Reservation in India will always be a tool at the hands of every political outfit. Deficiencies will outweigh the advantages that are preached more often by the politicians of all colours. Political parties use reservation as their vote bank rather than uplifting the downtrodden/needy class. Because once the class is uplifted to the average levels, they will use their own wisdom to decide rather than following some stupid one blindly. Being tagged a developing country for the past 4 or 5 decades, every student, professional, employee and for that matter politicians included are facing the dirty face of a phenomenon called “Reservations” in its “distorted” form.
The architect of our constitution, Dr. Ambedkar while framing the constitution recommended reservations for under privileged class so that they too get better education irrespective of their affordability & better opportunities so as to match with their counter parts of upper class thus bringing a near equal economical and social status within a fixed period of time. This he envisaged to get to near evenness within 10 years – or suggested to review the equality quotient at the end of 10 years and if need be extend it by 10 more years and by no means beyond that. As a visionary he was more than convinced that within a maximum of 20 years the country can get rid of the classism and all can get on with the mainstream
However, the meaning of reservation has changed forever. Reservation in India today are used by politicians for their party’s benefits in various manners that are sometimes difficult to express on a public forum like this. Politian will never like to reverse this system; rather they may be happy extending it time and again. Undue concessions from admissions to educational institutions to promotions in higher positions and appointments to political posts all will keep this system going rather than terminating. Imagine the plight of those with better score and eligibility being deprived of getting admissions to better institutions. Imagine about the frustration of the very hardworking and deserving employee failing to move upwards because of his/her caste/religion or community. And the funny thing is a protected community candidate with better credentials can apply in both in reserved as well as general category thus further limiting the numbers of the general ones. Even Babasaheb will feel bad if he see how his noble suggestion has been distorted to take petty benefits by political parties. After seeing the agitations in north India and Maharashtra in the recent past, I think India must be the only country where people want to acquire “Backward” status.
Economically and socially we can divide our Indian society in many classes. Imagine the plight of those upper caste people with low or medium income. They will be most suffering lot and thus frustrated too. They neither have the wherewithal to basic needs beginning from education nor the protective cover of reservation. It’s a bane for them. Now take the case of high and medium income groups from the lower caste/community or religion; they have all amenities for peanuts or free giving them the luxury of leading a fabulous lifestyle. It’s an extra boon for them. So, to be truthful to what the great Dr. Babasaheb has prescribed one should look at multiple approaches as I feel. All said, I am not saying remove reservation completely. Bring reservations for economically backward, physically or mentally challenged ones, soldier’s families, senior citizens and finally forced migrants. Let it not be enforced based on caste/religion, minority/majority as it is happening now and causing a major hitch in all-round development. Remove social stigmas to be addressed through very strict laws. Remove the column for surname, caste/subcaste, religion etc., from every form in the country. Let there be no open indication of who belong to what caste or community.
Seven decades gone, if the government can’t think on bringing in these kind of progressive changes in the system, I don’t think we can ever call the country is progressing. In pursuit of such changes, reservation system is the first an foremost to be looked upon and bring drastic changes.
The minimum what we can give the future generations is “Teach them what Equality actually means; rather than sowing the seeds of animosity”.
Madhu K. Nair [10th August 2018]