Reservation System in India - A bless for some a curse for many?!
Reservation as the dictionary states: “If you make a reservation, you arrange for something such as a table in a restaurant or a room in a hotel to be kept for you.”
Well, to start off I find this topic very interesting, first of all, its meaning according to the dictionary is totally unpalatable, and specifically, it does find but very little relevance of what we know of the word, “Reservation”. I can bet on this, any common Indian (Bhartiya) with a little general awareness can give you the perfect definition of this specific word which you will find very amusing compared to the dictionary’s version.
We Indians have got a whole new meaning of reservation. In the course of writing, I may offend some of the readers. But I can understand “truth is bitter”. Let’s not be unfriendly and contemplative before reading this full piece!
With a little retrospection, I want to go into the details of the reservation system with its history because a wise man said ‘if you don’t know your history you will make the same mistakes and repent later.’
Let’s start from the very beginning, in the Vedic period, the ‘Varnas’ were basically divisions in the society to keep its functioning smooth and was based on one’s Karma (good and bad deeds) not just on the basis of one’s birth in a specific family. It was also mentioned in the Vedas as well as the Bhagavad Gita; considered as the most religious book of Hindus that all the ‘Varnas’ were based on one’s deeds and that one could progress or deteriorate to a Varna, albeit, a person with his good karma could become a Brahman or a Kshatriya.
But the Varna system got corrupted over time as its true meaning got lost; it started getting called the ‘caste’ system. It went on to become one of the worst factors of division between people in the history of India. People from lower ‘caste’ were subjugated to various atrocities and the worst form of human exploitation was legalized in the name of this ‘caste’ system.
So, when the Brits left India which was once their colony, and after India gained its ‘Independence’, the constitutional framework was to be decided, and then this topic of reservation was raised in the constitutional debates which were being headed by Dr. BR Ambedkar, who outrightly called this useless and unfair to the masses, Dr. Ambedkar was a visionary, he could see what most others did not want to. He explained how this would lead to a crippled India with its people relying on the crutches of reservation rather than on their own hard work, which resulted in the reservation being ruled out of the constitution.
But, after three decades of post-independent India, a decision was taken, a commission headed by Mr. Mandal was formed, the Mandal commission which it was popularly called as, went on to review the then present social status of all ‘castes’ and suggest methods to bring social justice and status to all.
To be precise I quote Wikipedia ---- “The Mandal Commission was established in India in 1979 by the Janata Party government under Prime Minister Morarji Desai with a mandate to "identify the socially or educationally backward." It was headed by Indian parliamentarian B.P.”
“It provided the much-needed solution, In 1980, the commission's report affirmed the affirmative action practice under Indian law whereby members of lower ‘caste’s (known as Other Backward Classes (OBC), Scheduled ‘caste’s (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST)) were given exclusive access to a certain portion of government jobs and slots in public universities, and recommended changes to these quotas, increasing them by 27% to 50% .”
But we don’t see any social justice/equality till now. Poor have become poorest and rich have prospered lavishly. Continuing, now this topic has become a hot cake for each and any political party, you talk of backward and forward and you can sweep all the seats with a clear mandate as was seen in the case of the most popular state which produces IAS/IPS officers in excess quantities who all wish to reform the system till their UPSC interview but suddenly vanish in thin dust just after their selection, yes we are talking about Bihar. The very popular Lalu Yadav after taking bail went in a monologue: that people of Bihar must vote in favor of his party as he pronounced the 2015 Bihar elections as a battle between the “forward and backward”.
In Bihar, this has always been a sensitive topic due to the social segregation of the lower caste people who now demand equal rights in the name of reservation. A statement by the RSS chief, ‘Reservation should be reviewed’, was blown out of proportion and made to look like he was proposing for complete scrapping of the present reservation system.
Both Lalu and Nitish took a great opportunity in misguiding the mostly ‘illiterate’ people of Bihar (as the literacy rate is lowest in Bihar). They served his statement like this: “If BJP comes into power they will snatch away your quotas.” The Bihari people were raged because they did not know the exact statement, but blindly believed their popular ‘Netas’ and ended up giving their vote to this alliance of JDU and RJD.
Now, let me present you with another case of the Jat reservation, the rampant protests of Jat people in Feb 2016 on the streets of Haryana. They too demanded reservation and sought their inclusion in the ‘OBC’ quota.
This is an excerpt from Wikipedia ----“By 22 February, the protests were estimated to have caused a loss of 340 billion (US$5.1 billion) in northern India. Railway Minister told in Lok Sabha "The total loss suffered by Railways on account of damage to property and cancellation of tickets during the agitation is about Rs 55.92 Crore. By 26 February, 30 people had been killed in the violence.” So, they succeeded, no doubt, a bill was passed in their favor giving them reservation. But do you know, in the shadow of these ‘protests’ the mob went haywire! The mob burnt many buses, trains causing significant damage to public property.
In 2015, a man named Hardik Patel rose from nowhere to reach the national media on the issue of Patel reservation. But could not succeed to bring ‘justice’ to his ‘Patel’ brothers and sisters.
So, all these cases are necessary to be magnified because they all show a similar pattern. The main game here is the politics behind these demands, people in power know that to remain in power they need to keep striving to break the community so that it becomes easier for them to make people forget the right demands and instead make them strive for these petty issues because a united society is their main enemy. A united society asks them the relevant questions which they deftly want to ignore.
In the next paragraph, I will explain to you how this habit of reservation deteriorates society as a whole.
Let’s consider an example ‘there is a beggar outside on the pavement, you pass beside him daily and generously offer him Rs 10 daily. He takes it, does whatever he feels like doing. And, remember you are doing it daily. Now, one sudden day, you walk towards him and tell him that ‘I won’t give you any more money, you must work and earn.’
So, either he will beg for it again in which case you would again ‘help’ him, or if you show him that you are stern with your decision, then he will surely curse you.
This is a curious case, it’s not his fault neither it’s yours. It’s just a clear case of creating a dependency on a system that is not sustainable in a long term.
This has become the real face of the reservation system. The constitution-makers specified clearly and boldly that reservation should be given to socially upright the lower sections. The Mandal Commission, too in its final report said that the system should be reviewed and not last till infinity. It was specified that a review should be done after a stipulated time, so as to see whether it has really benefitted the people from underprivileged backgrounds. But, the review was never done and this system continued without any checks and balances.
Now coming to the present scenario, this system is totally hollow with no help to the real deserving poor. Instead, it has increased the distance between the general masses. The ‘general’ category candidates are mostly seen in a state of cold war with the people rewarded with ‘quotas’. There was once a time when being a Brahmin (or any upper ‘caste’) was considered a blessing but the same is now seen as a curse.
There are many disadvantages of this ‘caste’ game policy (reservation policy). This creates the difference between the needy people and people who are taking undue advantage of this policy just because they are born in the lower ‘caste’. The ‘deserving’ ones, just because they are born in the upper ‘caste’ are made to sloth in this system to get a government job or a government-subsidized education. As a result, the ‘deserving’ ones go to foreign countries where their caliber is taken into consideration rather than their virtue of being born in a higher ‘caste’. That is why there is an exodus of really meritorious students/workforce to the foreign countries, a complete brain drain for India. There they find better avenues and are reciprocated with the same dignity and compensation that they deserve.
Now coming back to the point, the perpetual growth of this policy in our daily life has become so gross that one party/government cannot go against this system as this has become a major component of vote bank politics.
In the next part, we will focus on the solutions for this ‘ugly’ system of reservation and how its complete systematic eradication is the only solution to keep our nation alive.
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