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Hypocrisy Over Muslim Reservation
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
Brazen hypocrisy and rank opportunism among politicians cutting across all parties is ruining India . If the present trend continues India will cease to be a nation and degenerate into a chaotic madhouse of a thousand squabbling tribes and mutinies. One refers of course to the ruinous and irrational policy of granting reservation for employment and education on the basis of castes. Just before the forthcoming election the UPA government has announced reservation for the Jat community in central government employment. This proud and martial community that dominates and rules rural India was reduced to claiming it was backward and deserving of reservation. The BJP in Rajasthan has welcomed reservation for Jats keeping an eye fixed on the polls.
Not to be left behind the Maharashtra government has decided to grant reservation to the proud and martial Maharatta community which has dominated and governed the state and controls the state’s powerful and profitable sugar industry with an iron grip. This community too wants to be designated as being backward. Since the Supreme Court has through a judgment limited the total reservation quota permissible new claimants for reservation deplete quotas of the exiting beneficiaries of reservation. Therefore these new pre-election announcements are causing heartburn not only among forward castes but also among backward castes. But the trend does not stop of course but continues to intensify.
This Article debars equally other categories including caste from discrimination. How, then did our ingenious politicians get around this? Very simply they twisted Clause 4 of Article 16 of the Constitution which states:
Several criteria was listed to define a backward class, among these was included caste. Relative importance was given to each criterion listed with preponderant weight given to caste. Thereby caste became virtually a backward class! By the same logic why cannot religious communities, women or even residents of a specific region be granted reservation? It is amazing that the Supreme Court overlooked this chicanery and allowed caste based reservation to become law. But recently the Andhra Pradesh High Court interpreted these Articles of the Constitution to disallow a Muslim sub-quota for job reservations. The Court struck down the government's proposal to create a sub-quota for minorities from within the quota reserved for Other Backward Classes (OBC). The High Court considered the government's move to be unconstitutional because the use of the term “for minorities” indicated that the sub-quota was for religious groups. The court ruled that this violated Article 15(1) and 16(2) of the Constitution, which debars citizens from “discrimination on the basis of religion.”
Where does this judgment leave caste based reservation?
Reportedly the government intended to appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court ruling. In that event it remains to be seen what the impact would be on all caste based reservations.
Mr. Modi proudly attended a public rally in Bihar with two new entrants into the NDA, the minuscule parties of Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan and Mr. Upendra Kushwaha, and stated that each caste will get a share in progress. Mr. Modi seems to suffer from the common delusion that he is liked by the underclass because he hails from a backward community. But there is no all India consolidation of backward castes. That is the perverse logic of caste identity. Even in the same state rival backward castes like Yadavs and Kurmis fight tooth and nail. How then can an OBC origin excite the masses cutting across different states? Mr. Modi excited the underclass because hailing from a poor family he reached the top. His attraction is his poor origins, not his backward caste. Ironically, while he claims to create a united India, Mr. Modi is willfully furthering the splintering of Indian society by pandering to caste identities. Mr. Kejriwal is no better. His senior colleague, Mr. Yogendra Yadav, has already announced intention to intensify and widen caste based reservation quotas.
As of now little hope therefore might be placed upon either leader to deliver real change in national politics. Not one leader or party has given firm commitment to successfully impose fully achievable compulsory primary education across the nation which would be a genuine game changer.
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