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HC to Hardik, Work for nation not just for a community

Introduction – There is a news that a judge of Gujrat High Court faces impeachment by Parliament for making the following remark in his recent Judgement on Hardik Patel case on reservations – “if I am asked by anyone to name two things, which has destroyed this country or rather has not allowed the country to progress in right direction, then the same is (I) Reservation and (ii) Corruption.

The division bench of Rajasthan High Court (Justice GK Vyas) advised Hardik Patel who spearheaded the Patidar movement to work for the unity of the nation instead of a community or its reservation, saying “you belong to the community and state Sardar Patel belonged to. He had worked for the integration of the entire nation and not for a community. … Is it becoming of you to work for a specific community despite being from Patel’s land and his community? He has put his entire might and life for this nation.” (On September 6, 2016, p. 9)

It is a matter of concern for people and leaders of this country to ask for reservation after 69 years of Independence. Original Constitution wanted reservation for 10 years to bring marginalized sections of society into mainstream. But after every ten years, the constitution has been amended and its its time-frame has been extended. The countrymen should stand up and hone their skills rather than indulging in violence over reservation. A minuscule number of people from weaker sections could really be benefited from this policy. Reservations has sowed the seeds of discord amongst various sections of society.

India, still, is a transient society moving from traditionalism to modernism. It is passing through a period of great turmoil. Because of some basic problems of Indian economy are – low per capita income, dependence of at least ¾ of her population on agriculture, industrial backwardness, capital deficiency, rapid population growth, unemployment and under-employment, prevalence of backward technology, under-utilization of natural resources and unsuitable social structures, the development of the nation has been very slow and the economy is still in a bad shape.  The systems sideline honest officials. Political-rivalries are growing. And with it are increasing one-up-man-ship, social-media-trials, moral-vigilantism, and judicial-processes have together led the nation to an atmosphere, where a deep distrust has been developed in peoples’ mind for systems and ‘others’.

The nation is facing many challenges at social front also. Generally law follows social change, but in India the Government is trying to foster social change through law. Pervasive corruption and indiscipline has weakened the social fabric beyond repair.   Population is exploding virtually unchecked. Standards of education have declined and it has become inefficient, wasteful, dysfunctional and increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations. Illiteracy of masses is still a problem in the society even 70 years after the Independence. Some unpleasant changes have taken place in the recent past and are increasing every day in the character, role and inter-relationship of the six-seven main constituent of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, media, the businessmen, the organised workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats. Sectoral and regional imbalances are also sources of great social and psychological tensions.

Follow the teachings of Gandhiji – In such a situation, people of India must understand and follow what Gandhiji had very rightly said that there is “no –

  • Wealth without work,
  • Pleasure without conscience,
  • Knowledge without character, 
  • Commerce without morality,
  • Science without humanity, 
  • Politics without principles, and 
  • Worship without sacrifice.” (Gandhi)

Therefore, common-men and elites of the society must work hard, honestly and sincerely.

True development – People expect too much from the government for their uplift, while they themselves have stopped making their own efforts to move forward and join mainstream. As Julius ‘Mwalimu’ Nyerere (Tanzania) comments on true development, “Man is developing himself when he grows or earns, enough to provide decent conditions for himself and his family; he is not being developed if someone gives him these things.”  Jacques Santer says, “A quota is always something artificial that can last for a certain period of time.”  The political leaders need to understand that expanding quotas can not address the problem of underdevelopment, unemployment or youths’ frustration arising from the growth of  jobless youth.

September 6, 2016 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Ambedkar, Doyen of Contemporary Dalit olitics

Dr. Ambedkar – Ambedkar was the undisputed leader of untouchables, and Doyen of Contemporary Dalit Politics. Today he has attracted many followers. Many politicians and political parties have given a glorified status to Ambedkar. All political parties have indulged in politicking Ambedkar’s name, claiming him as their role-model. Glorification of his name helps them to overcome their insecurity.  It also helps them to unite various Dalit groups and to harness Dalit votes. Very few try to know who real Ambedkar was?

Referring to Ambedkar, Sonia Gandhi Congerss president says “His faith in democracy, which he shared with Mahatma Gandhi Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and other stalwarts of the freedom movement (?), is one of his proud legacies to our country.”  (Quoted from TOI, April 15, 2016, P. 17) Modi gives credit to Ambedkar for his rise to the country’s most powerful office to the Constitution and its chief architect (?). Mayawati, BSP leader has built memorials to Dalit icons installing statues of Ambedkar and next to him of BSP founder Kansi Ram and herself, because she has dedicated her life to realizing Ambedkar’s dream and working for welfare of Dalits.

Now when mainstream political parties are vying with each other to appropriate Dr Ambedkar’s legacy, on the eve of Dr. Ambedkar’s 125th anniversary, a band of young men and women from nearly 500 districts highlighted that existing practice of manual scavenging – cleaning of toilets and septic-tanks by manual labour as unconstitutional, illegal. Census 2011 estimated nearly 8 lakh people were involved in it. In 2014 the Supreme Court ordered for swift measures to end the system and now on Ambedkar’s anniversary, these people have  demanded strong measures to end manual scavenging which has taken over 1,327 lives in the past few years. It says, “Unless they (political leaders recognize that deaths that occur in sewers and septic tanks are not accident, but political murders, we do not think they have the right to project themselves as defenders of the rights of Dalits and highly marginalized communities such as manual scavengers.

No doubt, Ambedkar was a man, whose life is most inspiring example of what a man can achieve by hard work, knowledge, and clear-cut priorities. Before 1947, even Ambedkar did not know that he would be assigned the responsibility of the Chairman of the drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly. earlier he believed that: –

  • While speaking in Constituent Assembly, Dr Ambedkar spoke on November 25, 1949, “If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact … the first thing in my judgement we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. .. It means we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation, and satyagrah. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but grammar of anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.”
  • Reservation is not aimed at economic uplift or alleviation of poverty. But it is a provision made for the entry of certain castes, which have so far been outside the administration. Hence the need for their adequate representation in State Services. Adequacy should be judged not by their presence in the lower rung of the services, but their entry into the higher echelons, the corridor of power.
  • Where a majority of population is denied its share in actual power, there exists no democracy.
  • Attempt to uplift my community rather than to win Swaraj for the nation is my goal.
  • I will leave no doubt in the minds of the people of this country that I have another loyalty, to which I am bound and which I can never for-sake. The loyalty is to the community of the untouchables; in which I am born, to which I belong and which I hope, I shall never desert. And I say this…. as strongly as I possibly can that whenever there is any conflict of interests between the country and the untouchables, so far as I am concerned, the untouchable interests will take precedence over the interests of the country. I am not going to support a tyranny of the majority, simply because it happens to speak in the name of the country”
  • “As between the country and myself, the country will have precedence, as between the country and the depressed classes, the depressed classes will have precedence.
  • Like Jyotirao Phule or E V Ramaswami Naiker, fondly remembered by his followers as ‘Periyar’, he was also anti-Brahmin, anti-caste,and anti-birth based social structure. He regarded caste system as great obstacles to Hindu Unity”, in which Dalits are treated as untouchables, or impure human beings. he thought Caste-system has given rise to a social hierarchy. He said, “No matter what the Hindus say, Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity, On that account it is incompatible with democracy.”
  • Ambedkar’s political philosophy was against the ideology of Congress and Gandhi. He criticized varnashrama or idea of Gandhi about village life.
  • While Gandhi and Congress leaders took Poona Pact as a ploy to divide Indian society, Ambedkar regarded it as essential for political equality between caste Hindu and Dalits.
  • Ambedkar was against Hinduism as well.My self-respect can not assimilate Hinduism…The religion that does not recognize you as human beings…is not worthy to be called a religion.
  • He believed in political democracy. He considered any system that does not work towards egalitarian society, meaningless. “In an ideal society, there should be many interests consciously communicated and shared. There should be varied and free points of contact with other modes of association. In other words, there should be social endosmosis. There is fraternity, which is only another name of democracy. Democracy is not merely a form of Government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men.

He was choosen as the Chairman of the drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly in 1947. He then joined Nehru’s cabinet as India’s first Law Minister. But he quitted the post soon over the Question of the Hindu Code Bill.  As years passed on, many of his views were changed. Even Ambedkar’s  views on Reservations, later-on, in his life have become more humanistic. During Constituent Assembly Debates, Ambedkar advocated the policy of Reservation. But later on, as a socialist and humanist, which had the long-range interests of untouchables at heart, had developed doubts about advisability and efficacy of Reservation Policy. Chowdhary Charan Singh said, Ambedkar himself declared in a speech sometime before his death that the provision of Reservation in service should not extend beyond 1960/61.

When Ambedkar prepared for his party the Manifesto for his party, (TOI, Oct 3, 1951) for first Lok Sabha elections of 1952, he said, “The policy of the party is not tied to any particular dogma or ideology, such as Communism, or socialism, Gandhian or any other ‘ism’.” (Document on Ambedkar, Volume 21, part 3)  Manifesto advocates the rapid industrialization and promises to replace small landholdings with large farms.” He insisted that Agriculture must be mechanized”. He realized the role of machine in liberating thousands of Dalits tilting land using bullocks and plough.

Ambedkar during his life time during pre-Independence period – Ambedkar earned the wrath of intelligentsia during pre-Independence period because: –

Ø   He, himself, was a beneficiary of social reform movement in Maharashtra led by nationalist leaders and reformers mostly belonging to caste Hindus. But he regarded caste Hindus as his enemy,

Ø   The intelligentsia regarded his move for separate electorates for untouchable as an act to divide Hindu society permanently. It is alleged that he could not rise beyond his caste identity,

Ø   He was criticized for his association with Simon Commission proceedings, First Round Table Conference and Viceroy’s Executive Committee as member, with an intention to cooperate with British rulers, at the time, when national leaders were fighting British rulers for Independence;

Ø   His anguish against Hinduism and caste system and his act of burning Hindu-script, which he regarded as great obstacles to the Indian unity, annoyed many.

Ø   People did not like his confrontation with Gandhi. Ambedkar, like Jinnah was against Hindu majority rule, Congress Party and Gandhi. Both of them reacted against the above three in similar manner most of the times and preferred continuance of British rule.

Depressed Ambedkar, later in life – Pr. Balraj Madhok had also pointed out that later in life, Ambedkar realized that SC and ST would not be able to stand on their own feet, so long as they depended on the crutches of Reservation. Reservation, Dr. Ambedkar said, Encouraged backwardness, inefficiency and lack of competitive merit among them barring a few stray cases.

Therefore, when he launched the Republican Party of India, he incorporated this view in the Manifesto, according to which the party was committed itself to abolish all kinds of Reservations based on caste and birth.

During his last days, Ambedkar was depressed, because as he said, I have not been able to fulfil my mission. I wanted to do more for the SC people and to see them as governing class in my life. I could have succeeded, but my own people have deceived me. Whatever I have been able to do, is being enjoyed by the educated people and they are the worst fools. I now want to divert my attention to the uneducated masses, but life seems short. The second worry to my mind is that I wanted that somebody from the SC should come forward and take the responsibilities from me. There, however, seems none to shoulder such a heavy responsibility. All are selfish and quarrel themselves on petty matters.

Glorification of Ambedkar in political arena – Till Ambedkar was alive, he had recognition as an intellectual having his own philosophy and interpretations, but he lacked leadership qualities and mass appeal. The trend of idolization of Ambedkar or attempts of Ambedkarization of the nation started during 1980s-1990s. Ambedkar himself considered idolization as an act leading to destruction.

Followers of Ambedkar – Recently many followers of Ambedkar – Many Paswans, Mayawatis, Manjhhis, have emerged in political scenario. In order to woo Dalits, all political parties highlight convenient aspects of his thoughts. They praise Ambedkar as a great lawgiver, maker of the Indian Constitution, great nationalist a liberal and true democrat, champion of reservations so on and so forth. None of them appear to have done justice with Ambedkar and used his name ruthlessly for their selfish motive and political ends. Some people say that they have idolized Ambedkar as “Rescuer of Dalits”, but have not understood Ambedkar in right perspective. Their deeds have exposed their  intentions.

Deeds of present Dalit leaders – Today agitated the Dalit leaders are, but their agitation is far away from being a positive or constructive one. It has turned into a negative militancy against caste Hindu. They have benefitted politically from their caste-identity. Their politics revolves around self-aggrandisement. They have been unable to bring any sustainable or radical change in the social or economic status of their poor brethrens or to raise the intellect and stature of Dalit masses. Also they have been unable to raise an army of Dalit intellectuals or leaders with rational thinking. Their aim is to woo Dalit masses and create a strong vote-bank for themselves.

Ambedkar’s vision – Ambedkar envisioned to seek political power for social justice. He wanted to annihilate caste system not by revenge, hatred and violence, but by rethinking, reason and reformation.

  • Organize, educate and agitate – He, therefore, taught untouchables To organize, educate and agitate with an aim to finishing caste prejudices, the arrogance, and the Holier than thou’ attitude of Brahmins.
  • He wanted his people to improve their condition by education, enlightenment and enterprise not by animosity, anger and abuse.
  • Like Jyotirao Phule and E V Ramaswami Naiker, ‘Periyar’, Ambedkar was anti-brahmanism, not Brahmins. he was happily married to a Brahmin lady. He respected Justice Ranade.
  • He was against birth-based/caste-based social hierarchy, which treated individuals born in lower castes as untouchables.

Wave of Ambedkarization –  After the death of Ambedkar, many politicians started describing Ambedkar as the Father or The maker of Indian Constitution. Experts on Constitutional law have some Reservation to such expressions, because both the constituent Assembly headed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and its Drafting Committee headed by Dr. Ambedkar were the formal centers of work. The real place of work was the Congress Working Committee, which took all the important decisions.

In the making of the Constitution of India, the prominent role was played by leaders like Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad or Constitutional jurists like Alladi Krishna Swami Ayyar, K.M. Munshi and others. It was frankly admitted by Mahavir Tyagi, one of the members of Drafting Committee, and Dr. Ambedkar himself that their hands were tied and they were only carrying out the wishes of the majority.

Joint efforts of prominent national leaders – Pr. K.V. Rao said, No doubt, Ambedkar, a man of legal acumen, untiring industry, consummate skill and firmness, tempered with modernization, made substantial contribution to the framing of the Constitution…My reading of the Constitution makes me feel that it is inappropriate to call Dr. Ambedkar, the father of the Constitution. If any people are entitled to be called so, they are Nehru and Patel, but I would like to call them the Presiding Deities, the sources of all the ideas of the Constitution, the real makers of the Constitution. I would like to attribute father-hood to them as well as to the members of the Drafting Committee in common, but I would not like to single out Dr. Ambedkar for this honour.

 

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | , | Leave a comment

Why say ‘NO’ to Reservations/ quotas in Government jobs

 

‘When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.’  Confucious

“Mediocrity can talk, but it is for the genius to observe” Benjamin Disaeli

“Man’s greatness lies in his power of thought.” Blaise Pascal

A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees every opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchil

“Seven social sins –

:Wealth without work,

: Pleasure without conscience,

: Knowledge without character,   

                                       : Commerce without morality,

                                       :  Science without humanity, and

                                               :  Politics without principles,

                                               :  Worship without sacrifice.” Gandhi .

“All good things are difficult to achieve, and bad things are very easy to get.”          Confucius

  • “Success formula – C3 (Commitment, Confidence, Compassion) + I2 (Integrity, Ingenuity)”    Apache

  “No amount of politics would be of any avail, until the masses in India are once more well educated, well fed and well cared for” Swami Vivekanand

Who does not fight each day for freedom, does not deserve to be free.” Readers Digest

Introduction

Some Important news items from Times of India’s  

On September 6, 2016, p. 9

The division bench of Rajasthan High Court (Justice GK Vyas) advised Hardik Patel who spearheaded the Patidar movement to work for the unity of the nation instead of a community or its reservation, saying “you belong to the community and state Sardar Patel belonged to. He had worked for the integration of the entire nation and not for a community. … Is it becoming of you to work for a specific community despite being from Patel’s land and his community? He has put his entire might and life for this nation.”

On May 8, 2016, P 12, TOI 

A true Indian. Too proud to ask for help – A Dalit man in drought hit Maharashtra, has given casteism a befitting reply. Stung after his wife was refused permission to draw water from a well owned by upper caste neighbours, Baburao Tanje felt insulted because he is poor and Dalit. He then resolved he will never beg any one for water, and set to dig one of his own and struck water digging six hours each day within 40 days everyday, after working 8 hours as a labor. Not only this, he refuses to name the neighbors who denied his wife water, because he does not want bad blood in the village.

Role models for others in society – Media should project persons like Baburao Tanje as the role model for others, a captain in army who had sacrificed his life, while fighting with terrorist, rather than highlighting the activities of persons like Hardik Patel, Kanyhia or Rohit Vemula. Political leaders had projected Kanhaiya case as harassment of students at the hands of the administration and Rohit Vemula case as a conspiracy against Dalits.

Vote-bank politics lays stress on Quotas – In politics, many political leaders and their parties talk much about discrimination existing against Dalits and minority communities. They say that Caste-Hindus  look down on Dalits as sub-humans and often taunt, humiliate and victimize them.

Therefore, underprivileged/underdeveloped sections of society deserve special consideration, privileges and concessions for their development like special quotas for them in education and employment as well as in promotions. They say until the feudal mindset comes to an end, quota system/reservation policy must continue. Seeing that many people oppose the reservation in promotions, the present BJP’s social justice and empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said, “The government favours reservation in promotion, (But) we need to create the right atmosphere.”  (TOI, 3rd May,2016, p. 12)

True development – People expect too much from the government for their uplift, while they themselves have stopped making their own efforts to move forward and join mainstream. As Julius ‘Mwalimu’ Nyerere (Tanzania) comments on true development, “Man is developing himself when he grows or earns, enough to provide decent conditions for himself and his family; he is not being developed if someone gives him these things.”  Jacques Santer says, “A quota is always something artificial that can last for a certain period of time.”  The political leaders need to understand that expanding quotas can not address the problem of underdevelopment, unemployment or youths’ frustration arising from the growth of  jobless youth..

In January, 2016, after the suicide by a Dalit student of Hyderabad, things went out of control. Potests started allover the country. Almost all the political parties criticized Modi’s BJP government. Congress demanded to sack the minister. It said, “The last 19 months have repeatedly witnessed the anti-poor and anti-Dalit agenda of the Modi Government” (TOI, p, 11, 19.1.2016). But when day in and day out, general category candidates aspiring to join the higher civil services at national and provincial level commit suicide, nobody bothers. Why? Within last 3-4 months, 6 students in Kota, known for its coaching centres, committed suicides, as they feared that they were average students and won’t be able to compete successfully in the competitive examination, where at least 50% quota exists for SC, ST, OBC and others.

Is it not true that these aspirants work very hard, take admissions at coaching centres, spending thousands of hard-earned money of their parents – the institutions which maintain very high standards and a good faculty. They do not believe in any short-cuts and every student receive individual attention. Also these institutions try to understand the psychology of the aspirants and the changes government brings in from time to time. They encourage students to share their knowledge and at the same time ask them to pen down their own thoughts. They do not encourage students each other as they are supposed to be competing against one another.

Issue

Is it right to give caste-colour to every sad event? Is it crime to say that reservations was accepted as a short-term measure to boost up the morale of marginalized sections of society? Are reservations in government jobs in the interest of the long term development of the nation?

Bihar Assembly elections 0f 2015, the pressure in favour of reservations is so strong on politicians that a group of Member from Rajya Sabha has started collecting signatures of fellow members (50 MPs) for impeachment of Gujarat High Court judge criticizing him for “behavioural misconduct”. Justice JB Pardiwala during the hearing on Hardik Patel, leader of the Patidar agitation for job reservations observed that “corruption” and “reservations” are two villains that have destroyed the country or not allowed it to progress in the right direction. He called it shameful that a citizen should ask for reservation after 65 years of independence, further noted that quotas were initially to stay for 10 years, but continued for more than six decades since. A senior Congress member said reservations were the part of constitution. The concern is that observations are now    part of judicial proceedings and can be cited as precedent. The supporters of reservations said that the plea for impeachment would act as a deterrent for judges to not mix personal views with judicial work. (TOI, pp. 1 & 21, dt. 18.12 2015)

Everybody can not be accommodated in the corridors of power or become PM, CM, DM or GM. A few people may be on the top, who can do exceedingly well in life, few may remain at the bottom reluctant to get education or acquire right skills and work-hard for their social-well-being. Majority may better-fitted and more content by joining a career suiting to their attitude  and aptitude. Can caste-based reservation give a sense of achievement, social well-being and job-satisfaction to all? What the country needs today is a sense of responsibility and ‘give and take’ attitude.

   Reservation Policy, before independence – Reservation Policy, before independence known as “Communal Award”, has always been a very complicated and controversial issue in India right from its inception in the early twentieth century. Confucious has very rightly “When it I obvious that the goals cannot be reached, do not adjust goals, adjust the action steps” For getting success in life, introspection is necessary to find out what one is best at.  Clarity of purpose is very necessary. Next comes chasing one’s vision, not positions of power (PM, CM, DM or GM) or money.

The purpose of reservation is to uplift the marginalized section of society and bring them back into the mainstream. Except for a few fortunate ones, whose families are taking the advantages of Reservation again and again and mostly needy masses  remains deprived of it. As the result the position of marginalized castes and communities has been the same a wa at the time of independence. Their absolute numbers have multiplied considerably now. Besides more and more castes and group are clamouring for inclusion in beneficiaries list and be declared as ‘backward’ label.     

 Very recently, Hardik Patel from Gujrat has started agitation for including ‘Patels’ in ‘OBC’ beneficiaries’ list for admissions in educational institutions and employment in government services. He has threatened the government to take quota stir nationwide. Again Vice President of India comment (on the occasion of 50th anniversary session of All India Majlis-e-Mushawarat on 31st of August, 2015) on the need of reservation or Muslim community to ‘correct the state bias’ against them raised a controversy. He said, “The default by the state or its agents in terms of deprivation, exclusion and discrimination – including failure to provide security – is to be corrected by the state; this needs to be done at the earliest and appropriate instruments developed for it.”….”…, a pre-requisite for this is affirmative action – where necessary – to ensure a common starting point and an ability in all to walk at the required pace.”

People have very strong views in favour or against it. A web of lies and half-truths has been created. While, some hail it as a historic step to break the shackles of caste, to bring the downtrodden into the corridors of power, to empower them and thus set right all social and economic imbalances. Opponents of Reservation think that for sustainable development of the submerged society and making them capable to join the mainstream of society, it is not so much protective/paternalistic policies of the government, which are required, but it needs a sincere effort by the government to provide for a sound system of education and training for all.

Social changes can not be brought overnight by favoring Reservations for weaker sections of society. It can be brought by changing the mindset of poor people and making them aware, capable and strong enough to be self-reliant. Protective policies like Reservations not only affect adversely the systems, the functioning and efficiency of the institutions responsible for good governance, but also shatters the self-confidence of backward section of society – to stand on their own feet without the crutches of Reservation.

Issue

It is a humanitarian obligation to think about weak and plan for their uplift. But for removing social and economic imbalances, the path of reverse discrimination should not be adopted. The Government has to pay equal attention to the elite sections of society, as well. While uplifting the submerged section of society, the Government should not block their progress/advancement. Besides, one finds many contradictory statements/diverse principles in the Constitution of India. Question arises how to do it?

Indian Constitution on Reservation

The Constitution framers have dreamed to keep a fine balance between various diverse principles and thus lead the nation to prosperity. Various statements mentioned in the constitution leaves much to the discretion and fair-mindedness of the authorities. However, the ideologies that guided the Constitution framers, at the time of Independence, have more or less run out of steam today.

One of such example is the principle of equal opportunities (Art 16) in direct conflict with the principles of redress (Articles 335) directing the authorities to make Reservations for SCT in consistent with the maintenance of efficiency. It is up-to the honesty and vision of authorities in power, not to over look the national interest for their political expediency and not to misuse these clauses on efficiency and social-justice. Reservation policy should not be converted into quota system.

‘Reservation’ Policy being ‘politicized’

In recent Bihar State elections, to woo the voters, political parties have made reservations and beef as main issues, forgetting all about development agenda. So much and so that When Mohan Bhagwat, RSS Supremo said to review and  evaluate rationally the Reservation policy in an interview,  Politics on quota system started. RSS had to revert back. Its regional head in Bihar and Jharkhand, Mr. Mohan Singh had to say to avoid ‘Reservation issue’ to catch the imagination of people and benefit the grand alliance in elections, RSS “is ‘committed’ to existing quota policy for the sake of ‘social justice’ in the country. ” …He clarifiedued, saying, “The RSS considers that constitutional arrangement of reservation should necessarily continue for social justice and social homogeneity.” “The facility of reservation should be for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, extremely backward classes and other backward classes in a manner, that is suitable for them so hat the aim of constitution -makers is fulfilled.” (TOI, P. 11, October 19, 2015)

Diverting public mind from real issues to abstract ones

With the passage of time, they proved to be ineffective to solve the real issues of over-population, poverty, inflation, deteriorated law and order situation, violence or general coarsening of moral fiber of the Indian society. There is a small, well-organized and influential group of people speaking in the name of majority. In its self-interest, it has spread many myths and illusions to divert public mind from real issues to abstract ones. It has disfigured certain aspects of reality, flared up emotional issues, tried to unite the people by diagnosing “A common enemy” to be defeated and put the blame on the unverifiable past. In the absence of independent records of events, around which its arguments are woven, its own analysis becomes the only record. The emotional issues earn for it the faith of the people and help it to further instigate the feelings of the people. Through Reservation Policy, it has exploited for its personal benefits the principles of equality, secularism, social justice and unity – the four pillars of Indian Constitution.

“Mistake of one time, being repeated several times”

It is said, “After every ten years, when Reservations were to be reviewed on the floor of Parliament, every time, reservations has been extended for next 10 years. Many politicians of the day show scant regard to the spirit of the Constitution. Unfortunately, the objective of uplifting the downtrodden and absorbing them into the mainstream has become secondary for them. The means i.e. Reservation Policy, through which the vote-banks can be created, has become the primary and most important mission for them.

Throughout, politicians have been propagating that Reservation has been sanctioned by the Constitution and it is their duty to abide it. Series of amendments of the Constitution, in extending the time-frame Reservation for another ten years, appears to be nothing but “Mistake of one time, being repeated several times”. In fact, the whole exercise of extending it is non-researched and is based on hollow grounds.

Therefore, some people demand for total abolition of Reservation, some for keeping Reservation exclusively for needy persons on the basis of economic criterion. They suggest fair and open mechanism to eliminate gradually the affluent sections from the lists of backwards.

“Rob the Peter and give it to Paul”

Any attempt to reverse the position of forward castes or letting them down could not succeed much, because they have the vision, knowledge and awareness to find out alternative routes to progress. It should boost up their initiative, courage, intelligence and talent, so that the nation could compete confidently with developed nations of the world.

Critics of Reservation say that Reservation Policy has no place in a true democracy. It is nothing, but to “Rob Peter and give to Paul”. In his book “Theory of Justice”, John Rawls discusses in detail equality, liberty, rights and role of the State. According to him, liberal democracy strives for an equality of opportunity and equality of results. Rawls says :-

  • Nature itself takes care of the distribution of natural assets and abilities, intelligence, strength and the like, which is going to determine the class, income or the status of an individual in society,
  • Every-one should have the maximum liberty, compatible with the same liberty for others,
  • People prefer equality over inequality. Inequality can only be tolerated, when it helps everyone, including the worse off. Inequality in any form is against common good, efficiency or good performance. Inequality could be made fair and just, if everyone had an equal start in life. The key to “Equal start” is education for all and an open primary school system.

Positive motivation and vision

It is not that only people of forward class have the proper qualifications, competitiveness and positive motivation, and the backward class people do not. It is only a question of providing sound education, training, proper atmosphere to grow and enough opportunities to all get proper employment according to their qualification. During British period, sensing the demands of the time, the upper and middle castes opted for English education and occupied Government jobs, which were the seats of power. At that time, lower castes were on the way to attain freedom and educational awareness, but remained outside the power structure. Now again the situation has changed.

With the start of the third great revolution – the Information Technology revolution – and the collapse of super power USSR, there is a wave in favor of knowledge-based systems and free economy. Again the cream of the society has changed its focus from Government jobs to economic enterprises. The upper castes are adapting themselves to the culture of free economy, while the lower castes are clamoring for the secure salaried jobs, whether in Government or in the private sector.

False promises

In order to lure the masses and capture power, many politicians make false promises. How to get out of the clutches, false promises, manipulations and twisted ideologies of the politicians is a major task ahead the people. Once the uneven distribution of different sections of society is perceived as a problem of distributive justice by the State authorities, institutional well-being takes a back seat. Fair-minded persons accept to provide enough opportunities to submerged sections of society to rise. But they do not consider fixing-up quotas in public institutions as desirable.

Doles/Freebies Cripples people

Policy of Reservation does not appear to be a practical proposition but only an ideological slogan. The beneficial or protective nature of political authority lulls the people to make efforts for self-development. They look towards authorities for everything. They expect change to originate at the apex and not at the base. It veers the nation towards paternalistic-totalitarianism and cripples the public consciousness.

Importance to caste-considerations over economic backwardness

Poverty is a universal and secular phenomenon. It prevails everywhere in all the categories of Indian population. Reservation Policy may benefit the affluent members of the beneficiary castes whereas millions of other deprived and low income people remain bereft of the benefits of Reservation. The later are also deprived of the access to education and other facilities. The founding fathers dreamed to provide equal opportunities and equal protection to all under the law. The State was directed to provide within 10 years free and compulsory education to all children below 14 years and to promote with special care educational and economic interests of weaker sections.

However, the focus of politician remains on Reservation, which is based on discrimination. It violates the egalitarian principle – the very base of Democracy. It is alleged that the Indian society is iniquitous, because it puts too many restrictions on lower castes. However, restrictions on an activity of a person do not mean necessarily depriving or denigrating him. It could be to protect people from mental conflict, to discipline them or to maintain order and harmony in the society. When a person is not mature enough, these restrictions control his impulses and guard him against wrong actions. A matured person attains self-discipline, which restricts his actions. Above all, in Indian society, the higher caste and purer a caste is, more are the restrictions on its activities in the form of self-discipline.

Negative influence on national psyche
There is more stress on Reservation rather than improving the capability of youth through sound education and training and on creating jobs. Leaving Reservation to the discretion of Power- hungry politicians makes it a ploy in their hands, to be used for political expediency, Present-day politicians do not care for principles, or are concerned about downtrodden. Distributive justice means to them fixing up quotas for different sections of society.

Attempt to establish firmly separate identity
Reservations have misled/divided the society into uncompromising water-tight compartments today. Anti-Brahmin Movement of Periyar in 1926, Mandalization of society of 1991, or militancy of Dalit Movement – their transformation from untouchables into Harijans, Depressed class or now Dalits are all examples, where sectional interests have led them increasingly distancing themselves from the mainstream and establishing firmly their separate identity.

A ploy to build electoral base

Policy of reservation has created a highly vitiated//intolerant atmosphere in the nation playing blatantly caste and communal cards. At present, Reservation policy has become a high level strategic ploy to build an electoral base. The most common abuses of Reservation Policy, according to the critics of Reservation, both at the backward class people find it difficult to get an entry Central and State levels are:-

  • Started as a temporary measure, it has become a permanent feature of Indian polity by amending the Constitution every 10th year.
  •  SCT list is lengthened by the Center and state governments numerous times,
  •  Some States are allowed by the Center to exceed 50% limit,
  •  Reservation is extended to advanced castes as well,
  •  Creamy layer rule is disregarded,
  • Quite often, government scraps cut off marks for SCT in entrance examination,
  • Manipulations in recruitment process by political authorities to recruit their own persons Backwardness no longer remains a social stigma, and
  • Many people produce fake certificates.

Resentment against Reservations in higher posts in bureaucracy

So long as, “Only a few places” were kept aside for severely disadvantaged people, people accepted it. But 50% or more Reservation created agitation among a section of people. In 1970’s and 1980’s, with the emergence of many sectional political parties in the states and their growing emphasis on Reservations generated resentment against Reservation Policy. In 1990’s, after Mandal, it took a major turn by forming a shape of national movement, effecting many parts of the country. Though the authorities were able to suppress the agitation, however, it has left deep scars in public mind.

Game of numbers

Reservation has degenerated democracy into a number game and palliatives. It has undermined the universally accepted democratic principles of organizing, regulating and distributing power with an aim to achieve growth targets effectively, legitimately and with dignity. It has pushed the real issues, principles and ideologies into the background.

The outcome of that it is not based on sound principles. The policy has led the nation to build unbridgeable political identities in most insensitive manner, which are based on negative exhortations and condemns all traditional values and structures. Too much stress on their rights, fragmented from duties has created agitation and confrontation leading to further fragmentation. The new culture of consumerism adds fuel to fire.

Reservation on wrong Ethos

Critics say that Reservation Policy is based on negative ethos, defective database, and wrong perception of social structure, wrong methodology and wrong principles. Access to public office through quota is sought more with an aim to get authority and control over public funds than a desire to serve the national interests. VP Singh had, on 15th August, 1990, clearly said, “In my views, the question of poverty is not financial in nature…The issue does not relate to the treasury but to the throne and whosoever occupies the throne, will also control the treasury.” According to them, the following arguments given in support of Reservations are most illogical and inaccurate. Questions arise: –
 Is it a poverty-elevation program?
Are present generation youth accountable and punishable for sins of our ancestors?
 Should there be dilution of minimum professional standards?
 Does it perpetuate casteism? and
 Can it remove the difference between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’?

Ideologies around which Reservation Policy revolves
Reservation Policy revolves around the following principles:-

 Principle of Equality
Social justice,
 Exercise of power, and
 Efficiency and merit.

Principle of equality

Reservation Policy believes “All are equal in the eyes of law, but some are more equal” The Constitution itself gives equal opportunity to all its citizens irrespective of caste, creed or gender, descent, place of birth or any of them. The constitution clearly lays down through Article 16, that there shall be equal opportunity for all its citizens, relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. This aspect has been already discussed, in detail, in Chapter V. So long as the applicant, along with others under consideration had been given his chance, it cannot be claimed that equal opportunity had not been given to him. While the authority has been given the freedom to make selection from numerous candidates offering their services, the selection must not be arbitrary. It has to be based upon some reasonable principles required for efficient performance of duties and obligations of a particular service or post.

Article 16(4), on the basis of which the Reservations are given, is an exception, which is to be read along with Article 335. The selection procedures for implementing Reservation Policy could be of four types: –

1. Selection should be among equally qualified persons,
2. Selection among comparable candidates,
3. Selection among unequal candidates and
4. Selection among qualified and unqualified candidates.

The selection procedure, as is practiced in India, does not believe in former two procedures, which fit more with Art 16(4) along with Art. 335 and adopts the later two, which are against the dictates of the Constitution (Art. 335) and the principles of equality Art. 16). The backward candidates, who compete on equal footing, are included not in reserved quota, but in general category. The full quota is filled on relaxed standards.

Consideration of caste instead of economic backwardness does not give the benefit of Reservation to all the poor people on equal terms. Therefore, it undermines the principles of equality.

Ideology of social justice

The main argument in favoring Reservation is “Social justice”, the need to emancipate the under-privileged from centuries-old discrimination and bring them back to the mainstream. By the World War-II, socialism was the wave that swept the entire world. It was supposed to destroy all inequalities of race, sex, power, position or wealth and to distribute equitably social, material and political resources of the nation. In 1947, many leaders of free India, under the leadership of Pundit Nehru, thought that they would be able to achieve a just and equitable socio-economic order and to remove poverty before long by pursuing policies based on social justice.

“Parrot cry of socialism” – However, at that time, able statesman like Sardar Patel, considered socialist propositions purely theoretical and academic, far away from reality. Sardar Patel ridiculed the “Parrot cry of socialism”. He lashed out against those, who believed that there could be no justice, unless its economy was based on social economy. Or that freedom was meaningless without economic equality and social justice. He said, “Unlike many, who indulge in ‘Parrot cry of socialism’, I have no property of my own. Before you talk of socialism, you must ask yourself, how much wealth you have created by your labour. If you have created nothing, the parrot would have flown, and the cage would be empty. By experience, I am convinced that what is necessary for us, is to learn how to produce more wealth and thereafter, think what to do with it. What the country needs is not “Parrot cry of socialism” but unity and strength. Patel asked the people to realize why England took a very long time to become socialist and why America made no mention of it even now.

Views of Gandhiji, ‘The Father Of the Nation’

Gandhiji also said, “Socialism will not come by occupying positions of power and by delivering speeches from the platform.” Gandhiji appreciated socialist leaders desire to bring about equality of living standard in society. But advised them first to come together, think what was in the best interest of the country and set people on to constructive work. Giving practical advice to do selfless service to the people and to ensure the straightest and quickest way to achieve a socialist order, Gandhiji said, “ If you wish to establish socialism, there is only one way, in which it can be done. Go and live among the poor in villages, live as they live, be one with village people, work for eight hours daily, use only village made goods and articles even in your personal lives, remove illiteracy among village people”.

Entire population cannot be accommodated in power echelons – Equality combined with social justice does not mean that every-body should share political power equally. 900 million people cannot be accommodated in power echelons of the government. It means a harmonious partnership between the public and the Government officials. Every-one should do one’s duties sincerely and contribute for social cause according to one’s capacity. Good governance means managing effectively the common affairs of individual citizens and institutions, be it public or private, Without any bias, continuously conflicting interests and diverse needs of different sections of society should be looked-after.

Constitution on social justice

When the Constitution was framed in 1950, the words, “Socialism” or “Socialist democracy” were not included in it. It mentioned only “To secure to all its citizen economic justice and equality of status and opportunity”. The influence of the socialistic principles is visible in the Constitutional directives to the Government to: –

 Provide adequate means of livelihood to all its citizens,
 Distribute material resources for common good,
 Avoid concentration of wealth and means of production in the hands of a few, Right to work,
 Equal pay for equal work, to both men and women,
 Living wages for all workers, protection of workers especially children,
 Humane conditions of work, and
 Provide for right to education and public assistance.

Word “Socialist” as qualifying the Republic, added in 1975

It was after the death of Sardar Patel that Congress Government bent heavily towards socialist policies. It declared its goal in the form of “Socialistic pattern of society” and subsequently “Democratic socialism” under Nehru’s leadership. The word “Socialist” as qualifying the Republic, was added in 1975, through 42nd Amendment Act by Indira Gandhi’s government, giving it almost the highest place in the name of equality and “Remove Poverty”. However, it was followed in such a way, that it had done more damage than good.

Exercise of power

The problem of socialism is of performance, not of faith, and the price paid by the nation for this faith has been efficiency and its future prosperity. The change centralized the planning, controls and ownership leading to abuse of power and “Grab more power” attitude. It closed its economy to the world, nationalized industries and services, initiated rigid controls on the private sector and created monopolies in the public sector. In the name of socialism, it created a domineering State controlling the smallest detail of the economic and social life of the people. People were made pigmies and enslaved by politicians, planners and bureaucrats. It did not wipe out poverty, nor created effective distributive system nor equality, but it had led almost to the loss of economic liberty. The political system increased corruption, inefficiency and red-tape. It created a closed, centralized and unproductive system, which suppressed growth. In the name of Welfare State, the Government acquired extraordinary powers to exercise arbitrary control over massive resources. The excessive control made people gradually loose their motivation for hard work. An unfettered market system led to grave economic inequalities, which got transformed into political inequalities.

India practiced so far only phony, fake and tainted social justice

What India has practiced, so far, is a phony, fake and tainted social justice. It has created the politics of appeasement and vote banks, destroyed the work culture, and encouraged separatism everywhere in the society. It has jammed the wheels of morality and conscience. It has developed tentacles of corruption, scams, scandals and callousness in almost every sphere. J Krishnamurthy said, “Working for social welfare is to fill water into a pail that has holes. The more water is poured in it, the more it pours out and the pail remains empty.” The great lesson of the 20th Century, which has been learnt the hard way, is that the government of a nation should not become so beneficent that it undermines people’s will to help themselves and tends to develop inaction and parasitism.

‘Sabka saath, sabka vikaas’ –  All the citizens of India work together to take the nation ahead. Therefore, the government of the nation is not expected to discriminate against any one. The deprived individuals belonging to economically weaker families of any caste, community or region including upper castes, should get help in the form of affirmative action. But in order to garner votes, steps to appease any caste or community should be avoided by the party in power, opposition or other regional political parties.

Principle of Efficiency

Pr. Betielle comments, “None knows, where the struggle for social justice ends and the scramble for power begins. But one thing is definite, that in between the casualty becomes merit and efficiency”. The principle of efficiency comes into direct collision with the methods adopted to bring the downtrodden into the power corridors. A policy aimed at welfare, which forgets efficiency and growth, neither achieves welfare, nor efficiency nor growth. Similarly any policy aiming only on efficiency and growth, to the neglect of welfare, causes so much unrest, that nation will achieve neither efficiency nor growth, nor indeed welfare.

Article 335 of the Constitution – With the growing expectations of various emerging groups, too much consciousness about one’s rights, spread of education and awareness among general masses, the challenges before government have become very complex in nature. While the administrative work requires the services of bright meritorious, hardworking and sincere people, Reservation favours laxity in appointments/recruitment of officials. Any laxity in the qualifications of officials could lead to inefficient or mal-administration and substandard services to general public. The private sector survives and prospers, only because it does not allow substandard working. It picks up the best talent available in the country, from educational institutions itself, by conducting campus interviews. While dealing with Reservation Policy, the framers of the Constitution were concerned about the efficiency of administration. That is why, there is Article 335. The way the Reservation Policy is being implemented affects adversely the efficiency of the institution.

Variables on which efficiency depends – Efficiency of any organization depends on:-

 Stress on Quality,
 Merit, and
 Work-culture

• Stress on Quality – Quality is never an accident nor is there any short-cut to it. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilled execution. It represents the wise choice between many alternatives. Quality or efficiency is more needed in government sector than any other in order to achieve desired targets within time and cost parameters and provide good service to public at large. There could be no prosperity for the nation as a whole, unless and until efficiency is ensured in all its activities, be it innovation in administration, economic or social reforms, establishment of institution or implementation of developmental programs. The nation has to develop an uncompromising attitude on efficiency and quality management. In a product, it is easier to monitor and ensure quality at all stages, than to judge the efficiency of administration.

How to judge quality? – Administrative process operates on heterogeneous human variables. It is operated on by a group of personnel with time-varying abilities through a time-varying and updated tasks/responsibility. Creativity, originality, vision and innovative ability, the desirable attributes of efficient administration, are difficult to assess for the lack of quantitative methodologies or qualitative procedures. The efficiency, quality and attainments in administration are quite often judged through evaluation of performance of officials rather than through the achievements of targets.

 Team-work for efficient working, a must – Efficiency definitely requires teamwork. The team, at every level, should be up to the mark. For efficient and effective administration, the performance of the service as a whole should not only be of high quality, but also be reliable, friendly and cost effective. Reservation Policy has sown the seeds of separatism in the cadre of administrative officers too. It blocks mutual help, mutual trust and mutual respect in administrative work.

Regular supply of high level manpower, properly educated and trained – For providing an efficient administration, the government requires a regular supply of high level manpower, properly educated and trained. The development of the nation depends not only on the optimal utilization of physical, natural and financial resources, but human and intellectual resources as well. Among man, material and money, the maximum importance should be given to men, because man is the instrument, which gives highest possible returns and makes the proper utilization of other resources a reality. Therefore, the basic requirement for efficiency is ‘the man’ with merit.

Reservation Policy compromise with efficiency – Reservation Policy has made compromise with efficiency in administration and developmental process. Such a step, along with many other reasons, has been taking the nation to perpetual Backwardness. Ju stice Gajendra Gadkar had cautioned long ago, “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…”. C Rajagopalachari has warned the nation, “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.”

Ill-effects of this compromise – Objective of improving the status of Backwards could not be done by lowering the standards of governance, especially when the nation is passing through a very difficult time. The net-effect of this compromise is, that economy is in shambles, coffers empty, inflation and price-rise touching new heights, law and order position disturbed and divisive forces getting stronger every day. Confucius has rightly said “When it is obvious that goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”

Work Culture

It is alleged that besides other factors, Reservation policy adds in deterioration of work culture in the government sector. It ultimately effects the efficiency of administration adversely. The work culture of an office depends on the caliber of its employees, freedom of purposeful working, active involvement of the employees in decision making, cooperation of colleagues, an open, impartial, transparent evaluation of performance, encouragement to good performance and reward for efficiency etc. It is said that Reservation policy has made even competent persons among them lazy and complacent. Those, who get positions as a matter of right without much efforts, develop a habit of not working hard and do not value the dignity of labour. The government, which believes in social justice and creating jobs for the people, never bothers to create systems to make them work too.

Many Government employees are appointed just to lessen the problem of growing numbers of unemployed. Many government employees just withdraw salary every month without responsibility and enough work at their hands. The glorification of white collared jobs and contempt for some kind of work has eroded the dignity of labour immensely. How to put people to work is a riddle, nobody can solve. Calling certain menial jobs inferior or unclean and unsavory and asking people to withdraw from it, is something not rational. If the women, who clean the night soil of the children and ill persons in the family and keep the house tidy and worth living for human beings, also start thinking the same way, what would happen to mankind? The economic and other social needs of modern society are multitudinous. These are divided in to many tasks. Each task is assigned to individuals or group of individuals according to their capacity – learning, aptitude and attitude.

The Principle of Merit

 Super symbolic electronic revolution – At present, the world has been passing through a great revolution – a super symbolic electronic revolution. In it, the changes are too swift for a human being to adjust accordingly. It demands an extra intelligent network. Swift changes, rapid advancement of knowledge, growing awareness of people and new technologies in computers and communications have changed the complexion of work culture beyond recognition in less than a decade. Being so, the modern administration needs more than anything – a high capacity to understand the current waves and changes and ability to adjust harmoniously with changed circumstances. How can one expect that candidates selected on relaxed standards would be able to face the enormous changes?
 The principle of “Meritocracy” gives people access to power at low cost and with honor. It also saves them from manipulations or misuse of money or muscle power. Few years back, it has ensured the entry of middle class people, who neither have capital nor landed property, entered into civil services through competitive examination. A merit based entrance examination into civil services gave them opportunity/incentive to work hard, gain knowledge and get access to power.
Merit neglected in the name of social-justice – For last four-five decades, the “Merit” in Indian education and administrative system has been neglected in the name of equity and social justice. Weak commitment of authorities to merit, efficiency, productivity, and innovation has slowed down the progress of the nation. Therefore, any program or reform must strengthen the foundation of meritocracy through sound system of education and training, ensuring equal opportunity and honour to all. Earlier the opportunities for joining modern callings were based on principle of merit and appreciation for knowledge. After developing their faculties, people with talent and enterprise competed on equal footings with white men and made a place for themselves in powerful institutions of governance. For example, even British rulers opinion about Indian administrator VP Menon was quite high. Lord Mountbettan, the last British Governor General in India, is on record to have called VP Menon as a man of unusual caliber. In him, he found a great and good character merged with a first class brain, possessing power of logical deduction and the ability to gauge the future with a rare degree of accuracy. VP is remembered even now as one of the principal architect of Independent India. He was the master hand that integrated the princely states into the Indian Union. Robert Fulghum also comments about him, “Menon was a rarity – a self-made man. No degree from Cambridge or Oxford graced his wall… He talked his way into a job as a clerk in the Indian administration and his rise was meteoric – largely because of his integrity and brilliant skills in working with both Indian and British officials in a productive way.”

Trend of mediocrity – It is said that an efficient administration requires right type of men at right places. Toffler suggests that “Power” is interplay of three main variables – force, money and knowledge. “Force” was dominant factor in the agricultural societies, “Wealth” in the industrial societies, now as a nation moves into “Information technology” era, the stress will be on knowledge. Without knowledge, it will become very difficult to achieve something worthwhile now. Being so, any nation, which dreams to emerge, as a world power cannot afford to ignore “Knowledge” and “Merit”.
Preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent, on the ground of Reservation, is not only unjust, against the principle of equality, but also against national interests. Reservation in employment contemplates putting those men in responsible positions, who are not adequately qualified for the job, and in the process, power passes on from “Meritocracy” to “Mediocrity”, which means sub-standard service to general public.
Make weaker sections capable to handle the weapon of power properly – Instead of making administrative machinery sick, by giving additional weapons in weak hands, it is desirable that the hands should be made strong enough to hold and use the weapon properly through education, awareness and training. Then and then only, without any outside support, the weak will become strong to pick up the weapon properly in their hands and use it judiciously and protect themselves and their near and dear ones from oppression and exploitation. It will make them confident citizens to live with honour and dignity along with others.
Talents in India – Today India has the second largest pool of scientific and technical manpower. There is no dearth of talents in other areas too. Lately in 1980s and 1990s in corporate and financial world, the first generation of businessmen, entrepreneurs and managers have demonstrated their capabilities and earned their reputation in global market. Lately in 1980s and 1990s in corporate and financial world, the first generation of businessmen, entrepreneurs and managers have demonstrated their capabilities and earned their reputation in global market.
Brain drain – At present, Reservation has shaken the confidence of meritorious students in the government and its work culture. Fifty percent Reservation in government jobs snatches half of the opportunities for deserving candidates. The bright and intelligent people compete for 50% of jobs in government – the left over after the reservation. A medical student share his feelings as, “I applied for civil medical job and was second best medical graduate… Naturally I felt cheated by my own country (when he could not get the job) and as a disillusioned doctor left the country of my birth (in 1970) … A country, where merit has no value … can never prosper. One can not do away with injustice by creating more injustice.”
They prefer private sector or go abroad in search of greener pastures. At present, many of them are making valuable contribution to US space program and Silicon Valley’s electronic breakthroughs. Abroad, they find a creative outlet for their talents/skills.

Every year a large number of highly trained Indians go abroad and are settled there. It is a matter of national concern. The reasons of brain drain, are as following: –

 Wider and better job opportunities abroad,

 Good initial opportunities of career,

 Exposure of knowledge,

 Good working conditions,

 Comfortable standard of living, and,

 Stifling and unresponsive working conditions at home.

Principle of unity – Reservations undermines the principle of unity. The origin of Reservation Policy lies in “Divide and rule”. It has always divided the workforce by creating new political identities. Earlier British rulers got the benefit of this disunity through “Communal Awards” and now Reservation has become life-saving prescription for recent politicians to garner votes and create vote banks. Reservation generates a feeling of separatism among people. The access to power is sought by raking up emotional issues. Loyalty of a particular group (or groups) is earned by inciting people of one section against other sections of the society. All this entails fractured mandate, negligence of principles, ideologies and national interest, weak Governments, perpetual fights, increase in bitterness, suspicion against each-others and polarization on caste and communal lines, Repeated fractured mandate after l990 confirms that instead of uniting people, divisive politics has taken firm roots in India due to Reservation Policy.

Spreading Casteism

In reality, still caste continues to be an individual’s primary identity. But entry of caste in electoral politics has divided the society.  Developments like spread of casteism in politics, collective caste identities or rivalry between various groups do not have a very long history. Caste tensions had a self-limiting character earlier, because caste in terms of social structure was a very local institution. Varna model gave an abstract idea of social hierarchy. Therefore, the conflict based on caste ties or caste identification had a self-limiting quality. This rivalry was the result of British design, pursued to divide Indians. Initially, the British tried to convert Indians into Christianity. Their conversion activities were focused on upper castes. They thought that once the upper castes opt for Christianity, other castes would follow. But it did not work, because of the strong character of caste Hindus and faith in their religion.

1860 onwards, British missionaries made the lower castes their target for conversion, who, they found, could easily be swept in large numbers. In order to influence them, British highlighted the evils of caste system and portrayed the upper caste as their exploiters. The result was anti-Brahmin movement of early twentieth century. The gap between upper castes and lower strata of society further increased due to land revenue system, which gave birth to economic disparities. On one hand, were the upper castes, having direct or indirect control over land and its produce, on the other, the masses including craftsmen, who worked for them.

However, after the independence, the government tried to reduce the disparities through various legislation. Recently, caste has become the main malady of Indian politics. The renewed emphasis on Reservation with the implementation of Mandal formula in 1990 once again whipped the caste tension. The forward castes are fearing reverse discrimination and are withdrawing gradually themselves from public scene. The anti-upper caste wave forgets that the nation also needs the depth of forward castes. They are the agents of national development and national unity. While most of the Backward groups are localized, the upper castes are spread all over India, linking all parts of the nation from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

Polarized the Indian society along caste lines – To a great extent, Reservation Policy , its eligibility criteria being based on caste, is responsible for polarizing the people along caste-line. There is a sharp socio-political divide. Reservations have carved out a new caste alignment by politically dividing people into forward castes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward castes and minority. The authorities, while implementing or extending Reservations are ignoring, the sweeping changes that have occurred in the caste system and its equations throughout the country, after independence. With the sincere efforts of reformers, process of modernization, education, introduction of railways, communication, etc., before the Independence and liberty and Constitutional fundamental rights after the Independence have contributed in lessening the rigidities of caste system and gradually wearing out the caste prejudices in social arena to a great extent.

Supreme Court in 1992 had observed in Indira Sawhney judgement on Mandal Commission the government should consider criteria other than caste for identifying backward classes. Now NCBC chairman, Justice V Eswaraiah said that occupation-cum-income could be one such option. Now the commission is ready to include economically backward classes (EBC) as well under quota ambit, noting that occupation like caste is also a marker of backwardness. EBCs also face the similar hardships without the economic means.

Today the political power has already shifted in favour of Backwards, almost completely in the South and in massive strides in Bihar and U.P. OBC castes has emerged as a dominant force with Zamindari abolition, land reforms and green revolution of l960s. They control about 5l% of the land in the North as against about 39% retained by large landlords. They constitute about 40% of the legislative strength. In modern society, where social status is judged by economic and political power, they are the strongest castes having replaced the upper castes as landowners. Scheduled castes are also making concerted efforts to mobilize themselves and secure their upward mobility. The uplift of OBCs, SCs and STs and migration of many lower castes people to urban areas brought changes in the earlier social symmetry.

Venom against upper castes – The critics of Reservation allege spread of venom against caste-Hindus and forward-castes. The leaders of casteist political parties forget that whatever good they find in the Constitution i.e. removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice or special consideration for the downtrodden – in the social reforms or in the liberal policies of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the forward castes itself. Whatever the Government has done, so far, has been accepted and acclaimed by them, sometimes readily and sometimes with resistance. At present, the forward castes contribute their share through taxes, active participation in formulating developmental polices of the country and working through NGOs for the amelioration of downtrodden. All sections of the society will always remember contributions made by Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Tilak, Gokhale, Justice Ranade, Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar, Dayanand, Vivekanand, Ambedkar and many others with respect. Only the politicians pursuing sectional interests should stop spreading venom against upper castes and making increasing use of caste in politics.

‘Backward castes’ glued to castes identity more firmly -The advocates of Reservations bitterly criticize caste system and desire to establish a casteless society. They want to annihilate caste system, but have failed to find a viable alternative to it. The lower castes are glued to castes more firmly than upper caste. In a particular case, a BC officer complained that in the office, an upper caste peon refused to bring a cup of tea for him or clean his cup. One day, when this officer went to his colleague’s room, the later called a peon belonging to a caste lower than the BC officer, to bring two cups of tea. The BC officer hesitated in drinking the tea and made some excuse. Two things came out clearly – the upper caste officer had no hesitation in drinking tea brought by a low caste peon, whereas the the BC officer had reservations. It shows that Backward castes are not free from caste prejudices and treat persons belonging to castes lower than their own, with contempt.

Past Experience – Politicians with vested interest think that Reservation policy could be milked at will to gain political mileage and push the real issues in the background conveniently. Failure of Justice Party in 1926 elections or the fate of Janata Party in 1991 elections shows, that they cannot fool the people for long. Experience of a century old Reservations in the South and half a century old at national level shows that still: –

  • As Times of India (May4,2016, p. 15) reports Vijay Sampla on 3rd May 2016 has informed Lok Sabha “The centre has included 124 and 104 more castes into the list of OBCs and SCs categories respectively. The highest number of inclusion among SCs are from UP 17, Bihar 16, Haryana 15 . Chandigarh 14, and Orissa 13. In OBC list 91 inclusions are from Telengana, followed by 11 in MP and 9 from Andhra. Ever since 2010, 656 castes were included in OBC category.
  • More than half the Indian population lives below poverty line, though official figures are about 40%, about half of the population is illiterate. Official rate of literacy is only 52% after 50 years of independence. The number of educated people is much less. More than 60% of Indian children are mal-nourished and about 7% of all infants die shortly after birth. Less than 30% of populace has access to sanitation and clean drinking water. Maximum number of poor, and people living below poverty line are in the south excluding Kerala.
  • Reservation policy has not benefited those, for whom it was introduced. The masses are still there, where they were before the introduction of Reservation – deprived and fighting for their survival, and
  • Modernization process has made the poor people destitute, living now without the support system, which the traditional societies provided earlier.

These are a few examples of non-governance.

Who gets benefited? – One of the major contentions against the Reservation policy is on account of the identification of its beneficiaries.

Supreme Court in 1992 had observed in Indira Sawhney judgement on Mandal Commission the government should consider criteria other than caste for identifying backward classes. Now NCBC chairman, Justice V Eswaraiah said that occupation-cum-income could be one such option. Now the commission is ready to include economically backward classes (EBC) as well under quota ambit, noting that occupation like caste is also a marker of backwardness. EBCs also face the similar hardships without the economic means.

According to Eswariah, Socio-Economic- Caste census provides a critical tool in deciding new categories for reservations since the survey gives a comprehensive status of a household’s economic status, occupation and caste. “Among non-OBCs, if there are claims to backwardness, we can check the socio- economic census and decide on their inclusion in the backward list.” Such a step will require sub-categorization of OBC into sub-groups of castes based on their socio-economic status and apportioning 27% quota among them in proportion to their population. When there are sub-groups, an EBC can be included in the appropriate category says NCBC chairman Justice Eswaraiah. NCBC aims to ensure equitable distribution of quota benefits, since some dominant OBCS are cornering the quota benefits at the expense of their weaker brethren. It has proposed division of OBC List into “backward classes”, “Most backwards” and “extremely backwards”. (TOI, p 11, Dec 7, 2015)

The Reservation policy is supposed to benefit the submerged and deprived people. Instead it helps the elite of some castes declared backward. Caste-based Reservation benefits only a few individuals not necessarily the needy ones and not the entire group. It has been observed that the same families, which had come up after the reformatory process of late 19th century or with the introduction of the protectionist polices, have been cornering the Reservation benefits again and again. The individuals benefited by Reservation are usually cut off from their social bases. In the name of social justice and equitable distribution of power and dignity, vested interests have been created and the masses, reeling under poverty, is being cheated.

In 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, conducted a detailed study in the districts of Betul, Chindwara, Seoni, Balaghat etc., in Madhya Pradesh. It shows that the biggest land owners are Kurmis and Pawars. There are very few Rajput, Brahmin, Kayastha or Baniya land owners in those districts. In the Tawa Command Area of Hoshangabad district, the biggest land owners are Jats and Vishnois. As it is, the Kurmis, Pawars and Vishnois have been identified as Backwards. In Narsimpur district, Lodhis, who appear in the OBC list, are the biggest land owners. If an honest district by district survey is conducted all over India, it may be found that in terms of economic and social status, many of the people belonging to groups listed as backward class are much better-off than many of the upper-caste people, in different regions. Many well established communities have been included in Backward caste list. Mr. Vishva Bandhu garduated with MBA degree from Eastern Michigan University and works as a Deputy Commissioner, Income Tax. He says, one day, “I was pleasently surprised to hear… that as per listings of the Mandal Commission, I was Backward… My being treated as a Backward is nothing, but a slur on my name and that I do’nt wish to be listed as Backward.” Like him, there are many people belonging to different castes, for whom their inclusion in Backward class list came as a shock.
There is a large number of people, for whom, 100% job reservation makes no difference. In a study conducted in 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, shows that in the tribal area of Jabalpore, Mandla, Raigarh, Sarguja and Siddhi districts of Madhya Pradesh, the literacy rate is only 5.6%, the female literacy rate 1.03%, the average land holding is less than two hectres per khatedar, in the case of 75% of agriculturists. 20% tribals are totally land-less… They have no access to help, communication, education or other ciivc facilities. 85% of the population has an income below the poverty line. However, only 8% of the rural poor had any access to the anti-poverty program of the Government. These statistics assume vital importance, when one analyses, what the policy of Reservation has done for these people? It leads to think, whom is the Government and the politicians trying to fool? It is for the lower castes themselves understand that Reservation does not serve their permanent interest. In real life, neither it is possible, to create a totally equalitarian society, as is demanded by the supporters of Reservation, nor power and authority could be distributed equally at will. It could only be acquired through one’s own efforts. Therefore, people should discourage those leaders, who give false hopes to people.

Winding up

Process of dereservation should start – Earlier some sections of society were lagged behind the forward castes in education and employment, not because they were deprived of the opportunities, but because they did not see any immediate use for it. Now they have realized the worth of education and bureaucratic powers, they should be allowed to come up on their own. Dr. Yogendra Singh, Dean of Political Science in JNU 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 dis-legitimization of caste by finding scientific methods for the exit of SC and ST members from the reserved quota.” There existed a case to end the quota business in l960 itself. Not only that the restriction has been allowed to continue till today, but to multiply irrationally. The dependence of caste for the purpose of Reservation has also increased, because the politicians are unable to look beyond electoral compulsions.

Division of labor – Division of labour according to the attitude and aptitude of individuals – be it menial or intellectual – is natural, and just.. Only freedom of opportunity to explore the pastures of one’s choice should be there for everyone, which has already been given by the Constitution itself, in 1950. Each type of work has its own value and contributes to total growth of society. No work is superior or inferior. Only the hard work, devotion to duty and sincere efforts are required for progress. At present, many people engaged in professions like tailors, carpenters, dyers and dry-cleaners, owners of hotels and restaurants, owners of video libraries, scooter and taxi drivers even paanwalas are doing much better than educated unemployed, who have left their traditional occupation, in the lure of Government jobs in urban areas or in desire to earn quick and easy money. The key to the success in any area appears to be the very same hardwork, excellence, maintenance of standard or quality and entrepreneurial skills. An excellent plumber is more admirable for the society than an incompetent administrator or scientist.

Development needs coordinated working of all sections of society – A society grows and develops like an organic body, in which each organ is equally important and valuable, but is assigned a different function to perform. The coordinated working of all the parts together keeps the body fit and alive. True, the weaker parts of the body need special care, but not at the expense of healthy organs of the body. Similarly, a society functions smoothly and moves constantly towards development, if all its constituents work in harmony with a feeling of mutual help and trust. Both weak and strong sections of the society are taken care-of by the State authorities properly. No work is superior or inferior in comparison to any work. There should be a balanced distribution of work between them. Each type of work is valuable and contributes to the total growth of the society. Undue weight or prestige given to any particular work does not improve the quality of every day life of its people, as has happened in Japan. Too much attention of the Government on economic and technical work has made its people miserable even in midst of affluence and abundance. The Japanese have created an economic miracle. The per capita income in Japan is one of the highest in the world. It is a world leader in technology, its electronic and automobile industries being the wonder of the world. But Japanese are frustrated as they are missing something vital in life i.e. quality of life. Japan is prospering, Japanese are not. Therefore, due attention should be given to all kinds of work. Each and every section of the society and its work should be acknowledged, as indispensable and proper care should be given to all, for the balanced growth of society as a whole. The society as a whole needs the services of all the sections of the society. There are many advantages of division of labour, like it : –

 Increases productivity. A lone worker has many limitations,
 Increases dexterity and skill. Practice makes an individual perfect. After repetitive performance of the same task, a worker becomes an expert,
 Inventions are facilitated. While working, new ideas often occur leading to inventions,
 Introduction of machinery is facilitated. When a man is doing the same job over and over again, he tries to think of some mechanical device to relieve himself,
 Saves time. A worker has to do only one process or part of process. Therefore, less time is needed by him to learn a specialized process,
 Employment is diversified. It increases the number and variety of jobs,
 Large scale production in quantity as well as in quality becomes possible, which is economical too, and
 Under division of labour, workers are so distributed among various jobs that each worker is put in the right place.

At the end it can be said that some people dream of success and spend their energy in finding out easier way out, while others wake up and work hard at it.

Emerging economic super powers concentrated on development of human resources – The new economic super powers, Japan and Germany and nations like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore etc., have risen to their present status of economic affluence within a relative short period, mainly because these nations concentrated primarily on the development of their human resources and insulated their economic processes from political pressures. They encouraged a relatively higher egalitarian distribution of incomes and lowered levels of socio-economic inequalities. Human Resource Development with high levels of education and skills led them to overcome problems of poverty, illiteracy, and hunger, unemployment, inflation and population growth. India lags behind, in spite of having talented and industrious people and good natural resources (fertile land, water, sunshine and various minerals) in abundance, lags behind, only because of under-utilization of its most valued resource- human capital. People are the nation’s most basic resource in terms of productivity, creativity, innovation, economic achievements, social success and technological developments. Only their energies have to be channelized towards national goals.

In the end it can be said that the government of a democratic country, for its prosperity can guarantee equality of opportunity, and not the equality of conditions. And as Swami Vivekanand has said, “No amount of politics would be of any avail, until the masses in India are once more well educated, well fed and well cared for.”

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services, Reservation/Affirmative action program | , , , , | 2 Comments

First step towards Reservation Policy in India

“A voyage of a thousand miles begin with a Single step. Make sure that the step is in right direction.” A proverb

Introduction – In case of reservation policy/Affirmative Action Policy in India, the first step itself was taken  in the wrong direction during the imperialist British rule in India. Instead of its being taken for the amelioration of submerged sections of society, it had been taken with an ulterior motive to perpetuate its rule in India as long as possible by adopting the policies of ‘divide and rule’ and ‘balance the power’.

Issue – How can such a policy be successful in its mission, which was mooted with the intentions to create a split in the society.?

A novel method to distribute and balance power – British Raj spread its Empire and perpetuated its rule by taking the path of discrimination. British rulers devised a novel method to distribute and balance power on ‘preferential basis’ in the form of ‘Communal Awards’. 1905 to 1940 was the period, when idea of Reservation/positive discrimination was conceived, experimented and established firmly. It opened up various channels of confrontation.

Competition to secure jobs in the government – In the near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, Indians depended on modern education for securing jobs or to earn their living with respectfully. This led to a keen competition between different sections of Indian society. Muslims and non-Brahmin castes resented dominance of Brahmins in advancement in education, administration and other modern callings. The British took advantage of it.

Beginning of the practice of ‘Preferences’ – To restrict Brahmin’s entry in Government jobs, to weaken national movement mainly guided by Brahmins and make it available to non-Brahmins communities, British rulers started practice of “Preferences” by giving them financial assistance and preferences in education and Government employment at local and provincial level. It served double purpose for them – getting credit for amelioration and protection of downtrodden and keeping natives busy in their in-fights.

Anti-Brahmin Movement in Madras – The outcome of Anti-Brahmin Movement started by Periyar in 1926, rejection of casteist policies by the people in 1991 and now the militancy of present Dalit Movement show that the first step taken in favour of reservation policy was not taken in the right direction. It has misled and officially divided the people of India into watertight compartments.

As an Affirmative Action Program, Reservation Policy should work for the sustainable development of the sub-merged sections. It should bring the submerged sections of society into the mainstream by making them strong enough to stand on their own feet. Instead the practice of preference, which later on gave birth to the Reservation policy, has made submerged sections so weak that they have not been able to sustain themselves, till now, without the  crutches of reservations and try tooth and nail to depend on it permanently.

Created vested interests for politicians – Leaving the discretion to continuance of Reservation policy on political authorities after Independence has made it convenient for political leaders  a weapon to create vote-banks for themselves and be in power. It is now based on political expediency, not on principles. Concern for downtrodden have been mixed up with gaining power. Distributive justice has been linked with fixing up quotas for different political groups.

Self-contradictory arguments in favour of continuing it indefinitely – The ideologies put forward in support for continuing quota system now are mostly self-contradictory, illogical, half-cooked and not based on present real life situations. It is presented before public by twisting or distorting the facts. On surface, everything appears fine, but actually Reservations on caste-basis has done a great damage to the unity of the nation. It has degenerated democracy into a number game and palliatives. It leaves a negative influence on national psyche.

The ideologies of Constitution framers run out of steam – The Constitution framers, at the time of Independence, dreamt to constitute India into a sovereign, secular Democratic Republic and to secure all its citizens justice, social, economic and political, liberty of thought, expression, belief and worship, equality of status and of opportunity and promote among all fraternity assuring dignity of individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. These ideologies have more or less run out of steam today.

Reverse discrimination, not a good solution – In the governance of a democratic country, discrimination of any kind – be it positive or negative – or anywhere is the most objectionable thing. It has become one of the big challenges before the government to reconcile the claims of growth with the claims of equity. With the spread of education and awareness, aspirations and demands of people are at rise. Growing needs and aspirations of the people as a whole, not of any specific section should be taken care of by the government without any bias.

The problem of discrimination can not be tackled by adopting the path of discrimination. Reservation works on the basis of reverse discrimination. It makes lower castes entitled to get preferential treatment by the government or be treated more than equals in different spheres. It has resulted in a tough competition amongst various castes to demand a lower status, so that they can also avail more facilities. The voice of upper castes mostly belonging to middle class or lower class is being continuously throttled mercilessly. They stand nowhere in present day vote-bank politics, because of their decreasing number and following sincerely family-planning norms. It has even not helped much the deserving candidates belonging to lower castes.

Comments of the Chairman of First Backward Class Commission – First Backward class Commission’s Chairman Kaka Kalelkar had very wisely advised the government in mid fifties, that “National solidarity in a democratic set up demands Government to recognize only two ends – the individual at one end and the nation as a whole at the other. Nothing should be encouraged to organize itself in between these two ends to the detriment of the freedom of the individual and solidarity of the nation.” All communal and denominational organizations and groupings of lesser and narrower units have to be watched carefully, so that they do not jeopardize the national solidarity and do not weaken the solidarity or efforts of the nation to serve the various elements in the body politic with equity.

It is dividing the society – The transformation of untouchables into Harijans, Depressed class and now Dalits is an example, where a fraction of society is increasingly distancing itself from the mainstream and establishing firmly its separate identity. A strong political will and courage is needed to finish all kinds of discriminatory attitudes, repressive laws and practices.

 Ossification of caste-system fallen into the hands of power brokers and vote guzzlers – Officially recognizing the grouping of various castes or sub castes into bigger unbridgeable political lobbies for reservation purposes – Upper castes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled tribes, Other Backward Class and Minorities can hardly be called a transformation of society. The stratification has been done in most insensitive manner and is based on negative exhortations, condemning all traditional values and structures. Reservations on the basis of caste has given the backwards an identity as a composite and powerful political pressure group. It has helped them to unite organise and fight vigorously for the seats of power. It may be called ossification of caste-system fallen into the hands of power brokers and vote guzzlers.

Undermines concept of ‘Merit’ in governance – Reservation or quota without merit undermines the universally accepted principle of organizing, regulating and distributing power, which endow democracy with effectiveness, legitimacy and dignity. It pushes into the background the real problem areas like population-explosion, poverty, inflation, deteriorated law and order situation, increasing violence or general coarsening of moral fiber of the Indian society.

Against the principle of natural ‘justice’ –  Justice ‘Social, economic and political’ never allows to punish somebody for the crimes committed by somebody else. The supporters of reservation claim that in return for centuries of suppression/oppression of the ancestors of lower castes on the basis of birth, present generation of upper castes is accountable and punishable and make reparations for sins/historical wrong done by their ancestors.

Meaning of wider participation – Wider participation in governance does not mean everybody sharing power equally. More than thousand million people can not be accommodated in power structure. It means a harmonious partnership between the public and the authorities responsible for governance. Governance has to be done on the basis of mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust. Governance is a continuing process, through which conflicting interests and diverse needs of all the people are looked-after and a cooperative action is taken. Above all, spreading knowledge and awareness amongst masses are required – knowledge which is the source of power and is derived from sound education, and awareness which comes from information. True empowerment depends critically availability of information.

Equality can not be enforced – Equality can not be imposed or enforced by any outside agency or authority. Such a step may prove to be a cause of social unrest. It has to be in-built in the social economic and political system of a country. Policy of reservation can neither convert an iniquitous Society into an equitable one, nor does it help in any way the vulnerable, oppressed and submerged masses, who day in and day out suffer due to basic issues like poverty, unemployment, inflation, deteriorated law and order situation, no control over anti-social or misguided elements, or harassment/violence by insensitive but powerful lobby of that area etc.

The supporters of reservation give more importance to distribute seats of power on pro-rata basis through reservations rather than improving the capability and qualifications through education and training. Access to public office through Reservation is sought more with an aim to get throne/power/authority to rule and control over treasury/public funds.

Conclusion – It is not the Reservation, which is necessary. As Swami Vivekanand had said long long ago, “No amount of politics would be of any avail, until the masses in India are once more well educated, well fed and well cared for”.

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | | Leave a comment

Rationale of Reservation Policy (Quotas) in Government Employment

Rationale of Reservations in Government Jobs

“It is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.”          A Proverb

No amount of politics would be of any avail, until the masses in India are once more well educated, well fed and well cared for”     Swami Vivekanand

 Who does not fight each day for freedom, does not deserve to be free.                             Readers Digest

 Success formula   – C3+ I2 = Commitment, Confidence, & Compassion + Integrity & Ingenuity                           Apache

 Introduction

Huge social churning A huge social churning is going on the margins of the society. It is considered to be a humanitarian obligation to think about weak and plan for their uplift. The whole history of twentieth century is full of the concerns and efforts of the nations to uplift the underclass Theories like Communism, Socialism, Marxism etc. were propounded to benefit marginalized sections of society.  The main fight started for land, employment/jobs, education and other opportunities to ensure security, progress and social status. Later on the fight has moved from the margins to center stage of politics and aimed to provide them a wider base in the power structure of a nation.

Reservation Policy or Affirmative Action Program is one such policy, which was initiated to give opportunity to unrepresented or underrepresented groups, to participate directly in nation building activities and attain positions of power on equal terms with the advantaged and advanced groups.  Reservations are regarded as the highest form of special provisions, while preferences, relaxation, concessions and exemptions are the lesser forms. [i] Following are the three policy goals: –

  • To remove social and religious disabilities of the deprived people, on account of their social segregation and cultural isolation.
  • To facilitate and promote equal participation of all in the nation building activities.
  • To protect underclass from all forms of social injustice and exploitation.[ii]

Two contradictory principles – “Reservation in government Services”, revolves around two contradictory principles.  One, the principle of “Efficiency in administration” and the other the principle of “Social justice”.

Journey of Reservation Policy in India (Historical Background)

The start of Reservation policy can be traced back as early as 1874, then known as Communal Award. Since then, it has traveled a long distance.

  • Anti-Brahmin currents laid foundation – Spree of Reform Movements of early 19th century had awakened certain powerful non-Brahmin groups, who resented Brahmin’s domination in government services and desired to secure a place for themselves. Anti-Brahmin currents gained momentum. The two numerically dominant intermediate castes – Vokkaligas and Lingayats, which were economically strong but educationally backward, raised the demand for Reservation in the state Government jobs.
  • Laying the Foundation informallyInformally, the foundation of Reservation Policy for Backward Classes was laid down in Tamil Nadu and Mysore 1874 to restrict Brahmins domination in Government jobs.
  • Soon spread in region and every sphere of national activity From Government jobs, it spread to educational field, in order to prepare non-Brahmins for Government jobs.
  • Supported by other sections of society They were supported by other backward castes – Muslims, Indian Christians, untouchables and tribal in their demand for Reservation and succeeded in compelled the Maharaja of Mysore to reserve posts for them at provincial level.
  • Attaining partial SuccessThese groups succeeded and during 1874 and 1885, Mysore state reserved 20% of middle and lower level jobs in the police department for Brahmins and 80% for Muslims, Non-Brahmins Hindus and Indian Christians. From 1914, it introduced a system of nominations of qualified backward class, including untouchable and tribal candidates to the posts of Assistant Commissioners.
  • Led to ‘Sons of soil policy’ Between 1881 and 1910, the demand for jobs for locals was inspired by a sort of “Sons of the Soil” theory, when Tamil Brahmins displaced from Madras, went to Mysore in large numbers and occupied most of the Government jobs there.
  • Foundations laid down formallyThe foundation of Reservation Policy was formally laid down by Sir Leslie Miller, Chairman, of the First Backward Class Commission of Mysore Government in 1918.
  • Attention towards the educational advancementRepresentatives of Minorities/backward classes for Indian Constitutional reforms, in 1919 had commented that the British authorities attached importance to the educational advancement of the depressed and Backward classes.[iii]
  • British Government refrained to stigmatize any section as ‘Backwards’ – Earlier British Government refrained to classify any section of Indian Society as backwards and stigmatize it at national level by official acknowledgement of their low status. Till 1932, Reservations/Preferences to various sections of society were confined to Provincial and local levels.
  • “Equality and no privileges” – All India Women’s Conference, a premier NGO, along with Women’s Indian Association and the National Council of Women in India, submitted a Memorandum to the First Round Table Conference saying, “Equality and no privileges, a fair field and no favour”. “By merit and merit alone do we wish to find – and we are confident we shall find – a place in the Councils and Federal Legislatures of our country.”
  • Communal Award of 1932Deep disappointment was felt when the Committee ignored the demands of national leaders and finalized its recommendations. Reservations were for the first time of national  appeared on national scene formally with the Communal Award of 1932. In July 1934, instructions were issued by Government Order to schedule a list of people entitled for preferential treatment in matter of education and appointments in Government and special electoral representation.
  • Difficulties in deciding criteria for ‘Backwardness’ The Government faced many difficulties in deciding to whom and by what standard, must the people be included in the list of beneficiaries.
  • Caste as a primary basisThe selection of castes had been done primarily on Hutton’s 1931 Census criteria, The British Government opted for caste instead of individual as the primary basis for inclusion in the list. Caste appeared to British rulers a social unit, which included more or less similar kind of individuals in attitude, behavior, literacy rate and socio-economic conditions.  They found caste as easier way to find out their rank in the socio-economic hierarchy.
  • Categorization of Indian social-structure – the Imperial authorities recognized the following as weaker sections of society, which need special care of the Government for their development–
    • Scheduled Castes
    • Scheduled Tribes
    • OBCs – Other Backward Class
    • Women and Children, and
    • Minority Communities.
  • Scheduled Caste Order of 1936 Scheduled Caste Order of 1936 officially recognized through a legal process the castes belonging to lower strata of Indian Society under the name of scheduled caste”. Initially there were about 40 million people, belonging to 432 castes in SC’s list. No Indian Christian or Buddhist or tribal was included in that list.
  • After IndependenceA major change came after independence. All political parties advocated Reservation Policy vehemently for marginalized sections of society almost in all government jobs.
  • Equal opportunity as fundamental rightConstitution of India through Article 16 guarantees equal opportunity and equal protection to all in employment or appointment to any office under the State, irrespective of caste, creed or gender, descent, place of birth or any of them.
  • Directive PrinciplesSimultaneously in its Directive Principle chapter directs the government to provide within 10 years free and compulsory education to all children below 14 years and to promote with special care educational and economic interests of weaker sections.
  • Emergence of strong pressure groups on caste basisGroups of different castes and sub-castes had already emerged as strong pressure groups to serve their sectional interests. They now and then use blatantly caste-identity to put pressure on governments for inclusion in beneficiary’s list.
  • First & Second Backward Class commissions To find out issues responsible for the backwardness and find out its solutions in 1955 and in 1980. The first Backward Class commission had identified 2399 communities as backward comprising (about 32% of the total population). Second one, Mandal Commission identified 3743 castes (about 52% of the total population) as backwards.
  • Doubts efficacy of reservations More the regional political parties yielded to the demand of caste-based pressure-groups for inclusion in beneficiary list for Reservations, more resentment generated against Reservation Policy during 1970’s and 80s. Doubts were raised in public minds about the efficacy of reservation policy.
  • Left deep scars in public mind In 1990’s, after the decision to implement Mandal Commission Report and then in 2006, agitation against reservation took a major turn by forming a shape of national movement, affecting many parts of the country. Though the authorities were able to suppress it somehow, it left deep scars.
  • Led to Brain-drain – In search of greener pastures, cream of the nation was forced to leave their own motherland and move to foreign lands. Indian society has been partitioned again for the second time after 1947, talented youth settling abroad, leaving their old parents alone back home.

Issues

Reservation Policy has been a very complicated and controversial issue in India right from it’s the beginning. Reservation policy revolves around two contradictory principles –

(1) Social JusticeOn one hand ‘Reservation Policy’ aims at providing social justice by improving chances of entry of marginalized sections of society into the mainstream/power echelons and empowering them for a better future.

(2) Efficiency – On the other, for good governance, the keynote is “efficiency”, which means right people on right positions at right time.

Inter-mingling of these two poses two vital questions –

  1. Is Reservation policy/Affirmative Action Program only way to uplift the submerged and bring the marginalized sections into mainstream?
  2. Is it possible to find out a way, which can keep a balance between these two contradictory principles? There are very strong views in favour of or against Reservation Policy. Some hails it as a historic step, which has broken the shackles of caste, provided opportunities to marginalized for entering into corridors of power, thus empowered them and set right many social and economic imbalances. While others say that ‘Reservation Policy’ cannot bring in desired social changes. It adversely affects not only the values, but also the performance and the functioning of the government. The ultimate sufferers are the poor people. It has become a vote-catching device for upcoming politicians. It has destroyed the work-culture and slowed down the process of development.

Arguments in support of Reservation (quota) in government job

It is the duty of the government of Welfare state to channelize properly the emerging aspirations to utilize the energy of marginalized sections of society. People belonging to under-class desperately want to break free from the ‘circumscribed lives’, their older generations had lived and move forward. Reservations in employment helps them to progress, to live their lives with dignity and honour and thus to empower them socially economically and politically. Various arguments put forward by the supporters of Reservation are as following: –

Social justice demand ReservationSocial justicedemands to emancipate the under-privileged, who are suffering  from centuries old discrimination and bring them back to the mainstream. In a Welfare and Developmental State like India, dispensation of “Socio-economic and “Political Justice” makes Reservations necessary, in education, employment and other important posts in power-echelons. Reservation Policy can reduce alarming disparity between different sections of the society (Haves and Haves-not). It gives them social respectability and empowers them.

Government failed to bring-in social justiceA number of legislations have been passed and plans and policies have been made to remove the disabilities of side-lined people. Laws have declared Untouchability a crime and abolished Bonded-labour. Civil Rights Act, 1955, aims to eliminate injustice against weaker sections. Amendment to Prevention of Atrocities Act (SCT) 1989 provides for stern punishments for offences committed against SCT by Upper Castes. Special Courts, under SCT Act, have been established for punishing officials, if found guilty.  But still it has failed, so far, to provide social-justice to under-privileged.

A large number of population is still not able to develop their personalities fully because of their depressive surroundings/environment, lack of opportunities to get good education, training and employment of their liking. Their unfulfilled dreams, unemployment and enough time on their hands, the desire to have enough money to live life, the way they want, drives some towards violence or crimes. Some become victims of drugs. Ultimately it leads to explosive situation of social unrest. Maoist uprising is the one of the outcome of such a situation. Therefore, through reservations, India should take advantage of utilizing the time and energy of marginalized youth in a positive way for creative/developmental purposes.

50% Ceiling is not justifiedHindu social structure has always suppressed and treated unequally the lower castes on the basis of their birth. It is immobile, caste-ridden, segmented and compartmentalized, where interaction and integration is either low or non-existent. Reservations is a desirable step towards a noble cause in return for centuries-old oppression. Social justice demands a conscious effort to change in the social-structure of India, based on caste system. It demands to eliminate injustice, exploitation and deprivation of the submerged people. Till it is done, only Reservation can provide little relief, instill confidence and a sense of security, and enhance social status of oppressed castes. Depressed people deserve to be treated more than equals.

Supporters of reservation claim that in those States, where demography is in favour of SC/ST or OBC as in the North-East or Southern India, application of 50% ceiling is not justified. This 50% ceiling is arbitrary and inadequate, often posing practical problems in administering social justice in those States. So far 50% rule has been adhered to, but without much results. It deprives backwards from getting adequate slots in jobs and enough seats in educational institutions. Hence the demand for enhancing the quota more than 50% is justified.

Social justice demands that Reservations shall be done on pro-rata basis. Mr. Kanshiram says, The Reservation for SC/ST began with only 2% in 1935.  Now it is 22.5%. Gradually all Reservations could be according to proportion of different castes in the population.  My aim is to give Reservations to the upper caste minorities, not to demand it. VP Singh has made my job easier. (Now at national level, it is 49.5% and in many provinces more than 60%)

Fight for Equality Equality of opportunity is not enough for the empowerment of underprivileged. It fails to take into account antecedent, inequalities unequal social backgrounds. Equal starting points for submerged sections may lead to unequal and highly unsatisfactory consequences. These imbalances demand treating the marginalized underclass, underprivileged and disabled more than equals. The members of the forward castes are better educated, more aware, comfortably settled because of the environment, they are born and brought up in.  In the case of deprived, it is the absence of environment, along with economic problems and other constraints, which incapacitates them to compete on equal footing with higher caste persons for jobs.  Apart from qualifications, the socio-economic dominance of forward castes is a powerful factor influencing the selection process in their favour.  Social justice, therefore, demands that extra facilities should be given to the backward in order to make all kinds of jobs accessible to them as well.

Reservation eliminates inequality, injustice, exploitation and deprivation prevalent in an iniquitous Society – Only through Reservation policy social as well as psychological barriers created by the discriminatory nature of iniquitous society can be removed. The society is divided into two broad divisions – “haves and have-nots i.e. Forward castes having power, privilege, and honour plenty of resources, education, reward and security, and backward castes representing vulnerability, oppression, denigration, want, deprivation and anxiety.  So far, the fruits of development are not equally distributed. It has not reached up-to the have-nots.

In such an unjust, unequal and discriminatory society, some special measures like reservations are necessary to uplift the submerged, which could give the underclass freedom to live with self-respect and dignity.

Forward castes responsible for deprivation of the masses – The lower castes have suffered at the hands of upper castes. Dominance of forward castes in the corridors of Socio-economic and socio-political corridors have always acted against the interests of the weaker sections. Lower strata of society has, so far, remained severely handicapped, unable to come out of the morass of poverty and degradation. It is far away from mainstream of nation as well as from the corridors of power. With Government’s intervention, Reservation Policy attempts to empower the submerged sections of society.

Efficiency/Merit not preserve of caste Hindus – So far upper castes have occupied almost the complete range of Government activities in all areas, be it revenue, expenditure, licensing, policy formulation or monitoring the policy implementation. Its control remained unaffected even by the rise and fall of governments or political parties. Now with the entry of lower castes through Reservation into the top posts in Central Secretariat and State Secretariat and other higher services scares the forward castes. They feel as if the monopoly of State power is slipping out of their grasp. More they witness lower castes’ upward mobility, awareness, and assertion of the rights, more they lose confidence.  Therefore, now they talk about the importance of Merit or Efficiencyor “hard-work” for country’s good governance.

Access to 50% government’s employment for upper castes, more than enough   – Access to 50% seats in central or provincial government for upper castes are more than enough, as they constitute less than 20% of the total population. In addition, whole of the private sector is open to them.  Therefore, there is no reason for them to feel insecure and raise an alarm about Merit and Efficiency being “Undermined. For upper castes, merit is only a socially sanctioned eligibility to inherit the privileges of the accident of birth and fit in the group of right kind of people in large areas of Indian economy and socio-political set up.

“Merit” not monopoly of forward castes – Merit and Efficiency are not the monopoly of forward castes. The poor people also inherit merit and intelligence, but do not inherit privileges.

Relaxation of standard harmful, not reservations – Reservation does not weed out merit. Relaxation of standard rather than Reservations itself plays a major role in degrading merit.  Therefore, it needs to be ensured that eligibility criteria for Government jobs should be strictly adhered to.

Upper castes responsible for mal-administration and corruption – The forward castes, in fact, should be blamed for all the failures, mal-administration, corruption and downfall of standards, because they have been, so far controlling the levers of power. The present administration, which is one of the most corrupt and inefficient administration of the world, is being run by the so-called “meritorious” and “talented” people. The SC, ST and OBCs are there in a microscopic minority.  Also they do not occupy important positions. As such, the credit for this sorry state of affairs goes only to high caste elite. 

About 69% posts are reserved for SC/ST/OBC in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.  These states are known as best-administered states. That proves the irrelevance of merit argument.

Capitation fee phenomenon – What happens to merit when high connections and Capitation fee which negates the concept of merit and hard work are accepted to give entry to incompetent persons of caste Hindus into higher services or institutions of higher learning

Reservation not poverty alleviation program Reservations are not a charity or social welfare program only, but an ethical requirement for empowering the submerged. Power does not mean just political power, but the real power of decision making, which is vested in bureaucracy, almost at all levels. Reservation is a tool to enable marginalized to enter in power-echelons and government services, and participate actively in decision-making. Bearers knows the best where the shoe pinches. Interests of lower strata can be represented in the corridors of power and be looked-after effectively with the help of Reservation Policy.

Mr. Gill, Secretary, Mandal Commission says, Let us be very clear, Reservation has nothing to do with eradication of poverty.  It is not a poverty eradication program.  What they try to do…. is to change the power equation.  Education is very important, but education cannot transform the society. [iv] The idea is not just to give the backwards jobs or to make them rich, or make an improvement in the general condition of backward classes. But the idea is to give them the taste of power, the feeling that they are partners in nation-building, they have a share in the system, they have a say in decision making or policy framing and they also contribute directly in the country’s progress.  It will raise their prestige in their own eyes as well as in the eyes of the society.

The argument that major beneficiaries are usually the elites of backward castes, not necessarily the economically weaker people among them. Therefore, the process of de-reservation should start. It is not justified.  In a transitional society, the forces of market are characterized by interlocking and other imperfections. It provides considerable weight to economically stronger sections of society.  Earlier, when agricultural society became industrial, economically affluent people, amongst the upper castes, cornered most of the advantages.  With the modernization of the system of occupations, economically affluent among the middle castes reaped all the benefits.  Being so, why expect any miracle from Reservation Policy? It is natural for affluent persons among the backwards to come in the forefront.

Opens the doors of senior levels as wellReservations opens the doors for backward sections to occupy posts at the senior levels/decision-making posts of the administrative structure as well. Administrative work at senior levels do not so much need high intelligence and wisdom as the people with heart. Justice VR Krishna Iyer said, Obviously Art 16(4) was not designed to get more Harijans as scavengers and sweepers, but as officers and bosses, so that the administrative power may become a common property of the high and the low homogenized and integrated into one community. 

Injustice, exploitation and deprivation of producers of wealth The discriminative nature of Indian society has not given the producers of wealth – the backward class or Shudras – their due. Their hard-work in different disciplines in the past had contributed a lot in giving India the image of ‘Sone ki chiriya’ (Bird of Gold). But now they neither get fair start, nor fair deal nor equal opportunity to progress along with modern occupations/employments.

Competition in employment is just and valid only among equals. Pr. Amartya Sen, a renowned economist in his work Inequality re-examined says, Human beings are extremely and necessarily diverse – both in their natural characteristics such as gender, age, abilities and in their external or social circumstances, class, ownership, assets, income, access to work etc.  In the light of prevailing long list of injustices, inequities and inequalities, it is not fair to leave the underprivileged totally on their fate. …Reservations provides them a fair start, equal opportunity and square deal and chance to participate directly in the governance of their country. It gives them their due share in the power structure.”

Reservation on pro-rata basis The backward classes constitute about 76% of the total population (16% SC, 8% ST and 52% OBCs). But their participation rate in modern callings – industrial houses, business houses, commercial firms, banking and other financial institutions, public sector undertakings, private sector and Indian bureaucracy is very low. It is the 17% of the country’s population is ruling over 83% of the population. Such a situation is unjust and therefore undesirable. Reservation provides a direct flow of valuables resources to the deprived in larger measure than they would otherwise enjoy.

Reservation in educational institutions – Reservations in educational institutions is necessary to prepare and support the downtrodden for entering into the corridors of power. The best schools and universities, especially in large cities are the preserves of the elite class. It is almost impossible for students coming from lower strata to get admissions in good schools, later on posing problem to compete with elite class’ students in institutions of higher learning nor in jobs. After completing their studies, they are left to the cruel mercies of job market.

Therefore, Reservations in educational institutions becomes a must. Without sound education and training, quotas in jobs are meaningless.  At least, two thirds of the members of all selection committees and boards of educational institutions should belong to SC/ST/OBC and minorities.

No question of de-reservationReservation should continue till backwardness exists.  The Constitution framers hoped that backward castes would soon shed their backwardness with extra facilities and amenities. Very soon, they would be able to stand on equal footing with others. Since the desired results have not been achieved so far, the need to continue Reservation exists. VP Singh said, Job Reservation need not be a permanent feature of Indian system and it could be dispensed with, once certain minimum norms of social and economic justice were met…. There will be no need of Reservation, when everyone becomes not exactly equal but fairly equal. It is an interim measure meant to dramatically counter discrimination. [v] A backlog of SCT & OBC candidates is still continuing despite Reservations. They are still under-represented in power-echelons. That proves that time is not ripe for de-Reservation.

Bias against Creamy-layer among backwards Reservation Policy has given chance to SC, ST or OBCs to join participate in nation-building. It has made possible the upward mobility of lower castes – may be of a small section only among backward castes.  It has given them a steady income, smooth career prospects and a higher status in the society as well as some space in the corridors of power. Without Reservations, their upward mobility would have remained an illusion. The status of the first generation service holder is in the nature of a transitional phase from an era of underprivileged position to an era of more secular, social and communion.

Except for certain exceptions, the general emerging trend seems to be that the father of the beneficiary, who was not a service holder, suffered much discrimination and social disability. The next generation i.e. the beneficiary, is more acceptable in general society and eventually the children of the beneficiaries i.e. the third generation have given higher acceptability in the society. Third generation beneficiary faces least problem in interacting and integrating with the upper castes.[vi]

Besides, their presence into the government ensures a more responsive and sympathetic attitude towards backward communities.  Their standard of living and life-style has been improved. Their awareness level is raised.  They have attained considerable mobility.  Over the years, the backward sections of society have been able to make a perceptible dent into the system with the help of Reservation policy. A complete structural change has not been achieved so far. The barriers of caste and segregation still persist in rural areas, on a large scale. The need for Reservation, therefore, still exists.

Source of inspiration for their caste-fellows – Reservation has motivated the submerged sections to enter with confidence into the corridors of power. The presence of a few individuals from backward castes, in the corridors of power, however small the number may be, has become a matter of pride and a source of inspiration (as their role models) for others. The thinking of the people from lower castes has now been changed. They have realized the value of education and of many social evils, which had stalled their upward mobility in the past. A large number of people are making efforts to be more educated and progressive. They do not hesitate in leaving their ancestral homes and have moved to towns for higher studies. With the help of Reservation, they have been able to join the main-stream.

Charge of spreading casteism and disintegrating Indian society irrational The charge that Reservation has polarized the society on caste lines, is baseless, because sociological reality, administrative practice and constitutional providence make caste as an important criterion to decide social backwardness. Caste-system has not been invented by the Reservation Policy. Reservation is both desirable and just.[vii] The vertical and horizontal caste hierarchy is still deeply entrenched in Indian society, whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian. Paswan, ex-labour Minister in VP Singh’s council of Ministers, comments, All foundations for Government Reservation Policy (in India) were social, not economic…Each caste is standing with one foot on the forehead of one below it in the social hierarchy. From the time an offence is committed against a Dalit, everything is loaded against him.  The perpetrators are from the upper caste, the police is hostile towards them and the courts are insensitive.  Special Courts rely on evidence. The procedures alone take six months.  By then all the evidence is destroyed. [viii]  There is a feeling of fear and despondency deep in the minds and hearts of backward people.

Idea of Economic Criteria, absurd – The talk about economic criteria is unjust, because nearly 90% of the people below poverty line belong to SCs, STs and OBCs.  Caste-ranking is strongly and positively correlated with poverty.  Pro-reservationists say, The institutions of caste and class are inextricably intertwined in India.  Caste is not simply some residual Vedic category, class relations have developed historically in close connection with caste and caste power has been rewritten and strengthened by class. [ix] Therefore, Caste is enough of a base to identify beneficiaries of Reservation. There is no need to complicate the matter by introducing Economic criteria. The argument of de-barring the creamy layer of the backward sections is not valid, as SC/ST/OBC quotas have never been filled to their full extent till today. The experience of some states applying economic criteria also proves that its introduction has not worked successfully, such as in Tamil Nadu or Karnataka (from 1962-1977), which applied the economic criteria, found that 90% jobs had gone to Brahmins.

Reservation should be on caste-basis only – Mr. Paswan says, Reservations on the basis of caste gives 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 recognizing the under-privileged groups. [x] Shri Ram Avdhesh Singh an ex-MP of Lok Dal said, Even the rich backwards are not given the social status, which poor forwards enjoy.  That is why, we need Reservations on caste basis, where wealth and respect go hand in hand.  These Reservations are not for economic good, but to link backwards with the State. [xi]

Whitewash bitter historical realitiesThere is no other way, except caste politics to tackle problems of the lower strata of the society in a similar way, as womens issues cannot be tackled without taking the politics of gender into consideration.  Caste operates in day to day life of Indian people on almost all the fronts since ages. Swami Agnivesh of Bandhua Mukti Morcha says, We have created our fractures and schisms’. Reservation according to him is an attempt to whitewash bitter historical realities.

Reduces disparities – Reservation contributes to national development by reducing disparities among groups and directing attention to mundane rather than ritual standing. It provides incentive, opportunity and resources to utilize neglected talents. Mr. VP Singh said that the society would be better served with adequate participation of downtrodden in the exercise of authority, because they were the bearers, who knew where the shoe pinched. Syed Shahbuddin of Insaaf Party also asserts, If the backward classes come into administrative posts, they may be able to increase efficiency, as they will be having a grass-root knowledge of actual problems. [xii]

Provides wide-based entry – Reservation makes employment in government more broad based by providing access to sidelined sections of the society. It facilitates participation collective action and organized strength of all for the development purposes. It provides a larger pool of qualified persons to the employer. By broadening opportunities, Reservation enhances the efficiency in government as well as stimulates the acquisition of education, skills and resources to compete successfully in open competition.

Appreciation for British rule – Supporters of Reservations appreciate the way British rulers managed governance and law and order position in India. The British may have siphoned-off the country’s wealth, but their contribution to social justice has been unparalleled.  They enacted equality before law, entry of Dalits into public places, passed anti-untouchability legislation and abolished Sati Pratha among other things.  Had it not been for the British, would Dr. Ambedkar have achieved what he did? In free India, Baba Sahib lost the Lok Sabha elections twice, because there were many Indian national leaders, who did not want to see him in Parliament claims Paswan.[xiii]  Paswan further says that during their last days, British’s also suspected the capabilities of Indians to govern the country efficiently.

Social and political Integration of the nation – Supporters of reservation and out-siders fear that one day, countless people, who are unable to realize their potential because of caste-system dividing people according to occupation and status, poverty, inequality, lack of better education and good jobs, would create social unrest to that extent that one day in near future India may face a disaster/revolution. Reservation promotes feeling of belonging and loyalties among the underclass, thereby promoting the social and political integration of these groups into the main society. Not only this, advanced groups become aware of the fact that beneficiary groups are also integral part of the society whose interests and views need to be taken into account and adjusted to.

The unsatisfied aspirations and un-utilized potential of underclass usually lead to frustration and despair, which may result in increasing social tensions. In an interview on 4.10.90, Ex-PM VP Singh said that Reservation was essential to contain Growing alienation…In our country, dangerous pressures have begun to develop.  In the South, Reservation has enabled the non-forward castes, which are 80% to 90%, to gain a decisive say in the state Government. But they have not been able to get into Central Services.  This dichotomy i.e. controls over your own state, but no stake in the Center was giving rise to a demand for autonomy.  In the North, new economic power centers have emerged in the rural areas following the green revolution, but conversion into political power is being blocked… Over the last 40 years, entry into the elite services of the country – its permanent power structure, had become blocked for the vast majority of the people, particularly from the rural areas. The job Reservation Policy would assure half of India’s population, that if they worked hard, they too could come to have a share in power structure. [xiv] Due to imbalances and gaps in development strategies, there is a growing sense of insecurity and dissatisfaction among weaker sections.  Society, as a whole, can never remain united, if the majority of its people are kept away from the mainstream for a long time.

Arguments against Reservations in government employment

Equality of opportunity is a basic goal for every fair society as is help for those who face hard times. But the bulk of those who have moved out of poverty in the recent past, have done so because their governments have turned away from the state control and toward Markets.

The last three decades have seen a dramatic improvement in the standard of living of the world’s poor, most notably in China and India. The improvement in the standard of living of poor is a direct result of allowing markets to work. In 2013, the World Bank reported – In 1981, half of the developing world earned less than $1.25 daily. By 2011, the portion had dropped to 17%. In China 84% fell below the level in 1981, it shrunk to 6% in 2011. In India the figure fell to 24% from 66% in 1979.

There are two ways to reduce inequality – rich can be made poorer or the poor be made richer. For sustainable development, preferable is second option. Unfortunately policy of Reservation follows the first one.

                                                                          Principle of Efficiency

 Based on wrong ethos and principles

 Reservation policy is a fraud on government. The ideologies/principles of equality, secularism, social justice and unity (the four pillars of Indian Constitution) that guided the Constitution framers, at the time of Independence are undermined because of reservation. All these principles have more or less run out of steam with passage of time. After Independence in an attempt to help marginalized sections of society to join the main-stream of society, framers of the Constitution agreed to Reservation Policy for a short period advising to review the situation after every 10 years. As the position is after 67 years after Independence, Reservation policy has failed undo the social wrongs, set right social and economic imbalances, and bring in desired social changes. Reason being that it is based on negative ethos, wrong ideologies/ methodology and wrong principles, defective database, and wrong perception of social structure.

Article 335 of the Indian constitutionWhile dealing with Reservation Policy, efficiency in administration was very much in the minds of the framers of the Constitution.  That is why, there is Article 335. The way, the Reservation Policy has been implemented, has affected adversely the efficiency in administration. Slowly but steadily, with growing expectations of various emerging groups with the spread education, awareness and consciousness about rights, efficiency in administration took a back seat the challenges. Now the problem of balancing efficiency in governance and provide social justice to all has become enormous and complex in nature.

Right people on right positions at right time For a good governance, the keynote and basic requirement is “efficiency”, which means right people on right positions at right time. The administrative work requires the services of as many as possible of bright, meritorious, hardworking and sincere personnel. It is only an efficient administration, which can provide convenience to public at large, and attain developmental and welfare goals of the nation within time and cost parameters. It can secure maximum results with minimum labour and resources. Any laxity in the qualifications of officials leads to inefficient or mal-administration and sub-standard services to general public. The private sector survives and prospers, only because it does not allow substandard working. It picks up the best talent available in the country, from educational institutions itself, by conducting campus interviews. Reservation policy suggests to appoint less qualified persons in the government even on the crucial positions of power structure by fixing up a separate quota for various weaker sections.

Trapped in a whirlpool Principle of Efficiency has been trapped in a whirlpool, which is continuously revolving around:-

  • Efficiency and merit Efficiency and merit,
  • Social justice, and
  • Exercise of power,

Pr. Betielle comments, None knows, where the struggle for social justice ends and the scramble for power begins. But one thing is definite, that in between the casualty becomes merit and efficiency.[xv] The principle of efficiency comes into direct collision with the methods adopted to bring the downtrodden into the power corridors. A policy aimed at welfare, which forgets efficiency and growth, will neither achieve welfare, nor efficiency nor growth. Similarly any policy aiming only on efficiency and growth, to the neglect of welfare, will cause so much unrest, that nation will achieve neither efficiency nor growth, nor indeed welfare.

Justice Gajendra Gadkar had cautioned long ago, It must not be forgotten that efficiency in administration is of paramount importance, that it would be unwise and impermissible to make any Reservation at the cost of efficiency in administration… C Rajagopalachari has warned the nation, 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.

Many reports, like Wanchoo Committee Report 1968 or Railway Reforms Committee Report 1983 on the working of Railways, confirms that Reservations in jobs and promotions have adversely affected the enthusiasm, incentive for hard work, devotion to duty and in turn the efficiency and morale of civil servants. Sikri Commission on Railway, 1968, linked accidents with Reservations. It was observed at the time, when Reservations were only 22.5%, now it has been increased to 49.5%.

Basic ingredients of efficiency – Efficiency in governance generally depends on the following three variables, which are closely intertwined with each other:-

  • Merit-based (based on knowledge and skills) employment – which earns honour and saves personnel from manipulations/misuse of authority.
  • Quality of administration, and
  • Work-culture.

Knowledge/Merit-based employment – During British rule, ‘Merit’ necessaryGilmour comments about the Indian bureaucracy, popularly known as “Steel-frame of governance”-“It always puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers, namely 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. Very few statesmen, from Bismarck to Theodore Roosevelt, doubted the quality of British rule….,” … “How was the Indian Empire administered with such apparent zeal, efficiency, high-mindedness and impartiality? Even Indian nationalists were more likely than not to agree with such an assessment.”

“Gilmour comes to the sensible conclusion that the men of the ICS displayed a mixture of motives, skills and temperaments. A number of individuals were ‘coming to the institution through stiff competition, not the other way round’. Often a District officer in his early twenties would arrive fresh from his ICS training at Oxford to rule single-handedly a district half as big as Wales. The wide-ranging responsibilities of the District Officers of the ICS were responsible for almost everything. The structure of the service started from the District Officers to the Magistrates, Residents, Political Agents, Deputy Collectors, Lieutenant Governors, and so on. (From Rup Narain Das, titled ‘Marx and 1857’, published in TOI, P.22, 16.5.07)

Even for Indian citizens, joining government jobs was based on merit, knowledge, talent and enterprise. After developing their faculties, they had to compete on equal footings with white men to get a place in power echelons.  A merit-based entrance examination to civil services gave Indians an incentive to gain knowledge and access to power. They took-up the challenge of competition confidently and compelled British-rulers to form a high opinion about their capabilities. Lord Mountbettan, the last British Governor General in India, is on record to have said about an Indian ICS officer, VP Menon was a man of unusual caliber. In him, a great and good character merged with a first class brain, possessing power of logical deduction and the ability to gauge the future with a rare degree of accuracy. A great statesman and a great patriot, VP takes his place in the history as one of the principal architect of Independent India. He was the master hand that integrated the princely states into the Indian Union. Indeed, it is fair to say that without his constant help and advice, the transfer of power as early as August, 1947, would not have been possible.

Robert Fulghum opinion about ICS Menon, Menon was a rarity – a self-made man. No degree from Cambridge or Oxford graced his wall… He talked his way into a job as a clerk in the Indian administration and his rise was meteoric – largely because of his integrity and brilliant skills in working with both Indian and British officials in a productive way. [xvi]

After Independence – For last six-seven decades, the Merit in Indian education and administrative system has been neglected in the name of equity and social justice. Weak commitment of authorities to merit, efficiency, productivity, and innovation has slowed down the progress of the nation.

Instead of making administrative machinery sick, by giving additional weapons in weak hands, it is desirable that the hands should be made strong enough through education, awareness and training to hold and use the weapon properly. Then and then only, without any outside support, the weak will become strong to pick up the weapon properly in their hands and use it judiciously to protect themselves and their near and dear ones from oppression and exploitation. It will make them confident citizens to live with honour and dignity along with others.

Lately in 1980s and 1990s in corporate and financial world, the first generation of businessmen entrepreneurs and managers have demonstrated their capabilities and earned their reputation in global market. Therefore, any program for reform must strengthen the foundation of meritocracy, ensuring equal opportunity and honour to all.

Today India has the second largest pool of scientific and technical manpower. There is no dearth of talents in other areas too. The discouragement given to these talented by the authorities forces the best brains of the nation to go abroad and serve the alien countries. At present, many of them are making valuable contribution to US space program and Silicon Valley’s electronic breakthroughs. Abroad, they find a creative outlet for their skills, which are severely lacking in their own motherland. The attraction of the cream of the society to serve their own country is continuously on decline, because of the attitude and policies of the subsequent governments.

Quality in administration – Toffler says that Power is interplay of three main variables – force, money and knowledge. Force was dominant factor in the agricultural societies, Wealth in the industrial societies, now as a nation moves into Information technology era, the stress will be on knowledge. Without knowledge, it will become very difficult to achieve something worthwhile now.  Being so, any nation, which dreams to emerge, as a world power cannot afford to ignore Knowledge and Merit. Quality can never be an accident nor is there any short-cut to it. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilled execution. It represents the wise choice between many alternatives. Good quality of work increases effectiveness and efficiency in governance. It is needed to achieve desired targets within time and cost parameters and provide good service to public at large. There could be no prosperity for the nation as a whole, unless and until efficiency is ensured at all levels and in all its activities, be it innovation in administration, economic or social reforms, and establishment of institution or implementation of developmental programs. The nation has to develop an uncompromising attitude on efficiency and quality management. However, the following problems arise, such as – how to ensure or evaluate merit/efficiency.

How to ensure efficiency – It is difficult to monitor or ensure efficiency/quality at all stages of administration, because administrative process operates on heterogeneous human variables. It is operated on by a group of personnel with time-varying abilities through a time-varying and updated tasks/responsibility. Creativity, originality, vision and innovative ability are the desirable attributes for efficient administration. However, it is difficult to ensure and evaluate efficiency for the lack of quantitative methodologies or qualitative procedures. Therefore, the efficiency, quality and attainments of administration are often judged more thorough evaluation of performance of officials rather than through the achievements of targets.

Example of Singapore – Mr. Lee’s achievement lies in making Singapore “from Third World to First”. He has managed it against so many odds like little space, no natural resources, an island of polyglot immigrants, not much shared history, inadequate water supply making it dependent on a pipeline from peninsular Malaysia.. He has become a role-model for emerging economies around the world. His main focus was on clean and efficient government, business-friendly economic policies, and social order. 

Writer T.J.S. George in a biography of Mr. Lee says, “Means never mattered so long as the ends he desired were reached.” He was a firm believer in “meritocracy”. A government run by most able persons is a solution for good governance, which can decide “what is right. Never mind what people think” as he put it in 1987. (Briefing Lee Kuan Lee, the Economist, March 28th,2015, p.30).

Principle of Division of labor

Reservation policy undermines the Principle of Division of labour. The Division of labour is the most universal phenomenon of all the societies, being co-extensive with society itself. It is more a cooperation and inter-dependence than division. It involves the assignment to each individual or group, of a specific share of a common task. Jobs may be manual, menial or intellectual.  It may be very simple and ordinary one or highly complex one. There are three types of division of labor:-

  • Simple or functional division of labour – It divides the society into major sections. Each section is specialized in production of one complete commodity i.e. carpenters, weavers, blacksmiths etc,
  • Complex division of labour – Work is split into number of processes and sub-processes. Each one is carried out by a separate group of people. No individual group of workers is responsible completely for the end product.
  • Territorial division of labour -Certain areas specialize in the production of one commodity, such as Ahmedabad for textile.

There is nothing unnatural, un-social or unjust about division of labour. Only freedom of opportunity to explore the pastures of one’s choice should be available to all. The Constitution of India, 1950 guarantees it.

Work is worship Reservation policy adds in deterioration of work culture in the government sector. It adversely affects spirit-de-corps and efficient working of personnel in administration. The glorification of white collared jobs and contempt for blue collared, manual/menial work has eroded the dignity of labour immensely.

Each kind of work has its own value and contributes to total growth of society. Society as a whole needs both – the intellectual as well as manual/menial work equally. No work is superior or inferior. There should be a balanced distribution of work according to attitude and aptitude of people. All occupations are equally valuable and contributes to the total growth of the society. Therefore, due attention should be given to all kinds of work.

  • Mindset to give undue importance or prestige to intellectual/ white-collared jobs by modern youth and regarding manual occupations as derogatory cannot lead to sustainable growth of the society or improve quality of life of its people. For example, in Japan too much attention of the Government on economic and technical work has made its people miserable even in midst of affluence and abundance. The Japanese have created an economic miracle. The per capita income in Japan is one of the highest in the world. It is a world leader in technology, its electronic and automobile industries being the wonder of the world. But Japanese masses are missing something vital in life i.e. quality of life. Japan is prospering, Japanese are not.[xvii]
  • Only the hard work, devotion to duty and sincere efforts pay. At present, many people engaged in professions like tailors, carpenters, dyers and dry-cleaners, owners of hotels and restaurants, owners of video libraries, scooter and taxi drivers, even paanwalas are doing much better than educated unemployed, who have left their traditional occupation, in the lure of Government jobs in urban areas or in desire to earn quick and easy money. The key to the success in any area appears to be the very same hardwork, excellence, maintenance of standard or quality and entrepreneurial skills. An excellent plumber is more admirable for the society than an incompetent administrator or scientist.
  • Each kind of work needed for the well-being of society should be acknowledged, as indispensable. Calling certain menial jobs inferior or unclean and unsavory and asking people to withdraw from it, is something not rational. If the women, who clean the night soil of the children and ill persons in the family and keep the house tidy and worth living for human beings, also start thinking the same way, what would happen to mankind? For the balanced growth of society as a whole, proper care should be taken to modernize and to make all kinds of jobs less hazardous/laborious with the help of science and technology.
  • Reservation does benefit only the creamy layer, not the intended people of beneficiary castes.
  • Reservation policy has made even competent persons among them lazy and complacent. They are just interested in security of jobs and good salary every month. Those, who get positions as a matter of right without much efforts do not value the dignity of labour.
  • Reservation creates short-term interests and obstructs real interests of the downtrodden.
  • The government needs to build effective systems to put people to work. The work culture in government depends on the caliber of its employees, freedom of purposeful working, active involvement of the employees in decision making, team-work, open, impartial, transparent evaluation of performance, encouragement to good performance and reward for efficiency etc.
  • Creation of separate identity for different groups for reservations alienates farther the beneficiary groups from non-beneficiary groups. Manipulations, artificial protection and caste politics blunts the development of learning skills, aggravates dependency and undermines the sense of dignity, pride self-respect, self-reliance and self-confidence,
  • The economic and other social needs of modern society are multitudinous. These are divided in to many tasks. Each task is assigned to individuals or group of individuals according to their capacity – learning, aptitude and attitude.

Advantages of division of labour: – Following are the advantages of division of labour:-

  • Division of labour provides quality of life to society,
  • Enable individuals to select occupations in accordance with their natural instincts, aptitudes, convenience and availability of opportunities
  • Reinforces ease and reliability in their work.
  • Increases productivity. A lone worker has many limitations. Large scale production in quantity as well as in quality becomes possible, which is economical too, and
  • Under division of labour, workers are so distributed among various jobs that each worker is put in the right place.
  • Enables individuals to acquire skills, increases dexterity and skill. Practice makes to individual achieve perfection. After repetitive performance of the same task, a worker becomes an expert,
  • Inventions are facilitated. While working, new ideas often occur leading to inventions,
  • Introduction of machinery is facilitated. When a man is doing the same job over and over again, he tries to think of some mechanical device to relieve himself,
  • Saves time. A worker has to do only one process or part of process. Therefore, less time is needed by him to learn a specialized process,
  • Employment is diversified. It increases the number and variety of jobs.

Reservation policy adversely affects work cultureReservation Policy has sown the seeds of separatism in the cadre of administrative officers too.

  • Reservation adversely affects team-work – Critics say that efficiency requires teamwork. The team, at every level, should be up to the mark. For efficient and effective administration, the performance of the service as a whole should not only be of high quality, but also be reliable, friendly and cost effective. It has been observed that Reservation in government services has blocked mutual help, mutual trust and mutual respect in administrative work.
  • Hinders proper utilization of human resource – The development of the nation depends not only on the optimal utilization of physical, natural and financial resources, but human and intellectual resources as well. Among man, material and money, the maximum importance should be given to men, because man is the instrument, which gives highest possible returns and makes the proper utilization of other resources a reality. It is the duty of the government to supply regularly sufficient manpower with merit, properly educated and trained for efficient administration.
  • Demoralizes Meritorious candidates – At present, the bright and intelligent people have lost interest in government jobs. Reservation has shaken the confidence of meritorious students in the government and its work culture. Fifty percent Reservation in government jobs snatches half of the opportunities for deserving candidates.  Highly demoralized intelligentsia compete for, what is left over or leave the nation for ever in search of greener pastures.
  • IT revolution demands extra-intelligent network At present, the world is passing through a great revolution – a super symbolic electronic revolution. In it, the changes are too swift for a human being to cope with it nicely. It demands an extra intelligent network.[xviii]
  • Demands high capacity of understanding – Swift changes, rapid advancement of knowledge, growing awareness of people and new technologies in computers and communications have changed the complexion of work culture beyond recognition in less than a decade. Being so, the modern administration needs more than anything – a high capacity to understand the current waves and changes and ability to adjust harmoniously with changed circumstances. How can one expect that candidates selected on relaxed standards would be able to cope up with the changes?

 Ideology of social Justice in collision with Principle of equality –

There is a fundamental difference between social-justice and caste-based reservation, which has led the whole nation towards casteism.

Dalit politics has recently become quite aggressive, which has divided the nation first philosophically, then intellectually and afterwards along caste-lines and now geographically as well. Bad politics is responsible for most of the problems of present day.

Today some dalit leaders and intellectuals have become so aggressive that they do not want only Dalits to become capable of ‘buy a Merc’. Their ego will be satisfied when they could ‘hire a Brahmin Driver’. The mentality of letting others down is not a healthy sign. All should rise together side by side. (quoted from TOI, All that matters, p14, 21.7.13)

Equality of opportunity depends on economic growth. Job opportunities and availability of quality education at primary and secondary levels and skill building training programs.

 

Reservations makes some more than equal – According to Principle of equality “All are equal in the eyes of law”, but reservations makes “some are more equal”. Selection should be based upon some reasonable and transparent procedure and necessary qualifications required for efficient performance of duties and responsibilities of various jobs in government. Justice demands that all – whether belonging to from backward sections of society or to general category – should be given equal opportunity to join the government services on the same footings.  Selection of 50% candidates should not be done on relaxing the criterion of selection arbitrarily.

Discrimination/prejudices in one form or the other do exist all-over the world. It may be on the basis race, class, caste, community, region or gender. But it is not a daily intrusion in one’s life. One should not treat such prejudices as hurdles, every time there is any difficulty. Such challenges should be faced with courage. Treating some groups more than equal cannot be justified.

Reverse discrimination nothing but ‘Rob the Peter and give it to Paul’ – Reservation Policy has no place in a true democracy. Reverse discrimination is nothing but ‘rob the Peter and give it to Paul’. Discrimination, whether positive or reverse, will always remain discrimination. Discrimination, whether positive or reverse, will always remain discrimination.  It is a humanitarian obligation to think about both weak and plan for their uplift.

Any attempt to reverse the position of forward castes or letting them down could not succeed much, because they have the vision, knowledge and awareness to find out alternative routes to progress. Nation should boost up their initiative, courage, intelligence and talent, so that it could compete confidently with developed nations of the world.

In his book Theory of Justice, John Rawls while discussing about ‘equality, liberty, rights and role of the State’ says that liberal democracy strives for an equality of opportunity and equality of results. He says :-

  Nature itself takes care of the distribution of natural assets and abilities, intelligence, strength and the like, which is going to determine the class, income or the status of an individual in society,

  Every-one should have the maximum liberty, compatible with the same liberty for others,

  People prefer equality over inequality. Inequality can only be tolerated, when it helps everyone, including the worst off. Inequality in any form is against common good, efficiency or good performance. Inequality could be made fair and just, if everyone had an equal start in life. The key to Equal start is education for all and an open primary school system.

Few examples of reverse discriminationThere is some cases, where officers belonging to one of the Scheduled castes get all advantages – reach up-to top positions quite early in government or public sector, while general category personnel usually reach to that level around the age of 55 years. They get government/DDA flats allotted to him out of reserved quota, manage good postings for their wives. They get preference in getting admission of their children in all government or government-aided schools/colleges.

On any complaint from the ‘Privileged castes’, action is taken first, under the SCT Act. Innocence is to be proved later on. There has been a case, where a young IPS probationer, who joined IPS in 1987, was discharged from the service, under Rule 12 of IPS Probationer’s Rules, 1954, drawn by the Home Ministry, for allegedly calling a colleague a ‘Chamar’. The authorities, including CAT and High Court ignored the fact that the accused was at the threshold of his career. Such a hard decision would lead him to frustration in life. At present, when upper castes are contemptuously called by names like Manuwadi, A Brahminical fanatic, Greedy Brahmin or Greedy Bania etc., no action is taken.

In 1987-88, a senior politician, on a fact finding tour of a riot torn city facing acute communal disharmony, was being escorted around by a Colonel, And to which community do you belong Colonel? asked the politician. The officer replied, I belong to the minority community, Sir. How is that asked the politician. Said the Colonel, I am an Indian and Indians, Sir, are in minority here.[xix]

 Polarized the social-structure of the nation

 

Unfortunately caste-based reservation degenerated into a crass tool of electoral instrumentalism (Times view, 6.2.14, p 20) Government should dismantle this dysfunctional system.

The Reservation policy has led the nation to build unbridgeable water-tight political compartments in most insensitive manner.

Venom against upper castes The supporters of the Reservation spread venom against Forward castes”. They designate upper castes as the “Common enemy” of marginalized, who are responsible for their centuries-old agonies, deprivation, exploitation and discrimination. The roots of this Invisible enmity lies-

  1. In the thoughts and minds of backward people,
  2. Lies in political circles having vested interest, and
  3. Other institutions advocating to make reservations a permanent features.

Condemns traditional values and social-structureMostly the venom is based on negative exhortations and condemns traditional values and social structure of India. Too much stress on their rights, fragmented from duties has created agitation and confrontation leading to further fragmentation. The culture of consumerism has added fuel into fire. Anti-Brahmin Movement of Periyar in 1926 divided the Indian Society into forward castes and backward castes.  Forward castes are portrayed as oppressors and exploiters of backward castes and backward castes as oppressed and exploited. Then Mandal Commission in 1991 (generated heart burning in the hearts of urban areas’ youth), or militancy of Dalits (their transformation from untouchables into Harijans, Depressed class or now Dalits) divided sharply the socio-political scenario in India. Sectional interests have led these identities increasingly distancing themselves from the mainstream and establishing firmly their separate identity.

Venom based on half-truths – Many well-organized and influential, well-organized and influential, political parties, especially the regional ones, in the name of weaker sections ask for continuance of reservations. They disfigure certain aspects of real life or tell half-truths or quote history to prove their point. They instigate the feelings to defeat and displace upper castes from its comfort zone. In the absence of independent records to verify, arguments or events around which it is woven, the analysis of such political leaders becomes the only record. The political leaders care to grab political power more than working for the welfare of downtrodden. For them illiterate and poor masses are their “vote-banks”. They extracts votes from them in elections by making false promises to them and make them fight among themselves for few concessions.

  • Indian elite’s domination in echelons of power is responsible for the sordid state of present day law and order situation and the mal-administration.
  • Very people of elite castes working in private sector, who vehemently criticize Reservation Policy, seek protection under law in many in areas of national economy. To protect inherited business, they want Government’s intervention in the form of permit or licensing.[xx]They fear to face global competition and universally accepted standards of quality control.
  • Lacs of Rupees from public fund are spent on their higher education. But the meritorious students promote their own interests and completely forget about the interests of the poor masses. The concepts of merit and efficiency make sense, if they intend to serve the poor masses, especially in rural areas. But their priorities lie somewhere else. They are more interested in protecting their comfort zones – to live in big urban areas, to go abroad and to serve the foreign countries.
  • It is unfortunate that forward castes look with contempt people with deprivation and despair engaged in menial, laborious and unsavory work.
  • Gaps between the rich and the poor is continuously widening.
  •  Large scale corruption has adversely affected the integrity, efficiency and competence of the bureaucracy. It no more serves national interests.
  • Reservations seek very modest share in power structure. Though SC constitute about 19%, ST about 9% & OBCs about 52%, only 15%, 7.5% and 27% of seats, respectively, are reserved respectively for SC,ST,OBC, which is much less than their share due according to population.
  • A bold step taken in the interest of all by the government has always been resented by the upper castes. In the past, it happened many times, like in the case of Privy Purses or Zamindari abolition. Weak character of upper castes’ youth fear for their career prospects, which may become bleak, if large number of people enter into the corridors of power.  Therefore, they are against Reservation Policy.
  • Allegation that unqualified persons are being employed or promoted under Reservation Policy and meritorious persons are being bundled out or sidelined or transferred at the instance of powerful pressure groups, is not correct. There may be some instances of error or abuse of policy, which needs to be corrected. Such lapses do not indict the Reservation Policy itself, and
  • Abolition of Reservation Policy would not necessarily lead to meritocracy.

 Led to casteism – The outcome of Anti-Brahmin Movement started by Periyar in 1926, or rejection of casteist policies by the people in 1991, or the militancy of present Dalit Movement indicate that it is not based on sound principles. It attempts to mislead or divide the people. The transformation of untouchables into Harijans, Depressed class or Dalits is an example, where a fraction of society is increasingly distancing itself from the mainstream and establishing firmly its separate identity. The policy has led the nation to build innumerable unbridgeable political identities in most insensitive manner, which are based on negative exhortations and condemns all traditional values and structures.

 Casteism in politics, a recent development – Spread of casteism in politics, collective caste identities or rivalry between various groups do not have a very long history. Earlier Caste tensions had a self-limiting character, because activities of people were confined within a local area. Principles of Varna, Dharma and Karma gave the people an idea how to live in harmony. All the castes were inter-dependent. It was the direct result of ‘divide and rule policy’ of imperial rulers. Along with the rulers’ design, missionaries focused their conversion (into Christianity) activities on upper castes. But it did not work well. 1860 onwards, British missionaries made the lower castes their target for conversion. They found it easier to influence them in large numbers. Together, the rulers and missionaries highlighted the evils of caste system and portrayed the upper caste as their exploiters. The result was anti-Brahmin movement of early twentieth century.

Economic disparities – The gap between upper castes and lower strata of society continuously increased due to land revenue system, which gave birth to economic disparities. On one hand, were the upper castes, who had direct or indirect control over land and its produce, on the other, were the masses including craftsmen, who worked for them. After the independence, the government tried to reduce the disparities through various legislations and schemes. But renewed emphasis on Reservation with Mandal formula in 1990 once again whipped up the caste tension.

Inter and intra-caste/community conflicts at increase – Throughout India, inter-caste vs. intra-caste, inter-community vs. intra-community and inter-tribal vs. intra-tribal conflicts are at rise. It is further dividing the society into sub-groups or sub-sub-groups.  Though upper caste has been identified as the oppressor of the downtrodden, it has been the intermediate castes, which have always harassed and tortured the poor on behalf of upper castes. Even now, most of the atrocities on SC/ST are committed by intermediate castes only. But in order to get political leverage to displace upper caste and avail Reservation’s benefit, Dalit groups have joined hands with numerically strong intermediate castes.

Creation of a new caste alignment – Reservations have carved out a new caste alignment in political arena by officially dividing society into forward castes, scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs), other backward castes(OBCs) and minority. The authorities, while implementing or extending Reservations have continuously ignored the sweeping changes, occurred in the caste system and its equations throughout the country after independence because of the sincere efforts of reformers, process of modernization, education, introduction of railways, communication, etc., before the Independence and liberty and other fundamental rights mentioned in the Constitution of India after the Independence. Together these developments have contributed to lessen the rigidities of caste system. In social arena the caste prejudices, which had distanced different castes in the past, are gradually wearing out.

Advocates of casteless society more caste-conscious – The advocates of Reservations criticize caste system vehemently, desire to annihilate caste system, and establish a casteless society. But so far they could not think of any viable alternative to it. More so, it is the lower castes, which are glued to their caste-identity more firmly than upper caste. In a particular case, a BC officer complained that in the office, an upper caste peon refused to bring a cup of tea for him or clean his cup.  One day, when this officer went to his colleague’s room, the later called the peon to bring two cups of tea. The BC officer hesitated to drink tea brought by the peon belonging to a caste lower than his own and made some excuse. Two things came out clearly – the upper caste officer had no hesitation to drink tea brought by a low caste peon, whereas the BC officer had some reservations showing his contempt/bias against individuals belonging to castes lower than their own.

Other arguments of critics of reservations

Seven social sins Critic say that expectation of any substantial result from the Reservation policy has so far been quite frustrating, as far as sustainable development of the nation as a whole is concerned. Amongst Seven social sins” [xxi] described by Gandhi:- (1)Achievement without work (2)Knowledge without application (3)Pleasure without conscience (4)Commerce without morality (5)Science without humanity, (6)Politics without principles and Worship without sacrifice”, first three applies to Reservation policy. Besides only a very small segment from among those belonging to poor and deprived castes could be benefited by Reservation policy. Following are the arguments of anti-reservationists putting emphasis on the idea that efficiency is necessary for good governance.

Fraud on Constitution –The Constitution of India has incorporated many diverse principles to lead the nation to prosperity as quickly as possible. The Constitution framers hoped that fair-mindedness of the authorities would keep a fine balance between those diverse principles keeping in view the changing circumstances. One such example is principle of equal opportunities (Art 16) in direct conflict with the principles of redress (Articles 335) directing the authorities to make Reservations for SCT in consistent with the maintenance of efficiency. With passage of time, many influential political leaders have over looked for their political expediency and personal interests the clause on efficiency and converted the Reservation policy into quota system.

 Mistake of one time, repeated several timesSeries of amendments of the Constitution in the matter of Reservation appears to be nothing but Mistake of one time, being repeated several times. After every ten years, Reservations are reviewed on the floor of Parliament, each time, and it is extended for another 10 years. “It is all hollow, all non-research oriented.[xxii] The whole exercise shows scant regard, the present day politicians has for the Constitution. They pay more attention to ‘means’ than the objective – uplifting the downtrodden and absorbing them into the mainstream has become secondary. Politicians always say that Reservation has been sanctioned by the Constitution and they are abide by it. Therefore, some people demand total abolition of Reservation, some ask for keeping Reservation exclusively for needy persons on the basis of economic criterion. They suggest to eliminate gradually the affluent sections from the lists of backwards through a fair and open mechanism.

 Transforms democracy into a number game – Leaving ‘Reservation’ to the discretion of political authorities has been unfortunate. Through palliatives of electoral politics, they have transformed democratic values into a game of numbers. Some shrewd politicians found Reservation policy could be milked at will to gain political mileage and push the real issues in the background conveniently. Concern for downtrodden have been mixed up with gaining power. Political expediency has linked the principle of Distributive Justice to the idea of fixing up quotas for different political groups. Politicians undermined the universally accepted democratic principles of organizing, regulating and distributing power with an aim to achieve growth targets effectively, legitimately and with dignity. But people cannot be fooled for long. Failure of Justice Party in 1926 elections, the fate of Janata Party in 1991 or electing governments in 2014’s general and Delhi elections with absolute majority elections proves it.

 Diverting public mind from real issues to abstract ones It is said that if the diagnosis were wrong, prescription would not work. At present, real issues have taken a back seat. Reservation policy has been envisaged as a valid prescription for treating the disease of Backwardness caused by poverty, socio-economic oppression and neglect over centuries. Object is to overcome Backwardness, not to increase the numbers of backwards or to keep it in perpetuity. Positive thinking makes one’s mind energetic, happy, confident, enthusiastic and full of creative thoughts. Contrary to it, negative thinking or politics of Backwardness makes one depressed and adds to one’s sense of isolation. In 1990, Mr. Kanshi Ram is reported to have said once If we (The BSP) come to power, we will finish Reservations within 5 years.  All parties have developed a vested interest in giving crutches to lower castes and keeping them like that. Those, who should have been running by now, are still getting crutches.

 With the passage of time, the successive governments have been unable to address the real issues like population explosion, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, pollution, rising prices, inflation, deteriorated law and order situation, violence or general coarsening of moral fiber of the Indian society etc. They seems to be busier in raking up the abstract issues like reservations, discrimination, secularism communalism etc. Day by day, the life of a common man is becoming more and more difficult. Discipline, which brings order in the society, seems to be at its in-disciplined worst at these days. Instigating mob on emotional issues by disfiguring certain aspects is more convenient for political leaders rather than facing the challenges of real issues. It is easier for them to instigate masses on emotional issues and earn their faith. It helps them help them to further instigate the feelings of the people and create large vote-bank for themselves. The silence of apathetic mobs encourages such leaders.

 Not at the cost national interest – Whatever may the problem, the objective of uplift the status of ‘Backwards’ should not be done by lowering the recruitment standards, especially when the nation is passing through a very difficult time. Its economy is in shambles, coffers empty, inflation and price-rise touching new heights, law and order position disturbed and divisive forces getting stronger every day. Arun Shourie says, An efficient administration requires right type of men at right places. Preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent, on the ground of Reservation, is not only unjust, against the principle of equality, but also against national interests. Reservation in employment contemplates putting those men in responsible positions, who are not adequately qualified for the job, and in the process, power passes on from Meritocracy to Mediocrity, which means sub-standard service to general public.

Reservation a retrograde step Reservations takes nation towards perpetual backwardness because the authorities have to make compromise with efficiency in administration and developmental process, while pursuing reservations. It discourages initiative and sustainable development and encourages inaction and parasitism. Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Nehru and the charismatic leader of backward caste Choudhary Charan Singh considered Reservations as Disastrous, Fatal and even a Vicious principle. BD Sharma, Ex-Commissioner of SCT, said that the Policy of Reservation in Government-jobs had not improved the status of masses belonging to SCT or OBCs. On their deprived and under-nourished faces is written the failure of reservation policy.

Ultimately poor suffersThe ultimate sufferers are the poor only.  The government, itself seems to be doubtful about the efficacy of Reservation Policy, because it itself keeps certain services and posts outside the limits of Reservation, such as all the Defense Services, Scientific and Technical posts in the Department of Space, Atomic Energy, Electronics, posts of pilots, top technical persons in Air India and Indian Airlines, all the scientific posts of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, teaching posts in IITs and IIMs,  Private Secretary to Prime Minister and other Ministers, Planning Commission Members, etc. [xxiii]

 Absurd to quote history to prove their point – Reverse discrimination to set right the historical wrongs appears illogical. To prove their points the supporters of reservation quote history. In the absence of independent records of events the unverifiable past, around which their arguments are woven, their own analysis becomes the only record. In the past many political adventurers, dictators and fundamentalists have quoted history to prove their point of view.   When Hitler walked into Sutedanland, he justified it by quoting historical authority.  When Mussolini attacked Ethiopia in 1930’s, he quoted history.  When Zionists claimed Jerusalem, they tried to justify their act by citing history.  When Saddam Hussein walked into Kuwait on Aug. 2, l990, he justified his act by raking up old history.  Similarly, when, on Aug. l5, l990, VP Singh announced implementation of Mandal Report, his supporters hailed the decision 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.

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 forefathers.  It is a law of jungle to hold responsible and punish present generation for the follies of its previous generations.  Rule of law prohibits punishing others for the crimes committed by someone else.

Fewer jobs on the corridors of power – Total number of Places in the corridor of power in India having 1.2 billion people are very few and aspirants are millions. Around 300 million young people are expected to join workforce between 2010 and 2025. Only 13% Indians in college age group attend higher education institutes. Many of them may be ill-trained, jobless and marginalized. It raises two very important questions – Will Government be able to create enough jobs for them in the corridors of power and will it be able to inculcate in them right skills to do jobs well? Should not youth be encouraged to join vibrant manufacturing sector or service sector, which could provide jobs to of millions of people by liberalizing/amending labour laws?

Reservation cannot materially alter the equations of the society. There is little reason to believe that personal advancement of a few individuals through reservations would improve the status of all belonging to SC, ST, or OBC. 49% of those few jobs available in government services does not even touch the fringe of the problem, especially when it does not reach normally to deserving underprivileged candidates belonging to reserved category. Therefore, the idea to bring about social change through Reservation in jobs is fallacious. .

Rat-race for inclusion in beneficiary’s list for Reservation – More and more up-coming castes and communities are clamoring to get ‘Backward’ status officially. Also, it is practically impossible to remove the names of those castes from the beneficiaries’ list, which have already progressed. Aspirants are many, and space is limited. It gives rise to a rat-race. It gives rise to a rat-race. A large number of non-beneficiary groups demand with insistence to get officially listed preferably into SCT otherwise in OBC lists. Also benefits bestowed through Reservation has created a vested interest among backwards to remain Backward officially. Creamy layer of backward communities desires continuance of the Reservation Policy as long as possible.

Backwardness no more a stigma now Earlier calling some caste backward was supposed to be a social stigma. Now it has become a status symbol which entitles them for more privileges. Many castes clamour to be included preferably in SC/ST list otherwise in OBC list. Because it becomes easier for them to compete for admissions in educational institutions, jobs and elective posts. The practice of acquiring false caste-certificate is also at rise to get the advantage of limited spoils. Reservation does not earn social respect for them as it generates a sense of injustice, friction and enmity among other sections. It may influence the attitude of their peers, superiors and sub-ordinates towards reserved category candidates. But reserved category candidates do mind label of backwardness. Despite being a minority, Sikhs never demanded Reservations a minority status and privileges attached to it. Many of them, who came to India after partition, went abroad to UK, USA, Mauritius, South Africa and Canada, advanced their position against great odds by their hard work, discipline, and perseverance.

Rural people are more caste/community conscious – Quite often, Politicians present a lucid picture of rural people as their being the citadels of ignorance, superstitions, and too rigid in observance of customs and traditions. Therefore, they plead that such people need extra attention of the Government. Present day reality is that rural people try their best to break free from the constraints of rural upbringing. They are more community conscious than urban people. While urban people are mute witness to systematic disorder, corruption and violence, and spend their lives in anonymity, the rural people are more conscious about their reputation. The Indian villages usually settle their affairs by democratic discussions between village elders. That, in my view, is why India is so profoundly democratic. That is the secret of your unity in diversity. And that is my first reason for confidence of India. says Fenn Nicholas, a former British High Commissioner to India.[xxiv]

Wider participation means not sharing of power equallyWider participation in governance does not mean everybody sharing power equally. Obviously, 1.22 billion people cannot be accommodated in power echelons. Participatory governance means a harmonious partnership between the public and the officials. Governance means manage effectively the common affairs of individual citizens and institutions, be it public or private, without any bias. It is a continuing process, through which conflicting interests or diverse needs of all concerned are looked-after and a cooperative action is taken.

Benefits hardly reach to deserving candidates – In the name of social justice and equitable distribution of power and dignity, vested interests of a very few are being served. Its benefits hardly reach up to the really needy, submerged and deprived ones. It is usurped by the creamy layer of the officially declared beneficiary groups. Masses continues to reel under poverty. It is being continuously cheated. Usually the same uplifted families, which have already benefited through reservations generations ago reap all the benefits of protectionist policies.

If an honest district by district survey is conducted all over India, it may be found that in terms of economic and social status, many of the people belonging to groups listed as  backward class are much better-off than many of the upper-caste people, in different regions. Many well established sections have been included in SC, ST and OBC list. In 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, conducted a detailed study in the districts of Betul, Chindwara, Seoni, Balaghat etc., in Madhya Pradesh. It shows that the biggest land owners are Kurmis and Pawars. There are very few Rajput, Brahmin, Kayastha or Baniya land owners in those districts. In the Tawa Command Area of Hoshangabad district, the biggest land owners are Jats and Vishnois. As it is, the Kurmis, Pawars and Vishnois are included in the list of beneficiaries. In Narsimpur district, Lodhis, who appear in the OBC list, are the biggest land owners.

Mr. Vishva Bandhu, MBA graduate from Eastern Michigan University and a senior officer in Income Tax department says, one day, I was pleasantly surprised to hear… that as per listings of the Mandal Commission, I was Backward… My being treated as a Backward is nothing, but a slur on my name and that I don’t wish to be listed as Backward. [xxv] Like him, there are many people belonging to different castes, for whom their inclusion in Backward class list came as a surprise/shock.

There are certain areas, where even 100% job reservation would not make any difference.  In a study conducted in 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, shows that in the tribal area of Jabalpore, Mandla,  Raigarh, Sarguja and Siddhi districts of Madhya Pradesh, the literacy rate is only 5.6%, the female literacy rate 1.03%, the average land holding is less than two hectres per khatedar, in the case of 75% of agriculturists. 20% tribals are totally land-less… They have no access to help, communication, education or other civic-facilities. 85% of the population has an income below the poverty line. However, only 8% of the rural poor had some access to the anti-poverty program of the Government. These statistics assume vital importance, when one analyses, what the policy of Reservation has done for such people? It leads to think, whom is the Government and the politicians trying to fool?

It is for the lower castes themselves understand that Reservation does not serve their permanent interest. In life, it is impossible to create a complete egalitarian society as promised by the supporters of Reservation. Also power and authority cannot be distributed at will. It can only be acquired through one’s own efforts. Therefore, people should discourage those leaders, who give false hopes to people.

Shift in Power equation in politics Reservation is basically a struggle of some newly emergent dominant or communities for political power. All over India, many dominant castes (either on the basis of their numerical strength or their networking with other up-coming castes in other villages and towns) got united. Now they pressurize the Government for their sectional interests. The majority of Lowest of the lowest strata are out of the purview of Reservation, because 48%  population in India, is still illiterate and hardly one third of it could get education up to higher secondary. These are the very people, in whose name the policy of Reservation is perpetuated. But, for them, Reservation serves no purpose.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, SCs have been making concerted efforts to mobilize themselves and secure their upward mobility.  Radical movement has been launched by militant Dalits, which has made the emerging strength of lowest castes felt with increasing effectiveness.  The uplift of OBCs, SCs and STs and migration of many lower castes people to urban areas brought changes in the earlier social symmetry.  So far they lagged behind the forward castes in education and employment, only because they did not see immediate usefulness of education and opportunities available to them. When they realized the worth of education and bureaucratic powers, they started efforts to come up.

During later-half of the 19th century and beginning of 20th century, anti-Brahmin movements in former states of Madras, Mysore and Bombay have effectively eliminated Brahmins as a dominant political force.  The political power has shifted in favour of Backwards, almost completely in the South and in massive strides in Bihar and U.P.  Intermediate castes emerged as a dominant force with Zamindari abolition, land reforms and green revolution of l960s. They control about 5l% of the land in the North as against about 39% retained by large landlords. They have already replaced the upper castes as landowners. They constitute about 40% of the legislative strength. They have now everything – social status, economic and political power.  With prosperity has come, education. Now through reservations like SCs and STs, they desire to enter into bureaucracy.

Advantages to backward castes from Capitation fee – Supporters of Reservation talk about Capitation fee system. A study done by Rekha Kaul in, Caste, Class and Education, shows that Karnataka was among the first few states, where capitation fee phenomenon first surfaced. In a competition between different castes to provide its members access to education, many regional and caste groups started controlling educational institutions. Rich peasants and landlords belonging to dominant intermediate castes like Vokkaligas, and Lingaegats benefitted the most by capitation fee system. They began, long ago, to plough their agrarian-surplus to finance capitation fee in colleges for their children. Her study of 19 private engineering and medical colleges tells about inter-play of caste, class and power in the name of higher education. Following the lead shown by two dominant castes, scheduled castes and minorities, too, made their presence felt in the capitation fee phenomenon. Obviously, this kind of higher education falls short of providing quality education.

Makes people dependent on crutches – Reservations appears to critics of reservation only an ideological slogan, which has not much harm to lower as well as upper castes. On one hand, the beneficial or protective nature and false promises to bring more castes into the list of beneficiaries by some politicians lulls the people to make efforts for self-development. They look towards authorities for everything. They expect change to originate at the apex and not at the base. On the other, it discourages initiative, courage, intelligence and talent of upper castes. Any attempt to reverse the position of forward castes could not succeed much, because they have the vision, knowledge and awareness. They are capable to compete confidently with developed nations of the world as their presence all-over the world in information technology field has proved.

The depressed castes cannot improve its position by weighing against the inequities of still existing caste-system. Vested interests of Power-hungry political leaders, in order to serve their vested interests deliberately plan and plot to keep the masses backward. Paternalistic-totalitarian attitude of political parties veers the nation backwards and cripples the public consciousness.

Brain drainApplications to US Grad schools from India up by 32% – For the second year in a row, applications to US graduate schools from India sky-rocked in 2014 – this time by 32% – while those from prospective Chinese students fell, according to the CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey.

Talents of the nation have capability to find out alternative routes to progress. The forward castes, fearing reverse discrimination have withdrawn themselves from public scene almost completely. The weakness of caste Hindus lies in the fact that so-called forward castes are not united into one group and are scattered all over India. But ‘backward castes’ got united under one banner. Their activities are localized. After the implementation of Mandal Report, they have emerged as a strong force allover from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

Reservations both at national and provincial and its link with the vested interests of political parties has disappointed talents of elite sections of society. Activism of political parties, its leaders and intelligentsia belonging to beneficiary groups forget that in-depth knowledge, intelligence and experience of forward castes is equally important for the sustainable development of nation.

Reservation has a frustrating effect on the minds of forward castes’ dynamic and bright youth. They find themselves being victimized, because of no fault of theirs. Mr. x tells about his experience, I applied for civil medical job and was second best medical graduate… Naturally I felt cheated by my own country (when he could not get the job) and as a disillusioned doctor left the country of my birth (in 1970) …  A country, where merit has no value …  can never prosper. One cannot do away with injustice by creating more injustice.

Talented youth see no reward for their merit, intelligence, sincerity and hard-work. Honest and upright officers in the present circumstances, struggle throughout their lives to pay taxes, meeting the expanses of their children’s education and coping up with ever increasing prices in order to lead a decent life. Every year about 6000 highly trained Indians settle abroad permanently. [xxvi] It is a matter of national concern. The reasons of brain drain, are as following: –

  • Wider and better job opportunities abroad,
  • Good initial opportunities of career,
  • Exposure of knowledge,
  • Good working conditions,
  • Comfortable standard of living ,and,
  • Stifling and unresponsive working conditions at home.

Despite being a minority, Sikhs never demanded Reservations, minority status and its attendant privileges. Many of them, who came to India after partition or went abroad to UK, USA, Mauritius, South Africa and Canada, advanced their position against great odds by their hard work, discipline, and perseverance.

Reservation responsible for ‘dividing the nationThe origin of Reservation Policy lies in Divide and rule. It has always divided the workforce by creating new political identities. Earlier British rulers got the benefit of this disunity through Communal Awards and now Reservation has become life-saving prescription for recent politicians to garner votes and create vote banks. Reservation generates a feeling of separatism among people. The access to power is sought by raking up emotional issues. Loyalty of a particular group (or groups) is earned by inciting people of one section against other sections of the society. All this entails fractured mandate, negligence of principles, ideologies and national interest, weak Governments,  perpetual fights, increase in bitterness, suspicion against each-others and  polarization on caste and communal lines, Repeated fractured mandate after l990 confirms that instead of uniting people, divisive politics has taken firm roots in India due to Reservation Policy.

Experience of a century-old Reservation Policy – Experiences of a century old Reservations in the South and more than 75 years at national level are not very encouraging. By now, it has become quite clear: –

  • Reservation policy has not benefited those, for whom it was introduced. The masses are still there, where they were before the introduction of Reservation – deprived and fighting for their survival,
  • More than half the Indian population lives below poverty line, though official figures are about 40%,
  • Official rate of literacy is 80% in 2015 but the number of educated people understanding 3 Rs well are much less (nearly half of the population,
  • More than 60% of Indian children are malnourished and about 7% of all infants die shortly after birth,
  • Less than 30% of populace has access to sanitation and clean drinking water,
  • Maximum number of poor, and people living below poverty line are in the south excluding Kerala,
  • Modernization process has made the poor people destitute, living now without the support system, which the traditional societies provided earlier.
  • If the economic criteria and the principle of Creamy layer were applied honestly, hardly one or two percent Backwards would be available for Reservations in Government.

Reservations a ploy to build electoral baseLeaving the issue of Reservation at the discretion of power-hungry politicians is unfortunate, as they have made caste-based reservations a ploy to be used for political expediency. It is a high level strategic instrument in the hands of politicians to build vote-banks and make their electoral base stronger.

Process of De-reservation should begin What was started as a concession for a few, for a temporary period, has become a permanent feature of Indian politics. Dr. Yogendra Singh, Dean of Political Science in JNU 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 dis-legitimization of caste by finding scientific methods for the exit of SC and ST members from the reserved quota.” [xxvii] There existed a case to end the quota business in l960 itself.  Not only that the restriction has been allowed to continue till today, but to multiply irrationally. The dependence of caste for the purpose of Reservation has also increased, because the politicians are unable to look beyond electoral compulsions. Judicious application of the creamy layer would help the deserving really needy persons to avail the benefit of government’s welfare schemes. It will also help in gradually phasing out the Reservation itself one day.

Awakened conscience of the forward castes – The critics of Reservation allege spread of venom against caste-Hindus and forward-castes. As the Chairman of First backward class commission had commented that intelligentsia, well-wishers and leaders of downtrodden should not forget that whatever good they find in the Constitution i.e. removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice or special consideration for the downtrodden – in the social reforms or in the liberal policies of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the forward castes itself. All sections of the society will always remember contributions made by Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Tilak, Gokhale, Justice Ranade, Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar, Dayanand, Vivekanand and many others with respect. Whatever the Government has done, so far, has been accepted and acclaimed by them, sometimes readily and sometimes with resistance. At present, the forward castes contribute their share through taxes, active participation in formulating developmental polices of the country and working through NGOs for the amelioration of downtrodden. Only the politicians pursuing sectional interests should stop spreading venom against upper castes and making increasing use of caste in politics.

Damaged sense of self-worth – Something fundamentally wrong in the Reservation Policy itself.  There has always been a confusion about its aims. Every year a large number of students pass-out from schools and colleges without acquiring most basic educational skills. Then blame the social systems for their unfulfilled dreams and unsatisfied aspirations. It is very dangerous to create expectations and not fulfil them. It leads to social unrest to an extent that it needs only a matchstick to ignite fire.

Some wrong practices – It is alleged that reservation policy has given rise to some undesirable practices in recent past –

  • Encouraged some people to produce fake certificates of their caste identity.
  • Too much stress on their rights, fragmented from duties has created agitation and confrontation leading to further fragmentation.
  • It covers up the non-performance of political institutions by diverting public attention towards abstract issues.
  • Now the elections are mostly fought on caste lines. The new culture of consumerism adds fuel to fire.
  • SCT list is lengthened by the Center and state governments on many occasions,
  • Reservation is extended to many advanced castes,
  • Creamy layer rule is disregarded by States,
  • Madhya Pradesh scraps cut off marks for SCT in entrance examination to professional courses,

The following arguments given in support of Reservations are illogical and inaccurate: –

  • For inclusion in the list of beneficiaries what is relevant, is special kind of poverty,
  • Accountable and punishable for sins of our ancestors,
  • Minimum professional standards are not being diluted,
  • Reservations do not perpetuate casteism, and
  • It is a conflict between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.

Self-introspection – Does reservation really lead to sustainable development of downtrodden, make them self-reliant and empower them? The responsibility for self-development lies primarily with the individual concerned. Each person has aptitude and special interests for some specific kind of work and some. None is better equipped to know it than one-self. Choice of right kind of begins with self-awareness, meaning being clear in mind what one wants to do in life, knowledge about one’s ability, awareness about one’s own strength and weaknesses, constraints and challenges, and gaining more knowledge through education and training, and be well-informed about available resources. Next comes setting goals and initiate steps to achieve it.  It requires self-discipline and further actions. Then the progress needs be monitored. Success in any area requires willingness to adapt to changes, learn from mistakes and readiness to take responsibilities and risks. Self-development does not necessarily require formal learning. It can be done by assessing one’s development needs, planning for development, learning-on-job and practicing, what one learns. Self-development is a continuous process. It increases one’s self-worth and level of confidence. 

Success comes, when people get opportunity to match their careers with their aptitudes and talents. It is better to capitalize on their strengths by joining a career matching with their aptitude and talents. One should not waste one’s energies by joining a career in the hope of better career prospects, which does not match with their aptitude or temperament. It makes the person weak and vulnerable. It is very difficult to correct one’s weaker points later on after opting for a wrong career.

Conclusion

On the basis of arguments for and against Reservation Policy it can be said that it could not stand the test of the time and face challenges of 21st century. Experiences of recent past shows that many are not rational. Many of them are based on biases or half-truths: –

 Policy of Reservation does not appear to be a practical proposition to uplift the sub-merged sections of society, but only an ideological slogan, which has pushed the real issues, principles and ideologies in the background.

  • The Directive Principles of the Constitution directed the government to provide equal opportunities and equal protection to all under the law and free and compulsory education to all children below 14 years within 10 years and promote with special care educational and economic interests of weaker sections. But the focus of politicians and the government remained on Reservation, which is based on reverse-discrimination. It violates the egalitarian principle – the very base of Democracy.
  • Policy, which was conceived to Divide and rule”, cannot unite the people. Reservation Policy came into existence with the colonial design to keep a balance of power between different sections of by dividing Indian society into many unbridgeable groups, in order to perpetuate their rule in India longer. After independence the way it is being practiced, has spread casteism, venom against Indian social structure Hinduism and caste-Hindus.
  • Pro-reservationists allege that the Indian society has always been iniquitous. It puts too many restrictions on lower castes, thus depriving, discriminating or degrading them. However, on the contrary, Hindu traditional society puts more restrictions on the activities of higher/purer castes. According to it, a knowledge person practices self-discipline, which restricts his actions from getting derailed. On others, restrictions are imposed to keep them disciplined. Restrictions are not imposed to let down the lower castes. When individuals are not matured enough, the principle of ‘Dharma’ helps them to control their impulses and guard them against wrong actions. It protects people from mental conflict, disciplines them and maintains order and harmony in the society.
  • Once the uneven distribution between different sections of society is perceived as a problem of distributive justice by the State authorities, institutional well-being takes a back seat.[xxviii]
  • It veers the nation towards paternalistic-totalitarianism.
  • Reservations were started as a temporary measure, it has become a permanent feature of Indian polity by amending the Constitution every 10th year. It  served a definite purpose immediately after independence, but not now. The process of de-scheduling should start now. With the spread of education, awareness and other welfare and development measures, many castes are already empowered.
  • At present, Reservation has become a high level strategic ploy to build an electoral base. During election times, to lure the masses and capture power, politicians make false promises to include their castes in the list of beneficiaries.
  • Providing enough opportunities to submerged sections of society to rise does not mean fixing-up quotas in public institutions. Protective policies cripples the public efforts for self-development and self-reliance.
  • To facilitate the entry of underprivileged into power-echelons, entry of upper-castes should not be restricted.
  • It has become a permanent feature, not a temporary arrangement to facilitate uplift of submerged and exist till long term measures for the sustainable development of poor start showing results.
  • Only a few places for severely disadvantaged people does not affect adversely the system But 50% or more places in government do affect adversely not only the work-culture, but also the functioning of all the political institutions.
  • Creamy layer among the officially declared as backwards are cornering all the benefits of reservation, while millions of underprivileged remain bereft of the benefits of Reservation. It suggests that nation cannot progress by reversing the power-equations or by blaming upper castes for all the sufferings of poor.
  • Dependence on the crutches of Reservation makes people weak and incapable to face challenges of 21st century. It lulls people to make efforts for self-development.
  • Reservations are just like giving a meal to a man. When a meal is given to a man, it feeds him for just a day. Once a man learns how to earn his meals, he could always feed himself
  • Except for a few SCT/OBC MPs, MLAs and bureaucrats, life-style of majority of ‘so-called backward castes’ has not changed.
  • The genuine concern for their unfortunate brethren amongst creamy layer of officially declared castes is missing.
  • After 68 years’ following of Reservations by independent India, the alarming increase of absolute number of poor people or people below poverty line shows that reservations cannot improve the fate or socio-economic-political status of impoverishment of the majority of poor backwards.
  • The present number of officially recorded backward class people exceeds the number of entire population of India at the time of independence. More than three fifths of population lacks access to adequate shelter, health care and other civic amenties. Nearly 50% people have still remained illiterate or semi-literate.
  • Supporters hope that Reservation would bring a revolutionary change in the system. However, revolutionary changes have always been brought about by the people themselves. Rulers, in fact, stand between the revolution and the people.
  • National solidarity in a democratic set up demands Government to recognize only two ends – the individual at one end and the nation as a whole at the other.  Nothing should be encouraged to organize itself in between these two ends to the detriment of the freedom of the individual and solidarity of the nation.
  • The policy has so far been caste-based instead of its being based on economic criterion. Backwardness due to poverty is a universal and secular phenomenon. It prevails everywhere in all the categories of Indian population.
  • Backwardness no longer remains a social stigma.
  • The practice of caste-based reservations and desire to get hold over state authority by hook or crook has led the backwards to adopt militant attitude. They are not so much bothered about the welfare of their caste/community as a whole, but are eager to reverse the social order and restrict the progress of the forward castes.
  • Justice Krishna Iyer (in Karamchari Sangh case AIR 1981 SC at p-306) observed that the cause of SEBC/ST/SC would be gravely injured if their disabilities were treated as permanent. “To lead immortality to the Reservation Policy is to defeat its raison detre.
  • Supporters of Reservation compare quota system with the movement of Indianization of higher civil services during British rule. Such example is based on half-truth. The caliber and performance of Indian officials is well-proved as they competed successfully with the graduates of Oxford-Cambridge on equal footing.
  • It is not wholly correct that Reservation is a constitutionally sanctioned and guaranteed right of beneficiaries forever, historically and empirically not contestable, and politically unavoidable and desirable.
  • Last but not the least, it has been observed Reservation Policy, as has been practiced in India, has given rise to casteism and regionalism. In order to boost the morale of their own people, many states want to follow the policy of the Sons of the soil”. They fear that the restricted opportunities in their own states would tend the people from other states to block the opportunities of the local people.

True empowerment calls for liberating the backward class from orthodox, superstitious and conservative constraints. It means awakening and regenerating those dormant potentials, which are inherent in them. “Nurture over the nature” should be the base. To empower them, sound system of education and training should be developed, career planning be done properly by encouraging and developing their hidden talents, and skills, so that they can come up with confidence

Suggestions

The main objective to provide a life of honour and dignity to marginalized people has been lost amidst the gore and gusto of pro and anti-Reservationists. After having a look at the arguments in favour or against reservations in government jobs, it appears that not much constructive thinking has been done.

  • As a country, the government should do its best to take concrete, innovative steps to change the atmosphere by creating more economic opportunities, improving trust between people, to change the atmosphere by creating more economic opportunity, improving trust between people and their police department, and maintaining law and order intact reducing crime in the process. It should focus on restoring economic security to more families, strengthening people through sound system of education and training, make sure that its youth get enough opportunity to reach their full potential. It would provide everyone the opportunity to get ahead.
  • Sabka saath sab ka vikas – Inclusive growth is the latest buzzword for planning strategy in India. It is sad that when politicians talk about inclusive growth they do not know what to do and for whom? A Democratic Government needs to pay equal attention to all including its elites. In an attempt to uplift submerged, the Government is not supposed to block the advancement of progressive people for removing social and economic imbalances.
  • India has been second fastest growing economy in the world. While Indian economy has grown at impressive pace over the last decade, we have witnessed that pattern of growth is not what inclusive growth of India is all about. It has resulted in development of islands of prosperity surrounded by seas of poverty and deprivation in India. (TOI, 24 jan.2014)When we say inclusive growth, it means to bring in elements of fairness, equity, and justice. Inclusive growth is ultimately related to reduction in poverty and inequality. It means befitting growth of every individual belonging to any section of society, be it poor, near poor, middle income groups or even the rich. They give more priority to solutions like reservation and subsidies than developing people’s ability to earn more. Their focus is on divisive issues that favor some segments or pitch one section of society against another. Inclusive growth means to ensure that benefits of development reaches to every citizen through speedy and all-round progress of all people. It means equal opportunities to all, educational, economic and political empowerment of all sections of society through decentralization, providing social security to all, making education accessible to all, improving the quality of education, ensuring development and participation of youth in capacity building.
  • Progress needs coordinated working of all the parts  – A society grows and develops like an organic body, in which each organ is equally important and valuable, but is assigned a different function to perform.  The coordinated working of all the parts together keeps the body fit and alive.  True, the weaker parts of the body need special care, but not at the expense of healthy organs of the body. A society functions smoothly and moves forward, only when all its constituents work in harmony with a feeling of mutual help and trust. Government needs to give enough attention to both the sections – weak and strong.
  • Aptitude – For true empowerment sound education and nurturing the natural qualities, a person owns, would be better. It would open the vista of knowledge and floodgates of opportunities to progress.
  • Sound system of education and training in income generating skills – There are many better ways to provide relief, opportunities, employment and facilities to submerged people – creating sound system of education and training, which could make more and more people employable. Good quality of education will expend the pool of qualified candidates and enable the thinly represented groups to enter into power echelons confidently.
  • Proper identification of issues – There is a need to understand different kinds of disabilities faced by different groups of backward castes living in different regions. According to the respective needs of different groups, attempts should be made to remove disabilities accordingly.
  • Necessary reforms – To help the disadvantaged, government must deal one by one with the problems that push the masses backward such as faulty implementation of forest or land policy, bonded labour, indebtedness, illiteracy, appalling standard of hygiene, health, nutrition and other civic facilities, insufficient wages, non-responsive administrative machinery, artificial caste divisions created by vested interests, low wages at subsistence or near subsistence level etc. Effective land reforms (giving land either individually or collectively to landless laborers), reforms in labour laws, (including due wages to workers), better means of communication, better civic facilities/amenities, special income-generating skill’ training to unskilled laborers etc. are some steps needed to be taken for the sustainable development. Such steps need patience, as they do not show any visible rise in official statistics, immediately.
  • Fixing up quotas not desirable – Fair-minded persons do not object to keep a few places exclusively for deserving persons from all the sections of society on the basis of economic-criterion. Deserving persons should get the needed help. But for uplifting the downtrodden, fixing up quotas for different groups in government employment is not desirable. The government intervention should be free from caste or communal biases.
  • Government to recognize two ends, individual and the nation as a whole – As suggested by the chairman of First Backward Commission Kaka Kalelkar, while framing policies, the Government should recognize only two ends the individual on the one hand and the nation as a whole, on the other. No sectional or communal groupings should be encouraged to flourish in between the two, which could undermine the equality, liberty and freedom of individuals on one hand, and on the other, the solidarity of the nation. Only when an individual is proved to be working under special handicap or is not allowed to function freely as citizens, then the Government may intervene and rectify the error.
  • Inclusive growth is the latest buzzword for planning strategy in India. It is sad that when politicians talk about inclusive growth they do not know what to do and for whom? Introduced for the first time in the 11th Plan, 12th Five year Plan titled ‘faster. Sustainable and more inclusive growth’ has given it even more prominence. It has also been the focus area of the UN Millennium Development declaration in the year 2000. Inclusive growth means to bring in elements of fairness, equity, and justice. It is ultimately related to reduction in poverty and inequality. It means befitting growth of every individual belonging to any section of society, be it poor, near poor, middle income groups or even the rich. Inclusive growth means to ensure that benefits of development reaches to every citizen through speedy and all-round progress of all people.Politicians give more priority to solutions like reservation and subsidies, which brings quick results, rather than focusing on developing people’s ability to earn more. Their focus is on divisive issues that favor some segments or pitch one section of society against another.  It means equal opportunities to all, educational, economic and political empowerment of all sections of society through decentralization, providing social security to all, making education accessible to all, improving the quality of education, ensuring development and participation of youth in capacity building.
  • De-reservation – There should be a fair and open mechanism to eliminate gradually the affluent castes from the lists of beneficiaries. For better future of submerged sections, Reservations should be provided to really deserving candidates. The beneficiary groups should be identified very carefully after going through relevant data impartially, so that the benefit of Reservations could reach to really deserving persons. It should be given only to first generation learners. It should be gradually phased out by reviewing the situation at reasonable intervals and de-scheduling the groups already come up. The Government should give priority to good basic education and good quality of higher education.
  • First tackle basic issues – For sustainable development of the society as a whole could, it is necessary to identify the real issues, solution of which needs to be need-based, result-oriented and should be implemented seriously. Government should concentrate to tackle the basic issues like illiteracy, poverty, ignorance, superstitions, mal-nutrition, lack of access to shelter, clothing, hygiene etc. Unless these critical issues are tackled in positive way, Reservation Policy cannot be of much use.
  • Individual to be treated as unit, not a caste – In order to give equal justice to everyone, to avoid growth of sectional interests, and to prevent Reservation Policy from becoming a tool of vested interests, individual alone must be treated as unit, not caste, creed or religion. At entry points and in promotions, standards must be same for all according to the requirements of those posts. Instead of relaxation in standard, preferences should be allowed. Throughout the career, officials should be encouraged to improve their performance and shoulder high responsibilities, set standards should apply equally and strictly to all.

The new economic super powers, Japan and Germany and nations like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore etc., have risen to their present status of economic affluence within a relative short period after the World War II, mainly because these nations concentrated primarily on the development of their human resources and insulated their economic processes from political pressures. They encouraged a relatively higher egalitarian distribution of incomes and lowered levels of socio-economic inequalities. Human Resource Development with high levels of education and skills led them to overcome problems of poverty, illiteracy, and hunger, unemployment, inflation and population growth. India lags behind, in spite of having talented and industrious people and good natural resources (fertile land, water, sunshine and various minerals) in abundance, only because of under-utilization of its most valued resource- human capital. People are the nation’s most basic resource in terms of productivity, creativity, innovation, economic achievements, social success and technological developments. Only their energies have to be channelized towards national goals and get out of the clutches, false promises, manipulations and twisted ideologies of the politicians.

This is a major task ahead the people. There is still time before the nation to change its course towards betterment by introducing healthy competition, instead of rat race generating inter-caste and intra-caste rivalries, by widening mental horizon and developing understanding and tolerance in people through sound education, encouraging people for self-employment,  introducing administrative reforms to cut down unproductive growth of personnel and government expenditure and preventing public money from flowing into the pockets of middlemen. There is no shortcut for growth other than hard work. If the authorities want to give the downtrodden something worthwhile, they should give them dignity, not doles.

                                                                                                              ************

[i]   Indira Sawney Vs. GOI, 1992.

[ii]   Sheth DL – Reservation Policy revisited edited by V.A. Pai Panandikar – The Politics of Backwardness 1997.

[iii]        Mukherji P, Indian Constitution.

[iv] Gill SS, Crossfire-Reservations India Today May 31, 1991 P.103.

[v] Indian Express, dated September 9, 1990, p3.

[vi] Third Concept, April 1991 P.15.

[vii] Illustrated Weekly Dec 102, 1990 P-44.

[viii] Paswan, T.O.I. 18.4.1993.

[ix] Vivek Dhareshwar, Tejaswini Niranjana, R. Srivatsan, Susie Tharu-Blame it on the Victims, illustrated weakly, Oct. 29, 1990 PP.41 to 45.

[x] Times of India. Dated, September 15, 1990.

[xi] India Today, Sept. 30, 1990.

[xii] Times of India. Dated, September 15, 1990.

[xiii] Times of India. Dated, April 18, 1993 – Caste in Wretched Mould by Ramesh Sharma.

[xiv] Times of India. Dated, October 3, 1990.

[xv] Pr. Betielle, Caste is going an Iron Grip, TOI, Dated November 1, 1989, p11.

[xvi]  An excerpt from the chapter on VP Menon, All I need to know, I learnt it in kindergarten by Robert Fulghum.

[xvii] Jeff Shear, Don’t Envy the Japanese, Reader’s Digest, July 1991, p 10.

[xviii] Toffler, Ibid.

[xix] Quoted from Indian Defense Review, July 1989.

[xx] Illustrated Weekly Oct 26 1990 P-43.

[xxi] Young India, Dated 22.10.1925.

[xxii] Crossfire-Reservation, India Today, May 31, 1991-P 103.

[xxiii] A hand book on Reservation for SC/ST compiled by Sharma and Purohit.

*********

[xxiv] Times of India, Feb 22, 1996, p10, The Wonder That is India, by Fenn Nicholas.

[xxv] Indian Express, October 12, 1990.

[xxvi] Times of India. Dated, December 30, 1992, p16.

[xxvii] India Today, Sept. 30, l990.

[xxviii] Andre Betelle, Indian Express Nov.13, 1990, P 3.

June 9, 2015 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | , | 1 Comment

Views of eminent persons on ‘Quotas/Reservations in public services’

Introduction

Reservation Policy is one of the biggest experiments, in the history of Twentieth Century, to protect human rights of vulnerable sections of the society and to overcome the cumulative disparities of power, wealth and culture among different sections of society. The issue of, “Reservations in public Services”, involves two contradictory principles. One, the principle of “Efficiency in administration” and the other the principle of “Social justice”.

Of late, it has become a source of considerable controversy. Usually the issues, which arise out of emotional feelings of the people, become acutely problematic for the authorities. Reservation issue is one of them. Reservation Policy/Affirmative Action Program aims at giving opportunities to the backward sections of society to join the mainstream 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.

Efficiency is also important. Only 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 public services by fixing up a separate quota for each of its weaker sections.

Issue – The question arises – is it possible to find out a way, which can keep a balance between the two contradictory principles? From time to time, eminent persons, leaders and intelligentsia have expressed their views on Reservation and amelioration of disadvantaged sections of the society, which are as following: –

In favour – From 1919 to 1947

Justice Miller – Leslie C Miller, the then Chief Judge of Mysore Chief court and chairman, 1st Backward Class Committee of Mysore, 1919, in his thirty one page Report, gave original ideas about Reservation, stressed the need to identify and educate backward classes. He gave reasons for compromising merit for adequate representation of backward classes in administration. He said: –

  • Efficiency, however, is not to be measured, solely or even mainly, by academic qualifications and it will not be denied that there are many important branches of the administration, in which other qualities such as sympathy, honesty of purpose, energy and common sense go as far to make an efficient officer as literary seniority [i]
  • Under the present system of Government, the officers of the Government in the higher grades of the service have necessarily much influence in shaping the policy of the administration and the efficiency of the services viewed as machines for securing the even and uniform progress of the state, is likely to be increased by the presence of their ranks of officers of different communities. [ii]
  • The fact cannot be ignored that an officer in the exercise of his duty, making appointments and promotions, finds it easier to see the virtues of his own community than those of others.[iii]
  • It is these (field level) officers, who come most frequently in contact in their official capacity with all the classes of people of the state, and from the point of view of general administration, it seems desirable that in these grades a full representation of all important communities should be found.[iv]

The Committee classified all castes into: –

  • Brahmins;
  • Other Caste Hindus, Mohammedan and Indian Christians, and
  • Depressed classes (including SCs and STs),

The Committee recommended, Within a period of not more than seven years, not less than one, half of the higher and two thirds of the lower appointments in each grades of the service and so far as possible, in each office, are to be held by the members of the communities other than Brahmins Community, preference to be given to duly qualified candidates of the depressed classes, when such are available.[v]

The Committee, further, recommended grant of exemption from qualifying educational tests, preferential treatment in the case of equal or nearly equal qualifications, relaxation of severity of prescribed tests, and prescribed selection of minimum proportion of backward classes in making appointments. It advocated special facilities to encourage higher and professional education among members of backward communities or any other special measure, which may be taken to increase the representation of the backward communities in public service without materially affecting efficiency. This was the start of Reservation Policy.

Against

M.C. Ranga IyengarOne of the member of the Miller Committee, Mr. Iyengar rejected most of the recommendations on the ground that any Reservation would harm efficiency of administration by preventing persons with merit from joining the services.

 Views of some important leaders  (1947 to 1950) 

Dr. Ambedkar in favour – Ambedkar, an undisputed leader of untouchables, and Doyen of Contemporary Dalit Politics, the Chairman of the drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly, a man, whose own life is most inspiring example of what a man can achieve by hard work, knowledge, and clear-cut priorities, said:

  • Reservation is not aimed at economic uplift or alleviation of poverty. But it is a provision made for the entry of certain castes, which have so far been outside the administration. Hence the need for their adequate representation in State Services. Adequacy should be judged not by their presence in the lower rung of the services, but their entry into the higher echelons, the corridor of power.
  • Where a majority of population is denied its share in actual power, there exists no democracy.
  • Attempt to uplift my community rather than to win Swaraj for the nation is my goal. [vi]
  • I will leave no doubt in the minds of the people of this country that I have another loyalty, to which I am bound and which I can never for-sake. The loyalty is to the community of the untouchables; in which I am born, to which I belong and which I hope, I shall never desert. And I say this…. as strongly as I possibly can that whenever there is any conflict of interests between the country and the untouchables, so far as I am concerned, the untouchable interests will take precedence over the interests of the country. I am not going to support a tyranny of the majority, simply because it happens to speak in the name of the country…. As between the country and myself, the country will have precedence, as between the country and the depressed classes, the depressed classes will have precedence. [vii]
  • He regarded Hinduism and caste system as great obstacles to Hindu Unity [viii]
  • My self-respect cannot assimilate Hinduism…The religion that does not recognize you as human beings…is not worthy to be called a religion.
  • In an ideal society, there should be many interests consciously communicated and shared. There should be varied and free points of contact with other modes of association. In other words, there should be social endosmosis. There is fraternity, which is only another name of democracy. Democracy is not merely a form of Government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men. [ix]

During Constituent Assembly Debates, Ambedkar advocated the policy of Reservation.

Ambedkar, against Reservations – But later on, as a socialist and humanist, which had the long-range interests of untouchables at heart, had developed doubts about advisability and efficacy of Reservation Policy.

Chowdhary Charan Singh said, Ambedkar himself declared in a speech sometime before his death that the provision of Reservation in service should not extend beyond 1960/61.”[x] Pr. Balraj Madhok had also pointed out that later in life, Ambedkar realized that SC and ST would not be able to stand on their own feet, so long as they depended on the crutches of Reservation. Reservation, Dr. Ambedkar said, “Encouraged backwardness, inefficiency and lack of competitive merit among them barring a few stray cases.” Therefore, when he launched the Republican Party of India, he incorporated this view in the Manifesto, according to which the party was committed itself to abolish all kinds of Reservations based on caste and birth.[xi]

During his last days during early 50’s, Ambedkar said, I have not been able to fulfil my mission. I wanted to do more for the SC people and to see them as governing class in my life. I could have succeeded, but my own people have deceived me. Whatever I have been able to do, is being enjoyed by the educated people and they are the worst fools. I now want to divert my attention to the uneducated masses, but life seems short. The second worry to my mind is that I wanted that somebody from the SC should come forward and take the responsibilities from me. There, however, seems none to shoulder such a heavy responsibility. All are selfish and quarrel themselves on petty matters. [xii]

The present day followers of Ambedkar do not seem not to have done justice in   understanding Ambedkar’s views in right perspective. He wanted to annihilate caste system not by revenge, hatred and violence, but by rethinking, reason and reformation. He, therefore, taught untouchables To organize, educate and agitate with an aim to finishing caste prejudices, the arrogance, and the Holier than thou’ attitude of Brahmins.   He wanted his people to improve their condition by education, enlightenment and enterprise not by animosity, anger and abuse.

It is quite understandable that he did not hate Brahmins as he was happily married to a Brahmin lady. He respected Justice Ranade. However, his followers appear not to have done justice with Ambedkar and used his name ruthlessly for their selfish motive and political ends. They idolized Ambedkar as Rescuer of Dalits. The trend in 90s of idolization of Ambedkar or attempts of Ambedkarisation of the nation exposed the intentions of his followers, especially when he himself considered idolization as an act leading to destruction. Today agitated the Dalit leaders are, but their agitation is far away from being a positive or constructive one. It has turned into a negative militancy against caste Hindu.

 1990’s witnessed a wave of Ambedkarization of politics. Many politicians started describing Ambedkar as the Father or The maker of Indian Constitution. Experts on Constitutional law have some Reservation to such expressions, because both the constituent Assembly and its Drafting Committee headed by Dr. Ambedkar were the formal centers of work. The real place of work was the Congress Working Committee, which took all the important decisions. There, the prominent role was played by leaders like Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad or Constitutional jurists like Alladi Krishna Swami Ayyar, K.M. Munshi and others. It was frankly admitted by Mahavir Tyagi, one of the members of Drafting Committee, and Dr. Ambedkar himself that their hands were tied and they were only carrying out the wishes of the majority. After an examination of the situation, Pr. K.V. Rao said, No doubt, Ambedkar, a man of legal acumen, untiring industry, consummate skill and firmness, tempered with modernization, made substantial contribution to the framing of the Constitution…My reading of the Constitution makes me feel that it is inappropriate to call Dr. Ambedkar, the father of the Constitution. If any people are entitled to be called so, they are Nehru and Patel, but I would like to call them the Presiding Deities, the sources of all the ideas of the Constitution, the real makers of the Constitution. I would like to attribute father-hood to them as well as to the members of the Drafting Committee in common, but I would not like to single out Dr. Ambedkar for this honour. He had recognition as an intellectual having his own philosophy and interpretations, but he lacked leadership qualities and mass appeal. Ambedkar earned the wrath of intelligentsia during pre-Independence period because: –

  • He, himself, was a beneficiary of social reform movement in Maharashtra led by nationalist leaders and reformers mostly belonging to caste Hindus. But he regarded caste Hindus as his enemy,
  • Intelligentsia regarded his move for separate electorates for untouchable as an act to divide Hindu society permanently. It is alleged that he could not rise beyond his caste identity,
  • He was criticized for his association with Simon Commission proceedings, First Round Table Conference and Viceroy’s Executive Committee as member, with an intention to cooperate with British rulers, at the time, when national leaders were fighting British rulers for Independence;
  • His anguish against Hinduism and caste system and his act of burning Hindu-script, which he regarded as great obstacles to the Indian unity, annoyed many.
  • Some people did not like his confrontation with Gandhi. Ambedkar, like Jinnah was against Hindu majority rule, Congress Party and Gandhi. Both of them reacted against the above three in similar manner most of the times and preferred continuance of British rule.

Mahatma Gandhi – Both Gandhi and Ambedkar were opposed to caste-oppression, caste-discrimination and committed to transform the socio-economic and political status of untouchables. But their approach was different.

Gandhiji could never reconcile with Ambedkar’s arguments during Simon Commission proceedings for separate political rights for untouchables from that of Hindus. According to Gandhiji the terms of Communal Award of 1932 will ensure them (untouchables) bondage in perpetuity.’ He asked, Do you want the untouchables to remain untouchable for ever. What is needed is destruction of untouchability.

Gandhi’s’ approach was to do it in an unobtrusive way. He advised untouchables to fight against oppression through awareness, education and self-confidence by adopting cleaner habits and not using foul language, overcoming their weaknesses, thus by bringing reform from within. At the same time, he made efforts to arouse the conscience of caste-Hindus by advising them to treat untouchables humanly.

Gandhiji always believed in a good balance between rights and duties, giving importance to means as well as ends and considering basic values of life to be extremely important for development. Gandhiji never believed in superficial measures – Reservations being one of them. Some of his views are: –

  • So far, as the Reservation in 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 certainly be no favoritism…. If we want five engineers, we must not take one from each community, but we must take the fittest of five, even if they were all Muslims or all Parsis. The lowest poor must, if need be, filled by examination by an impartial board consisting of men belonging to different communities.
  • Distribution of posts should never be according to the proportion of members of each community…. The educationally backward communities will have a right to receive favored treatment in the matter of education at the hands of the national Government. This can be secured in an effective manner. But those, who aspire to occupy responsible posts in the Government of the country, can only do, if they pass the required test.

Gandhiji, unlike Ambedkar was not an individual crusader. He was a man of mass action. He converted Tilaks revolutionary Mantra, Swaraj into mass struggle for national regeneration through Tilak’s four-fold program – Swadeshi, boycotts, prohibition and national education. He preached what he did and practiced himself. He suggested to respect all kinds of work and to ready to do any work – even scavenging, without any hesitation. He himself did it along with the untouchable.

 Some of the Members of Constituent Assembly 

Gyani Gurumukh Singh Musafir – Gyaniji felt that the society had made the untouchables live in a very poor condition for hundreds of years. Therefore during Constituent Assembly debates he said, 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 lifted… 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 name gives them this complex that they belong to a depressed class.[xiii] 

Subhash Lal Saxena – During the Constituent Assembly debates, he said, If capable Harijans are available, they should be recruited to senior posts. Besides the ordinary posts, the Harijans should be given all such jobs, for which they are eligible. Harijans should be recruited in the Police. They should be given the posts of Patwaries, School Masters and Head masters etc. These posts would remove the inferiority complex, which is prevailing among them. [xiv]

From 1950 to 1970

Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, The first Prime Minister of India (1952 -1964), was a visionary, a theoretical revolutionary, an idealist and a socialist by conviction. His ideas were greatly influenced by the modern West. Gandhiji described him as, more English than Indian in his thought and make. Masses fell under the spell of his irresistible charisma and yet he could not identify himself with the masses and adopt their life style as Gandhiji and Patel did. He remained distant and aloof even in their midst.[xv]

His opinion about Reservation was, I 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’s and STs. That deserves 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. [xvi]

Nehru in a letter to Patel (March 29, 1950) showed his frustration, I see every ideal that I have held fading away and conditions emerging in India, which not only distress me, but indicate to me that my life’s work has been a failure. This depression/frustration of Pt. Nehru reached to its maximum before his death in 1964.

Sardar PatelSardar Patel was an important member of Constituent Assembly, and the first Home Minister of independent India. Sardar Patel along with Gandhiji, DR. Rajendra Prasad and Nehru captained and pulled the nation out of darkness and stormy times preceding and following the transfer of power. He was down to earth a realist, a born Kisan and a traditionalist. He was The iron man of India with strong will power, sturdy commonsense, indomitable courage, incorruptible integrity, austere and simple living unlike today’s politicians. He led a life full of suffering and sacrifice. Devotion to duty was the hallmark of his character.[xvii] He was a strict disciplinarian.

With his mature thinking and realism, he handled many complex state affairs like unification of India within  a very short period, broken law and order machinery at the time of transfer of power, expeditious evacuation of millions of Hindus and Sikhs caught in the Communal holocaust in West Pakistan, or vexatious issue of the division of assets between India and Pakistan, or smooth integration of Indian States by pacifying the Princess of 500 and old princely States.

He 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. On the eve of Independence the entire administration exhibited the signs of wear and tear.[xviii]

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.[xix]

Sardar Patel was opposed to the Parrot cry of socialism” and lashed out against socialists for their agitation on an issue, which he considered, was hampering unity and strength of the country. He is reported to have remarked on 2nd January 1948 at Shillong before a mammoth gathering. By experience, I am convinced that what is necessary for us is to learn how to produce more wealth (created by ones 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.

 Kaka kalelkar Kaka Kalelkar, Chairman of the First Central backward Class Commission, though in his Report recommended Reservation for Backward classes in class I, II, III and IV Services of Government of India. But later, in his note of dissent, he expressed his views on the issue of Reservation, the weaker sections and their uplift. According to him: –

“If the backward communities have neglected education it is because they had no use for it. 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 open competition and having the special advantage of mixing with people and serving them, they will prove themselves better administrators and leaders of society.[xx]

He also said, “I am definitely against Reservations in Government services for any community for the simple reason that services are not meant for the servants but for the service of the society as a whole. Administration must have the services of the best men available in the land and this may be found in all the communities. Reservation of post 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, whatever be their qualifications.’ [xxi]

Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia – Dr. Lohia said, “Castes restrict opportunity, restricted opportunity constricts ability, constricted ability further restricts opportunity, where caste prevails opportunity and ability are restricted to ever narrowing circles of people.”

Jagjivan Ram Jagjivan Ram was a cabinet Minister in Indira Gandhis Government. He was known for his administrative capabilities. I am for Reservation, says Mr. Jagjivan Ram, not because it is a means of economic uplift, but because it is an instrument of social change…I will not seek Reservation for my son, the day he becomes touchable…If a chamar’s son becomes a sub-inspector, a Brahmin constable will salute him. Imagine what kind of social revolution it is, when a bhangis son becomes a district magistrate. [xxii]

Chowdhary Charan Singh Chowdhary Charan Singh, a Jat leader, was the founder of Lok Dal, an ex Prime Minister, Charismatic leader of Backward castes and the political Guru of Sharad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Laloo Prasad Yadav and many others. He wrote to Sri Banarasi Dass, the then Chief Minister of UP, about the Reservation as under: –

“It must be conceded that Reservation on the basis of caste is vicious principle and creates many problems. More than Reservation in recruitment, it is Reservation in promotions that have 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. [xxiii]

Chowdhary Charan Singh was also against extending Reservation to SCT beyond 10 years, as is evident from the contents of the same letter, The Union Government however, has for political reasons, been extending the period of Reservation decades after decades. There should be bar on children of those, who have benefited from Reservation and those who are income tax payers, so that other less fortunate could be helped…Children of all those, who have already been benefited by Reservation and thus have been brought in a cultural environment higher than the average, should not be entitled to this concession.

Views of leaders from 1980 to 1990

Rajiv GandhiRajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India between 1985 to 1989, in a talk with Dileep Padgaonkar, said, Today the major challenge for the nation is rapid development. If the nation does not move ahead at the fastest possible pace, it is going to miss-out on global changes that are taking place. If we are not on the scene as a major player, very soon we will not be a player at all…”

“Hence rapid development. Common wisdom is that you get meritocracy in all the right places and then everything will work well. Meritocracy does not belong to particular groups. The idea that it belongs to certain groups creates social tensions. It is the duty of the Government to bring more and more people out of their economic, social and educational backwardness…”

“Forty years ago; it may not be possible to take an alternative action. Now India has reached to the stage, when an alternative action has to be given to the disadvantaged groups to come up. It should be ensured that the gap between Reservation benefits and non-reserved quota could be minimized…”

“To push up the percentage, economic and educational measures have to be taken…In the north, the cut off between open and reserved is very wide, while in Tamil Nadu, there is a difference of only about 2%. When people come to that sort of equality in educational terms, one can start thinking of qualifying the affirmative action, so that the really weak benefit from it.” [xxiv]

1990’s Onwards

VP SinghVP Singh was the Prime Minister of India during 1990-91. He was not in favour of Reservation when he was Chief Minister of UP, or when he was a Minister in the Cabinet of Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi. Yet, he took the decision to implement Reservations in the Government of India when he was the Prime Minister. His views on Reservation are as under: –

 “The iniquitous social structure is sustained by the iniquitous power structure. Therefore, there is a need for Affirmative Action. [xxviii]

In the land of Periyar and Kamraj, thanks to the policy of Reservation in state services, one belonging to socially backward community could become a policemen or Tehsildar. But if Mandal Commission was implemented, the candidates from backward caste could straight away become the collector or SP. [xxv]

 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. [xxvii]

“Coming of the deprived sections into higher power echelons is a revolution in Indian political and social history. [xxvi]

“As far as criticism that efficiency shall suffer as a result of the Reservation policy, I say that only a person who has suffered as SC/ST/BC/OBC member of society, can be a good administrator. A feeling heart with less intelligence is more important in administration than having intelligence.’ [xxix]

According to him, Reservations have Brought a glimmer of hope to the eyes of those, who have known only social oppression for centuries. It has opened a small door to give them a share in shaping the destiny of the nation. [xxx]

 VP Singh has changed the nation’s political agenda. Even earlier also, he had raised different issues that seized the national imagination. In his political life, he had always selected subjects that grip national attention and nobody could dare oppose his ideas. In 1990, again he rewrote the rules of political game by raising the issue of Reservation based on castes and since then, it became a political reality either to accept Reservation or be labeled as anti-Reservationist and risk to loose backward caste votes. On the one hand, a massive shift in power structure has taken place since 1990. Over 75% of the members elected in Assemblies and Parliaments are now from the deprived sections.[xxxi]

The Reservation policy has found a wide spread acceptance with all other parties jumping bandwagon. On the other hand, a casteist monster has been let loose by Mandal acceptance making each individual caste-conscious. The tradition of Indian politics ever since Independence movement had been consensual. Since 1990, it became confrontationist. It has caused polarization of society on caste lines and spread suspicion against each other. Caste-wars have rocked the Hindu-belt, especially Bihar. Law and order situation deteriorated all over India.

Quite often, it is alleged that it was not the concern for the downtrodden, but the compulsions of electoral arithmetic that led VP Singh to take such a decision. He unleashed the politics of caste in order to secure political mileage, to wean away backward castes MPs from Devilal’s (the then Deputy Prime Minister) clout, to delink the backward castes from Jats, to give a big blow to BJP by dividing Hindu Society on caste lines, to consolidate his social base – Rajputs, backwards and Muslims and lastly to get a firm foot-hold in the South. Very soon, it was realized that one can fool some people some of the time, but not all people for all time. His arithmetical calculation did not yield much to him or to his party. He alienated middle class and antagonized press and intelligentsia.

 Chandra Shekhar – Chandra Shekhar, Prime Minister of India in 1992, said, Mandal has allowed narrow-factional and electoral interests to prevail over national interests. [xxxii]

Jagannath MisraMisra, an ex Chief Minister of Bihar, feels that the implementation of Mandal recommendation, Apart from dividing the Hindu society, has divided the Muslims on caste lines as well, as it lists some vocational minority groups as backward, leaving aside a vast majority of them to feud for themselves. The community as such is socially backward and the bulk of them are below poverty line…And their representation in the State and Central Services is only minimal. [xxxiii]

 Ram Vilas PaswanDuring 1990-91, Mr. Paswan, a Cabinet Minister in VP Singh’s cabinet, championed the cause of Reservation. However, on December 12, 1987, in a speech at Benepatti, Madhubani, he demand,ed amendment in the Constitution to end the prevalent policy of Reservation for Harijans and backward classes in Government Services and replacing it by right to work for everybody, because…Reservation system had failed to achieve its purpose and had created social tensions in the country.”

Later on, he changed his views and opined as under :-

  • It is ironical that, The one, who makes clothes, does not have clothes to wear, the one that makes shoes, does not have any to wear himself and the one, that makes houses, does not have a roof over his head.
  •  The mindset of the upper-caste is difficult to change, which has hardened over a thousand years of oppressing Harijans and regarding them a lesser being.
  • Right now our society is like this, with each caste lying oppressively on the one below it.
  • Though several laws have been enacted to improve their lot, much of it remain on paper…Harassment, brutalisation and killings of Harijans continue in remote backward areas, where a majority of Dalits still live in the dark ages of denial and deprivation. [xxxiv]
  • Paswan regarded Reservations in jobs and educational institutions necessary, because it had made it possible for a son of oppressed to become a collector or SP.
  • Nothing will change till they are given a share in land, industry and administration beside politics. No amount of reform with the old structure will do, it needs to be dismantled wholesale. [xxxv]
  • ‘There is no justification for finishing Reservations for downtrodden, till caste-system exists.’
  • If justice was denied to poor, the doors to violence would be thrown open.’ [xxxvi]
  • Paswan challenged the argument of merit by saying Merit ! what is Merit… What merit is there in Capitation fee system?

 Kanshi Ram – Earlier, Kanshi Ram, founder and Supremo of BSP, was Member of Republican Party of India – the only Dalit outfit before 70’s. In 1973, he formed the Backward and minority Community Employees Federation. In 1981, he launched BSP and provided the country a new formula of DS4 (Dalit Samaj of SC, ST, OBC and Minorities). He says: –

  • No economic system, be it communism, capitalism socialism or liberalism, can succeed in India, as long as the ism of Brahminism holds sway.’ [xxxvii]
  • We have no other program except the one to capture political power.

He is critical of Dalits groups in Maharashtra for always seeking concessions from the upper castes. He wants the Dalits to aim for political power. He said that he was opposed to Reservations and land reforms.[xxxviii]

Mr. Kanshi Ram declares himself as king-maker and says, BSP is a self- centered party. I will ensure that no Government stays at Center for too long. Not until, we are ready to takeover.[xxxix]

 Syed Shahabuddin – Shahabuddin stresses, In a democracy every social group is entitled to share the fruits of development and keep a hand on the levers of power…Both inter and intra group disparity 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. [xl]

Ram Jethmalani – According to Jethmalani, a leading lawyer, Reservations would destroy visible casteist indignities. The poverty in India was not the general poverty resulting from general causes like colonial exploitation, paucity of natural resources or inefficient management of economy. The poverty was the direct result of Unspeakable atrocities perpetuated by a small number of privileged individuals on the vast majority of their countrymen.

The constitution framers took cognizance of the tragic historical realities and promised to the people – justice, social, economic and political. The preamble of the Constitution did not talk of merit or efficiency. It preferred justice as a superior goal and made it a fundamental principle of governance of the country. In some way, caste Hindus are accountable and punishable for the sins of their ancestors. Therefore, the high castes should willingly support the policy of compensatory discrimination. Mr. Jethmalani further says, Any revolution being impossible in a segmented Indian Society, Reservation is the best instrument for social change. It is a slow, but sure process….”

“For talented persons of higher castes, vast, almost limitless scope for growth and achievement is available in private sector. The whole of private sector is available to them. The liberal professions are wholly open to them. Besides Commerce and Industry, in the rest of the world, outside India is open to them. Even in the field of public employment vast chunks like defense and atomic research have been left out for them…The choice before our young men of merit is clear. [xli]

According to him, the objectives of Reservations are: –

  •  Remedying historical injustice;
  • Eliminating prejudices against historically discriminated groups;
  • National Integration by bringing within power structure the groups, so far excluded because of social discrimination. [xlii]

 About caste as a basis, he has to say that Mandal did not create castes. It is the reality of Hindu Society especially in rural India. Constitution also failed to abolish caste system. Besides law permits caste associations. The castes, identified as backward, have not done blindly. The authorities have used a large data base like Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Anthropological Survey of Social Science Research, National Labour Institute, the Center for Study of Developing societies, Institute of Economic Growth and Indian Law Institute. They had conducted extensive field survey and research. Mandal Commission itself applied eleven indicators of backwardness. Caste has been recognized as a base for the sake of convenience because: –

  • Members of a caste share a common level of opportunities and resources;
  • Social and educational backwardness due to low status and deprivation of advantages to some castes;
  • In a country, where caste is detriment of many things, where social life is influenced by caste and where caste determines the occupations of large number of people, which in turn directly effects their status and poverty, it is undesirable to ignore caste in determining backwardness;
  • Dependence on caste makes it easy to identify traditionally backward groups. [xliii]

 Swami Agnivesh – A leader of Bandhua Mukti Morcha, he says, We have created our fractures and schisms – It was not the Mughal, it was not the British, but it was Vedas that consolidated casteism in Indian Culture….We can see Reservation policy today as palliatives, as attempts to whitewash bitter historical reality, sitting of a handful of armchair sociologists and people pretending the rest of backward India does not exist…An egalitarian society can be established only when the people are given their due. The monopoly of upper castes on jobs, business and services would no more be allowed.

 Intelligentsia after  1990

SS GillSS Gill, the Secretary of Mandal Commission, feels that Indian society has always been a deeply divided society. Caste based Reservations have been practiced in India most effectively for the past 3000 years. In view of continued all round deprivation of the lower castes over the centuries, these Reservations are their long due.[xliv] Mr. Gill defends Reservation and Mandal Commission by saying: –

  • “Its aim is not poverty eradication, but an effort to restore human dignity to masses and build confidence in them. Moreover, it sought to bring a reduction in social disparities, that divide Indian society.
  • The control of nation is in the hands of upper castes and the lower castes had been left to do the menial work. The 17% of the population belonging to upper castes decide about the fate of 83% of lower castes. Let the 83% become the part of decision making and decide themselves about their welfare. [xlv]

Seervai HM – According to Seervai, a Constitutional Expert, Reservations in services affect five parties adversely :-

  • The state, to whose service, persons are recruited by open competition in examinations held by independent Public Service Commission;
  • The Public, as the very phrase public servant shows;
  • The persons, who are discriminated against, by Reservation in favour of members of SC/ST/OBC;
  • Members of SC/ST/OBC, in whose favour discrimination is being made by fixing Reservation quota, and
  • The service, that is each service considered as a whole.

A service, which lacks espirit de corps, i.e., consciousness of and pride on belonging to a particular service, misses an element essential to an efficient and 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. [xlvi]

Palkiwala Nani APalkiwala, a leading lawyer and Constitutional Expert says that Reservation Policy suffers from five fatal flaws: –

  • The substandard replaces the standard and the reigns of power are to pass from meritocracy to mediocracy,
  • It ignores the reality that there is no backward castes, but backward individuals,
  • Reservation in promotion is disastrous enough for the Civil administration,
  • It divides the country along caste lines and is against social harmony and social intermingling of various castes and,
  • 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 caliber.[xlvii] Palkiwala opines that Mandal has revived the casteism, which the Constitution emphatically intended to end. [xlviii]

Pr. Beteille – Pr. Beteille, an eminent anthropologist, says, ‘Those, who see oppression everywhere – at school, in office and workplace, at home, in places of entertainment, indeed in every image on the Tele-screen, end by making non-sense of the very idea of power or society.’[xlix] He further says, 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 on, 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 effect would show immediately in official statistics, would be to alter the proportions directly through Reservation of jobs. [l]

 Arun ShourieArun Shourie, an Eminent Journalist, believes that a society, based on the principles of social justice, integrity, equal rights and opportunities for all, means recognition for the inherent rights of every human being to work and achieve the essentials of life like food, clothing, housing, education, social amenities and security. These should not be determined by accident of birth or sex, but by planned social distribution, to accept the claim of every citizen to the right to enjoy basic rights and liberties. It also means to create awareness among its citizens, so that they can justly exercise their rights and perform their duties.

A job should be something, which one has to work to get, something which one has to do one’s utmost to retain and advance in it. It should not be, advancement in it must not be any one’s right. Reservations definitely develop ethos that the job, the promotion is mine by right and that too, because of my birth, not work. How can a modern society survive, let alone grow with this as its ethos. [li] According to him: –

  • Reservations were introduced as an exception, a temporary one, but it became a permanent feature,
  • It tends to grow. Concessions once given to a group is grabbed one after another group,
  • Concessions introduced in one sphere spreads to others.
  • With its growth, it suffers progressive, rapid debasement.
  • A concession, once given, becomes a right.
  • Democratic institutions like courts find itself unable to arrest the rot and to ensure, that it sub-serves the end, for which it was meant.

BD Sharma – in his 29the Report, Mr. Sharma, an ex-Commissioner for SCT, pointed out that 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 was 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 fall 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 ST. 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.

Observations of the Courts

Efficiency in administration It must not be forgotten that the efficiency in administration has such paramount importance, that it would be unwise and impermissible to make any Reservation at the cost of efficiency of administration. That undoubtedly is the effect of Article 335. [lii]

Special protectionSpecial protection under Article 16(4) is not in the nature of an exception. The principles of Art 46 are to be kept in mind, viz. that it is extended to the weaker sections of people. However, the Reservations should not be used to imperil administrative efficiency in the name of concessions to backwardness… Efficiency of administration is bound to be adversely affected, if general candidates of high merit are excluded from recruitment…. The politicization of casteism, its infiltration into unsuspected human territories and the injection of caste concession’s in schools and colleges via backwardness Reservations, are a canker in the rose of secularism.[liii]

 50% limitA special provision should be less than 50%. How much less than 50% would depend on the circumstances in each case. [liv]

Constant reviewAll the same, the Government should not proceed on the basis that once a class is considered as a backward class, it should continue to be backward class for all time to come. Such an approach would defeat the very purpose of the Reservation. Therefore, the list of castes, which are entitled to Reservation must be kept constantly under review. [lv]

Reservation as temporary measureIf freedom, justice and equal opportunity to unfold ones own personality belong alike to Bhangi and Brahmin, prince and pauper, if the Panchama proletariat is to feel the social transformation, Article 16(4) promises, the state must apply equalizing techniques, which will enlarge their opportunities and thereby, progressively diminish the need for props. The success of State action under Article 16(4) consists in the speed, with which result oriented Reservation withers away as no longer a need, not in the ever widening and everlasting operation of an exception (Article 16(4)) as if it were a superficial right to continue backward all the time. To lend immortality to the Reservation policy is to defeat its raison’detre. To politicize this provision for communal support and party ends is to subvert the solemn undertaking of Article 16(1). To castefy Reservation even beyond the dismal groups of most backward people, euphemistically described as SC and ST, is to run a grave constitutional risk. Caste, ipso facto, is not class in a secular state. [lvi]

 Caste as basis for Reservation – The caste cannot be and should not be taken as the basis for Reservation for the following reasons: –

  • Caste cannot be made sole beneficiary or dominant test. Economic backwardness would provide a much more reliable yardstick…There is a clear distinction between class and caste. [lvii]
  • Backward classes are not synonymous with backward caste.[lviii]
  • Poverty in rural areas cannot be the basis of classification.[lix]
  • If the state patronage for preferred treatment accepts caste as the only insignia for determining social and educational backwardness, the danger looms large that this approach alone would legitimize and perpetuate caste-system. It does not go well with our proclaimed secular character as enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution. [lx]

PromotionsSupreme Court does not favour quota in promotions as it is harmful from the point of view of efficiency.[lxi] Also in the case Indira Sawaney vs Government of India, the court opined against Reservations in promotion.

Opinion of 21st Century about recruitment in public services

Singapore’s rise from third world country to First rank nation in modern Global world and the recent unfortunate crash of Deutsche Lufthansa AG makes the people to think that in order to provide effective and efficient service to people at large, personnel of public services should be selected very carefully. In the selection process authorities should not  leave any lot of room to assess the eligibility knowledge-wise, physical fitness psychological suitability of the candidates. Prospective candidates should undergo full-fledged psychiatric evaluations along with their regular physicals including that candidates do not suffer from depression, alcoholism, prescription drug abuse or personal problems such as divorce or financial pressures. Such a thinking and requirement of fast-moving world do not leave any room for recruiting  candidates on relaxed grounds.

[i] Backward Class Committee of Mysore, 1919, p2.

[ii] Backward Class Committee of Mysore, 1919, p2.

[iii] Backward Class Committee of Mysore, 1919, p2.

[iv] Backward Class Committee of Mysore, 1919, p3.

[v] Backward Class Committee of Mysore, 1919, p4.

[vi] Dalit Bandhu, Dated April 15, 1948, p31.

[vii] Cited in Ganguly Amulya, Unexpurgated Version, Times of India, dated May 25, 1994, p10.

[viii]   Kuber WN, Ambedkar, p177.

[ix] Times of India, Dated April 17, 1994, Ambedkar.

[x] Indian Express, Dated September 14, 1990.

[xi] Pr. Madhok Balraj, Aryan Heritage, May 1985.

[xii] Chandra V and Mowli, BR Ambedkar – Man and his vision, 1990.

[xiii] Constituent Assembly Debates, November 27, 1947.

[xiv] Constituent Assembly Debates, November 27, 1947.

[xv] Krishna B. Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel: India’s Iron Man, Hindustan Times, Dated November 12, 1995, p5.

[xvi] A letter Dated June 27, 1961, addressed to Chief Ministers of various States.

[xvii] Krishna B, Times of India, Dated November 12, 1995, p 5.

[xviii] Provincial Premiers Conference in Delhi. October 21, 1946.

[xix] Quoted in Sardar Patel by PD Saggi, p185.

[xx] Backward Class Commission Report 1956, Vol. PX.

[xxi] BCCI, ibid, pVIII.

[xxii] India Today, Dated April 15, 1985, p61.

[xxiii] A letter Dated February 12, 1982, quoted from Indian Express, September 14, 1990.

[xxiv] Times of India, Dated September 2, 1990, p11.

[xxv] Indian Express, Dated December 28, 1992.

[xxvi] Hindustan Times, Dated August 4. 1997, p12.

[xxvii] Independence Day speech on August 15, 1990.

[xxviii] Indian Express, Dated November 23, 1990, p4.

[xxix] Times of India. Dated, September 17, 1990.

[xxx] Times of India. Dated, September 28, 1990, p8.

[xxxi] Hindustan Times, Dated August 4, 1997.

[xxxii] Illustrated Weekly September 16, 1990.

[xxxiii] Frontline September 15-28, 1990 P.32.

[xxxiv] Times of India. Dated, April 18, 1993, p15.

[xxxv] Frontline August 31, September 3, 1991 P.100.

[xxxvi] Times of India, Dated, April 8, 1992.

[xxxvii] Times of India. Dated, December 7, 1993, p1.

[xxxviii] Times of India. Dated, December 27, 1993.

[xxxix] Times of India. Dated, September 24, 1990.

[xl] Times of India. Dated, September 24, 1990.

[xli] Times of India. Dated, September 28, 1990, p8.

[xlii] Ram Jethmalani – Why I support Mandal, Sunday, October 21-27, 1990, pp. 64- 66.

[xliii] Sunday 21-27 October 1990.

[xliv] Illustrated Weekly of India October 7, 1990.

[xlv] Times of India. Dated, September 24, 1990.

[xlvi] Seervai Is an efficient public service irrelevant in India, Indian Express September, 1990 P.1.

[xlvii] Palkiwala – Unity and Security of State at Stake Indian Express September 14, 1990).

[xlviii] Times of India. Dated, February 22, 1992.

[xlix] Times of India. Dated, July 20, 1993.

[l] 6th T.T. Krishmachari Memorial lecture on Distributive Justice and Institutional well-being on November 11, 1990 at Institute of Economic Growth.

[li] Shourie – This way lies not only folly but also disaster, Indian Express 22.8.1990.

[lii] Justice Gajendra Gadkar on Rangachari case 1961.

[liii] Akhil Bhartiya Soshit Karamchari Sangh Vs UOI (1981.

[liv] Balaji Vs State of Mysore.

[lv] Supreme Court in Periakarpan Vs Tamil Nadu (1971), Chote Lal and others Vs State of UP

[lvi] Karamchari case 1981.

[lvii] Balaji Vs State of Mysore 1963), State of AP VP Sagar (1968), Rajendra case 1968.

[lviii] Trilokinath V State of J&K 1967.

[lix] Janki Pd Parimoo State of J&K (1973), State of UP Vs T. Tandon (1970.

[lx] Justice Chandrachud in Vasant Kumar v State of AP 1980.

[lxi] Thomas vs. Kerala and General Manager Southern Railway vs. Rangachari, Indira Sawney case.

April 11, 2015 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | , | 1 Comment

‘Backwardness’ a ‘status symbol’ in India

Introduction –There was a time when people thought it a stigma to be called Backward. Now at the threshold of 21st century, reversed trend is seen as the different groups vie with each other to be included, preferably in SC list, failing which in OBCs list.

Background – There was a time, when numerous caste groups clamored for higher caste status in Census operations of 1901, 1911, and 1921 and supported their claims with different factors. Earlier untouchables had clubbed their political activities with backward classes led by the Justice Party and South Indian Liberation Federation, which were already agitating against Brahmin’s dominance in modern callings. These parties together, now known as the depressed classes, succeeded in getting a few nominated seats for themselves through the Act of 1919. By the end of 1920 the principle of special attention was firmly established at provincial level. (Zelliot, Ibid, p. 166) Depressed classes representation increased and was extended to include a nominated member in the Central Legislative Council, following suggestions of the Middleman Committee in 1925. (Zelliot, Ibid., p 158).

What glamourized backwardness? – But the political acceptance of Reservation as a tool of social engineering has glamorized backwardness. The granting of an electorate for Muslims…Brought the idea of communal electorates…. to the forefront in the minds of all communities, which feared their submersion in the Government run by the dominant caste of Hindu community. Amongst them were the lower strata of Hindu community also. (Zelhot Eleanor, Dr. Ambedkar and the Mahar Movement, p 141.)

Unfair to stigmatize any group by official acknowledgement of their low status – Till 1931, the British Government at national level consistently refrained itself to giving any section of Indian Society any official classification on the grounds that it would be unfair to stigmatize any group by official acknowledgement of their low status. It considered it unfair because, Owing to social disabilities, to which members of the depressed classes are exposed, it would be in the highest degree undesirable that any official authorization might appear to extend to such qualification. The fluidity of social distinctions and the efforts of the classes, lowest in the scale, aided by social reformers, to improve their status, make it more desirable, that Government should abstain from doing anything, which would tend to give rigidity to these distinctions. (Indian Statutory Commission 1930 VI, p 341).

In 1931, the Census Commissioner J.H. Hutton had suggested Some importance must be attached to untouchables groups since, obviously, if the general public regards the persons of certain groups as so distasteful that the concerted actions resorted in order to keep them away, persons of these groups do suffer a serious disability. (Census of India, 1931, Vol.1, App 1, p 195).

 As advised by Hutton, the British Government opted for caste instead of individual as the primary basis for inclusion in the list, because the British intellectuals considered caste, and not individual, household, or village, to be the basis of identity in non-western countries. (Richard Smith an anthropologist, Societies). Caste appeared to them a social unit, which included more or less similar kind of individuals in attitude, behavior, literacy rate and socio-economic conditions. They found it easier to find out their rank in the socio-economic hierarchy on the basis of caste. The selection of castes had been done primarily on Huttons’ 1931 Census criteria i.e. on the basis of untouchability affecting adversely their economic, educational and occupational status and leading them to many other disabilities.

Division of Indian society – After Independence, for the purpose of reservation Indian society has been divided into –

  •        Scheduled Castes
  •            Scheduled Tribes
  •            Women and Children
  •            OBCs and
  •            Minority Communities.

Increased number of backward castes after independence – The percentage of enumerated OBC population in early 50s was 18.9% and their estimated population was 31.8%. (Galenter,ibid, p168.) Kaka Kalelkar Commission identified 2399 castes as backward in 1956 and Mandal 3748 castes in 1980. Still many more clamor for inclusion into either SCT lists or OBC list. The trend indicates that after fifty years of the Independence, India generated more backwards than before.

Incentive for calling itself backwards –  Reservations have created a vested interest in remaining or pretending to be backward. Inclusion or any change in SCT list involves a difficult process, therefore, it is very difficult to find a place there. However, OBC list is flexible enough to accommodate more and expand indefinitely. Any group, which could influence or pressurize local, state or central authorities, can succeed in getting OBC status easily. It is not very difficult to pressurize the authorities, in a set up of electoral politics, where only numerical strength counts. More the Government includes new groups in the OBC list, more the demand from left over.

Who are backwards? – Most of the castes included in OBC list are those, which had been a part of the traditional ‘Jajmani system’, not as a client, but as patrons. They have often been the ruling class and have enjoyed the access to the resources of the society. At present most of them own land and other resources. The data of land holdings, sale-purchase of land and leasing of land makes it evident that much earlier, during 60s and 70s, upper castes have been replaced by the intermediate castes in the rural power structure. They are neither dependent on nor exploited by upper castes. The extension of Reservation to them cannot be justified rationally.

Caste tensions in the past and now – Caste tensions had a self-limiting character earlier, because caste in terms of social structure was a very local institution. Varna model gave an abstract idea of social hierarchy. Therefore, the conflict based on caste ties or caste identification had a self-limiting quality. This rivalry was the result of British design, pursued to divide Indians.

Outcome – Job-Reservation for such communities has developed a vested interest in retaining the title of ‘backwardness’. It has created bad blood. It has been proved more to be a matter of partisan politicking rather than one of affirmative action to help underprivileged.

Backwards castes and Scheduled Castes do not have much in common among them, except for their hatred for the caste Hindus, especially Brahmins. Intermediate castes (Backward castes) have always aligned themselves with power. Earlier in the social sphere, they were the right hand of forward castes. Most of upper castes are non-militant and passive by nature. Instead of confrontation, they look for other avenues. They could not exert force on the lower strata. On behalf of them, it was always the intermediate castes, that exerted force on  lower castes.

Currently, to displace forward castes and to retain their Reservation benefits, backward castes have joined hands with untouchables, in whose favour the wind is blowing. While  are in conflict with OBCs at social level, but in politics, they have no option, but to support them to achieve their mission to change the power equation.

Polorized the Indian society along caste lines – To a great extent, Reservation Policy , its eligibility criteria being based on caste, is responsible for polarizing the people along caste-line. There is a sharp socio-political divide now.

Conclusion – Discrimination to some extent exists everywhere in one form or other – be it a social, political and economic system or institution, be it a big or small institution as small as that of a family. Vulnerable individuals or weaker sections of society have always become an easy prey for discrimination. Within a family, vulnerable family members like children, old or widowed parents, poor relatives or unemployed youth become an easy prey of discrimination. And in a society, poor, illiterate and ignorant people quite often become victims of exploitation. Fear of being discriminated or exploited springs from ignorance.

It is a humanitarian obligation to think about weak and plan for their uplift. But for removing social and economic imbalances, solution does not lie in adopting the policy of ‘reverse discrimination’. The Government has to pay equal attention to the other sections of society, as well. While uplifting the submerged section of society, the Government should not block the progress/advancement of advanced castes.

January 14, 2015 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | , , , , | 1 Comment

Rationale of Policy of Reservation/ affirmative action

“”Mediocrity can talk; but it is for genius to observe.” Benjamin Disraeli.

“Man’s greatness lies in his power of thought.” Blaise Pascal

“Seven social sins : –

– Wealth without work,
– Pleasure without conscience,
– Knowledge without character,
– Commerce without morality,
– Science without humanity, and
– Politics without principles,
– Worship without sacrifice.” Gandhi

“Success formula – C3 (Commitment, Confidence, Compassion) + I2 (Integrity, Ingenuity” Apache

“No amount of politics would be of any avail, until the masses in India are once more well educated, well fed and well cared for” Swami Vivekanand

“Who does not fight each day for freedom, does not deserve to be free.” Readers Digest

Introduction
Reservation Policy, before independence known as “Communal Award”, has always been a very complicated and controversial issue in India right from its inception in the early twentieth century. People have very strong views in favour or against it. While, some hailed it as a historic step to break the shackles of caste, to bring the downtrodden into the corridors of power, to empower them and thus set right all social and economic imbalances. Opponents of Reservation think that for sustainable development of the submerged society and making them capable to join the mainstream of society, it is not so much protective/paternalistic policies of the government, which are required, but it needs a sincere effort by the government to provide for a sound system of education and training for all. Social changes can not be brought by favoring Reservations for weaker sections of society. It can be brought by changing the mindset of poor people and making them aware, capable and strong enough to be self-reliant. Protective policies like Reservations not only affect adversely the systems, the functioning and efficiency of the institutions responsible for good governance, but also shatters the self-confidence of backward section of society – to stand on their own feet without the crutches of Reservation.

Issue

It is a humanitarian obligation to think about weak and plan for their uplift. But for removing social and economic imbalances, the path od reverse discrimination should not be adopted. The Government has to pay equal attention to the elite sections of society, as well. While uplifting the submerged section of society, the Government should not block their progress/advancement. Besides, one finds many contradictory statements/diverse principles in the Constitution of India. Question arises how to do it?

Contradictory statements in the Constitution

Contradictory statements mentioned in the constitution leaves much to the discretion and fair-mindedness of the authorities. The Constitution framers have dreamt to keep a fine balance between various diverse principles and thus lead the nation to prosperity. However, the ideologies that guided the Constitution framers, at the time of Independence, have more or less run out of steam today.

One of such example is the principle of equal opportunities (Art 16) in direct conflict with the principles of redress (Articles 335) directing the authorities to make Reservations for SCT in consistent with the maintenance of efficiency. It is up-to the honesty and vision of authorities not to over look the national interest for their political expediency and not to misuse these clauses on efficiency and social-justice. Reservation policy should not be converted into quota system.

Diverting public mind from real issues to abstract ones

With the passage of time, they proved to be ineffective to solve the real issues of over-population, poverty, inflation, deteriorated law and order situation, violence or general coarsening of moral fiber of the Indian society. There is a small, well-organized and influential group of people speaking in the name of majority. In its self-interest, it has spread many myths and illusions to divert public mind from real issues to abstract ones. It has disfigured certain aspects of reality, flared up emotional issues, tried to unite the people by diagnosing “A common enemy” to be defeated and put the blame on the unverifiable past. In the absence of independent records of events, around which its arguments are woven, its own analysis becomes the only record. The emotional issues earn for it the faith of the people and help it to further instigate the feelings of the people. Through Reservation Policy, it has exploited for its personal benefits the principles of equality, secularism, social justice and unity – the four pillars of Indian Constitution.

“Mistake of one time, being repeated several times”

It is said, “After every ten years, when Reservations were to be reviewed on the floor of Parliament, every time, reservations has been extended for next 10 years. Many politicians of the day show scant regard to the spirit of the Constitution. Unfortunately, the objective of uplifting the downtrodden and absorbing them into the mainstream has become secondary for them. The means i.e. Reservation Policy, through which the vote-banks can be created, has become the primary and most important mission for them.

Throughout, politicians have been propagating that Reservation has been sanctioned by the Constitution and it is their duty to abide it. Series of amendments of the Constitution, in extending the time-frame Reservation for another ten years, appears to be nothing but “Mistake of one time, being repeated several times”. In fact, the whole exercise of extending it is non-researched and is based on hollow grounds.

Therefore, some people demand for total abolition of Reservation, some for keeping Reservation exclusively for needy persons on the basis of economic criterion. They suggest fair and open mechanism to eliminate gradually the affluent sections from the lists of backwards.

“Rob the Peter and give it to Paul”

Any attempt to reverse the position of forward castes or letting them down could not succeed much, because they have the vision, knowledge and awareness to find out alternative routes to progress. It should boost up their initiative, courage, intelligence and talent, so that the nation could compete confidently with developed nations of the world.

Critics of Reservation say that Reservation Policy has no place in a true democracy. It is nothing, but to “Rob Peter and give to Paul”. In his book “Theory of Justice”, John Rawls discusses in detail equality, liberty, rights and role of the State. According to him, liberal democracy strives for an equality of opportunity and equality of results. Rawls says :-

– Nature itself takes care of the distribution of natural assets and abilities, intelligence, strength and the like, which is going to determine the class, income or the status of an individual in society,

 – Every-one should have the maximum liberty, compatible with the same liberty for others,

 – People prefer equality over inequality. Inequality can only be tolerated, when it helps everyone, including the worst off. Inequality in any form is against common good, efficiency or good performance. Inequality could be made fair and just, if everyone had an equal start in life. The key to “Equal start” is education for all and an open primary school system.

Positive motivation and vision – People of forward class have the proper qualifications, competitiveness and positive motivation, which the backward class people lack. During British period, sensing the demands of the time, the upper and middle castes opted for English education and occupied Government jobs, which were the seats of power. At that time, lower castes were on the way to attain freedom and educational awareness, but remained outside the power structure. Now again the situation has changed. With the start of the third great revolution – the Information Technology revolution – and the collapse of super power USSR, there is a wave in favor of knowledge-based systems and free economy. Again the cream of the society has changed its focus from Government jobs to economic enterprises. The upper castes are adapting themselves to the culture of free economy, while the lower castes are clamoring for the secure salaried jobs, whether in Government or in the private sector.

False promises

In order to lure the masses and capture power, many politicians make false promises. How to get out of the clutches, false promises, manipulations and twisted ideologies of the politicians is a major task ahead the people. Once the uneven distribution of different sections of society is perceived as a problem of distributive justice by the State authorities, institutional well-being takes a back seat. Fair-minded persons accept to provide enough opportunities to submerged sections of society to rise. But they do not consider fixing-up quotas in public institutions as desirable.

Doles/Freebies Cripples people

Policy of Reservation does not appear to be a practical proposition but only an ideological slogan. The beneficial or protective nature of political authority lulls the people to make efforts for self-development. They look towards authorities for everything. They expect change to originate at the apex and not at the base. It veers the nation towards paternalistic-totalitarianism and cripples the public consciousness.

Importance to caste-considerations over economic backwardness

Poverty is a universal and secular phenomenon. It prevails everywhere in all the categories of Indian population. Reservation Policy may benefit the affluent members of the beneficiary castes whereas millions of other deprived and low income people remain bereft of the benefits of Reservation. The later are also deprived of the access to education and other facilities. The founding fathers dreamt to provide equal opportunities and equal protection to all under the law. The State was directed to provide within 10 years free and compulsory education to all children below 14 years and to promote with special care educational and economic interests of weaker sections. However, the focus of politician remains on Reservation, which is based on discrimination. It violates the egalitarian principle – the very base of Democracy. It is alleged that the Indian society is iniquitous, because it puts too many restrictions on lower castes. However, restrictions on an activity of a person do not mean necessarily depriving or denigrating him. It could be to protect people from mental conflict, to discipline them or to maintain order and harmony in the society. When a person is not mature enough, these restrictions control his impulses and guard him against wrong actions. A matured person attains self-discipline, which restricts his actions. Above all, in Indian society, the higher caste and purer a caste is, more are the restrictions on its activities in the form of self-discipline.

Negative influence on national psyche
There is more stress on Reservation rather than improving the capability of youth through sound education and training and on creating jobs. Leaving Reservation to the discretion of Power- hungry politicians makes it a ploy in their hands, to be used for political expediency, Present-day politicians do not care for principles, or are concerned about downtrodden. Distributive justice means to them fixing up quotas for different sections of society.

Attempt to establish firmly separate identity
Reservations have misled/divided the society into uncompromising water-tight compartments today. Anti-Brahmin Movement of Periyar in 1926, Mandalization of society of 1991, or militancy of Dalit Movement – their transformation from untouchables into Harijans, Depressed class or now Dalits are all examples, where sectional interests have led them increasingly distancing themselves from the mainstream and establishing firmly their separate identity.

A ploy to build electoral base

At present, Reservation policy has become a high level strategic ploy to build an electoral base. The most common abuses of Reservation Policy, according to the critics of Reservation, both at the backward class people find it difficult to get an entry Central and State levels are : –

 Started as a temporary measure, it has become a permanent feature of Indian polity by amending the Constitution every 10th year.
 SCT list is lengthened by the Center and state governments numerous times,
 Some States are allowed by the Center to exceed 50% limit,
 Reservation is extended to advanced castes as well,
 Creamy layer rule is disregarded,
 Quite often, government scraps cut off marks for SCT in entrance examination,
 Manipulations in recruitment process by political authorities to recruit their own persons,
 Backwardness no longer remains a social stigma, and
 Many people produce fake certificates.

Resentment against Reservations in higher posts in bureaucracy

So long as, “Only a few places” were kept aside for severely disadvantaged people, people accepted it. But 50% or more Reservation created agitation among a section of people. In 1970’s and 1980’s, with the emergence of many sectional political parties in the states and their growing emphasis on Reservations generated resentment against Reservation Policy. In 1990’s, after Mandal, it took a major turn by forming a shape of national movement, effecting many parts of the country. Though the authorities were able to suppress the agitation, however, it has left deep scars in public mind.

Game of numbers

Reservation has degenerated democracy into a number game and palliatives. It has undermined the universally accepted democratic principles of organizing, regulating and distributing power with an aim to achieve growth targets effectively, legitimately and with dignity. It has pushed the real issues, principles and ideologies into the background.

The outcome of that it is not based on sound principles. The policy has led the nation to build unbridgeable political identities in most insensitive manner, which are based on negative exhortations and condemns all traditional values and structures. Too much stress on their rights, fragmented from duties has created agitation and confrontation leading to further fragmentation. The new culture of consumerism adds fuel to fire.

Reservation on wrong Ethos

Critics say that Reservation Policy is based on negative ethos, defective database, and wrong perception of social structure, wrong methodology and wrong principles. Access to public office through quota is sought more with an aim to get authority and control over public funds than a desire to serve the national interests. VP Singh had, on 15th August, 1990, clearly said, “In my views, the question of poverty is not financial in nature…The issue does not relate to the treasury but to the throne and whosoever occupies the throne, will also control the treasury.” According to them, the following arguments given in support of Reservations are most illogical and inaccurate. Questions arise: –
 Is it a poverty-elevation program?
 Are present generation youth accountable and punishable for sins of our ancestors?
 Should there be dilution of minimum professional standards?
 Does it perpetuate casteism? and
 Can it remove the difference between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’?

Ideologies around which Reservation Policy revolves
Reservation Policy revolves around the following principles:-

 Principle of Equality
Social justice,
 Exercise of power, and
 Efficiency and merit.

Principle of equality

Reservation Policy believes “All are equal in the eyes of law, but some are more equal” The Constitution itself gives equal opportunity to all its citizens irrespective of caste, creed or gender, descent, place of birth or any of them. The constitution clearly lays down through Article 16, that there shall be equal opportunity for all its citizens, relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. This aspect has been already discussed, in detail, in Chapter V. So long as the applicant, along with others under consideration had been given his chance, it cannot be claimed that equal opportunity had not been given to him. While the authority has been given the freedom to make selection from numerous candidates offering their services, the selection must not be arbitrary. It has to be based upon some reasonable principles required for efficient performance of duties and obligations of a particular service or post.

Article 16(4), on the basis of which the Reservations are given, is an exception, which is to be read along with Article 335. The selection procedures for implementing Reservation Policy could be of four types: –

1. Selection should be among equally qualified persons,
2. Selection among comparable candidates,
3. Selection among unequal candidates and
4. Selection among qualified and unqualified candidates.

The selection procedure, as is practiced in India, does not believe in former two procedures, which fit more with Art 16(4) along with Art. 335 and adopts the later two, which are against the dictates of the Constitution (Art. 335) and the principles of equality Art. 16). The backward candidates, who compete on equal footing, are included not in reserved quota, but in general category. The full quota is filled on relaxed standards.

Consideration of caste instead of economic backwardness does not give the benefit of Reservation to all the poor people on equal terms. Therefore, it undermines the principles of equality.

Ideology of social justice

The main argument in favoring Reservation is “Social justice”, the need to emancipate the under-privileged from centuries-old discrimination and bring them back to the mainstream. By the World War-II, socialism was the wave that swept the entire world. It was supposed to destroy all inequalities of race, sex, power, position or wealth and to distribute equitably social, material and political resources of the nation. In 1947, many leaders of free India, under the leadership of Pundit Nehru, thought that they would be able to achieve a just and equitable socio-economic order and to remove poverty before long by pursuing policies based on social justice.

“Parrot cry of socialism” – However, at that time, able statesman like Sardar Patel, considered socialist propositions purely theoretical and academic, far away from reality. Sardar Patel ridiculed the “Parrot cry of socialism”. He lashed out against those, who believed that there could be no justice, unless its economy was based on social economy. Or that freedom was meaningless without economic equality and social justice. He said, “Unlike many, who indulge in ‘Parrot cry of socialism’, I have no property of my own. Before you talk of socialism, you must ask yourself, how much wealth you have created by your labour. If you have created nothing, the parrot would have flown, and the cage would be empty. By experience, I am convinced that what is necessary for us, is to learn how to produce more wealth and thereafter, think what to do with it. What the country needs is not “Parrot cry of socialism” but unity and strength. Patel asked the people to realize why England took a very long time to become socialist and why America made no mention of it even now.

Gandhiji’s views – Gandhiji also said, “Socialism will not come by occupying positions of power and by delivering speeches from the platform.” Gandhiji appreciated socialist leaders desire to bring about equality of living standard in society. But advised them first to come together, think what was in the best interest of the country and set people on to constructive work. Giving practical advice to do selfless service to the people and to ensure the straightest and quickest way to achieve a socialist order, Gandhiji said, “ If you wish to establish socialism, there is only one way, in which it can be done. Go and live among the poor in villages, live as they live, be one with village people, work for eight hours daily, use only village made goods and articles even in your personal lives, remove illiteracy among village people”.

Entire population cannot be accommodated in power echelons – Equality combined with social justice does not mean that everybody should share political power equally. 900 million people cannot be accommodated in power echelons of the government. It means a harmonious partnership between the public and the Government officials. Every-one should do one’s duties sincerely and contribute for social cause according to one’s capacity. Good governance means managing effectively the common affairs of individual citizens and institutions, be it public or private, Without any bias, continuously conflicting interests and diverse needs of different sections of society should be looked-after.

Constitution on social justice – When the Constitution was framed in 1950, the words, “Socialism” or “Socialist democracy” were not included in it. It mentioned only “To secure to all its citizen economic justice and equality of status and opportunity”. The influence of the socialistic principles is visible in the Constitutional directives to the Government to: –

 Provide adequate means of livelihood to all its citizens,
 Distribute material resources for common good,
 Avoid concentration of wealth and means of production in the hands of a few, Right to work,
 Equal pay for equal work, to both men and women,
 Living wages for all workers, protection of workers especially children,
 Humane conditions of work, and
 Provide for right to education and public assistance.

Word “Socialist” as qualifying the Republic, added in 1975 – It was after the death of Sardar Patel that Congress Government bent heavily towards socialist policies. It declared its goal in the form of “Socialistic pattern of society” and subsequently “Democratic socialism” under Nehru’s leadership. The word “Socialist” as qualifying the Republic, was added in 1975, through 42nd Amendment Act by Indira Gandhi’s government, giving it almost the highest place in the name of equality and “Remove Poverty”. However, it was followed in such a way, that it had done more damage than good.

Exercise of power

The problem of socialism is of performance, not of faith, and the price paid by the nation for this faith has been efficiency and its future prosperity. The change centralized the planning, controls and ownership leading to abuse of power and “Grab more power” attitude. It closed its economy to the world, nationalized industries and services, initiated rigid controls on the private sector and created monopolies in the public sector. In the name of socialism, it created a domineering State controlling the smallest detail of the economic and social life of the people. People were made pigmies and enslaved by politicians, planners and bureaucrats. It did not wipe out poverty, nor created effective distributive system nor equality, but it had led almost to the loss of economic liberty. The political system increased corruption, inefficiency and red-tape. It created a closed, centralized and unproductive system, which suppressed growth. In the name of Welfare State, the Government acquired extraordinary powers to exercise arbitrary control over massive resources. The excessive control made people gradually loose their motivation for hard work. An unfettered market system led to grave economic inequalities, which got transformed into political inequalities.

India practiced so far only phony, fake and tainted social justice – What India has practiced, so far, is a phony, fake and tainted social justice. It has created the politics of appeasement and vote banks, destroyed the work culture, and encouraged separatism everywhere in the society. It has jammed the wheels of morality and conscience. It has developed tentacles of corruption, scams, scandals and callousness in almost every sphere. J Krishnamurthy said, “Working for social welfare is to fill water into a pail that has holes. The more water is poured in it, the more it pours out and the pail remains empty.” The great lesson of the 20th Century, which has been learnt the hard way, is that the government of a nation should not become so beneficent that it undermines people’s will to help themselves and tends to develop inaction and parasitism.

Principle of Efficiency

Pr. Betielle comments, “None knows, where the struggle for social justice ends and the scramble for power begins. But one thing is definite, that in between the casualty becomes merit and efficiency”. The principle of efficiency comes into direct collision with the methods adopted to bring the downtrodden into the power corridors. A policy aimed at welfare, which forgets efficiency and growth, neither achieves welfare, nor efficiency nor growth. Similarly any policy aiming only on efficiency and growth, to the neglect of welfare, causes so much unrest, that nation will achieve neither efficiency nor growth, nor indeed welfare.

Article 335 of the Constitution – With the growing expectations of various emerging groups, too much consciousness about one’s rights, spread of education and awareness among general masses, the challenges before government have become very complex in nature. While the administrative work requires the services of bright meritorious, hardworking and sincere people, Reservation favours laxity in appointments/recruitment of officials. Any laxity in the qualifications of officials could lead to inefficient or mal-administration and substandard services to general public. The private sector survives and prospers, only because it does not allow substandard working. It picks up the best talent available in the country, from educational institutions itself, by conducting campus interviews. While dealing with Reservation Policy, the framers of the Constitution were concerned about the efficiency of administration. That is why, there is Article 335. The way the Reservation Policy is being implemented affects adversely the efficiency of the institution.

Variables on which efficiency depends – Efficiency of any organization depends on:-

 Stress on Quality,
 Merit, and
 Work-culture

• Stress on Quality – Quality is never an accident nor is there any short-cut to it. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilled execution. It represents the wise choice between many alternatives. Quality or efficiency is more needed in government sector than any other in order to achieve desired targets within time and cost parameters and provide good service to public at large. There could be no prosperity for the nation as a whole, unless and until efficiency is ensured in all its activities, be it innovation in administration, economic or social reforms, establishment of institution or implementation of developmental programs. The nation has to develop an uncompromising attitude on efficiency and quality management. In a product, it is easier to monitor and ensure quality at all stages, than to judge the efficiency of administration.

 How to judge quality – Administrative process operates on heterogeneous human variables. It is operated on by a group of personnel with time-varying abilities through a time-varying and updated tasks/responsibility. Creativity, originality, vision and innovative ability, the desirable attributes of efficient administration, are difficult to assess for the lack of quantitative methodologies or qualitative procedures. The efficiency, quality and attainments in administration are quite often judged through evaluation of performance of officials rather than through the achievements of targets.
 Team-work for efficient working, a must – Efficiency definitely requires teamwork. The team, at every level, should be up to the mark. For efficient and effective administration, the performance of the service as a whole should not only be of high quality, but also be reliable, friendly and cost effective. Reservation Policy has sown the seeds of separatism in the cadre of administrative officers too. It blocks mutual help, mutual trust and mutual respect in administrative work.
 Regular supply of high level manpower, properly educated and trained – For providing an efficient administration, the government requires a regular supply of high level manpower, properly educated and trained. The development of the nation depends not only on the optimal utilization of physical, natural and financial resources, but human and intellectual resources as well. Amongst, man, material and money, the maximum importance should be given to men, because man is the instrument, which gives highest possible returns and makes the proper utilization of other resources a reality. Therefore, the basic requirement for efficiency is ‘the man’ with merit.
 Reservation Policy compromise with efficiency – Reservation Policy has made compromise with efficiency in administration and developmental process. Such a step, along with many other reasons, has been taking the nation to perpetual Backwardness. Ju stice Gajendra Gadkar had cautioned long ago, “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…”. C Rajagopalachari has warned the nation, “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.”
 Ill-effects of this compromise – Ojective of improving the status of Backwards could not be done by lowering the standards of governance, especially when the nation is passing through a very difficult time. The net-effect of this compromise is, that economy is in shambles, coffers empty, inflation and price-rise touching new heights, law and order position disturbed and divisive forces getting stronger every day. Confucius has rightly said “When it is obvious that goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
 Work Culture – It is alleged that besides other factors, Reservation policy adds in deterioration of work culture in the government sector. It ultimately effects the efficiency of administration adversely. The work culture of an office depends on the caliber of its employees, freedom of purposeful working, active involvement of the employees in decision making, cooperation of colleagues, an open, impartial, transparent evaluation of performance, encouragement to good performance and reward for efficiency etc. It is said that Reservation policy has made even competent persons amongst them lazy and complacent. Those, who get positions as a matter of right without much efforts, develop a habit of not working hard and do not value the dignity of labour. The government, which believes in social justice and creating jobs for the people, never bothers to create systems to make them work too. Many Government employees are appointed just to withdraw salary every month. The glorification of white collared jobs and contempt for some kind of work has eroded the dignity of labour immensely. How to put people to work is a riddle, nobody can solve. Calling certain menial jobs inferior or unclean and unsavory and asking people to withdraw from it, is something not rational. If the women, who clean the night soil of the children and ill persons in the family and keep the house tidy and worth living for human beings, also start thinking the same way, what would happen to mankind? The economic and other social needs of modern society are multitudinous. These are divided in to many tasks. Each task is assigned to individuals or group of individuals according to their capacity – learning, aptitude and attitude.

• The Principle of Merit

 Super symbolic electronic revolution – At present, the world has been passing through a great revolution – a super symbolic electronic revolution. In it, the changes are too swift for a human being to adjust accordingly. It demands an extra intelligent network. Swift changes, rapid advancement of knowledge, growing awareness of people and new technologies in computers and communications have changed the complexion of work culture beyond recognition in less than a decade. Being so, the modern administration needs more than anything – a high capacity to understand the current waves and changes and ability to adjust harmoniously with changed circumstances. How can one expect that candidates selected on relaxed standards would be able to face the enormous changes?
 The principle of “Meritocracy” gives people access to power at low cost and with honor. It also saves them from manipulations or misuse of money or muscle power. Few years back, it has ensured the entry of middle class people, who neither have capital nor landed property, entered into civil services through competitive examination. A merit based entrance examination into civil services gave them opportunity/incentive to work hard, gain knowledge and get access to power.
 Merit neglected in the name of social-justice – For last four-five decades, the “Merit” in Indian education and administrative system has been neglected in the name of equity and social justice. Weak commitment of authorities to merit, efficiency, productivity, and innovation has slowed down the progress of the nation. Therefore, any program or reform must strengthen the foundation of meritocracy through sound system of education and training, ensuring equal opportunity and honour to all. Earlier the opportunities for joining modern callings were based on principle of merit and appreciation for knowledge. After developing their faculties, people with talent and enterprise competed on equal footings with white men and made a place for themselves in powerful institutions of governance. For example, even British rulers opinion about Indian administrator VP Menon was quite high. Lord Mountbettan, the last British Governor General in India, is on record to have called VP Menon as a man of unusual caliber. In him, he found a great and good character merged with a first class brain, possessing power of logical deduction and the ability to gauge the future with a rare degree of accuracy. VP is remembered even now as one of the principal architect of Independent India. He was the master hand that integrated the princely states into the Indian Union. Robert Fulghum also comments about him, “Menon was a rarity – a self-made man. No degree from Cambridge or Oxford graced his wall… He talked his way into a job as a clerk in the Indian administration and his rise was meteoric – largely because of his integrity and brilliant skills in working with both Indian and British officials in a productive way.”
 Trend of mediocrity – It is said that an efficient administration requires right type of men at right places. Toffler suggests that “Power” is interplay of three main variables – force, money and knowledge. “Force” was dominant factor in the agricultural societies, “Wealth” in the industrial societies, now as a nation moves into “Information technology” era, the stress will be on knowledge. Without knowledge, it will become very difficult to achieve something worthwhile now. Being so, any nation, which dreams to emerge, as a world power cannot afford to ignore “Knowledge” and “Merit”.
 Preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent, on the ground of Reservation, is not only unjust, against the principle of equality, but also against national interests. Reservation in employment contemplates putting those men in responsible positions, who are not adequately qualified for the job, and in the process, power passes on from “Meritocracy” to “Mediocrity”, which means sub-standard service to general public.
 Make weaker sections capable to handle the weapon of power properly – Instead of making administrative machinery sick, by giving additional weapons in weak hands, it is desirable that the hands should be made strong enough to hold and use the weapon properly through education, awareness and training. Then and then only, without any outside support, the weak will become strong to pick up the weapon properly in their hands and use it judiciously and protect themselves and their near and dear ones from oppression and exploitation. It will make them confident citizens to live with honour and dignity along with others.
 Talents in India – Today India has the second largest pool of scientific and technical manpower. There is no dearth of talents in other areas too. Lately in 1980s and 1990s in corporate and financial world, the first generation of businessmen, entrepreneurs and managers have demonstrated their capabilities and earned their reputation in global market. Lately in 1980s and 1990s in corporate and financial world, the first generation of businessmen, entrepreneurs and managers have demonstrated their capabilities and earned their reputation in global market.
 Brain drain – At present, Reservation has shaken the confidence of meritorious students in the government and its work culture. Fifty percent Reservation in government jobs snatches half of the opportunities for deserving candidates. The bright and intelligent people compete for 50% of jobs in government – the left over after the reservation. A medical student share his feelings as, “I applied for civil medical job and was second best medical graduate… Naturally I felt cheated by my own country (when he could not get the job) and as a disillusioned doctor left the country of my birth (in 1970) … A country, where merit has no value … can never prosper. One can not do away with injustice by creating more injustice.”
 They prefer private sector or go abroad in search of greener pastures. At present, many of them are making valuable contribution to US space program and Silicon Valley’s electronic breakthroughs. Abroad, they find a creative outlet for their talents/skills.

Brain drain – Every year a large number of highly trained Indians go abroad and are settled there. It is a matter of national concern. The reasons of brain drain, are as following: –
 Wider and better job opportunities abroad,
 Good initial opportunities of career,
 Exposure of knowledge,
 Good working conditions,
 Comfortable standard of living, and,
 Stifling and unresponsive working conditions at home.
Principle of unity – Reservations undermines the principle of unity. The origin of Reservation Policy lies in “Divide and rule”. It has always divided the workforce by creating new political identities. Earlier British rulers got the benefit of this disunity through “Communal Awards” and now Reservation has become life-saving prescription for recent politicians to garner votes and create vote banks. Reservation generates a feeling of separatism among people. The access to power is sought by raking up emotional issues. Loyalty of a particular group (or groups) is earned by inciting people of one section against other sections of the society. All this entails fractured mandate, negligence of principles, ideologies and national interest, weak Governments, perpetual fights, increase in bitterness, suspicion against each-others and polarization on caste and communal lines, Repeated fractured mandate after l990 confirms that instead of uniting people, divisive politics has taken firm roots in India due to Reservation Policy.

Spread of Casteism –

Developments like spread of casteism in politics, collective caste identities or rivalry between various groups do not have a very long history. Caste tensions had a self-limiting character earlier, because caste in terms of social structure was a very local institution. Varna model gave an abstract idea of social hierarchy. Therefore, the conflict based on caste ties or caste identification had a self-limiting quality. This rivalry was the result of British design, pursued to divide Indians. Initially, the British tried to convert Indians into Christianity. Their conversion activities were focused on upper castes. They thought that once the upper castes opt for Christianity, other castes would follow. But it did not work, because of the strong character of caste Hindus and faith in their religion. 1860 onwards, British missionaries made the lower castes their target for conversion, who, they found, could easily be swept in large numbers. In order to influence them, British highlighted the evils of caste system and portrayed the upper caste as their exploiters. The result was anti-Brahmin movement of early twentieth century. The gap between upper castes and lower strata of society further increased due to land revenue system, which gave birth to economic disparities. On one hand, were the upper castes, having direct or indirect control over land and its produce, on the other, the masses including craftsmen, who worked for them. However, after the independence, the government tried to reduce the disparities through various legislation. Recently, caste has become the main malady of Indian politics. The renewed emphasis on Reservation with the implementation of Mandal formula in 1990 once again whipped the caste tension. The forward castes are fearing reverse discrimination and are withdrawing gradually themselves from public scene. The anti-upper caste wave forgets that the nation also needs the depth of forward castes. They are the agents of national development and national unity. While most of the Backward groups are localized, the upper castes are spread all over India, linking all parts of the nation from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

 Polorized the Indian society along caste lines – To a great extent, Reservation Policy , its eligibility criteria being based on caste, is responsible for polarizing the people along caste-line. There is a sharp socio-political divide. Reservations have carved out a new caste alignment by politically dividing people into forward castes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward castes and minority. The authorities, while implementing or extending Reservations are ignoring, the sweeping changes that have occurred in the caste system and its equations throughout the country, after independence. With the sincere efforts of reformers, process of modernization, education, introduction of railways, communication, etc., before the Independence and liberty and Constitutional fundamental rights after the Independence have contributed in lessening the rigidities of caste system and gradually wearing out the caste prejudices in social arena to a great extent. The political power has shifted in favour of Backwards, almost completely in the South and in massive strides in Bihar and U.P. OBC castes has emerged as a dominant force with Zamindari abolition, land reforms and green revolution of l960s. They control about 5l% of the land in the North as against about 39% retained by large landlords. They constitute about 40% of the legislative strength. In modern society, where social status is judged by economic and political power, they are the strongest castes having replaced the upper castes as landowners. Scheduled castes are also making concerted efforts to mobilize themselves and secure their upward mobility. The uplift of OBCs, SCs and STs and migration of many lower castes people to urban areas brought changes in the earlier social symmetry.
 Venom against upper castes – The critics of Reservation allege spread of venom against caste-Hindus and forward-castes. The leaders of casteist political parties forget that whatever good they find in the Constitution i.e. removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice or special consideration for the downtrodden – in the social reforms or in the liberal policies of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the forward castes itself. Whatever the Government has done, so far, has been accepted and acclaimed by them, sometimes readily and sometimes with resistance. At present, the forward castes contribute their share through taxes, active participation in formulating developmental polices of the country and working through NGOs for the amelioration of downtrodden. All sections of the society will always remember contributions made by Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Tilak, Gokhale, Justice Ranade, Rammohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar, Dayanand, Vivekanand, Ambedkar and many others with respect. Only the politicians pursuing sectional interests should stop spreading venom against upper castes and making increasing use of caste in politics.
 Backward castes glued to castes identity more firmly -The advocates of Reservations bitterly criticize caste system and desire to establish a casteless society. They want to annihilate caste system, but have failed to find a viable alternative to it. The lower castes are glued to castes more firmly than upper caste. In a particular case, a BC officer complained that in the office, an upper caste peon refused to bring a cup of tea for him or clean his cup. One day, when this officer went to his colleague’s room, the later called a peon belonging to a caste lower than the BC officer, to bring two cups of tea. The BC officer hesitated in drinking the tea and made some excuse. Two things came out clearly – the upper caste officer had no hesitation in drinking tea brought by a low caste peon, whereas the the BC officer had reservations. It shows that Backward castes are not free from caste prejudices and treat persons belonging to castes lower than their own, with contempt.

Past Experience – Politicians with vested interest think that Reservation policy could be milked at will to gain political mileage and push the real issues in the background conveniently. Failure of Justice Party in 1926 elections or the fate of Janata Party in 1991 elections shows, that they cannot fool the people for long. Experience of a century old Reservations in the South and half a century old at national level shows that still: –

 More than half the Indian population lives below poverty line, though official figures are about 40%,
 About half of the population is illiterate. Official rate of literacy is only 52% after 50 years of independence. The number of educated people is much less,
 More than 60% of Indian children are mal-nourished and about 7% of all infants die shortly after birth,
 Less than 30% of populace has access to sanitation and clean drinking water,
 Maximum number of poor, and people living below poverty line are in the south excluding Kerala,
 Reservation policy has not benefited those, for whom it was introduced. The masses are still there, where they were before the introduction of Reservation – deprived and fighting for their survival, and
 Modernization process has made the poor people destitute, living now without the support system, which the traditional societies provided earlier.

These are a few examples of non-governance.

Who gets benefited? – One of the major contentions against the Reservation policy is on account of the identification of its beneficiaries. The Reservation policy is supposed to benefit the submerged and deprived people. Instead it helps the elite of some castes declared backward. Caste-based Reservation benefits only a few individuals not necessarily the needy ones and not the entire group. It has been observed that the same families, which had come up after the reformatory process of late 19th century or with the introduction of the protectionist polices, have been cornering the Reservation benefits again and again. The individuals benefited by Reservation are usually cut off from their social bases. In the name of social justice and equitable distribution of power and dignity, vested interests have been created and the masses, reeling under poverty, is being cheated.

In 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, conducted a detailed study in the districts of Betul, Chindwara, Seoni, Balaghat etc., in Madhya Pradesh. It shows that the biggest land owners are Kurmis and Pawars. There are very few Rajput, Brahmin, Kayastha or Baniya land owners in those districts. In the Tawa Command Area of Hoshangabad district, the biggest land owners are Jats and Vishnois. As it is, the Kurmis, Pawars and Vishnois have been identified as Backwards. In Narsimpur district, Lodhis, who appear in the OBC list, are the biggest land owners. If an honest district by district survey is conducted all over India, it may be found that in terms of economic and social status, many of the people belonging to groups listed as backward class are much better-off than many of the upper-caste people, in different regions. Many well established communities have been included in Backward caste list. Mr. Vishva Bandhu garduated with MBA degree from Eastern Michigan University and works as a Deputy Commissioner, Income Tax. He says, one day, “I was pleasently surprised to hear… that as per listings of the Mandal Commission, I was Backward… My being treated as a Backward is nothing, but a slur on my name and that I do’nt wish to be listed as Backward.” Like him, there are many people belonging to different castes, for whom their inclusion in Backward class list came as a shock.
There is a large number of people, for whom, 100% job reservation makes no difference. In a study conducted in 1990, the National Center for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal, shows that in the tribal area of Jabalpore, Mandla, Raigarh, Sarguja and Siddhi districts of Madhya Pradesh, the literacy rate is only 5.6%, the female literacy rate 1.03%, the average land holding is less than two hectres per khatedar, in the case of 75% of agriculturists. 20% tribals are totally land-less… They have no access to help, communication, education or other ciivc facilities. 85% of the population has an income below the poverty line. However, only 8% of the rural poor had any access to the anti-poverty program of the Government. These statistics assume vital importance, when one analyses, what the policy of Reservation has done for these people? It leads to think, whom is the Government and the politicians trying to fool? It is for the lower castes themselves understand that Reservation does not serve their permanent interest. In real life, neither it is possible, to create a totally equalitarian society, as is demanded by the supporters of Reservation, nor power and authority could be distributed equally at will. It could only be acquired through one’s own efforts. Therefore, people should discourage those leaders, who give false hopes to people.

Winding up

Process of de-reservation should start – Earlier some sections of society were lagged behind the forward castes in education and employment, not because they were deprived of the opportunities, but because they did not see any immediate use for it. Now they have realized the worth of education and bureaucratic powers, they should be allowed to come up on their own. Dr. Yogendra Singh, Dean of Political Science in JNU 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 dis-legitimization of caste by finding scientific methods for the exit of SC and ST members from the reserved quota.” There existed a case to end the quota business in l960 itself. Not only that the restriction has been allowed to continue till today, but to multiply irrationally. The dependence of caste for the purpose of Reservation has also increased, because the politicians are unable to look beyond electoral compulsions.

Division of labor – Division of labour according to the attitude and aptitude of individuals – be it menial or intellectual – is natural, and just.. Only freedom of opportunity to explore the pastures of one’s choice should be there for everyone, which has already been given by the Constitution itself, in 1950. Each type of work has its own value and contributes to total growth of society. No work is superior or inferior. Only the hard work, devotion to duty and sincere efforts are required for progress. At present, many people engaged in professions like tailors, carpenters, dyers and dry-cleaners, owners of hotels and restaurants, owners of video libraries, scooter and taxi drivers even paanwalas are doing much better than educated unemployed, who have left their traditional occupation, in the lure of Government jobs in urban areas or in desire to earn quick and easy money. The key to the success in any area appears to be the very same hardwork, excellence, maintenance of standard or quality and entrepreneurial skills. An excellent plumber is more admirable for the society than an incompetent administrator or scientist.

Development needs coordinated working of all sections of society – A society grows and develops like an organic body, in which each organ is equally important and valuable, but is assigned a different function to perform. The coordinated working of all the parts together keeps the body fit and alive. True, the weaker parts of the body need special care, but not at the expense of healthy organs of the body. Similarly, a society functions smoothly and moves constantly towards development, if all its constituents work in harmony with a feeling of mutual help and trust. Both weak and strong sections of the society are taken care-of by the State authorities properly. No work is superior or inferior in comparison to any work. There should be a balanced distribution of work between them. Each type of work is valuable and contributes to the total growth of the society. Undue weight or prestige given to any particular work does not improve the quality of every day life of its people, as has happened in Japan. Too much attention of the Government on economic and technical work has made its people miserable even in midst of affluence and abundance. The Japanese have created an economic miracle. The per capita income in Japan is one of the highest in the world. It is a world leader in technology, its electronic and automobile industries being the wonder of the world. But Japanese are frustrated as they are missing something vital in life i.e. quality of life. Japan is prospering, Japanese are not. Therefore, due attention should be given to all kinds of work. Each and every section of the society and its work should be acknowledged, as indispensable and proper care should be given to all, for the balanced growth of society as a whole. The society as a whole needs the services of all the sections of the society. There are many advantages of division of labour, like it : –

 Increases productivity. A lone worker has many limitations,
 Increases dexterity and skill. Practice makes an individual perfect. After repetitive performance of the same task, a worker becomes an expert,
 Inventions are facilitated. While working, new ideas often occur leading to inventions,
 Introduction of machinery is facilitated. When a man is doing the same job over and over again, he tries to think of some mechanical device to relieve himself,
 Saves time. A worker has to do only one process or part of process. Therefore, less time is needed by him to learn a specialized process,
 Employment is diversified. It increases the number and variety of jobs,
 Large scale production in quantity as well as in quality becomes possible, which is economical too, and
 Under division of labour, workers are so distributed among various jobs that each worker is put in the right place.

At the end it can be said that some people dream of success and spend their energy in finding out easier way out, while others wake up and work hard at it.

Emerging economic super powers concentrated on development of human resources – The new economic super powers, Japan and Germany and nations like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore etc., have risen to their present status of economic affluence within a relative short period, mainly because these nations concentrated primarily on the development of their human resources and insulated their economic processes from political pressures. They encouraged a relatively higher egalitarian distribution of incomes and lowered levels of socio-economic inequalities. Human Resource Development with high levels of education and skills led them to overcome problems of poverty, illiteracy, and hunger, unemployment, inflation and population growth. India lags behind, in spite of having talented and industrious people and good natural resources (fertile land, water, sunshine and various minerals) in abundance, lags behind, only because of under-utilization of its most valued resource- human capital. People are the nation’s most basic resource in terms of productivity, creativity, innovation, economic achievements, social success and technological developments. Only their energies have to be channelized towards national goals.

May 24, 2014 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | , , | 1 Comment

Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru and ‘Reservations’ in ‘government Jobs’

 

Introduction

The first Prime Minister of India (1952 -1964) was a visionary, a theoretical revolutionary, an idealist and a socialist by conviction. In his capacity as the Prime Minister of the country, he sent a letter on June 27, 1961 to all the Chief Ministers, in which he expressed his opinion about Reservation in Government jobs.

Immediately after Independence, situation was quite satisfactory. As was hoped by national leaders, higher civil services had attracted the best talents and most competent and qualified youth belonging to various sections of Indian society from all-over India. It was decided to create new all India services also, according to the aims, objectives and the role of government laying emphasis on national reconstruction and development—a shift from the traditional task of only maintenance of law and order and revenue collection. A large number of intellectuals, engineers, doctors, MBAs and other professionals joined different higher services.

Sardar Patel had assured the nation “I wish to assure you that I have worked with them during this difficult period. I am speaking with a sense of heavy responsibility and I must confess that in point of patriotism, in point of ability, you cannot have a substitute…I wish to place it on record in this house that if, during the last two or three years, most of the members of the service had not behaved patriotically and with loyalty, the Union would have collapsed. (Constituent Assembly Debates, pp. 48-50, 1949)

Shri C. Rajagopalachari had warned the nation right in the beginning that performance of bureaucracy depended on the caliber of officials, who are appointed to its strategic posts. “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”.

However, somewhere down the line, when many of the old visionary leaders had vanished from the national politics, political climate at provincial level started changing. In the early sixties a rot started setting up rapidly in the administrative set up as a result of changes in the political climate of provinces. Many regional political parties emerged in the states, pursuing the sectional interests of different groups of people.

New regional parties emerged at provincial level – Many new regional parties emerged at provincial level and came to power. Some states like Bihar, U.P., Haryana, and Punjab etc. witnessed political opportunism. Tall promises were made to win elections. Floor crossing, defections, attempts to topple Governments; betrayal of people’s faith and consequently political instability and frequent changes in provincial Governments became the order to the day. All this resulted in intensification of competitive politics.

Since then, every time before general elections, almost all political parties especially the regional ones constantly propose/advocate for some additional benefits to be given to one group or the other just to garner votes or to create a permanent vote-bank. Reservation Policy has become an inseparable part of the political wisdom of the day. No political party is confident enough to move even a step without the crutches of “Reservation Policy”. Such a mindset has attacked the very foundation of the constitution.

That was the time when talented youth started loosing interest in bureaucracy, calling bureaucrats ‘glorified clerks’. They started searching the foreign lands for greener pastures or preferred to join private or public sectors.  

Issue

Constant political interference has diluted the charm to join the government services for talented youth. Reservation of about 50% posts has further eroded its charm. Disincentives for merit, sincerity and honesty have demoralized the upright and hard working people. The youth find the work atmosphere suffocating, because there is no incentive to do creative works.

The willingness of talented and meritorious youths to join higher government services is like a passing tide now. The cream of the society either wishes to join the private sector or to go abroad in search of greener pastures. Liberalization and globalization of nineties have given a boost to this trend.

Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru’s opinion about Reservation in government Jobs

As the Prime Minister of India, Pt. Nehru had watched closely all these developments and expressed his views in a letter sent to all the chief ministers of the states on June 27, 1961. Following is the extract of the letter –

“Narrow, cynical, sectional calculations are what propel our politicians today. There was a time when everything was judged by one Talisman alone: the interest of the nation as a whole.”

“I have referred above to efficiency and to our getting out of our traditional ruts. This necessitates our getting out of the old habit of Reservations and particular privileges being given to this caste or that group. The recent meeting, we held here, at which the Chief Ministers were present, to consider national integration, laid down that the help should be given on economic considerations and not on caste. It is true that we are tied up with certain rules and conventions about helping Scheduled castes and tribes. They deserve help, but even so, I dislike any kind of Reservation, particularly in service. I react strongly against anything, which leads to inefficiency and second rate standards. I want my country to be first class country in everything. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost.”

“The only real way to help a backward group is to give opportunities for good education.  That includes technical education, which is becoming more and more important. Everything else is provision of some kind of crutches, which do not add to the strength or health of the body.”

“We have made recently two decisions: one is universal and free 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. I have no doubt that there is a vast reservoir of potential and talent in this country, only thing we can give it an opportunity.”

“But if go in for Reservations on communal and caste basis, we swamp the bright and able people and remain second rate or third rate. I am grieved to learn of how far this business of Reservation has gone on communal considerations. It has annoyed me to learn that even promotions are sometimes based on communal or caste considerations.”

“This way lays not only folly but disaster. Let us help the backward groups by all means, but never at the cost of efficiency.  How are we going to build our public sector or indeed any sector with second rate people?”

Time has proved again and again that whatever Pt. Nehru had said was correct.

Before Independence

Start of Reservation in 1919 – The employment in Government or association with it was considered lucrative and prestigious for all the educated Indians at that time. The desire to be associated with the Government opened up various channels of confrontation.

It was Justice Leslie C Miller, the then Chief Judge of Mysore Chief Court and chairman, 1st Backward Class Committee of Mysore, who officially introduced Policy of Reservation in government jobs in 1919. For this purpose, the Committee classified the Indian society into: –

  • Brahmins;
  • Other Caste Hindus, Mohammedan and Indian Christians, and
  • Depressed classes (including SCs and STs),

At that time itself, one of the members of the Miller Committee, Mr. Iyengar rejected most of the recommendations on the ground that any Reservation would harm efficiency of administration by preventing persons with merit from joining the services.

After Independence

Post-independent era has been witnessing the hysteria over job Reservation. It is increasing everyday in quantity and quality. Many non-beneficiary sections of society at the periphery are now demanding to be included in the beneficiaries’ list with insistence, so that they can also get the advantage of Reservations Policy.

Constitution of India and the Reservation Policy

Many diverse principles can be found in the constitution of India. Constitution framers have left much on time and to the discretion and fair-mindedness of people in authorities. Constitution-framers had the faith in the fair-mindedness of authorities.

The ‘principle of equal opportunities’ (Art 16) is in direct conflict with the principles of redress directing the authorities to make Reservations for SCT in ‘consistent with the maintenance of efficiency’ (Articles 335). The authorities have, however, over-looked for their political expediency, the clause on efficiency. They vehemently supported Reservation policy and converted it into ‘Quota system’ without giving due place to merit and efficiency in the governance of the nation.

Article 334 (a) and 334 (b) envisage, The Reservation of seats for the SC and ST in the House of People and in the legislative Assemblies of the States and The representation of the Anglo Indian Community in the house of the people and in Legislative Assembly of the States by nomination – shall cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution.

Procedure for de-reservation

The Constitution has set a procedure for de-reservation also through Article 336(1), though it was mentioned in the context of Anglo-Indian Reservation in the civil services, as follows: –

“During the first two years after the commencement of this Constitution, appointments of members of the Anglo Indian Community to posts in the railways, customs, postal and telegraph services of the Union shall be made on the same basis as immediately before the fifteenth day of August, 1947. [336(1)]

“During every succeeding period of two years, the number of posts reserved for the members of the said community in the said services shall, as nearly as possible, be less by ten percent, than the numbers so reserved during the immediately preceding period of two years. Provided, that at the end of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, all such Reservations shall cease.And the procedure of de-reservation, mentioned in context with Anglo-Indians, is not meant only for a single community, but for all communities.

 Provision of regular review – According to Art 15(4) and 16(4), there should be impartial review at regular intervals (ten years) to assess the situation. With the spread of educational awareness and progress, there should be progressive decline in the quantum of Reservation. Instead, it has increased in its scope, extent and number of beneficiaries.

Some experts say that it is not obligatory for the government authorities to make Reservations in the services. Neither in Article 335 nor in Article 16(4), the Constitution says, There shall be seats reserved in the services”. While dealing with Special Provisions Relating to Certain Classes for elective posts in Part XVI of the Constitution, the Constitution framers used the words Seats shall be reserved, whereas for services it only mentions The claims…shall be taken into consideration. The constitution remained silent about who would be the beneficiary, what would be the percentage or form, what would be the duration for reservations in government services etc.

Opinion of the Constitution framers  

During the Constituent Assembly Debates, it was hoped, that after ten years, or so, there would be no need for Reservation.

MV Kamath – MV Kamath, on October 14, 1949, said, Members and even friends outside may dispute the wisdom of this course (Reservations for SC/ST)…. I only wish to express the hope that before ten years has expired from the commencement of the Constitution…. there will be not merely no backward classes, socially and educationally backward classes left, but that all the classes will come up to a decent normal human level, and also that we shall do away with this stigma of any caste being, scheduled, this was the creation of British regime, which happily has passed away. We have taken many strides forward in removing or do away with the numerous evils that were associated with the British regime. This is one of the few that still remain. I hope… that ere long, this stigma, too, will disappear from our body politics and we shall all stand before the world as one single community.”  (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. X, pp 242-43)

Dr. Ambedkar on Reservations – On August, 1949, while defending SC Reservation for ten years, Dr. Ambedkar also said, For the scheduled tribes, I am prepared to give far longer time, but all those, who have spoken about the Reservation to the SC or to the ST, have been so meticulous that the thing should end by ten years. (Ibid. P.697)

Not only Nehru, but Ambedkar, the undisputed leader of untouchables and Doyen of contemporary Dalit Politics himself declared in a speech sometime before his death that the provision of Reservation in service should not extend beyond 1960/61. (Indian Express, Dated September 14,1990.). Dr. Ambedkar later in life also believed that Policy of Reservation had Encouraged backwardness, inefficiency and lack of competitive merit among them barring a few stray cases.” (Balraj Madhok, Aryan Heritage,May 1985)

During his last days, Ambedkar was a depressed-man saying, I have not been able to fulfill my mission”. …  “my own people have deceived me. Whatever I have been able to do, is being enjoyed by the educated people and they are the worst fools. I now want to divert my attention to the uneducated masses, but life seems short. The second worry to my mind is that I wanted that somebody from the SC should come forward and take the responsibilities from me. There, however, seems none to shoulder such a heavy responsibility. All are selfish and quarrel themselves on petty matters. (Chandra V and Mowli, BR Ambedkar – Man and his vision, 1990)

Dr. Rajagopalachari – Dr. Rajagopalachari warned the nation, Short sighted favoritism and concessions to produce contentment among classes and castes will be short lived, and will deteriorate into constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to real efficiency. All these statements make it clear that the forefathers desired Reservations to exist for a short time i.e. till the time other welfare measures for uplifting the submerged people started yielding results.

Political expediency more important than efficiency for present day politicians

The political expediency rather than efficiency has been taken into account, so far, in the matter of reservations, is clear from the facts that: –

  • Norms have been relaxed for the candidates of reserved category. These relaxation range from age limit to cut off marks,
  • In order to fill the quotas in full, easier questions are asked from reserved category candidates in interviews,
  • Vide an order issued by Ministry of Home Affairs in O.M.No.1/1/70-Estt (SCT) dated 257.70, in direct recruitment, whether by examination or otherwise, if sufficient number of SCT candidates are not available on the basis of general standards to fill all the vacancies reserved for them, candidates belonging to these communities should be selected on relaxed standards, provided they are not unfit for such posts. The Union Public Service Commission is continuing the practice of relaxing standards to fill up the reserved vacancies, so far.
  • While recommending the names of candidates on relaxed standards, the need for additional training and coaching is recommended, so that they could come up to the standard of other candidates appointed along with them. But authorities have not paid much attention to it.

After every ten years the politicians in Parliament have extended the period of reservations through constitutional amendments without ascertaining through comprehensive social audit, whether reservations are still required or not. Has the Reservation policy achieved its targeted goals? Politicians have found the idea of quotas as a convenient tool to create captive and permanent vote banks.

Views of some present-day Constitutional experts on Reservation

Seervai’s comments on adverse effects of Reservation – According to Seervai, a Constitutional Expert, Reservations in services affect five parties adversely (Seervai H, Is an efficient public service irrelevant in India, Indian Express Sept 1990, P.1):-

  • The state, to whose service, persons are recruited by open competition in examinations held by independent Public Service Commission;
  • The Public, as the very phrase public servant shows;
  • The persons, who are discriminated against, by Reservation in favour of members of SC/ST/OBC;
  • Members of SC/ST/OBC, in whose favour discrimination is being made by fixing Reservation quota, and
  • The service, that is each service considered as a whole.

Nani A  Palkiwala on short-comings of Reservation policy Nani A Palkiwala, a leading lawyer and Constitutional Expert says (Palkiwala – Unity and Security of State at Stake Indian Express September 14, 1990) that Reservation Policy suffers from five fatal flaws:

  • The substandard replaces the standard and the reigns of power are to pass from meritocracy to mediocrity,
  • It ignores the reality that there is no backward castes, but backward individuals,
  • Reservation in promotion is disastrous enough for the Civil administration,
  • It divides the country along caste lines and is against social harmony and social intermingling of various castes, and,
  • 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 caliber.i Palkiwala opines that Mandal has revived the casteism, which the Constitution emphatically intended to end.

Arun Shourie’s commentsArun Shourie an eminent journalist and former Union Minister, believes (This way lies not only folly, but disaster, Indian Express, 22.8.1990)   that a society, based on the principles of social justice, integrity, equal rights and opportunities for all, means recognition for the inherent rights of every human being to work and achieve the essentials of life like food, clothing, housing, education, social amenities and security. These should not be determined by accident of birth or sex, but by planned social distribution, to accept the claim of every citizen to the right to enjoy basic rights and liberties. It also means to create awareness among its citizens, so that they can justly exercise their rights and perform their duties.

“A job should be something, which one has to work to get, something which one has to do one’s utmost to retain and advance in it. It should not be, advancement in it must not be any one’s right. Reservations definitely develop ethos that the job, the promotion is mine by right and that too, because of my birth, not work. How can a modern society survive, let alone grow with this as its ethos. According to him: –

  • Reservations were introduced as an exception, a temporary one, but it became a permanent feature,
  • It tends to grow. Concessions once given to a group is grabbed one after another group,
  • Concessions introduced in one sphere, spreads to others.
  • With its growth, it suffers progressive, rapid debasement.
  • A concession, once given, becomes a right.

Comments of some Judges

Democratic institutions like courts also find it difficult to arrest the rot and to ensure that the policy sub-serves the end, for which it was meant. Judges have also commented on various aspects of Reservation Policy from time to time.

On efficiency – Justice Gajendra Gadkar has said that “It must not be forgotten that the efficiency in administration has such paramount importance, that it would be unwise and unpermissible to make any Reservation at the cost of efficiency of administration. That undoubtedly is the affect of Article 335. (in Rangachari case 1961)

On Special protection Special protection under Article 16(4) is not in the nature of an exception. The principles of Art 46 are to be kept in mind, viz. that it is extended to the weaker sections of people. However, the Reservations should not be used to imperil administrative efficiency in the name of concessions to backwardness… Efficiency of administration is bound to be adversely affected, if general candidates of high merit are excluded from recruitment…. The politicization of casteism, its infiltration into unsuspected human territories and the injection of caste concession’s in schools and colleges via backwardness Reservations, are a canker in the rose of secularism”. (Akhil Bhartiya Soshit Karamchari Sangh Vs UOI 1981)

On Constant review of the list of beneficiaries All the same, the Government should not proceed on the basis that once a class is considered as a backward class, it should continue to be backward class for all time to come. Such an approach would defeat the very purpose of the Reservation. Therefore, the list of castes, which are entitled to Reservation must be kept constantly under review.(Supreme Court in Periakarpan Vs Tamil Nadu (1971), Chote Lal and others Vs State of UP)

Reservation as temporary measureIf freedom, justice and equal opportunity to unfold ones own personality belong alike to Bhangi and Brahmin, prince and pauper, if the Panchama proletariat is to feel the social transformation, Article 16(4) promises, the state must apply equalizing techniques, which will enlarge their opportunities and thereby, progressively diminish the need for props. The success of State action under Article 16(4) consists in the speed, with which result oriented Reservation withers away as no longer a need, not in the ever widening and everlasting operation of an exception (Article 16(4)) as if it were a superficial right to continue backward all the time. To lend immortality to the Reservation policy is to defeat its raison’detre. To politicize this provision for communal support and party ends is to subvert the solemn undertaking of Article 16(1). To castefy Reservation even beyond the dismal groups of most backward people, euphemistically described as SC and ST, is to run a grave constitutional risk. Caste, ipso facto, is not class in a secular state.” (Karamchari case 1981)

Reservations in the eyes of common man

A fraud on constitution – In public eye, the role to ‘Reservation Policy’ to yield the desired results has become doubtful. Common-man regards reservations as a fraud on constitution, because it has lost its neutral character and is being used to serve vested interests of some. Deep in their heart, most of the educated conscientious politicians know well the grave dangers involved with the policy of Reservation. But the fear of being hauled politically leaves no choice, but to support Reservations, especially when all others are supporting it. They can not go against the popular current.

“Mistake of one time, being repeated several times” – After every ten years, Reservations are reviewed on the floor of Parliament. However the net results remain the same – “Mistake of one time, being repeated several times”. Reservation has degenerated democracy into a number game and palliatives. It has pushed the real issues, principles and ideologies into the background.

Created unbridgeable political identities – The policy has led the nation to build unbridgeable political identities in most insensitive manner. Each and every section of society is increasingly distancing itself from the mainstream and is trying to establish firmly its separate identity. Such an attitude is based on negative exhortations and condemns all traditional values and structures. Too much stress on their rights, fragmented from duties has created agitation and confrontation leading to further fragmentation. The new culture of consumerism adds fuel to fire.

Vested interests – In their self interest, some shrewd political leaders have spread many myths and illusions to divert public mind from real issues to abstract ones. It has disfigured certain aspects of reality, flared up emotional issues, tried to unite the people by diagnosing A common enemy to be defeated and put the blame on the unverifiable past. In the absence of independent records of events, around which its arguments are woven, its own analysis becomes the only record. The emotional issues earn for them the faith of the people and help them to further instigate the feelings of the people. Through Reservation Policy, it has exploited for its personal benefits the principles of equality, secularism, social justice and unity – the four pillars of Indian Constitution.

Developed inaction and parasitism – The beneficial or protective nature of political authority has lulled the people to make efforts for self-development. They look towards the government’s support at each step. They expect change to originate at the apex and not at the base.

The great lesson of the 20th Century, which can be learnt from it is that the government of a nation should not become so benevolent that it tend to undermine people’s will/capacity to help themselves and develop in them inaction and parasitism. Quite often, State intervention in many matters can bring only short term benefits.

Administration no more a simple job – With the growing expectations of various emerging groups, too much consciousness about one’s rights, spread of education and awareness among general masses, the challenges before administration have become very complex in nature. At this crucial junction of economic depression the nation requires the services of bright meritorious, hardworking and sincere people in its administrative set-up. Any laxity in the qualifications of officials could lead to inefficient or mal-administration and substandard services to general public.

Reason behind the success of ‘private sector’ – The way the Reservation Policy is being implemented affects adversely the efficiency of the institution. The private sector survives and prospers, only because it does not allow substandard working. It picks up the best talent available in the country, from educational institutions itself, by conducting campus interviews. Efficiency of any organization depends on:-

  • Stress on Quality,
  • Merit, and
  • Work-culture

No discrimination, whether positive or reverse – The idea to follow reverse discrimination to right the wrongs of the past appears illogical. Discrimination, whether positive or reverse, will always remain discrimination. Prejudices do exist everywhere, especially in India on the basis of caste, community or gender, but it is not a daily intrusion in one’s life. Therefore, people should be prepared to face the challenges of life with courage. They should not treat such prejudices as hurdles, every time they encounter one.

More so, preferential treatment to some on the grounds of caste or community hurts more. Many talented youth belonging to non-beneficiary groups are so disgusted that they migrate to other nations in search of greener pastures. Once a senior politician, on a fact finding tour of a riot torn city facing acute communal disharmony, was being escorted around by a Colonel, And to which community do you belong Colonel? asked the politician. The officer replied, I belong to the minority community, Sir. How is that asked the politician. Said the Colonel, I am an Indian and Indians, Sir, are in minority here”(Quoted from Indian Defense Review, July 1989)

Common abuses of Reservation Policy

It has been observed that Government has not been successful so far in bringing desired social changes or undo the social wrongs through Reservation Policy. The beneficial or protective nature of political authority has lulled the people to make efforts for self-development. They look towards the government’s support at each step. They expect change to originate at the apex and not at the base.

The experience of yester years has brought into the forefront the most common abuses of Reservation Policy both at the Central and State levels. It has been observed that  :-

  • SCT list is lengthened by the Center on 20 occasions, and numerous times by the states,
  • Some States are allowed by the Center to exceed 50% limit,
  • Reservation is extended to advanced castes,
  • Creamy layer rule is disregarded by States,
  • Madhya Pradesh scraps cut off marks for SCT in entrance examination to professional courses,
  • Attempt to manipulate recruitment process to favor their people by political authorities pursuing sectoral interests,
  • To be called backward no longer remains a social stigma, and
  • Many people produce fake certificates. (Mittal Manage-Racketeering in Quotas, India Today Nov 15, 1994, P-91)

Reservations have today become an ideological slogan, which has not much to do with the uplift of downtrodden. However, it veers the nation towards paternalistic-totalitarianism and cripples the public consciousness. In order to lure the masses and capture power, many politicians make false promises, which can not change the position of deprived. How to get out of the clutches, false promises, manipulations and twisted ideologies of the politicians is a major task ahead the people.

Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India between 1985 to 1989, in a talk with Dileep Padgaonkar, said, Today the major challenge for the nation is rapid development. If the nation does not move ahead at the fastest possible pace, it is going to miss-out on global changes that are taking place. If we are not on the scene as a major player, very soon we will not be a player at all…Hence rapid development. Common wisdom is that you get meritocracy in all the right places and then everything will work well. Meritocracy does not belong to particular groups. The idea that it belongs to certain groups creates social tensions. It is the duty of the Government to bring more and more people out of their economic, social and educational backwardness…Forty years ago; it may not be possible to take an alternative action. Now India has reached to the stage, when an alternative action has to be given to the disadvantaged groups to come up. (TOI, Sept 2, 1990, p.11)

Ministry of Personnel Notification of 31st Jan. 2012

Perform or perish – At last, on 31st January, 2012, the ministry of personnel, responsible for regulating conditions of bureaucrats, notified changes in All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules empowering the government to enforce early retirement of bureaucrats after a mandatory ‘review’.

The performance review will include appraisal of the entire service record of an officer “regarding suitability or otherwise” for further retention in the service. The rule covers IAS, IPS and other all-India services including Indian forest service, customs and excise etc. An officer must retire in “public interest” if found to be inefficient in 15 years of service; second evaluation after 25 years. Performance review may be done by government at any other point in a bureaucrat career

The new rules say:”The Central Government may, in consultation with the state government concerned, require a member of service to retire from service in public interest, after giving such member at least three months previous notice in writing or three month’s pay and allowances in liu of such notice.”   

Making bureaucrat go through mid-career review is a good step. In fact it was long overdue. Along with this step government should ensure that bureaucrats must serve the people and become accountable to them rather than serving their political masters and remain at the mercy of their political masters for getting posted at the places they deserve. No bureaucrat should expect a preferential or special treatment for getting an employment in the higher civil services, or for getting good postings or for progression in career.   

Suggestion

It is better to be late than never – There is still time before the nation to change its course towards betterment by introducing healthy competition, instead of rat race generating inter-caste and intra-caste rivalries :-

  • By widening mental horizon,
  • By developing understanding and tolerance in people through sound education,
  • By encouraging people for self-employment,
  • By curbing corruption and preventing public money from flowing into the pockets of middlemen.
  • By introducing administrative reforms to cut down unproductive growth of personnel and government expenditure.

Drucker has said, The world is moving fast towards knowledge based systems. For the first time in human history, knowledge and therefore, education really matters for progress. Every section of the society now a day needs to be literate not just in three Rs (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) but also in basic computer skills. They should be well aware of the political, social, economic and historical systems of the country. The vastly expanding area of knowledge also requires that people must know, what to learn, how to learn and when to learn. Along with knowledge, the people should acquire ability to present ideas orally and in writing, the ability to work with people (team work) and ability to shape and direct one’s own work, contribution and career. ((Drucker, Peter F, Managing for the Future, p4)

Conclusion

Reservation to be phased out gradually – For encouraging people to work for their betterment, the reservation should be phased out gradually. Rajagopalachari has rightly said that, 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.

In the end it can be said that Nehru’s dream of making “my country to be first class country in everything” can be fulfilled only when “the bright and able people” are not “swamped”. The moment “we encourage the second rate, we are lost.” There is no shortcut for growth other than attaining qualifications through sound system of education and training. Of course, there should be education for all, equal opportunity for all and hard work by all, then only a nation can march with confidence towards progress. If the authorities want to give to the downtrodden something worthwhile, they should give them dignity, not doles.

February 9, 2012 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services, Reservation/Affirmative action program | , | 12 Comments

Kaka Kalelkar on Reservation of jobs in Government Services

 

        “Services are not meant for the servants but for the service of the society as a whole”.   Kaka Kalelkar

In 1955, Kaka Kalelkar, Chairman of the First Central backward Class Commission,  in his note of dissent, expressed his views on the issue of Reservation in class I, II, III and IV Services of of Government of India. It was primarily for the uplift of weaker sections of society.

 Demand for national solidarity – According to him, “National solidarity in a democratic set up demands Government to recognize only two ends – the individual at one end and the nation as a whole at the other. Nothing should be encouraged to organize itself in between these two ends to the detriment of the freedom of the individual and solidarity of the nation. All communal and denominational organizations and groupings of lesser and narrower units have to be watched carefully, so that they do not jeopardize the national solidarity and do not weaken the efforts of the nation to serve the various elements in the body politic with equity. Mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust are the touchstone, on which all communal and denominational activities will be tested and anything that undermines it, will be expected and brought to book.” ….“Communalism and casteism are bound to destroy the unity of the nation and narrow down the aspiration of our people”i

” The special concessions and privileges accorded to Hindu castes acted as a bait and bribe inciting Muslim and Christian Society to revert to caste and caste prejudices and the healthy social effect by Islam and Christianity were thus rendered null and void.” (Para iv)

When to bestow special concessions? – In his note of dissent, Kaka clarifies that “It is only when a community is proved to be working  under a special handicap and is not allowed to freely function as a citizen, that the state may intervene and make a special provision for the advancement of such under-priveleged and handicapped communities or persons… A general formula for helping all persons to whatever caste or community, they may belong, should be made.” (Para viii)It is not enough to prove that one community is regarded inferior by another.The Christian may look down the Jews and the Jews may retaliate with the same feelings. The Brahmins may regard Banias as inferior and the Bania, in his turn, may regard the Brahmin as a mere social dependent. Such opinions and prejudices do not come in the way of the full growth of the backward communities either educationally or economically….. It is for them to make necessary efforts for their prosperity. They will naturally receive whatever help is available to all citizens.” (Para vii and viii)

Views on caste structure – “We are not blind to the good intentions and wisdom of our ancestors, who built the caste structure. It was perhaps the only way, through which they could teach the nation to forget and rise above racial clan-ship, tribal and similar biological groupings of society and to accept a workable arrangement of social existence based on cultural hierarchy and occupational self-government.” iii

Contribution of ‘Upper Classes’ in uplift of weaker sections – He said “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.” iv

Need to introduce sound system of basic education – “If the backward communities have neglected education it is because they had no use for it. 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 open competition and having the special advantage of mixing with people and serving them, they will prove themselves better administrators and leaders of society.”v

 ‘Services are not meant for the servants but for the service of the society as a whole’ – He also said very clearly, “I am definitely against Reservations in Government services for any community for the simple reason that services are not meant for the servants but for the service of the society as a whole. Administration must have the services of the best men available in the land and this may be found in all the communities. Reservation of post 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, whatever be their qualifications.’ vi

Suggestion

Criteria of backwardness other than caste – “It would have been better, if we would determine the criteria of backwardness on principles other than caste.” (Para vii) According to him, “caste test was repugnant to democracy and the objective “to create a casteless and classless society by perpetuating and encouraging caste divisions.” (Para viii)

Kaka Kalelkar concluded that giving an additional weapon in weak hands was no remedy. The remedies the commission had suggested in its main Report 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 meant for the service of society as a whole.”   

Reference:

Note of dissent, Paras i, iii, iv, v, vi, vii and viii, Report of First Backward Class Commission, 1955. 

 

September 15, 2011 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | , , , | 17 Comments