Latasinha's Weblog

Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Non-Brahmin Movement & Reservations in jobs in India

What were the factors and circumstances, which compelled British rulers to conceive the idea of reservations in jobs, can be traced in the history of British rule in India. The origin of Reservation policy lies in the protest of non-Brahmins against the preponderance of Brahmins in the Government services in Madras and Mysore Presidencies. The initial purpose of Reservation was to restrict the Brahmin’s monopoly in Government jobs and make it available to non-Brahmins communities as well.Brahmins, being a non-militant community, did not resist then Reservation/quotas in government jobs. They did not protest against their ouster from Government services and migrated to other areas, where they could get opportunity to prosper.
Mysore Presidency had developed its Reservation policy informally since 1874. Its Government (Between 1874 and 1885) had reserved 20% posts at middle and lower levels for Brahmins and the balance 80% for others. During the period 1881 to 1910, demand for jobs was inspired by the policy of the ‘sons of soil’, because many Tamilian Brahmins had dominated the Government jobs in Princely State of Mysore.
Policy of ‘Divide and Rule – Between 1858 and 1905, the British adopted a policy of “Divide and rule”. During this period, Indians considered modern education and employment in Government or association with the government lucrative and prestigious
The process to divide Indian population into smaller groups started immediately after the British Government took-over the charge from East India Company in 1858.
In the near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, Indians had to depend on modern education and government jobs, which could enable them to secure respectable positions in the society. The desire to be associated with the Government opened up various channels of confrontation amongst various sections of Indian society. It led to a keen competition between different sections of Indian society. The British rulers took advantage of it and mooted the idea of quota system.
In 1835, introduction of modern education paved way for imperial designs for the British Government.
British rulers tried their best to enflame the differences. They did whatever they could to keep Indians busy with their internal problems and let them rule this country without any distraction. The letter written by Wood to Elgin dated March 3, 1862, confirms that they, “have maintained our (their) power by playing off one part against the other and we (British government in India) must continue to do so. Do what you can, therefore, to prevent all (Indians) having a common feeling”.
Balance of power – Many British administrators including Temple advised the Government to stop the dominance of one or few groups in administration and begin to rely on other groups or castes, in order to keep the balance of power. In 1881 the Government decided to secure a reasonable combination of various races and castes in order to counter Brahmins hold in education and administration.
In 1885, Eutice J Kitts, a British ambassador in Azamgarh listed, for the first time, backward castes and tribes, from 1881 Census. The objective was to give them financial assistance and preferences in education and Government employment at local and provincial level.

For the first time, the government officially recognized caste as a base for the purposes of governance. The practice of “Preferences” in education and jobs later on led to the birth of Reservation Policy. During the Period 1905 to 1940, the British policy of “Divide and rule” blossomed fully. This was also the period, when the idea of Reservation was conceived, experimented and established firmly.

August 14, 2008 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | | 23 Comments


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