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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Role of education in Modern Times

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela

“Destroying any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs or the use of long range missiles. … It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations by students.” … Patients die at the hands of such doctors; buildings collapse at the hands of such engineers. Money is lost at the hands such economists and accountants. Humanity dies at the hands of such religious scholars. Justice is lost at the hands of such judges. The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation.  (At the entrance gate of the University of South Africa).

‘Education is not the learning, but the training of mind to think’. Albert Einstein

“The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Toffler


Nelson Mandela has stated “Education is the great engine of personal development” …. “It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” Through Education a person acquires knowledge, experience, skill and sound attitude. It makes an individual civilized, refined, cultured and educated. Not only individuals, through education the whole society  can become civilized.

Education is a key to success in life. It facilitates learning. It helps people to understand the world around them. It develops power of reasoning, and judgement. It is meant to inculcate positive thinking, ethical values and shape attitude, and builds confidence. It trains people to work in a better way.

Difference between Education and Knowledge – There is not much difference between them. Knowledge is a process of acquiring facts, information and skills through one’s own experiences or learnings whereas education is a process of learning in a systematic manner from a formal institution such as schools, colleges or universities. Education gives knowledge of the world around us and changes it into something better. It develops in us a perspective of looking at life. It helps us build opinions and have points of view on things in life. (18-Aug-2013, ›)

According knowledge can be categorized into four types:

(1) Factual knowledge,

(2) Conceptual knowledge,

(3) Procedural knowledge, and

(4)Metacognitive knowledge. 01-Mar

Knowledge and wisdom Knowledge is information of which someone is aware. It is means confident understanding of a subject, potentially with the ability to use it for a specific purpose. Wisdom is the ability to make correct judgments and decisions. It is an intangible quality gained through our experiences in life.

Historical background of Education

Ancient Times – System of Education started in the Middle East about 3000 BCE. In the beginning until the decline of Roman Empire, Greek philosophy since its inception, together with some influences from the ancient Near-East had influenced much of Western thinking. In ancient Greece, philosophers contemplated and theorized about many different ideas such as human nature, ethics, and moral dilemmas. They dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, epistemology, mathematics, political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, logic, biology, rhetoric and aesthetics. Romans preserved, imitated, and spread ancient Greek culture over Europe.

Greek philosophers were quite advanced for their times, bringing along revolutionary philosophical contributions to politics, science and ethics.  Socrates of Athens (l. c. 470/469-399 BCE) is the superstar teacher of the ancient world. He is among the most famous figures in world history for his contributions to the development of ancient Greek philosophy which provided the foundation for all of Western Philosophy. He is, in fact, known as the “Father of Western Philosophy” for this reason. (02-Sep-2009, › Socrates)

Though Socrates was sentenced to death more than 2,400 years ago for “impiety” and “corrupting” the minds of the youth of Athens, his ideas helped form the foundation of Western philosophy and the scientific method of inquiry. And his question-and-dialogue-based teaching style lives on in many classrooms as the Socratic method.

Socrates didn’t write anything down. And details of his life remain largely unknown. Many of his ideas, and much of his life as a teacher and philosopher, are known largely through the writings of his best student, Plato, in his Dialogues. Plato, the disciple of Socrates, introduced the idea of an ideal political system In his work the “Republic”. Plato’s disciple, Aristotle  had combined logic with observation to make general, causal claims.

In ancient times, knowledge and education in humanities and practical subjects like law, science, astrology, medicine, mathematics and geometry were mostly preserved by Priests/a powerful intellectual elite. Priests taught in formal schools like Gurukuls in India. There were two types of formal schools one for privileged youth and another for priest trainees. Rigid method and strict discipline were followed. Vocational skills in the spheres of architecture, engineering and sculpture were generally were generally taught in camps outside the jurisdiction of formal schooling.

Medieval Times (Known as Dark Period) – As the world entered  the medieval period, the knowledge base of ancient times had destroyed. That is why this period is known as the Dark Ages. Period. Demographic, cultural, and economic deterioration occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire. Rejection of reason was the main cause of decline. Church outlawed reason as the means to knowledge, and replaced it by revelation, over which they have the monopoly on.

Church and monasteries took charge of educating both the common people like farmers or workers and the nobility. They became influential during middle ages. Christianity  and religious institutors dominated the scene. They got the patronage of State governments. (03-Mar-2021.

Period of Renaissance – From 14th century onwards, started the revival of surviving fragments of classical ancient culture and systems. Renaissance movement (from 14th to 17 centuries), can be said to be the beginning of modernization, Industrialization, and technological innovations.

During this period, unparalleled intellectual curiosity in European nations brought transition of western world from the medieval to the modern age. It was rebirth of everything in economic, political, cultural spheres. Europe witnessed the end of the old and reactionary medieval spirit and the beginning of the new spirit of science, reason and experimentation. It was the hard work and sincere efforts knowledge seekers, intellectuals and scientists that process of Modernization, Industrialization and technological innovations could again be started. 

With the beginning of Industrialization, Education system was designed to teach workers to be ‘punctual, docile and sober’ and do what their employers/managers told them. As industrialization changed the way of working, the need for universal schooling was felt. (29-June-2018, › universal-education.)

Purpose of education

Generally the meaning of education is misunderstood. Education neither means the knowledge of three ‘R’s, (reading, writing and ‘rithmatics), nor does it teaches to depend on academic or theoretical studies leading towards award of degrees or certificates from formal educational institutes. Nor is its purpose to increase knowledge-base by collecting available information/data/bookish knowledge. is also not the purpose of education.In present job market, these degrees and certificates are shown to the prospective employers as a proof of one’s knowledge. The main purpose of education is to provide for the fullest possible development of each learner for living morally, creatively, and productively in a democratic society.” (ASCD Committee on Platform of Beliefs, Educational Leadership, January 1957)

Since ancient times, one of the continuing objective of education has been to make people realize, what it is to be a human being. Along with it, other purposes of education have been to develop the intellect, to serve social needs, to contribute to the economy, to create an effective work force, to prepare students for a job or career, to promote a particular social or political system. (Arthur W. Foshay, “The Curriculum Matrix: Transcen- dence and Mathematics,” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 1991)

Margaret Ammons, Associate Secretary of ASCD, has said while talking about Educational Leadership in Oct. 1964, “The purpose of education] has changed from that of producing a literate society to that of producing a learning society.”

What is education? – The aim of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Education embraces in itself reading, observation and thought. It enables people to understand their surroundings in a better way. Education is a process of facilitating learning and increasing knowledge and improving understanding and attitudes of people. Besides acquisition of knowledge, education develops mental, moral and spiritual values, morals, beliefs and habits of individuals. It gives skill training as well. It refines their actions, language and behaviour, mannerism of individuals andmakes them more cultured. In short, proper education system blossoms the overall personality of a person.

Combination of education and training – Education can be effective, when it is combined with proper training-systems. Training helps people to acquire skills, and prepares them to apply their knowledge in their work life. It enables them to get better adjusted in real life. It improves individuals for certain line of action, which are delineated by technology and urgently needed by their occupations. The main purpose training is cultural conservation (control over cultural deviation), vocational training, moral and character training, and inculcation of qualities like self-restraint, cooperative work, and moderation.

Education along with training hones skills and attitude, trains people to think positively, rationally and act responsibly. Together, education and training prepares people to get gainfully employed in job market. At present, certificates and degrees from educational/professional institutes are considered necessary for entering into job-market.

A well-planned and sound system of education and training inspires human beings to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they could be adjusted better in real life’s environment. It guides people to achieve their goals within time and cost parameters and to channelize their efforts towards desired direction. In short, a sound education system imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work habits of the people. It enables people to face the challenges of present mechanized world, liberalization and Globalization in present context.

Academicians and planners should always remember that education and training system that focuses only on efficiency and intelligence is not enough. Group of persons gifted with reason but no morals, may prove to be a menace to society. Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.” (Martin Luther King Jr., speech at Morehouse College, 1948).

Method of education – Method of learning may be formal or informal. For formal education, one has to join educational or skill training institutes like schools or colleges or vocational training institutes Present societies attach more importance to formal institutionalized education, which is time-bound and leads to award degrees and certificates than to guide the children to become good, responsible and confident citizens of society. Informal learning happens by doing and observing the real-life situations.

Formal education in schools at primary level. It has a vital impact on the personality building, outlook and maturity of the people. It should be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature, so that it  could provide firm foundation for the continuing education of the citizens. It equips a person with understanding of political, social and economic/occupational infra-structure of the country. Training during formative years of a person familiarizes him/her with the atmosphere and requirements of the sphere, in which (s)he wants to work. Informal learning takes over the tasks initiated by formal education and training systems and fills the gaps between theory and practice. Indirectly it helps to improve the performance.

Education and Training during formative years of a person familiarizes him/her with the atmosphere and requirements of the sphere in which (s)he has to work. Informal learning takes over the tasks initiated by formal education and training systems and fills the gaps between theory and practice. Indirectly it helps to improve the performance.

Learning never-ends – Learning and training oneself for its application in real life situations continues throughout one’s life. it is a never ending continuous process. The process of learning is also not confined to schools/colleges. Informal education and training continues at each stage and step of life starting from birth till end. Hindu Epics say about education -“Neti Neti” (No end to learning). J Krishnamurty has also commented, “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”

Key to success – Rabindra Nath Tagore says,”… education is not about what we learn: it is about what we make ourselves through what we learn.” The main purpose of education is to free individuals from ignorance, to gain knowledge and enlightenment. Knowledge is necessary to become a better person. It is a key to success in life. Only educated persons, with positive attitude, can contribute to building up a society with love, justice, equality and peace. Education brings transformation not only in individuals, but in a society or a nation as a whole.

Distinction between action, forbidden action, and in-action – Sound education system considered essential for the purpose of giving activities, their due meaning and value. According to Hindu philosophy even a wise man may get puzzled without knowledge about do’s and don’ts. It is only after the acquisition of knowledge, that a person understands the real nature of work and could distinguish correctly between action, forbidden action and in-action.

Sphere of knowledge – The sphere of knowledge is quite vast and is developing at a fast speed. The process of gaining knowledge is quite difficult. It is beyond human capability to cope with it completely. Even a genius like, Newton used to say that he was ‘like a child, who is picking pebbles at sea-shore while the great ocean of knowledge lies before me’. For learning or acquisition of knowledge, even one life is not enough. To think that one can acquire enough knowledge within a short time or fixed time, is not correct. It is a continuous and never ending process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death. Continuous learning at each and every stage of life develops knowledge-base, understanding and attitudes of a person.

Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge” – Khalil Gibran has said “Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge, all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.”

  • Objective of education – The main objective of education is to inspire human beings to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they could be adjusted better in real life’s environment. It should guide people to achieve their goals within time and cost parameters. People should learn to channelize their efforts towards desired direction. In short, a sound education system imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work habits of the people and enables them to face the challenges of present mechanized world, liberalization and Globalization in present context.
  • Gaining Knowledge – Thanks to the revolution in information technology. After technological advancements, during post 1970’s and then at the dawn of 21st century, access to information/knowledge on any subject is available easily to anyone, on any subject and anywhere in the world. Internet has done the wonders. Within seconds Google can tell about anything happening anywhere in the world.
  • But the catch is that a focused mind and sincere efforts are required to get detailed relevant information on subject of one’s choice. One should be sure what exactly does he want to know. Otherwise, entering into world of internet is like going into a dense forest. One gets lost. Standard educational institutions use innovative methods of learning like theme-based discussions and theme-based activities etc.
  • More important is application of knowledge – The real object of education is also to prepare individuals for application of their knowledge. One of the important element of education is to develop the career skills of students. So that they can apply their knowledge and skills in real life, It requires lots of efforts and will power. Sound education and training system prepares individuals to apply knowledge in real life.

A little knowledge that acts is more useful than inactive knowledge. The wealth of knowledge confined only to books, cannot be used properly in real right time. Rote learning also does not work effectively, as it confined to text-books only.

  • Upgrading knowledge – Equally important to upgrade knowledge continuously. As Alvin Toffler, renowned writer has said, “The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

All the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.

Close connection between Knowledge and hard work – There is a growing awareness that for acquiring knowledge, training mind in a scientific manner and concentrating energies of mind, one had to struggle, work hard, make sincere efforts and face many challenges in life.

A majority of youth of present days  do not have courage to struggle or belief in “work hard”. Only a few students keep the fire of learning and acquiring knowledge burning all the time. Without hard-work, search for knowledge remains incomplete and superficial.

Role of a teacher – Teaching has always been an important and a rewarding profession. It leads to intellectual growth of self as well as others. It gives to teachers a real satisfaction of contributing something worthwhile to the society. 

In modern times, the role of a Teacher is just not only of an instructor, but he is supposed to be a facilitator, a true friend of learners, a philosopher and a role model for his students. It is his prime duty to inculcate in the minds of his students/children both, the qualities of head and heart.

Awareness about the importance of education in modern times –  It is encouraging to see that recently there is a growing realization all over the world that ‘Education and Training for all’ is necessary for imparting knowledge, shaping attitudes, cultivating skills and building work-habits, for making people capable of meeting the challenges of modern times. Awareness about the importance of education is not something new for India. India always had great regards for education. Even during ancient India, great importance was given to development of sound systems in the sphere of education and training.

India and its Education system

Very few nations in the world had to start with greater initial difficulties as India had to, after its Independence had to. Illiteracy was one of the major handicaps for slowing down the process of modernization, industrialization, technological advancements and higher productivity. It requires to make people work hard and be aware of their rights and duties. Desire to improve the quality of life demands the nation to adopt goal-oriented approach. So far, the dream to achieve desired results has remained unfulfilled.

It has often been felt that at present education system is becoming unrelated to national needs and aspirations. Most of the times, it is insufficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.  There is education received prior to joining the work-force is degree-oriented and not job-oriented. There is a wide gap between learning and practice. Being so, how can it be expected that present education system will deliver the desired results? Situation was not always like that in India.

Importance of education and training in ancient India Ancient  India has always given a high place to learning/pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, virtues, characters and will power. According to Indian philosophy, ‘Wealth of knowledge is supreme among all forms of wealth’. (Vidya dhanam sarvadhana pradhanam). India has always realized that human being is human because he has the organic capacity to think and seek knowledge.

From the time of Rigveda onwards, ancient education system was evolved over the period. Focus of education was on holistic development of an individual by taking care of both the inner and outer self. The system was focused on moral, physical spiritual and intellectual aspects of life. Ancient Indian Education was dominated by strict moral codes of conduct. Stress was on ‘Self-respect, self- discipline and self-knowledge. The ancient education taught to the students ethics like humility, truthfulness, discipline, self-reliance, and respecting all creations. ( )

During the ancient period, two systems of education were developed, Vedic, and Buddhist. The medium of language during the Vedic system was Sanskrit, while those in the Buddhist system were pali. Education was imparted from Vedas, Brahmanas, Upanishads and Dharmasutras. The writings of Aryabhata, Panini, Katyayana and Patanjali and the medical treatises of Charaka and Sushruta were also some of the rich sources of learning. (

Gurukul system Gurukul was actually the home of teacher or Acharya and was the centre of learning where pupils resided till their education got complete. All were considered equal at the Gurukul and guru (teacher) as well as shisya (student) resided in the same house or lived near to each other.

In ancient India some centres of learning like Taxila or Nalanda etc. were so famous that knowledge-seekers, from distant places from different parts of the country as well as from neighbouring countries, walked to these centres for learning.

Salient features of ancient education system

Values and systems were developed in such a way that even a powerful Emperor, like Ashoka the great, thought it his duty, to bow before the learned persons as a mark of his respect for their learning, wisdom and sacrifice. It shows what matters in life, is not a person’s status or position, but his virtues and wisdom. Only when one raises oneself up from ignorance, can he recognize the greatness of a few in a sea of humanity.

  • More importance to knowledge than wealth – Traditional culture of India is not so materialistic, as Western countries are. Indian values and systems have separated pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts, wealth or power-politics. According to Indian philosophy, when a person runs blindly after money and forgets about the real purpose of knowledge, both wealth and knowledge vanishes from their lives. The only judicious way to generate wealth and gain power goes via the path of acquiring true knowledge. West gives more importance to creation of wealth.
    Wealth is the ultimate aim of the people, yardstick of success and a status symbol.
  • Knowledge as the base of ranking – In ancient and medieval Indian society, the greatness of a person, institution or a nation was judged on the basis of the degree of righteousness and justice. Greatness of Princely states was judged with which its administration governed lives of the common men or their character. It was not on the basis of the size of a state, its military power or its treasury/bank-balance. Similarly, in the society, a person or a caste was ranked on the basis of knowledge, discipline and moral standards, and not on the basis of material success, muscle or money power or of having controlling power over the destiny of common man.
  • Respect for knowledgeable persons – In India, not only Brahmins, but others were also commanded the respect of society for their knowledge/learning capabilities, character, spirituality and ability. The system was quite liberal in this matter. It provided opportunities to all irrespective caste, creed or community, to get to the top from the humblest origin and earn the respect of the whole society. For example, Vashishtha, the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the maker of the very Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman (belonging to Mahr community – Dalit according to present standards and to which Dr Ambedkar, the messiah of Dalits belonged).  Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards, the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India. None of them were not ashamed of their origin. They still hold a very high position in general public minds.

System of education and training in modern India

Modern education – Originally, Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay has brought in India the modern Grammar School education system in the 1830s. Medium of instruction was English. Education is primarily a State responsibility. It is Government and communities, as well as public and private organizations of all kinds, that establish schools and colleges, develop curricula, and determine requirements for enrolment and graduation.

‘Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE)’ was enacted by Parliament of India on 4 August 2009, which describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between the age of 6 to 14 years in India under Article 21A of the Constitution.

Indian Education system is good but it needs little bit improvement. At present, India is facing a rapid deterioration in standards of teaching. It is not technically strong enough in educating, when compared to the well developed countries. Earlier, though education was thinly spread, even government schools were maintaining a good standard. In an attempt to do quantitative expansion of education, quality of education suffered a lot.

It is a matter of great concern that even seventy four years after independence and self-rule, literacy-rate has gone up to 74% from 65. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54.  In absolute number, the figure is alarming. No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled.

All is not well in education system in India – From time to time, it has been noted by distinguished academicians, policy-makers, political leaders, other eminent persons, commissions and committees that all is not well in the present education system of India. Now and then, failures have been pointed out in one or another area of education. They have noticed that education and training system has become increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations, insufficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.

External and internal constraints on Education system –  There exists many internal and external constraints on the education system, such as –

External Constraints

  • Socio-economic and political pressures have indirectly affected adversely the education system violated its quality and autonomy.
  • Unholy alliance with vested interests between elites of Indian society – Some changes have taken place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of seven  main constituent of the national elites – Political Executives, Legislators, Businessmen, Media persons, Organized Workers, powerful lobby of Farmers and Bureaucrats. Their vested interests have  brought into forefront some undesirable social changes and political turmoil, which has affected adversely indirectly the whole atmosphere in the field of education as well.
  • Population explosion – Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on present education system and its available infrastructure. Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like – favouritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life. Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different powerful lobbies are increasing every day to have their exclusive hold on scarce resources available in the field of education or for power and pelf. Lobbies of a few powerful persons and ruling elites interfere and control every stage of the educational process.
  • Modern life style – Modern life style of stay up late due to reasons like working parents coming home late, socializing/going out for entertainment late in nights and health hazards due to undisciplined way of sleeping and getting up late adds fuel into fire. In long run, sleep-disorder may increase health problems like risk to heart attack, high blood-pressure, stroke, diabetes, drowsiness, depression, headaches obesity, loss of memory and poor performance at school.  

The reflection of all these evils is found in the educational system as well.

Internal Constraints – Internally the system has been fractured along the lines of discipline deteriorating standard of education in general and student sub-culture. Slowly but steadily, the education system lost its capacity to equip the younger generation with relevant knowledge and skills for enabling them to get gainfully employed and to perform their jobs with a sense of responsibility. It has failed to produce much-needed dynamism in youth as well. Now people have started questioning the legitimacy of a modern education system itself.

  • Past legacy – Some defects in modern education based on colonized British Grammar School type education. After Independence, many more  problems, paradoxes and constraints have cropped up. 
  • Grammar school education system is mainly based upon foreign culture and uprooted the indigenous culture of India.
  • English instead of mother tongue as the medium of instruction puts extra strain upon the nerves of students. Result is that the system is producing mostly the youth, who are unable to express clearly in any language, including in their own.
  • Acquisition of quality education is not possible through a foreign language.
  • It adversely affects the competence and confidence of students.
  • Masses remains deprived.
  • Present education system gives more importance to subjects like science and mathematics and ignores the culture of heart and hand. It has confined itself simply to head.
  • Present system increases the gap between ‘haves and have-nots’ – Instead of being an instrument of social integration, modern education system divides society into two groups, ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Usually children of poor families go to government or government aided schools. Poor people cannot bear the expenditure of sending their children to Private schools. Only well-to-do families can afford to send their children to Private schools, which try their best to maintain good standard of education.
  • Unfit for original work – Education system in India makes learners crammers, imitators and unfit for original work and thought. Whereas, Education system in Western  countries makes student a lively, inquisitive and original thinking person. There, it has been able to develop certain special qualities like regards for laws of the nation, awareness, contempt for hypocrisy, sympathy for underdog and courage to resist cruelty or misuse of power and authority. An educated youth in India generally fails to develop such an attitude and conscience.
  • Store-house of information – No doubt, access to information provides the basis of all the thinking and increases knowledge. But over-emphasis on information at all stages of education, from preliminary through secondary right up-to the college stage makes mind a store-house of information/knowledge and discourages original thinking. It lays emphasis on giving students ready-made knowledge, systematically and neatly organized in the form of lessons, units and text book. R W Emerson comments on modern education, “We are students of words: we are shut up in schools and colleges and recitation-rooms, for ten or fifteen years and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words and do not know a thing.”
  • Degree-oriented system led to rush in educational institutes of higher learning : The whole system of education, training and employment is degree oriented. The result of such a narrow mind-set is –
  • Requirement university degrees/certificates as a Passport for getting white collard jobs and giving final from manual work has made a mockery of higher education. It has encouraged mass entry into the institutions of higher learning
  • Present education system does not pay enough attention on Primary education. Early childhood learning plays a vital in improving the quality and quantity of learning and for developing lifelong qualities in children. Latest brain researches tell that first 2000 days are the most important in a child’s life, when children develop learning strategies, learn how to think and develop problem-solving ability. At primary level of education, it is necessary to have more interaction between parents, teachers, and children.
  • Higher secondary, the weakest link in Indian education system – Higher secondary education is not up to the mark. It is the weakest link in Indian education system. In western countries, the higher secondary education system enables talented students to join courses of their choice. Sincere efforts are required to be done to improve the academic standards, curricula and methods of teaching at higher secondary level in India.
  • Neck to neck competition in schools and colleges – Attitude, aptitude or personal choice does not matter in learning what you want. It depends only on availability of seats for admission. There is cut-throat competition for getting admission in the courses of their choices. It puts lots of pressure on the minds of candidates. High expectations of parents, forces teenagers to join extra-classes/tutorial classes after school, which cuts down on their free, leisure time or time to spend on extra-curricular activities. Non-availability to get admissions in the courses of their choices affects adversely their interest in learning and giving their best to the society.
  • Degree-oriented culture encourages the mass-entry into universities and colleges. There is over-crowding in the institutions of higher learning. A large number of new substandard and superfluous colleges and universities are being created every day to meet the increasing demand. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the academic standards and students’ discipline, regional imbalances in the growth of educational institutions and politics in the temples of learning.
  • Politicization of the institutions of higher learning – There is a rush of students, who want degree as a passport. Some join institutions of higher studies just as a time-pass till they get employed. They  seize every opportunity to spoil the academic atmosphere and create disturbances. They get affiliated to youth wing of different political parties. And do not hesitate to take support of different political parties to create disturbances from time to time within the campus.
  • Indiscipline in institutes of higher learning –Instead of inspiring the modern youth to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they can channelise their energy and efforts towards desired direction, the present education making them over-conscious of their rights. They desire to be absolutely free from all kinds of moral compulsions.  Discipline, morality and observance of rules seems to them to be unnecessary and irrational. They do not have much respect even respect for their elders, teachers or authority. Not learning, but enjoying the life and material gains is  their aim. Knowledge without discipline may lead to chaos and violence.
  • Pre employment (primary and secondary) education and training – Work in human life is very important.  Work towards one’s goals and dreams gives purpose to human life. Living each day with purpose provides a sense of fulfilment. One of the major aims of education is to make youth employable. For streamlining the performance of people at work after employment, most essential and fundamental requirement is that the character and scope of primary and secondary education and training, (before joining the work force) should be  comprehensive in scope and sound in nature for making youth acceptable in job-market. Pre-entry education system needs to be redesigned in such a way, that it could continuously provide men and women of vitality, vigour, initiative and imagination with intellectual accomplishments, qualifications and soundness of character. It should impart knowledge, shapes attitude, cultivate skills and build work habits according to their specific area  of their interest, so that  they get better  adjusted to their working environment. Education should be more project based or practical based education, so thatcandidates get not only theoretical knowledge, but also practical knowledge as well.

Immediately after joining the work force, pre-entry education received prior to joining the work-force needs to be supplemented by well-planned foundation training. Foundation training facilitates the candidates to know the fundamentals of their specific jobs and inculcates in them relevant skills and attitude to do their jobs well. Without proper foundation training, effectiveness, efficiency and quality of work suffers.

  • Unrealistic Manpower Assessment – Assessment of manpower requirement for economic growth is not done rationally according to national needs. After Independence, the need for technical people was felt and in recent past for management experts. The creation of a large number of  institutions in these areas without assessing the needs of the nation resulted in educated unemployment and brain-drain. A large number of trained scientists, doctors, engineer’s technicians and management graduates go abroad in search of suitable jobs.
  • Faulty system of evaluation/examination – One of the reason of deterioration of the quality of education is that examination and evaluation system is faulty. It tests only a narrow range of skills, especially those of memory.
  • Addiction to electronic gadgets and poor life-style – Right from the beginning, children and teenagers are addicted to electronic gadgets. Any information on any subject, is easily available on Google. So there is no need to put any strain on mind for actual learning. Young children are addicted to electronic gadgets very much. It further cuts into their free time. Modern life style of stay up late due to reasons like working parents coming home late, socializing/going out for entertainment late in nights and health hazards due to undisciplined way of sleeping and getting up late adds fuel into fire. In long run, sleep-disorder may increase health problems like risk to heart attack, high blood-pressure, stroke, diabetes, drowsiness, depression, headaches obesity, loss of memory and poor performance at school.

Where the fault lies? – For the present weaknesses in the present education system, parents blame teachers and teachers the parents, students blame teachers and teachers the students. They together blame educationists and they in turn attack the social system. Blaming game can’t solve the problem. It is better to analyse the issues  and find out solutions.

All the weaknesses of present system of education cannot be removed overnight. Instead of offering excuses or blaming each other for the failures and dissatisfaction, all the three partners involved – students, teachers and the society should together make concentrated efforts to improve the education system and create a larger base of educated, trained and skilled manpower. Together they should do rational thinking after understanding the basics, fundamentals, aims and the problem of present education and training.

Problem areas in present education system – It is generally felt that present education system is not on the right track, because –

  • Education does not mean only the knowledge of three ‘R’s.
  • Present system focusses more on theoretical knowledge than its practical application in real life situations. Increasing knowledge-base through available information/bookish knowledge is also not the purpose of education.
  • Not adequate attention on the quality of education. Emphasis is more on increase quantity.
  • It also does not mean collecting degrees and certificates through formal education.
  • The process of learning is not confined to schools/colleges. It is a never-ending process.
  • Over-exposure of information,
  • Continuous deterioration of moral and cultural values in today’ materialistic world. Henry Kravis has commented, “If you don’t have integrity, You have nothing. You cannot buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.”
  • Absence of parental guidance, when it is needed the most.,
  • Too much emphasis on academic excellence has over-burdened the minds of children and youth. Parental pressure and peer-pressure is putting extra burden on students. Many children commit suicide or go under mental pressure.

Present education system does  a majority of individuals really educated with mature outlook. Such persons are mostly incapable to meet the adverse situations or challenges of real-life. The result is that –

  • Employers find it difficult to select, recruit and retain suitable persons for different disciplines and at different levels at job market.
  • When persons with immature mind-set enter into real life and join the workforce, they become restless, intolerant, more demanding or  impulsive.
  • Pre-entry education is such that after employment, even  the basics of their specific jobs are to be told to them. It requires a much more massive effort in order to make employees do their jobs well.

Planning for creating system of education and training – For planning a sound system of education and training, having a larger base of more skilled and expert manpower, and streamlining the performance of people at work after employment, it is necessary to

  • Educators and elders need to understand the psychology of youth/learners.
  • Awareness about changes happening every day in today’s world.
  • Enough arrangements to learn about the latest developments, and to upgrade and refresh knowledge continuously in their respective areas of work, after joining the workforce.
  • Commitment on the part of teachers to share their knowledge with students without bias.
  • Encouraging the students to express their thoughts and views freely and frankly.
  • Quality is more important than quantity in the sphere of education. Quality of education need not be compromised in any way for students, who cannot learn and understand at the same pace as other batch-mates. Educational institutions should make arrangements for special coaching for them, instead of lowering the standard of education.

Suggestions – To improve the quality of education and create a larger base of skilled and trained manpower, rational planning  needs to be done. First step is to diagnose the real problems. Then try to find out  the role of education in modern life after understanding its basics, fundamentals and aims correctly. Some areas which need special attention of all are –

  • Family, the first learning place for a child –  Family is called a child’s first school, where prior to joining school, a person learns manners and knowledge. Under the loving care of parents, a child learns to understand the world around him. It includes health-care, physical, emotional and behavioural development as well as logic and reasoning power. There a child learns as how to speak and communicate with others.  Therefore, role of parents and family becomes crucial for inculcating and developing lifelong qualities in children. For it, requires proper parental guidance is necessary. Parents should understand the psychology of their children. They should find out enough time to have more interaction with their children. At present, parents are so busy in meeting the two ends that they cannot devote enough time  and try to pass on this responsibility to schools teachers and day-care instructors etc. And it is practically very difficult for teachers or child-minders to pay individual attention to each and every child because of the large number of children under their charge.    
  • ‘Education for all’ – In present world of fast-paced life-style, ‘Education for all’ can instil in people,  the courage to avoid out-dated traditions and dogmatic ways of doing things. Educated persons can face  the challenges of life with confidence. Sound system of Education along with proper training system can inculcate in people qualities like self-reliance, rational, positive and creative thinking, problem solving attitude, planning properly about their future and career according to their attitude and aptitude, taking right decisions at right time, doing their duties responsibly, act judiciously and facing the challenges in life.
  • Improvement in the character and scope of primary and secondary level educational system is the most essential and fundamental requirement is to improve. It should be redesigned in such a way, that it could continuously provide men and women of vitality, vigour, initiative and imagination with intellectual accomplishments, qualifications and soundness of character needed in different disciplines and at different levels at job market.
  • Requirement of University Degree not necessary – The requirement of a university degree as a Passport for starting nice and respectable career (white collard jobs) has made a mockery of higher education. Such an attitude has by-passed the need to “educate all”, resulted in negligence of primary and higher secondary education and in over-crowding the institutions of learning. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the academic standards and students’ discipline, regional imbalances in the growth of educational institutions and politics in the temples of learning.
  • Relationship between students and teachers – Relationship between students and teachers should be such that faculty members should encourage students to share and express their views and thoughts freely and frankly. Finding committed teachers is not an easy task, but is urgently required for keeping standards of education high.
  • Spirit of healthy competition needs to be inculcated – In the present atmosphere of neck to neck competition and to be one up,  it is better to upgrade one’s own knowledge, courage to meet the challenges of real life bravely, get control over emotions and impulses as far as possible, develop problem-solving attitude and skill to take right decision at right time.

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DNA of Hinduism and caste system

Traditional living had been an anchor, keeping our boat in safe harbour, Now that the anchor had gone and the boat is at the mercy of wild waves on a stormy ocean.

“Caste and Hinduism succeeded in doing in India, what no state, no conqueror and no economy was able to do – the establishment of a single unified system of society throughout the whole of India, accommodating numerous semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places), a system of society, which was able to comprise a greater range of local differences in a single system than any society has previously accomplished.”  And

“Through caste system, India has simultaneously accommodated “it to an almost endlessly varied system of semi-autonomous community and at the same time, it brings considerable unity, harmony and condition of peace.” …. And it “succeeded in wielding an enormously varied plurality of semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places and adopting themselves to many different conditions into a single system of society…” (Don Martindale, India since 1947, p 39)

DNA of Hinduism and caste system

Part 1  Introduction

Hinduism – There is a group of critics which considers that since there is no founder of Hinduism like Jesus Christ or Prophet Mohammad or any code book like Bible or Kuran, it is not at all a religion or Dharma. There is another group of Philosophers, thinkers intellectuals and reformers which thinks that Hinduism Many many knowledge persons from time to time contributed to its growth, Hindu Dharma is a science. It has been developed over centuries for giving right direction to the society by their own research and experiences. Because, Hinduism is a scientific religion, it is called Sanatan Dharma (based on eternal values). It presents one of the oldest,  continuous and uninterrupted living culture and civilization in the world. Sometimes, during 19th century, English writers have added ‘ism’ into the word ‘Hindu’.

Hinduism, culture and philosophy, in its purest form, as one of the most scientific ideology and way of living ever developed anywhere in the world. Hindu values, systems and principles have always remained an inspiring icon of peace, harmony, compassion and other human values for the whole universe. Caste system associated with Hinduism has worked as one of the instruments to maintain the continuity of Indian culture and civilization without interruption.

Gold-mine of Knowledge – The gold mine of Hindu knowledge in different spheres of real life still commands the respect and attention of an average Indian. It has inspired not only Indians, but foreigners as well.  Intellectuals from various countries have translated it in their own languages and reinterpreted it for a rational mind. reinterpreted it for a rational mind. Values and principles of Hinduism have always remained an inspiring icon of peace, harmony, compassion and other human values for the whole universe. It has guided people not only to live a quality of life here in this world, but also tells how to make life better after death.  Its rituals are techniques for leading a harmonious life.They speak of everything- on staying healthy, social evils, improving concentration and tenets of behaviour, which are relevant even today.

When in the past, the rest of the world was passing through the Dark Age, India was full of light. The first few centuries are recognized as the golden period of Indian history. During this period, arts, commerce, crafts, philosophy and knowledge flourished magnificently. Its people reached a high level of intelligence having specialization in different areas. It was rich in literary, philosophical and religious fields.

Issues – There are so many conflicting views about Hinduism and its caste system, that common men get confused. What is Hinduism, a religion of Hindus, a culture or a way of life? Has Hinduism and its caste system become obsolete in the light of modern times? If yes, then why along with caste system, Hinduism has not been replaced by other religion/religions? Why not only Hindus, but other communities living in India and having faith in other religions are influenced by the principles of Hinduism and values and systems of caste system?

Origin of the terms ‘Hindu’, ‘Hindustan’ or Hinduism? –  India and its people are known by different names. India is also known as Bharat, Hind, Hindustan. India and its people as Hindus, Hindustani, Bhartiya or Indians. The name Hindu refers to Indo-Aryans people. Each of these terms has historical significance.

  • Bharat – Ancient India, was referred to as Bharat-varsh and its people  as Bhartiya. Derived from the Sanskrit term ‘Bharata’ that means ‘the cherished’, this name dates back to the ancient ‘Hindu Puranas’ (Hindu scriptures). According to it, the legendary Emperor Bharata was the first conqueror of the entire Indian subcontinent and the founder of the famous Bharata dynasty. After him, the Indian land is known as ‘Bharatavarsa,’
  • Hind, Hindu and Hindustan – The credit of the emergence of the terms Hind, Hindu or Hindustan goes to Sind river. These terms have been in use in Greek since Herodotus (4th century BCE). The invaders from Persia and Greece came to Indian subcontinent around 5th century BCE. They took inspiration from the name of river Sindhu, which runs mostly through present day Pakistan, Jammu & Kashmir in India and Western Tibet. And people living there, mostly Indo-Aryans, were called  Hindus (‘Sindhu’). The term ‘Hindu’ is the Persian equivalent of  ‘Sindhu’. And their religion and culture were termed as Hinduism.
  • Hindusthan – When invaders came to India from land route, they called the land beyond Sind river as Hindusthan. ‘Stan’ in Persian means ‘land’ or ‘country,’ much like ‘sthana’ in Sanskrit means ‘place’. In the early 11th century a satellite state of the Ghaznavids in the Punjab with its capital at Lahore was called “Hindustan”. After the Delhi Sultanate was established, north India, especially the Gangetic plains and the Punjab, came to be called “Hindustan”.
  • India – By 13th century, India became a popular alternative name for Hindustan. Since then, Latin term “India” has been widely in use for the Indian sub-continent. During the British Raj, instead of Bharat or Hindustan, where Indo-Aryan culture is strongly based there. The term ‘Hindus’ evolved to ‘Indos’ and made its first ever appearance in Old English in 9th century and re-emerged in Modern English in the 17th century. After Independence, it is known as the “Republic of India”.

Hinduism as a way of living, a culture/civilization – Along with a religion, Hinduism is also a philosophy, a culture and an Art of living to lead a Quality of Life.

According to Hindu MythologyBelievers in Hindu Mythology think that Hinduism, its culture and civilization has been existing since times-immemorial. With the passage of time, a large number of social groups migrated into India, earlier from the land route, later from sea route from other parts of the world. They settled down here and ultimately merged into the mainstream of Hinduism.

Historical Evidences – Historical evidences show that Hinduism as a Vedic culture originated during the period of Indus Valley Civilization (around 3300–1300 BCE on the Indo-Gangetic Plains, (in northern parts of India) and matured by 2600–1900 BCE). It spread/flourished throughout India during 1500 BC and 500 BC. The blending up of migrating social groups with that of the indigenous people living in this region gave rise to Vedic Culture of Hinduism.

Hinduism as Vedic culture – The Vedic culture is a magnificent example of scientific division and orderly arrangement of rules. Its literature contains in itself vast human knowledge, about almost all the aspects of life, be it phonetics, arts, literature, medicine, polity, metrics, law, philosophy, astrology or astronomy.

Is Hinduism merely a Religion? – Somehow it is difficult for the Western world to understand the true meaning, ethos and nuances of Hindu “DHARMA”. They describe Hinduism as a religion/religious tradition. To them, it is a set of religious beliefs like Christianity or Islam. They have  literally translated the Sanskrit word ‘Dharma’ into English as ‘religion’.

Hinduism not merely a religion – Hinduism is not a merely a religion like Christianity or Islam. ‘Hinduism’ is  ‘a way of life’ and ’fusion of various beliefs’. It is mainly based on the principle ‘Dharma’/Sanatan Dharma. (Before the colonization of India, Hinduism was popularly known as Sanatana Dharma). At present, in the world, Hinduism is followed by 15%, after Christianity followed by 33% and Islam by 24.1%  of the world population. It is supposed to be one of the oldest and largest religion

Origin of ‘Hindu ‘Dharma’, much older – Hindu ‘Dharma’ of Indus Valley Civilization is much older than the meaning of the term ‘religion’ in its present sense. The meaning of ‘religion’ in its present form was non-existent, when Upanishads (Vedic texts) were composed, containing the earliest emergence of some of the central religious concepts of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The roots of Hindu Dharma can be traced back to prehistoric times, over 5,000 years ago. In the past, gradually Hinduism spread all over South-eastern Asia, China, Korea, and Japan. Hindus worship a single god with His different forms.

Origin of the term “Religion” – According to the philologist Max Müller (the 19th century), the term ‘Religion’isoriginated from the Latin word ‘Religio’ meaning“to bind together.” It wasused originally to mean reverence for God or the gods, careful pondering of divine things, piety.

Renaissance Movement separated worldly things from Spirituality – After Renaissance movement, the term ‘Religion’ was used as a set of religious beliefs. It was first used in the 1500s to distinguish worldly things from spirituality  and  morality and set the domain of the church. From that time onwards, religion meant belief in or worship of God/Gods and a system of religious beliefs and practices.

Narrow meaning of ‘Hinduism’, as merely a religion, has been started in India only after the colonization, under the influence of Europeans, especially the British. Sometimes, during 19th century, English writers had added ‘ism’ to Hindu and termed their religion and culture as Hinduism.

Despite centuries of foreign rule, about 79.8% of the population of India identify themselves as Hindus, (roughly about 966 million people) as per 2011 Census of India, who have faith in the Vedic principles of Varna, Dharma, and Karma. 14.2% of the population follow Islam and the remaining 6% adhere to other religions like Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism or Buddhism etc.

Hinduism accepted other faiths as they are – Hinduism even as a religion has never tried annihilate other faiths, or the way of living, internal order, customs, culture or language of the people having faith in other religions of the world. Since ages, a large number of social groups migrated to this area from other parts of the world and willingly merged into the mainstream of Hindustan. Whenever migrated social groups desired to join the mainstream of Hinduism, they were neither prevented to join it, nor were they allowed to disturb its existing internal social order. Rather all the incoming groups were welcomed and given enough freedom to prosper according to their internal rhythm.

Hinduism as Philosophy – Hindu Philosophy is the base of Hinduism.  It has taken thousands of years to take a shape. It cannot be found in one single authoritative text, nor can it be attributed to one single author. All its principles cannot be found in one single authoritative text, nor can it be attributed to one single author.

Part II Hinduism as a Philosophy

How Principles of Hindu Philosophy passed on up-to present generation –  Hinduism has been followed by the majority community (Indo-Aryans) living in India since ages. The priestly schools had devised a most remarkable and effective system of transferring knowledge to succeeding generations in the form of hymns, restricting it only to those, possessing brilliant feats of memory and capability to keep extreme sanctity. Later on, it was put together in ‘Vedas’, ‘Smritis’ ‘Sutras’, and ‘Upanishads’. These Epics “contain an ocean of knowledge in a jar.”[i]

Hindu philosophy, simple and in conformity with nature – The speciality of Indian philosophy is its simplicity, solidity, and conformity with the forces of Mother Nature. Vedic literature, Scriptures and philosophy of Hinduism are described in’Vedas’, ‘Smritis’ ‘Sutras’, ‘Upanishads’, Ramayan and Bhagvat Gita etc. These are not merely the scriptures/religious/spiritual books, but also a perfect guide to lead a quality of life. The ”Rig Veda” , dated to between 1500–1200 BCE is said to be the oldest  complete religious holy book that has survived into the modern age. Ramayana and Mahabharat are the two great epics of Hinduism.

Vedic literature was mostly written by non-brahmins. Ramayan was composed by the Tribal Balmiki. Ved Vyas, who classified four Vedas and wrote Mahabhart, was born to a fisher-woman (a Scheduled Caste person). All Hindus consider Teachings of Ved Vyas, Saint Vashisht, Valmiki, Krishn, Ram, Muni Agastya, Vishwamitre, Shrunga, Gautham Budhdh, Mahavir, Tulsidas, Thiruvalluvar, Kabir, Vivekanand, Gandhi, or Narayan Guru etc most valuable

Laws of Manu/Manu Smriti or  Mānava-Dharmaśāstra also leaves a deep impression in the minds Hindus. Mythologists believe that Manusmriti is the record of the words of Brahma and the code of conduct for inter-caste relationships in Hindu society. The time of its recording is uncertain, but some believe it to be about 200 BC.

Manu Smriti was a hybrid moral-religious-law code and one of the first written law codes of Asia. It still sustains paramountcy in  conservative Hindu society in spite of its age and many controversies linked with it. 

Principles of Hindu PhilosophyFollowing are some of the basic principles of Hindu Philosophy:-

  • Atma (Self) and Parmatma (Creator of Universe)The Vedas conceptualize “Brahman” as the Cosmic Principle. ‘Brahman’ is a key concept found in the Vedas, and it is extensively discussed in the early Upanishads. According to Principle of non-duality, Atma and Parmatma are the two integral parts of the same God, and therefore inter-linked. the also known as ’Bramhan’/’Parmatma’ (God). The ultimate purpose of human life, according to Indian thought, is to unite with the ultimate Reality, the Divine/Brahman.
  • Meaning of Brahman “world soul”/”cosmic soul”) or Parmatma (Highest Divine Reality)In Upanishads, Brahman or Parmatma is described as a ‘Ultimate Supreme Divine Reality”, “world soul” or “cosmic soul.” He has been variously described as the creator and destroyer of the entire Universe. He is all-pervasive, infinite, permanent, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. HE is present in all the objects, including human body. He is essence of this universe and way for ‘Atman’ to achieve Sat-cit-ānanda (truth-consciousness-bliss).
    • According to Upnishad, every human has two components – the body and the soul. Death can destroy a human Body, but Soul is indestructible. Body, which is  (made up of eight elements earth, water, air, sky, fire, mind, intellect and ego). Death merely changes the form of the body. Human body does not retain its original form or shape and changes its shape even in one life with moving times.
    • Atman Atman resides within a body of any living thing, be it a human, an animal or a tree. means ‘Eternal Self’ or ‘Real self’. It is often referred to as ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ beyond human body or illusions/false ego of human mind. It indicates the true self or essence, which underlies human’s existence. Atman (soul) is the spiritual identity of human body. Body gets destroyed, but not the “Atman”. Like Parmatma, Atman is also eternal, being the integral part of the Supreme.
    • Principle of Reincarnation Hinduism believes in the Immortality of the soul, and in the ‘Principle of Reincarnation’. It means that the soul is a deathlessness entity. After death it is reborn again and again depending on the deeds of previous birth till it attains salvation. After several births and deaths of body, one can reach a state of immortality. But once it attains Salvation, it is not born again.

Ultimate purpose of human life, Moksha/Salvation – The ultimate purpose of human life is Immortality/Salvation/Moksha, get rid of the pangs of rebirth and death. In order to set itself free from the cycle of multiple rebirths and deaths, one should do follow the path of ‘Dharma’. Here dharma means ‘Sadachaar’ (good behaviour) by keeping purity and sincerity in  ‘Aachar’, ‘vichaar’, and ‘karma’ (thinking, behaviour and action). Good deeds of human can help to reach up to the stage of salvation. One needs to practice continuously detachment by restraining one’s senses from drifting towards the objects of worldly pleasures, (materialism and consumerism). A balanced mindset is required to practice detachment and keeping oneself away from illusions or irresistible lure for worldly pleasures.

  • Avatars to save humanity from evil – Hinduism believes in Avatars. According to Hindu mythology, the Supreme power visits the earth from time to time in some form of Avatars to save humanity from evil. So far these Avatars have visited the earth – Mats avatar (fish), then to Kurma (tortoise)); Varaha (wild boar); Narsimha (half animal half mam); Vamana (dwarf); Parushrama with axe (tool); Rama, the Maryadapurusha; Krishna the playful and serious avatar; and ninth, Budha the enlightened one. The world is awaiting for the 10th avatar in the form of Kalki, a genetically supreme bionic man. (‘Know your religion through its philosophy’ by Prakash Shesh, the Speaking tree, TOI, January 14, 2016, p. 20)

Righteousness always wins over Evil – The morale of the stories about Avtaars is that Righteousness always wins over Evil. It inspires and encourages masses to follow the path of virtue and keep themselves away from evils. Different rituals, traditions, and customs give to the people, a purpose to live for and follow the path of righteousness.

  • Teachings of Ramayana and Mahabharata – Mahabharata and Ramayana are two great Hindu epics, which commands the respect and attention of an average Indian. These Epics speak on everything, be it in the sphere of spirituality or material well-being – on keeping good relationship with other humans, staying healthy, overcome social evils, improve concentration and mannerism, which are relevant even today. The basic principles of these Epics  guides people to lead a worthwhile quality of life here in this world. And after death enable the soul to make its onward journey by improving the prospects re-births.  

Teachings of Bhagvat Gita – It is amazing that Bhagwat Gita, a book as old as 5000 years is still relevant even in the  age of Artificial Intelligence(AI) of 21st century. Teachings of Gita give an exercise to human minds in the same manner as yogic exercises to bodies. It has solutions to all doubts, fears, dilemmas, problems etc. and guide humans to live a happy, peaceful and prosperous life. Following five basic principles of Gita can change human life positively –

  1. Focus on your action and not on the results – Focus on your action and not its results. “Karm Karo, Fal ki Chinta mat Karo”. (Verse 47, Chapter 2, Bhagwat Gita) Because results are not solely dependent on your efforts. Result depends on other factors as well like other people, circumstances or atmosphere etc. If results are not as per your expectations, pain is unavoidable.
  2. Do not resort to inaction – When the work is hard and burdensome,  never lose interest and attach oneself to inaction (निष्क्रियता).
  3. Be Fearless – The biggest fear in our lives is “Fear of Death”. Fear creates deterrence in whatever you wanted to do it in life. Only body is destroyed, Soul is glorious, fearless, free from old age and immortal.
  4. Eliminate fear of death from your mind. (Verse 20, Chapter 2, Bhagwat Gita)
  5. Gateways to hell/unhappiness – There are three gateways to unhappiness – Lust, Greed and Anger, abandon these three completely as it disturb the balance of mind and soul, and leads to self-destruction. 

Following are lessons of Gita give an exercise to human minds in the same manner as yogic exercises to bodies:

  • Detach from illusions and attach to Divine. Give priority to divinity. See divinity all around.
  • Have enough knowledge/intellect/devotion to see the truth as it is.
  • Attachment is the cause of all distress.
  • Detachment is the way to progress and prosperity.
  • The attainment of True Knowledge is the ultimate aim of all such deeds.
  • Fight for right cause in life is the ultimate solution to all problems.
  • Live a simple life-style that matches your vision.
  • Always remain steady.
  • Renounce the ego and attain salvation leading to unending peace and happiness.
  • Every act should be done in moderation.
  • True Knowledge is far Superior to the knowledge of the Sacred Scripts.
  • Stress is on Detachment and Equanimity. Happiness and unhappiness should be considered alike. For achieving detachment or renunciation, Knowledge and intellect play an important role.
  • Concept of Right And Wrong, according to Indian philosophy – Right and wrong are relative terms. The idea of sin and virtue, good and evil are creations of the mind. They reflect the needs of society and therefore bear not much value. Truth lies somewhere in between various differing opinions. Yesterday’s Right/truth/Justice may be today’s wrong/falsehood/injustice, and today’s right tomorrow’s wrong. Truth is like a chameleon in reverse. It always assumes colors other than those of its environment. People chase truth/justice without embracing it. To understand it one needs a balanced approach. A rational opinion about it can be formed only by keeping these four variables in mind:
  • Desha (region) – The culture of a place, in which a person is born,
  • Kala (time) -The period of historical time, in which a person
  • is born,
  • Shrama (Effort)-The efforts required of him at different stages of Life,
  • Guna (Quality)-Aptitude and innate psycho-biological traits.
  • Positive and negative Mindset of human beings (Gunas) – Hindu philosophy believes that the whole world of activities is a result of complex intermixing of three basic qualities of human nature Satva, Rajas and Tamas. When born, a person, is like a clean slate – pure, formless, undifferentiated Consciousness. What s(he) writes on it, depends on the relative strengths of three Gunas –Tamas, Rajat and Sattva. The categorization in these three groups is usually depend on degree of attachment-detachment, austerity, Purity/cleanliness of body, speech and mind, charity and positive or negative thinking.

‘Satva’ Guna (Positive mindset) – ‘Satva’ is associated with peace purity, knowledge with clarity in  thinking positive attitude and consistency in actions. (1) Fearlessness, (2) Cleanliness of mind and body, (3) Devotion towards God, (4) Acquisition of true knowledge, (5) Suppression of the senses, (6) Study of scriptures, (7) Recitation of God’s name, (8) Taking pain in following one’s own code of conduct, (9) Simplicity of mind, inner self and senses, (10)Non-violence in all its forms, (11) Speaking Truth in a pleasant manner, (12) Absence of anger, (13) Non attachment, (14) Peace of mind, (15) Not speaking ill of others, (16) Kindness towards all, (17) Forgiveness, (18) Patience, (19) Lack of ego and (20) Feeling ashamed while doing something against Laws or Traditions. “Sat” or “austerity is required for pursuing knowledge,

‘Rajas Guna’ (Having power to control people and events)) –‘Rajas’ is associated with passion/lure for comfort, often makes an individual, self-centered.  Rajas represents itself by power, passion, action, energy and motion. Rajas Guna drives people towards passion, power, ambition, and love for comfortable living. It often makes an individual self-centred. It does not care much about any particular value. It can contextually be either good or bad. 

‘Tamas’ (Negative mindset) – Individuals with Tamas or negative thinking are the victims of ignorance, sloth carelessness. It usually suppresses good qualities and leads towards `Adharma (immoral behaviour, harsh words), Alasya (laziness) and Agyan (ignorance, Lack of knowledge). Tamas/negative mindset manifests (1) Ego, Ahankar (2) cruelty/Inhuman behaviour, (3) Injustice (Anyay), (4) Lust (5) Over- pride (mad) (6) Greed (Lobha) (7) Anger (Krodha), (8) . Jealousy, (9) Attachment (Moh), (10). Selfishness (Swartha).

Persons with negative mindset are usually responsible for different kinds of social evils, exploitation and miseries of the people. Most of the time, they make their own life quite stressful, as there is a gap between expectations and reality. In order to keep oneself away from negative mindset, one should first ‘Think’ before taking any step, then ‘evaluate’, and try to be Creative and confident, while setting goals.

Inter-play of the three qualities determine personality of a person – Inter-play of the three qualities determine the tendencies, potentialities, limitations, traits and character of different individuals and give them direction for action. The material world through senses attracts human mind towards a mirage/illusion or attachment. Many a times, such attachment leads to impurities. Freedom of mind from attachment/illusion is consciousness. In order to become civilized, one has to keep in control and observance of cleanliness – of body, speech and mind. The purpose of human life should be to overcome Tamas, refine Rajat and inculcate Sattva.

  • Hinduism provides legitimacy to Principle of Varna -Hinduism has provided legitimacy to the Varna followed by Jati-Pratha, which has prepared a political and social framework for Hindu society. Principles of Varna, Dharma and Karma are the Foundation pillar of Hinduism. Together these principles have given  a sustainable social structure and a distinct identity to Hindu society.
  • Principle of VarnaPrinciple Of Varna has provided continuity and stability despite numerous foreign invasions, migrations and assimilation of various groups.

Division of Labour/work according to Attitude and aptitude – According to Hindu philosophy, individuals differ from each other in natural endowments, intelligence, aptitudes, attitudes, skills, personal needs and other innate characteristics.  Their physical strength, mental capacity and moral aspirations, like and dislikes, inclination and expectations of everybody in the society are not the same. Therefore, Principle of Varna assigns different activities to different sections of society according to its natural endowment/inclinations, qualities attitudes, aptitudes, Gunas (psychological characteristics), personal needs and other innate characteristics.

The doctrine of Varna distributes and organizes systematically the performance of various functions; provides  a quality of life to its people; defines roles, duties and vocations for different sections of society on the basis of their attitude and aptitude roles; organizes inter-relationship of various sections of society. This way, Principle of Varna has organized and distributed  performance of various functions systematically needed for the survival of society.

Manu’s classification of Hindu society is was based on the principle of ‘Division of Labour’. He has grouped the people into four Varnas according to their attitude and aptitude –

  • Brahmins (Learners) – Persons who  have had qualities of “Sat”/“austerity (needed for pursuing knowledge) are put in Brahmin’ category. In the past, they were basically are teachers, scholars, priests or advisors, not the rulers. They are assigned the job of guiding the society in right direction. Their sole income was biksha (alms) given by the landlords (non-brahmins)Ancient Greek philosophers have called such persons ’Philosopher King’.
  • Kshatriyas (Warriors) – Action-oriented, courageous/brave persons having quality of ‘Rajas’ have been given the charge are  put in Kshatriyas group. Their job was to exercise power and to protect the whole society from internal or external aggressions. Ancient Greeks called them ‘Warriors’.
  • Vaishyas (Business men) Business men inclined towards trade are put in Vaishyas group.
  • Shudras (Workers) – Persons needing guidance of above three groups for doing any  job have been put in Shudras category.

Numerous castes and sub-castes emerged within each Varna – As population increased and more and more indigenous and foreign social groups were merged into the Hindu-fold, Vedic Varna system gave way to  Jaati-pratha. Assimilation of various social groups, indigenous and foreign, (be it racial, immigrants, locals, tribal, professionals or other groups) into Hindu-fold, gave birth to Jaati -pratha.  Each new group coming into its fold was assigned  a new separate caste identity. The way of living and culture of each identity has been carefully nurtured and preserved.

Basic difference between Varna and Jaati – Initially, according to Smritis one fitted into a particular Varna not by birth. It was based on  qualities and deeds. But membership of jaati was by birth. With the passage of time, circumstances and convenience tended to make even Varnas hereditary. 

‘Varnas’ were never more or less than four and always remained the same. Numerous castes and sub-castes emerged within each Varna. Castes had its ethnic roots as denoted by Jati and a ritualistic and symbolic significance in its Varna aspect. Each caste found its place under a Varna on the basis of their nature of work, its being ritually clean or unclean and amount of self-discipline, they exercised.

“Castes” have its ethnic roots as denoted by Jati and a ritualistic and symbolic significance in its “Varna” aspect. Almost all castes have found their place under a Varna on the basis of their nature of work, its being ritually clean or unclean and amount of self-discipline, they exercise.

Modern India – As against this system, modern India has stratified Indian society into five unbridgeable watertight compartments – Upper castes or caste Hindus, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Backward Castes and Minorities. Employment/occupation/profession now depend on number of formal degrees/ diplomas/certificates. Jobs are divided into white-collared jobs, blue-collared jobs and menial/derogatory jobs. It is the contribution of Western world, a post-industrial-revolution development.

  • Principle ofDharma” Scholars have repeatedly commented that the word ‘Dharma’ is not translatable in English. Words like law righteousness, ethics, morality all together are not enough to give justice to the meaning of Dharma. The principle of Dharma embraced within itself religion, law, duty, righteousness, morality and conformity with truth”. Along with its being a religious idea, Dharma was also a principle and a vision of an organic society, in which all participating members were independent, yet their roles complimentary. 

Dharma guides individuals to remain true and to fulfil their duties earnestly, enables different groups to act cooperatively. It  regulates the behaviour and inter-personal relationship of its component members within the society. It provides universal, practical and eternal guidelines to be followed in personal life, family life, community life, social life, professional life and national life.

Common Dharma for all – Principle of Dharma has given universal, practical and eternal guidelines to be followed in personal life, family life, community life, social life, professional life and national life. All the people in the society are governed by Dharma at all times, be it a ruler or ruled, parent or child, teacher or student or man or woman. There is a common Dharma, which is applicable to all. These are the norms and values of good conduct, which lead individuals to the path of righteousness.

Specific and separate Dharma for different sections of society – Principle of Dharma also specifies role, duties, privileges and restrictions of each role separately. It prescribes a separate Dharma appropriate to each Varna, each class and each stage of human life. Separate Dharma for different communities is based on inherent qualities, aptitude and potentialities of its members. The Dharma of Brahmin was not that of a Shudra, or the Dharma of a student not that of an old man.

Follow Swadharma – ‘Dharma’ prepares an atmosphere to inspire people to do their own duties, ‘Swadharma’ honestly. Following one’s own Dharma gives everybody else opportunities to live and prosper socially, professionally, economically, and spiritually according to their own rhythm.

Will power to follow the path of ‘Swadharma’ – Moulding life according to Swadharma is not an easy task. It requires will power and a strong character. Therefore, persons with weak faculties finds it difficult to observe Dharma. Dharma along with Karma was the means, through which a person approached the desired goal of life, the ultimate aim being salvation from the cycle of birth and death.

Hindu culture assured people that proper performance of Swadharma with honesty and sincerity assures both, worldly honour and spiritual happiness. Proper assignment and performance leads the whole society to live quality of life. While performing Swadharma without hesitation, a person gets earns a rightful place in the society and a feeling of being an integral part of the society, not an outsider to it. Proper performance of Swadharma with honesty and sincerity assures both, worldly honour and spiritual happiness.

Principle of Karma with Detachment – Whereas, Western cultures have grown around the idea of `rights‘, forming the natural foundation of human relationship, Hinduism evolves around the concept of “duty, tolerance and sacrifice”. Emphasis on duty usually makes a person or a group humble and tolerant. It makes the inequalities, prevalent in the society, tolerable to an average Indian. It ensures social harmony and prevented rivalries and jealousies. Its helps people to adjust themselves, without much difficulty, to most drastic changes. India has achieved its freedom in a peaceful manner under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Hindus are basically filled with a sense of duty.

Karma, the Central Theme of Gita – Karma is the central theme of Bhagwat Gita. The Philosophy of Gita is simple. It guides people ‘Rely on one’s own Laws and Traditions. Do one’s own duties/deeds without hesitation and with complete devotion towards God, and achieve what is generally achieved by such deeds. 

Together these principles of Varna, Dharma and Karma have prepared an atmosphere of co-existence for different sections of its society – be it ruler or ruled, rich or poor; and  have held together different castes and communities having diverse languages and practices for generations – thus making unity in diversity a reality.

  • Work is WorshipHindu Philosophy teaches that Work is Worship. Society assigns everybody a specific task to do as per one’s own karmas and destiny. A person earns a rightful place in the society by doing his assigned duties honestly. While performing one’s duty/action, one gets a feeling  that he is an integral part of the society, and not an outsider to it.

One should do without hesitation the duties/deeds assigned to him/her  by the society and with complete devotion towards God, and achieve what is generally achieved by such deeds. 

  • No work superior or inferior – All kinds of work are worth pursuing and respectable, if done in its sincerely. No work is superior/high or humble/inferior/derogatory/ or waste. Any work done in its true spirit could never be derogatory or a waste. The work of a priest, warrior, manual worker or yogi, all are equally important for the society and are, therefore, right, respectable and worth pursuing. The idea of white-collared jobs, blue-collared jobs and menial/derogatory jobs is the contribution of Western world, emerged especially after industrial Revolution.
  • Every act should be done in moderation – Gita teaches that control over mind is necessary for purification of Soul. And for purification of Soul, one should fulfil the duties assigned to him in proper manner and in moderation.
  • Detachment – Work should be done with detachment.Dedicate the results of all your deeds to God. Detachment is the key to get control over restless mind. An individual should feel that he is the doer of the deeds. With detatchment, one can reach beyond the scope of the three qualities, saintly, worldly, and lethargic.
  • Work, not for external award – Work is done not so much for its external reward, but for the intrinsic satisfaction towards realization of ‘Swadharma’. Society assigns each one a specific duty as per one’s own karmas and destiny. Everyone should do His/herthe duties/deeds assigned to him without hesitation and with complete devotion towards God, and achieve what is generally achieved by such deeds.
  • Sanatan Dharma (Principle of Eternal Values) of Hinduism  – The term ‘Sanatan means eternal/beyond time and ‘Dharma’ means duty.It is said that things perfected by nature are better and more sustainable than anything else. The whole scheme of Sanatan Dharma is in conformity with time and forces of nature. All its instructions are in tune with the nature. It nurtures  basic instincts of human beings over nature. takes care of the basic physical, mental and spiritual needs of the human beings at different stages of life.

Sanatan Dharma is universal, eternal, applicable to all human beings  irrespective of race, caste or creed. Its norms of conduct takes care of their basic physical, mental and spiritual needs at different stages of life, which are as relevant even today, as it was earlier in ancient times. It attaches importance to social values. Its norms of conduct at different stages of life. are as relevant even today as it was earlier.  

Based on the experiences and deep study – Many learned sages and intellectuals, belonging to different communities at different point of time did  a deep study of natural instincts, inherent attributes, natural behavioural pattern and felt needs (physical, mental and spiritual) of humans at different stages of life. On basis of their experiences and deep thinking,  they formulated a compact life package, known as ‘Sanatan Dharma’.

  • According to Sanatan Dharma, for living life fruitfully and aging gracefully, every  individual passes through four stages of life. At each stage of life, he performs different roles like role of a student or a house-holder. It tells clearly what are the rights and duties of a person at what time and what is right age to study or enter into the real life.

Four stages of human-life – According to it, there is one pre-stage followed by four stages in human life. Different stages of human life are known as Ashrams, which are as following :-

  • Pre stage of Balyavastha or Childhood – First 5 or 6 years of infants’ and toddlers’ life is the pre-stage of learning. It is the best period of human life. This is the time for a child to learn and understand the first lesson of real life, about human relationships and mannerism. During this  period, the ground for  learning is prepared at home under the full-time attention, loving care and guidance of his parents. Constant interaction between parents and children prepares an atmosphere to develop child’s mental and physical faculties and character. It is the responsibility of parents to shape the attitude of their children. Obedience is expected from child.
  • Brahmacharya Ashram, First stage of human life – After Balyavasha (childhood) and beforeentering into real life is the right time for learning. The duty of young and grown up child is to learn and acquire knowledge.  It is a period of strict discipline. Students should lead a simple life. They should not bother much for worldly pleasures/comforts., They should work hard and devote their full time to acquire knowledge. It is teacher’s job to impart knowledge, shape attitudes, cultivate skills and build work habits, so that when they enter into real life environment after completing their course, they are better adjusted. Teachers should help students to develop their mental and moral faculties and guide them to get control over their senses, mind and intellect. At this stage society rears, protects and gives its best as heritage to coming generation.
  • “Grahasthashram/life of a householder” – Of all the Ashrams (stages) Grihasthashram has been given a high place of honour. Giving maximum importance to it shows that Indian philosophers and Epic writers attached great importance to social values.

During second phase of life, a person enters into the real life and joins work-force. It is the most energetic period of human life. As a householder, one raises family and enjoys the  married life. He gets a real ground to utilize one’s intellectual and physical capabilities. He works for financial and material success, get involved in economic activities.

  • Rights – This is the time to enjoy life fully and fulfil all his desires and dreams, with emphasis on – Dharma (piety, morality, duties), Artha (wealth, health, means of life), Kama (love, relationships, emotions) and Moksha (liberation, freedom, self-realization).
  • Duties – Householders are directly or indirectly in contact with the whole society. It is their duty to make direct contribution to the society, in consistent with the capacity, dictates of their knowledge and conscience. They are responsible to take care of their dependents, to look after the management, and the needs of  other three Ashramas, or financially help the people of other three Ashrams 

Dependents include elders, children, members of extended family, educational institutions and strangers in need of help. 

  • Third Stage of life, Vanaprastha Ashram – Grihathashram is conceptually followed by Vanaprastha Ashram. At this stage, running after luxurious life style or material success is not the aim. After fulfilling familial liabilities, time comes to start to lead a retired life, to start process of withdrawal, to delegate authority to next generation, start process of detachment from familial bonds and renunciation of worldly pleasures should start.. It is the time for ‘Simple living and high thinking’, to start process of withdrawal, delegation of authority to next generation, detachment from familial bonds and renunciation of worldly pleasures. 

Elders can provide extended care, to help in taking decisions, maintaining discipline within their respective groups. Time can be utilized by doing social service like helping and taking care of poor, helpless members of society like widows, destitute or weak. Spare time can be spent in contemplation or attending spiritual discourses..

  • Fourth Stage of life, Sanyas (renunciation) – At this stage, a person is completely free from any social obligation. It is a time for complete detachment, resignation and renunciation. to prepare oneself to leave this world and go to an unknown world. Realization of spirituality and wisdom is the aim.

Earlier, when human life was not so complicated and men were closer to nature, people could follow the principles of Sanatan Dharma without much difficulty. With the erosion of moral values and life becoming more and more complex, it became difficult for people to practice it.

  • Knowledge, a never ending process (‘Neti’, ‘Neti’) Vedas tell that creation and quest for knowledge is a constant process, without any beginning or an end. It is a never ending process (‘Neti’, ‘Neti’). Indian  Sages (Rishis and Munies) believed that even Vedas are not the end for quest for knowledge or prescribes any final absolutes.

According to Gita, Senses are superior to the body, Mind is superior to the Senses and Knowledge or intellect is superior to the Mind. Knowledge is better than Abhyas (practice), Meditation is better than Knowledge. Renunciation of the fruits of action is still better than Meditation as peace immediately follows such renunciation.

Knowledge, the key to know the truth – Knowledge is supposed to be necessary for giving Action (Karma) its due meaning, direction and value. It is necessary to know about one’s surroundings or understand what is right or wrong. Ignorance was considered to be leading to futile efforts destroying direction. Hinduism tries to inculcate discipline and sense of direction amongst ignorant masses through rituals, prayers, practices, and customs. But as said earlier it should not be followed blindly without understanding the purpose behind it.

There are choices before human beings – take action with developed mind/intellect or action with weak mind, bridled with desire, based on emotion, impulse, hatred, greed and selfishness. Intellect needs to be developed to make mind rational. Gita prescribes for ‘action’/’deed’ to be combined with intellect (knowledge with positive energies) governed by intellect makes a person calm and content. Knowledge with negative energies quite often leads to agitation/aggression and discontent.

Ignorance leads to futile efforts destroying direction. There are choices before everyone – either to take any action with knowledge and positive attitude or do a deed with ignorant/negative mindset.

  • Self-discipline, self-reliance and self-restraint – Hinduism gives importance to the considerations of self-discipline, self-reliance and self-restraint. It  suggests all social groups or Varnas to lead a self-restraint and self-disciplined life-style in all respects, be it in the matter of daily routine, occupation or inter group relationship. In the past, knowledge, spirituality, morality, hygiene, cleanliness of body and mind (concept of purity and impurity) and usefulness of their work to the society as a whole were the considerations , which determined the social, economic and political status of a group within society vis-a vis other social groups. Purer a varna or caste was, higher it was considered. Greater were the self-restrictions imposed on its behaviour through rituals by the society.

Discipline was inculcated and a sense of direction was given to the general public through infinite variety of rituals, prayers, practices, customs and meditation.

  • Tolerance and acceptance/interdependence Hindu philosophy values interdependence, acceptance and tolerance. Since ages, Hinduism sends messages like ‘Live and let live’, ‘Vasudhaiv-Kutumbakam’ (The whole world is one family) and ‘accept others as they are’, Truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression are imbibed in Indian ethos. It can be seen everywhere in common men’s way of life  in India. People  endure without much protest injustice and unfairness until they are pushed right to the wall. It has prevented its people to exercise coercion, force, violence or aggressions. It is the reason, why it is one of the oldest living culture in the whole world.
  • Tolerance level of Hinduism  – Tolerance is most evident in the field of religion.  Hindu’s faith in an all pervading omnipresent god and multiplicity of god/goddesses as representing some portion of the infinite aspect of the Supreme Being inspires to accommodate people of all faiths.  Hinduism concedes validity to all the religions and does not lay down strictures against any faith or reject any religion or its god as false.  That is why, all the twelve major religions of the world are present and flourishing in India without much hindrance. 

Accepts others as they are – Hinduism values interdependence and accepts other communities as its integral parts.

  1. It accepts that there are different paths leading to God and be humane;
  2. It gives complete liberty to worship any god or goddess of their choice, as well as use their own methods of worship;
  3. It does not impose its own codes of conduct on other faiths;
  4. It is liberal enough to see atheism as a legitimate pursuit.

In the past, Hindus had accepted oppression and exploitation without much protest, while such situations, elsewhere in the world, would have led to bloody revolutions. Intolerance of people elsewhere in the world had compelled the people either to work under the threat of a whip or led to bloody revolutions as had happened in ancient Greece, Rome or other European countries. However, tolerance in India had kept on adapting itself to changing times and had prevented people from taking up the path of violence. It is continuously internalizing the changes and has kept on adapting itself to changing times. India has entered the modern era without any cultural break.

Area where tolerance is harmful – Even today, the people are tolerating the criminalization of politics, corruption, scams and scandals and inefficient governance without much protest. Governance of the nation is one such area, where tolerance is harmful, because it does not only hinder the development, but also pushes the nation backwards. Hindus have not raised their voice against inefficiency in administration, corruption, scandals, scams, oppression or exploitation by powerful lobbies so far. They have tolerated even criminalization of politics without much protest.  Elsewhere in the world, such situations would have led to strong protests/bloody revolutions.

  • Hinduism a wonderful example of assimilation and Inclusiveness – More than anywhere else in the world, India holds a multitude of thoughts, processes them and practices them. There has been co-existence of varied belief, pattern and thought due to inter-mixing and cultural mingling.

Adopted the path of assimilation – Beauty of Hinduism lies in the way, it has assimilated numerous social groups coming from different parts of the world at different points of time in waves immigrants, locals, tribal, professionals or others – into its mainstream unlike Islam or Christianity.

No conversion – It does not believe in conversion or imposing its beliefs, practices and customs on others. Hindu religion has neither repulsed any trend vehemently, nor allowed others to sweep its own established culture off the roots.

Caste-system used as a mechanism for inclusion of other groups – Caste system assigned each incoming new group a separate caste identity. Society remained stable, while offering a place to a new community. The system neither disturbed its existing internal social order nor prevented any new group to develop itself. Without any conversion, caste system made new groups its integral part. It never tried to annihilate their faith, originality, internal order, customs, culture or language. Instead, it gave all incoming groups freedom to prosper/make changes into their systems according to their internal rhythm.

III Caste system 

Don Martindale has described caste as “the system of social life, in which Hinduism was expressed. …  Caste and Hinduism succeeded in doing in India, what no state, no conqueror and no economy was able to do – the establishment of a single unified system of society throughout the whole of India (accommodating numerous semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places), a system of society, which was able to comprise a greater range of local differences in a single system than any society has previously accomplished.” Caste is unique Indian institution upheld by a complex cultural ideology.

Caste-system is inseparably related to Hinduism by traditional customs, values and systems. It is having both religious and social sanction behind it. In the present understanding of caste system, element of caste is dominant and a system has been considerably suppressed. Castes has its ethnic roots as denoted by Jati, and a ritualistic and symbolic significance in its Varna aspect.

Meaning of the term caste – The term “caste” was unknown in ancient India. The terms ‘Varna and jaati’ were used in ancient and medieval India to identify different social groups and sub-groups. The term ‘Caste’ has been in use ever since British came to rule India.

The term caste has originated from Portuguese ‘casta’, meaning race, breed, ancestry. Portuguese first used the terms ‘casta’ meaning “breed, race, caste and ‘casta-raça’ meaning ‘unmixed race’. Portuguese observers described that Hindu society in western and southwestern India has divided itself through caste system into different socially ranked occupational groups. In an effort to maintain vertical social distance, these social groups practiced mutual exclusion in matters relating to eating and, presumably, marrying.

Application to Hindu social groups ‘Varna’ and ‘Jaati’ was picked up by English in India 1610s from Portuguese casta. The Latin word for it is castus, meaning “chaste” or purity of breed. Subsequently, British have merged both the terms ‘Varna’ and ‘caste’ into one word ‘cast’ or ‘caste’. Subsequently ‘caste’ has become the established word for the combination of ‘Varna’ and’’jaati’. 

Later on, major European languages (notably Dutch and French) also, ‘caste’ in the same specific sense.  has become established term The term Caste was recorded officially in 1840 for the first time by European colonizers, to mean persons belonging to the same hereditary social group. Instead of using ‘Varna or Jati’ separately, they Since then, the whole scenario about caste was messed up. The meaning and understanding about caste system has been changed drastically. 

Mystified western world – Western world is mystified by amazing pluralities and unique social structure of India based on caste. It is difficult for the western world to understand the role of caste – past or present – in Indian society. Complete localization and unfamiliarity makes it difficult to understand and appreciate fully, caste as a system in its totality and to know the nuances, the nature, role (both in the past as well as in present) and value of caste as a system.

Caste-system is inseparably related to Hinduism by traditional customs, values and systems. The roots of Varna system and Jaati-Pratha are so deep,  that it is virtually impossible to think of India without it. It has been one of the dominant features still running through the entire social fabric of India. Caste has its ethnic roots as denoted by Jati, and a ritualistic and symbolic significance in its Varna aspect.

Meaning of the terms Varṇa (वर्णः) and Jaati – ‘Caste’ has its ethnic roots as denoted by Jati, and a ritualistic and symbolic significance in its Varna aspect. The term “Varna” is a Sanskrit word, which means type, order, colour or class. ‘Jati’ is also a Sanskrit word  meaning ‘Jana’. Membership of ‘Varna’ is based on the attitude aptitude and deeds of a person, whereas by birth, everyone belongs to a Jaati. ‘Jaāti’ refers to thousands of endogamous social groups, sub-groups and sub-sub- groups coming under each Varna, living across the subcontinent. A jati may be divided into exogamous groups based on the same gotras. (Dumont, Louis, 1980, Homo hierarchicus: the caste system and its implications, University of Chicago Press, pp. 66–67)

Origin of Varna and Jaati Pratha (Caste system) in India – The origin of ‘Varna or Jaati’ can-not be found in one single authoritative text like Christian’s “Bible” or Islam’s “Kuran”, nor can it be attributed to one single founder, like Jesus Christ for Christianity or Mohammad Sahib for Islam. It is the development of thousands of years. to develop with the association of numerous social groups into it at different point of time. It started with the arrival of Aryans hereditary kinship and tribal groups in India in waves, from different parts of the world.

Different shades and meaning of caste system with changing times – Caste system has survived the vicissitudes of time, and saved itself by erosion from within and assault from outside. Credit of its prolonged life goes to its adaptability, flexibility and absorptive nature, which has internalized even the alien influences. It has taken different shades and meaning with the changing times and places. Once changed, it never returned to its original form. Such flexibility is not seen in the West. When Christianity broke away from Judaism, it departed totally from the common cultural traditions. 

Wonderful process of assimilation – Wonderful process of assimilation and fusion of different social groups has been a continuous process of the Hindu civilization. It contributed to the cultural richness of Bharat.  All the sects present in India, whether foreign or indigenous, have been influenced greatly by Hindu thinking, caste system, its practices and systems.

Different stages of making and evolution of Varna/casteFollowing are the different stages of the evolution of Varna/caste – 

  • Caste during Ancient period -As Basham has pointed out, Caste system may well be called a natural response of many small and primitive groups of people, who were forced to come to terms, with a more advanced economic and social system. Caste system provided a mechanism, by which numerous discrete tribes, all sorts of groups and associations arising for political, sectarian or other reasons could be internalized and preserved within the whole.
  • Pre-Vedic period – The making of caste system can be traced from the times of pastoral tribal society. Roughly ten millennia ago, people lived  in small migratory groups, living the life-style of wandering “nomadic herdsmen”. These small groups mostly lived in hilly areas, not far from rivers. Tribal communities were nomadic or semi nomadic and egalitarian. They depended on nature for its subsistence.
  • Settled agricultural society – Then came the period of making of the agricultural societies. People started  cultivating land and settled down Gradually pastoral tribal society transformed into a settled agricultural society, confining its activities and life within a small area or territory. Clans and tribes settled permanently in different parts of the country. As reflected in ‘Rigveda’, during early stages of Vedic Age people ceased to be a wandering people, started a settled life.
  • Entry of Aryans – Aryans entered into India in waves from land-side at different points of time. Aryans, after entering into India first conquered its original inhabitants of Northern part of India, colonized and established kingdoms, then Deccan and then south. During the period, it was possible to have high ranks, but not high social classes.
  • Development of structures and systems – Socio-political structures and systems were evolved leisurely over about 2000 years (roughly between 2000 BC to about 600 BC) and kept on coping with the changes slowly, time had brought in.
  • In the beginning people hardly possessed more than what was needed for their subsistence/survival.
  • The practice of cultivation, rise of crafts and iron tools transformed the egalitarian society into fully agricultural and stratified society sometime during 6th century BC.
  • Initially a simple class division was seen in the social structure, i.e. nobility and the ordinary tribesmen. Slowly, possession of land, slaves and hired laborers started. People started producing and possessing more than they needed. The kings collected their surplus yields.
  • The power of kings gradually increased. For regular collection, administrative and religious methods were devised.
  • Varnas and Jaatis (Caste) during Vedic Period – Vedic society is considered as the most advanced civilization in every respect be its social structure or its culture. This was the time when the social structure was taking shape under “Varna System”. Historical time of the origin and slow but steady evolution of Varna system is estimated around 3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE. It was the period of beginning of Indus Valley Civilization. Varna system originated and flourished in northern parts of India (on the Indo-Gangetic Plains of the Indian subcontinent) and later on spread throughout India during 1500 BC and 500 BC. Society was relatively egalitarian one. There was no distinct hierarchy of socio-economic classes or castes.

Emergence of “Jaatis” now known as Caste within each Vana – Later on, numerous racial, tribal, occupational and other groups entered in waves into India via land routes from different parts of the world. The assimilation of these migrating social groups into the  main-stream of Hinduism was done through jaati pratha. Each incoming new group was assigned a separate Jaati (caste) name. This way, numerous Jaatis emerged within each Varna. Jaati pratha had not only accommodated and bound migrating social groups into a single cultural system, but gave them full freedom to continue their own culture and way of living and flourish.

To discipline the society, Hinduism now clearly defined rights and duties. Along with all the freedom to flourish within its own soil, Hindu society imposed some restrictions as well. Slowly and steadily developed rules of endogamy, ritual purity, interdependence and hierarchical order of its social units. This way, Hinduism has neither repulsed any trend vehemently, nor allowed others to sweep its established culture off the roots.

  • Castes during Medieval PeriodMany changes took place, during medieval period in the caste system. Turks, Afghans and Mughals continuously invaded India. Invasion of Ghazni (998-1030 AD), and others, the establishment of Slave Dynasty (1206-1290), Khilji Dynasty (1290-1320), Tuglak Dynasty (1320-1412 AD) Sayyed Dynasty (1414-51) Lodi Dynasty (1451-1526) and Mughal Empire (1526 to 1757) continuously pressurized Hindu Social system. Earlier they drained out the wealth of the nation to foreign lands.  But afterwards, they conquered and made India their homeland.

Downfall of Hindu Raj along with decline of traditional Hindu values, imposition of Zaziya on Hindus and intolerance of alien rulers towards their Hindu subjects made it difficult for Hindus to preserve their identity and indigenous culture. Hindu society turned inwards to save their identity. Excesses by rulers resulted in conscious efforts by Hindus to save their identity, values and honour by making caste rules and rituals stricter and more rigidly applied than before[i]. It gave birth to many social evils like Sati Pratha; Dowry, Purdah system or superstitions. Feudalistic attitude, extravagance and luxurious life style of rulers and those at the helm of authority had increased the disparity between the rulers and the ruled.

Despite of all these socio-economic and political changes, the institution of caste was independent of the government’s intervention till medieval period.   It made the Hindu society stable but not static. Traditional decentralized self-regulated systems were the mode for keeping checks and balances in the social life of the country. The influence of caste system was immense on public minds because:-

  • The cultural endowments formed the basis of social status of different Varnas –
  • The ranking of different Varna was not based on wealth or material gains, but on intellectual and spiritual attainments and on self-discipline.
  • As late as the eighteenth century, no all-India hierarchical order of different Varna has taken an all-India character. Generally the position of Brahmins was considered at the top and that of Shudras at the bottom. The Brahmin strongholds were the centres of learning. But in between the two, there was an ambiguity about the status of all the castes, which was acceptable to all concerned in any local area. 
  • This, itself, has given a large element of fluidity to caste system.

Upward mobility was possible for different groups by improving their attitude and mannerism.

  • Close association of caste There was a close association of caste with occupation. As leading sociologists pointed out, in addition to their hereditary occupation, agriculture and army were open and had accommodated all social groups of society – indigenous or alien. The basic qualification for doing any work was mainly having the qualifications needed for that specific job.
    • There was no dearth of employment for aspiring workers.  A substantial labour market existed in agricultural sector. Immense influence  of powerful peasant was a reality of the rural life of Medieval India. Indian peasantry in UP, Bihar and MP were armed.  In fact, non-Kshatriya peasant provided leadership of most armed bands. They were numerically predominant and economically and politically strong at the village level. 
    • Military service was also accessible to anybody, from any strata of society including the lowest in the ritual terms.  There was no discrimination in recruitment and treatment of soldiers of any kind on the basis of caste.  Rajput status was given to soldiers. [Jain Girilal – The Hindu Phenomenon p9, 1994.]
  • Members of any caste group did not exercise monopoly over a profession. It is an established fact of Indian History that Brahmin or even Shudras sometimes became the kings. Khatriyas and Shudra were accepted and revered as philosophers or spiritual teachers.  In order to increase their strength, there were times, when inter caste marriages took place in the past. ]
  • Alternative ideologies and styles of life were available in India. The floating population, consisting groups like Gujjars, Bhattis, Rajput rangers, who remained outside caste system, were so strong, that they terrorized settled agriculturists for centuries. Forests, which competed with arable land in size and importance, till the 18th century, gave shelter and food to large sections of society and served as havens for those in search of escape from society.
  • People of different social-groups enjoyed a large measure of freedom in respect of their internal customs, rituals and life styles. All activities were confined within a small local area, having very little links with the outside world due slower means of transport.  Only merchants visited different distant places.
  • The plurality of society provided automatic checks and balances and controlled the arbitrariness or unbalanced growth of power of any group. Upward mobility was possible for different groups. Sometimes inter-caste marriages were also permitted. [ii]
  • The local societies before British rule used to be self-sufficient mutually `supporting and caring for each other. They were bound together by economic and social ties and had a strong bond of mutual dependence. Local character of society made close interaction and cooperation between different castes, a reality. Traditions and rituals required the participation of all social groups (castes). Even untouchables were assigned important social duties. Harijan women helped all castes at the time of child birth, sweepers beat drums in front of Hindu’s houses or in front of a procession at the time of an important ceremony, village barber spread news, arranged marriages and served food during celebrations.  Occasionally non-Brahmins or Harijans served as priests of temples of goddesses like Sita or Kali, where all castes made offerings.
  • There was not much disparity between different forward or lower castes.  There was hardly any question of all India tyranny of any caste group.  Not a single group was identifiable as very strong-dominating all the others, or as an enemy to defeat.  Laws remained unmodified and flexible with the capacity to adapt to local customs and situations.  People in power and position cared for the lower castes in order to acquire and retain local followers. The system made upper castes generous in matters of food, drinks and loans, when required. The tropical climate of the country compelled the people to the distribution of surplus, as it was difficult to store anything for long. [Sriniwas MN,  Times of India, Dated September 9, 1990, p 6.]
  • Teachings of Bhakti and Sufi saints like Sur, Tulsidas, Chaitnya Mahaprabhu, Nanak, Kabir etc. gave some breathing space to the rigidity of caste system, which suffocated the society during medieval India.

Pr. Rajni Kothari also accepts that till medieval times: –

  • There was a hierarchical social order, through which infinite ambiguities had been accepted, tolerated and regulated.
  • A multi-cultural framework of governance existed, which had restrained hegemonical and majority’s dominating tendencies.
  • A highly flexible ethics code was there, through which constant and continuing distortions, clash of personalities, major paradoxes in elite behaviours and instances of humiliation, acrimony and hypocritical behaviours in the conduct of public affairs were managed.[Times of India, dated July 28, 1997,  p13.]
  • Caste system during Modern Period – Caste system has always been a centre of attention for Westerners, politicians, intellectuals, activists or reformers from other faiths. It has been both defended and opposed vehemently in the political circles of modern India.

During Seventeenth century, many Dutch, Portuguese, French, British and Spanish companies came to India in search of market. Weakening of Islamic power, internal fights among various group leaders and communal unrest gave East India Company success not only in ousting other European companies from India, but also in establishing its rule in India and monopolizing its trade. Once firmly established, the authority was transferred from the Company to the Crown, through the Act of 1858.

After establishing their rule in India, British rulers adopted the policy of “divide and rule”. To keep their power intact, they played off one part against other, Prince  against Princes, Hindus against Muslims, province against provinces and caste against caste. They launched an ideological attack on Hindu practices and caste-system. To them, caste system was “discriminatory,” “iniquitous,” “exploitative,” “oppressive” “barbarous,” “uncivilized” and “highly stratified”. It was responsible for all evil social practices, feudalistic attitude, backward thinking, belief in dogmas and superstitions sustained by a unique set of rituals, and whimsical concept of purity and pollution.

Through Modern education system, British succeeded in disassociating many individuals from their traditional way of living, classical roots and knowledge. With it faded Indian values, philosophies, systems and traditions. It made many Indians to lose their faith in social values and systems. Many leaders like Mahatma Phule, Ambedkar or Gopal Ganesh instilled in the minds of millions of unlettered Hindus, venom against caste-system and the Brahmin community. They also held Caste system responsible for treating lower strata of society as lesser human beings; engaging them in forced labour, unsavoury jobs imposing many restrictions on them; preventing them from joining the mainstream of the society; and the subjugation of lower castes with the help of religion. They regarded untouchability as an inevitable concomitant of caste system.

There was another group of national leaders and reformers, who got alarmed at the erosion of Indian Culture, divisible policies of the rulers, economic loot, political subjugation, racial discrimination, assertion of lordly superiority over the subject on the ground of race, assumption of  haughty exclusiveness, persistent insulting and supercilious behaviour towards all Indians, exclusion of Indians from all places of authority and responsibility and denial of their capacity for self-governance united Indians against British rule. It gave birth to National movement.

Reformers also organized meetings to make ignorant masses aware of the social evils/real issues like superstitions or irrationality in observing rituals blindly. They advised people to stop treating low caste Hindus inhumanly. They advised to give underprivileged sections of society their rightful place in society. The intellectual ferment was strongest in West Bengal, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

In 1928, Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded Brahma Samaj in Bengal. He inspired the people of Bengal, UP, Punjab, Madras and other provinces, to form similar organizations and interpret religion rationally. Prarthana Samaj in Maharashtra (1867), Arya Samaj in Northern India, Rama Krishna Mission, Theosophical Society of India (1879), Dev Samaj in Lahore and Servants of India Society took up the job to awaken the masses. They talked about the greatness of Hindu Vedic culture and about Vedas as the source of all knowledge and truth. Swami Vivekanand founded the Rama Krishna Mission tried to reveal to the world Indian Philosophy and culture. Some reform institutes like Vivekanand’s or Rama Krishna Mission or Theosophical Society of India tried to familiarize the Western World, too, to the charm and graciousness of Indian Culture. Swami Vivekanand gave a call to “Return to Vedas”. He said, “Each nation like each individual has a theme in this life, which is its centre, the principle note, around which every other note comes to form the harmony. If any nation attempts to throw off its national vitality the direction which has become its own through the transmission of centuries the nation dies.”

They advised people not to be swayed away by Western culture. First they should know their own heritage and try to revive what is good in it.

  • Caste system after the Independence – Seventy four years after the Independence, Indians have lost the excuse of blaming the British for anything going wrong. Since 15th August 1947, Independent India is committed to democratic, secular and egalitarian principles as enshrined in the Constitution of India. Preamble of the Indian Constitution promises to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation. Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits any kind of discrimination on grounds of caste, race, religion, gender or place of birth; Article 16 gives equality of opportunity in matter of public employment, Article 338 creates National commission for Scheduled Castes to safeguard their interests etc.

In the eyes of common-man, Caste a social Institution – General public in Indiastill considers as one of the fundamental social institution – a natural, inevitable unit of society. Family, which is a natural unit of an extended family; Extended family of Kula; Kula of a tribe (Vish); and a tribe of a Jana of Jati (Caste). In a way, all are fundamental social institutions. To them, Caste is a large extended family bonded by same language, customs, thinking and way of living and occupation. It is second only to the family in widening a person’s social radius and in getting importance in his/her private and occupational life.

A person’s relation with members of his caste is closer than with those, belonging to other castes. Caste values, beliefs, prejudices, injunctions as well as distortions of reality are the indivisible part of a person’s psyche and conscience. It makes one feel good and loved, when he lives up to the norms, and anxious and guilty, when he transgresses them. It still provides an individual with social security. To foreigners, Varna/caste system represent the ancient culture in its eternity.

Amendments and legislations to protect people from the rigidities of Caste System – Since Independence, the government has passed a number of amendments in the Constitution and legislations to remove the unreasonable practices developed into the system. Like untouchability is declared a crime. Bonded labour is abolished by law. Civil Rights Act, 1955, aims to eliminate injustice against weaker sections. Amendment to Prevention of Atrocities Act (SCT) 1989 provides for stern punishments for offenses committed against SCT by Upper Castes. Special Courts, under SCT Act, have been established for punishing officials, who are found guilty.

Caste now more liberal in social sphere – With the spread of literacy and growing awareness among masses, Castes system has become less restrictive in social arena. Castes no longer enjoy legal or religious sanctions. Expulsion from castes now means little. Earlier it meant complete social ostracism. Old style of authority and power exercised by caste-elders has already diminished except for a few castes in, rural areas especially in Haryana and Rajasthan. Restrictions or interactions between different castes arising due to considerations for purity and pollution are fading away from public life even from rural areas.

Traditional barriers on marriage, hereditary occupations and commonality are losing its importance. Slowly but steadily, many discriminatory practices and deformities developed in Caste system, while living under alien rule are diminishing. Caste system is now more liberal and less restrictive in social life of the people. Still, caste system is considered problematic. Why? What is now wrong with the caste system? Does fault lies somewhere else? Yes, problem lies in entry of caste into politics.

Entry of Caste System in Politics – Caste system started entering into politics during British rule, who followed the policy of ‘Divide’ the people and ‘Rule’ as long as possible. The seeds sown by colonial rulers flourished in full in Independent India.

Winding up

Hinduism and its Caste system has travelled a very long distance experiencing many ups and downs since then. It has been both defended and opposed over the course of Indian history and up-to the present day. Especially Caste-system has drawn the attention of politicians, intellectuals, activists or reformers from other faiths. It has been interpreted praised, distorted or criticized the system  in the manner, whatever suited to their purpose or according to vested interests of that particular era.  Many changes have taken place in the system as time passed on. Especially during Muslim rule many deformities and rigidities had developed into the system. And during British rule, it has been criticized vehemently. After Independence also there are many political parties and pressure groups all over India, who criticize it strongly. So much and so that there is a section of Indian society, which desires to completely wipe caste system out from Indian scene and create a casteless society.

There is a big difference between caste as a system and casteism, and dreaming of replacing caste based society into a casteless society is almost impossible in near future –

Caste as system – Caste is an organised social institution having many salient features mentioned above. This term is specifically used to refer the social structure of Hindu India. Broadly speaking, the fourfold division of society has been sanctioned in ancient scriptures and said to structure all social relations.

Caste-ism – Generally law follows social changes. But after the Independence, the political leadership in their hurry and enthusiasm, tried to foster social changes through law and paternalistic policies and Plans based on caste rather than on economic criteria, in order to solve the problem of age-old imbalances and cumulative disparities of power, wealth and culture. It led to politicization of Caste-system. There is a section of Indian society, which desires to completely wipe caste system out from Indian scene and create a casteless society.

Is creation of casteless society possible – It is a distant dream because –

  • So far, the supporters of “caste-less society” have not been able to suggest a better alternative of caste system or thought of  support systems and norms needed to substitute caste-system into classless society. They do not even know, how to transform the caste-based Indian society into a classless society.
  • Reluctance of common man – Common men, too, are not willing to experiment new systems. They are reluctant to replace or abandon caste-system – an institution of proven value on trial and error basis. They are not sure about the effectiveness of proposed new systems to be created by the proponents of caste-less society. Therefore, elimination of caste in social life still remains a distant dream.
  • Majority of Hindus wish for rational reforms in the already existing system Most of the Indians understand that electoral politics has given a life to casteism. That is why they wish to make improvements in the tried and tested old system by removing deformities developed into it with time. A change is good for the growth of a society. But changes must be based on constant interpretation of past experiences and opinions, present requirements and existing ground realities of the place and future prospects.

Politicization of Caste System – Though the entry of Caste and Community in politics began during British rule, under their policy to ‘Divide’ the people and ‘Rule’ as long as possible. But the seeds sown by colonial rulers flourished in full in Independent India. How?

  • Ossification of caste-system – ‘Caste’ has become a bye-word for Indian politicians. Narrow loyalties of caste and religion are encouraged in political arena. Also with the spread of education and awareness, rising aspirations of people and demands of different social groups has created added problem.
  •  Caste as easiest and powerful weapon in the hands of politicians – For almost all  Political leaders, caste is the easiest and most powerful tool to sway public opinion emotionally and to create a large vote bank for themselves. It may be called ossification of caste-system fallen into the hands of power brokers and vote guzzlers.
  • Emergence of Political identities – For political and governance purposes, the government has divided Indian population in most insensitive manner into  following unbridgeable groups – Upper castes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled tribes, Other Backward Class and Minorities. Sectional interests are being promoted on caste or communal basis shamelessly.
  • Sub-castes and Sub-sub-castes joined hands to increase their numerical strength – Such an official division of castes has grouped together and increased the numerical strength of lower strata of Hindu society. There emerged many powerful and assertive pressure groups amongst so called Scheduled castes and Backward Class to pursue their sectional interests.
  • Beneficiary castes stick to their caste identity – So-called lower-castes are  more tenacious about their caste-identity than the higher. So that they can continue their preferential status in matter of education, jobs and other facilities offered by the government from time to time.
  • Caste Hindus side-lined – The voice of upright and honest citizens, irrespective of their caste or community, is being continuously throttled mercilessly. In present day vote-bank politics based on game of numbers, it is very easy now for the pursuers of political power to side-line them.
  • Casteism giving rise to Sub-cultures – The combination of casteism and communalism has generated sub-cultures like caste-ism, favouritism, and lure for easy money, nepotism, parochialism, communalism, regionalism etc. Bigoted sentiments and irresponsible comments are spreading in-discipline and agitation in the society.
  • Increased inter-caste and intra-caste rivalry – Inter-caste and intra-caste, inter-community and intra-community and inter-tribal and intra-tribal rivalries have increased in order to get more space caste-wise in the corridors of power.

Paternalistic policies of Government – Entry of caste in politics started with the electoral politics and with successive governments initiating some of its economic policies and practices, based on caste rather than on economic criteria. The argument, that these policies are just to uplift of submerged sections of society has led to casteism. The paternalistic policies for bringing the submerged sections of the society into mainstream and creating a casteless society has not yielded the desired results, because-

  • These policies are devised by self-proclaimed leaders and mostly administered by bureaucrats, who follow the dictates of leaders of the political party in power.
  • Plans are not rooted in local priorities or skills.
  • Selection of the beneficiaries’ castes   is biased, It often depends on patronage networks of those, who have money or political power.
  • So far, it has mostly benefitted the rural elite or creamy layer of the beneficiary castes.

Unfortunately, instead creating a better future, paternalistic policies of government have generated many complications. General public do understand that it is not because of caste system, but because of circumstances that has pushed millions away from the mainstream. Suffering of lower strata of society is mainly because of centuries old enslavement, suppression or ostracism. But  Deteriorated condition of most of such individuals, not of the whole caste has stopped growth of their personality and made them dependent on powerful lobby of society for their livelihood.

Humanitarian obligation to empower the submerged sections of society – No doubt, it is a humanitarian obligation of any civilized society to uplift and empower its submerged sections. Generally law follows social changes. But after the Independence,  Political leadership of India, in their hurry and enthusiasm to end age-old imbalances and cumulative disparities of power, wealth and culture, have tried to foster social changes through law.  Their aim was to create a casteless secular society. But, in the process knowingly or unknowingly, they have encouraged Caste-ism and communalism.

Recently, many reformers and religious/spiritual institutions are focusing their attention on community development. Many self-help groups (NGOs) have emerged all-over India. They bypass the government mechanisms and go straight communities. Wherever and whenever harnessed properly, efforts of such self-help groups have yielded rich dividends. For example the Parsi and Christian communities, institutions run by Veerashaivya Mutts of Karnataka, Ramakrishan Mission, Radhaswami Satsang, Satya Sai Baba, Sadhu Vasvani and many others are practising community based approach for the development of humanity. They provide far better municipal, civic, educational, and medical services than the government.


  • Both Hinduism and its caste system have not become weak or obsolete in social arena even today. Many  ideological attacks have been launched on Hinduism and its caste system from time to time.  But so far, both have not only survived   the vicissitudes of time and saved itself from erosion from within or assault from outside, but have become stronger every time.  Still, both these institutions give present Indian society a distinguished identity and a solid social structure with a system of thought, a way of life, and sense of direction.,
  • The roots of Hinduism and  its ‘Varna/jati-Pratha’, now known as caste system, are so deep that it is virtually impossible to think of India without Hinduism and its caste system. Caste-system is inseparably related to Hinduism by traditional customs, values and systems. Hinduism and caste system is going strong in India.
  • Caste system associated with Hinduism has acted as a major force, through which Hindus retained their cultural identity, while living under an alien political order, whether it was Mughal, Portuguese or British.  It was the major force for the failure of Islam, Christianity and other religions to make headway in India even after mass conversion.
  • It is not the malice of castes-Hindus, but the circumstances, that have pushed individuals from lower strata of society away from the mainstream. Suffering from centuries old enslavement, suppression and ostracism deteriorated severely the condition of lower strata of society, stopped growth of their personality and made them dependent on others for their livelihood.
  • In-spite of all the accelerated changes in the society due to modernization, technological advancement, Westernization and Globalization of Indian society and the tough times it faced so far, Hinduism and its caste system have  survived and saved itself.  Whenever, it was on decline, it not only re-emerged, but re-emerged with greater force.
  • It is a humanitarian obligation of any civilized society to uplift and empower the submerged sections of society. Generally law follows social changes. But in India, after the Independence, in order to the political leadership in their hurry and enthusiasm, tried to bring social changes through law. 

At present, the whole atmosphere is in a state of turmoil. Economy of the nation is in a critical condition. Technology has advanced to such an extent, that phones are wireless; cooking is fire-less; cars are key-less; food is fat-less; tyres are tubeless; and tools are cordless. But along with it, main organs of the Government  Political institutions are clueless and almost paralyzed because of corruption; leaders are shameless; masses are helpless; youth are jobless; relations are meaningless; feelings are heartless; education is valueless; attitude is careless, and children are manner-less. Modernity has ignited the desire for position, name and possession. . People are gradually losing faith in traditional values and systems. Even institution like family has lost its sheen. It is quite a tough job for India to cope with the new challenges. Traditional living has been like an anchor, keeping the boat in safe harbour. Now that the anchor has gone and the boat is at the mercy of wild waves on a stormy ocean.

People like C. Rajagopalachari think that If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity…. any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture.

At present, when people are getting away from their roots, Hinduism can make their feet firmly grounded on earth and  instil right values in them. Its values and traditions give to the people, a purpose to live for and ideals to be achieved. Only after raising oneself from ignorance, a person could be able to understand the greatness of the Indian value system. Like a jeweller, one could spot out gems from among worthless pebbles.  A knowledgeable person could pick up knowledge and leave the undesired obsolete elements developed in it with passage of time. 

Modern India is desperate to pick up the lost threads of its true culture, and beliefs. It has to create an atmosphere, where different identities can once again live together in harmony and people can say proudly “we belong to a nation known as India, Hindustan, and Bharat”.

[i]            Basham, Wonder That Was India, p51-52.


March 24, 2021 Posted by | General, Social and political values and systems | 1 Comment

Generations of Twentieth century

Introduction – A generation means all the people born  and living at about the same time. They collectively form a social groups sharing almost similar life experiences, prospects, outlooks, preferences, attributes and value systems etc. Generally different generations or social groups born within a defined time period share similar cultural traits, values, and preferences.

With times, continuous changes happen in thinking, social life style, education system, technology in different spheres (medical, transport, communication etc. Each generation, has its own traits like life-style, habits, pattern of behavior, ideology, communication, motivation, preference, likes, dislikes, work-life balance strategy or financial needs.  Generally different generations or social groups born within a defined time period share similar cultural traits, values, and preferences. And then comes a change depending on the circumstances and the time frame of their birth years.

The average period of one generation is generally considered to be about 20–⁠30 years. Then starts changes causing a difference of opinions between two generations in thinking, outlook, life-style and socio-economic & political atmosphere. Accordingly changes beliefs, likes & dislikes  and values system of different generations as well as their way to communicate,  socialize or behave with each other.

Normally people of two or three generations are exposed to many of the same events share common characteristics. These shared experiences, based on their socio-economic background, parents attitude and many other factors/events (particularly happening during formative teen years, of different generations make the foundation of their beliefs and behaviours. In turn, these beliefs give a generation its defining characteristics.

Generation gap A generation gap means difference of opinions between people belonging to different generations. Usually people belonging to different age groups see the world from different perspectives. Their perceptions, actions, beliefs, interests, and opinions about social and political values and systems automatically change with time. Social scientists have named this difference of opinion as generation gap. Effects of the generation gap include conflict among family members of different generations because of difference of opinion or misunderstandings.

Changes have occurred too fast during the twentieth century. There has been a drastic change between the generations born and brought up before and during 20th century as well as born during and after twentieth century. The pace of life was quite slow before 20th century and in 21st century it has become too fast to mold it in desired direction. Human’s life has become too mechanized and artificial far away from Mother Nature.

Process of modernization and technological advancement – The process of modernization began with the development of technologies in the spheres of science, engineering and warfare. As economist Joseph Schumpeter describes, there have been the following waves of innovation so far –

  1. The first wave – The industrial revolution began in 1705, when water power was harnessed. The focus was on textiles and iron. The first First wave factory emerged was a cotton mill in Britain. The first wave of industrialization and modernization continued for 60 years.
  2. Second wave (1845) – Stem power was used during second wave. Focus was on Rail and steel. As Railways proliferated, their networks strongly influenced urban growth.
  3. Third wave (1900) – After about 55 years, began the use of electricity and chemicals. Internal-combustion engine was invented. Henry Ford model I introduced the assembly line, revolutionizing the automotive industry.
  4. Fourth wave (1950) – Almost after 50 years came the times Petro-chemicals, Electronics and aviation. Aviation gains mass adoption on a global scale, providing a lever to economic integration.
  5. Fifth wave (1990) – It was the time of development of Digital network, software and new media.
  6. Sixth wave (2020) – Intensification of climate challenges demanded the development of , which can reshape business models and consumption patterns. Now is the time AI, IoT, robots and drones. .

First Industrial revolution – First two industrialization revolutions were started and progressed mainly in England and other European countries for performing specific tasks. The first one, revolutionized the textile industry had shortened distances and made mobility faster and easier. It brought prosperity to European nations.

During 16th and 17th centuries, first industrial revolution started in England and European nation in . In 1645, Blaize Pascal and in 1694 developed mechanical computers for solving navigational and scientific problems.

In 1801 Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented first programmed machine called Jacquard Loom. It had automated the weaving of cloth, which reduced the cost of producing their goods through mass production in factories. It had revolutionized the Textile industry, which brought prosperity to England and other European countries.

With their growing prosperity, started the Policy of expansionism or Colonialism. European powers like Dutch, Portuguese, French, or Spanish, which prospered due to first Industrial revolution during 16th and 17th centuries, stated competing with each other to acquire resources, land, and economic influence outside their borders in order to monopolize the trade. They wanted to expand their size, power, and wealth. They exploited other countries for the benefit their own.

Second industrial revolution – The second industrial revolution happened during late 19th and beginning of 20th century, when science was fused with technology. It had shortened distances and made mobility and communication with other parts of the world, faster and easier.

Third industrial revolution – The third one has revolutionized the information technology.

All the technological progress happened during these Industrial Revolutions had changed drastically the life style style and work culture of generations of 20 century, especially of the generations born and brought up in late 20th century after the third great Info-tech Revolution. Again in 2020, the whole world is in for a major change because of Pandemic KOVID 19.

Names and general traits of different generations of 20th centuryGenerational naming has begun in the 20th-century.  The assigned names of different generations born in 20th century are as following –  

  • GI Generation/Interbellum Generation: Generation born worldwide between 1900 to 1915.
  • The Greatest generation/Traditionalists (born between 1910 to 1924),
  • Silent Generation (Birth years 1925-1945)
  • Baby boomers (birth year 1946 and 1964)
  • Generation X (born between 1965 to 1979)
  • Generation Y/Millennials (Birth year 1980 to 1994)
  • Zen Z (Born between 1995 to 2012)
  • Generation Alpha Birth year 2013 to 2025

Various living generations that make up present populations are:

  • The Greatest Generation
  • The Silent Generation
  • Baby Boomers
  • Generation X
  • Generation Y or Millennials
  • Generation Z

Common features of first three generationsVery few people from GI Generation, (Born worldwide between 1900 to 1915), The Greatest Generation/Traditionalists (born between 1910 to 1924) and the Silent Generation (born between 1925 to 1945)} are surviving as of today.

These generations have been born and brought up during the two World Wars and the Great Economic Depression. Some of them fought World War II. They had saved the world from catastrophe and then contributed in building their respective nations. Most of the women were home-makers, stayed at home and took care of kids and elders of the family. Men focused on their career. A period where parents were very strict as children were seen and not heard. This was the generation that saw civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Robert F. Kennedy or  influenced by dialogues of Gone With The Wind. Children liked the stories of Mickey Mouse. They were disciplined, self-sacrificing and cautious. Most of them grew up without electricity, refrigerators, or credit cards. Sometimes called the greatest generation. 

Main characteristic of these three generations All the three generations can be called as the Greatest Generations. Following have been the common basic features of these generations, which distinguish from later generations –

  • Personal Responsibility.
  • Integrity.
  • Humility.
  • A strong work ethics.
  • Financial Prudence.
  • Faithful Commitment.
  • They valued tradition.
  • Valued  respect more than money.
  • Not technologically as advanced as later generations are.
  • Believed in natural, healthy, balanced life style.
  • An appreciation for the “simplicities” in life, Simple living and high thinking was their motto.
  • It upheld values like gratitude,
  • Had a strong sense of determination and possessed strong willpower.
  • They cared more for respect rather than money.
  • Steered away from wastage and
  •  Placed significant value on economic resources.

Baby-boomers, Birth years 1940 and 1964Baby boomers are those people born worldwide between Great Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. Shaping events in the life of baby-boomers have been Post-WWII optimism, the cold war, and the hippie movement. This generation has been casual about relationship.

The generation of “baby boomers” was the result of a strong post World War II economy. A dramatic increase in the number of births happened in United States, Canada, and Australia after World War II. Government began family life, (from 1946 to 1964 in the United States 1947 to 1966 in Canada and 1946 to 1961 in Australia). The governments there had encouraged people to have large families. People wanted the additional tax exemptions offered for having children. With the war over and the economy growing, people were more prepared to raise children. This brought about a significant number of new children into the world. That is why it is called as Baby Boomers.

Population world-over continued had grown throughout 1940s and 1950s, leading to a peak in the late 1950s. Years from 1957 to 1961 were the peak birth years in raw number of births for a nation even though the total national population was 60% of its current population. The population of Baby Boomersgrew as the largest generations in history with 77 million people.

According to Christopher Pappas, January 29, 2016,  characteristics of Baby-boomers have been –

  • They were Optimistic, Team-oriented and Self-centered.
  • Strong work ethic. Baby boomers aren’t afraid to put in a hard day of work.
  • Self-Assured. This generation is independent and self-assured.
  • Competitive. Baby boomers like competition.
  • Goal-centric.
  • Resourceful.
  • Mentally focused.
  • Team oriented.
  • Disciplined.

Baby Boomers’ Motivations are Rooted in Tradition. What they value  in life is “safety in one’s community and nation”, which includes stability of society, national security and social order. For them, life is about a strong state and a stable society.

It is the longest-living generation in history. With it, grew the population world-over because of age longevity as well. Evidence-based studies indicate that age longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. Significant factors responsible for it have been gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and remarkable advancement in medical science. Both men and women became the bread winners, the world saw the uproar of feminism, having a divorce became less dramatic. It is also this generation that saw invention of  TV. 

They have gone through the entire period of technological developments – the rise and development of the media. Baby boomers are the biggest consumers of traditional media like television, radio, magazines, and newspaper. Despite being so traditional 90% of baby boomers have a Facebook account. This generation has begun to adopt more technology in order to stay in touch with family members and reconnect with old friends.  

They have enjoyed stability in terms of both work and family and being active both physically and mentally. They believe that one should take care of their children enough to set them on the right course and don’t plan on leaving any inheritance. They are less dependent on smartphones than the next generations. Today, all-over the world, it is a big problem as how society should cope with an aging population.

Generation X, Birth Years (1965 to 1979) – Generation X followed the Boomers. Shaping events in Generation X’s life have been end of the cold war, the rise of personal computing, and a big increase in generation gap between Baby-boomers and Generation X.

Generation X grew up in an era of emerging technology and was advancing at a very fast speed. During their childhood computers got introduced in their school curriculum. The youth of this generation have been open to entrepreneurship.

They grew up with minimal adult supervision They were the kids who saw divorced as well carrier-oriented parents. They prefer late marriages, small family unlike the generation of Baby-boomers and are casual at divorce. Birth rate has been considerably dropped after 1964 . They believe in work-life balance.

They are eager to learn, explore and make a contribution. They know what they want, and are mentally prepared to struggle to achieve their dreams. They are self-sufficient, resourceful and individualistic. They value freedom and responsibility and try to overcome challenges on their own.  They also appreciate informality, are technologically adept, digitally savvy, flexible and highly educated.

Individualism, ambition and an addiction to work, or being a workaholic, are the values with which Generation X has been grown up. To work and produce has been their philosophy of life, leaving no room for idealism.

Millennials (Birth years 1980 to 1994) – Millennials are also known as Gen Y. This generation is the most populated and most talked about generation in modern history. Millennials are the youth of the new 21st century. They are more progressive and creative than the previous generations. They are self-conscience, like active lifestyle, eat healthy food and health-conscious. They are the most civic-minded since the generation of the 1930s and 1940s,” claimed USA Today. They are the smartest, richest generation and potentially longest living generation of all time.

Events that shaped Generation Y – Shaping events in their life have been the great recession, technological  explosion,  internet, social media and 9/11. Generation Y is the first generation in history that has been born and brought up totally immersed in a world of digital technology. Digitalization has shaped its identity and influenced deeply its political, social and cultural attitudes.

Nurtured and pampered by parents who didn’t want to make the mistakes of the previous generation, millennials are confident, ambitious, and achievement-oriented. They also have high expectations of their employers, tend to seek new challenges at work, and aren’t afraid to question authority.

Attitudes – This generation is open to relationships, late to marriage and accepts sexuality in many ways. They feel enormous academic pressure. Envision the world as a 24/7 place, believes in fast and immediate processing. They are the Yahoo, mobile phones, Google, Facebook, iPhone generation. With unlimited access to information, they prefer digital literacy, they tend to be assertive, with strong views. (info@aspioneer.comDifferent Generations and their attitudes by Alice Carpenter, July 1, 2018)

  • Values meaningful motivation.
  • Challenges the hierarchy status-quo.
  • Places importance on relationships with superiors.
  • Intuitive knowledge of technology.
  • Open and adaptive to change.
  • Places importance on tasks rather than time.
  • Passion for learning.
  • Openly receptive to feedback and recognition
  • Free-thinking and creative
  • Values social interactions in the workplace

Seven surprising traits that make Millennials excellent employees are as following: –

  1. Curiosity – Eager to learn new skills.
  2. Individuality – Most of the times they think that they are somehow different from everyone else.
  3.  Social service –  Millennials focus on larger societal needs rather than individual needs.  They care about a variety of social causes, such as climate change and social equality.
  4. Financial stability – The Great Recession has made a lasting impact on the millennial generation. Millennials are making financial decisions focused on maintaining stability rather than striking it rich..
  5. Technological innovation – Millennials are are obsessed with technology. They were born when the internet, personal computers and cell-phones went mainstream. They are extremely comfortable with mobile devices like their parents. They typically have multiple social media accounts.
  6. Regular feedback –  Millennial workers welcome  regular feedback to improve their performance professionally, rather than taking it as praise.
  7. Collaboration – They are not self-centered like prior generations and believe to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose.

Generation Z, birth years 1995 to 2019 Generation Z It is the generation that has always seen a world with computers and phones. Their life is interwoven with technology and referred to as ‘technoholics’. With the advent of computers and web-based learning, children leave behind toys at younger and younger age. It has got internet access at a young heavy users of mobile devices. They are tired of hearing about the environment and the many ways we have to save it. They are over saturated with brands. It is the generation that will experiment Google glass, nano-computing, 3-D printing and see driverless cars. It is similar to Gen X in financial attitudes but desires to avoid debt after seeing Millennials struggle. (info@aspioneer.comDifferent Generations and their attitudes by Alice Carpenter, July 1, 2018)Some special features of this generation are as following –

  • It is financially focused. For it, their job is the most important thing in life. They do not mind taking up a job that provides a steady income and necessary benefits even if it isn’t their dream job. Many of them have financial education. They believe in savings more than their prior generations.
  • It is entrepreneurial. It believes  that  money can be made from good ideas and they aren’t afraid to chase those ideas.
  • It is all about technology. Persons of this generation are well connected as Internet and cell phones have been easily accessible to them.
  • Generation Z still likes face to face interaction.
  • It is very focused and highly competitive in most areas of life. It wants best of everything in life. Competition constantly drives them.
  • Change is welcomed by Generation Z.
  • Gen Z has a lot of knowledge and exposure to many different topics. With this breadth of knowledge, they constantly seek new ideas and experiences.
  • This Generation wants to be heard. Having access to so much information, Gen Z has strong opinions and wants them to be heard. This is especially true in the workplace, where they expect to be an equal contributor.
  • Diversity doesn’t even register with Generation Z.
  • Generation Z prefers independence.

Generation Alpha Birth year 2010 to 2024Australian researcher Mark Mc-Crindle named the youngest cohort born from 2010-2024, as  Generation Alpha which other platforms leave out and have failed to update: he called those.

Generation Alpha Characteristics – This generation is yet to join the work-force. It is hoped that

  • It will be the most educated Generation in history.
  • They are expected to be tech-savvy.
  • Artificial Intelligence is supposed to be their reality. Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving etc.
  • Their learning will be highly personalized.
  • Social media could be their dominant mode of interaction.
  • They may not like the sharing economy.
  • They might not play by the rules.

Conclusion – In recent past, times are changing at a very fast speed.            With it, major changes has happened in outlook of the people of different generations. Generation gap has been increasing continuously. It does not take a 25 year age difference to make a generation gap. Today, a nineteen year old will have a hard time to understand the mindset of a seventeen-year-old. Generation gap is a major problem of the society.

Root cause of generation gap – Generation gap. Generation gap results in conflict among family members of different generations i.e. youth, and their parents or grand-parents. It is more between children and parents, the gap becomes even wider in case of grandparents and grandchildren. Various factors cause generation gap. Some of them being age-longevity, changes in society values and systems, inter-racial/interregional/inter-caste marriages, mobility or immigration of social groups, advancement of medical science and rapid technological advancements.

The root cause of the gap is lack of free and frank communication between different age groups, which creates misunderstanding and disharmony between the young and the old. Concept of “right and wrong” has been a major cause of conflict between the elders and the young. The young feel the elders to be old-fashioned, the old think the young to be shallow, narrow-minded and self-centred. Another reason is the advancement of technology at a very fast speed. During 20th century, the difference between the older and young generation was increased because older generations have not been so familiar with new technological advancements. Older generation is not so quick to understand and use new technology. And now with of revolution in Information technology especially happened around 70’s, it does not take a 25 year age difference to make a generation gap. Today, a nineteen year old will have a hard time to understand the mindset of a seventeen-year-old.

How to bridge the gap – It is very difficult to bridge the gap. But attempts can definitely be made to minimise it through –

  1. Focus on similarities. The basic approach is to focus on similarities and not the differences between the various generations.
  2. Keep communication open.
  3. Encourage mentoring.
  4. Give value to seniors.
  5. Set out expectations clearly.

November 20, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Natural, healthy & disciplined life style

Pandemic Kovid 19 2020 has reminded all human beings allover the world that nature-friendly and disciplined life style is necessary for their own survival and for leading a healthy and happy life. It is the time when humans need to slow down a little bit in this fast-moving world of 21st century.

Global warming and other negative impacts on the planet due to technological advancement is becoming undeniable. However, modern people don’t want to give-up the comforts they enjoy in their day today life. Industrial and technological advancement, and urbanization has polluted the atmosphere and has reduced available shelter for animals.

People should love all parts of Mother Nature. They can’t pick and choose what parts we like and what we don’t. Everything in Mother Nature is connected.  Still there are plenty of things, they can do to make the world a better place. It can be done by keeping a balance between, human needs, laws of nature and technological advancement. A balanced approach can keep the world running smoothly.

Natural life-style – Follow the principle of Sanatan Dharma of Hindu philosophy, which believes in ‘Nurture over Nature’. Nature means the force that controls the weather and the destiny of all living things. It is the highest law all over world. No human, no matter how ancient, or how popular, has the power to be above the laws of nature. People can not afford to over-rule the laws of nature.

Mother nature is Supreme. Human beings will never be able to control Mother Nature completely by using their money, muscle or intellectual power. Nature does not care how much money one has or what color one is. People have to understand law the law of Nature and abide by them.

Many of laws of Nature involve general respect for all living things including animals, insects, and plants. People are supposed to love all parts of Mother Nature. They can’t pick and choose what parts they like or what they don’t. Everything in Mother Nature is connected. Taking away one part may affects adversely its other parts as well. If one kills all the caterpillars, how can he complain, there are no butterflies. Mother Nature shows equal respect for absolutely everything and everyone. 

Things in nature happen slowly. It takes its own time to take a proper shape. So have patience. People should respect the pace of nature. Everything in Nature is connected. It is not possible to take away one part, people don’t like. Doing so may affect other parts as well people do enjoy.

Nature gives humans a lot. People can pay back by not polluting the atmosphere and try to make the world a better place to live in. Sometimes laws of nature can be strict as well. Nature can raise hell in the form of pandemics or natural disaster like thunderstorms, tornadoes, or hurricanes. Such times remind people the presence of the Natural force in human beings’ every day lives, as well as of its strength.

Healthy lifestyle – It is the time in the fast-moving world of 21st century, when humans need to slow down their activities a little bit, The present attempt to control the forces of Nature, as much as possible, can lead to many health problems.  Being busy and productive are often two different things, and staying busy just for the sake of it will not bring sustainable development.

People are more stressed-out than ever before, for several reasons. Rising costs of everything, increasing stresses at work, strain on relationships, no time for self-care, lack of sleep, and just the fast pace of life, in general, are huge contributors to our stress. Also, political unrest, climate anxiety, and other global issues are causing upticks in anxiety. They have no idea how to slow down. How to do it?

  • Follow the principle of ‘Purity in Ahaar (Diet), Vichaar (thoughts) and Vywhaar’ (behavior) –
  • Slow and steady wins the race – Present society belongs to multi-taskers. Switching between tasks makes us less efficient and effective. And causes both mental and physical stress.
  • ‘No Mores’ – Don’t take more than one can be handled. Do have some time to relax.
  • Follow one’s own dreams – People can get more satisfaction out of building a life centered around their dreams, interests and passions. Follow your intuition, work hard, and don’t give up till the goal is achieved. Just follow one’s own heart and let the Nature take care of the rest.
  • Turn off electronics – Being busy all the time with electronic gazettes can lead to depression, social isolation, and loneliness. 

 Disciplined life-style – Self-discipline/internal discipline means ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses and avoid temptations. Self-discipline teaches people to be punctual. It is the key to lead a a more organized life. Self-discipline is not ruled by external fear or fear of punishment. Self-control is the motivating factor.

Disciplined life-style makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise. It manifests inner strength or strong willpower to stick to one’s own decisions and follow them through. It enables people to stick with their decisions (perseverance) and plans until they accomplish them (persistence). It makes it easier to overcome addictions, overeating, procrastination and laziness. Lack of self discipline can lead to failure, loss, spoiling of relationships, and health problems etc.

Some of the advantages of Self-discipline are –

  1. Disciplined life-style makes a person to be self-confident and self-reliant.
  2. Avoid acting rashly and on impulse.
  3. Fulfill promises you make to yourself and to others.
  4. Make wise and healthy choices.
  5. Overcome laziness and procrastination.
  6. Makes it a habit to to be punctual.

Conclusion –  A balanced natural, healthy and disciplined life-style can make people happier than they are today, bring improvement in all aspects of human’s: relationships, work, fitness and health, and emotional well-being etc. and make the world a better place to live in.

November 3, 2020 Posted by | General, Social and political values and systems | | Leave a comment

“Catch them young” for government services & give them job-oriented training

“For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation”  Shri C. Rajagopalachari

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge.”  Anne Bradstreet

The saddest part of life right now is that science gather knowledge faster than society gains wisdom”.  Isaac Asmov

Introduction – Bureaucracy is the pillar, on which the entire structure of governance rests. Weakening of this pillar may spell disaster [ii] More the challenges and problems to be tackled, the more pressure there on the civil services or bureaucracy, as it is responsible for implementation of plans and policies of the government. Therefore as Shri C. Rajagopalachari suggests, “For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, a nation needs to place right type of men, at right places and on right time. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation”

Right type of Men at right places – The quality and success of day today governance depend on the nature, behavior, systems and working style of the government services. Civil servants, not only dig expert knowledge from the raw material, but give it a shape with a sense of commitment. Due to exclusive and specialized nature of work and the need for more expert knowledge in governance to improve quality of service, the responsibility of political chiefs becomes exceedingly formal in matter of governance. Political representatives/Ministers are forced to listen the advice of the bureaucrats.

On recruitment policy rests good governance – Implementation of   policies and plans purposefully and achievement of targeted goals within time and cost parameters depends on the recruitment policy of government. The report of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel, appointed by Social Science Research Council of USA in 1935 says, “No element of career service is more important than the recruitment policy.” Gladden also points out that on recruitment rests, “The nature and degree of the usefulness of administrative machinery, to the service of which the human elements are dedicated” [iv] Any laxity in initial recruitment of Government Services jeopardizes the objective and pushes the developmental goals behind. No amount of training or coaching, pre or post, can convert the inherent weaknesses into strength within a short period. Today’s faulty selection could create tomorrow’s organizational problem.

Study of Job requirements a must for recruitments at every level – Before working on recruitment policy, a thorough study needs to be done on job requirements, in the context of present and future roles.  The candidates should be selected on the basis of their capabilities, attitudes, aptitude and adaptability to meet the position profile.  The focus should not be only on job skills, but on attitude and behavior as well.

‘Merit concept’ for recruitment in career services -The need for a sound recruitment policy was first realized by China, centuries ago, which started the adoption of merit principle based on competitive examination.  Prussia was the first country, in modern times, to evolve a sound recruitment system.  Later on, the principle of merit was adopted by India in 1853, Britain in 1857 and U.S.A. in 1883 (through Civil Service Act of 1883).  Now almost all the nations accept that a good selection in positive term provide the Government with the right type of officials to implement its plans, policies and programs in a systematic and purposeful manner.

System of selection of civil servants in India

The recruitment and education and training system of bureaucrats in India has been evolved after a very long experience. It has been developed under the rule of –

  1.  East India Company’s Rule
  2. British Imperial rule &
  3. Independent India

System of selection & training of new recruits under East India Company

During East India Company’s rule (a trading and profit- making concern), the foundation of the present administrative structure were laid under the regimes of Warren Hasting and Lord Cornwallis. It was done when there was a change in role of civil servants, from merchants to statesman, from traders to Governors, Judges & Magistrates.

Lord Cornwallis (1786) drew the attention of the Directors of the Company towards the necessity of creating proper system of the selection and training of its officials.

  • Method of selection – There had been different opinions on the matter of selecting the administrators. Some preferred military men and thought them to be best qualified for the job of administration, while others thought that administrative posts should be exclusively filled by civilians. It was argued that noblemen, carrying with them the impression of high rank and birth, having served the Company for some time and possessing local knowledge and acquaintance with the affairs and people of India, should alone be appointed. However the rulers preferred to employ the most loyal persons for its administrative work. It gave rise to spoil system/patronage system of recruitment.

Started with Spoil/Patronage system of recruitment –  Ultimately the system of selection started with Spoil system. During the period of 1805-1855, individual Directors of the East India Company nominated in to its Covenanted Services in India, sons of the members of the Indian Civil and Military Services and those belonging to Aristocratic families in U.K.  . Usually they were educated at Oxford and Cambridge Universities – then considered to be an ICS nursery. The pre-entry education, thereafter, was followed by a training course at Haileybury College. This period has, therefore, rightly been called a period of “spoil system” ii.

However this system was not found satisfactory. Therefore, Spoil/Nomination system was abolished in 1855 by the Parliament in England. it was decided that the induction would be through competitive examinations of all British subjects, without distinction of race. The direct recruitment by competitive examination was envisaged with the idea that very brilliant person can be shaped into efficient officials suitable for holding senior positions.

  • System of formal and on-job training after selection Lord Wellesley (1798-1805) felt the need of a systematic program of training to develop personality and administrative capacity of its civil servants. He pointed out that civil servants were coming to India at an immature age of eighteen years or so, without being given any regular training in administration. He put into effect his plan by opening a college at Fort Williams on 24th April, 1800, for this purpose without even waiting for the sanction of the Directors. It trained the  young recruits to the civil services in Indian Affairs – the systems of government, social conditions, languages and prevalent traditions. 

Though the Directors of the Company disapproved his action, they nevertheless gave it a consideration, as a result of which hey established their own training institution known as “East Indian College” at Haileybury in England on 12th May, 1805. It gave training to Covenanted (higher) Civil Servants, India.  This college was given a statutory status by a charter in 1813 and was maintained by a Board of Control.  The new recruits required to spend two years in England, in order to strengthen their general education and to have their first acquaintance with Indian languages, laws and history.  According to Charter of 1813, the candidates were appointed only after attending four terms at Haileybury College and getting a certificate from its Principal that their conducts were satisfactory. 

The special feature of this period was a rigid and complete exclusion of Indians from the higher civil services.  It was clearly laid down officially, in 1793, that all higher posts in administration, worth more than £ 500 a year, in salary, were to be held by Englishmen.

Just before the Crown took over the charge – On 12 April 1853 William Gladstone, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, commissioned a review of the Civil Service to be carried out by the Permanent Secretary at the Treasury, Charles Trevelyan, assisted by Sir Stafford Northcote, a former civil servant at the Board of Trade (who later was to serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer). Northcote and Trevelyan’s report was published in February 1854 and recommended a system of examination ahead of entry and promotion on merit through open competition. It was, as historian Lord Hennessy has stated, “the greatest single governing gift of the nineteenth to the twentieth century: a politically disinterested and permanent Civil Service with core values of integrity, propriety, objectivity and appointment on merit, able to transfer its loyalty and expertise from one elected government to the next”.[iii]

The suggestion was further strengthened and Macauley in his Report submitted in November 1854 worked out the details of the system. Macauley recommended for an open competitive examination, which should be conducted by an independent body. The procedures needed to be open, transparent and generally trouble free. Idea of direct recruitment through competitive examination was envisaged with the purpose that talented persons could be shaped into efficient officials suitable for holding crucial positions in the government. Consequently, In 1854, an Act was passed to stop admissions to Halsbury College from January, 1856.  In June 1858, the College was closed.

Board of Control made arrangements for competitive examination for three years – 1855 to 1857 – replacing the system of social and economic privilege as the basis for recruitment.  From 1858 onwards, the British Civil Service Commission was given the charge of the competitive examinations to select suitable officials for civil services. 

Creation of British Civil Service Commission –  In order to make the civil services in India efficient and well equipped, the British Civil Service Commission was created in 1855. It was given charge to select well-equipped and intellectually brilliant officials through competitive examination. every year.

From 1926 onwards, the newly formed public service commission was constituted for India and it began to conduct ICS examination on behalf of British Civil Service Commission.  This position continued till 1937, when the Public Service Commission (India) was replaced by Federal Service Commission under Government of India Act 1935.  After 1943, the recruitment to ICS was stopped.

System of selection under the rule of Crown

After taking over over the charge from East India Company in1858, the British Government felt that Favoritism, patronage or promotion of personal interests in recruitment was depriving the Government of the services of bright youth, who otherwise could have been selected. Civil Services were not the conglomeration of individuals or groups. It should comprise people with talent, integrity, dedication and apolitical and impartial approach. 

Also the Rulers felt, If a succession of men of great talent and virtues cannot be found, or if the operation of any influence or party feelings and principles prevents their being chosen, we (the British) must reconcile ourselves to the serious hazards of the early decline, if not the loss of the great power, we have founded in the east.[iv] Therefore  British Government desired to have a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative framework.

Basic ingredients of the system of selectionDuring Imperial rule the recruiting and controlling authority of civil services in India was ‘Secretary of State’.  The basic ingredients of this system were:

  • Selection of really brilliant young people – the calibre of direct recruits was ensured by their success in an open competition.
  • An intensive training program for new recruits– An intensive training either formal or informal for two years; and
  • Stress on Field Duties – Actual field work for at least a period of five to seven years, during which officials were supposed to be fully moulded to suit the needs of the organization, they were serving.
  • Restrictions on Indians to join higher services Though Queen Victoria’s Proclamation of 1858 clearly stated, “It is our further will that so far as may be, our subjects of whatever race or creed, be freely impartially admitted to the offices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified by their education, ability and integrity, duly to discharge.[v]

But as Lord Lytton, in his confidential document had said, We all know that these claims, expectations never can or will be fulfilled. We have had choose between prohibiting them (Indians) and cheating them, we have chosen the least straight forward course.[vi] Illbert Bill controversy proves that White bureaucrats were not at all prepared to share administrative powers with Indians, in spite of all the official declarations of 1833, 1858, 1861, 1892 and 1909.British deliberately kept Indians at bay. To do so, the competitive examination was held only in England up to 1922. It was difficult for Indians to bear the hazards and expenses of going abroad for examination, especially when there were extremely remote chances of succeeding in that examination..

In Home Department Resolution of May 1904, Lord Curzon’s Government justified the policy, they hazards were pursuing with regard to White-man’s superiority in Civil Service. The highest ranks of the civil employees in India, those in the Imperial Civil Service, the members of which are entrusted with the responsible task of carrying on the general administration of the country, though open to such Indians, who proceed to England and pass the requisite tests, must nevertheless, as a general rule be held by the Englishmen, for the reason that they possess partly by heredity, partly by upbringing and partly by education that knowledge of the principles of Government, the habits of the mind and vigor of character, which are essential for the task and the rule of India, being a British rule  and any other rule being  in the circumstances of the case impossible.  The tone and the standard should be set by those, who have created it and are responsible for it.[vii]

Competitive examinations center in India too – Post 1919 period witnessed the intensification of national movements, .  This had a dampening effect on the attraction for the higher services in India as a career service for the British youths.  All the attempts to attract them felt that and the number of British Officers began to decline. Along with it, the increasing demand of Indians for greater Indian participation in  administration, forced the British rulers to include India simultaneously with that of England, as one of the competitive examinations centers for civil services from 1922 onwards. It gave opportunities to more and more Indians to join  elite services like ICS/IP or Imperial Services.

Intensification of the nationalist movement also led the British rulers to abolish  many “All India  Services” (total 9 existing at that time), especially those dealing with service functions. Only ICS and IP, engaged in control functions, were allowed to continue. With it, they delegated the authority to Provincial governments to recruit personnel for their respective Provincial civil services, and organize the functioning of those activities.

Intensive training program to shape new recruits during British era In order to maintain the standard, dignity and honour of the services, the new entrants were given either formal training or on-the job training during probationary period. Since the functions of maintaining law and order situation intact and revenue collection were vital for British Government, they paid special attention to the training of ICS and IP Officers only. So far as recruits of other services were concerned, they were directly  posted on specific posts  for a varying probation period. It was considered sufficient for picking the threads and be shaped to their specific roles.

  • Foundation Training program for ICS officers – The Foundation training period for ICS officers selected from UK centre was for two years. The new recruits were treated as probationers. In order to strengthen the general education, trainee officers were taught law, history (idea of the background of Indian political history and cultural evolution, the foundation and development of British Administration and the economic history of the country)  and the language of the state to which the officers were allotted. From 1937, it was reduced from two to one year.

Longer probation period for candidates selected from India centre – Three years of rigorous foundational training was arranged for the civil servants selected from the Indian centre (Delhi) after 1922. They were required to undergo one more years training in one of the four universities of UK- Oxford, Cambridge, London or Dublin. The purpose of longer probation period for Indians in Britain, was to bring Indian recruits in close touch with British way of life, give them an opportunity to broaden their outlook by being attached to a British University and to maintain uniformity, standard, dignity and honour of the services.

The real intention of the rulers was to train in such a way that they “should ….. be Anglicized in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainments”. Lord Macauley clearly said that, “we must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.” No doubt, the rigorous training system for them had broaden the outlook of Indian recruits, developed their sense of duty as administrators and loyalty to the Government.

The Indian officials had to appear in two examinations at end of their probation in U.K., while their British counterparts, selected from London center, appeared only in one examination.  In all other matters like emolument and privileges, the Indian ICS officials got equal treatment, as was given to their British counterpart. 

  • Stress on on-the-job training – British firmly believed that there are certain things, which could be learnt only by experience in the work place and not from books or training lectures. They considered that “if the recruitment is properly done, he should have the capacity to become a good bureaucrat. But what constitutes of being a good bureaucrat is something he has still to learn and it can only be learnt by experience, for it is a long of things, which never get into books”. 

Probationary period, while on job – British government had provided suitable atmosphere conducive to  effective learning for improving performance, while on-the job during probation period. During this period new appointees  were supposed to be fully molded to suit the needs of the organization, they were serving. The purpose of a probationary period was to allow a specific time period for the employee and employer to assess suitability of the role after having first-hand experience. On the other hand it gave the new employee the opportunity to see whether they liked their new job and surroundings.

Training in Districts – Therefore, immediately after their arrival in India, they reported to the administration of the province, to which they were assigned and in turn were attached to Districts for on-the-job training for 18 months. During one year of district training,  officers were advised to get thoroughly acquainted with villages, administrative compulsions and a working knowledge of their areas, the relationship between various branches of Government at district headquarters like police, agriculture, local bodies etc. Another six months were directed to more intensive revenue work in district under land settlement. It meant harder and more complicated work.  

Great stress on touring and camping out -They Great stress was laid on touring and camping out. It was made clear to senior district officers vide G.O. No. 738, published on 18th April, 1916, in ICS Manual, Madras, The great importance of paying attention to the training of young men, who were entrusted to their guidance and whose success in life and influence for good depends so greatly on the assistance, which they received at the outset of their career.

Paternalistic outlook of officers – It was made very clear to senior district officers, “the great importance of paying attention to the training of young men, who were entrusted to their guidance and whose success in life and influence for good depend so greatly on the assistance, which they received at the outset of their career. Senior officers thought it their duty and took it as a challenge to provide, Care, protection and guidance to junior officers. Mr. Arthur, another ex ICS officer, said, Their attitude, certainly was paternalistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration.

The system was so enforced and watched that there was no escape whatever from acquiring a knowledge about the basics of administration, and to learn about the problems of each and every area of their jurisdiction or of village conditions and to learn as to how best to deal with them. All these efforts have helped ICS developing gradually into one of the most efficient/powerful services in the world.

Reputation of Civil services British Crown Rule – Nobody had ever doubted about the efficiency and effective governance during British Rule. It had even puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, Von Ribbentrop and many foreigner observers as to how was the Indian Empire administered with such apparent zeal, efficiency, high-mindedness and impartiality? How barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century. It became possible only because background of intake material at different levels of its bureaucracy – 

  • Selection of officers – British rulers were very particular about the  intake of the material into its administrative set-up at different levels – national, provincial or district level.
  • Background of the recruits British rulers gave importance to the social and educational background of the recruits .
    • Dictum of Whiteman superiority – The British, according to their aims and objectives, pursued the policy of ‘racial discrimination’ for recruiting officers in civil services.
    • They preferred the youth, who usually belonged to British professional middle classes, who were educated in public schools, who had broad knowledge of human culture and civilization and basic social sciences and who had degrees and diplomas from reputed educational institutions, like  Oxford or Cambridge.
    •  Merit based selection – The selection was done on the basis of merit. The calibre of direct recruits was ensured by their success in an open competition. And then selected persons were shaped into efficient officials, suitable for holding superior/managerial positions in the government.    
    • Caught them young – The competitive examination system put emphasis on selecting young students between the age-group of 21 to 24 years. Because at young  age, the mind of a person remained creative, flexible and energetic. It gave the rulers advantage to mold the new recruits into the shape, they wanted to through formal and field training.
    • The main attractions for such youth to join the Indian Civil Services, were extremely generous salaries, opportunity to do something worthwhile, quick promotions, and responsibilities with full freedom to work.
  • Esprit d’ corps amongst officersLines pointed out, It is the Esprit d’ corps, which served to enforce a strong moral code.  Philip Maser acknowledged  that there was esprit d’ corps amongst the officers. It did not need to be articulated artificially.  Everybody knew it.
  • Smallness of service – It maintained “The smallness of service”, just over a thousand at any given time which instilled amongst officers a strong sense of service loyalty.
  • Incorruptible Bureaucracy Clive Dewey said that the historical evidence points out to only a minute handful of officers of being corrupt. “It was partially their salaries, partly their background, partly their sense of duty and partly ivory tower, in which they lived, which made any rumors extremely uncomfortable.[viii]
  • Freedom to work atmosphereThe bureaucracy, whatever its complexion might have been, had developed traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work, though these qualities served the British rulers and not the Indian masses.

Developed as the “Steel Frame” of its administrative structure – Above were the factors, which made it possible, to attract the best talents of the British society towards Indian Civil Services during 1858 to 1919. And the civil service came to be known as the “Steel Frame” of its administrative structure, which reared and sustained British rule in India.

Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic Steel-frame speech, said on Aug.2, 1922 in the House of Commons that British civil servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and so he could not imagine any period, when they could dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British civil servants. He said, I do not care, what you build on it. If you take that Steel-frame out of the fabric, it will collapse.  There is only one institution, we will not cripple, there is one institution, and we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges and that is that institution, which build up the British Raj – the British Civil Service in India.

System of selection and training after Independence in 1947

Status of civil services in the Government after independece in 1947 – There are three main organs of the government in India. Legislature/Parliament is there to make laws, Executive to implement laws, plans & policies of the government and judiciary to act as a watch dog. Among these three, executive is the most powerful wing. Executive, comprises of elected representatives and permanent civil servants. Because of exclusive and specialized nature of work and the need for more expert knowledge in each and every area of governance, political chiefs have to depend on civil services all the time.

Constitution-framers on the role of civil service – Forefathers of the Indian Constitution knew well the importance of civil services in order to ensure good governance. The President of the Constituent Assembly, Rajendra Prasad (the first President of Independent India) had warned, while moving for the adoption of the constitution in 1949, “Whatever the Constitution may or may not provide, the welfare of the country will depend upon the men who administer it. If the people who are selected are capable and men of character and integrity, they will be able to make the best even of a defective Constitution…If they are lacking in these the Constitution cannot help the country. After all Constitution, like a machine is a lifeless thing. It acquires life because of the men who control and operate it. And India needs today nothing more than a set of honest men who will have the interest of the country before them”.

Mr. MV Kamath said, “With the independence of our country, the responsibilities of the (civil) services have become onerous. It may make or mar the efficiency of the machinery of administration, machinery so vital for the peace and progress of the country. A country without any efficient Government service cannot make progress in spite of the earnestness of the people at the helm of affairs of the country. Whatever democratic institutions exist, experience has shown, that it is essential to protect public services as far as possible from political and personal influence and to give it that position of stability and security, which is vital in its successful working, as an impartial and efficient instrument, by which Government of whatever political complexion may give effect to their policies” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p585).

Therefore, as Shri C. Rajagopalachari had commented, “For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation”

India needs more efficient and effective civil services – After Independence, more than earlier, India needs to select energetic officers with drive, initiative, unquestionable integrity and positive outlook for smooth, efficient and effective governance, especially in its managerial cadres. Because –

  • Economic & social regeneration, effective implementation of welfare & development  plans need integrated planning, programming, and coordination of activities demand officers having administrative ability and practical sagacity.
  • Knowledge in this space age, has been growing faster than human ability to handle it. There are continuous changes in the strategy, structure and management techniques.
  • Specialization – Due to exclusive and specialized nature of work, governance of the country need for more expert knowledge in all the areas of governance for improving the quality of service.
  • Need for sense of service – The officers, manning the executive, must not only be good administrators, but should be imbibed with the sense of service. They need to possess quality of leadership of a high order and be able to play the role of a guide and friend of the people.

Responsibilities of the civil services – Along with the traditional task of the maintenance of law and order, revenue collection, developmental works like integrated planning, implementation of programs, coordinate programs for economic and social regeneration and construction of new modern India, have been added to the responsibilities of the civil services. Successful operation of its welfare and developmental activities, India needs officers in its executive, “Who must not only be good administrators, but should be imbibed with the service, possess leadership of a high order and be able to play the role of a guide and friend of the people.” [ix] At present the Civil service is responsible for –

  1. To aid and advice political leadership to take right decisions at right time.
  2. To improve quality of service,
  3. To take tough decisions. Usually elected representatives hesitates taking tough or unpopular decisions, as they have to please the voters. There never is a good time for politicians to take tough decisions. 
  4. Responsibility of Decision-making falls on the shoulders of permanent bureaucrats, whose position is constitutionally safeguarded. 
  5. Formulate plans and policies, design strategies, initiate actions to execute policies and translate plans into action.
  6. Continuously monitor the progress and then taking required remedial actions
  7. Running smoothly day-to-day administration at all levels, be it in the Secretariat or in the Fields at all levels, Local, State and Central,  
  8. Facilitating common men to live a peaceful, safe and secure life and taste the fruits of development. Its working affects daily life of the people the most.  
  9. Being the government of welfare and developmental state, launching a massive attack on five major evils of society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness; and
  10. Constructing infra-structure for sustainable development of the nation are assigned to the executive.

All these responsibilities tends to give tremendous administrative powers to the government services. Government needs to be very careful about right selection of personnel as “Authority without wisdom becomes like a heavy axe without an edge” (Anne Bradstreet)

Need of proper system of selection and training Of civil servants – It is one of the prime functions of the Government to make all the feasible arrangements to recruit, retain, train and retrain the best talent of the nation for its administrative work at every level, so that they can shoulder the heavy responsibilities of governance judiciously.

No drastic change in system after Independence –  Many national leaders desired that ICS and similar services must disappear completely. Since the basic task of administration had changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic change. They wanted the Civil Services of independent India to be constituted on a new basis, to fit in with the new system of Welfare State.  and form the civil services of India on a new basis to fit in with the new philosophy, role, aims and objectives of a Welfare state. Sardar Patel  advised all to continue the existing Institution of Civil Services.

Visionary Sardar Patel, then the Home Minister of India, had realized that at the dawn of independence, circumstances were such that no drastic change was possible in the then existing administrative system. Many British officers took premature retirement. A large number of Muslim officers opted for Pakistan. Besides, the nation was facing other critical problems like cumbersome task of unification of states, partition of the country in 1947 and bleeding economic situations etc.

Consequently, save minor changes here and there, the administrative machinery set up during the Raj moved into the post-Independent era except for minor changes here and there. of the civil services and Basic ingredients of structure, recruitment and training system of civil services remained almost the same. Like –

  • Selection of appointees annually through open competitive examination.
  • Intensive foundation training for new recruits to nurture them to acquire necessary skills.
  • Like British rulers, Independent India also acknowledges the value of actual field experience for initial four-five years.

Structure of civil services at national level After Independence the government of India has formed some new civil services in various disciplines – functional, technical and specialist as well as managerial and generalist cadres. Civil Services in India can be divided into –

  • Managerial services (All India services and Central Services) –  All India Services like Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Forest Service (IFS). Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service are incorporated in Article 312(2) of the Constitution. All India Services are meant basically for providing personnel for state administration and to man policy level posts under the Union. They basically perform the control functions of the government.
  • Officers of All India Services play a crucial role in day today working of the government, in policy formulation, decision making, execution of plans and policies and keeping  law and order within nation.  They are in direct contact with the council of ministers and virtually control all the levers of the governance of the country. Right from its inception, these services  attract the maximum attention of the government and the politicians. Also for an educated youth, it is a matter of pride to be a part of these services.
  • Non-technical/Professional Civil Services –There are some non-technical/professional Central Services. A few civil services, in this categories are Indian Foreign Service, Indian Railway services, Indian Audit & Accounts Service, Indian Revenue Service etc. Appointment in professional services does not require any professional qualification or experience at the time of entry. Their functional areas are mentioned in Central List of Subjects under the Constitution.
  • Technical Civil services – Engineering services, Health services etc., come in this category. For getting entry in to these services, knowledge and experience in a defined field, a professional degree, diploma and/or experience beforehand are necessary.

These services are basically responsible especially for development of infra-structure for the nation or for implementing welfare programs of the government such as in sphere of public health. The Government of India has the power to create more technical and specialized government services as and when nation require them for having Central Control, guidance, uniformity in technical fields, such as in the area of water resources management, power generation etc. More Technical Services have been created later, like Mechanical Engineers (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics), Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Engineering Branch); Indian Statistical Service; Indian Economic Service; Indian Railway Services of Engineers (of Electrical Engineers; Signal Engineers; or health services like CGHS, CHS etc.

Creation of Public Service Commission –  To recruit, retain, train and retrain the best talent of the nation for its administrative work at every level is one of the prime the responsibility of the government. Government has entrusted the responsibility of selecting responsible, well-equipped and intellectually brilliant youth for administrative frame-work to an independent/autonomous body called Public Service Commission. Union Public Service Commission has been created to select personnel for central government civil services and Provincial Public Service Commissions for selecting officials for provincial civil services.

Public Service Commission conducts annually open competitive examinations to assess the capability of the aspirant candidates for different technical or non-technical government services. Then selects suitable persons for different departments  civil service, who can implement properly the policies and programs of the government in a more positive, systematic and purposeful manner. The process of examination roughly takes one year from the notification of the pre examination to declaration of the final results. Civil Services Examination (CSE), a nationwide competitive examination in India, conducted by UPSC is one of the toughest examination in India, with more than 900,000 applicants having one of the lowest in the world success rate of 0.1%­0.3%.

Qualifications for entering into Competitive examination –  Qualifications for entering into Competitive examination of CSE services are –

  • Citizens from all-over India can appear in this examination.
  • Educational qualification – Any citizen of India holding a graduate degree (from a recognized university incorporated by an Act of Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institution established by Parliament Act  announced to be deemed university under section-3 of the UGCA, 1956 or have an equivalent degree) can appear in the competition of CSE. It does not require any professional qualification or experience.
  • Age Limit – Age limits as laid down in the relevant Recruitment Rules are, by and large, based on the general orders issued by the Government of India from time to time vide [MHA OM No. 2/41/59-RPS dated 3-12-59; Deptt. of Personnel OM No. 130/70-PP(IV) dated 11-4-72 and OM No. 4/7/70-Estt(D) dated 13-3-72]. According to official notice 2016 (If there is change we will update)

After Independence, the upper age limit was 24 years. In early 70’s, it was raised to 26. On Kothari Commission recommendations, it was again raised to 26 or 28 years after 1979 by the government. At present it is 32 years for General category and only6 attempts, for SC/ST it is 37 years with no bar on attempts, and for OBC, 35 years with 9 attempts. 

Kothari Commission Recommendation – In 1975, under Dr. D.S. Kothari, a Committee was set up to review the system of recruitment to the non-technical central government civil services.  It recommended unified competitive examination consisting of – a preliminary screening examination to test skill, speed and accuracy for non-technical civil services, an objective type to facilitate identification of those, who have the requisite range of knowledge, main examination in four compulsory and four optional papers to test the depth of knowledge.  

  • Preliminary examination (MCQ type) –  Preliminary screening examination is to test skill, speed and accuracy for non-technical civil services. It is an objective type to facilitate quick identification of those, who have the requisite range of IQ. No preliminary screening has been considered necessary as technical graduates have already undergone a rigorous curriculum in their respective fields of study. They directly appear in the competitive examination for technical services.
  • Mains examination (descriptive type) – The qualified candidates of preliminary examination are called for Mains examination followed by personal interview for final selection. Main examination to tests the depth of knowledge in four compulsory and four optional subjects of candidates’ choice. Optional papers judge intellectual ability and scholastic attainment, and Compulsory papers the general mental culture and interests of the candidates;
  • Personal Interview – For final selection, there is an interview to see personal qualities including some intellectual qualities, which a written examination cannot discover. It examines the communication skills, public speaking skills, leadership qualities, ability to exchange meaningful ideas and attitude.

This scheme came into practice from 1979. For Technical and Specialist services, UPSC conducts separate examinations.

Allocation of services – Allocation in different services i.e. IAS, IFS, IPS, or the Central Services, is on the basis of merit and choice. Normally, the top rankers opt for either the IAS or the IFS. Selected candidates are posted in different technical and non-technical departments directly at the highest level of Policy-formulation and decision making. They are responsible for day-to-day governance and controlling law and order situation of the nation. They exercise state authority from day one and continue to do it till their retirement.  Along with the council of Ministers, they control, virtually, all the levers of the governance of the country. The Government offers them best career opportunities, more power, higher responsibilities, higher salaries, better perquisites, and superior status than any other service at the center or in the states and a place of pride in socio-political circle.

Training/Nurturing of selected candidates  –Education and Training of new entrants is necessary not only for knowing more but for behaving differently. They need to be told clearly about their role in administration, their responsibilities, key challenges in their work areas, its solutions and impact of their work on general public and the whole society.

Governments at the centre and states plan for the formal and informal training (on–the-job) to nurture of selected candidates to acquire the skills necessary for performing responsibilities of their jobs. The purpose of training after appointment is first to impart required knowledge related to their work area, shape attitudes, cultivate skills and build work-habits needed by the organization, of which they are a part. Secondly it helps personnel to apply acquired knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes, while doing their jobs.

Establishment of ‘Training Division’ in the Ministry of Home Affairs – A bold step was taken by Government of India by creating a cell in 1968. It is known as ‘Training Division’ in the Ministry of Home Affairs for general coordination and for stimulating in-service and refresher training courses run by various Training Institutions, which can be grouped in three categories –

(1) Institutes run by the Government of India,

(2) Institutes run by the State Governments,

 (3) Autonomous/Private Institutes.

These institutions impart foundation as well as in-service through plan and non-plan programs to senior officers of different departments at various stages and in various disciplines. Training in those areas, where adequate facilities are not available within the country, is given abroad under bilateral agreements and aid-programs.

Training – Training is not a one shot affair. Learning continues throughout the entire career span. It becomes necessary because new responsibilities are being added with times. Knowledge is advancing each day and there has been organizational functional or technological changes. The whole process of training is systematically designed to update the knowledge at appropriate time intervals and in appropriate areas, either concept based or technique based. It develops  desired job-oriented skills and attitudes. For achieving goals and objectives, it raises the levels of performance and efficiency in administration.

Training enables the civil servants to perform their “existing” duties and functions more efficiently and effectively. It also prepares civil servants, on promotion, to shoulder the  responsibilities of higher positions competently.  Training may be Formal or Informal. Training is done at following four stages and each is done for a different purpose –  

  1. Pre-entry training,
  2. Foundation training,
  3. In-service/on-job training and,
  4. Post entry training. 

Preentry training” is basic skills training in any profession, including that of civil services, for immediate entry into the working environment. Usually education imparted in schools and colleges or universities is treated as preentry training which qualifies aspirants for all sorts of jobs in the government. However concept of pre-training for any kind of job is not common except for those who want to join Indian Army.

Orientation or Foundation Training – Foundation training equips new recruits to Civil Services with understanding of political, social and economic infrastructure of the country’s administrative set-up and the basic concepts and requirements of their respective jobs. It also explains to new employee, the organizational landscape of his office with its lines of authority in order that he may know to whom he is to report, from whom he is to take directions and the limits of his responsibilities. It familiarizes new recruits quickly with some of the history and general objectives of his unit and its relation to the rest of the departments/Ministry. Immediately after their selection into various services, the successful candidates are sent to various training Institutions for their foundation training. Foundation training program may range in duration from a few weeks to a couple of years.

On the job Training – Like British rulers, Independent India also acknowledges the value of actual field experience for initial four-five years The purpose of on-job training is to learn from their mistakes, and acquire administrative skill through practice. It depends more or less upon self-inspired motivation, sincerity and experiences. He learns something continuously, when he interacts with his colleagues in horizontal formation, or downwards or upwards in vertical formation.

In-service Training Programs – In-service training takes over the training tasks initiated by foundational training and fill in the gaps incurred during informal on-the-job training. The main objective of the in-service training is to replace old unproductive habits by productive ones. In India, there are arrangements for in-service training programs like  refresher courses, seminars, workshops, study-tours within country and abroad etc., at frequent intervals.

Critical Review

Result of the efforts done so far – In-spite all these efforts done so far to improve the system of recruitment, education and training have not improved or achieved the desired results. There is decline over the years in the quality and commitment of governing authorities. In-discipline, violence and lawlessness are increasing every day all-over the country.

Way back on December 9, 1946, Mr. V.N. Narayan had said, At best of times, India is ungovernable country of diversities, conflicts and problems. Mr. Nani Palkiwala, a leading lawyer also expressed the same feeling. After so many years of self-rule has given India empty coffers, unfulfilled promises, political instability, fractured society and perpetual divide among different groups along caste and community lines.  He said, Our legal systems have made life too easy for criminals and too difficult for law abiding citizens.[x] A touch here, a push there may make India ungovernable.

Mr. VN Narayan has described the present  scenario/climate as “We have a political problem (scams and scandals), but we have no political solution, we have a religious problem (Ayodhya), but no religious solution. There is an economic problem (poverty), but there is no economic solution (Liberalization). There is a social problem (Sectarian conflicts), but there is no societal remedy (Secularism and Mandalisation). There is a socio-medical disease (cancer of corruption), but there is no socio-medical cure (ministerial resignations and reshuffles)”

Why the administrative system weakened? – People often wonder why the steel-frame of yesteryears is shaking and failing to do its job effectively and judiciously despite having a constitutional status with enough powers to deal with unwanted situations? Is ‘the steel frame of governance’, itself responsible for its deterioration, and is shaking under its own pressures? Is it failing to do its job effectively and judiciously despite having a constitutional status with enough powers to deal with unwanted situations? Why there is decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the civil services? Why are in-discipline, violence and lawlessness increasing continuously all-over the country?

There are many reasons for reaching up-to the present deteriorated condition of law and order all over India and slow infrastructural development. Factors like Concentration of authority in few hands, no regards for meritocracy or expertise, protectionist and populist policies of the government to create vote-banks, lack of will-power of political leadership to take hard decisions, poor personnel policies of the Government, cumbersome office procedures, increased paper work are some of them. Over and above it, there is disincentive to hard work, talent, honesty and sincerity, lack of accountability, playing safe attitude of government servants, delays in taking decisions and actions; poor personnel policies of the Government; cumbersome office procedures; increased paper work etc.  Last but not the least alienation and tolerance of people is responsible for it, They to accept the sub-standard administration, giving very little challenge to the authorities to upgrade their performance.

Grave weaknesses of recruitment and training system in India – Selecting wrong persons for administrative work may inflict a permanent, cascading and damaging effect on the whole system. It could frustrate the effort of national reconstruction. Recruitment system has been suffering from the following grave weaknesses –

  • Recruitment system is degree-oriented instead of job-oriented. It is also academic and favours the examination minded candidates. Just assessment of different subjects poses difficult problems in evaluation of comparative merits.
  • Higher education unrelated to national needs – General pre-entry education system especially the higher education in India is increasingly becoming unrelated to national needs and aspirations, in-efficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.
  • Only 50% seats on merit basis – There are fixed quotas on caste basis. Only 50% seats in civil services are filled on merit basis. Other 50% seats at centre and more than 50% in provinces are filled on the basis of fixed quotas for different sections of society on caste basis. Nothing damages the administration more than faulty recruitment.

Policy of reservation in Government jobs  – Under the Reservation Policy of Government, in all government jobs, vacancies are reserved for different sections of society on caste basis. Quota has been fixed for weaker sections of society i.e. SC 15%, ST 7.5% and OBC (27%). Other concessions and facilities provided to SCT candidates are: –

  • Pre-examination coaching centres for training SCT established by the Home Ministry all over India.
  • The maximum age limit extended by for SCT is +5 and for OBC +3.
  • While three attempts are given to general candidate to appear in competitive examinations, there is no restriction on the numbers of attempts for SCT candidates.
  • They are exempted from payment of fees.
  • Separate interviews have been arranged for SCT through a separate sitting of the selection committee.[vii]
  • Relaxation of standards has been allowed through an instruction issued on 24th Sept., 1968. It mentions that, where requisite numbers of SCT candidates fulfilling even the relaxed standard are not available to fill the vacancies reserved for them, the best among the SCT candidates, who possess the minimum educational qualifications prescribed, should be selected.
  • Ministry of Home Affairs in OM No.1.1.70 Estt. (SCT) dt. 25.7.70, issued an order. It says that in direct recruitment, whether by examination or otherwise, if sufficient numbers of SCT candidates were not available on the basis of general standards to fill all the vacancies reserved for them, their candidates should be selected on relaxed standards, provided they were not unfit for such posts. [viii]
  • SCT candidates qualifying directly without relaxed standards not adjusted against reserve quota.
  • In case of non-availability of sufficient numbers of suitable SCT candidate, the shortfall not to be filled by general category candidates.
  • Indefinite carry forward of Reservation for SC in direct recruitment. These vacancies kept unfilled till SCT candidates become available.
  • Pre-examination coaching centers for training SCT established by the Home Ministry all over India.

Lower cut-offs for reserved seats – Any relaxation in the matter of recruitment standard, as the reservation policy suggests, could adversely affect the efficiency of whole administrative system. Hamstrung by lack of qualified candidates to fill up mandatory quota seats, the government of India has to lower the cut-offs for reserved category from time to time. OM No.1/1/70 Estt. (SCT) dated 25.7.70, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, stipulates that in direct recruitment, whether by examination or otherwise, if sufficient numbers of SCT candidates are not available, on the basis of the general standard, to fill all the vacancies reserved for them, the SCT candidates should be selected on relaxed standards provided they are not unfit for such posts.

Concern for underprivileged section of society  – It is a humanitarian obligation of a civilized society to uplift and empower the weaker sections of its society. But it should not be done at the cost of efficiency in administration. Many people say that –

  • Favouritism and concessions are bestowed through reservation policy for political reasons.
  • Protective measures negates merit, competitiveness and development. Merit oriented approach in principle opposes reservation of any kind, that gives preferences to a person over a more talented person. Any relaxation in the matter of recruitment standard, as the reservation policy suggests, could adversely affect the efficiency of whole administrative system.
  • Reservation creates greed and abuse of power, increases casteism and  communalism,
  • It hampers the growth of national unity and solidarity.[ix]
  • Recruitment on quota basis creates a distance between quota officers and non-quota officers, which affects the integrity of the services and its coordinated efforts for the development of the nation as a whole.
  • Mal-administration or ineffective and inefficient administration makes the life of common people more miserable.

Many castes have been declared as backwards in political circles. There is no dearth of merit in so-called underprivileged communities. There are many talented and meritorious persons amongst SC/ST/OBCs, who have competed with others on equal footing by the virtue of their capabilities, qualifications, experiences and skills. Also these communities have world class leaders like APJ Abdul Kalam or Ambedkar, who are respected by all, irrespective of class, caste, or creed.

Women and Sikhs are exemplary examples, who have demonstrated how with sincere efforts, self-confidence and inner strength, success can be achieved, even against odds, pressures, restrictions and disabilities or without any relaxation or concession. Sikhs have focused their attention and energies on modern opportunities and today they are prospering not only in India, but in advanced countries like USA, UK, Canada and Australia.

Women comprising about 50% of the total population of India They were not even allowed to appear in  CSE till 1965. They have fought their battle in an uneven terrain and paved their way to success without any shelter under protectionism policies of the Government.

No parrot like cry of socialismTrue prosperity calls for liberating the backward class people from orthodox, superstitious and conservative constraints. They need awakening and regenerating those dormant potentials, which are inherent in them. Aptitude, Attitude, and “Nurturing over nature” should be the base. Through sound system of education and training, they should be empowered, to discover their talents and develop their skills, so that they can emerge as confident, self-reliant and independent, individuals. When one gives a meal to a man, he feeds him for just a day. Once a man knows to earn his meals, he could be fed for a lifetime. Reservation is just like giving a meal to a man.

Sardar Patel has rightly said,  “By experience, I am convinced that what is necessary for us is to learn how to produce more wealth (created by one’s own labour) and thereafter think what to do with it.  What the country needs is not parrot like cry of socialism, but unity and strength Patel asked the people to think, why England took a long time to become socialistic and why America made no mention of it even now.

C Rajagopalachari had said, Short sighted favoritism and concessions, to produce contentment among classes and castes, will be short lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to real efficiency.

Mr. Appu has very rightly commented, “No reforms would work without improving the political atmosphere of the country”. It needs political  will-power to ensure that protective measures do not negate merit, competitiveness and development.  

Justice Gajendra Gadkar had also cautioned the policy-makers, “It must not be forgotten that efficiency in administration is of paramount importance, that it would be unwise and un-permissible to make any Reservation at the cost of efficiency in administration.

Mr. Kalelkar said that giving an additional weapon in weak hands was no remedy. The remedies, the commission suggested were worse than the evil, they were out to combat. In his letter forwarding the report, Kalelkar remarked I am definitely against Reservation in Government services for any community for the simple reason, that services are not meant for the servants, but they are meant for the service of society as a whole. 

 Protective measures should not negate merit, competitiveness and development. To prepare a capable and confident team from amongst the vast majority of SC, ST OBC people, is not an impossible task. It will be better if instead of politicizing the issue in the hope of creating a vote-bank, political leaders think of making their youth eligible enough first, so that they can compete confidently with general category candidates without any relaxing the standard of selection and then facilitate their entry into civil services of the nation. 

In this an age of specialization and continuous modernization process, Government service is not just another job. There is a growing demand for effective, efficient and goal-oriented governance. Quality of service also needs to be improved.

What needs to be done? – Something more is required to be done to improve system of recruitment and training, so that officials of calibre, character and leadership capabilities can be inducted into Government services. Building up of responsible and efficient civil servant does not start from the day, he joins the civil services, but right from the day he starts his education. The pre-entry education should be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature, so that it  could provide firm foundation for the continuing education of higher civil servants.

Catch them young and then mold them into required frame – Seeing the inherent weaknesses in Indian education system and recruitment  system, it would be better if selection to various government services is made immediately after higher secondary education at a raw age, when the minds of aspirants are still energetic, creative and are in a formative stage. Best time for recruitment in various Government Services is around 18-22. Many studies say that around this age-group human brains’ processing power and detail memory peaks up and lasts for 5 more years. Afterwards it is a downhill pattern.

Role models, Defense and Railway’s Mechanical Engineering Service  – The idea of such an Education and Training is not new to India and has proved to be successful in Defense and Railways. Selection could be done through an open competitive examination as is already being done for civil services, Defense Services or Jamalpur pass-out mechanical engineers of Indian Railways. 

Catching them young would facilitates the Government enough time to arrange for their continuing education according to the requirements of their specific jobs. Intensive and comprehensive training can be done at various administrative colleges and training institutions.  It would not only make it possible to have the intellectual knowledge and qualities required for performing their specific jobs, but would also inculcate in them emotional qualities and capacities required for doing their jobs such as social purposefulness, ability to understand the administrative and political implications of a problem and resourcefulness in solving them, capacity for team work and flair for leadership, which are basic requirements of any welfare administrators.

Increasing of the upper age limit for entering in competitive examinations up to the age 33/36/38 does not seem to be rational or appropriate. Over the years, governments have ignored many panels’ recommendations to lower the upper age limit. But now the topic is now back in focus. Recently NITI Aayog has recommended lowering the age limit for general category civil service aspirants to 27 from the current 32.

To improve the existing Education, recruitment and Training System and  making administrative system more meaningful and effective, these steps could be taken –

  • It should be ensured that political considerations, either in recruitment or in discipline and control be reduced to the minimum.
  • Foundation training should be made compulsory for all higher services – whether technical or non-technical;
  • the government and training institutions should be strict, so that trainees could take their training seriously;
  • training should be service oriented;
  • since 70% of the Indian population lives in villages, the officials should be familiarized soundly and intimately with the conditions, organizations, needs and aspirations of village people;
  • the higher civil servants should be trained to lead a simple life;
  • the super structure of skill, knowledge and efficiency should be raised on the foundation of discipline;
  • Senior officers should pay adequate attention and time to the training task;
  • The government should create a working atmosphere in the offices so that qualities like receptivity, originality, initiative, courage and sympathetic attitude towards masses, could be developed fully, while working;
  • The three partners in training – the organization, the training institute and the participant – should interact out of knowledge and understanding;
  • The training needs should be assessed properly by conducting job-evaluation and research and onward studies;
  • Instead of depending upon foreign material, adequate training material should be prepared and developed locally;
  • Right methods and techniques should be chosen for various training programs;
  • Selection of trainees should be done with great care;
  • Enough motivation should be there for trainees, so that they can take their training seriously;
  • Top-level officers should give full cooperation to training activities;
  • Every training program should be evaluated properly;
  • There should be regular program review sessions;
  • The selection of the trainers should also be done with great care.

In conclusion, message of John F Kennedy, both for those in power echelons and general public, can be repeated  “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (John F. Kennedy’s concluding words of his concise, precise and impressive inaugural address).

October 17, 2020 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | Leave a comment

System of Employment in ancient and modern India

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love, what you do.” 

Introduction – The process of industrialization, modernization have drastically changed the traditional system pattern of occupations/employment and work culture of India. Specially 21st century led to the rapid advancement in information technology. It has completely changed the modern employment system. From community-based, it has become individual based. It has given freedom to individuals to choose any profession of their own choice/liking, without making them mature enough to know what they want. Growing aversion for traditional occupations has adversely affected employment prospects of many youth, especially unskilled/semi-skilled workers living in rural areas.

The history of the employment pattern in Indiacan be divided into –

System of Employment in ancient and medieval India

(From beginning up till 16th-17th century)

Ancient jobs came into existence, because of the most basic needs of human beings. Even today, many of ancient jobs exist still exist despite of digitisation and modernisation. Such as since beginning teaching was considered a noble profession not only in India, but across the world. Writers, accountants, doctors, artists, officers etc held high positions in the courts of kings and monarchs. Architects and builders were in great demand. The history of agriculture in India dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization era. Then there were miners, carpenters, brick-makers, hunters, butchers, massage therapists etc.

Principles behind the traditional way of Occupations – In ancient and medieval India, assignment of work was based on certain realities, principles and way of life –

  • Principle of Varna, Dharma and Karma – Principles of ‘Varna, karma and Dharma’  guided the employment pattern of India.
    • Principle of       ‘Varna’ had assigned duties to different social groups according to their natural instincts and qualities. It did fourfold division of occupations and their performers –       Brahmins, were assigned the work of learning, research and development. Action-oriented Kshatriyas were given the job of defense and maintenance of law and order in the       society; to Vaishyas, of trade and commerce; and to Shudras all kinds of service- functions. Principle of Varna had assigned duties to different groups according to people’s natural instincts and qualities.
    •  Principles of ‘Dharma’ and ‘Karma’ developed clear-cut vision of rights and duties/responsibilities of each group, considering the requirements of different occupations. The system managed well the daily necessities and day to day relation of its members. It  boosted morale of the people and promoted social equilibrium and solidarity. Principle of ‘Karma’       created the work culture. It gave stress to duty.
  • Traditional system of employment based on attitude and aptitude of human beings – The traditional system of occupations had maintained differentiation between various occupations, which was dependent on attitude and aptitude of people rather than on birth. Hinduism believes that the whole world of activities is a result of complex intermixing of three basic qualities of human nature – goodness (Satva, purity, peace and knowledge), Rajas/Passion (associated with comfort and action) and Tamas/dullness (with ignorance, sloth, sleep and carelessness). These qualities determined the tendencies, potentialities, limitations, traits and character of individuals and give them direction for action. It makes individuals different from each other in attitude, aptitude, physical and mental capacity, aspirations, like and dislikes, inclination and expectations.
  • System not too rigid – The system was not so rigid in matter of occupations as had been portrayed by alien rulers. The work in the sectors of agriculture or army was open to all. Members of any Varna did not exercise monopoly or authority over a particular occupation. It is an established fact of Indian History that Brahmin or even Shudras sometimes became the kings. There were times when gap between Vaishyas and Shudras became narrow or when Shudras acquired a better position in the society. Khatriyas and Shudra were accepted and revered as philosophers or spiritual teachers. Great respect had even earned by persons from humblest origin as a right. They had the all opportunity to pursue knowledge and reach up-to the top.
  • Stress on “duty, tolerance and sacrifice” – Whereas, Western cultures have grown around the idea of `rights” forming the natural foundation of human relationship, systems in India evolved around the concept of “duty, tolerance and sacrifice”. Emphasis on duty had made people or groups humble and tolerant. Sacrifice was regarded far more important than success, and renunciation was regarded as the crowning achievement.
  • Stress on ‘Self-discipline’, self-direction and ‘Self-effort’ –The system as a whole  encouraged interdependence in social matters. Each and every social group was expected to lead a self- restraint      and self-disciplined life-style  in all respect, be it in the matter of daily      routine, occupation or inter-group relationship. There was automatic de-centralization of       control systems and authority. The separation of rights and duties       combined with the principle of inter-dependence developed its own system       of checks and balances over arbitrary use of one’s authority.
  • Segmental Ranking according to relevance and contribution to society – There was no hard and fast rule of ranking of different social groups. Ranking of different occupational groups was dependent on factors like relevance, usefulness and contribution of their profession to society as a whole. Other considerations like self-discipline; sense of hygiene and cleanliness (relative purity) on the basis of climatic conditions of the region; morality; knowledge and spiritual standards; conduct and life-style usually determined their social, economic or political status in the society vis-a vis others.  Ranking system did not put different groups within a framework of hierarchical layers of social order, each fitting neatly below the other, but more or less as a series of vertical parallels.

Higher a group, greater were the self-restrictions on its conduct through rituals. Brahmins (intelligentsia) commanded respect of the whole society. They, being at highest place in the society, were put under maximum restrictions. They were supposed to lead a simple life, devoted to the spiritual and intellectual pursuits and denied accumulation of wealth.

  • Respect and honour not dependent on birth – Respect and honour was not dependent on birth. It was the deeds of a person which attracted the attention of the society. Sage Vashishta was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute, but he is highly respected allover India as the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism. So was ‘Kshatriya’ Vishwamitra, the maker of the Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, is recited even as of today almost in every house every day and on all auspicious occassions. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman. Balmiki, the original author of Ramayana, was an untouchable according to present standards, but is still highly respected.
  • Disassociation between Wealth and knowledge/skills – Unlike West, there is disassociation between Wealth and knowledge/skills. The value system of India has separated wealth from status, power from authority, pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts.
  • Stress on knowledge and duty – Whereas, in Western societies social status of a person or organization has always been associated with material success or control of power, authority. In India, status of a person is determined on the basis of its knowledge, purity, discipline and moral standards.
  • Division of labour – Traditional way of occupation believed in the principle of division of labour. All functions needed for the maintenance and growth of the society were divided into different occupations. On the basis of natural endowments, intelligence, aptitudes, attitudes, skills, personal needs and other innate characteristics, each group was assigned a distinct function to perform. Thus the system gave job-satisfaction to almost all individuals except for a few and managed smoothly daily necessities and day to day relation of its members.
  • Automatic system of checks and balances – Indian system of division of labour based on the principle of Varna, Dharma and Karma had developed such systems, that kept control over arbitrary use of any social/local group over others. Separation of rights and duties combined with the principle of inter dependence provided its own system of checks and balances over arbitrary use of one’s authority. There was an automatic decentralization of authority.
    • Each occupational group or caste had an independent entity, having its own hierarchy, based either on a tribal identity or an occupational identity. developed understanding amongst people for their liberties, limits and responsibilities.
    • The plurality of society provided automatic checks and balances and controlled the arbitrariness or unbalanced growth of power of any group.  Indian peasantry in UP, Bihar and MP were armed.  In fact, non-Kshatriya peasant provided leadership of most armed bands, which were numerically predominant and economically and politically strong at the village level.  The monopoly of powerful peasant was a reality of the rural life of Medieval India. The Brahmin strongholds were the centers of learning.  The floating population, consisting groups like Gujjars, Bhattis, Rajput rangers, who remained outside caste system, were so strong, that they terrorized settled agriculturists for centuries.  Forests, which competed with arable land in size and importance, till the 18th century, gave shelter and food to large sections of society and served as havens for those in search of escape from society.
  • Not much disparity – Categorization of people as backwards, forwards or weaker sections was almost non-existent at that time. The system was so conceived by the genius sages and ‘Munies’ (intelligentsia of ancient India) that there was hardly any room for any Varna to consider itself, as being placed in greater or lesser disadvantageous position with reference to another.
    Segmental ranking of different groups was done according to relevance and contribution of their occupations to society. Social status of different occupational groups was dependent on their relative self-discipline (relative purity), morality, knowledge and spiritual standards. Considerations of self-discipline, hygiene and cleanliness on the basis of climatic conditions of the region were given importance.
  • No confusion, bitterness, rivalry or frustration on matter of work – There was no confusion, unhealthy rivalry or frustration on matter of work, because everybody had his traditional occupation. It avoided rivalry or bitterness for pelf, power or position amongst different sections of society.

In ancient India, illiterate masses got the benefit of researches and knowledge of intelligentsia – learned sages and Munies. On the basis of their scholarly researches and experiences, the sages prescribed certain guidelines in the form of rituals to for the benefit of common men and keeping order in the society. In modern societies, this job is done by the national governments by enacting laws and forcing people to follow them.

  • Downward filtration of culture – It made downward filtration of culture, sophisticated language and knowledge possible. In modern society, everybody lives in one’s own world, hardly having any interaction with others. There are watertight compartments between different groups living in an area.
  • Principle of ‘Work is worship’ – All occupations were regarded worth pursuing. Principle of Dharma inspired people to do their jobs well, as all worldly honour and spiritual happiness were vested there. It assured the people that proper performance of one’s work, whether high or humble, whether of a priest, warrior, Shudra or yogi were equally important for the society and were, therefore, right, respectable and worth pursuing. It brought worldly honour and spiritual happiness for individuals and provided the whole society a quality of life.

Occupational pattern of India had filled the community with a sense of duty and trained them in      obedience.

  • Sense of duty stopped those in power to exercise coercion      against its working class.
    • Also it prevented resentment amongst masses.
    • It      helped Indians to adjust themselves, without much difficulty, to most      drastic changes in the past.
    • The systems stopped people from taking law in      their own hands. While other nations passed through many bloody      revolutions, India kept on adapting itself to changing times. In ancient      Greece, Rome or other European countries, people were made to work under the threat of a whip.
  • “Adharma”, “Alasya” and “Agyan” responsible for unemployment – Instead of blaming others for unemployment, “Adharma” (immoral behavior), “Alasya” (laziness) and “Agyan” (ignorance) were held responsible for unemployment and for all evils like exploitation, poverty, miseries and helplessness of the people that follow unemployment automatically.

These principles together had helped India to have more production, economic efficiency and specialization in various areas of activities. It had led to accomplish skill in different areas, specialization, success and happiness, decentralized authority and resources, made management within each unit effective and organized human and social behaviour in tune with the objectives of the society.

Salient features of traditional pattern of Employment – The traditional occupational pattern of India is unique in many way. Like –

  • Employment, dignity and honour for all – Traditional/hereditary occupational pattern had provided employment, dignity and honour to all. Each individual and every group served the community in one way or the other and was, therefore, satisfied. All the social groups lived the life of dignity and honour with the feeling that they, too, were contributing something to the society. All castes including untouchables were assigned important social duties. There was no dearth of employment opportunities for persons willing to work.
  • No monopoly over any profession– Members of any  caste group did not exercise monopoly over a profession. It is an established fact of Indian History that Brahmin or even Shudras sometimes became the kings. Khatriyas and Shudra were accepted and revered as philosophers or spiritual teachers.

HT Colebrooke, one of the early Sanskrit Scholars says, “It may be received as a general maxim that occupation appointed for each tribe is entitled merely to a preference. Every profession, with few exceptions, was open to every description of persons and the discouragement arising from religious prejudices is not greater than what exists in Great Britain from the effects of Municipal and Corporate laws.” (Quoted from ‘Indian Express’, dated 18.9.90, p 8).

In England and other European nations, it was not uncommon for a clergyman, a lawyer or soldier to educate and train his sons for his own profession. The association of merchants or craftsmen, who followed the same profession came to be known as Guilds. These guilds were generally found there in medieval period. The reason why these guilds were formed was to maintain standards, to sell any product for a fair price and to protect the interests of associate members. (https://brainly .in)

  • Local character – The whole of society living in a local area had control over its natural resources. All local groups, whether high or low, living in an area mutually depended and supported for fulfilling different kind of needs and cared for each other. Local character and semi-autonomous nature of the system made close interaction and cooperation between different groups a reality.
  • Combination of inter-dependence and self-reliance – Inter-dependence in social life and self-reliance in personal life were the intrinsic features of ancient system making each local area self-sufficient. Interdependence of different groups made it possible to have close contact amongst the people living in a local area. People whether living in a village or city, were bound together by economic and social ties and had a strong bond of mutual dependence.

Not a single group could claim to be self-sufficient, capable to survive alone and fulfil all needs of its people. Still people enjoyed a large measure of freedom in respect of their personal matters. The system as a whole was capable to fulfil all the needs of its people. There was not much disparity between different occupational groups or between urban and rural people in ancient India.

  • Developed a common bond– The system developed a common bond underlying their activities and minds. There was closeness and cooperation within each and every group, engaged in their own occupation due to common callings, common problems, and common solutions. The whole system together provided the society a quality of life.
  • More convenient and economical – According to “Smritis” the qualities and deeds of an individuals fitted them into a particular group of occupation, not birth. Later on, upbringing, atmosphere and convenience tended to make these occupational groups hereditary. People found it more economical and convenient to practice one’s own traditional occupation. Gradually different hereditary occupational groups emerged in the society.
    • Specialization – System as a whole evolved an atmosphere, where a high level of specialization and wisdom in different areas of activities could be achieved. Being constantly in contact with the family occupation, it was natural for the people to learn maximum about their traditional occupations. The system as a whole had led the society to have more production, economic efficiency and specialization in various areas of activities like spinning, weaving, pottery making, bead making, seal making, terra-cotta, handicrafts, brick-laying, metal work etc.
    • Natural training without investment -The practice of joining the traditional occupation led the people to learn basic qualifications and tricks of the trade within their families itself without investment. Skills, knowledge, intelligence, abilities, and professional experiences and expertise were passed on from one generation to another. Children, while growing up, learnt about hidden intricacies/skills of their profession and solutions of its occupational problems, informally from their elders, with every breath in a natural way. They learnt the skills of the job under the guidance of ‘elders’, while growing up. The system as a whole increased the confidence of the employees and saved them from confusion or unhealthy competition.
    • Spawning bed for professional skills – The system served as a spawning bed for inculcating skills in employees for different types of occupations. The practice of joining traditional occupations had transferred and developed skills and knowledge (technical as well as occupational) and experiences of those, who were already working in that specific area. It was through practice, and experiences; not through formal classroom lectures, which often kills originality and verve of people. By its very nature, it encouraged the development and preservation of local skills. There was a tendency to bring in the most diversified skills to high level of excellence. By its very nature, it encouraged the development and preservation of local skills. There was a tendency to bring in the most diversified skills to high level of excellence.
    • Reservoir of natural leaders – Don Martindale said that India possessed a reservoir of natural leaders, Brahman naturally trained in literary skills, Kshatriyas in art of leadership and different service groups in skills. It has been seen that a Marwari, traditionally belonging to business community, invests his money in share market with more ease and confidence than a graduate from other communities possessing a degree in business management. It was with their sincere efforts that the nation entered into modern era without any cultural break.
  • Job-satisfaction – Hindu philosophy says  “In life, only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe”.  The ancient system of employment gave job-satisfaction to almost all individuals except for a few and managed smoothly daily necessities and day to day relation of its members. All castes including untouchables were assigned important social duties, which gave them a sense of belonging and made them indispensable part of the whole society.
  • Bitterness or rivalry between different occupational groups for money or power was almost missing.

The traditional system of occupation of ancient and medieval India had led the society to have more production, economic efficiency and expertise in almost all the areas and activities like spinning, weaving, pottery making, bead making, seal making, terra-cotta, handicrafts, brick-laying, metal work etc. The system worked so well that when the world was passing through the Dark Age, India was full of light. The first few centuries are recognized as the golden period of Indian history. During this period, arts, commerce, crafts, philosophy and knowledge flourished magnificently.

Many travellers visiting India, from alien lands at different points of time, confirmed that India possessed huge wealth, knowledge, and quality of life. It was a cheerful land. Each person found a niche in the social system. Its people reached a high level of intelligence having specialization in different areas.

Problems of traditional pattern of employment- Since, most of the occupations were community-based and not individual based. There was not much choice to individuals in matter of occupation in traditional system. With the passage of time, the system became too rigid. It put hurdles on the way of creative minds of some individuals, who were not allowed to pursue work of their interest. The rigidity led to heartburn and heart-burn to changes, somewhere rationally, and somewhere it happened in a jest for change.

India during Medieval Period – During medieval period India was continuously invaded by Turks, Afghans and Mughals. Earlier, they drained out the wealth of the nation to foreign lands.  But afterwards, they conquered and made India their homeland. There were times, when intolerance of Mughal rulers towards their Hindu subjects made it difficult for Hindus to preserve indigenous culture. Besides, the feudalistic attitude, extravagance and luxurious life style of Mughal rulers and those at the helm of authority, increased the disparity between the rulers and the ruled.

It has been pointed out by many sociologists that leading sociologists pointed out, there was no dearth of employment for aspiring workers.  A substantial labour market existed.  In addition to their hereditary occupation, agriculture and army were open to all sections of society.  The basic qualification for belonging to any class was mainly the possession of basic qualifications to that specific job. Such as for belonging to Kshatriya class, bravery and management skill was necessary. This class was most open to anybody irrespective of caste or creed. It has accommodated many, both indigenous or alien people.

Period of transition

(World entering from medieval era to modernity)

Modern period starts after middle ages. Early modern period starts after middle ages.  Roughly from 16th century to the late 18th century was the period of transition. It was the time when industrial revolution had  begun in Europe, though in early stages. It was the beginning Industrial Revolution, which led the world to Modernization. Historians have identified several causes for the Industrial Revolution, including: the emergence of capitalism, European imperialism, efforts to mine coal, and the effects of the Agricultural Revolution. The pace of social, economic, occupational and political changes, brought by modernization and industrialization process all-over the word were much faster than that of agricultural era. It has influenced the thinking, behaviour pattern and work-culture of all the societies.

Process of Modernization and Industrialization – The pace of social, economic, occupational and political changes, brought by modernization and industrialization process all-over the word were much faster than that of agricultural era. It has influenced the thinking, behaviour pattern and work-culture of the societies all-over the world.  

Part 1 (Early Modern Period)

Phases of Industrialization – The process of modernization began and progressed gradually mainly due to industrialization. Following have been the phases of Industrialization —

  • First phase of industrialization (discovery of steam engine) – The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. Mechanization started in England replacing agriculture by industry as the backbone of the societal economy. The exponent growth of textile industry led Britain to new inventions in transportation to transport the raw materials to the factories and manufactured goods to customers. By 1830, steam powered industrialization helped Britain to develop railways, which had facilitated manufacturers a cheap way to transport materials and finished products.

The railroad boom has created hundreds of thousands of new jobs for both railroad workers and miners. The railroad industry spawns new industries and inventions and increases the productivity of others. It, in turn, led to better technology, and increased the total volume of world trade.

In the late 18th century, and during the 19th century Industrial revolution spread to Belgium, Germany, Northern France, United States, and Japan. By and large, those countries benefited from industrialization who had the necessary components of land, labour and capital, and often government support.

With the constant growth of industrialization, demand for raw materials also grew. It also led to the emergence of the concept of capitalism and European imperialism.

  • The second phase of industrialisation (the age of science and mass production) – The Second phase of industrialization used Electricity, gas, and oil to create mass production. It started at the end of the 19th century, with massive technological advancements in the field of industries that helped the emergence of a new source of energy.  Other important points of the second industrial revolution was the development for steel demand, chemical synthesis and methods of communication such as the telegraph and the telephone.  The inventions of the automobile, and the plane in the beginning of the 20th century was done during the times of Second Industrial Revolution.
  • Third industrial revolutions (Rise of digital technology) Third industrial revolutions happened in the second half of the 20th century (around 1970). It used electronics and information technology to automate production. It brought forth the rise of electronics, telecommunications and of course computers. New technologies, have opened the doors to space expeditions, research, and biotechnology. Two major inventions, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Robots helped give rise to an era of high-level automation.
  • The fourth Industrial Revolution (Era of artificial intelligence) – It is happening right now. The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing. People are experiencing it every day. Everyone uses internet every single day. And its magnitude is yet unknown. Already, artificial intelligence is all around us, from self-driving cars and drones to virtual assistants and software that translate or invest.

Positive effects of Industrialization – The effects of industrialization included –

  • Large scale production of goods.
  • Urbanization or expansion of the cities.
  • Machines have helped people do their work more quickly. It has saved their time and labour.
  • Demand for raw material increased.
  • Productivity has been optimized,
  • Improved access of food and other items to the customers.
  • Considerable rise in the standard of living of the people.
  • Surplus products results in cheaper prices.
  • Significant population growth.

Prosperity and poverty has grown simultaneously during era of industrialization and modernization.

Adverse effects of the process of modernization and Industrialization – The trend of Industrialization and modernity has started disintegrating under its own weight. It has affected the global society adversely in some spheres. Like –

  • Mal-distribution of wealth and power has pushed the world towards many wars including the two world wars.
  • Global warming – Industrialization has contributed to negative environmental externalities, such as pollution, increased greenhouse gas emission, and global warming. The separation of capital and labour creates a disparity in incomes between laborers and those who control capital resources.
  • Creation of Super Powers – Industrial revolution originated in Europe, therefore, during initial period of industrial revolution money power was centred in Europe. It was after Second World War, that USA and USSR emerged as super powers and became financially the strongest. The collapse of USSR in 1990 as superpower, made economic dominance of USA unchallenged.
  • Internationally, the developing and underdeveloped nations are trying hard to make their place in world economy. And within a nation, sharp social and economic differences were seen between different regions, and between rural and urban areas.
  • Industrial Revolution is responsible for dividing the world into “haves” and “have-nots” countries, with many of the latter being controlled by in some the former. 

Part II

India and Britain during Cusp period

The early modern period began in the 16th century. At that point of time Mughal Empire had conquered most of the Indian sub-continent. It had become the biggest global economy and manufacturing power. The status of India and Britain at that time was –

India, before the process of Modernization beganTill the year 1577, during Mughal period Indian sub-continent was the biggest global economy and manufacturing power. As Ałex Von Tunzelmann describes, India was ” a vast, mighty and magnificent empire, brilliantly organized and culturally unified. It dominated a massive swath of the earth.  An average Indian peasant enjoyed  a relatively higher income, and lower taxation. Than his descendants ever would again. Though under Mughal rule, it’s people, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists were allowed the freedom of conscience and custom.” And

Britain at that point of time “At the same point of time, England was an undeveloped, semi feudal realm, riven legions factionalism and barely able to feed its illiterate, diseased and stinking masses areas and worked on land, going hungry during the frequent food shortages. They were prevented from moving into industry by the protectionist rackets of guild entry fees Begging was common. Nations ten thousand vagabonds were the terror of the land. Quality of life was not good. About two third population lived at subsistence  levels.” (Ałex Von Tunzelmann, Indian Summer, the secret history of the end of Empire, P. 11-12) .

However, The process of industrialization and modernization Britain and India reversed the situation. India became an underdeveloped country under British domination, while Britain came to be known as an advanced nation.

Britain prospering the most during the cusp period  The process of industrialization had benefited England, the most. It increased its economic and political power. The first Industrial Revolution began in England, and many technological innovations during this period happened in Britain. By 1750, Britain had developed industrialization of its textile industry. By the mid-18th century Britain was the world’s leading commercial nation. Britain first came to trade and not to conquer india. The Anglo-Indian trade was monopolized by the East India Company. The prosperity of Britain due to its industrial growth had led  it towards colonization of India and other lands, eventually building a worldwide British Empire.

The factors, which helped Britain – The factors, which helped Britain in increasing its prosperity along with its political and economic power were –

  • Though it took part in many wars during the 1700s, but none of them took place on British soil,
  • Political stability – By 1750 Parliament’s power far exceeded that of the king, and its members passed laws that protected business and helped expansion.
  • Its citizens did not seriously question the government’s authority.
  • Took initiative to do a series of inventions built on the principles of mass production, mechanization, and interchangeable parts.
  • Built up the economic practices and structures necessary for economic expansion,
  • Banks were well established, and they provided loans for businessmen to invest in new machinery and expand their operations.
  • Encouraged experienced persons having experience with trading and manufacturing goods.
  • By 1914, two great canals shortened sea journeys by thousands of miles. The Suez Canal built by the British and French in the 1850s linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, and Panama Canal (completed in 1913). It encouraged trade and transportation between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. With the beginning of sea travel, journeys that had once taken months or years reduced to days or weeks.

The benefits and power, England got from its Industrial growth led it towards colonization of other lands, eventually building a worldwide British Empire.

Factors that pushed India backwards India lagged much behind the European powers for almost 200 years after the process of modernization and industrialization began there. The progress remained very slow as far as modernization and industrialization during the first two phases of industrial revolution, the first one, which revolutionized agriculture and textile production and the second one, when science was fused with technology – 

  • India was under British domination. The policies followed by the British rulers in India was not favourable to the interest of the country.
  • British imperial rule tried to undermine every pillar of old agricultural societies. It changed the traditional job-pattern and work culture tremendously. In agricultural societies, economics, employment and work culture revolved around long lasting structures.
  • Initially the changes, brought in by industrial revolution, were opposed strongly by forces of feudal agrarianism, landed gentry, traditionalist, superstations and social reformers/cultural elite.
  • Exploitative policies of British rulers –  
    • The colonial rule destroyed textile and handicrafts industries through their policies.
    • Flooded the market with machine made goods cheaper than hand-made products.
    • Indian farmers were forced to produce cotton plantation so that it can fuel English factories. It primarily remained producing country which ultimately retarded the industrial development of the country in its early period.
    • Britain policy of ‘divide and rule’ to perpetuate its rule, led to inter-caste/inter communal rivalries, inter group conflicts, which has done irreparable damage to India.

India under British dominationDuring first two industrial revolutions and initial period of modernization India was under British domination. The progress of Industrial development in India remained was very slow for about 200 years, when India was under  British rule. India remained to produce low technology, low productivity, low wage and low profit items. As against this, Britain, along with other European nations, was producing high technology, high productivity, high wage and high profit commodities.  It left India economically far behind the advanced nations.

Britain used India for its own advantage – For British rulers India was a source of raw materials for British industries and a market for its finished products. They flooded the Indian market with machine made cheap goods, Seeing the growing demand for raw material, British rulers forced Indian farmers to  grow cash crops in place of food crops and to  produce cotton plantation, which can fuel English factories. It resulted in awfully deadly famines in India.

Be it the pattern of occupations/employment or work culture, everything, started changing drastically. From community-based, it has become individual based. It has given freedom to individuals to choose any profession of one’s own choice/liking. Such a change has led to growing aversion towards the traditional occupations. And it has adversely affected employment prospects of youth, especially unskilled living in rural areas.

The first industrial undertaking was established in India only after the first railways had been constructed in 1851. The development in 1854 of the cotton textile industry in India – the first important large scale industry marks the dawn of a new industrial era in India. Throughout British rule, India mainly remained the source of raw materials for British industries and a market for its finished products. India remained to produce low technology, low productivity, low wage and low profit items. As against this, Britain, along with other European nations, was producing high technology, high productivity, high wage and high profit commodities.  It left India economically far behind the advanced nations.

Changes in the system of Occupations in Independent India – The modernization and industrialization process, especially under the guidance of British during the 19th Century changed the scene. Gradually, many traditional occupations became less paying and were regarded more hazardous and more time consuming.

White collared jobs gained importance – White collared jobs gained importance. The more, a person withdrew from physical labour, the more civilized, honored and qualified he was regarded by the modern society. It resulted in discrediting many traditional occupations and in destruction of Indian handicrafts and cottage industry.  It scattered the efforts, sense of direction and manufacturing skills of millions of artisans, craftsman, weavers etc.  A few of them joined modern occupations. The majority could neither enter the modern sector nor stick to traditional occupations considering the menial work derogatory.  They had no option, but to either join the band of agricultural laborers, industrial workers, marginal labour or increase the number of unemployed. The outcome of such a development has been the casualty of workers, first, their work style, commitment, motivation and culture afterwards. Many groups had lost their creativity, sense of achievement and pride.

Some entrepreneurs with money, education and awareness did market surveys and hijacked many traditional occupations.  Occupations like mechanization of fishing or leather industry were modernized by them and made profit oriented. Even less capital-intensive occupation, such as barber, washerman etc., have been taken up by educated middle class. Hitherto, these occupations were viewed with disdain and contempt by modern society. These have been, therefore, re-christened as saloon, laundry etc. It employed workers, largely from poor traditional workers, earlier practicing such occupations independently.

Technological development in India after IndependenceThe Pace of Technological advancement was quite slow immediately after Independence. There were many constraints at that time, like

  • Political constraints – The imperial rule of about 200 years had left behind in 1947 not a unified India, but about 560 princely states, big and small. After Independence India aimed to build up a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy  and move forward quickly and establish a new economic order in which common people could have better deal. It has chosen the most difficult form of government, democracy, along with the concepts of Welfare State and development Administration. Its survival is a miracle. When British left India, British PM Churchill had warned that  its public service would collapse and country would fall back rapidly ‘into the barbarism and privations of Middle Ages.’ But not only that democracy in India (poor, diverse and divided) survived, but prospered as a world’s largest democracy. Thanks to the efforts and vision of Sardar Patel, Deputy PM and First Home Minister of Independent India.
  • Disturbances – Very few nations in the world have started out with greater initial difficulties of political, economic, social and administrative character as India had to do. The partition of the nation, unification of the country, the three wars (with China  1962 and with Pakistan in 1965, and 1971), the swelling streams of nearly a crore of refugees from Bangla-Desh and from Sri Lanka, divisive forces like casteism, communalism, Naxalism, terrorism and regional separatist insurgencies etc, which base themselves on cultural and linguistic variations of the country had been posing a threat to the unity and stability of the nation as a whole.
  • Absence of enough capital or skilled personnel – Apart  from it, India faced other problems as well soon after Independence. In the absence of enough capital or skilled personnel or able management and efficiency organisation, the level of productivity has remained low, leaving little surplus for saving and capital formation.  In addition to all this, by and large, the absence of able and honest leadership and lack of efficient and clean administration are the main reasons for persistent economic backwardness.
  • Lack of infrastructural facilities – Over and above it, there has been other constraints like poor capital formation, pervasive corruption, and lack of infrastructural facilities. In the absence of proper transportation (rail and road) and communication facilities in many parts of the country, regional imbalances as industrial development could not be attained in those regions, which have huge development potentialities. There has been a wide gap between Targets and Achievements.

Initially slow pace of development – After independence, India worked mainly on mining, textile, iron and steel, and chemical sectors. Though the pace of industrial development remained slow for quite some time. But what appeared as an unattainable dream in early ‘60s, when the space program was born with establishment of ISRO, it tried its best.

After third Industrial revolution – Despite all the constraints, India has not only picked up the backlog, it has missed during first two industrial revolutions, but by the time third industrial revolution happened during 1970s, it emerged as one of the most successful in the world after third great information technology revolution. Earlier in the eyes of Western society, India was supposed to be the land of ‘mysticism, poverty and snake-charmers’. Now it is known as a nation, which plays with the “Mouse”, while present Prime Minister Modi describing its role in IT sector all-over the world.

With Liberalization, dreams appeared to come true – The dream appeared to come true, when through economic reforms in 1990’s   government in India tried to push aside its suffocating red tape of India’s quasi-socialist controlled economy and unleashed the country’s entrepreneurial spirit. By 1990, several key sectors of economy like automobiles, pharmaceuticals, construction and telecommunication have undergone a virtual revolution. Between 1999 and 2002, India started progressing,  especially its the IT industry developed at a very fast speed.

Since the early 1990s, the Indian IT industry has been growing at a phenomenal rate with several phases of growth and development over the last three decades. Digital technology, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, etc., are all common words today. Bangalore, one of the most dynamic cities in the world, also known as the Silicon Valley of Asia, is in India. Bangalore is home to multinational software companies, hundreds of start-ups, and tech companies that implement the latest technologies to deliver new products to the market. The future is here, and it’s definitely in India.

Progress during 2002 to 2012 – In the decade from 2002 to 2012, India was at the path of progress. The government was able to reach out to the people, providing communication through networks in remote areas, disaster warning systems, quick resource surveys to target ground water, save our forest cover and so on. The dreams of many Indians in the agricultural, scientific, artistic, cultural and social fields have also come true.

People’s expectations risen – People’s expectations from the government has risen. Now it desired to come out of the narrow confines of casteism and communalism and take a place in the modern economy. But soon, people’s aspirations got a set-back and the growth slowed down because of scams and corruption at the highest level of the government. A result Congress government was wiped out in the general elections of 2014 and Modi Government came in.

Under Modi government after 2014 – After 2014,under Modi government, India emerged as a strong nation and people have started dreaming about a prosperous India without poverty, an India strong in trade and commerce, an India strong in many fields of science and technology, an India with innovative industry and with health and education for all has remained just partially realized.

Present position – Demographically, India is a young nation. At present, 70% of its population is younger than 35 today. If the government in India wants to create jobs for 400-500 million illiterates and 200-250 million semi-ill-literates, that too, of their choice, it is practically impossible. For youths born and brought up in Independent and economically liberalized India, the atmosphere has become stifling.  The main reason behind it is the issue of unemployment or under-employment.

Effect of Corona infection (COVID-19) virus on employment – Right now, India, a country of 1.3 billion people, is facing one of the biggest crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic. It is likely to result in economic recession. It has induced market instability and nationwide complete or partial lockdown in India since March 25, 2020 to fight COVID-19. Since then thee has been a sharp rise in unemployment and stress on supply. Estimates of job loss showed that 80% jobs were affected in urban economy, most of which were self-employed. 54% jobs were affected in rural economy, most of which were casual employment. (June 11 2020, https:// 

Changes in matter of employment due to Political, social, and economic reasons –   Modernization and Industrialization has brought in many drastic changes in the Indian society  especially after Independence. There have been many changes in the pattern of family life, values, attitudes occupational and economic life, work-atmosphere, business culture, power equation, political environment and inter-relationship of various individuals, groups and organizations.  There had been shifts in population, ecology, and technology. Following are the changes which have been brought in by the process of industrialization and modernization –

  • Emergence of new social classes (capitalists, a working class, and the middle class)  – The erosion of traditional pattern of occupation divided Indian people created new classes in the Indian society: –
    • People, for whom work was essential for survival. (Lower class people)
  • People, who were educated and loved to work for self-advancement and prosperity (Middle class people).
  • People, who lived on other’s labour benefiting from their position in society.(Upper Class persons)
  • Developed mass-culture – Industrialization has initiated the culture of mass capital, mass production, mass-consumption, mass media and mass democracy.
  • Money the prime motivator of workforce – Industrialization shifted the attention of the people to generate more wealth. People were desperately dependent on money for their survival. Money became the prime motivator of workforce, the main tool of social control and political power. (Toffler, Power shift) The most basic struggle was over the distribution of wealth-who gets what?
  •  More freedom to individuals to select occupation of their choice – There  is no doubt that Industrialization has given more freedom to individuals to select occupation of their choice. They could feel more liberated, while living in anonymity in urban areas.
  • Dependence on machinery increased – Gradually it has increased dependence on machines. Machines are usually heavy, rigid and capital intensive. Initially work in factories  was unskilled, standardized and broken into simplest possible operations. All the workers were equally good, easily interchangeable like parts of a machine. Numerous unemployed people were always available. The workers were kept ignorant and powerless by keeping information restricted. Workers were chained to industrial discipline. Their life in the factory was tightly regimented.
  • Formal income-generating skills training programs – Industrialization along with the process of modernization had changed tremendously the system of transferring knowledge and skills of various professions, shape of job-market, opportunities for employment and work culture. Instead of learning the tricks of the trade from their elders and getting advantage of their long experiences, the people learn about income-generating skills in the educational institutions. Slowly and steadily importance of formal degrees and certificates has increased for getting employed.

There is no doubt that India’s developmental needs require to harness science and technology in order to develop a modern India. However, the present employment pattern has created some problems as well.  

Adverse effect of modernization along with industrialization on Indian society – Industrial revolution along with modernization process together has changed the power structure, values, work-culture and socio-economic-political atmosphere of the whole world, including India.

  • Too many changes overloaded the people – In the present space age, everything is moving very fast including knowledge, due to revolution in information technology. It is increasing faster than human ability to handle it. Before people could cope with too many changes in too short a time, the world has moved in for yet third major revolution of Information technology somewhere around 1970. It has again changed the whole scenario.

Too many changes too soon have overloaded people, individuals, organizations and the nation. It has led to disorientation and incapacity of human beings to guide its course. The pace of social, economic and political changes, brought in during the industrial era, was much faster than that of agricultural era. It has influenced the thinking, behaviour pattern and work-culture of the whole of Indian society.

  • Decay of village industries – Industrialization led to the decay of village industries as the competition was directly with the cheap machine goods. The British rulers discouraged local genius, cottage industries and fine arts.  It had made many traditional occupations obsolete.  The British apathy towards indigenous skills, knowledge and occupations pushed millions backward in a very subtle manner and loosened the sanctity of caste rules and caste consciousness in matters of occupation.
  • Many traditional jobs became obsolete – Initially technologies were developed for lessening the strain on human muscles and designed for illiterate labour force. Many traditional jobs became obsolete as they were considered less paying, more hazardous or time consuming. Millions found their income threatened, their ways of work obsolete, their future uncertain and their power slashed.
  • Casualty of workers first, afterwards their work style – Outcome of industrialization has been casualty of workers first, afterwards their work style, commitment, motivation and culture. Many traditional occupations were discredited. Indian handicrafts and cottage industry were destructed. Efforts, sense of direction and manufacturing skills of millions of artisans, craftsmen and weavers, many of whom were experts in their respective areas, were scattered. They lost their creativity, sense of achievement and pride.
  • Eroded authority of caste in matter of occupation ­-  Industrialization had eroded the authority of caste in matter of occupation. Many castes of rural artisans, craftsman and traditional occupations abandoned their traditional work. They either migrated to cities as industrial labour or became agriculture labour. Many new occupations emerged giving choice of occupation, accessibility to which was through modern education, knowledge of English language and loyalty to British.
  • Unemployment increased – Majority of people could neither enter into modern sector, nor could stick to their traditional occupations. Very few of them could join modern occupations. In the near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, most of them had no option, but either to join band of agricultural laborers, industrial workers and marginal labour for their survival or increase number of unemployed or under employed.
  • Benefited rich people – Rich and privileged class took advantage of technological knowledge and new opportunities and became richer. But the general masses became poorer and more miserable. The social and economic condition of rural people deteriorated continuously. Consumerism had increased the economic and cultural differences enormously between the elite and the masses of a society.
  • Created a materialistic world – People got sick of too much consumerism and materialism. There is Mal-distribution of wealth and power. People blame each other as well as their social, political and economic structures and their systems. Authorities deal with the problems haphazardly. As a result, there is chaos, disparity and uncertainty in almost all the nations.

Some people get so fed up with the present trend of consumerism and materialism that they wish to go back to pre-industrial culture.

  • Mal-distribution of wealth – By 1970s and 1980s, signs of crisis in industrial societies appeared. They hold industrialization responsible for gross mal-distribution of wealth between different individuals or groups or nations. It has made some very rich and others very poor. Better-industrialized western nations attempted to influence or control the economy of the developing or underdeveloped nations, in order to increase their power and position in international sphere.
  • Problem of unemployment – Over the years, the number of unemployed has increased.  In 1951, the total number of unemployed was 3.3 million, and Mass unemployment or under employment is one of the major causes of deprivation and disparities in India.  Anybody, who is not gainfully employed in any productive activity, may be called unemployed. It can be of two kinds:

Ø       Voluntary unemployment.

Ø       Involuntary unemployment, when persons are able and willing to Work, but cannot find jobs.

Unemployment may be divided into following groups:

Rural –  (1)   Disguised Unemployment – People apparently seem to be employed, though enough work is not available for all. It is perennial in nature.

            (2)    Seasonal Unemployment – A large number of people engaged in agriculture remain idle for about six months in a year.

Urban – (1)   Open Unemployment- People willing to work have no work. It mainly includes uneducated and unskilled people migrating from rural areas to city and illiterate urban people.

            (2)    Underemployment- it is similar in nature to disguised unemployment.  It results, when a person contributes to production less than what he is capable of.         

            (3)    Educated Unemployment

Conclusion – 

  • Government, the biggest employer – With the adoption of modern concepts of Democracy, Welfare State and development administration has been that the government, instead of being a facilitator, has become the generator/creator of employment and the biggest employer. The government is supposed to create more employment opportunities for the people, whether job market requires employing more people or not. And still a large number of people remain unemployed.
  • Self-employed Economy – Sardar Patel had strongly advocated for self-employment economy. He told N. G. Ranga, the “so-called planning against self-employment economy would jeopardize the foundations of our democratic peasant and people’s economy”. His adversaries had portrayed Him as anti-socialist, because he was reluctant to accept Socialist plans. He made it difficult for Nehru to change economic and social structure of the country. Nehru had to wait till 1951. After Sardar, Nehru got enough time (about 14 years) to steer the ship of the nation as he wished. The result was as J.P. had pointed out, ““ the rich have become richer and the poor become poorer and unemployment had mounted. Those who have voluntarily suffered privation and spent their youth behind bars succumbed to the lure of power and a life of ease and comfort.” Some honest and sincere leaders found themselves helpless against the growing power of socialism and Planning Commission to protect self-employed economy of peasants and artisans.                     
  • Bureaucratic Red tape -J.R.D. Tata had commented, it was “economic dictatorship by the Government. It involved obtaining licenses and permits for everything. You had to go to the minister and the bureaucrats. Then, in addition, government officers were underpaid. That can only lead to corruption. There is tax evasion and corruption in getting things done.”
  • Sound system of education and training is needed urgently – In the 21st century, ‘Power’ is based on knowledge. Knowledge should be easily available to common-men/citizens in almost all the fields. In comparison to knowledge, land, cheap labour, raw material and capital – all these conventional forms of production are increasingly becoming less important.
  • Sufficient arrangement for proper education and training for all – In the present space age, everything is moving fast including knowledge, due to revolution in information technology. It is increasing faster than human ability to handle it. There are changes in the strategy, structure and management techniques. To keep pace with present time, it is necessary for the government to make enough arrangements to give  required education and income-generating skill training to all according to their attitude and aptitude, so that they can survive and live honourably in the real world.
  • India needs low-tech income generating skill-training institutes in large number –  Rush for higher education and degrees have failed to give to the modern youth suitable jobs, and to make modern Indian youth employable. More than increasing the number of colleges and universities, the nation needs more and more income-generating low- tech-training institutes. Low-tech manufacturing skill-training would make a large number of youth employable. It does not require high levels of education. This is the way other nations like China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea have progressed.
  • Demographically, India is a young nation – 70% of its population is younger than 35 today. If the government in India wants to give jobs to 400-500 million illiterates and 200-250 million semi-ill-literates, that too, of their choice, it is practically impossible. For youths born and brought up in Independent and economically liberalized India, the atmosphere has become stifling. One of the  main reason behind the issue of unemployment is that with the rise in education and household income , aspiration levels of educated youth have also risen. They may no longer be willing to join labour force or workforce requiring low skills and low enumeration.
  • Rising expectations of people – People’s rising expectations coupled with failure of political parties to deal with rising unemployment. With higher literacy rate, educated youths dream big and get disenchanted when faced with either no job or menial ones.
  • New Education Policy 2020 Modi government has announced a New Education Policy 2020 which is expected to bring about several major reforms in education and training system of India in India. PM Modi said that this reform would transform the lives of millions of Indians and make them employable. Among the major reforms, the 10+2 structure in the schooling system has been replaced by a 5+3+3+4 structure.

The present is passing through an exceptional time of human history, when the world is leaving behind the industrial era and is ushering into a super-symbolic electronic era based on extra-intelligent networks. People needs to equip themselves through sound system of education and training to gain true knowledge, income generating skills according to their attitude and aptitude and cope with the changes.

August 14, 2020 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Reservations in Government services in India?

 “Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge.” Anne Bradstreet

“Work is worship. There is no substitute for hard-work”


Biggest experiment of Twentieth century – Policy of Reservations in government jobs is one of the biggest experiments in the history of Twentieth Century. It is a very sensitive issue. It was started to uplift the submerged sections of Indian society, to protect their rights and to overcome the cumulative disparities of power, wealth and culture existed among various sections of society. From its very nature, the policy is discriminatory and exclusive. It empowers state authorities to give preference to one or more groups in the society to exclusion of others and encroach on domain of right to ‘equality to all’. Of late, it has become a source of considerable controversy, as it also involves emotional feelings of people.

“Reservation in Government services” – Reservations in government services involves two contradictory principles – one, the principle of “Efficiency in administration” and the other the principle of “Social justice”. Reservation Policy aims at improving the lot of backward sections of society and empowering them for a better future. For a successful administration the keynote is efficiency, which means right people on right positions at right time.

An efficient administration can provide convenience to the public at large, and attain the developmental and welfare goals of the nation within time and cost parameters. It could secure maximum results with minimum labour and resources. However, Reservation policy suggests, as understood by Indian authorities, to appoint less- qualified persons on the crucial positions of power structure by relaxing the standards and fixing up a separate quota for each of its weaker sections.

Issues – The question arises, is it possible to find out a way, which can keep a balance between the two contradictory principles? Is it not desirable to make weaker sections strong and eligible first and then facilitate their entry into such services of the nation? How can a capable and confident team from amongst vast majority of backward people be prepared to shoulder responsibilities of administration judiciously?

What is Reservation Policy – Dictionary meaning of Reservations – According to the “New Webster Dictionary”, reservation means “Keeping aside something for some specific purpose.” In the Indian context, Reservation Policy refers to a situation, wherein to uplift the submerged section of society, some jobs and other facilities are especially reserved in various institutions/organisations, so that they could be brought back into the national mainstream.

Social structure of Indian society – Before discussing the views of supporters and critics of Reservation Policy, It is necessary to know something about Social Structure of India. In ancient India, Hindu society was classified in four functional groups known as “Varna” –

  1. Brahmins to preach,
  2. Kshtriyas to rule and defend the community,
  3. Vaishyas to carry on the business and
  4. Shudras to do the menial jobs for the society as a whole.

During Ancient period, though the concept of Nation-State was non-existent, but Hindu philosophy, its values, systems and culture had bound the people of this peninsula from one end to the other. The systems worked well. So much and so, that ancient India was known as ‘Sone ki Chiriya’ ( A Bird of Gold). However, the system Developed deformity with passage of time.

  • In ancient India, numerous social groups came to India in waves at different points of time and desired to join the mainstream. All of them were assimilated into it without any conversion by giving each one a different caste name. It gave rise to the caste-system.
  • Then Turks, Afghans and Mughals continuously invaded India. Earlier, they drained out the wealth of the nation to foreign lands. But afterwards, they conquered and made India their homeland. There had been alien rule in the country for centuries, first of Mughals rule and then of British.

Developed deformity with passage of time – As time passed, there developed many distortions. The society got divided into innumerable castes and sub-castes within each of four Varnas. Disparity and inequality grew amongst them with the passage of time.

Pathetic condition of Shudras and untouchables – By the beginning of twentieth century, the condition of Shudras/untouchables and women became quite pathetic  due to ignorance, superstitions, illiteracy and they were in general economically deprived. Worst of all was the position of women. They had no freedom. There were prejudices/discrimination against them in every sphere of life, from day-to-day living to work to social status.

Social Reformative movements of nineteenth and twentieth centuries – From time to time, Intelligentsia, nationalist leaders and social reformers were deeply concerned about the inequality and injustice prevalent in the society against lower castes and women of the society.  Reformative movements during the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century were seriously concerned about the sufferings of women and untouchables. They  made efforts to uplift their position and eliminate all forms of exploitation, oppression, discrimination and evil practices prevalent in the society.

It was also impressed upon the masses that “Abhava” (Scarcity), “Agyan” (Ignorance), “Anyaya” (Injustice), and “Alasya” (Laziness) were the sources of all the evils. To get over these shortcomings, they organized many awareness programs for the masses. Intelligentsia, nationalist leaders and social reformers made people alert and aware of their rights. They advised masses no more to accept from now onwards, misery, ignorance and economic deprivation, which they earlier accepted as their lot,

Desire to establish a new economic order – The public desired to go forward quickly and to establish a new economic order, in which common man and weaker sections of society could have better deal. Masses desired to get benefited from the resources of the nation. It forced the national governments to take upon themselves the responsibility of protecting and nurturing them in such a manner that they got enough opportunities to grow, to their fullest stature. Millions of people started demanding with persisting insistence better facilities in life – they demanded protection from five major evils of an underdeveloped or developing society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness.

Start of Quota system by British Government to improve the status of weaker sections – In the later half of the Nineteenth century, British government in India started the practice of ‘Quota system’ in India. It opened the doors of education for all.  To  help the weaker sections of the society, it bestowed upon them some special concessions and preferences through the policy of fixing up Quotas (former form of ‘Reservation policy’) first in education and then in jobs for different communities. .

Scene after World-War II – After World War II, “Laissez-faire” theory of government’s function gave way to the concepts of “Welfare State”, and “Development Administration”. These concepts aimed at bringing about “Social, political and economic justice” and “Betterment to the lot of the submerged sections of the society” by building up a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy, in which the downtrodden could have a better deal.

With the general acceptance of the concepts all-over the world, the national governments gradually assumed the responsibility of welfare of all its citizens from “Womb to tomb”. Specific concessions, protections and assistance were given to the weaker sections of society in one form or the other all-over the world. In India, one of such protection measures adopted has been “Reservation Policy”.

Much before Dr. Ambedkar demanded Reservations for untouchables in Government jobs and separate electorate for them (a demand conceded by the British Governments in 1932), many Provincial Governments, especially those in the South, had already fixed up quotas on the basis of castes and communities. They were giving preferences to certain castes and communities in educational institutions and government jobs.

Interestingly enough the Government of India Act, 1935, did not contain any specific provision for reservation. It, however, contained a few Sections (Section 275 and 298) which indirectly dealt with the subject through “Negative Protection” to those suffering from disability by reasons of race, religion, place of birth, descent, colour or any of them. The reservations in the Central services started since 1943, whereas the ST’s became eligible for reservations since 1950.

Scene after Independence

There has been a perplexing diversity in geography, culture, caste, religion and language in India. Along with it, there has been a great disparity between different sections of society – socially and economically. The attention of national leaders was drawn towards illiteracy, ignorance, superstitions, and taboos on food, drink and marriages, social segregation, lack of communication, living in inaccessible areas, unhealthy loyalties, continuing discrimination and lack of security,­ economic, social and legal.

Primary Goals  according   – After independence, India, being a democratic country pursued the principles of ‘Welfare State’ and ‘Social Justice’ after the Independence. The primary goals of the government for the independent India were:

  • To build a self-reliant nation through optimal utilization of its resources.
  • To establish an egalitarian and tolerant society based on the principles of justice, social economic and political,
  • To ensure to everyone equality of status and opportunity and
  • To give underprivileged a fair start

Views of Constituent Assembly members – Different views were exchanged during constituent Assembly debates –

  • Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Chairman of Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution and founder of reservation policy in India, was of the opinion that social structure of India and its ‘Principle of Varna’ was responsible for the pathetic condition of ‘Avarna Hindus’, and keeping them far away from the mainstream and progressive influences. Varna system has divided the whole society of India into – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas (Savarna Hindus) and Shudras (Avarna Hindus). Saverna Hindus were in privileged position. But the condition of Avarna Hindu castes, low Castes, Primitive Tribes, Untouchables and Criminals was pathetic. Avarna Hindus were given neither fair start nor equal opportunity nor square deal. Bringing these submerged sections of society into main stream needed Government’s intervention and initiate the practice of reservation as a government policy.

According to Ambedkar, lower castes did not have the courage to demand reasonable wages for their labour. They did not hold property (Land or cash) – they were born to work or starve. They were there only to wait, serve and submit. They were there to do or die.

  • Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir – Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir, a member of the Constituent Assembly thought that India had made the Harijans live in very poor condition for hundreds of years. He, therefore, advocated during the Constituent Assembly Debates on November 29, 1947: “Now when India has become free, it becomes the first and foremost duty of Central and Provincial Governments and of every Indian to see that these crores of downtrodden men are uplifted.”…. “They should be provided water, housing and education.”…. “So long as these depressed classes have this idea amongst themselves that they belong to this particular sect, so long as they think that they have this label affixed to them, it is difficult for them to progress. The very names give them this complex that he belongs to a depressed class.”
  • Shri Subhash Lal Saxena – Shri Subhash Lal Saxena, another member of the Constituent Assembly, said during the Constituent Assembly Debate on same day as Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir i.e. November 27, 1947: “If capable Harijans are available, they should be recruited to superior posts. Besides the ordinary posts, the Harijan should be given all such jobs for which they are eligible. Harijans should be recruited in the Police. They should be given the post of Patwaries, School masters and Head masters etc. These posts would remove the inferiority complex, which is prevailing among them.
  • Many constituent Assembly members apprehended the fall of efficiency and administrative standard. Pt Hriday Narayan Kunjru feared, The regulations, made in this regard, may be unnecessarily wide or they may even be changed in such a way, from time to time, as to enable the executive to exercise a considerable amount of undesirable patronage.  

Constitution on Reservation – Seeing the pathetic condition of masses, Constitution-framers thought, if independent India made the weak to stand and compete with the strong on equal footing, it would be throwing the dice in favour of the strong. Therefore, the Constitution authorizes Central and State governments to take special care of millions of under-fed, under-read and under-clothed people of free India and make special provisions for their sustainable development. Therefore,  Article 15(4) primarily provides for educational opportunities and Article 16 (4) to job opportunities. Directive principles, through Articles 38, 39, 41, 43, 45, 46 etc. gave some guidelines to the future Government. It  allowed  the government to make provisions for reservations for ten years after the implementation of the Constitution and empowered the Parliament to extend the period, if required. The aim was to include and absorb lower strata of society into the mainstream of the nation.

While the Constitution framers were dealing with the topic, special provisions relating to certain classes specifically mentions that as far as the government services are concerned “The claims of the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of Administration, in the making of the appointments to services and to posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State”.

Article. 17 of Constitution of India abolished “Untouchability” and made its practice a cognizable offence the most heinous aspect of the Indian society by. Article 15 guarantees equality of opportunity for all citizens irrespective of religion, race, caste, descent, place of birth or any other reason.

Areas, in which Reserved category people get benefits – Reservation Policy benefits reserved category people (SCs, STs and OBCs) in the following areas –

  • Political institutions consisting of the elected representatives of the people.
  • Admission in educational institutions.
  • Reservations in jobs.
  • Reservations in promotions.

In addition to it, candidates, belonging to reserve quota, if succeed to get jobs on their merit, their names are included in General category list, not in the reserved category/quota list. That means the number could even be more than mentioned above in a year. Besides if the candidates with required qualifications are not found in a particular year, the unfilled vacancies are carried over and added in the next years. These can not be filled with other qualified persons.

Measures taken to uplift submerged sections – Under Article 340 of the Constitution, a Commission is to be appointed by the President to investigate the condition of socially and educationally backward citizens, the difficulties under which they labour, make recommendations for removal of those difficulties and other ameliorative measures needed to be taken.

In 1978, a Commission for SC/ST was setup within the Ministry of Horne Affairs to monitor the comprehensive program and to ensure their all- round development. The financial allocations for the welfare of downtrodden have been increased tremendously after independence. The sincere effort towards their development began with Five Year Plans, which aimed at reducing the imbalances and disparities.

The First Five Year Plan identified the problem areas needed to be tackled viz absence of communication, paucity of drinking water, supply and irrigation, education and health facilities and universal poverty etc. Accordingly, many Integrated Development Plans and Sub–Plans were initiated besides reservations.

Reservations for OBC’s – In 1955, Kaka Kalelkar Commission on Backward Classes and in 1980, MandaI Commission, were appointed to suggest ways to improve the condition of poor people in India. On August, 1990, V.P. Singh’s Government accepted to implement, partially, the suggestions made by MandaI Commission viz. reserving 27% jobs for “Other Backward Castes” in all Central Government institutions or institutions aided by the Central Government. It received a great deal of resistance from the people and litigation in Supreme Court. Since 1992 27% seats in jobs are reserved for OBC’s.

Started as a temporary measure – Reservation was accepted by the constitution framers as a temporary measure. Article 330 provides for reservation in Legislature for ten years, unless at the end of this period the reservation is continued by an amendment of the Constitution. However, the Constitution was amended again and again in 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 to extend this period for another ten years at each instance. Now it has become a never-ending program. And the list of beneficiaries groups has kept on increasing. All state Governments have their own plans for job-reservations in their respective states and extending the list of beneficiary castes. At provincial level, different state-governments have fixed up their own quotas for different castes and communities.

Constitution on De-reservation – Before Independence, there was a provision of reservation in government services for Anglo-Indians. Article 336 of the Constitution clearly says that for the first two years after its start, reservations (in favour of the Anglo-Indians – a minority community) should continue on the basis as before; then during every succeeding period of two years, this reservation is to be progressively reduced by at-least ten percent, so that by the end of ten years all such reservation might cease.

The process of de-reservation could be started now for other sections of society, 70 years after the independence  in similar way, without much reactions. Reservations  could be progressively reduced by at-least ten percent after every few years, so that after a reasonable time, all such reservation could be ceased and people could be confident enough to move forward without chrutches.

As Giani Gurumukh Singh Musafir had suggested during the Constituent Assembly Debates on November 29, 1947: “Now when India has become free, it becomes the first and foremost duty of Central and Provincial Governments and of every Indian to see that these crores of downtrodden men ….  bn  should be provided water, housing and education.”…. “So long as these depressed classes have this idea amongst themselves that they belong to this particular sect, so long as they think that they have this label affixed to them, it is difficult for them to progress. The very names give them this complex that he belongs to a depressed class.”

Arguments of the Supporters Of Reservation policy – Policy of reservation has been hailed by it supporters as a “Historic step” the advocates of reservation. To them policy of reservation has been adopted to break the shackles of caste and to improve the lot of the poor masses. Arguments in favour reservation policy –

  • Lower castes under-represented in power echelons – Backward castes constitute about 80% of India’s total population (15% Scheduled Caste, 8% Scheduled Tribes and 52% Other Backward classes), but their representation in echelons of power including the senior in Government of India is a paltry 4.69%. Therefore, supporters of reservation policy demand that employment in government services should be on pro-rata basis.
  • ‘Due share’ to lower strata in power echelons – Founder of Bahujan Samaj Party, Kanshi Ram said, “The reservation for SC/ST began with only 2% in 1935. Now it is 22.5%. Gradually all reservations would be according to proportion of different castes in the population. My aim is to give reservation (to the upper caste minorities), not to demand it. V.P. Singh has made my job easier.” … Ex Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, Prime Minister from Janata Dal, while implementing the MandaI Commission recommendations in August, 1990 said in his independence-day speech, “We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward people their share in the power structure and in decision-making to run country and improve things.”
  • Suppression of downtrodden for centuries – Lower castes had been treated unequally in the past, now they should be given a more than equal status to make empower them. Competition could be just and valid only among equals. Since upper castes had suppressed lower castes on basis of their birth, present generation has to correct age-old imbalances and make reparations by giving downtrodden advantage through reservations. It is a noble and just cause in return for centuries of oppression.
  • Little dilution of meritocracy does not matter – Forward castes are better educated and settled because of the environment, in which they are brought up. But deprived castes, in absence of proper environment and economic constraints are unable to compete on equal terms with upper castes for jobs in the government, public or private sectors. Besides educational capabilities and economic status, socio-political dominance of upper caste is a powerful factor influencing selection process. Witnessing all these aspects social justice demands that jobs should be shared with backward even at cost of little dilution of meritocracy.
  • Foundations of Reservations social, not economic – “All foundations for government’s reservation policy were social, not economic” says Ram Vilas Paswan “Each caste is standing with one foot on the forehead of the one below it in the social hierarchy…” Shri Ram Avdhesh Singh, a M.P. of Lok Dal says, “Even the rich backwards are not given the social status, which poor forwards enjoy. That is why we need representation in the government on caste basis, where wealth and respect go hand in hand. These reservations are not for the economic good, but to link backwards with the State.” (India Today, September 30, 1990) Therefore supporters of Reservation Policy are against the idea of economic criteria. V.P and his associates said that it was introduced in Tamil Nadu in the past, but did not worked there (Times of India news item on September 4, 1990).
  • Whitewash a bitter historical reality – Swami Agnivesh of Bandhua Mukti Morcha had said, “We have created our fractures and schisms – it was not the Mughals, it was not the British, it was the Vedas that consolidated the casteism in Indian culture. We can describe the reservation policy today as palliatives, an attempt to whitewash a bitter historical reality, sitting on a handful of armchair sociologists and pretending the rest of backward India doesn’t exist. That we need is radical social change.”
  • Reservation Policy has empowered backwards as a composite pressure group – “Reservations, on the basis of caste, give the backwards an identity as a composite pressure group. This is a concrete achievement, which will help them to unite and fight for equality. Besides, caste is still a dominant factor in Indian social-structure; its existence should be accepted for recognising the under-privileged groups.” (News item in Times of India, September 15, 1990)
  • Merit not a prerogative of upper castes only – Merit is not found in upper castes only. There are many meritorious and talented boys and girls amongst the SC/ST/OBC. They only need proper atmosphere and opportunities for education and employment in order to shine to their full capacity. In old Madras Presidency, there were 100% reservation/job quotas, both for “Forward” and Backward” castes. Today about 68% seats are reserved for SC/ST/OBC in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and they are far ahead of other provinces in matter of prosperity and good governance, where there is upper caste domination in administration.
  • Norm of ‘pull’ and ‘push’ – Ram Vilas Paswan, ex-minister says, “There is no such thing as merit in India today, there is only “pull” and “Influence”…. “Merit” is only a term used for the purpose of disruption by agitators.” Shri Paswan asks why forward class does not look towards merit in candidates admitted in institutions of higher learning because of capitation fee or selected for influential posts because of their family background.
  • ‘Bearer best knows where shoe pinches’ – V.P. Singh told the nation that society would be served best by filling the civil services by downtrodden as they were the bearers who knew where the shoe pinched. They had the qualities of heart, which the administration of the country needed more than the quality of head. They are committed to the uplift of their brethren. Syed Shabuddin of the “Insaf party” had said, “In a democracy every social group is entitled to share the fruits of development and keep a hand on the levers of power…. Both intra and inter group disparities must be reduced by Legislative policies. If the backward classes come into administrative posts, they may be able to increase efficiency, as they will be having grass-root knowledge of actual problems.” (News item in the Times of India, September 15, 1990)

In short, supporters of reservation consider it necessary to empower the downtrodden, to reduce economic inequalities, to give them social respectability, to reduce imbalances created due to upper class influence and to break the psychological barrier, to give downtrodden their due share in power structure.

Arguments of Anti-reservationists – Anti-reservationists doubt the efficacy of Reservation Policy. Reservation has been a source of turmoil in society many a time. They have shown their resentment every-time Parliament had extended the period for reservations. In seventies and eighties, the agitation against reservation policy took a major turn by taking a shape of national movement affecting many parts of the country. The agitation against reservation sparked violently in Gujarat in 1983 and spread to other places when a meritorious physically handicapped student of upper caste was denied admission in MD course and the quota student with much less marks was admitted. Such cases definitely arouse public sentiments and they criticise the government for following the policy blindly. Somehow the authorities were able to suppress it. But scars were left. They say –

  • Contrary to principles of equality – Reservations are contrary to principles of equality, fraternity and social justice. There is something fundamentally wrong with Reservation Policy. In the name of social justice, fundamental rights of many deserving people are curtailed or negated. It benefits and increases the number of those, who are desirous to find an easier way-out.
  • Genesis of Reservation Policy in “Divide and Rule” dictum – Reservations were first introduced by the British rulers to “Divide” the Indian population and “rule” the nation as long as possible. The British government divided Indians on the basis of caste and community. British rulers, who got alarmed about the increasingly power and influence of Brahmins, purposely propagated myth of tyranny of the “Forward Castes”, especially of Brahmins over rest of the society. Therefore, British rulers pinpointed Brahmins as oppressors and tyrants, who wilfully kept others down. They encouraged anti-Brahmin formations in the South. They started the practice of fixing-up quotas in various educational-institutions and government jobs on one side and separate electorate for religious groups on the other. Later on, Reservations started in other parts of the country as well for backward communities.
  • Source of Vote-bank politics – Now many politicians and their parties advocate to fix a quota for more castes,  to increase the percentage of quota and extend its time-frame for ever in order to create vote banks. Like Britishers, politicians and supporters of pro-reservation want to divide the nation, on the basis of caste, community or gender. They want to grab and hold political power as long as possible. Already, there is a perplexing diversity in India along geography, culture, caste, religion and language lines. They are spreading venom in the heart of each identity against other. If not checked on time, communalism and casteism are bound to destroy the unity of the nation and narrow down the aspiration of people.
  • Administration and policy-making for Sustainable Development requires services of most talented – The task of administration is one of the most difficult. It is so complex that it requires services of most talented, sincere, hardworking and honest people. A preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent is not only unjust but against national interests. Reservations in employment contemplates putting those on responsible positions in the government, “Who are not qualified for the job” – (Arun Shourie). And in the process, power passes from meritocracy to mediocracy (Nani Palkiwala). It also means that sub-standard services would be rendered to the general public.
  • Common-men suffer more – The policy of reservation affects adversely the efficiency of administration as a whole. Deteriorating standards of working in government institutions and poor law and order situation have already done irreparable damage to the development of SC/ST and OBC communities and made their lives miserable. The larger objective of eradicating the poverty and bringing the downtrodden in the main-stream could never be achieved by laying stress on quantity rather than quality and lowering the standards of education or governance. Does reserving a very few places for SC, ST & OBC satisfy the basic needs of millions of underfed, under-clothed and under-read people of India
  • Contributions of upper class – Kaka Kalelkar had said in, ‘Note of Dissent of First Backward caste Commission “It would be well, if representatives of the Backward-classes remembered that whatever good they find in the Constitution and the liberal policy of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the upper classes themselves. Whatever Government is doing by way of atonement is readily accepted and acclaimed by the nation as a whole. The upper classes have contributed their share in formulating the policies of the Government. Removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice, special consideration for backward classes, all these elements found place in the Constitution without a single voice of dissent from the upper classes.” Upper castes are still contributing their share through taxes (the money collected from taxes is supposed to be spent on developmental plans.) Somewhere, they are supporting, elsewhere actively participating in formulating developmental policies of the government.
  • Quantity of reservation quota – So long as “only a few places” were kept aside for those severely disadvantaged – Harijans and Girijans, the people tolerated the policy as functioning of institutions did not stand much risk of being vitiated and consideration of caste and community were placed under control. But, when V.P. Singh announced to implement 27% for reservation in jobs for OBCs, in addition to 22.5% reservation for SC/STs in government jobs, heart burning and stir against Reservation Policy passed all the limits. The whole nation was in for caste wars.
  • Reservation policy ignores merit – Reservation policy as it ignores merit. In 1947, when the Constitution framers were dealing with the reservation policy, they showed clearly their concern for efficiency. Art. 335 directs that ‘reservations for SC/ST should be consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of administration.’ Today, when economy is in shambles, inflation has touched 13%, coffers are empty, and common man is suffering due to inefficiency and mal-functioning of the government, the nation can not afford to ignore merit and efficiency. In Private Sector, survival and prosperity depends on merit. It picks up the best talent available in the country from the educational institutions itself by conducting “Campus interviews” and does not allow sub­standard working. That is why it is attracting the talents of the nation and is prospering.
  • Discourages development of skills – Reservation has discouraged development of skills, resources and attitudes in SC/STs needed to succeed without the crutches of reservation and has encouraged backwardness, inefficiency and lack of competitive merit amongst the castes enjoying reservation.
  • Making people lazy and increases malpractices – People of lower castes have taken these concessions for granted and expect it to last for ever. It has made even competent persons amongst them lazy and complacent. Guarantee of share in power structure without much effort develops an attitude never value the dignity of labour and work hard. The reservation policy is adding fuel to this attitude. Obtaining false certification about caste is increasing in order to get the advantage of the limited spoils. It has raised the expectation of others as well.
  • Short time measure – In many provinces, scheduled castes were enjoying the benefit of reservation in proportion to their population since 1935. Constitution had provided for state patronage to SC/ST for ten years i.e. till 1960, to SCs, because they were far away from the mainstream on account of “Untouchability” and other constraints, and STs because of “Social isolation due geographical reasons”. After the end of this period, the concession could be  continued by an amendment of the Constitution, which was not very likely. It was hoped that underprivileged would be at least in a position to stand on their feet by 1960.
  • Times have already changed – Vote-bank politics has changed everything since then. Successive governments have ignored the sweeping changes that have occurred throughout the country over the last 70 years. Through various measures, including Reservation Policy, people of all castes have progressed. Anti Brahmin movements in former Estates of Madras and Bombay had effectively eliminated Brahmins as a dominant political force. Lower strata of society had organized themselves, consolidated their economic and acquired political power. Through reservations they have succeeded in occupying position of power.
  • Shift of power in favour of Backwards – Political power has already shifted in favour of backwards, almost completely in the South and in massive strides in Bihar and UP, where they constitute nearly 40% of the Legislative strength. At State and local levels, especially in more populous rural areas their influence is continuously growing. Untouchables have made concerted efforts to mobilize themselves and to secure their upward mobility as may be seen in the case of Izhavas of Kerala, Mehars of Maharashtra, Chamars of UP, Meenas of Rajasthan, etc. Radical movement such as that launched by the militants Dalit Panther in Maharashtra have made the emerging strength of the lowest caste felt with increasing effectiveness.
  • Rigidity of caste wearing out – Rigidity of caste has been gradually wearing out. Introduction of railways, opening of hotels and restaurants, radio, TV and cinema houses have contributed to the relaxation of caste prejudices and rigidities. Besides education and training, land reforms, industrialisation etc have brought awareness amongst backward castes. The end of many practices, which created distances between different castes in the past, is a hopeful sign and guarantee for the future well being of every Indian citizen.
  • New lease of life to caste – Entry of caste into political arena through reservation policy has given a new lease of life to caste in the form of caste-ism. Caste-ism has not only held its ground but began to strengthen its hold in the politics at national as well as provinces levels. Politicians of Independent India are well-versed in making its increasing use in politics.
  • Time for gradual de-legitimization of caste – Yogendra Singh, Dean of Political Science in the Jawaharlal Nehru University says, “Forty years have seen enormous differentiation in class and caste division. Caste should not be the central element in dispensing social justice. In fact, there should be a process of gradual de-legitimization of caste by finding scientific methods for the exit of SCs and STs from the reserved quota.” (India Today, September 30, 1990)
  • ‘Past is past’ – Vasant Sathe of Congress (I) says “Reservation is no solution for a crime so many centuries old. Nor it is ethical to punish our present society for the sins of our fore fathers.” It is a law of jungle to hold responsible the present generation for the follies of its previous generations. According to Rule of law the present generation can not be punished for what their forefathers did.
  • Undermines ‘Principle of Equality’ – Anti-reservationists argue that there was a case to end the quota business in 1960 itself. Yet it has been allowed to continue till today. The Indian Constitution is committed to two different principles both of which relate to equality: ‘principle of equal opportunities’ and “principle of redress’. Now it is over due that ‘principle of equality’ be enforced in its true spirit without any favour. Since policy of reservation undermines the principle of equality, it should be gradually discontinued as had been done in the case of Anglo Indians in accordance with the Article 336 of the Constitution.
  • Inter and intra caste wars – Reservation policy does not consider all individuals equal. Instead caste becomes the basis to get this privilege. It leads to inter-caste rivalry. Anti-reservationists accuse the pro-preservationists for inciting the caste war by provoking public feelings. Brahmins and upper castes has been pinpointed as an enemy of downtrodden, who have always exploited the downtrodden mercilessly.
  • Distortion of historical facts – Political adventurers, dictators and fundamental fanatics have distorted the history in the past and used it as a ploy to serve their own selfish or partisan interests. It does not even matter to them, whether their own version of history is real or based on fantasy. When Hitler walked into Sudetanland, he claimed historical authority. When Mussolini attacked Ethopia in 30′s, he quoted history. When Zionists claimed Jeruselem, they tried to justify their act by citing history. When Saddam Hussain walked into Kuwait on August2, 1990, He staked his claim on the basis of raking up old history. Same thing had happened on August 15, 1990, when V.P. Singh announced 27% reservation for OBCs, it was hailed by his supporters as “A historic decision which will go a long way in giving the rightful share to socially and economically backward castes in the power structure of the country, of which they were denied under the pressure from the vested interests.”
  • Reasons of backwardness other than caste – At present, submerged section of society does not suffer so much due to discrimination on the basis of caste as for other reasons. Kaka Kalelkar, first Chairman of First Backward class Commission had said, ““If the backward communities have neglected education it is because they had no use for it (in the past). Now that they have discovered their mistakes, it is for them to make the necessary efforts for making the leeway…As far as the assistance in the matter of education for the backward classes, I am convinced that introduction of basic education in all the states with help the backward communities to cultivate self-confidence. They will also have a better chance of succeeding in life and have the advantage of mixing with other people.”
  • Glamorization of Backwardness –Earlier, backwardness was considered as stigma. People of lower castes attempted to improve mannerism in order to climb up in the ladder of social status. These days, many castes claim for a lower status and want to be included in the list of SC/ST, so that they may taste the fruits of reservation as well. No more any caste is ashamed of being called untouchable or backward. Reservations have created vested interests in the “Backwardness.” Now backwardness is a status symbol, because it eases the position, while one is in search of jobs. Therefore, more and more communities are clamouring for the “Backward class” tag. Those in power find it politically expedient to oblige them. The list of castes wishing for reservations has become very long. Witnessing all this it stands to logic that the beneficiary group should be kept under constant review, so that who have over the years reached a stage where they could survive with dignity without any crutches, could be delisted.
  • Creamy layer of lower castes at advantage – Benefits of Reservations are confined within the creamy layer of lower strata, while, it was supposed to benefit ‘poorest of the poor’. How can all the 80% downtrodden be accommodated in power echelons by reserving only 49.552% jobs out of 1% of total government jobs available in the country? Naturally, only few people are benefited, others are given only false assurances during the times of elections.
  • Economic criteria as a basis – Anti-reservationists argue that consideration of caste instead of economic backwardness is not just. Reservations, if it is necessary should be given on the basis of ‘economic criteria’ to all the poor regard less of their caste identity. There should also be an income ceiling for SC/ST and others with the entitlement of their children for reservations in job and admission to educational institutions. Then only really deserving people could be benefited.
  • Led to Brain drain – Reservation has shaken the confidence of the youth of so called forward class. About 50% reservations in government jobs have left many deserving and intelligent youths unemployed or underemployed. Some of them choose the path of crime or violence. Unemployment has been one of the reasons behind Punjab and Kashmir problems. Many intelligent and hard working youth are losing their interest, rapidly, in government jobs. They prefer to go abroad in search of greener pastures, where they get good return for their talents and hard-work. In addition, they get job satisfaction because of tension free atmosphere at work-place. Reservations have, thus, led to brain drain. It has already squeezed out many meritorious by leading the country to massive brain drain.
  • Cry for social-Justice? – The attempt to establish a socialistic government does not carry much weight. The USSR a super-power of pre-1990 days collapsed like a house of cards, despite having Socialistic government for last 70 years. With all its State control and public support, it could not provide expected relief to its masses. How could socialistic ideals provide relief to the masses in India, where there exists so much corruption and inefficiency in administration?
  • Feeling of alienation – Creation and perpetuation quotas in educational institutions and jobs has made backward classes alienated from the main stream. It is adversely affecting national solidarity. It is sowing the seeds of hatred among the people and put hindrances on the way of mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust necessary for the development of the nation as a whole. Along with it, efficiency or excellence, probity, integrity of institutions and trust, which are required for overall well-being are adversely affected.
  • Reservations in Government jobs need not be a political program – Issue of Reservation in government jobs should not be politicized, keeping an eye on electoral mathematics. It has been envisaged to uplift the submerged sections of society and make their future better. Governance is one of the most difficult and specialized tasks. Government employees are supposed to have sufficient professional knowledge and expertise in various disciplines – functional, technical, specialist as well as managerial and generalist – so that they could properly aid and advise the elected representatives of the people and dig for them the expert knowledge from the raw material, give it a shape with a sense of commitment. For attaining that expertise, they have to be equipped with knowledge in various educational institutions. Therefore, the government should be very careful while recruiting people in government jobs.

If politicians are so keen to give reservations to lower castes, a share in the power structure of the nation, why not quotas are fixed for members of different castes by law and elect turn by turn or by rotation – the President, the Prime Minister, the Vice President, Cabinet Ministers, Ambassadors, Governors, Chief minister of every state? In these positions, the representatives of the people are elected or selected and entrusted the power and make decisions for a fix period. If their performance is not satisfactory, at-least they can be removed or changed. But government jobs are permanent and government servants can not be removed easily till they retire after 32 or 35 years of service. Wrong person in wrong position could adversely affect the standard/functioning of the governance which should not be allowed.

Wanchoo Commission Report, 1968, and Railway Reforms Committee Report, 1983, on the working of Railways observed that reservations in jobs and promotions adversely affects the enthusiasm, incentive for hard work and devotion to duty and in-turn the efficiency and the morale of the civil servants. Sikri Commission on Railways, 1968, linked accidents with reservations. These three reports are just about one government department and that too when reservation is only 22.5% for SC/ST. What is going to happen, now when it is 50%? Who would be the ultimate sufferer. It is the innocent public only.

  • Double standard – The government itself has exempted certain services and posts from reservation in order to maintain efficiency, discipline and loyalty to the nation intact such as all the Defence Services, Scientific and technical posts in the Department of Space, Atomic Energy, Electronics, posts of pilots and top technical persons in Air India and Indian Airlines, all scientific posts of Indian Institute of Science, Banglore, teaching posts in IITs and IIMs, private secretary to the PM and other Ministers, Planning Commission Members etc. (A Handbook on reservation for SC/ST compiled by Sharma and Purohit). It proves that the government maintains double standards.
  • Reservations for women – If any class in India needs reservation on the grounds of social discrimination or under-representation in power echelons, it is only the women in India. How about reserving 50% seats for them in all educational institutions and government jobs? That would be their just share and will not divide the society along the caste lines either. If it cannot be done, then at least 50% of the reserved quota could always be kept aside for women of respective castes. Are the politicians prepared to make such provision for women too?

In short, Anti-reservationists think that there is something fundamentally wrong with the Reservation Policy. It has been criticized for creating many conflicting identities like – majority and minority, backward and forwards, urban and rural, north and south and man and woman etc. It is being extended again and again with an aim to create “Vote-bank” in the garb of helping the needy.

In the name of social justice, fundamental rights of many deserving people are being curtailed or negated. It is a farce in the name of social justice, a slap on the face of education and merit, a vote catching measure and misuse of power by political parties.

Views of prominent persons on Reservation Policy – The views of some prominent leaders on reservation, are as follows:

  • Shri V.P. Singh – In his independence-day speech on August 15th, 1990, Shri V.P. Singh, ex-Prime Minister of India announced, while accepting the recommendations of Mandal Commission: “Bureaucracy is an important organ of the power structure and it has a decisive role in the decision-making exercise. We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward people their share in the power structure and in decision making to run this country and improve things. “
  • Mahatma Gandhi – In his book titled “India of my dreams” Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “So far as the reservations in the government departments is concerned, I think, it will be fatal to a good government, if we introduce there the communal spirit for administration to be efficient, it must be always in the hands of the fittest. There should be certainly no favouritism.”… “Distribution of posts should never be according to the proportion of members of each community. “… “Those who aspire to occupy responsible posts in the government of the country can only do if they pass the required test.”
  • Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru – In a letter dated June 27, 1961, addressed to Chief Ministers of various States, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Ex-Prime Minister of India wrote, “I have referred above to efficiency and to our getting out of the traditional rut. This necessitates our getting out of the old habit of reservations and particular privilege being given to this caste or that group. It is true that we are tied up with certain rules and conventions about helping the SC/STs. That deserve help, but even so I dislike any kind of reservation, more particularly in services. I react strongly against anything which leads to inefficiency and second rate standards. I want my country to be a first class country in everything. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost.” “This way, lies not only folly but disaster.”
  • Kaka Kalelkar – As Chairman of the Backward Class Commission, Kaka Kalelkar expressed his views on reservation in education (Backward Class Commission Report, 1956, Vol. I, page X). He wrote: “As far as the assistance in the matter of education for the backward classes, I am convinced that introduction of basic education in all the States will help the backward communities to cultivate self-confidence. They will also have a better chance of succeeding in open competition and having the special advantage of mixing with people and serving them, they will prove themselves better administrators and leaders of society.”                                       On page VIII of the same report, he has expressed his views on reservation in government services too, as under: “I am definitely against reservations in government services for any community for the simple reason that the services are not meant for the servants but they are meant for the service of the society as a whole. Administration must have the services of the best men available in the land and these may be found in all the communities. Reservation of posts for certain backward communities would be as strange as reservation of patients for a particular doctor. The patients are not meant to supply adequate or proportionate clientele to all the doctors what ever their qualifications.”
  • Sri B.D. Sharma – Shri Sharma, the Commissioner for SC/ST has pointed out in his 29th Report, tabled in Parliament on August 31st, 1990, as under: “The policy of reservation in government jobs has not improved the lot of the bulk of SC/ST in the country. In fact, in many cases, their condition has further deteriorated. “It is quite clear that even if the policy of positive discrimination were to succeed fully, it could benefit only a small section of these communities. On the other hand, if inequality continues to increase in our country or continues even at the present level, the maximum damage will” befall on the members of these communities themselves, because their condition is already the worst as in the case of the SC or because they are facing the most severe backlash of development as in the case of the S.T……” ” The policy of reservation is ironical, as it demands a share for the weaker section” in the gains of iniquitous system, which in the ultimate analysis cannot be anything, but the proceeds of exploitation of other poor belonging to the same group who remain at the bottom.”
  • Chowdhary Charan Singh – Chowdhary Charan Singh, the founder of Lok Dal and charismatic leader of Backward castes and class, wrote: “It must be conceded that reservation on the basis of caste is a vicious principle and creates many problems. More than reservation in recruitment, it is reservation in promotions that has led to great heart burning and great inefficiency in our services. Such reservation whether in favour of Scheduled or Backward castes, was, in my opinion beyond intentions of the founding fathers. Boys belonging to poor families, particularly those, where large section of our people are considered socially inferior for centuries past, are entitled to consideration rather than concessions at the hands of the government of independent India.”                                                                                                                      Chowdhary Charan Singh was also against extending reservation to SC/ST beyond 10 years “The intelligent and hard working youth are losing their interest, rapidly, in government jobs. They prefer to go abroad in search of greener pastures, where they get return for their talents and hard-work. In addition, they get job satisfaction because of tension free atmosphere at work-place. … “The Union Government, however, has for political reasons, been extending the period of reservations decades after decades. There should be bars on children of those who have benefited from reservation and those who are income tax payers, so that other less fortunates could be helped.” (A letter, February 12,1982 to Banarasi Dass, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh)
  • Ram Vilas paswan – The Dalit Sena president and Janata Party leader, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, in his speech at Benipatti, Madhubani, on December 12, 1987 demanded for amendment to the Constitution to end the prevalent reservation system for Harijans and other backward classes in the Government services and replacing it by right to work for every body…. Reservation system had failed to achieve its purpose and had created social tension in the country. Mr. paswan said that despite Constitutional provisions and related laws, the government at the Centre and State had failed to protect the interest of Harijans.                                                                                     Later on, Paswan became the champion of reservation policy. He advocated reservations in jobs and educational institutions on permanent basis. It should continue till the caste system persists in India. Since caste system can not be put to an end, therefore, there is no justification for finishing the reservation for the downtrodden.

Views of intelligentsia regarding reservations in government jobs –

  • Professor Andre BeteilIe – Professor Beteille said: “Once the uneven distribution of caste in public institutions comes to be perceived as a problem of distributive justice, institutional well-being takes the back seat.” “Job reservations in public institutions are required to protect the interest of SC/ST, backward classes and minorities – if this argument is believed to be right and acted upon then our institutions can not function as they ought to, their well-being will be irreparably damaged.” … “The best course would be to expand the pool of qualified candidates at the lower level but this would call for patience which no government in India has so far shown.” “A quicker course, whose effects would show immediately in official statistics, would be to alter the proportions directly, through reservation of jobs.” (6th T. T. Krishnamachari Memorial lecture on “Distributive Justice & Institutional well-being”, November 11, 1990, the Institute of Economic Growth)
  • Shri H.M. Seervai – Shri Seervai wrote: “Reservations affect five parties adversely: 
    • The State – to whose service persons are recruited by open competition in examinations held by independent Public Service Commissions.
    • The public – As the very phrase “Public servant” shows.
    • The persons – who are discriminated against, by reservations in favour of members of SC/ST.
    • Members of SC/ST – In whose favour discrimination is being made by fixing reservation quota; and
    • The service – That is each service considered as a whole. (“Is an efficient public service irrelevant in India”, Indian Express, September, 1990)                                                               “A service which lacks spirit-de-corps, that is, consciousness of and pride in belonging to a particular service, lacks an element essential to an efficient an harmonious administration. The position further deteriorates in a service in which in matters of promotion, people with superior qualifications are subordinate to people with admittedly inferior qualifications.”
  • Nani A Palkiwala – Shri Palkiwala opined that Reservation policy suffers from five fatal flaws:
    • The sub-standard replaces the standard, and the reins of power are to pass from meritocracy to mediocracy.
    • It ignores the reality that there are no backward castes but backward individuals.
    • Reservations in promotion are disastrous enough for the civil administration.
    • It divides the country on caste lines and is against social harmony and social intermingling of various castes.
    • Equality is the very heart of free republic, the foundation stone of true republic, the source of inspiration, the criteria for its citizenship and the hope for its welfare. The bedrock of reservation is discrimination in-reverse: it is discrimination against merit and calibre. (“Unity and security of State at stake”, Indian Express, September 14, 1990)
  • Arun Shourie – Arun Shourie, in an Article titled “This way lies not only folly but disaster” appearing in the Indian Express on August 22, 1990, writes: “A job should be something one has to work to get, something which one has to do one’s utmost to retain and advance in. It should not be, advancement in it must not be anyone’s by right”. But reservation definitely develops the ethos that the job, the promotion is mine by right and that too because of by my birth, not work. How can a modern society survive, let alone grow with this as its ethos?

An analysis of the issue

There are certain basic truths, which needs to be accepted and pay attention to, before taking policy-decisions. Such as:

Society as an organic body – Society behaves and develops like an organic body. Each organ does a particular function and coordinated working of all organs together keeps the whole body fit and alive. Like other organic bodies, each and every section of society is an indispensable part of the society, which needs equal attention and proper care for the balanced growth of the society as a whole.

Just like in an organic body, weaker parts need special care, but not at the cost of others. So is in the society. Each and every section of the society needs to be assigned a specific function. Each one should perform its respective job. Society needs the services of all sections of the society. The work of any section is neither inferior nor superior to other. Each and every section of society needs to be aware of its indispensability to the whole. A society can move and prosper to its fullest, when each and every section of society does its functions well and lives in harmony; and when there is mutual help, respect and trust amongst the various sections of the society.

Society as an organisation – For an efficient and smooth functioning, like an organization, society also needs –
•Division of labour – Nobody can do all the work by himself. Division of different functions required in a society is the first requisite.
•Grouping of activities – All functions and activities should be so grouped as to avoid confusion. Activities of similar nature or having same objectives are grouped under one section.
•Structure – An organization needs a structure with well defined functions. The structure must be simple and easy to understand. It should also ensure continuous growth and, therefore, should not be rigid.
•Balance of activities – Proper weight-age to different activities, in proportion to their contribution to organization as a whole, is necessary. No activity should either be over-valued or under-valued.
•Team spirit – Relationship between various groups within an organization should be based on the principle of “mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust”. It facilitates better coordination of diverse activities performed by different sections. Smooth relations amongst its constituent’s leads to optimal utilisation of resources and to satisfaction of all its constituent members.
•Specialisation – Concentration of a section on the performance of a single task, leads to greater efficiency and more specialisation. Functions need to be assigned on the basis qualifications, skills, attitude and aptitude of its employees.
•Creative thinking – A good organisation encourages initiative and creative thinking.
•Satisfaction – Organization must be able to satisfy the biological as well as psychological needs of its employees as an individual as well as a group.
•Adoption of new technologies and development – An organization helps adopts new improved means of doing things, permits prompt adoption and optimum use of technological advancements. It must avoid nepotism, favouritism and must give an upper hand to merit and talent.

Indian society contains all the essentials of a good organisation.

Truth about “Varna-system” – “Varna system” along with its castes and sub­-castes is not as bad as has been portrayed earlier by British rulers, now by some leaders and the pro­-reservationists. It is based on principles ‘mutual respect, trust and tolerance for each other’, ‘There is enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for anyone’s greed’ or ‘To each according to his needs and from each according to his capacity’. ‘Division of work’ was based on attitude and aptitude of an individual. It has given to India a solid social-structure, which is simple to understand. Above all, it has provided unity of culture which has been able to bind the people of Indian peninsula from one end to the other.

Mahatma Gandhi said “The main reason of our economic and spiritual degeneration is that we have not correctly followed the “Varna System”. This is the main reason of poverty and unemployment and one of the main reasons that there is untouchability”. He suggested to encourage education amongst the masses for the growth a self-contained and self-regulated society; all occupations to be given equal respect; people to be encouraged, not to be forced to adopt their hereditary occupations; and difference of income derived from various occupations should be narrowed down to the minimum.

“Policy of reservation” lost its validity – “Policy of reservation” adopted by the independent India has lost its value and justification now. Reformatory movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, attempts of constitution-framers spread of education and awareness amongst general public. Many changes have come about in the whole atmosphere, in thinking, attitude and aspirations of common-men. Recent technological advancements have made the life of common-men easier and created enormous opportunities to earn more. The experiences of recent past reveal that Policy of reservation has lost its value and justification now because –

SC/STs and OBCs emerged as powerful pressure groups – After the green revolution of sixties, the economic and political status of people engaged in agriculture India has improved tremendously. India being an agricultural country, 75% of its population (mostly belonging to SC and OBC categories) is engaged in agricultural sector only. Reforms gave them permanent rights as owners or otherwise. New agricultural technologies, backed by administrative and financial support by governmental agencies, helped them the chance to get out of the trap of poverty. They have organized themselves and emerged as a very powerful pressure group both in the fields of economics and politics. Still, if many SC/STs and OBCs have not been able utilise this opportunity fully, fault lies somewhere else and not in caste system. In their under-nourished faces are written the failures of the successive Governments and their policies that have ignored their actual needs.

Caste is no longer a barrier in the matter of jobs – Doors of education have been opened for all. Many scholarships, loans, hostel facilities, and admission in select institutes of the country (Where the whole expenditure is borne by the government) are being made available to them. Many Integrated Development Programmes and Sub Plans have been initiated to improve their position – socially and economically.

Immense choices in matter of occupation – Earlier people were forced to earn their living only by doing their hereditary jobs. But the Constitution of India gave everybody freedom and equal opportunity to select one’s source of earning. Society has accepted the change-over to any profession a person wishes to pursue and for that he has to prove his suitability in the job market. Educational facilities have been provided to them. Many scholarships, loans, hostel facilities, and admission in select institutes of the country (Where the whole expenditure is borne by the government) are being made available to them. Many Integrated Development Programmes and Sub Plans have been initiated to improve their position – socially and economically. However, sub-merged people of SC/ST community have not so far been able to utilise this opportunity fully. Benefits are benefitting the creamy layer amongst them.

Label of Brahmin or Shudra meaningless today – Today, the label of Brahmin or of Shudra does not matter much in choosing a profession. There is no dearth of employment opportunities. From all sections of society, people are acquiring necessary qualifications and are entering into areas of their choice. Experience shows that all are doing well in almost all spheres.

Increasing opportunities in service sector – A vacuum has been created in the service sector, when many traditional jobs became obsolete. Jobs in service sector could also fetch a handsome amount of money. Recently some people engaged in this field such as tailors, carpenters, dyers and drycleaners, owners of hotels and restaurants, owners of video libraries, scooter and taxi drivers even Paanwalas are doing much better than ever before. The key to their success appears to be the very same as elsewhere – hard-work, excellence, maintenance of standard or quality and entrepreneurial skill. Today, in the lure of safe and secure job, easy and quick money, government jobs in local, state or central levels are becoming very popular.

That day appears not to be far off when in complex technological society, the white-collared jobs would loose their present attraction and the service sector would get a prominent place. An excellent plumber then may become more admirable than an incompetent scientist. Therefore, instead of disturbing the efficiency and working of the organized sector, the government could concentrate on enormous opportunities of self­ employment available in this sector, and thus helping the downtrodden to establish well themselves in the society.

Creamy layer amongst beneficiary groups – On the one hand, it has been experienced that Benefit of reservations is confined within a few dominant and prosperous SC/ST and OBC castes. They have now acquired economic, political and above all muscle power. Many of them make vote banks for the politicians, capture booths during elections and could ask their unfortunate brethren to shut their mouths or to meet the consequences. In certain regions, they themselves have become the exploiters of their unfortunate brethren – suppressing the agricultural labours and are heaping atrocities on Harijans.

Efficiency in administration – A service which lacks spirit-de-corps, that is, consciousness of and pride in belonging to a particular service, lacks an element essential to an efficient an harmonious administration. The position further deteriorates in a service in which in matters of promotion, people with superior qualifications are subordinate to people with admittedly inferior qualifications.

It is feared that relaxation in matter of recruitment standard, as reservation policy suggests, adversely affects efficiency of administration. It creates a distance between quota officers and non-quota officers, adversely affects integrity and coordinated efforts of services for development of the nation as a whole. Merit oriented approach in matter of filling crucial and important posts, in principle, opposes reservation of any kind, which gives preferences to a person over a more talented person. It is a humanitarian obligation of a civilized society to uplift and empower the weaker sections of its society. But it should not be done at the cost of efficiency in administration. Mal-administration or ineffective and inefficient administration makes the life of common people more miserable.

False assurances – Politicians and political parties with vested interests are luring the poor masses by promising them to give government jobs through reservations. Government jobs still fascinate the masses as with it are attached the attraction of fix salary, prestige, power, influence, security of employment and scope to distribute patronage. If without acquiring the needed qualifications and without much effort one can get all these things, no body minds it.

Vast reservoir of talents amongst the lower strata of society – There is a vast reservoir of potential/talent amongst backwards as well, only they need opportunities to grow. Their hidden qualifications and capabilities Sound education and training would make aware them aware of their hidden qualifications and their capabilities. Their confidence can be restored, only when they are brought to the level of forward castes people so that they could compete for jobs and promotions on equal terms.

Hurt feelings of poor belonging to upper castes – The deprived and poor people, belonging to so called “Forward caste”, feel betrayed by their own Government. They are being victimised because of no fault of their own. ‘Economic criteria’ offers a general formula to help to all extremely poor and underprivileged individuals irrespective of their caste or creed. Many dynamic and talented youths have lost their faith in the government and interest in government jobs. Upright officers do not get a proper atmosphere in the office or reward for their merit, intelligence, hard work and honesty. On the contrary, due to politicization, growing disregard for the work-culture and overstaffing, upright officers are sidetracked. Fixed salary is just sufficient to keep them from hand to mouth. They have to struggle all through their lives – after paying the taxes, meeting their children’s school fees and coping with ever increasing prices of essential items to maintain a decent life style.

Backwardness of some, not unique in India only – Backwardness of some sections of society having such massive demographic entities is not peculiar to the Indian conditions only. It is universal phenomena. Every nation has it and adopts its own ways to uplift the sub-merged people. The Chinese approach, in this regard is through education and not through unmeritorious reservation of jobs, as there is no need to create vote banks there. Grooming of downtrodden in India could also be done by providing sound education to them. Already there are many institutes and some more may be opened especially for lower strata of society, where they could study the same syllabi and to go through the same courses as other students from a good background. The students from poor background may take more time to go through the same courses and reach up-to the same standard as others. The process may be slow but is steady. The quality of education should not be allowed to deteriorate at any cost as is being done.

Times when Governmental intervention needed – When individuals are proved to be working under special handicap or are not allowed to function freely as citizens, then only the government may intervene irrespective of caste or creed so that deserving persons from all sections of the society may get the needed help. It should punish the culprits strictly and make special provision for advancement of under privileged or handicapped persons. It need not necessarily be in the form of reservations. Reservations have been proved to be disruptive to the peace of the society and unpractical.

Conclusion and suggestions

The past experiences have made it clear that the remedies suggested through reservation proved worse than evils, the leaders were out to combat. To some, this discrimination is positive and to others, negative and contrary to principles of equality, fraternity and social justice.

Deserving people get lost amidst the gore and gusto – The faces of poor people, really deserving support from the government, have been lost amidst the gore and gusto of pro and anti-reservationist movements. ‘Shudras’ have been the life and blood of the Indian society for centuries in the past and led the nation to the ‘Golden Era’. They still provide essential services to the whole community in different disciplines. But in exchange, today, they get very little – not even enough to satisfy their basic minimum needs. Reservation made no difference in their lives.

There is no denial to the fact that for centuries, Shudras have been the life and blood of the Indian society. They have been performing certain traditional standardised services for the whole community. In exchange, as usual, even today they get very little – not enough even to satisfy their basic minimum needs. Reservation made no difference in their lives.

Side effects of Reservation policy – Reservations have developed many side affects. Instead of becoming a viable instrument for the upliftment of the submerged section of the society, it has created vested interests of the powerful lobbies of society. It is serving the interest of those people who do not need it any more and making the administrative machinery sick. Giving additional weapon in weak hands is no remedy. First the hands need to be made strong enough to hold and use the weapon properly through awareness of the surroundings, sound education and-training. Then they themselves without any help from an outside agency will pick up the weapon in their hands and protect themselves and others in the society with it. Education alone can make them more knowledgeable in the fields of their works, more laborious and more confident, so that they could earn enough to live with honour and dignity.

Plans needs to be based on real issues – Witnessing the various views and past experience, it becomes clear that instead of reservation, other development measures should be tried after identifying the real issues and actual needs of these people. Downtrodden must be made capable to stand upon their feet and make their due place in the society. Policy of generating confidence and inculcating skills, knowledge, attitude and habits through sound education should be pursued, so that they could be brought to the required intellectual level, do justice to the jobs assigned to them, hold their positions without any complex and live in the society with honour.

Only two ends in Governance, ‘nation, and ‘individual’ – The unity and solidarity of the nation demands that its population should not be divided along the lines of different identities i.e. caste, region, language, religion or base – rural or urban – by giving preference or over- protection to one section or group over the other. As Kaka Kalelkar had suggested, while framing policies, government should recognise only two ends – the individual on the one hand and the nation as a whole on the other. No sectional or communal grouping should be encouraged to flourish itself in between the two, which could undermine the equality, liberty and freedom of the individuals and the solidarity of the nation.

Result-oriented action programmes needed – Issues should be identified rationally and result-oriented action programmes needs to be implemented sincerely as suggested by the Planning Commission, various government departments and voluntary organisations. The backwardness of most of the people is due to poverty, illiteracy and many evils that go with it such as ignorance, superstitions, mal-nutrition, lack of access to shelter, clothing, health, hygiene etc. These problems can never be solved by making policy of reservation as a major remedial measure. Other remedial measures are required for the development, which could produce desired results within time and cost parameters. More stress should now be given to fair distribution of surplus land and other anti poverty programmes, which could benefit a large number of poor people everywhere if honestly pursued.

Reservations as “Disastrous”, “Fatal” and even a “Vicious principle” – Witnessing the various views and past experience, it becomes clear that instead of reservation, some other measures should be tried after identifying the real issues and actual needs of these people. It was not only the first Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, but Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the nation, and Chowdhary Charan Singh, the charismatic leader of backward caste, considered reservations as “Disastrous”, “Fatal” and even a “Vicious principle”.

Positive steps needed to be taken – More than Reservations is needed to the inculcation of concentrate on skills, knowledge, attitude and habits through sound education. It would make weaker sections to stand upon their own feet and to survive without the crutches of Reservations. It would bring backwards to the required intellectual level, make them capable do justice to the jobs and fulfil their responsibility without any complex. It would ultimately generate confidence in them and live in the society with dignity and honour.

Vision of Nehru – The vision of Nehru suggested putting emphasis on education – “The real way to help a backward group is to give opportunities of good education; this includes technical education, which is becoming more and more important. Everything else is provision of some kind of crutches which don’t add to the strength or health of the body. We have recently made two decisions: one is universal free elementary education that is the base and the second is scholarships on a very wide scale at every grade of education to the bright boys and girls and this applies not merely to literary education but much more so, to technical, scientific and medical training. I lay stress on the bright and able boys and girls, because it is only they who will raise our standards.” …. “But if we go in for reservation on communal or caste basis we swamp the bright and able people and remain second rate or third rate.” (Chief Ministers Conference, June 27, 1961,)

Authorities like Shri B.D. Sharma, Commissioner for SC/ST, and many others have also opined that policy of reservations in government jobs has not improved the position of the bulk of SC/ST and CECs. Instead it had further developed many problems.

Winding up
•If India wants to emerge as a strong nation in the world, it should give preference to efficiency, motivation, discipline, tenacity of purpose and capacity of a person to achieve the desired goals.
•It is not the policy of reservation which is required but a policy of generating confidence in backward caste.
•Stress should be given to basic education.
•No sectional or religious group be allowed grow between the government and the individual.
•Really-deserving individuals needing special attention must be identified by assessing their economic condition without any bias.
•All help, such as free and extra tuition, subsidised and extra nourishment, residential accommodation etc., to overcome their disabilities and to acquire requisite abilities should be provided
•Abilities to shoulder responsibilities at entry point and performance throughout the career should always be given importance.
•In postings and promotions, Standard set should apply equally to all and strictly to all.
•At no time and at no level, the standard should be allowed to deteriorate.
•The method of assessment should be continually honed, so that more meritorious persons could be selected.
•Wages should be enough to enable them to work honestly and live in the society with dignity without clamouring for dishonest money.

In the words of Shri C. Rajgopalachari, which he said long ago that for any system “To be good and efficient as a whole we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down rules and methods of operation. The caste consciousness is a hard reality. It unites and divides in a very real manner today whatever be our goal and today is most important in matter of administration. Short-sighted favouritism and concessions to produce contentment among classes and castes will be very short-lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to the real efficiency.”

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | , | Leave a comment

Harmonious relationship

“A great relationship is about two things, first find out similarities and second respect the differences”

Introduction – Quality of  relationships matters a lot. It not only protect their bodies but protects their brain as well.  Desire for name, fame or money does not make people happy.

For developing harmonious relationship, people will have to understand the value of togetherness. Togetherness keeps people well- connected to family, friends and to community. Warm relationships are protective, gives feeling of true happiness, satisfaction and develops a sense of security. Sharing of joys with near and dear ones doubles the happiness. Similarly sharing one’s worries or sorrows lessens the mental strain.

Human relationship is passing through a tough time in modern period. Reasons are many, like trend of nucleus family system, money-culture, impatience, fast and busy life-style of modern times and too artificial and mechanized way of living. Individuals are becoming more and more self-centered.

Adverse effect of modernity on relationships has been seen almost everywhere. There are many experts to advice, yet instead of reducing the problems, it is increasing day by day. Modernity has taught humans to make a living but not a life. People try to multiply their possessions but instead have reduced the human values.

Loneliness in modern world – Otherwise life becomes quite complex. Loneliness kills a person. He is either a god or a beast without his fellow-beings. Their mental and physical health, start to decline. Society also does not regard them as normal. It is an irony of modern times that people have lots of friends on electronic medium/social media/facebook/wordsap etc, but there is no one to rely on. It causes stress anxiety and depression. Most of people are lonely at heart today.

People are emotionally suffocated – Over and above all this, ego and trend of not trusting others or fear of being rejected compel him to hold back his emotions. It is difficult to realize how lonely and emotionally suffocated humans are these days, be it a child, a youth or an elderly person.

The net result is that everyone, be it a child, a youth or an old person, everyone feels lonely. Heart to heart conversations have become rare, artificial and shallow. Young people mostly suffer from anxiety and frustration. Senior citizens, at the fag end of their life, suffer from loneliness the most. They have virtually no connection with younger generation. Even children are deprived of the pleasures of childhood because of heavy curriculum and high expectations of parents. People of all age-groups have bottled up stress and then suffers from anxiety or depression. Life becomes a constant struggle for youth and hell old people. Increasing cases of depression all over the world is the proof.

To keep up his social image of a confident and happy-man, usually people behave artificially. It hardly lessens stress, anxiety or depression.

Hurdles on the way of smooth relationship – Main hurdles on the way of smooth relationships are false ego, fear, unfulfilled expectations, rat-race giving rise to prejudices, anger and revenge. Besides –

·    No time or patience – In this fast-paced life of today, nobody has time or patience to listen to others.  ‘Get to the point’ is the base of communicating with others. Such an attitude takes toll on relationship.Life is so busy and fast these days that nobody has time for listening others’ emotions, which is considered as waste of time. People save their time only for self-interests self-image, self-promotion. It makes most of people self-serving.

·      Social isolation – People have become unsocial. Communication Through digital medium people can communicate with others, but at heart, they feel lonely. They have become slave of technology they have mastered. There is no feeling of belonging to society, or acceptance for others.   

.   Phony relationships – In the cards game of Bridge, there is a phony call of one club indicating that the player has a strong set of cards, but no depth in any suit. Similarly, face to face interaction has been replaced by new modes of digital and online communication. There are quick, easier and more contacts through networking at very little or no cost, but there is very little connection.
·      Faceless interaction – Speedy means of communication through electronic medium is an illusion, which leads them to the world of confusion. The moment people open their computers or mobile, they ignore the presence of people around them.

Faceless interaction has made people insensitive. Every-day people talk to hundreds of people every day, yet they do not really know the person they are talking to. Face-to face interaction enables people to know the reactions, thoughts and feelings of others. It becomes easier by witnessing
the body-language, expressions on the face, while talking. It connects a person with others and can make a difference in life. People can develop a sense of belonging to the society, companionship and can learn to co-exist.

·      Smart phones and dump people – Interaction through Smart phones has made people quite insensitive. In this fast-paced life, nobody has time or patience to listen.  ‘Get to the  point’ is the base of communicating with others.

·       Understanding about each other, missing – Every-day a humans talk to hundreds of people, yet hardly they know the person they are talking to. 

How to develop Harmonious relationships – The foundation pillars for making a relationship flourish are love, understanding, trust, confidence, faith, sincerity and similar interests. Compassion and empathy are two essential traits to bring up a smooth relationship. It basically depends on –

  • Find out similarities and respect the differences. “Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody equal either. People are simply unique, incomparable. You are you, I am I.” (Budha) When people interact with like-minded people, who have the same goals or thinking. 
  • Relationship is reciprocal. It works on the principle of ‘give and take’. Same is true to develop relationship between an Individual and a society.
  • Accept others as they are. When there is inclusive bent of mind, likes and dislikes do not matter. Only, it is required that agree or disagree respectfully after having constructive dialogue.  
  • Communication is the lifeline of any relationship. When one stops communicating… one starts loosing his/her valuable relationship.
  • Lack of proper communication affects adversely relationship. Gaps are created, when there is a lack of communication or communication is not clear.
  • Communication should be adequate, timely, uniform, acceptable and consistent with the expectations of the recipient.
  • Not only, that what is communicated, matters, but when it is communicated and how it is communicated also matters a lot. What is ‘communicated’ reaches to mind. How it is said reaches to heart.
  • Be honest and natural, no artificial gesture to show closeness.
  • Respect the traditional way of living. It is like an anchor, which keeps one’s boat even in the stormy water of an ocean. Do not discard or reject it  out-rightly.
  • Besides try to trust others, keep good communication to develop healthy relationships, have patience to listen what others want to say. Do not reject their point of view out-rightly.
  • Gaps are created, not by what is said, but by how it is said. What is said reaches to mind and how it is said reaches to heart.
  • Life provides opportunities to convert them into developing harmonious relationships. Only one has to move forward, cross the road and shake hands with the near and dear ones.  

Happiness depends on balanced and harmonious relationship and harmonious relationship depends on coordination. And coordination depends on adequate communication with fellow-beings. All the problems and unhappiness, be it environmental, social, economic, political or health-related, arise out of disharmony, imbalances and lack of coordination.

Conclusion – People are dreaming to reach up to the moon and back, but find no time to take even one step crossing the road to meet and chat freely with their neighbor or relatives. Lack of enough communication has made people insensitive, impatient and self-centered. People are missing the chances of little pleasures in life.

To save humans from depression or overjoy or emotional loneliness, harmonious relationship and free-frank-honest/heart to heart communication with near and dear ones is necessary. Rhythm with others can be achieved by cool and heart to heart conversation. Sharing of joys with near and dear ones doubles the happiness. Similarly sharing one’s worries or sorrows lessens the mental strain.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Caste as a system

Conceptualized, originated and practiced exclusively in India – India presents one of the oldest, continuous and uninterrupted living civilizations in the whole world known as Hinduism. (Other well advanced civilizations of ancient world were of Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia). One of the prominent features of Indian civilization is its ‘Caste-system’. Caste system is a unique way of stratifying the society. It has been conceptualized, originated and practiced exclusively in India. It has given a distinguished identity to Indian society.

Meaning of the term caste – The English word “caste” derives from the Spanish and Portuguese casta, which means, “race, lineage, or breed” (Mookherjee, 2012: 56). When the Spanish colonized the New World, they used the word to mean a “clan or lineage.” However, the Portuguese were the ones who employed casta in the primary modern sense when they applied it to the many in-marrying hereditary Hindu social groups they encountered upon their arrival in India in 1498.

When the word “caste” is translated into Hindi, it enfolds within itself two quite different Sanskrit concepts –

  1. Jaati and
  2. Varna

It was during 200 years of British domination, colonialism that made caste what it is today throughout the subcontinent. ‘In modern understanding of caste-system, element of ‘system’ is suppressed and ‘caste’ has become dominant.’

What caste is to a common men in India – As C. Rajgopalachari has said, a common man in India believes, “If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity- any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture”.

“Caste was the system of social life, in which Hinduism was expressed. …… Hinduism was the ideological and emotional buttress of caste…. Caste and Hinduism succeeded in doing in India, what no state, no conqueror and no economy was able to do – the establishment of a single unified system of society throughout the whole of India (accommodating numerous semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places), a system of society, which was able to comprise a greater range of local differences in a single system than any society has previously accomplished.”

Through caste system, India has simultaneously accommodated “it to an almost endlessly varied system of semi-autonomous community and at the same time, it brings considerable unity, harmony and condition of peace.” It “succeeded in wielding an enormously varied plurality of semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places and adopting themselves to many different conditions into a single system of society…” (Don Martindale, India since 1947, p 39)

Covers the entire social fabric of India – Caste-system is one of the prominent features running through the entire social fabric of India. Castes have its ethnic roots as denoted by Jati (extended family), and a ritualistic and symbolic significance in its Varna aspect. It is quite natural for all human beings to have closer ties with ones own fellow-beings and the persons following same kind of occupation and having the common traits/mindset. So emerged the caste system. Internalized caste norms define an individual role in the society. Common men feel good and loved, when they live up to the norms set up by their elders, and anxious and guilty, when he transgress them. It has greatly influenced the thinking of people and their culture allover India.

One of the oldest living institution – Caste system has maintained its continuity without interruption. It has survived the vicissitudes of time, saved itself by erosion from within and assault from outside only because of the adaptability. Its absorptive nature has internalized alien influences. It has taken different shades and meaning with the changing times and places.

Its character during Indus Valley Civilization was altogether different from what exists today. It is still in a transient phase. Its shade is different in the context of village, locality, region or religion. Once changed, the system never returned to its original form. Its absorptive nature has internalized alien influences. That is why it presents one of the oldest social institution and a continuous and uninterrupted living culture still existing in the entire world.

June 10, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sardar’s views on the issue of All India Services

Introduction – Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel (31 October 1875 – 15 December 1950), popularly known as Sardar Patel, was an Indian politician. He served as the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. His commitment to national integration in the newly independent country was total and uncompromising, earning him the sobriquet “Iron Man of India”. By August 15, 1947, all except Hyderabad, Junagarh, and Kashmir acceded to India. Patel thereafter carried the three-fold process of assimilation, centralization, and unification of states. The states were amalgamated to form a union and that union was merged with the Union of India.

Sardar Patel also known as “patron saint of India’s civil servants” – He is also remembered as the “patron saint of India’s civil servants” for having established the modern all-India services system.

The institution of All India Services – The institution of All India Services is one of the oldest and most wonderful institutions, the British Government has bequeathed to India.  It has a long historical background and is a product of centuries.  It has prospered, slowly but steadily, under three successive regimes—The East India Company, the Crown and the Indian Republic.

Golden Period for All India Services from 1858-1919 – Under Crown, from 1858-1919  was the golden period of All Indian Services.  During this period, the civil services were institutionalized.  From 1858 to 1919, the All India Services, specially the ICS, attracted the best talent of British Society, who graduated from Oxford or Cambridge.

The civil services were classified into Convenanted (Higher-Imperial and Provincial) and Uncovenanted (Subordinate), on the basis of the nature of work, appointing authority and pay-scales.  Imperial services, occupying the higher rungs of civil services and controlled by the Secretary of State, was further divided into All India Services and Central Services. 

On the eve of the Government of India Act, the following nine All India Services (Report of the Royal Commission on Superior Services in India, Government of India Press, 1924, p.4.). According to Report of the Indian Statutory Commission, Vol. I, the strength of personnel of each service was as follows: 

Sl. No.                     Name                      Popular Name                   Strength

1.       Indian Civil Service            ICS                         1,350

2.       Indian Police Service                    IPS                         732

3.       Indian Forest Service                   IFS                         417

4.       Indian Service of Engineers          ISE                         728

5.       Indian Medical Service (Civil)                                      420

6.       Indian Education Service                                  421

7.       Indian Civil Veterinary Service                                     53

8.       Indian Forest Engineering Service                               –

9.       Indian Agriculture Service                                 157

  The oldest and the most important among the All India Services was the ICS, which owes its Origin to Lord Macaulay Report submitted in 1854.  The last to be added to the list of All India Services was the Indian Agriculture Service in 1906.  All these services were grouped into Security All India Services (ICS and IP) and Other All India Services.  Appointment and control of these services rested with the Secretary of State as it was thought  necessary to hold British control over the country. 

During this period, the civil services not only became rigid in its class structure, but also became bureaucratic in methods and procedure of work.  Unlike the decentralized administration during the East India Company, the growth of rapid means of communication made centralization of administration possible.  The whole system, from top to bottom, became well-knit, highly centralized and behaved like an unbreakable steel frame with all the characteristics of a full-fledged Autocracy. (M.V. Pylee, Constitutional History of India, 1600-1950, Bombay, Asia, 1967, p.28) 

Centralization tightened the regulatory functions of the officials to supervise and control the subordinate officials and made the office procedure elaborate and cumbersome.   Sir William Hunter commented, “He governed most, who wrote most”.  Thus cam into being multiplication of reports, returns and correspondence and obsession for office work. 

Under Dyarchy (1919-35)Dyarchy, also spelled dyarchy, system of double government introduced by the Government of India Act (1919) for e provinces of British India. The principle of dyarchy was a division of the executive branch of each provincial government into authoritarian and popularly responsible sections.

As the movement for Indianisation gained momentum, Indian public and leaders became allergic to All India Services, not on the basis of their actual performance, but because they were controlled by the Secretary of State and were a living symbol of foreign rule. 

Intensification of national movement, growing demand for Indianization of higher civil services and introduction of Dyarchy (which promised progressive realization of responsible and self-government in India) in the post 1919 period brought about many changes in All India Services. 

Dampening effect on attraction to join all India services – Criticism of the individual members of the services by questions in the provincial and Central legislatures, the `ignominy’ of working under Indian Ministers in provinces, the non-cooperation movement of 1920-22, the insufficiency of salaries due to high price-rise in the wake of the World War I, etc., left a dampening effect on the attraction of All India Services as  a career service for British Youth.  All efforts to attract them fell flat and the number of British Officers began to decline.

In 1923, the Lee Commission recommended abolition of certain All India Services, particularly, those dealing with subjects that had been transferred to Indian hands, namely, Indian Education Service, Indian Agriculture Service, Indian Veterinary Service and the roads and Building branch of the Indian Service of Engineers.  It, however, recommended retention of Indian Civil Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Forest Service, Indian Medical Service and the Irrigation branch of Indian Service of Engineers. 

It also recommended increasing Indianisation of these services as also that any British Official belonging to the services of transferred subjects would be free to take voluntary retirement on a proportionate pension at any time.  Effect was given to these recommendations.  These changes affected the “The Espirit de Corps” of these services.

National leaders against the system of All India Services – In 1928, the Committee under the Chairmanship of Moti Lal Nehru, appointed the All Parties Conference, recommended discontinuance of all the All India Services and pressed for their provincialisation.  Similar were the views of the Committee appointed by the United Provinces Legislative Council, which asserted: “We hold that retention of these services (i.e. All India Services) in a system of full provincial autonomy would unnecessarily complicate matters”. (Report of the Committee Appointed by the United Provinces Legislative Council to cooperate with the Indian Statutory commission, Allahabad, Government Press, 1929, pp. 104-5). 

Shiva Rao said: “I do not think it would be satisfactory to work these services on an All India basis and at the same time ensure a proper relationship between the Services and the Ministry.” (B. Shiva Rao, Indian Round Table Conference: Proceedings of the Sub-Committee, Vol. VIII, Calcutta, Central Publication Branch, 1931, p. 54) 

Bheemarao Ambedkar also said: “No Province can be deemed to have provincial autonomy, if it has not the right to regulate the civil services that is going to work in its area”.  ( Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Indian Round Table Conference: Proceedings of the Sub-Committee, Vol. VIII, opp. Cit., p.55).

In 1933-34, in the Joint Committee on Indian Constitution Reforms, some leaders again urged the provincialisation of All India Services, but it did not accept it, because it regarded the need for a regular supply of officers, both Indian and British, of the highest quality as vital to the stability of the proposed Constitution itself.    “It is of the first importance that in the early days of `New Order’ and indeed until the course of events in the future can be more clearly foreseen, the new Constitution should not be exposed to risk and hazard by radical changes in the system which has for so many generations produced men of the calibre.(Report of the Joint Committee on Indian Constitution Reforms, Vol. I, Part I, 1934, para 286). 

The net effect of all this turmoil was that India Act of 1935 allowed the continuance of only three All India Services, namely, Indian Civil Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Medical Service (Civil).  Other services were not abolished abruptly or altogether.  Only fresh recruitment into these services was discontinued, thus enabling its painless extinction through the natural process of retirement, resignation and causalities of its members.

Even Pt. Nehru was against the Bureaucracy – After Independence, many national leaders wanted to abolish the bureaucracy after Independence. Despite the strong arguments put forward by Sardar Patel, it was not an easy job to gain provincial acceptance for the proposed All India Services. Some important national leaders like Nehru, G.B. Pant, etc., and a few states like Punjab, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir were very critical of it.  They preferred to have their own `Superior Services’.  However, All India Services were pushed down their reluctant throats by Vallabhbhai Patel. (The Hindu, October 25, 1946, p. 4.)

Even Pt Nehru against continuance of All India Services – Nehru is on record to have said: “But of one thing I am quite sure that no new order can e built up in India, so long as the spirit of ICS (Indian Civil Service) pervades our Administrative Public Service.  That spirit of authoritarianism is the ally of imperialism and it cannot coexist with freedom.  It will either succeed in crushing freedom or will be swept away by itself.  Only with one type of State, it is likely to fit in and that is the Fascist type.  Therefore, it seems quite essential that the ICS and similar services must disappear completely, much before we can start real work on a new order.” (Jawarlal Nehru, An Autobiography, London, the Bodley Head, 1953, p.443.)

“Provincial Premiers Conference” – Sardar Patel, the then Home Minister, however, held an opposite view.  He foresaw the dire necessity of “All India Services” in independent India.  Therefore, he convened a “Provincial Premiers Conference” in October, 1946 to take a decision on All India Services. 

While presiding over the Conference, he said: “My own view as I have told you, is that it is not only advisable, but essential, if you want to have an efficient service, to have a Central Administrative Service, in which, we fix the strength as the Provinces would require them and we draw a certain number of officers at the Centre, as we are doing at present.  This will give experience to the personnel at the Centre leading to efficiency and administrative experience of the district, which will give them an opportunity to contact with the people.  They will thus keep themselves in touch with the situation in the country and their practical experience will be most useful to them.  Besides their coming to the Centre will give them a different experience and wider outlook in a larger sphere.  A combination of these two experiences will make the service more efficient.  They will also serve as liaison between the Provinces and the Government and introduce certain amount of freshness and vigor in the administration, both at the Centre and in the Provinces.  Therefore, my advice is that we should have an All India Service.” (Sardar Patel, Proceedings of the Premiers’ Conference, October, 1946).

Patel’s advice to National leaders – It was Sardar, who advised them at Bombay in October 1947. he said, We have only a small number of Civil Servants left. Many people say that they are working in their old way. But those, who have experience of administration, know under what circumstances and how much they are working. Outsiders can not appreciate their work. Many of them, loyal workers and patriots are working with us night and day. All that we have been able to achieve, whether it be in the sphere of states or in Kashmir or another theatre, has been possible only because of their loyalty and whole-hearted support.” 

Patel’s warning – Again speaking in the Constituent Assembly, he warned: “There is no alternative to this administrative system…The Union will go, you will not have a united India, if you have not a good All India Service, which has the independence to speak out its mind, which has a sense of security that you will stand by your work..   If you do not adopt this course, then do not follow the present Constitution.  Substitute  something else…This Constitution is meant to be worked by a ring of service, which will keep the country intact.  There are many impediments in this constitution, which will hamper us.  But in spite of that, we have in our collective wisdom come to a decision that we shall have this model, which in the ring of a service will be such that will keep, the country intact.. these people are the instrument.  Remove them and I see nothing, but a picture of chaos all round the country.” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. X, No.3, October 10, 1946.)

Sardar Patel’s step proved to be a step in the right direction – The vision of Sardar Patel in continuing this institution proved to be a step in the right direction even after 70 years of independence. Administrative Reform Commission’s Report of the Study Team on Centre-State Relationship, (Chairman: M.C. Setalvad, Government of India) had justified it in 1967.

The ARC also observed, ”Not only do the original considerations for which the All India Services was set up in the beginning hold good even today, but they apply with greater force today and make it necessary that a service structure like the IAS should continue for foreseeable future.” (ARC, Report on Personnel Administration, August 1967, p.61)

Report of the Study Team on Centre-State Relationship – The Setalvad team said, “The Indian scene has changed in many ways since then. But in this respect, the change that occurred over the years serves only to confirm all that Sardar Patel said with prophetic insight many years ago. It should be needless to affirm the continued validity of all the objectives underlying the All India Services and yet in a country, in which the Constitutional parts are possessed with preemptive desire to assert their separations, such an affirmation is solely needed. The value of a system considered necessary for the administrative unity of the country despite the ubiquity of congress Party rule and found indispensable for securing fair-play and competence in administration, despite the acute awareness of their need in the most potent political figures at a time, when their power was untrammeled and their right ran through the length and breadth of the land, can in the less favourable conditions of today be ignored only at the cost of perilous consequences. Continuity also demands a system which can maintain links in administrative behaviour throughout the country, while political changes visit different States and the Centre.” (ARC,Report of the Study Team on Centre-State Relationship, (Chairman: M.C. Setalvad), Government of India, 1967.)

B.B. Misra felt concerned at the abolition of other All India Services. He said, “It was the ICS and IP that remained unaffected and continued to act as unifying force. Most of the other All India Services were abolished. Considerations of national unity, the positive need of India’s all round development and the attainment of a minimum uniform standard in administration were allowed to go by default.”

Experiences of last 70 years of Independent India proves that Sardar Patel’s step was a step in the right direction, The vision of Sardar Patel in continuing this institution proved to be necessary for for good governance of the whole of the nation. a step in the right direction even after 70 years of independence.

Thoughts of Misra read with the analysis brought out under sub-title, “The Need for Additional All India Services” leads to the conclusion that the country has erred in not allowing continuation of All India Services in other areas of national interest. However, as the saying goes “It is better to be late than never”, it is time that a beginning is made to set up All India Services for Health, Water, Power, Education and Judiciary, immediately. This should not be a difficult task as the Rajya Sabha has already passed a resolution to that effect, at least for Health, Water and Power, and it can always pass a bill for other two remaining subjects, viz., education and Judiciary.” (B.B. Misra, Administrative History of India, 1834-1947: General Administration, London, Oxford University Press, 1970, p.143.)

On the eve of Independence, when the entire administration exhibited the signs of wear and tear, Sardar Patel had warned the nation, India is passing through the most critical and troubled days of her long and checkered history and strong, efficient, experienced broad minded administrators were badly required at that hour to save the nation from the impending crisis . Today, 70 years after the independence, position is the same, because of vote-bank policy, caste-based reservations and politics of vendetta. Nation again shows the signs of wear and tear. It is good to remember today Sardar Patel’s views on important issues and contributions to the nation and pay attention to what he had said 70 years ago.

May 30, 2020 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services | | 1 Comment

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