Caste was the system of social life, in which Hinduism was expressed. …… Hinduism was the ideological and emotional buttress of caste…. Caste and Hinduism succeeded in doing in India, what no state, no conqueror and no economy was able to do – the establishment of a single unified system of society throughout the whole of India (accommodating numerous semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places), a system of society, which was able to comprise a greater range of local differences in a single system than any society has previously accomplished.”
Through caste system, India has simultaneously accommodated “to almost endlessly, a varied system of semi-autonomous community and at the same time, it brings considerable unity, harmony and condition of peace.” It has “succeeded in wielding, an enormously, varied, plurality of semi-autonomous communities, arising, at many times, and in many places; and adopting themselves to many different conditions into a single system of society…” (Don Martindale, India since 1947, p 39)
“Positive aspects of Indian culture are so deep that the merits of ancient systems would be rejuvenated…. The caste system was working well in ancient times and we do not find any complaint from any quarters against it. It is often misinterpreted as an exploitative social system for retaining economic and social status of certain vested interests of ruling class. … Indian caste system, which has evolved an answer the requirements of civilization at a later phase of development of culture, was integrated with Varna system as enunciated in the ancient scriptures and Dharmasastras.” (Quoted from Ancient caste system worked well: ICHR head, p.1, TOI July15,2014)
Evolved in a natural way -The origin of Caste-system can not be found in one single authoritative text, nor can it be attributed to one single founder. It evolved in a natural way over thousands of years. The experiences and deep thinking of many learned sages and intellectuals belonging to different communities at different points of time have contributed to evolve this system. It is a very old and indigenous system, conceptualized, developed and practiced exclusively in India.
Provided a Mechanism to assimilate small and primitive groups – As Basham has pointed out, Caste system may well be called a natural response to many small and primitive groups of people, who were forced to come to terms, with a more advanced economic and social system. It provided a mechanism, by which numerous discrete tribes could be, all sorts of groups and associations arising for political, sectarian or other reasons could be internalized and preserved within the whole.
Development of thousands of years of the association – Caste is the development of thousands of years of the association of many racial and other groups in a single cultural system. The arrival of Aryans hereditary kinship and tribal groups in India in waves, from different parts of the world and their mixing up with the indigenous people (popularly known as Hindus) gave birth Varna-system of Vedic culture.
Start during ancient pastoral society – The beginning of the system can be traced from the times of pastoral tribal society, when people started forming small groups mostly living in hilly areas, not far from rivers. Tribal communities were nomadic or semi nomadic and egalitarian. They depended on nature for its subsistence.
Development during Agricultural society – Gradually pastoral tribal society transformed into a settled agricultural society, confining its activities and life within a small area or territory. Agricultural society leisurely evolved its structures and systems over about 2000 years (roughly between 2000 BC to about 600 BC) and kept on coping with the changes slowly, time had brought in. As reflected in ‘Rigveda’, when people ceased to be a wandering people, started the early stages of Vedic Age.
Clans and tribes settled permanently in different parts of the country. Possession of land, slaves and hired laborers started. People hardly possessed more than what was needed for their subsistence/survival. The practice of cultivation, rise of crafts and iron tools transformed the egalitarian society into fully agricultural and stratified society sometime during 6th century BC.
Beginning of settled life – After entering into India, first Aryans conquered India’s original inhabitants of Northern part of India, colonized and established kingdoms. Most of original inhabitants moved to Deccan and then south. During the period, it was possible to have high ranks, but not high social classes. Initially a simple class division was seen in the social structure, i.e. nobility and the ordinary tribesmen. The units of social-political organizations were family, clan, village, tribe and Jana. Family was the unit of society headed by father. Three or four generations lived together, and probably owned property in common. A number of families living in one locality formed ‘grama’ (village). A number of such fighting units dwelling in a particular region constituted a ‘vis’ (canton), ‘Jana’ (a group of tribes) consisted of a number of such cantons, with a king as their ruler.
Mixing up of their culture with native culture of the land – Starting with arrival of Aryans in waves and mixing up of their culture with native culture of the land evolved a social structure based on the principles of “Varna” (giving birth to caste system), “Dharma” and “Karma”, which together distributed, organized performance of various functions and contributed to the growth of Indian society. In the beginning, Varna – meaning color – guided the division of the society. These principles gave Vedic society a distinct character, defined roles and organized inter-relationship of various sections of society. Fair skinned Aryans, being the conquerors, kept themselves on the top. They spread their language and culture allover the North. Many changes started taking place in the life, manners, religion, language and literature of people.
Social structure bases on ‘Varna’ – Principle of ‘Varna’ had stratified Vedic society into four groups – Brahmins (intellectuals), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (Businessmen) and shudras (service providers) according to aptitudes, occupation and location of people. Aryans dependents of Brahmins and Kshatriyas were the subject class. Vaishyas followed the profession of agriculture or cattle raising and formed also the armed forces of their princes. The three classes were not rigidly separated. People, who were conquered and admitted into the fold of Aryan society, were looked upon as the lowest of the four classes. Conquered Kols and Dravid tribes formed the fourth class of ‘Dasas’ or ‘Shudras’. Aryan princes did not regard ‘Dasa’ princes as inferior, for they made alliances with them.
Possession of land, slaves and hired laborers started. People started producing and possessing more than they needed. The kings collected their surplus yields. The power of kings gradually increased. For regular collection, administrative and religious methods were devised.
Rise of caste system – As more and more indigenous and foreign groups were merged into the Hindu-fold, Vedic Varna system gave rise to caste system. For making place for new groups, caste system provided a mechanism. Through it, the job of assimilation of different tribal, local and immigrant groups was done cordially, at different points of time. Each new group joining it was given a separate caste identity. It neither disturbed the existing internal social order nor any new group was prevented from joining it and still allowed new groups to preserve its specialties and indigenous culture. It gave each one opportunities to develop within its own parameters. Thousands of endogamous groups were included into it. Each group was allowed to maintain its own rules, regulations, customs, way of life and power to control conduct of its members. However, principles of Varna, Dharma, and Karma remained the foundation stones of caste system and contributed to its growth in a systematic way.
Connection between ‘Varna’ and ‘Caste’ -Castes had its ethnic roots as denoted by ‘Jati’, and a ritualistic and symbolic significance in its ‘Varna’ aspect. Different castes found their place under a ‘Varna’ on the basis of their being ritually clean or unclean, nature of work and amount of self-discipline they exercised. Numerous castes and sub-castes emerged within each ‘Varna’. Four ‘Varnas’ remained the same. These were never more or less than four. For over 2000 years, their order in precedence remained the same. As far as castes were concerned, they rose and fell in their social order, some died out and new ones were formed from time to time.
Castes in the Making around 5th century – Perhaps, the first faint trace of caste is to be found in the careful cataloguing of traders and professions in later Vedic literature. Many traders were organized into guilds around 5th century AD, in which, some authorities have seen the origin of commercial castes. These can be seen as the castes in making. Even up to 7th century AD, people showed no clear knowledge of the existence of castes. Huan Tsang, in the Seventh century was well aware of the existence of Varna, but not of castes.
Salient features of Caste System – All the strength of caste system comes from its basic principle of Varna, which gave Indian Society a stable, sustainable and a solid social structure with a system of thought, a way of life and sense of direction, accompanied by principles of Dharma, and Karma, The principles which ensured the continuity despite numerous foreign invasions, migrations and assimilation of various groups. Caste system could survive for such a long period because –
- Principles of a good organization – Almost all principles of a good organization are found in caste system. It provides strong structure based on principles of ‘Varna, Dharma and Karma”, keeps its members comfortable and satisfied, assigns duties to different sections of society according to their natural instincts and qualities and instills amongst people feeling of interdependence and team-spirit etc. Caste-system believes in lofty principles like “Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam” (whole world is one family), “live and let live”, “Self restraint”, “automatic checks and balances” “division of labor” along with “to each according to his needs and from each according to his capacity” etc. etc.
- Assimilation without conversion- Caste system is a natural response of mixing up of numerous social multi-ethnic groups with indigenous groups of the land into a single cultural system. Beauty of caste system lies in the way; it assimilated numerous social groups coming from different parts of the world at different points of time in waves.– immigrants, locals, tribal, professionals or others – into its mainstream. Unlike Islam or Christianity, it has brought them under one umbrella without any conversion.
- Caste as a mechanism for inclusion of other groups – Caste system worked as a mechanism, assigning each incoming new group a separate caste identity. Society remained stable, while offering a place to a new community. The system neither disturbed its existing internal social order nor prevented any new group to develop itself. Without any conversion, caste system made new groups its integral part. It never tried to annihilate their faith, originality, internal order, customs, culture or language. Instead, it gave them freedom to prosper/make changes into their systems according to their internal rhythm.
- Based on the vision of an organic society – Caste-system is based on the “vision” of an organic society. Society as an organic body needs services of all its constituents equally. Each part has been assigned a particular function. All the parts are equally important and indispensible, need equal attention for its growth and care for balanced growth of the whole system. Coordinated functioning of all parts together keeps whole system fit and alive.
- Employment, dignity and honor for all – The unique feature of caste system was that it provided work and employment to everyone. There was no dearth of employment opportunities for persons willing to work or wanting to become soldiers. Caste system inspired people to do their jobs well, as all worldly honor and spiritual happiness were vested there. It assured the people that proper performance of one’s work, whether high or humble, whether of a priest, warrior, Shudra or yogi were equally important for the society and were, therefore, right, respectable and worth pursuing. It provided the whole society a quality of life.
- Basis of segmental-ranking – Though the caste system believed in segmental ranking of different caste groups, according to their relevance and contribution to the society, it placed all the individuals, within a caste group – rich or poor – on the same footing. All members of a caste had similar rights and duties, similar thinking process, similar customs, language, food habits, domestic routine, and style of dress. Elders took care of maintaining discipline within the caste and helped the members, who were weak and helpless.
- Ranking – Varna system was so conceived by the genius sages that there was hardly any room for any Varna to consider itself, as being placed in greater or lesser disadvantageous position with reference to another. The ranking of different castes was dependent on the nature and social relevance of their work, contribution of their work for social subsistence, efforts required to perform their duties and amount of self restraint/self discipline, they exercise, their relative purity, morality, knowledge and spiritual standards. Considerations of self-discipline, hygiene and cleanliness on the basis of climatic conditions of the region were also given importance, while ranking different castes.
- Stress on self-restraint and self-discipline – Every caste was supposed to lead a self restraint and self disciplined life in all respect, be it in the matter of daily routine, occupation or inter caste relationship. Brahmins, occupying the highest place in the society, were put under maximum restrictions and were denied accumulation of wealth. They were directed to lead a simple life, devoted to the spiritual and intellectual pursuits.The higher the caste within a Varna, the purer it was considered, and greater was the self-restrictions on its behavior through rituals. The system of each caste having a specific position in the society and a specific work to do with its rights and duties boosted the morale of the people and promoted social equilibrium and solidarity.
- Inter-dependence – All the activities of urban or rural areas were confined within a small area, having very little links with the outside world because of slower means of transport. Only merchants visited different distant places. The local societies used to be self-sufficient mutually `supporting and caring” for each other. No caste took an all India character. There was no nationwide hierarchy of castes. However, in a local area, the relative standing of castes was more or less fixed. All local castes, whether high or low, living in an area mutually depended and supported for fulfilling different kind of needs and cared for each other. All people living in a village or city, were bound together by economic and social ties and had a strong bond of mutual dependence. Rituals required the participation of all castes.
- Local character – Local character and semi-autonomous nature of caste system made close interaction and cooperation between different castes a reality. Inter-dependence in social life and self-reliance in personal life were the intrinsic features of caste system making each local area self-sufficient and capable to fulfill all the needs of its people. People living in a local area shared moments of joy and sorrow with each other. All castes including untouchables were assigned important social duties. Harijan women helped all castes at time of child-birth. Harijan males beat drums in front of Hindu’s houses or in front of a procession on important occasions/ceremonies. Village barber spread news, arranged marriages and served food during celebrations. Occasionally non-Brahmins or Harijans served as priests of temples of goddesses like Sita or Kali, where all castes made offerings. The key, to understand the caste system, was not in seeing it as a framework of hierarchical layers of social order, each fitting neatly below the other, but as a series of vertical parallels. Each caste was an independent entity, with its own hierarchy, based either on a tribal identity or an occupational identity. All the castes were independent, yet their roles complementary.
- Not much disparity – There was not much disparity between different castes or between urban and rural people. The concepts of forward castes or backward castes, disparities between different sections of society and exploitation of the weak were almost non-existent earlier. The tropical climate of the country compelled the people to the distribution of surplus, as it was difficult to store anything for long.
- Automatic checks and balances – Decentralized self-regulated systems managed various activities in social, intellectual, political, and economic life and controlled its malfunctioning or dis-functioning. There was hardly any question of all India tyranny of any caste group. There was not a single group identifiable as very strong-dominating all the others, or as an enemy to defeat. Laws remained unmodified and flexible with the capacity to adapt to local customs and situations. People in power and position cared for the lower castes in order to acquire and retain local followers. The system made upper castes generous in matters of food, drinks and loans, when required. The plurality of society provided automatic checks and balances and controlled the arbitrariness or unbalanced growth of power of any group. Indian peasantry in UP, Bihar and MP were armed. In fact, non-Kshatriya peasant provided leadership of most armed bands, which were numerically predominant and economically and politically strong at the village level. The monopoly of powerful peasant was a reality of the rural life of Medieval India. The Brahmin strongholds were the centers of learning. The floating population, consisting groups like Gujjars, Bhattis, Rajput rangers, who remained outside caste system, were so strong, that they terrorized settled agriculturists for centuries. Forests, which competed with arable land in size and importance, till the 18th century, gave shelter and food to large sections of society and served as havens for those in search of escape from society. Thus, from time to time, and place to place, different castes rose and fell in their social order, some died out and new ones were formed.
- More stress on duties – The system clearly specifies duties, privileges and restrictions of each role separately and managed relationship with others. It encourages self-discipline, self-control and self-direction. Sprees on one’s responsibilities/duties rather than on rights, combined with principle of inter- dependence provides its own system of checks and balances over arbitrary use of one’s authority and leads to automatic decentralization of authority.
- Flexibility and adaptability – Caste system took different shades and meaning with the changing times and places. Once changed, it never returned to its original form. Its adaptability and absorptive nature has pronged its life. The system evolved its structures and systems leisurely and kept on coping with the slow changes, time brought in. Its character during Indus Valley Civilization was altogether different from what exists today. It is still in a transient phase. It is different in context of village, locality, region or religion.
- High level of intelligence and specialization – Caste-system worked so well and efficiently in ancient India that when the world was passing through Dark Age, India was full of light. First few centuries are recognized as the golden period of Indian history. Caste system had wisely organized all activities of society properly.
- Acted as a shield – During medieval India, caste system was a major force for failure of Islam, Christianity and other religions to make headway even after mass conversion. Though many evil practices developed in the system during this period, but it acted as a shield for Hindus to retain their cultural identity, while living under alien rule, whether it was of Mughals, Portuguese or British.
When the world was passing through the Dark Age, India was full of light. The first few centuries are recognized as the golden period of Indian history. During this period, arts, commerce, crafts, philosophy and knowledge flourished magnificently. Its people reached a high level of intelligence having specialization in different areas. Many travelers visiting India, from alien lands at different points of time, confirmed that India possessed huge wealth, knowledge, and quality of life. It was a cheerful land. Each person found a niche in the social system. Its people reached a high level of intelligence having specialization in different areas. It was a cheerful land.
Caste still a strong social institution – Not only in the past, but at present also, caste system appears to be a valid and useful, a natural and inevitable unit of society. It is popular and commands respect and attention of majority of Indian masses of all sects present in India, whether foreign or indigenous. For them following four are fundamental social institutions. An individual is supposed to be a natural member of a family, which is a unit of an extended family, extended family of Kula, Kula of a tribe (Vish) – and a tribe of a Jana or Jati (Caste).
Caste second only to family – A person’s relations with members of his caste are closer than with those, belonging to other castes. Caste values, beliefs, prejudices, injunctions as well as distortions of reality are the indivisible part of a person’s psyche and conscience. Internalized caste norms defines an individual role in the society. It makes one feel good and loved, when he lives up to these norms, and anxious and guilty, when he transgresses them. In a way, caste is still second only to the family in widening a person’s social radius and in getting importance in his/her private and occupational life.
Caste inseparably inter-twined with Indian way of life – Later on, caste-system has became a dominant factor, a natural unit of Indian society, running through the entire fabric of its social structure. Slowly but steadily it got inseparably inter-twined with Indian way of life. So much and so that that, Muslims and Christians, Sikhs and Buddhist, living in India could not remain immune from it for long, though their respective religions believe in egalitarian society. They have, with all their equalitarian faith, formed caste groups within themselves.
Developed deformities as time passed on – Caste system has travelled a very long distance since then. Many changes have taken place in the system especially during centuries of Muslim and British rule in the country. As time passed on, vested interests in each era had distorted or interpreted the original concepts in the manner, which suited to their purpose. Many deformities and rigidities had developed into system to preserve its indigenous identity and culture.
In political circles, caste is blamed for all the agonies of submerged sections of Indian society – Caste-system is blamed for everything – it could vary from illiteracy to creating disparities of power, wealth and culture, escalation of violence, crimes and corruption leading the nation towards disintegration and discrimination and exploitation of weaker, unprivileged sections of society, forcing destitution on vast number of people. But the fault lies somewhere else.
Caste-system presents one of the oldest social institution presenting before the world a continuous and uninterrupted living culture existing in the whole world. The strength of caste system has been proved by the following facts:
- Despite centuries of foreign rule over 75% of Indian population remains Hindu and have strong feelings for caste-system.
- Had caste system become obsolete, it would have given place to other system.
- Caste system has influenced all other communities living in India.
Caste system acted as a shield – Caste-system and its values have acted as a shield. During medieval and initial period of modern India, caste system has been a major force for failure of Islam, Christianity and other religions to make headway during the Muslims or British rule and even after the mass conversions of Hindus into Islam and Christianity. Even in 21st century’s atmosphere of chaos, as C. Rajgopalachari has pointed out “If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity- any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture”.
Conclusion – Allover the world, many systems, institutions, structures, principles, and cultures have been developed from time to time, which created a wave sweeping the entire world with it for some time. But soon, they became obsolete and were replaced by anti-waves which replaced them and wiped off the previous influence. Caste system, on which Indian social structure is based, has proved to be an exception. Its character is different in the context of village, locality, region or religion. Its absorptive nature has internalized alien influences.
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“Har taraf, har jagah beshumaar aadmi,
Phir bhi tanhaiyan ka shikar aadmi” Nida Fazil
Over last few decades Indian population has grown enormously. In 2001 India’s population was102.9 crore, in 2004 108 crore, in 2009 116 crore and expected to be 124 crore by 2020. Population explosion has already neutralized all the efforts done for economic, infra-structural and social development. Now it is putting more pressure/severe strain on the already over-loaded system, aggravating many problems like poverty, low per capita income, food availability, pressure on land, burden on education, medical care, housing, unemployment, underemployment, rapid depletion of natural resources and environment. It is leading to distress migration within country as well as abroad. It has changed the demographic balance. It has prolonged poverty and misery of millions of people. There is constant pressure on infrastructure and civic services. Electricity and water-supply, sewage and drainage systems are not able to meet the growing demands.
The present problem is not only of rapid population growth, but also of an unbalanced population growth. Level of education and income has a definite impact on population growth. There seems to be a correlation between the birth rate and literacy. Higher the levels of education lower the birth rate and vice verse. The population growth has been contained amongst educated class. However, the number of poor, illiterate and unproductive hands is continuously increasing.
Women literacy has led to lower birth rate as well as lower infant mortality rate. For example, in Kerala, having cent percent literacy, the birth rate is much lower than UP, Bihar or Rajasthan, where the literacy rate is lower, and the population of agrarian community and poor people is increasing unchecked. They suffer from illiteracy, superstitions, desire of male child, high mortality rate among children, or lack of awareness. They do not consider children as a problem, but an asset and insurance for old age.
It is observed that over decades population of SCs, STs and OBCs has been continuously growing. There appears to be no reason for them to control their population. The protective policies, preferences and allowances under various Welfare Schemes seem to work as incentive for not adopting family planning measures. Rather they are encouraged to increase their numerical strength for increasing their influence and role in electoral politics.
According to 1991 Census, while the total population in the country, excluding Assam and J&K, grew by 23.79%, it was 30.90% in the case of SC, 25.67% in the case of ST and 22.11% in the case of non-SCT. Region-wise, highest growth rate has been recorded by SC population in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya Mizoram, Orissa and W Bengal. This is followed by ST, followed by Non SC/ST population. In Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tripura, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, ST population followed by SC, followed by NON SC/ST population has recorded highest growth rate. In Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Daman and Diu, the growth rate is highest among SC population, followed by Non SC/ST, followed by ST population. In Kerala, highest growth rate is among ST population followed by Non SC/ST and then SC population. In Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar and UP the growth rate is highest among Non SC/ST followed by SC and then ST population. The Non – SC/ST growth rate in most populous states like UP and Bihar appears to be mainly due to rapid rise in the population of OBC people.
Though, as per government’s census policy, no published data is available about Backward Class’s population growth, the 1951 Census authorities gave to the First Backward Class Commission, two sets of figures in respect of Backward class population. These were 678.39 lakhs (18.9%) and the other estimated at 20.5% of the total population. In 1956, the Commission raised it to 1135.10 lakhs (31.8%). The Mandal Commission, in 1980, further raised it to 52%. The increase in its number is both due to inclusion of additional castes in the backward list as also due to increase in the birth rate among them. The unbalanced growth is more pronounced in the case of Muslims. The 1991 census reports an increase from 11% in 1951 to 13% in 1990, in respect of Muslim population. The growth of Muslims is higher than any other religious group. The recorded growth in Muslim population shows an increase of 32.78% as against 22.78% in the Hindu population. This increase is again due to increase in birth rate as well as migration.
Though percent-wise, unbalanced growth of various sections does not seem much, but in absolute number, it is alarming. Tough competition between different sections for growth has created a gulf between different sections of society, each one pursuing its sectional interests. It gives rise to new equations in power echelons. The wider the gulf, larger the problem for the Government The welfare schemes for such a large population puts an extra economic burden on government.
The problem can not be sorted out by coercive methods. Literacy helps in bringing down fertility substantially among all the sections. People especially poor and marginalized should be encouraged to have a small but happy and healthy family by choice. Attention needs to be paid the problems like high numbers of maternal and infant deaths, by improving the quality of health services, meeting un-met needs of family planning services and linking population programmes with reasonable incentives as well as disincentives for having a large family.
“Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibilities.” Peter Drucker
“No creative, intelligent person seeks power. No intelligent person is interested in dominating others. His first interest is to know himself. Hence it is the mediocre who go after power.” Osho
Majority opinion of Seventh Pay Commission has recommended parity in pay and promotion between IAS and other class I services in its report submitted to the government in November 2015. The associations of 36 other Group A central services class I have protested against elite status given to Indian Administrative service (IAS). They argue that IAS is not justified in its constant bid to underline its “superiority”.
Administrative structure needs to evolve to meet the contemporary challenges. Governance is far more complex today than it was a few years back, when the existing rule of giving an edge to IAS was devised. At the level of joint secretaries and above in central government’s posts, officials need a lot more domain of knowledge in their respective areas. Therefore government should encourage specialization to improve the quality of governance.
Their counterparts in other services are handling more “specialized jobs”. Therefore, they desire to bring in pay parity, do away with the edge enjoyed by the IAS which has been successively upheld by every pay commission till date and give due preference to specialized services rather than generalists, in managing the key departments at the centre.
Premier IAS has always an edge in the top posts in central secretariat, (say joint secretaries and above). It has been possible because the empanelling and selecting authorities i.e. the department of personnel and the cabinet secretariat is completely dominated by IAS. Its personnel claim that while in service, they have to perform multifarious tasks. They claim that to keep their morale high and confidently discharge their duties, an edge should be given to IAS.
The demand for parity started with the third Pay Commission’s times. At that time IAS’s dominance in top posts of central government gradually weakened. In 1972, out of 45 posts of secretaries, 30 were from IAS and 15 from other group A services. In 1984, this figure changed to 36 from IAS and 25 from other group A services. IAS had recaptured 71 posts of secretaries out of 92 in 1995. It regained its lost glory from 1995 onwards. Currently 73 out of 91 secretaries in central government are from IAS, 11 are scientists and 7 from Group A services, and none from IPS, IRS, IAAS, or IRAS. (Figures quoted from TOI, p. 10. dt. 16.11.15). According to petitions from Group A services submitted to 7th Pay Commission, about 75% of joint secretaries, 85% of Addl. secretaries and more than 90% secretaries at present are from IAS.
Civil services in India – Civil services in India whether at Centre or in Provinces can, without doubt, be regarded as the most remarkable of all the institutions, which Britain has bequeathed to India. Fortunately India has inherited from the past, a unique administrative-system, which knows, what posts are strategic and who are the persons to hold them. Along with IAS/IPS or IFS, many other professional and technical all India Civil services, popularly known as Central Services play a very vital role in the administration of various activities in different spheres all over India.
Government of India selects through open competitive examinations conducted by Union Public Service commission (UPSC), candidates for its elite central services. Amongst all, civil services examination (CSE) is most popular. Quite often, public in general refer to this examination as ‘IAS exam’.
Combined All India Civil Services examination (CSE)
Every year UPSC conducts a common civil services examination (CSE) for to select personnel for many services under government of India like Indian Administrative Service (IAS), as well as for other non-IAS services like IFS, IPS and other central services for different departments like Revenue, Railways, Audit and accounts etc. There are three stages of this examination – ‘preliminary’, ‘main’ and personality test (interview). UPSC conducts annually separate examinations for some technical/professional services.
Apart from selecting officers for Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Foreign Service, there are some Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ Central services, officers of which are selected throughCombined All India Civil Services examination like Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Indian Customs and Central Excise Service, Indian Defense Accounts Service, Indian Revenue Service, Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, non-technical), Indian Postal Service, Indian Civil Accounts Service, Indian Railway Traffic Service, Indian Railway Accounts Service, Indian Railway Personnel Service, Posts of Assistant Security Officer in Railway Protection Force (RPF), Indian Defense Estates Service and Indian Information Service.
B Services includes Railway Board Secretariat Service (Section Officer’s Grade), Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer’s Grade), Customs Appraisers’ Service, Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service and Police Service, Pondicherry Civil Service
Many non-IAS officers (officers of Central Services class I & II) like to call themselves as IAS officers, because earlier, ICS enjoyed the ‘elite status’ during British Raj. After Independence, its successor Indian Administrative Service has become the ‘elitist’, ‘glamorous’ and most sought after civil service amongst all other higher civil services under Government of India. IAS attracts the maximum attention of the government and has the smoothest carrer prospects. It has developed certain complexes amongst officers of both IAS and other higher civil services. Such a trend has adversely affected the co-ordinated working of the whole administrative machnery.
Officers of all higher civil services join the government after being successful in Common entrance examination (CSE ), which is supposed to be one of the toughest examination conducted by UPSC. Society regards success in it as a proof of high calibre of youth. It has been the dream of talented youth allover India to compete successfully in this examination. And it has always motivated the cream of all sections of society to appear in it and become a part of the elite services of India.
IAS propped up as the Elite service
However, it is only Indan Administrative Service (IAS) officers, who start enjoying very high status, authority, smooth career progression and prestige from day one, they join the service. Earlier ICS (officers in their early twenties would arrive fresh from his ICS training at Oxford to rule single-handedly a district half as big as Wales) and now IAS officers have wide-ranging authority in districts as collectors and at centre as policy-makers. They –
- Have easy accesses to levers of power.
- Are symbol of power – dealing directly with Ministers at centre and provinces.
- Have smoothest career-progressions. And
- Occupy almost all senior-most posts at centre and States.
During pre-independence days there were some 9 All India services + other Non ICS services of generalist nature, which were as popular as ICS was, like ICS (Judicial as there was not much pressure of Imperial Government on their working) or Indian Custom Service (as they always got postings in big towns). Even after Independence, for some time, there was not much difference in the social status, career progression, standard and behavior pattern of IAS and Non IAS class I services. However since 1960 onwards, slowly but steadily, IAS has become more and more powerful and the only ‘Elite service’ under Government of India.
Apart from politicians, many officers of other central services also give too much importance to IAS. They forget that IAS is only one of them. Theirs’ services are also the integral and important parts of the whole administrative system/bureaucracy working for Government of India in the area of their specialization.
What civil services are?
In short, it can be said that civil service is a “professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled.”2 According to Max Weber2, the main characteristics of a civil service are as following:
- Well-structured set-up – For the performance of various, government both at centre or provinces needs into its administrative set-up, in all the spheres a team of mature, dynamic, visionary and responsible officers at all the levels of administration, from almost all vocations, occupations and professions. Civil service requires all its officials to have alert minds, high level of intelligence, broad vision and relevant knowledge about their respective subjects.
- Division of labour – defined rights and duties prescribed in written regulations;
- Hierarchy – (a) Systematically ordered authority relationship;
- (b) Promotions regulated by merit and seniority;
- Merit based selection and training – technical competence as a formal condition of employment;
- Full time career-based service with fixed monetary salaries;
- Impersonality – strict separation of office and incumbent in the sense that employee does not own the means of administration and cannot take the advantage of their position for promoting self-interest.
- A system of rules and files – its operations are government by a consistent system of abstract rules.
- Loyalty to impersonal authority like the State.
Organisational set-up of bureaucracy
For the performance of its manifold activities, government employs thousand of workers into its administrative set-up (civil services/bureaucracy) from almost all vocations, occupations and professions. It is government’s primary duty to make all feasible administrative, organisational and working arrangements for its employees.
Structure of civil services/bureaucracy set-up
Whole administrative system is vertically and horizontally divided in order to meet the differing requirements and emerging developmental tasks. The way administrative set-up is organized, plays an important role in performance of tasks and in harmony and cooperation of members inter-se.
Prof. Applebly says, “The structure determines where responsibility lies; how and to what extent responsible and controllable delegation takes place; what emphasis should be given to various objectives. It poses and conceals issues of policy. It provides or relatively fails to provide a structure of progressive responsibilities for decision making and thus at each level screens out some decisions and relieves those in higher positions, so that they may give attention to decisions really important to their functions”.
A proper job evaluation leads to position-classification and forms the basis of personnel management.
Position classification is a systematic division of different posts in several classes in accordance with the functions to be performed, responsibilities to be shouldered and other conditions. It is “the systematic sorting and ranking of position in a hierarchical sequence according to comparative difficulty and responsibility”. Usually positions, supervision and authority to be exercised downward, other responsibilities, simple or complicated type of work, qualifications required for the post etc., are the factors, which operate in the determination of classification.
The manifold activities of a government can be put into the following categories –
- Control functions;
- Service functions; and
- Development functions.
Different civil services in the Government engaged in the above tasks may be classified into three broad categories function-wise:
- Generalist Services;
- Functional Services; and
- Technical Services.
Usually services responsible for control functions remain on the controlling/giving-end therefore become more important and personnel engaged in service function or development function at asking end, always looking up at them for getting their job done.
Working of civil administration in India
The civil administration, whether in Centre or in State, can be divided into two groups –
Working in the Secretariats
Secretariats are at the Central level as well as at the state level. It is Policy making body;Usually IAS officers on deputation from different states occupy most of the senior posts in Central Secretariat. In the State Secretariats also, it is the IAS Officials, who are posted on the top posts in almost every department.
Working in the Secretariat exposes officers to policy perspective in diversified subjects like agriculture, horticulture, power, coal, transport etc. The work in Secretariat requires bright officers having experience and knowledge in relevant areas. Following are important functions of the Secretariat: –
- Obtaining decisions on policy matters and enunciating policy decisions in clear language,
- Overall planning and finance,
- Legislative business,
- Personnel management policies,
- Legal advice,
- Coordination and cross clearance among the administrative departments, in the Secretariat,
- Communication with central institutions like the Planning Commission etc., and
- Overall evaluation, supervision, control and coordination of the work being done by the field organizations.
Working in field organizations
For implementation of policies and plans, working in the field can be divided into:-
- Working in field departments or head offices.
- Working in the districts
District occupies a key position in civil administration. The Collector continues to play a pivotal role in the District Administration. District is the most convenient geographical unit, where all the regulatory as well as developmental tasks of civil administration are performed.
It is at this level, that administrative personnel come into direct contact with people. Bulk of people gets affected, favorably or adversely by the governmental policies, programs and its implementation. It is here, that people judge the quality and efficiency of the governmental administration.
Both kinds of work, work at Secretariat as well as in the field, have their distinctive challenges. For the efficient performance of work in both the areas, there is need for there is need for really bright and talented officers and flow of knowledge, experience and continuous consultation between the Secretariat and the field agencies.
Political set-up during pre and post Independence period
In the nineteenth century and early 20th century, Laissez-faire was the basic principle of governance. Being so, the main concerns of the imperial Government was maintenance of law and order situation and collection of revenue. They were not much bothered about public welfare activities.
During Imperial rule, the bureaucracy under British government consisted of two parts:
• Government in London headed by the Secretary of State for India and curiously called the `Home Government’ of India.
• Government in New Delhi (in Calcutta before 1911), headed by Viceroy and Governor General of India, called the Government of India.
The two parts were closely related despite of the factor of long distance between England and India. Pylee has said “The whole system from top to bottom was well knit, highly centralized and behaved like an unbreakable steel frame with all the characters of a full fledged autocracy.”
The political system adopted by India is that of a federal parliamentary democracy. The federal structure consists of Union and State Administration. The Prime Minister/Chief ministers and their colleagues are real political heads of different government departments. Their executive power, in practice, is exercised by permanent civil service. Civil services mean all the streams of functional, technical and specialist cadres as well as managerial and generalist cadres. Civil services serve as a link – so essential to maintain continuity of policy and consistency of administration between successive ministers. It includes both officials at Central and Provinces. Good governance depends on the mutual harmony and cooperation of both the wings.
Ranking of the services in pre and post independence periods
British Rulers of 19th and early 20th century were not much interested uplift of downtrodden and neither they interfered unnecessarily in the interests of the privileged classes in India, who served as solid supporters of British Rule in India.
On the top – Services like Indian Civil Service, Imperial services and Indian Police (IP), engaged in the control functions were on the top. Their primary function was to maintain law and order and perpetuate British rule in India. Most of the officers were from the elite and rich families of Britain. Their oligarchic socio-economic background had its shadow on them and forced them to form a separate class – a close aristocracy of talent, race and even of colour. Besides they were ignorant of the values and culture of the Indian Society. These factors put together kept the British civil servants aloof from the Indian masses.
In the middle – In the middle were the specialised services, especially engaged in revenue work. Appointment in the managerial cadres of these services did not require any professional qualification or experience. Income tax Service, Indian Excise and Customs Service or Accounts Service etc. came under this category.
Least attention to technical services – Technical services were paid the least importance. Technical services required knowledge and experience of a defined field, professional degree/ diploma and/or experience for entering into these services. They were engaged in national-building activities/building up the infra-structure of the nation. Engineering services, Health services etc come in this category.
Post Independence era
No alternativebut to leave the things on time
During the last days of British Rule many problems such as communal tension had come to a breaking point. Lawlessness existed everywhere. The armed forces had mutinied in several places. There had been railway and postal strikes. Goods were in short supply and there was a danger of another famine in near future. These problems forced the British Government to advance the date of Independence to India. (CP Ramachandran, Partition Legend, Hindustan Times, Sept. 1, 1980, P.9)
The above factors in combination with departure of British and Muslim officers from the civil services, partition of the country, Pakistan’s incursion into Kashmir and annexation of widely distributed conglomeration of provinces and princely states in the union of India made the situation worse at the dawn of independence. Events, inevitably unplanned, were moving so fast that there was no question of even attempting to supervise their course.
The country had no alternative but to leave the things to time, opportunity and initiative of local officers and organisations. It is for these reasons, save minor changes here and there, that the pre-independence political and administrative set up moved into the post-Independence era and continues even today, still having the mindset of Imperial rulers.
In the role of Development administration
After Independence the basic task of the administrative machinery, i.e. civil services/bureaucracy has been changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic development of the nation. Adoption of socialist and egalitarian society as ultimate national goal demanded a qualitative change in the attitude of administrative officers.
Independent India requires a radical change in the attitude of higher civil servants. Their new responsibilities demand that they should come closer to the masses and feel the agony of the millions of underfed, under-read and under-clothed citizens.
The earlier mind-set of the foreign ruler dominating the natives should have given way to the concept of a civil servant, `servant’ in the real sense – in the service of its masters, i.e. the people at large. Unfortunately, it is not so. The services engaged in implementing developmental plans and policies and welfare activities needs to be given more importance than been given in the past.
Structure of services
Both Government of India at central level and State Governments at provincial level have their own administrative set-up. They have their own generalist, functional, technical and specialist cadres.
Pre independence scenario under Imperial rule
Civil services in British India were classified as covenanted (higher) and uncovenanted (lower) services on the basis of the nature of work, pay-scales and appointing authority.
In 1887, Aitchinson Commission recommended the re-organization of the services on a new pattern. It divided the services into three groups – Imperial, Provincial and Subordinate.
Nature of work, quality of supervision by superior etc were the factors, which were considered for classification of the Imperial Services. The recruiting and controlling authority of Imperial services was the `Secretary of State’. Initially, mostly British were recruited for these services. The appointing and controlling authority for Provincial services was the respective provincial government, which framed rules for those services with the approval of the government of India. There were then, subordinate services for minor and ministerial jobs.
With the passing of the Indian Act 1919, the Imperial Services headed by the Secretary of State for India, were split into two – All India Services and Central Services. On the eve of the Government of India Act 1919, nine services were there in All India Services list. Amongst important Central Services were Indian Railways Service, Indian Custom Service, Indian Accounts Service etc. There were Provincial Services as well. Diagrammatically the classification can be represented as under:
Diagrammatic presentation of pre-Independence
Covenanted (Gazetted) I and II Services Uncovenanted Non-gazetted III & IV
According to Aitchinson Commission 1887)
Imperial Provincial (I &II)
India Act 1919
All India Services (9 in all) Central Services
Vertical classification of services – From 1930 onwards, the classification of services came to be governed by Civil Service Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1930. According to it, the various services were divided into four categories: Class I, Class II, Subordinate and Inferior.
During British period, there was another classification of the Civil Services into gazetted and non-gazetted. All positions, the names of whose occupants were published in the Government Gazette in connection with their postings, transfers, promotions and privileges in respect of disciplinary action, right to appeal and retirement etc. were called `Gazetted’ posts. Class I and II Officers generally enjoyed the gazetted status. In contrast other positions, the names of whose occupant did not appear in government gazette were categorised as non-gazetted. This distinction continued to exist till 1974.
Post independence classification of the services
The framework of civil services in Independent India has remained almost the same, except that a few technical services which earlier were All India have been put in the category of Central Services.
Post independence classification of the services is governed by the Civil Services Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, 1930, as was amended from time to time. Now the different services are designated as All India Services, Central Services and State Services. These are classified into class I, II, III and IV. Varadachariar Commission substituted the terms `subordinate’ and `inferior’ by class III and class IV services after independence.
Since July, 1974, the classification of civil servants under class I,II,III & IV has been changed into groups `A’,`B’,`C’`D’. Civil services belonging to Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ are fabricated in the constitutional fabric of the nation for managerial work of the nation’s administration, whether in Secretariat or in field.
Categorisation of services under Government of India –The present categorisation is as under:
- All India Services
- Central Services –
All India service
Fine instrument to provide efficient administration – In the light of historical facts, development and achievements of last 150 years, it could be said without doubt that the All India Services were a fine instrument forged by the British Government to provide an efficient and effective planning in different areas, proper maintenance of law and order situation and governance of the country. It brought about not only stability and tranquillity, but also all round and varied development.
It is a well established fact that in every country, there are certain posts in its administrative set up which might be called strategic from the point of view of maintaining high standard of administration. Fortunately for India, it has inherited from the past a system of administration, which is common to whole of the country and it knows what these strategic posts are. All India Services are meant basically for providing personnel for those strategic posts in state administration as well as at policy making level at Centre and Provinces.
All India services just before independence – As the movement for Indianisation gained momentum, the Indian public opinion and the attitude of nationalist leaders became allergic to All India Services, not on the basis of their actual performance, but because they were controlled by the Secretary of State and were a living symbol of foreign rule.
B.B. Misra says that on the eve of the Government of India Act 1919, there were nine All India Services in existence like Indian service of Engineers, etc.etc. After Independence though India was committed to rapid socio-economic development, of the nine All India Services, all the technical services were either abolished or provincialized. “It was the ICS and IP that remained unaffected and continued to act as an unifying force. Most of the other services were abolished. Considerations of national unity, the positive need of India’s all-round development and the attainment of a minimum uniform standard in administration were allowed to go by default.”2
All India services under the Constitution – The Constitution framers provided that, “without depriving the states of their right to form their own civil services, there shall be All India Services recruited on an All India basis with common qualifications, with uniform scale of pay and members of which alone could be appointed to those strategic posts throughout the Union”. (Constituent Assembly Debates P. 37) All India Services are governed by Article 312 of the Indian Constitution. At present, there are only three All India Services:
Indian Administrative Service;
Indian Police Service; and
Indian Forest Service
Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service are incorporated in Article 312(2) of the Constitution. Indian forest service, Indian Service of Engineers, Indian Medical Service and Indian Education Services etc were supposed to come into existence after 1965, but only Indian Forest Service could see the light of the day.
This category covers both technical as well as non-technical services meant for implementing the policies of the Union in areas which fall directly under Central Government’s list or in Concurrent List (for which Central control or guidance for uniformity becomes necessary in the national interest) such as Railways, Posts and Telegraphs, Excise and Customs etc.
There are some services dealing with those subjects mentioned in Concurrent List, for which it was considered expedient to have a Central control or guidance for uniformity in national interest. It includes both technical (including scientific) and non-technical services, such as water resources management, power generation. There are also some services, which are required for conducting the business of the Central Government such as Audit and Accounts Services. There are many other functional, specialized and technical services meant for implementing the policies of the Union and for performing various functions, for which Central Government is responsible, come in this category.
Recruitment into various services under Government of India
In order to provide the nation a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative frame-work, the recruitment to all the higher services is done through open examinations conducted by Union Public Service Commission. The direct recruitment by competitive examination has been envisaged with an idea that very brilliant person can be shaped into efficient officials suitable for holding senior positions.
There are different competitive examinations conducted and interviewed annually by UPSC for combined civil services as well as technical and specialised services. No preliminary screening is considered necessary as technical graduates have already undergone a rigorous curriculum in their respective fields of study.
Lord Maculae initially shaped the recruitment policy for IAS, IPS and Allied services (most of the professional services) in 1854. The recruitment system for IAS/IPS and other professional Civil Services remained the same after Independence except for some marginal modifications, here and there, from time to time.
The basic ingredients of this system have been:
- Selection of really brilliant young people – the calibre of direct recruits was ensured by their success in an open competition.
- An intensive training either formal or informal for two years; and
- Actual field work for at least a few years (earlier the period was of five to seven years, during which ICS/IPS were moulded to suit the needs of their organisation properly.
In 1975, under Dr. D.S. Kothari, a Committee was set up to review the system of recruitment to IAS/IPS and allied services class I and II. It recommended unified competitive examination consisting of a preliminary screening examination to test skill, speed and accuracy for non-technical civil services. It is an objective type to facilitate quick identification of those, who have the requisite range of knowledge. The main examination consists of four compulsory and four optional papers to test the depth of knowledge. Finally there is an interview to examine communication skills, public speaking skills, leadership qualities, ability to exchange meaningful ideas and attitude. This scheme came into practice from 1979.
After graduation, between 21 to 28 years of age maximum age keeps on differing from time to time for different category of candidates i.e. General category, SC/ST and OBC. All candidates have to appear in the entrance competitive examination, which consists of three components:
- Compulsory papers – to test the general mental culture and interests of the candidates;
- Optional papers – to judge intellectual ability and scholastic attainment, and
- Personality test – to see personal qualities including some intellectual qualities, which a written examination cannot discover
Immediately after their selection into various services, the successful candidates are sent to various training Institutions for their foundation training so that they may get the picture of the political, social and economic aspect of the administrative set-up and they may get acquainted with the basic concepts and requirements of their jobs.
Stress on a graduate degree – A simple graduate degree is still the master-key for appearing into combined civil services examination recruiting the candidates for managerial cadre various civil-services. It makes them eligible for getting a nice and respectable career in the government, giving final reprieve from manual work.
The system worked well at initially, when objectives and duties of governance were plain and simple. And people were ignorant, subservient and undemanding. Now in 21st century, it is practically impossible for a simple graduate having only common sense and intelligence with classical knowledge and literary ability to fit-in for any post in its most elite service, giving status, authority and lots of privileges. Larger the range of responsibilities, more is the requirement for the government to have well-educated, well-selected and well trained personnel.
Status of Various services
Elite status to services doing control functions before Independence – During British Rule,
- ICS and IP were conceived and propped up as the elite services. The superior status accorded to this service was perfectly in accordance with the aims of foreign rulers. These services were engaged in ‘Control Functions’, i.e. maintenance of law and order or revenue collection. They were supposed to perpetuate British rule in India as long as possible. These services were predominantly meant for ‘White-people’.
- Services dealing with ‘Service Functions’ like Education, Finance, Medicines, Telegraph and Communications, Railways and Survey of India etc occupied in order of priority a place next to paramount functions of law and order and revenue collection. An admixture of European and native officers was considered suitable. And
- Scientific and technical services which would not pose any serious danger to the Empire were allowed to be managed by the Natives, because sufficient British personnel were not available to man these services.
The superior status of ICS was recognised by giving them important and top-level posts and attaching substantially higher emoluments to ICS & IP than any other Central Service. Few Indians, who were selected into these services, were also given the same emoluments, so that they could be loyal to the rulers, and though Indians by birth, they could develop the mentality of a foreign ruler.
Reasons for the prominence of ICS – Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister said in the House of Commons in his historic `steel-frame speech’’ on August 2, 1922, that the British Civil Servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and he could not imagine of any period when `they can dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British Civil Servants’. He said, “I do not care what you build on to it. If you take that steel-frame out of the fabric, it will collapse. There is one institution we will not cripple, there is one institution we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges; and that is hat institution, which built up the British Raj – the British Civil Service in India”1. The higher civil services were the `steel-frame of the whole structure’’ of governance of Imperial rule in India and were exclusively trained to suit to the special needs of the British Imperial Power. Sir Edmund Blunt had said, “the superior Indian Civil Servants were the practical owners of India, irresponsible and amenable to no authority, but that of their fellow members.” Dr. Fisher also confirmed “it is the government”.
It was a very influential institution during British rule, because it administered the entire Indian Empire with such apparent zeal, efficiency, high-mindedness and impartiality. Reasons were simple for this perception as Gilmour (‘The Ruling Caste, David Gilmour’, a biographer of both Kipling and Curzon) pointed out-
- ICS was manifestly neither venal nor corrupt in the way in which, for example, some officials and officers of the old East India Company had been. It had its own weaknesses like assumptions of racial superiority and the conviction that the ICS always knew best.
- ICS displayed a mixture of motives, skills and temperaments.
- They had sense of responsibility while working from the District Officers to the Magistrates, Residents, Political Agents, Deputy Collectors, Lieutenant Governors, and so on.
- ICS officers as District Officers had wide-ranging responsibilities for the overall governance of a district. though he “did not run the railways or the telegraph or the Army…..er to call out troops in an emergency – but he was responsible for almost everything else”.
- Some of them were reactionaries, reformers and thinkers.
- ICS worked as District Officers in their early twenties, arrive fresh from training at Oxford.
- They had the confidence to rule single-handedly a district half as big as Wales.
- British Government was anxious to demonstrate to Indians that British rule was even-handed, several times intervened to ensure that culprits were properly punished for outrages.
ICS was popular not only in India, but allover the world,. “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.
Maximum attention of Government on IAS – In Independent India also, the system of generalist supremacy has been inherited from the Raj and has been retained as so up-to-date. IAS, (the successor of ICS of the reputed, efficient and powerful service) has been propped up as an elite service. For an educated youth, it is a matter of pride to be a part of IAS, as it was with the ICS in pre-independence days. The officers of IAS get importance, authority, favours, concessions and privileges right from the day, they join the service. IAS has always remained the most sought after of all the services for the youth, as it provides the highest entry point in bureaucracy. It has always remained the most sought after of all the services for the youth, as it provides the highest entry point in bureaucracy.
IAS occupies a place of pride in socio-political circle. Right from its inception, IAS attracts the maximum attention of the government and the politicians. The officers of this service start enjoying supremacy over other services, immense power, prestige and privileges right at the beginning of their career both at the centre as well as in provinces and continue to enjoy it till retirement. Along with the council of Ministers, they control, virtually, all the levers of the governance of the country.
Like its predecessor ICS, IAS occupies the same elite status or the place of pride. The Government offers to IAS best career prospects, immense power, better perquisites, prestige, higher responsibilities, fatter salaries, and superior status than any other service at the center or in the states.
IAS is predominantly engaged in control functions of its provinces as well as in centre. IAS plays a significant role in administrative and developmental work of the Government. They deliberate directly at the highest level of policy formulation, decision making and policy implementation.
It is a matter of pride and honour for anyone to belong to Indian Administrative service. So much and so, that people belonging to other class I central government services proudly call themselves IAS officers.
The system of recruitment
There was a time when government services attracted the best talents of the nation. Now it no more attracts the best brains. Now the cream of the nation prefers to seek jobs in foreign land or join private sector, where getting better emoluments and work atmosphere.
The Recruitment System for Higher Civil Services remained, more or less, the same even after Independence, in as much as it is based on academic performance judged through an open competitive written examination followed by personality test conducted by the Union Public Service Commission instead of British Civil Service Commission.
Till 1960s, there was very little difference in the social status, standard and behaviour between IAS officers and class 1 officers belonging to other services of Government of India.
Now-a-days entry into IAS is the surest and quickest means to get control over others, to improve one’s status in the society, to command instant admiration and respect of the people, thus in reaching quickly to the commanding position in the society. It is supposed to be the manifest symbol of power. It makes an easy access to levers of authority. It enables them to occupy positions having immense power and privileges at the highest level in the Government. Once in service, a person could lead an easy life, is a general conception.
· To reach quickly to commanding position – To aspirants, entry into IAS is the surest and quickest means to get control over others, to improve one’s status in the society, to command instant admiration and respect of the people, thus in reaching quickly to the commanding position in the society.
· Symbol of power – It is supposed to be the manifest symbol of power. Its officers deal directly with politicians, plan bigger things, moves all over the world frequently. It has added glamour to the service. The result of this development has been that the IAS has attracted the attention of politicians, especially of those pursuing the sectional interest.
· Direct dealing with politicians – Today, IAS officers deal directly with politicians, plan bigger things, moves all over the world frequently. It has added glamour to the service. The result of this development has been that the IAS has attracted the attention of politicians, especially of those pursuing the sectional interest.
· Easy access to levers of authority – It makes an easy access to levers of authority. It enables them to occupy positions having immense power and privileges at the highest level in the Government. Once in service, a person could lead an easy life, is a general conception.
Criticism of giving ‘elite’ status to IAS
This has bred in its officials a character of high-browism and haughtiness and The technical people feel curbed and constrained by the authoritarian habits, attitudes and behaviour of IAS personnel. Leave aside the officials, the prevalent practice at present, even allows a clerk in the administrative and accounts offices to hinder the progress of a technical project, whose execution might be urgently called for by the government and the people. Such an attitude is harmful to the progress of nation, more specially at a time of its history, when it is vigorously engaged in transforming its backward primitive agricultural economy to an advanced industrial order. The Estimate Committee (3rd Lok Sabha) in its 93rd Report hoped that members of ICS and IAS would avoid such attitudes towards the other services, and would, instead by their conduct set high example of dedicated service, which may inspire other services.
Most of the new recruits are mainly interested in exercising the State authority over powerless people and making as much money as possible by misusing their authority. They are now not bothered about the high ideals, intellectual competence and high standards of administration, commitment to public service, Constitutional values, or concern for justice.
Hampering technological advancement – It is often alleged that IAS officials are mainly responsible for hampering the technological advancement of the country. In this age of technology, there are many ministries and departments, having technical character, such as power, heavy industries, steel and mines or petroleum and chemicals, which require technical personnel at policy making levels, to meet the challenges of modern India properly.
But as the situation is, in order to provide smooth career prospects to IAS, mostly IAS officers are appointed to the higher posts even in the departments/ministries of technical nature, because technical personnel, according to the present personnel policies, are not eligible to hold such senior posts. Serious doubts are expressed about the capacity of the IAS to act as an instrument of modernisation and technological advancement.
Disparity between different services
There should be no disparity between different services Free India laid emphasis on national reconstruction and development, a shift from the traditional task of maintenance of Law & Order and revenue collection. The administration is now supposed to play an important role in the developmental process launched by the Government. This fundamental shift in the role of administration called for a variety of skills, equally important in themselves in the higher echelons of administration. But Government of India, like British Rulers, accords higher status to IAS Cadre, which still enjoys exclusive monopoly of crucial positions at the Union and State levels and has a direct access to ministers.
As early as in 1959, Shri C.L. Handa had said, “whereas they has always been room for these wings ever since the dawn of modern economy, the subordination of the technocrat to mere administrator in the higher rungs of the service is an anomaly. These wings must remain at part. They should work hand in hand as a single purpose team and the tendency for establishing rulers and ruled relations must be put down firmly, as this will weaken the very foundation on which the progress of the country is based. (Presidential Address, 15th Annual General Meeting of the Institute of engineers, Dec 18, 1959)
Administrative Reforms Commission had suggested that “preference for the generalist should give place to a preference to those two have acquired competence in the concerned field”, because, “change in the role of government and the great diversification of its functions called for variety of skills in the higher administration. The new tasks call at higher level for competence, which cannot be acquired overnight, but can only be imbibed through special training grafted on the basic functional skills or academic qualification. Each new area of administration – be it economic, social, industrial, technological, scientific or agriculture has its own body of academic requirements, knowledge and techniques. The effective administration of each demands an intimate knowledge of its underlying principles and awareness of its problems. This knowledge can only come through the study and practice of administration of the relevant area over a long period of time, in some cases at least, long enough in fact to amount to a commitment – a professional commitment”.
Prof. A.K. Dasgupta and Prof. Nihar Ranjan Ray, Members of the Third Pay Commission, in their note of dissent expressed their opinion in the following words – “We are strongly of the view that maintenance of disparities in the services has done harm to our society. Whatever urgency the system might have had in the past, in the present state of affairs, it is anarchism. The precedence that a general administrator enjoys today over other services is a historical relic of the colonial regime. The purpose of administration under that regime was limited…The country was to be governed and officers, mostly British, were to be commissioned to do the job. Specialised services, in so far as they existed, were thus treated as subordinate to general administration. Conditions have changed, and it is time we recognised that they have changed. It is absurd in our view that a government which has embarked on a comprehensive programme of economic development and has accepted technical progress in its widest sense as the major aim of policy, should still continue to accord a lower value to a scientist, an engineer or a doctor than it does to an administrator”1. (Report of Third Central Pay Commission, Chairman of Justice Raghubar Dayal, 1973)
The harmful effects of this old and outdated system (according to Memorandum to the Fourth Pay Commission All India Confederation of the Central Government Officers Association, Dec., 1983, PP5-6.) can be listed as below:
- This discarded value system has failed to infuse adequately a sense of participation in the management cadre of all disciplines.
- The individual’s special talent and inclination is not directed to achieve that skill for which that talent is best suited, merely because one feels that a better remuneration is available for a different course.
- A developing economy is constantly in need of ever-increasing resources. Under the system even what is available is not being fully exploited. Because elitist character is given to generalist services, even scientists, doctors and engineering graduates have been offering themselves for All India Administrative Service and other Central Services;
- This has contributed in no small measure to plight of scientific and technical talent outside the country;
- Dearth of talent in specialist fields because the remuneration and status attached to them is comparatively less attractive.
Recruitment system – The system of recruitment and selection adopted in 1858 might perhaps not be fit to meet the requirements of Modern India after Independence. It appears rather odd that a simple graduation is required to enter into the most prestigious service i.e. the IAS. While in other services like Indian Economic Service and Indian Statistical Service, the requirement is a postgraduate degree. In Engineering or technical services a degree in Engineering, which takes four years of rigorous graduation course.
In the present age of specialization one cannot depend on the assumption that academic performance, classical knowledge and literary ability would fit a candidate for any administrative post. A welfare development administration need not only the quality of minds of its prospective civil servants, but also needs the subject-matter contents of their minds. The qualities and knowledge needed for different disciplines in the government differ from each other to a great extent and the officers of a particular discipline should have that knowledge and qualities, otherwise the work will suffer.
An officer working in a particular branch of administration should have full knowledge of that subject e.g. an officer working in industrial plant should know what is production, planning and control, PERT chart techniques, the behaviour of supply and demand curves under perfect competition, Monopoly etc. and not one who can only remember and tell the date of birth of Louis XIV. If he is to be told about the fundamental concepts of his work, by his subordinates or colleagues, how will he justify his presence?
The policy of reservations in civil services is unfriendly to efficiency. The problems of administration are now so complex that they require the services of most talented, sincere and honest officers. A preference to a person with inferior talent over a person with superior talent is not only unjust but against the national interest. For efficient and effective governance right persons are required for right posts at right time.
Unlimited Authority without Responsibility – It is said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The concept of “Welfare state” and “Development administration” has bestowed immense authority in the hands of Government, which is mainly exercised by the executive, meaning the ministers and the IAS. But this authority is without responsibility. Whatever may go wrong, either at the field level or at the secretariat level, an IAS officer is never held responsible.
If law and order situation deteriorates in a district, IPS officer is held responsible. If a policy decision goes wrong, it is said that the IAS officers were wrongly advised by the specialists or specialized organizations dealing with that particular subject. Also swift changes, from one functional area to another, make it difficult to hold an officer responsible for any wrong policy. By the time, the results of a policy or the implementation of a program is evaluated, the concerned officer would have been shifted to another department or gone back to his parent state. The IAS officers, by and large, have failed in their chosen fields like Collectorate or Secretariat. These offices affect the lives of crores of people. At present, these offices have become dens of corruption, mismanagement and mal-administration. Despite this, the IAS has never been held responsible for the apathetic state of affairs. The incompetent officials, unable to shoulder the responsibility entrusted upon them, get total immunity from responsibility and irregularity, so far.
Mr. Bapat, an administrator, has said, “For a country like India, with a tradition of thousands years of authoritative paternal administration, the transition to parliamentary democracy has evolved a revolutionary change in the physiology of the body politic. It calls for a radical adjustment of attitude on the part of its operative organs, viz., the higher administrative personnel.”1
- Feeling of superior or inferior or `Ruling class and Ruled’ relationship amongst IAS and Non-IAS services must be put down firmly. It will weaken the very foundation, on which the progress of the country is based. Young IAS officers should be trained as how to deal with the officials belonging to other non IAS services of technical, professional or specialist departments.
- They should be trained to work cooperatively with non IAS higher services.
- Unified civil service – Government of India should merge all its civil services – administrative, professional, technical as well as non-technical – into one unified service with an integrated pay structure and same time-frame for career-progression.
- Modern India of 21st century needs more than in the past, qualified administrators. Either IAS personnel should be selected earlier, say after higher secondary and then trained properly for the job as is done for Defense Services or MBA degree be made compulsory for appearing in competitive entrance examination.
- Lateral entries could also be made to get bright persons already employed like: –
Ø Technocrats having sufficient experience in management,
Ø Professionals from other civil services,
Ø Entrepreneurs, willing to switch over to government.
- Promotions in the service should be strictly based on good performance.
- Civil servants should be encouraged to upgrade, sharpen, and focus their knowledge towards analysis and problem solving.
- As Rajaji had suggested, right person should be appointed on right post at right time.
A few years back, the trend of the organizations for recruiting personnel was to look for well-trained and experienced persons. Currently it has been seen that institutions don’t prefer to appoint persons above 35. It is felt that average age for mid-management should be around 27-30 and for senior management from 30 to 40 years.
Why Young? – The trend for catching people at young age is because it is the most creative, energetic and impressionable years of life. Young people possess fresh knowledge, open to new ideas, bring in radical thoughts, positive and flexible in attitude/approach. They are hard-working, innovative and prepared to take risks, and capable to face challenges . They are tech-savvy and appreciate soft skills, which is the requirement of present day.
Recruitments on administrative posts in Government? – For efficient and effective governance of a nation, the basic requirement is to place ‘right persons at right place on right time’. Government needs well trained team of dynamic, responsible and visionary persons having adequate knowledge in their respective disciplines.
Catch them young and train them for specific jobs – Young people may not be fully matured, need guidance and need to be disciplined. Besides, the deteriorating standard of education is incapable to equip much needed dynamism, knowledge and skills to perform their jobs in responsible manner, when they enter into a professional life. Proper training is needed to make up for these inadequacies. Recently, people’s faith is increasing again in principle of “Catch them young and train them” in their respective areas of work accordingly.
Deficiencies in educational system – The present scheme of education and training has failed in introducing dynamic and responsible people in the governance of the nation. The quality of education is such, that it hardly makes majority of students either intellectually competent or motivated to do constructive work in responsible manner.
Overcrowding in institutions of higher learning – The requirement of a degree for getting white collard jobs has resulted in over crowding the institutions of education and training. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the standard of higher education. The examination and evaluation system tests only a narrow range of skills, especially those of memory and suffers from grave errors, so much and so, that people question the legitimacy of a modern education system itself.
Recruitment at young age and training system in army – Today, when other democratic institutions have lost public faith, the Defense Services are still keeping up some standard. The candidates passing out from National Defense Academy commands a high esteem in public’s eye, when they start their career as army officers. They have proved that they form the best disciplined cadre of officers – dynamic, sincere, responsible and dedicated to their duties. They do not hesitate to sacrifice their today for making others’ tomorrow safe and peaceful.
Selection of army officers – The selection of army officers is done after higher secondary education on the basis of written examinations and a thorough interview testing aptitude, leadership qualities, general ability and intellectual acumen. After their selection, they get four years of rigorous training – three years in NDA at Kharakwasla, and for one year in IMA at Dehradun in the case of Army, Hyderabad in the case of Air Force and Cochin in the case of Navy.
Training more successful during formative years of life – The training of army personnel is done at the age, when their minds are still in formative stage. The training is so tough and seriously imparted that either trainees come up-to the desired standard or quit it in between, if they were unable to cope with the rigors of the tough training and disciplined way of working. The officers are given further education and initial training under strict supervision of seniors. The three years training in NDA prepares them for performing their duties as armed forces officers well. By the time they pass out, they are well equipped with basic requirements of their jobs.
Similar is the practice in the field of medicine and engineering – Selection immediately after higher secondary and then further education and thorough training in their specific discipline for a period of four years. India has earned a name globally in IT sector. A small band of officers for Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers are well known for their expertise and efficient performance. It is well known that Indian Engineers, especially from IITs and Indian Doctors are in great demand abroad.
Pre-entry training of young minds – Recently Kota in Rajasthan has developed into a coaching hub for IITians. It has produced many toppers and send hundreds to engineering colleges. Now-a-days competition has become so tough that it is never too early for learning. Many coaching institutes in Kota, and elsewhere in Rajasthan Assam and Punjab are planning to start special training programs (Pre-foundation Career Care Program (PCCP) aimed at “better conceptual understanding” for students of Standard VIII. It is meant to develop a “scientific temperament, mathematical aptitude, problem-solving skills, reasoning and competitive psychology” at an early age, no matter whether students pronounce/comprehend these phrases or not.
Suggestion for early recruitment in government services – It is advisable that the cadre of officers engaged in the task of governance should be selected early to equip them with intellectual, moral and physical qualities essential to perform the complex and delicate job of development administration effectively and efficiently. While their minds are still in the formative stage, it is easier for the Government to take a purposeful approach to articulate the required thinking, attitude and knowledge in them.
Job-oriented education and training will imbibe in them intellectual knowledge, qualities, attitudes and skills according to the increasing and diversified needs of the modern administration, such as social purposefulness, public service consciousness, ability to understand administrative, political and economic implications of a problem, resourcefulness in solving them, creativeness, dynamism, up to date knowledge in their particular discipline, capacity for team-work, good fellowship, ability to cooperate, alertness in grasping a situation and quickness in assimilating relevant facts and persuasiveness in presenting their point of view. It will deepen the awareness of professional norms. It will facilitate the Government to have right type of people required for an efficient administration.
Former Judge of Allahabad
and Delhi High Courts
‘Beti Bachao Beti Parhao’, the slogan recently given by our Hon’ble Prime Minister, is very laudable in view of the continuous killings of female child in womb or soon after her birth. Such practice is mostly in the lower class or lower middle class.
In a study workshop on female infanticide where men and women from all walks of life were participating, some women participants were very vocal on the issue of giving birth to female child considering the present law and order situation. They posed a question ‘should women give birth to female child to be molested, sexually abused and brutally murdered when the law and order machinery (including the courts) is insensitive to their vows?’
As a retired High Court Judge participant, I was totally taken aback. On return to home, I pondered and made introspection over their remarks on the courts. The women participants, in my view, were not wholly wrong. The lower class and the lower middle class feel fully in-secured. The administration and the police managing law and order adopt callous attitude towards them. Even courts cannot escape the blame. Court cases of child abuse and child rapes are not given priority and ultimately the courts become lenient towards the culprits on one or the other grounds being absolutely oblivious of the plight and trauma the victims suffered and the shocks received by their parents.
I recall some of the judgments of the Apex courts. A two and a half years old female child was sexually molested and in the process her ribs were broken which became the ultimate cause of her death. Her private parts were fully torn and bleeding as per post mortem report. The culprit was not a young boy but a neighbour aged 35, married and having two daughters. His conviction was upheld throughout. The Sessions Court and the High Court sentenced him to death penalty but the Supreme Court commuted death sentence to life imprisonment considering the case not to be rarest of the rare case. The innuendo was that rape and murder of girls aged two and a half years was common in our country or the act of the accused was not dastardly or the accused was not found to be menace to the society and unfit to live in the society.
In another case a girl aged 12 was not succumbing to the advances of a boy living in the same village. One day, in the evening when she along with her father was returning home from fields, that boy along with his two friends accosted her and repeated his demand to her. When she and her father raced towards their home they were physically caught, father was tied to a tree and the girl was raped in the presence of her father. On the statements of the victim, the girl, and her father, the Sessions Court convicted the boy and gave life sentence to him. In appeal, the High Court upheld the conviction but the sentence was reduced to already undergone. The total period the convict remained in jail was
less than one and a half months as he remained on bail throughout during the trial. Now see the reason for that lenience. The Hon’ble Judge came with a sexual philosophy of his own that when sex dominates the mind of a male he becomes oblivious of his acts. So the Hon’ble Judge gave license to all boys having eyes on girls to commit rape on them and take the aforesaid plea for very little punishment.
In Nithari’s dastardly case of child abuse and murders, the accused Koli was given death sentence by the trial court, then by the High Court and lastly by the Supreme Court. Koli had sexually abused and raped around 40 children, then murdered them and kept their skeletons in the house owned by his master Pandher in NOIDA. His clemency petition was rejected and he was going to be executed. But suddenly the High Court of Allahabad in a PIL stayed his execution and then ultimately commuted death sentence to life sentence on the ground that the government had delayed in deciding his clemency petition. What a compassion of those who moved the PIL and of the courts, for the human rights of the child abuser and murderer having no concern for the human rights and feelings of the parents of the victims! Such judgment is giving rise to a new class of corruption. After being sentenced to death, make a clemency petition, bribe at every stage to delay decision on the clemency petition and then get a legal right to get commuted death into life sentence despite the case being termed as rarest of the rare even by the highest court. In the present political and
administrative scenario delaying decision on mercy petition is very easy.
Coming to the society in general, I see that men are becoming very insensitive towards sexual abuse, exploitation and murders of young female children. Every day in the newspapers we read and in the TV channels we see how callous are the men when it comes to investigation and trial of the offences of rapes or rapes coupled with murder. The first reaction of the police remains that it was consented sex. Reports are not registered. If registered but if the culprits are bigwigs, no arrests are made. If arrested, the battery of lawyers, with all their legal acumen and other efforts get bails for them and the trial goes on for eternity. The accused, on coming out on bail, threaten the girl to rape her again. The girl and her parents, being helpless because of the might of the accused, run away to other abode. The accused gets more emboldened and becomes a great threat to other girls in the vicinity. He boasts openly that nothing will happen to him.
In the press I had read that a boy had thrown acid on a girl because she was not responding to his advances. The matter went to Court and he was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment. On release he started threatening to put acid on her younger sister as well. The younger sister, though not of marriageable age, was hurriedly married and sent to far off place. Getting angry, he threatened the landlord of the
girl’s parents to throw them out otherwise he would throw acid on his daughter. Frightful, the landlord threw the tenant. That was an incident where all the might of police and administration failed and the convict became the master of the scene. How come? It only was the consequence of the unconcerned attitude of the male world. The males become active only when the matter relates to their daughters. I ask one question to the Hon’ble judge, who expounded his own sexual philosophy to give very little rather no punishment to the rapist, whether he would have stuck to his sexual philosophy if his daughter had been raped in the same fashion.
It is of common knowledge that the rapists move in the society as heroes. Nobody points them as rapists. On the other hand, the raped girl or the raped woman has to hide her face as if she was guilty. If she moves in public she is pointed out ‘here goes the raped’. Sometimes even lewd remarks are passed. Such a male psychology is very disturbing. All obnoxious questions are put to her in the courts if the trial Judge does not check.
It is also found that the rapist gets help from and is accommodated by all and sundry. For example, recently a teacher in Central School at Gomtinagar, Lucknow was accused of raping his student successively and when she became pregnant he, in connivance with his wife and a lady doctor, got the abortion done. It was strange that the girl
aged 16 was recorded as wife of the teacher aged 43 in the hospital records where the abortion was done. What sort of conscience the lady doctor had? The administration of the school also remained lukewarm when the matter was complained to it.
Every day the newspapers and the TV channels are full with news of rapes of minor girls. Even minors are found raping their class mates and neighbours. Why? The reasons may be found in the TV channels, porn literature, cinemas and internet, where sex is being rampantly served. Erotic feelings are bound to arise. Therefore, for the safety of minor girls from being abused, molested and raped the general atmosphere should be cleaned. Exposure of sex in TV channels, advertisements, cinemas and internet should be banned. It was so disgusting to watch a TV advertisement for a male perfume where a lady having puja thali in her hands got so sexy on inhaling an exotic male perfume that she left the thali and went with the man who had sprayed the exotic perfume on himself.
Markets are full with sex erotic medicines. The world, all over, is doing research to find erotic substances for men’s potency and then to sell erotic medicines at a very high price. Sale of such erotic medicines in our country should be banned unless a prescription for sexual health from a registered qualified sexologist is produced.
In the last, I wish that judges are sensitized to take into consideration the human rights of the victims of sexual crime as well while sentencing the convict or granting bail to the accused of rape or throwing of acids on such girls who do not succumb to the amorous desire of the accused. Such sensitization may be made in the Judicial Academies of the States and the National Judicial Academy. I do not know whether these academies have, in their curricula, a topic on proportionality of sentencing to the crime committed. If not, they should add.
“Take up one idea. Think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Be full of that idea and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” Swami Vivekanand
“The highest levels of performance come to people who are centred, intuitive, creative and reflective – people who know to see a problem as an opportunity.” Deepak Chopra
“Teach backwards and poor to fish”
”Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for life time.”
A Story told by Ravi Chhabra –
“A biology teacher was teaching his students how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. He told the students that in the next couple of hours, the butterfly would struggle to come out of the cocoon. But no one should help the butterfly. Then he left.
The students were waiting and it happened. The butterfly struggled to get out of the cocoon, and one of the students took pity on it and decided to help the butterfly out of the cocoon against the advice of his teacher. He broke the cocoon to help the butterfly so it didn’t have to struggle anymore. But shortly afterwards the butterfly died.
When the teacher returned, he was told what happened. He explained to this student that by helping the butterfly, he had actually killed it because it is a law of nature that the struggle to come out of the cocoon actually helps develop and strengthen its wings. The boy had deprived the butterfly of its struggle and the butterfly died.
“Work is worship” – The saying that it is good to dream big, but it should be back up with hard work to get success. Nothing worthwhile in life comes without a struggle. Instead of crying all the time for discrimination, self-pitying and seeking crutches to move forward, one should meet the challenges bravely, work hard and move forward. For everyone, sky is the limit to flourish.
One should always remember that “Work is worship. There is no substitute for hard-work”. So, keep on making efforts. No body knows when he/she is going to hook a fish. Usually “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like (bothersome) work.” Abraham Cowley
Self-reliance is the key-word – The key for uplifting the submerged sections of society and for their sustainable development lie in preparing people to be self-reliant, living without crutches or depending on external support. Doles given by powerful lobbies or by ruling authorities can benefit only a few poor individuals and that too for a short period.
Dependence, a source of unhappiness – Dependence on governing authorities or others brings unhappiness in life. An individual loses self-confidence. Life becomes a long struggle both for the rulers as well as for ruled. Instead of honing the income generating qualities of people through education and training and contributing something to the society and nation according to their capacities, doles cripple the masses.
Calling any section of society backwards is derogatory – “Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten”. (Aesop). Official use of words like ‘backward’, ‘underprivileged’, ‘Submerged’, ‘downtrodden’ for any section of society is derogatory. It leads to self-pity, politicking and puts a permanent blot on the forehead of a man or a section of society.
Cases of Suicides – There is a lack of right approach Many students belonging to marginalized communities and getting admissions in institutions of higher studies through reserved quota on relaxed grounds either leave their studies in the middle or commit suicide when parental pressure on them for getting successful is too much to bear and they find themselves to handle the situation in academics. Students belonging to poor and deprived sections of society do need financial assistance and some support systems to improve their performance, but definitely not lowering the standards. When candidates join workforce without acquiring required qualifications, their performance at work-place remains unsatisfactory, which is not upto the mark “in public interest”.
Teach poor how to fish? – There is a folk tale – Once a man came to a prophet and asked for some money for his livelihood. The prophet taught him a formula for dignity. He gave an axe and advised him to “go to the jungle, cut some wood, and earn your livelihood by selling it. And meet me after fifteen days”. The man sincerely followed the advice. After fifteen days, when he met the prophet he said, “I am happy with my job. Now I know that for living in dignity, I must not ask for anything from anyone.”
Every individual born with some special quality – Nature has gifted everybody with some special quality and enormous potential to pursue one’s own interest. One only needs a proper atmosphere to work according to one’s attitude and aptitude.
The best way, in which a welfare state can create an equitable society and help its submerged people, is to empower them and to make them aware of their capabilities. It should develop their personalities to the fullest by inculcating in them an attitude to tap their own potentials. And then, it should train the people according to their attitude and aptitude.
Job-satisfaction – The government of a welfare state should facilitate its people to get employed in jobs suitable to their capacity and personality. It should give them incentive to work/job-satisfaction by providing conducive atmosphere to work, and encourage them to earn their living by honest means, achieve good results by hard work and move ahead in life on their own.
Hard work brings shine in life– It is often alleged that forward caste people are born with silver spoon in their mouth. But it is a misconception. It is not ease but effort, not facility but difficulty that makes a man. Through hard work, one can earn money, but through money one can not buy hard work or happiness. Too much of comfort kills motivation. Certainly self-motivation/incentive to work is of far more valuable than external support.
“Yes, I can do it” – So a welfare society/nation must teach the submerged sections of society to fish through sound system of education supplemented by proper vocational training, not to ask from the government any favor/concession or quota for moving ahead in life. People also learn not to yell for concessions, easy money or doles. Favor or external help can give only temporary relief, not a permanent solution. One must rely on his own efforts. Hard work is always accompanied by confidence with a feeling “Yes, I can do it.” (President Obama)
“Take up one idea. Think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Be full of that idea and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” Swami Vivekanand
“Teach backwards and poor to fish”
”Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for life time.”
“Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten” Aesop
A Story told by Ravi Chhabra
“A biology teacher was teaching his students how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. He told the students that in the next couple of hours, the butterfly would struggle to come out of the cocoon. But no one should help the butterfly. Then he left.
The students were waiting and it happened. The butterfly struggled to get out of the cocoon, and one of the students took pity on…
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‘Neti’, ‘Neti’ – meaning “learning is a never-ending process and the sources of knowledge are countless.”
“A little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. … Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.” Khalil Gibran
“Victories are gained, peace is preserved , progress is achieved, civilization is built up and history is made not in battlefields where ghastly murders are committed in the name of patriotism, not in the council chambers where insipid speeches are spun out in the name of debate, nor even in factories where are manufactured novel instruments to strangle life, but in educational institutions which are the seed-beds of culture, where children in whose hands quiver the destinies of the future, are trained. From their ranks will come out when they grow up, statesmen and soldiers, patriots and philosophers, who will determine the progress of the land.” The Supreme court in Unni Krishnan Judgement (1993 SSC(I)
India has got many appreciable achievements in technical and economic spheres, but illiteracy of a large number of people has turned the visions of becoming an advanced and prosperous country and quality ‘Education for All’ into empty dreams. Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on its available infra-structure. According to 2011 census, literacy-rate has gone only up to 74% from 65%. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54%. About 20% of its population is still illiterate, 76% of the children dropout before standard X and 53% of Grade V pass-out can’t read a Grade II text books. Absolute number of the figure of illiterates and dropouts is alarming. In addition to it data of a recent research study points out that nine lakh teachers vacancies exist today. Hundreds of thousands of classrooms are without teachers.
No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled. For making India a better place to live in, the improvement in education system is needed.
Education and the masses
In ancient India, education was confined within a very small section of Indian society. It was not so much because of discrimination that a large number of common people were debarred or denied access to education, as it was due to the following reasons –
Method to educate – In the past, because of the method of education, education remained confined within a very small section of the society. In absence of any written material, priestly schools in India had devised a most remarkable and effective system of transferring knowledge to succeeding generations in form of hymns. They restricted it only to those, who possessed brilliant feats of memory and capability to keep its extreme sanctity.
- Use of Symbolic language – Symbolic laguage was in use to express thoughts, customs amd institutions. The purpose was perhaps to make it easier for human mind to remember. It gave everything in the society a sacrament, religious and sacrosanct, but not in a narrow sense. Shiva–Shakti stood for Divine masculine-feminine union, four elements of nature –Om stood for the sound of creation, Trishul for trinity, Lotus for balance, Venus star for creativity, Sacrifice for an offering to gods, Purush and prakriti for ideal man-woman relationship, Som ras as a symbol of divine bliss eyc. In Upnishads, Hindu epics and Geeta, there are many examples of symbolic mentality. Later on, this trend gave everything an imaginative, mysterious, mystic or divine shape.
- Modern society has lost the mindset to understand the true meaning of this symbolic language and is being criticized vehemently by some sections of society such as Purush-Sukta of Veda says that four parts od chaturvrna have been born from the body of Creative Diety, from his head, arms, thighs and feet. These are symbolic expression. It expresses a divine reality. Its sense is that Brahmans were men of knowledge, kshatriyas the men of power, Vaishyas the producer and Shudras the service persons supporting the other three.
- Neti-Neti – There was infinite scope of development. Nothing was supposed to be final. Neti-Neti was the principle foe quest of knowledge.
- Masses remained away from formal education, even when everything was put together in the epics – ‘Vedas’, ‘Smritis’, ’Sutras’, and ‘Upnishads’, because of the medium being Sanskrit.
Masses were busy in their hereditary/traditional occupations. Skills were learnt more on job under the training and guidance of people already on the job/occupation. For attaining more skills or furthering their future prospects masses did not depend on formal education, certificates/degrees/diplomas or on formal centres of education and training i.e. schools/colleges.
The manner, in which hereditary occupational knowledge and skills were transferred, was through practice and experience; not through formal classroom lectures, which often kills originality and verve of people. The system led society to have more production, economic efficiency and specialization in various areas of activities like spinning, weaving, pottery making, bead making, seal making, terra-cotta, handicrafts, brick-laying, metal work etc.
But still, illiterate masses got the benefit of the knowledge of learned sages and munies. On the basis of their scholarly researches and experiences, the sages prescribed certain guidelines in the form of rituals to be followed by common men.
- However, rituals should not be confused with the philosophical knowledge of any religion. reciting ‘shlokas’ or following rigidly any practice in prescribed manner do not make anybody a true Hindu, Muslim or Christian.
Education in Ancient India
Education a private concern – Education in ancient India was a private concern. Occasional grants was given from state, private charitable institutions and pupils. The tutor supplemented his income by performing professional duties of the priest.
Educational institutions of repute
Many travellers among whom most famous are Magasthenes (a Greek ambassador arrived at Patliputra in 302 BC), Fa-hien, Hiuen Tsang and I-Tsang threw much light on Indian values, systems, and famous institutions.
Famous centers of education – Holy places like Taxila, Ayodhya, Banaras, Amaravati, Mathura, Nasik or Kanchi and capitals of kingdoms like Patilputra, Valabhi, Ujjayani and Padmavati were famous centers of education. Valabhi in Gujarat and Vikramshila in Bihar were famous centers of learning. In south India centers of learning were known as Ghatikas. Most famous centersof learning were the monastic colleges mostly founded by Budhists. Students flocked from all places.
Some renowned Universities – Few of most important universities of ancient India were Taxila (being the first university of world established in Seventh century B.C.), Vikramshila University and Nalanda University (built in 4 A.D). Huan Tsang in his records mentioned the university of Taxila to be at par with Nalanda and Vikramshila Universities. These institutions were considered to be the best Universities of its times in the subcontinent and an honour to ancient Indian educational system.
- Takshila University – Takshila University was famous for medical studies. Varanasi was famous for religious teachings. In the South, Kanchi was famous for its studies while the Vallabhi University was no less. There was a galaxy of eminent teachers like Panini- well known grammerian, Kautilya- the minister of Chandragupta Maurya and Charaka – a medical teacher of repute.
- Nalanda university – Nalanda was the epitome of such centers. It attracted students not just from India, but also from the entire South Asia. It was an international University. Scholars of different castes, creeds, and races hailing from India, China, Japan, Korea, Java, Sumatra, Tibet, Mongolia and Bokhara came here for higher/advanced studies.. The teachers often attracted students from far and wide. It had eight colleges, one of it having four storied building and around 10,000 students and teachers on its roll cards. It was one of the earliest examples of residential cum learning complex.
Technical education was usually imparted in the family itself, as most of the professions were hereditary. Sometimes artisans took students as apprentices.
Steps to pass on knowledge – Knowledge was passed on orally from one generation to another in ancient India. Education involved three basic processes, one, which included ‘Sravana’ (stage of acquiring knowledge of ‘Shrutis’ by listening). Two, ‘Manana’ (meaning pupils to think, analyse themselves about what they heard, assimilate the lessons taught by their teacher and make their own inferences,) and three ‘Nidhyasana (meaning comprehension of truth and and apply/use it into real life).
‘Shravana’ as Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has commented, “Listening more than speaking reflects a whole state of mind. Indicative of sincerity and humility, it is the essence of a fine character. so talk less, listen more.” ‘Manana’ enhances understanding and ‘Nidhasana’ develops positive energies after analyzing the whole scenario.
Method – Students were taught particular texts at home of teacher. It was learnt by rote, enunciation and pronunciation were particularly taken care of. Students were supposed to lead a strictly regulated life. Aims of learning were faith, retention of knowledge, progeny, wealth, longevity and immortality. Besides domestic schools there were specialised agencies, discussions or conferences arranged by the kings. Women freely participated in these conferences. There were Parishads for advanced studies. There were wandering scholars, Chaarakas, who spread education in the country.
Education and women
Women enjoyed freedom, respect and honour. According to Manu “where women are honoured, the gods rejoice, where they are not respected, all actions become futile.” In ancient India women were given equal right to education and teaching. Women seers like ‘Gayetri’ or ‘Maitreyi’ were prominent participants in educational debates and proceedings of ‘Parishads’ (Assemblies). It was mostly the Brahmins followed by Kshatriyas that received education at the gurukuls, while boys from the lower castes learnt their family trade from their fathers.
Individuals from humblest origin were highly educated and were respected in Indian society as great achievers. Vashishtha, the principal of conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the quintessence of Vedic Brahmanism and maker of Gayatri Mantra, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman. Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards and the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India.
“An ocean of knowledge in a jar”
Ancient Indian philosophy and Vedic literature contained “an ocean of knowledge in a jar.” It was supposed to be a magnificent example of scientific division and orderly arrangement of rules, in a few words, in different branches of human knowledge, covering almost all the aspects of life, be it phonetics, arts, literature, medicine, polity, metrics, law, philosophy, astrology or astronomy. It spoke of everything- on staying healthy, social evils, improving concentration and tenets of behavior, which are relevant even today.
The substance of the knowlegde, learning and research work of Rishis-Munis (sages and saints) was put in the form of rituals for the benefit of common-men. Certain practices/guidelines were shaped in the form of rituals by intellectuals and prescribed for the benefit of commom men. These rituals and guidelines inspired people to lead a harmonious and healthy life. But with passage of time, slowly and gradually religion is largely relegated to performance of rituals only without understanding the rationale behind it – that too for fulfilment of desires.
Spot out gems
What Indian ancient books tell should not be taken literally. These were metaphors. Even ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Mesopotamians did so. With a rational mind, raising it from ignorance, one can understand the greatness of Vedic literature. A knowledgeable person can spot gems from this ocean of knowledge; pick them up and leave like worthless pebbles the undesired, obsolete elements developed into the system with passage of time.
Revival of ancient knowledge
During second half of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentith century, Swami Vivekanand, Rama Krishna Mission and Theosophical Society of India tried to familiarize the Western World, too, to the charm and graciousness of the ancient gold mine of knowledge, which had inspired not only Indians, but foreigners as well. Intellectuals from various countries have translated it in their own languages and reinterpreted it for a rational mind.
As India progressed from ancient to medieval, its education system deteriorated. Medieval age began with Rajput culture and ended with Indo-Muslim contacts. Society was marked as conventional society. The grip of conventionalism weakened the society and led to darkness, corruption, anarchy and failure. Various factors were responsible for the degradation of such an efficient and most ancient education system of the world.
In the eighth century, some of ancient literature was translated into Arabic like Sushruta Samhita and in 1790s East India Company which was eager to find out about India’s past, translated in English. British had some great scholars as bureaucrats like James Prinsep, William Jones etc, who rekindled the spirit of inquiry, which was lost during mediaeval period.
Modern education before Independence
Modern education system
Modern education system was implanted by British rulers. Before the advent of British in India, education system was private one. In 1835, Lord Macauley introduced modern education in India. It was the introduction of Wood’s dispatch of 1854, known as Magna Carta of Indian education that laid the foundation of present system of education and changed the scenario. The main purpose of it was to prepare Indian Clerks for running local administration. Under it the means of school educations were vernacular languages, while the higher education was granted in English only. British government started giving funds to indigenous schools in need of help and slowly some of the schools became government aided.
Reasons for introducing modern education
Finding it too costly and perhaps practically impossible to import enough Englishmen to man the large and increasing number of subordinate or lower posts in administration, British rulers planned of educating Indians in such a way that they “should through western education get Anglicised in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainments”. Lord Macauley clearly said that, “we must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.”
Welcoming modern education
The atmosphere was completely ready for Lord Macauley to lay the foundation of modern education in India by 1835. Missionaries and their supporters as well as National leaders, intellectuals and Reformers not only welcomed but exerted pressure on the company to encourage and promote western education in India. Missionaries believed that modern education would lead the people to adopt Christianity. Humanitarians, intellectuals and nationalist leaders considered modern education “the key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thought of the modern West” and the best remedy for social, political and economic ills of the country.
Outcome of modern education
In 1844 through an Declaration knowledge of English was made compulsory for Government employment. The traditional Indian system of education gradually withered away for the lack of official support. The government made English medium schools very popular. English as Official language alienated the masses from the educated Indians. Because of modern education and new employment opportunities, many traditional occupations became obsolete.In near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, people in India were forced to depend on modern education and Government jobs for their respectful earning. Modernisation of occupations and industrialisation processes increased role of formal education and training for furthering future prospects of people.
The universities at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were started in 1837 and higher education spread rapidly thereafter. For scientific and technical education, only three Medical Colleges one each at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras was established by 1857. There was only one good engineering college at Roorkee.
National leaders, intellectuals and reformers
Modern education not only produced persons to fill the lower levels of administration, as desired by the rulers, but also produced national leaders, intellectuals and reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dadabhai Naoroji, Ferozeshah Mehta, Gokhale, Gandhi, Jinnah, Ambedkar, Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Moti Lal Nehru, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Patel and many more. They took upon themselves the responsibility to build a modern, open, plural, culturally rich, prosperous and powerful India out of a fragmented, poverty stricken, superstitious, weak, indifferent, backward and inward looking society. In short , they believed that –
- Western literature and philosophy would give Indians the understanding of liberal, scientific, democratic and humanitarian ideas thought of Western World.
- It would make Indians aware of the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society.
- Modern education would improve the life of common men and conquer ignorance, hunger, poverty and disease.
- It would open the key to the treasures of Scientific and Democratic thought of Western World.
- Principles of Democracy would spread rapidly across the nation and finish imperialism and tyranny.
- It would remedy many social, political and economic ills of the nation.
Brahmins ahead of others
Initially, it was an impoverished group of Brahmin and caste Hindus in search of livelihood, who desire to live with dignity and honor opted for modern education. Gradual displacement from their source of income after decline in financial status of their patrons – Princes and Zamindars, appalling poverty of Brahmins compelled them to opt for modern education.
Reason being their poverty, not discrimination
Sir Alfred Croft, Director of Public Instruction in Bengal wrote to Rev. J. Johnston in 1881, “We know well that any considerable increase in the fees paid by college students would compel many to withdraw. It seems not to be fully understood… how poor the middle classes that flock to our colleges really are. Half the students live from hand to mouth…. And yet though, far behind in point of wealth, they correspond to, and are in fact the only representative of our professional classes at home, and the pressure on them for the means of subsistence is so great, that they must either be educated or go to wall.”
Their poverty gets confirmed by a study done to examine the annual income of the guarantors of 1271 Brahmin Students enrolled at Ferguson College, Pune from 1885 to 1895. According to it, 76% of the Chitpavan Brahmins guarantors belonged to the low or medium income groups. Similarly of the 277 Deshastha Brahmin guarantors, 70% came from low or medium groups.
They being natural learners and pursuers of knowledge utilized new type of employment opportunities created with introduction of modern education in 1835. They were quick and far ahead of other communities to grasp almost all the opportunities in these spheres. Their long tradition and undisputed role in the field of knowledge and learning, their intelligence, sincerity and hard work helped them even after independence to secure important places in the modern society.
Why masses deprived of modern education
Except for a few, masses could not avail the advantage of formal modern education. Relentless effort of missionaries and reformers could educate a very small number of people. Reasons being:
- Modern education was very costly and, therefore, unaffordable by the masses.
- Masses did not see any immediate use of education. It was more important for them to work and arrange two square meals day.
- The emphasis was on English medium education system.
Served double purpose
Introduction of modern education had served adouble purpose for the British rulers – they got the credit for the amelioration of the Indian society. But at the same time, through it, they devised a unique method of distribution of power, kept balance of power and prolonged their rule in India by keeping the natives busy in their in-fights.
Impact of modern education
The second half of the nineteenth century saw the impact of modern education on the minds of Indians as under: –
- Christian missionaries brainwashed many people especially the poor by preaching and educating them and developed in their minds a complex about the primitiveness of Indian society, influenced them towards the alien culture and then converted them into Christianity. With the help of British rulers, Christian missionaries and religious minded Westerners like William Webberforce or Charles Grant, they succeeded in converting many persons into Christianity.
- National leaders, social reformers, educated people and intellectuals welcomed rationality and other good features of Modern English education. They also got alarmed at divisive policies of the rulers. It led them to lead the national movement. They understood the real issues hampering the progress of Indian society. These organizations had purely an economic and social thrust. They fought against social evils caused by ignorance, superstitions or irrationality like untouchability and inhuman treatment to women, Sati, Polygamy, child marriage, and many others prevalent at that time. Emphasis was laid on education and science. They criticized the mumbo-jumbo of rituals and superstitions created by some selfish people to entangle the ignorant and poor masses.
- Reformers got alarmed at the erosion of Indian Culture. Organizations (like Brahma Samaj founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1828) in Bengal, Prarthana Samaj in Maharashtra (1867), Arya Samaj (1875) founded by Swami Dayanand in Northern India, Rama Krishna Mission, Theosophical Society of India (1879), Dev Samaj in Lahore and Servants of India society) interpreted religion rationally and advised people to remain firmly rooted to the Indian Culture and not get swayed away by the glamor and materialism of alien culture.
- ‘Back to Vedas’-Therefore,they organized people, held confrences, published articles and undertook internal reform efforts through Sanskritization. They gave a call for “Back to Vedas” and advised people to set free Hinduism from all degenerate features. It was not the Hindu principles, but the practices, which went wrong. Vivekanand said,’It is we, who are responsible for our degeneration.’
Swami Vivekanand, who founded the Rama Krishna Mission, “Each nation like each individual has a theme in this life, which is its center, the principle note, around which every other note comes to form the harmony. If any nation attempts to throw off its national vitality, the direction, which has become its own through the transmission of centuries, nation dies.”
Divisible policies of the rulers
Many national leaders and intellectuals got alarmed at the divisible policies of the rulers. They realized the impact of British racial discrimination in the areas of education and jobs and their repressive policies elsewhere. They realized the impact of British racial discrimination. Economic loot, political subjugation, assertion of lordly superiority over the subject on the ground of race, assumption of a haughty exclusiveness, persistent insulting and supercilious behavior towards all Indians, exclusion of Indians from all places of authority and responsibility and denial of their capacity for self-governance united Indians against British rule. The destructive character of repressive policies of British rulers lit the fire and gave birth to national movement.
After independence, even relentless effort of reformers, government and NGO’S only a small could educate a very small number of people especially from amongst backwards. Masses could not avail the benefit of modern/formal education. It is not so much because of resistance from caste Hindus, as for other reasons.
Reasons for not succeeding in ‘educating all’
It is falsely accused and propagated by some intellectuals, leaders, reformers and supporters of Reservation/Affirmative Action Policy that privileged upper castes have taken advantage of modern education to establish or reinforce its traditional dominance. They prevented lower castes from getting educated or promoting their status in modern society. However, as modern history points out, on the contrary, it was mainly impoverished group amongst Brahmin and caste Hindus opting for modern education, who were in search of livelihood,.
Impoverished group of caste Hindus looked upon modern education as means to earn their living respectfully. Therefore, when modern education was introduced, they, opted for costly Western Education and devoted their scarce resources on it.
Costly nature –General masses have not still availed the benefit of modern education. Reasons for illiteracy of a large number of people are many. Quality education is still very costly for common men and, therefore, unaffordable for masses. Costly nature has tended to make it a monopoly of the richer classes and city dwellers.
Population explosion – Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on available. There has been insufficient infrastructure. There is lack of quality education and training systems in government or government aided institutions. Masses do not see any immediate use of education. It still is more important for the poor people to work and arrange two square meals a day.
Importance of English language in modern world
With the changed scenario due to globalization, liberalisation and revolution in Information Technology, English has been accepted internationally as a means of communication. Therefore, learning English language has become necessary to get a space in international world. Education through foreign medium is a difficult task. Earlier English medium had already put undue strain upon the nerves of the Indian students.
Alienation of masses
The language of majority of people is Hindi. However, stress on English medium education and English language is more than it was before independence. After Hindi, English language is being spoken especially by educated Indians, mostly belonging to upper echelons of the society. Increasing importance of English has alienated further the masses from educated ones.
Short-comings of present education system
There are some deficiencies in the present Education system, some of which have been inherited from the British. There are many internal as well as external many pressures on the system, because of which quality of education suffers.
External pressures – Externally, recent social changes and larger political turmoil have affected adversely the whole atmosphere. Some changes took place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of the six main constituent of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, the businessmen, the organised workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats. Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like – favouritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life.
Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different sections for power and pelf are increasing every day. Powerful lobbies desire to have exclusive hold on scarce resources of the nation. Few persons and groups, who have the power in their hands and who control almost every walk of national life are working to deny justice to common men. The reflection of all these social evils is found in the educational system as well.
Internal pressures – Based on colonised British Grammar School type education has made Indian students crammer, imitators and unfit them for original work and thought. It has not taught them to have pride in their surroundings. The more they get, the farther they are removed from their surroundings and at the end of their education, they become estranged from their surroundings. They are loosing their natural character, because they are getting away from their traditional aspirations and values in preference to the western materialism. Alienation of modern generations from their roots and culture alarmed Gandhiji and he said, “My real education began after I had forgotten all that I had learned at School”.
Erosion of Indian culture – Modern education has disassociating Indian people from their traditional way of learning, classical roots and knowledge. With it have faded Indian values, philosophies and traditions, which had taught Indians the spirit of tolerance and firm belief in the principle, ‘Live and let live’ has always been the part of Indian ethos. Indians believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – the whole world is one family.
C. Rajgopalachari had said, “If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity— any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture”. Tolerance, truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression are the hallmark of Indian culture.
What should be the limit of tolerance – The people in India endure injustice and unfairness until they are pushed right upto the wall. Many times in the past, Indians had accepted oppression and exploitation without much protest, while such situations would have led to bloody revolutions elsewhere in the world. Even today, the people are tolerating the corruption, scams, scandals and criminal activities developed in political sphere, as well as inefficiency seeped deeply in administration without much protest. People needs to be taught not to tolerate injustice and raise their voice against it peacefully.
Influence of West
Present education system has given rise to a group of Indian intelligentsia which is influenced in a big way by social, political, economic norms of western world and their way of living. It vehemently denounce culture, character and social value system of India. It regards the culture of the land as indefensible, responsible for creating many discriminatory social values. The number of such people is increasing. The more its number of such persons grows, especially amongst Indian intelligentsia, the more intolerant, people would become.
Influence on modern youth
A drastic change is visible in the values, behavior and etiquette of a new educated neo- rich youth of elitist class, which has emerged especially in Metros. Their life style and value system are being gradually replaced by the Western ones. They want to enjoy pleasures of modern life at any cost without any restriction. They are more conscious of their rights and want to enjoy life fully in any possible way without any bondage. They do not like any restriction/comment on their behavior or way of life. Loosening grip of social bondage and observances have made many of them selfish, self-willed and arrogant. Some of them have become so intolerant and aggressive, that they out-rightly discard all social norms and etiquette.
Their thinking and value systems are quite different from the older ones. Most of them generally regard Indian value system as rubbish and its epics as irrelevant. They set their own rules. Their yardstick of smartness is interest in stock exchanges, glamor, pubs, parties, discos or late night culture, which gives rise to many kinds of social problems. With growing cult of materialism and consumerism, finer values of life are disappearing fast. Lust for material gains, comforts, craze for luxurious and glamorous life style has made them so insensitive that they hardly feel anything about the hardships and agonies of the ‘have-nots’. Friendship/relationship prospers only if these cost-effective. Otherwise people do not hesitate in showing their helplessness due to lack of time or energy. The persons, who readily help people in need are considered fools in modern society.
Objective of education?
Gaining mere knowledge is not the purpose of learning. As Khalil Gibran has said, a little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. Also, one whose knowledge is confined to books can not use his knowledge wealth when the need for them arises. Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.
Pursuit of material success is super-most objective in the minds of young students. It is making them more and more selfish and intolerant to others. They are drifting almost rudderless without sense of direction. Academic background, career and good earning is important in life for happiness and satisfaction, but more important is living a quality of life, humanity, compassion and self discipline for enjoying life fully.
Once more, India has to be made a hub of knowledge creation. It will be a big blunder, if it fails to do it now. India’s massive human resource needs to be cultivated through sound system of education and training to get out of the rut of mediocrity. The system of education and learning should be such that it could the faculties of human beings ‘in proper manner towards proper objectives, channelize the desires and energies of Indian people towards proper objectives and right activities. Discipline and productivity are necessary for education.
Amalgamate Indian Culture with western Mechanism
Eastern part of the world surpasses the West by no small measure on issues of culture-starting from Egypt and moving eastward through Mesopotamia, Indian sub-continent, China and south east Asia. Indian culture has kept, thousands of years old XYZ alive, despite hit after hit on our successive generations from outsiders.
When it comes to advancement in knowledge and science it is the west that has led the world. Looking at the mechanism of expansionism and spreading out, the west has always had the upper hand. Otherwise how could a nation of a handful travel the world over and thrust its imperialism on it. A segment of this group, by sheer hard work and patience, threw the imperial mechanism overboard and built up a nation, living in which is a dream of every young person. In short, the above discussion throws up following important issues –
- Importance of knowledge in education can not be denied. Purpose of education has unfortunately been misunderstood to mean acquiring as much academic knowledge as possible, leading towards award of degrees. But equally important is inculcating skills in all the vocations according to aptitude of different individuals through practical training for overall development of nation. Training in different vocations should be given when minds of individuals are still in formative stage. Training becomes necessary for applyng knowledge in real life.
- There is no doubt that modern education has given to India the key to the treasures of scientific and modern democratic thought. It is the west that has led the world in advancement in technology and science. It opened up the doors for liberal and rational thinking. It widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia during nineteenth century. However, somewhere it got derailed and now the system of education at all the stages, from preliminary through secondary right up-to the college stage makes mind just a store-house of knowledge and discourages creative thinking.
- India surpasses the west by no small measure on issues of culture. It is one of the oldest living culture in the whole world, despite hit after hit on it in the past during alien rule.
- For building an ideal structure for education, an amalgamation of eastern culture and western methods, liberal thinking and advancement in science and technology of the West would be the best for future generations. would be the best.
- The world is now a global village. Thanks to revolution in areas of information, communications technology and travel apparatus. It will be good if the forces of both – culture and systems – could be combined and a charter of an ideal education blueprint could be evolved for future generations.. Why not we combine the forces of both these, Culture and Mechanics, and evolve a charter of an ideal education blueprint for our future generations. Technology advances have brought us to a stage where every concept is an option! Why not cash upon it.
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ntellect”The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions, and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.” Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith
“There is a beast in man, which should be exercised, not exorciized.”
Anton Szander Llavary
“Overcome worry, fear and doubt through rediscovering spiritual resources. Worry erodes my confidence, fear hijacks my courage, and doubt redicules every attempt I make to bring hope back into my life. ” Brahma Kumaris
Introduction – Positive attitude towards life inspires in human beings to follow the dictates of ‘intellect. Intellect of a human being enables him to discriminate between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Katha Upnishad compares the ‘self’ of a person to the Supreme seated in a chariot, intellect as charioteer, mind as reins and sense objects as the road along which the chariot is driven. Intellect develops in them qualities like self-control, purity in thinking, sincerity hard-work, honesty and uprightness. Negative mindset leads towards delusion. Intellect keeps a control over ignorance, egoism, venom, too much attachment towards any object or unbridled desires of a human being.
How to lead a life in a positive way – For leading life in a positive way, one’s actions, ‘Karmas’, need to be performed with ‘samatva budhhi’ (balanced mind), ‘Swadharma Buddhi’ (Path of righteousness), ‘Samarpan buddhi’ (without an intention to satisfy one’s own ego or else’s ego), ‘Asang buddhi’ (non attachment to the result of action) and ‘Prasad buddhi’ (whatever comes, accept it).
What is Positive or Negative way – Leading a life in positive or negative way depends on the attitude and in turn attitude depends on the emotions of a person. Emotions can make a person weak or strong. Positive emotions associated with love, affection, sensitivity and compassion makes a person strong, whereas negative emotions/feelings makes one weak, sad, short-tempered, greedy, violent, selfish, jealous and aloof.
Negativity in life not good – Negative attitude in life makes a person pessimist. It develops in a person a tendency to stress the unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view of a situation. Most of the times, such a person enlarges a problem, blames destiny, circumstances or others for adverse circumstances and fails to find solutions.
What leads to Negative thinking – ‘Self-gratification’ is leads to negativism. It usually happens, when ‘Me’ and ‘Mine’ take centre-stage. Everything else assumes no importance in relation with ‘Me’. It is doing a great damage to the modern society. Persons having such an attitude become insensitive, insecure and unable to care for his own happiness or the welfare of others or the society. Sometimes such an attitude leads to abnormal behaviour.
Tendencies developed by negative attitude – Many times, negative attitude in individuals encourages people to care only for their passions and desires, without caring for anybody else. Passions, materialism and consumerism take supreme position in life. It encourages individuals to enjoy life to the core, even if one has to ‘beg, borrow or steal’ (Charvakas). Such a tendency ignites the desire or craving for ‘more’, which instead of making them happy and contended, limits human aspirations for sensual pleasures/enjoyment only, meaning eating delicious food, nights out, wearing costly/designed clothes and possess all the riches and worldly possessions to enjoy pleasures of life.
Achievements only at physical plane does not always make a person happy, successful and strong. Such a mindset gives rise to greed, anger and passion and most of the times (s)he is not able to maintain good relations with others. Materialism, consumerism, ruthless competition for positions of power, money and VVIP status in society in addition to having all the pleasures of life at others cost have brought some unpleasant changes in the mind-set of people in recent past and is increasing every day in the character, role and inter-relationship of the six main constituent of the national elites – political executive, legislators, businessmen, organized workers, surplus farmers and bureaucrats etc.
Enjoying life is not something undesirable or bad – Enjoyment in life or caring for self-interests and interests of one’s own family or making efforts for success in life is not wrong. After all man is a social animal. Therefore, caring for oneself or for one’s family’s welfare can not be called ‘selfishness’ or a ‘Mleccha Praviti’ (bad). In Indian Philosophy, ‘Sanatan Dharma’ gives people belonging to family-life/ ‘Grihastashram’ (married life) full freedom to enjoy life, assigns top place/a high place of honour amongst all the stages, ‘Brahmacharya Ashram’ (stage of learning), ‘Vanprastha Ashram’ (take retirement from family life and give the benefits of one’s experiences gained so far) and stage of ‘Sanyas’ (preparing oneself for leaving this world).
Rights and duties of married persons – A person is supposed to lead an active and happy married life. It is the most energetic and enjoyable period of ones life. Giving maximum importance to ‘Grihastashrm’ shows that Indian philosophers attached a great importance to social values.
- This stage of life offers a person opportunities for practice and for cultivation of social values. A householder is in direct contact with the whole society.
- This stage is a real ground to utilize one’s intellectual and physical capabilities. An individual is advised to work for financial and material success, get involved in economic activities in order to fulfill one’s dreams and ambitions.
- But at the same time, this is the stage, when an individual is supposed to fulfil certain duties as well. A householder is a contributor, a trustee and a manager of social estate and society is the recipient. Proper management of other three stages (stages of student life and stages of life of elderly/old people in ‘Vanprastha Ashram’ or ‘Sanyas’) depends on Grihasthashram as their needs (like provision of food and financial help) are directly or indirectly supported by householders.
- A householder is expected to give protection to dependents with love and care. Dependents include elders, children, members of extended family and strangers in need of help.
- An individual is supposed to make direct contribution to the society consistent with the dictates of his own knowledge and conscience.
Negative attitude does a great damage to an individual. It destroys the whole physical and psychological personality of any person. It creates negative aura in surroundings and spread negative vibes. Therefore, try to be in the company of positive people. it is necessary to inculcate positive thinking and attitude by taming negative emotions -thus maintaining emotional balance as happy and tough moments come and go in everybody’s life. Bhagwat Gita teaches to control one’s emotions generated in mind, keep emotional balance and remain cool and calm. Before reacting to any situation, first think, then analyze pros and cons, assess the situation rationally, then act. Positive attitude leads to freedom and empowerment simultaneously.
For leading life in a positive way, one’s actions, ‘Karmas’, need to be performed with ‘samatva budhhi’ (balanced mind), ‘Swadharma Buddhi’ (Path of righteousness), ‘Samarpan buddhi’ (without an intention to satisfy one’s own ego or else’s ego), ‘Asang buddhi’ (non attachment to the result of action) and ‘Prasad buddhi’ (whatever comes, accept it). Positive attitude towards life inspires in human beings qualities like sincerity hard-work, honesty and uprightness.
Negative attitude in life makes a person pessimist. It develops in him a tendency to stress the unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view of a situation. Most of the times, such a person enlarges a problem, blames destiny, circumstances or others for adverse circumstances and fails to find solutions.
‘Self-gratification’ is leads to negativism. It usually happens, when ‘Me’ and ‘Mine’ take centrestage. Everyting else assumes no importance in relation with ‘Me’. It is doing a great damage to the modern society. Persons having such an attitude become insensitive, insecure and unable to care for his own happiness…
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 60,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 22 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
“What is dishonourably got, is dishonouably squandered.” Cicero
There is a Chinese proverb “A voyage of a thousand miles begin with a Single step. Make sure that the step is in right direction.”
First step towards ‘Reservation’ – In case of reservation policy, the first step itself was taken in the wrong direction by British rulers 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’. How can such a policy be successful in its mission, which was mooted with the intentions to create a split in the society.?
Discriminatory practices – Some kind of discriminatory practices have always existed in all societies world-over on different grounds. Usually vulnerable sections of society are subjected to prejudice/discrimination. Some kind of irritations or indignities such people experience at present, are nothing compared to what the previous generation experienced.
Towards path of discrimination – 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.
Preferences given to some to restrict Brahmin’s entry into 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. 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” to less talented persons from different sections of society. The British Government gave financial assistance for education, and preferences in 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.
Divided Indian society into water-tight compartments – 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.
Dependence on crutches – As an Affirmative Action Program, Reservation Policy is supposed to work for the sustainable development of the sub-merged sections by making them capable enough to stand on their own feet and bring them into the main-stream of the society. Instead it has been made submerged sections so weak that they can not sustain themselves without the crutches of reservations and depend on it permanently.
Instead of an affirmative program, quota system after the Independence – Leaving Reservation to the discretion of political authorities after Independence makes it to be 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.
Now reservation based on political expediency – 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.
Justice, social, economic and political to all its citizens? – 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.
How to reconcile the claims of growth with the claims of equity? – 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.
No discrimination, be it positive or negative – In the governance of a democratic country, discrimination of any kind – be it positive or negative – or anywhere is the most objectionable thing. The problem of discrimination can not be tackled by adopting the path of reverse-discrimination. Reservation works on the basis of reverse discrimination.
Increasing demand for lower categorization of their caste-status – Reservation entitles lower castes to get preferential treatment in education and employment in the government. In other words, backward castes are supposed to be treated more than equals in various spheres. It has resulted in a tough competition amongst various castes to demand a lower social status in the government list, 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.
Government to recognize only two ends, the individual and the nation – The 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. 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.
Consequences of evading reality – It has rightly said, “We can evade reality, but we can not evade the consequences of evading reality.” (Ayn Rand). Following are the consequences of evading the reality in the case of reservation policy, –
- Recognition of the lower social status 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Good 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 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.
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”.
There is a Chinese proverb “A voyage of a thousand miles begin with a Single step. Make sure that the step is in right direction.”
In case of reservation policy, the first step itself was taken in the wrong direction by British rulers 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’. How can such a policy be successful in its mission, which was mooted with the intentions to create a split in the society.?
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…
View original post 1,365 more words
- Development Administration
- Wisdom/Enlightenment and empowerment
- Rights and duties
- Role of Bureaucracy in good governance
- India – Unity in Diversity
- Fusion of many cultures in India
- Theory of biological Evolution
- Dalit Assertion, A Journey from ‘Shudras’to Outcastes, to’Panchamas’ and to ‘Dalits’
- Untouchables (“Dalits” of modern India) in Ancient India
- Happiness in life
- Census operations
- Good Governance