A few years ago, when we heard the word “Reservation”, the first thought that crossed our minds was equal opportunities and upliftment of backward classes. But now, all we can think of are disturbances, violent protests, and buses on fire. What prompted our lawmakers to introduce reservation as a policy in the first place?
Reservation is a quota-based system that was introduced as a possible solution to the practice of caste-based discrimination prevailing in India at the time of independence. The primary aim of this policy was to instill a sense of equality amongst the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes. Reservations were given to them in public sector units and the government institutions. Decades after the implementation of this policy, the Supreme Court of India announced that the reservation should not exceed 49.5%.
|Category as per Government of India||Reservation Percentage as per Government of India|
|Scheduled Castes (SC)||15%|
|Scheduled Tribes (ST)||7.5%|
|Other Backward Classes (OBC)||27%|
When this law was implemented, social stigma forced the people belonging to backward classes to change their surnames. Societal reputation was more important to them than their overall development. As time passed and literacy rates increased, a lot of people started realizing the incentives of these provisions and started taking advantage of it. Today when the nation is developing, we see a total change in the mindset of our citizens. We see people fighting for minority rights and asking for reservation rather protesting against it. Seems like everyone wants the easy way out. Changing a name in an affidavit is always easier than going through a rigorous examination, isn’t it?
At present, certain parts of India seem to have a limited understanding of caste-based reservation. There are many states that still defy the 49.5% quota set by the Supreme Court.
• In Tamil Nadu, the reservation is 18% for SCs and 1% for STs, based on local demographics.
• In Northeast India, especially in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram, reservation for STs in State Govt. jobs is 80% with only 20% unreserved. In the Central Universities of NEHU(Shillong) and in Rajiv Gandhi University, 60% of seats are reserved for ST students.
• In Andhra Pradesh, 25% of educational institutions and government jobs are reserved for OBCs, 15% for SCs, 6% for STs and 4% for Muslims.
• In West Bengal, 35% of educational institute seats and government jobs are reserved for SCs, STs, and OBCs (22% SC, 6%ST, 7% for OBC A & B). There is no reservation on religious basis, but some economically and educationally backward Muslim castes (on the basis of surnames and pertaining to different professions e.g. cobbler, weaver etc.) have been included along with their Hindu counterparts in OBC lists namely OBC A and OBC B. However, in higher educational institutes, until now there is no reservation for the OBC community. On the other hand, there are reservations for admissions in primary, secondary and higher secondary schools.
Starting with Maharashtra (2006, Dalits) followed by Gujarat (2015, Patidar) then Andhra Pradesh (2016, Kapu community) and now Haryana (2016, Jat community) demanded extra reservations. The demand turned into a violent protest at the cost of many innocent lives and properties worth crores of Rupees. It is estimated that the Gujarat government incurred the loss of 10 thousand crores during the protests of Patidars and Haryana 34 thousand crores.
How come we fail to realize that such protests hinder the harmony? How come we fail to realize these movements affect our nation’s progress? How come we fail to realize the citizens’ well-being is put on a stake? How come we fail to realize the collateral damage is extensive?
Reservations on the basis of caste is provided for holistic equality but, is it serving the purpose or deepening the roots of inequality in a country that is so diverse?
Eventually, things will turn out to be what they always have been. The rich becomes richer and poor becomes poorer. In my opinion, these agitations are blatant attempts to blackmail the state into submission.
The only drawback of this policy is that reservation is solely based on the backwardness of a particular class irrespective of the economic status of an individual.
We are in the 69th year of independence and it’s about time we realize that our actions are reaffirming the opinions that outsiders have about India. Blaming the government, the police, or the citizens who were the part of the violent protests does not lead us to an amicable solution. We, as citizens, need to question the government : Why are there still caste-based reservations, despite the fact that in almost 70 years of independence, the backward classes have availed themselves these rights which have helped their community grow? To question this we need to find a common ground where riots have no place. The people who suffer because of these riots are the people who have nothing to do with them.
We people become so selfish for some reservation. I guess humanity is our foremost duty. We say India is very emotional country but why we always use that thing as our weakness when we know it can be our strength.
I just have one question that for what we are fighting today.
No reservations-then fight in such a way where humanity, rules and regulations are not questioned. Where if limited people are there but at least they know for what motto they are here rather than bringing lakhs of people and out of them, thousands of them do not know what they are here. Make sure we do not bring politics; we do not bring rules and regulation. Just because we are a democratic country, we just do not have right to do anything. The integrity of the nation should be protected no matter what because we represent them. Be an Indian first then whatever you want to be. Respect your motherland.