The caste-based reseravtion or caste based quota system in India is a constant cause of social conflict. The Hindu society continues to be divided over it and agitations have resulted from time to time. Under the reservation policy, ‘so-called’ lower catse Hindus get reservations in jobs, and educational institutes and ‘so-called ‘ upper caste Hindus collectively compete for open seats or general quota for admissions and jobs ( I use the term ‘ so-called’ beacuse I am against the caste system. Caste system is a bane for the Hindu and Indian society). Thus, this policy of reservation is against the spirit of open competition and free market. This reservation policy was included in our Constitution so as to provide opportunities to lower caste Hindus to uplift themselves. This policy was to be re-vised in 1990s, but the Parliament instead of taking steps to abolish or efface it, has continued it. Among our political establishment, who has the spine to touch a sensitive issue such as this!
The reservation in last 60 years of our independence has not solved the problems it was intended to: Those who became benefitted by it, they (only a few percentage of lower catse people) continue to enjoy the benefits and it has not ‘transcended’ uniformly over the target group to benefit them. At the same time, it has continued to build up resentment in the upper class youth as many of them despite having required qualifications have not been able to get admissions or jobs because many a seat were ‘usurped’ by reserved class! Therefore, reservation system has not actually been able to produce an equitable society and the currrent trends of reservation are unlikely to even if it is continued for another 100 years!
I am of the resolute opinion that reservation system must go as it creates a divisive society and is against the spirit of free competition. Reservation must be effaced out gradually, but must be supplemented with a sense of social responsibilty. If we try to efface reservation without the element of social justice, it will serve no purpose and will give rise to another set of social problems.
I suggest following measures which will help us get rid of reservation system while not disturbing the balances of the society.
1. Government must announce that reservation system will be gradually scrapped off over a period of say, 30 years.
2. Identify families of lower catse Hindus: Each family will be given reservation for one or two times only: either in the job or admission into a acadmic instiute. once that benefit has been given, the family will no longer be able to enjoy the fruit of reservation. This also implies that all reservations for promotions in the jobs and admission for higher studies will be scrapped immediately.
3. Identify citizens on the basis of economic status (irrespective of caste and creed or religion) and provide economically backward citizens better opportunities for education and health.
These are oft-repeated measures which are nothing new. They are good measures, but to make them socially more justifable, I have a few more suggestuons:
4. Each so-called upper caste Hindu is urged to take up/adopt the case of one lower caste Hindu: For example adopt one kid for his upbringing until he or she is meaningfully employed or settled in life. This is what upper castes owe to lower castes who have been exploited for generations. This measure will result in less hostilities and more social harmony when we think of long-term plan of abolishing reservations.
5. On a long term plan, encourage inter-caste marriages and inter-state ‘socialization’ (encourage taking jobs at distant places, moving for distant places): this will result in a broader vision and outlook towards the society and the nation. This helps us coming out of our ghetto mentality! We suffer badly from caste and ‘biradri’ (community) affinities and this hinders us from looking towards the open skies with open minds.
6. And as Avinash Yadav has suggested in his write-up, “(eradication of reservation) could be easily done if we drop our surnames”. For a link to his write- up, click . Or start using surnames in a way that they loose their identifications.
Another pleasant result of abolishing reservation system will be that our Christian and muslim brothers will drop the demands of reservations for them. It will become much more difficult for the casteist and pseudo-secular politicians to inflame the passions of reservations in our so-called ‘minorities’ (is it not ludicrous that in a secular country we divide citizens as majority or minority based upon the religion!). Is not it il-logical that first our dalits are lured into Christianity -by the ambassadors of social upliftment- saying that they will be liberated form the stigma of being low-castes and then the same ambassadors cry hoarse to provide reservations to ‘Dalit Christians’ !!
While the then Prime Minister VP Singh unleashed the poison of “Mandalization” over the Indian society, it is time to do the things right way: ‘Empower’ the Dalits to liberate them from the shackles of ‘reservation’ !