bring up all those who are poor irrespective of their caste and religion. After all, the ultimate aim of any nation is to provide facilities for all its citizens to raise upto their level of individual capability without any hindrance due to extraneous reasons other than pure merit. Social and economic aspects must not play any part in the workplace where merit of the individual must be the only criterion for his employment and promotion. Be it corporations or government, the best results will come out only if there is meritocracy built into the system.
Political expediency is once again playing its worst game in the form of a parliamentary bill aimed at expanding the realm of reservations to promotions also. Nothing can be more disastrous than this. Narrow minded caste based political parties are making such moves for their own survival, but national parties whose aim must be development of the nation must not fall into such traps even if it is for retaining power. It is high time for all such national parties to come together and decide once for all that caste-based reservation will continue only till 2025 and thereafter there will be reservations only on the basis of economic status.
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||I've been practicing, propagating, writing and speaking for social equality, humanism and upliftment of the marginalized for two and half decades now. Having a general category name does not mean that we are against our compatriots of other categories. But I do feel in practical day-to-day functioning that caste-based reservations are doing more harm than good. We're forced not to forget our caste all the time. It's time our leaders rose above petty considerations of electoral benefits and thought of national interest. Real upliftemnt of the marginalized will come about with quality education and opening of opportunities and not by this alms of reservation. A nation cannot progress with less capable people manning the system. Everyone must come to similar levels of competence. ||