RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat again sparked a controversy when he argued for a harmonious debate between supporters and opposers of reservation. Reservation has become so sacrosanct in Indian politics, that any reference to it suddenly creates a huge furore.
In fact, BJP suffered an electoral debacle because of Bhagawat’s reservation comment in the Bihar assembly election 2015. Although BJP leaders are tight-lipped at the moment, they will definitely make their disagreement on Bhagwat’s remark public and commit that reservation is there to stay.
However, I am neither from BJP nor an aspiring politician. But I want a debate on this reservation policy although I don’t know what exactly Mohan Bhagwat wants to discuss. But I have my points.
Frankly, I am not against reservation per se. Reservation is an affirmative action, which is required to give an opportunity to backward communities so that they can come at par with the mainstream. But only reservation never helps. Along with reservation, there are a lot of other affirmative actions that need to be taken. These are conveniently ignored by politicians. That’s why even though reservation was made a temporary provision for 10 years, it continues even now. And if it continues for another 100 years, it will still fail to get the expected results.
The Dalit community has been discriminated against for centuries. There is nothing called untouchability in the Vedas yet in the subsequent period, an entire community was made untouchable because of their ancestral livelihood.
Caste and Jaati are not the same. The bottom line is that caste is a reality in present India and the Dalits were/are subjected to atrocities for such a long time that it’s difficult for them to rise without any affirmative action. The theory of untouchables is so ridiculous that you can touch an animal even worship a cow but can’t touch a human because of his/her lower caste even though it’s claimed that human is the best form of species in scriptures.
That is why I support reservation for Scheduled Caste people. I feel reservation should continue till the last person of the community is uplifted. Yes, those who are already there shouldn’t be given such an opportunity.
Reservation for Scheduled Tribe communities is also just. These tribes are different on many counts from the mainstream, such as remote habitation, linguistic differences and cultural mismatch etc. Thus, to integrate them with the mainstream, reservation in every sphere is a need and should continue until the last person of this community is uplifted.
My objection is to OBC. My objection is not reservation for them. Backward means it requires the state’s support to come at par with the mainstream. My objection is caste-based identification for the Other Backward Class. Why is there a two-tier caste reservation? Can we make a class identified as caste? Point to be noted that class is always mobile but caste isn’t. A backward class person can easily move to a developed class or better class if he gets an opportunity. But a lower caste cannot move to the upper caste whatever be his status unless he/she drops his caste or converts.
By identifying caste as a class in OBC, aren’t we recognising that some castes are higher than scheduled castes? SC people are untouchable whereas OBCs were never untouchable. We put another tier of caste a bit higher than SC yet lower than upper-caste eligible for reservation? The point is simple. If some castes are really backward due to social or any other reason, let them be incorporated in the SC category and if required, reservation quota may be increased accordingly. It is always possible but politically not beneficial. There are many OBC communities/castes that want to take the facility of reservation but don’t want to be identified with SC or say Dalits. OBC at present is the biggest vote bank. Which political party has guts to disturb this? When we do a political analysis, we always consider the vote bank caste wise, for example, Yadavs, Lingayats, Gujjars, Vokkalingas, Kappus and many more. Will any Yadav or Modi or Mohanty (Khandayat) agree to be listed in SC?
Backwardness is of three types. One is social. The second is remoteness (living) and the third is economical. Social discrimination means it is caste-based discrimination. Thus, such communities should be included in SC. Remoteness is applicable to ST and the rest of the backward communities are only due to economic reasons. Thus, OBC should be recognised as a class that is economically weak.
The Central government already provides 10% reservation for economically weaker general category people. Still, I argue for OBC as an economically weaker section, comprising not only Hindus but also Muslims, Sikhs or any other religious communities because economic conditions are always religion-neutral. Poverty doesn’t have caste or religion.
Affirmative action is always beneficial to the society and the nation if it is practised with honest intent. If these affirmative actions are rolled out for selfish political gain through vote bank politics then I fear that true integration will never succeed, rather society will always stay divided politically for the benefit of politicians only.
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