Sunday, February 25, 2007

Reservation Ruckus

We all witnessed the hue and cry raised in the aftermath of the government decision to implement OBC reservation in Higher education institutions. We often hear only the two extremist sides of the arguements.
Pro-reservation lobby argueing for set coreccting the historical injustices, while theanti-reservation group crying foul over moves to stultify merit.
One can label one group as good or other as bad. The indelible truth is that the problem is ugly. It is a matter of shame that even afer six decades of independence, more people are classified as backward?
In our country like India, how do you define backwardness? In economic or social perspective ,should one be judged as forward or backward? The Mandal Report primarily focussed on social parameters for ennumeration of backward masses. There comes the crux of the problem.
Often birth alone doesn't warrant a need for reservation. We got Presidents and Chief Justices from the downtrodden community ,with the help of course reservation. But what is the rationale of extenting reservation to their wards ? In a way we trying to perpetuate castiest society for the mere sake of enjoying fruits of reservation? In one NDTV television programme, I was shocked to see a Chief Secretary, evidently from a scheduled caste, argue for reservations for his wards and generations to come. His arguement solely rested on the fact merit was purchased by the rich and the upper caste, and that reservation was the only panacea for eradicating the historical social imbalances. If a Chief Secretary of a state feels backward, then who else in this country are forward?
Reservation withouth the exclusion of creamy layer is a futile excercise. It only leads to a kind or reverse discrimination, whrein the oppresed reinfoce their stranglehold over their former oppressors. To make it more inclusive more people must be brought under the ambit of the prescribed quota limits . Economic criterion must be incorporated into the reservation system.Even minority instituions must be made to comply with the reponsibilities of affirmative action. Gradually sample surveys must be carried out periodically to monitor the socio-economic status of the backward masses. If found necesary the paricular caste may be elevated to the forward status.
I shall discuss the steps to be taken on this issue in my next article.

No comments: