Let's talk it out
I am writing this post to answer many questions which I was asked for my support to Caste Based Reservation. People have also asked me, why not income based reservation? I will try to answer these two questions.
Let me start by saying that ultimate aim of reservation is to reduce inequality. In India there are two types of inequalities viz., Social and Economic. Both types of inequalities cannot be(should not be) solved using similar or same methodology.
So, lets take Social inequalities. People from lower castes have not be allowed to enter into the temples and they are still denied entry into many temples across the country. Similarly they are not allowed into the schools. There is famous mythology of Karna and Eklavya who were not taught by their teachers(Gurus) only because they were from lower castes. There were punishments for lower caste people if they somehow -even by mistake- listen a couplets of Sansakrit. Many of you will be surprised to know that still students from lower castes are discriminated in the schools. They are not allowed to sit with the upper caste students, they are asked to clean toilets, they are not allowed to sit with upper caste student for mid-day meal. Not only in the elementary education but also in higher education there are huge discrimination against lower caste students. These discrimination becomes visible in practical marks. Still in many colleges across the country your practical marks are decided by your caste.
In such a harsh, socially discouraging situation where even a Member of Parliament(MP) is not allowed in a temple because of his caste, it becomes necessary to reduce the effect of discrimination based on the caste. So it was decided to provide affirmative action policy or reservation for the socially and educationally backward section who have been left behind due to this discrimination.
Now let us come to Economic inequalities. This kind of inequalities are mainly due to monetary reasons. This inequalities can be easily handled through the cheaper loans and subsidies. Government is trying to handle this economic inequality also through BPL(Below Poverty Line) Cards rout where people having BPL cards get benefits from the government. Also there is creamy-layer concept in the OBCs bracket to allow poorer-OBCs people to get the benefits of the reservation.
So government is trying to solve both kind of inequalities through the different methods which are effective in their respective sphere. So, instead of abolishing reservation system we should focus to make it more targeted. We should try to make it so effective that only deserving ones get the benefit of reservation. Also we should not include the issues which can be solved by other means into the reservation, for example Economic backwardness. We should focus to reduce and ultimately abolish reservation not by law but by making everyone coming out of reservation eligibility criteria by effective implementation of the reservation policy. By not keeping the SCs/STs seats vacant for purpose of converting them into the general seats, but by giving the reservation to them who deserve it the most. Lesser is the leakages, faster we will be able to overcome the policy of reservation.
Historically and contemporarily all the discrimination are caste based. So its logical to have caste based reservation. Similar is the case for the sex-based discrimination and reservation too.
Well if you ask a beneficiary of reservation he/she will say reservation should be there. But if you ask a non-beneficiary s/he will tell you that reservation is discriminatory and it should go. So, I would like to paint the true picture here and let you to judge whether reservation is evil or good.
So why reservation? Its well proved theory in the social sciences that socially and economically backward sections of society, facing this disadvantages due to the historical reasons need special care to ensure the equality of opportunity. Even our constitution talks about the special provisions for the socially and economically backward section.
So, what are those historical reasons because of which there exists a social and economically backward section? Well, its hard to define all the reasons here. So i will confine myself with few and most important ones. Firstly, the rigid caste structure put lower castes at very disadvantaged positions. Now people are talking about selection based on merits but if selection based on merits would have been the norms not the caste, we might not have required the reservation at the first place. Secondly, discrimination against all these socially and economically backward sections in all the fields – in education, in jobs, in prayers, in politics. Unfortunately it is still an ongoing process. Thirdly, all types of atrocities are committed against these sections and this too is an ongoing process even though there are laws like Dowry Protection, Sexual Harassment at workplace, SC/ST Act, Manual Scavenger Act etc.
So to correct these historical misfortunes we needed a policy of reservation for SCs,STs,Women, Disableds,and LGBT. Because of this disadvantages there have been a huge inequality in the society. This inequality needs to be corrected for the economic growth(read more). I know most of you will be etching with the following question: “Reservation was meant just for 10 years but it is still continuing after more than 60 years of independence , why?”
Well, surely I am not going to answer this question but I would put few questions for you. Why Land Reforms got failed? Why our judiciary is still elitist? Why there are discrimination in the promotion? Why still rapes are happening daily in India? Why a Dalit boy cannot ride a horse on day of his marriage in Rajasthan? Why manual scavengers are only from lower castes? Why conviction under SC/STs Act is so low? Why most of the under-trials and convicts belongs to socially and economically backward sections? Why Dalits are not allowed in many temples in Tamil Nadu? Why CrPC Article 377 still exists? There are many such whys. Unless we are able to eliminate all these whys we do not have the rights to question the reservation policy which is meant only for the most socially and backward sections of our society.