RESERVATION IN INDIA- The current scenario

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“THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all citizens: EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all”. One of the Fundamental Rights of the Indian Constitution is right to equality, stated above, which says that every citizen of this country has equal rights; everyone will be treated equally. At the time of independence, the minorities were not treated equally and therefore did not have equal rights to education and jobs, even if they were capable enough. Hence, reservation was given to them for 10 years so that they can stand shoulder to shoulder with the other people. But being too backward socially, 10 years were not enough to give them all the equal opportunities and status, and hence it was extended for 10 more years. Then again for 10 more years, and once again for 10 more years and is being extended till now. But the intentions of providing reservation, as well as of enjoying its benefits have changed over these years.

Back then, reservation was provided to lift socially backward people up. Now it is being provided to earn votes. People who have finally risen economically, educationally, and by status are still provided with reservation; and more so, such people are enjoying its benefits without even thinking this one question – do they need this?

Reservation in India is provided on the basis of caste and religion. But can’t the upper caste people be bereft of all the opportunities and status? Can’t the lower caste people be full of all resources, opportunities and status? Then why is reservation being provided on the basis of caste and religion?

Let us take the example of economically backward people. There are two people – one belongs to what our society calls the upper caste and the other one to the lower caste. The lower caste person has got all the opportunities in her life, and is living a high profile lifestyle by god’s grace and her hard work. But unfortunately, the one belonging to the upper caste has not got any opportunity, and is economically backward, and is just surviving, not living. But in India the one belonging to the lower caste will get reservation, will get more opportunities, but the upper caste person won’t. Her mistake – taking birth in an upper caste family. Even if the lower caste person’s income exceeds the creamy layer (which is applicable only on OBCs, not on SCs and STs), she still has everything needed to lead a normal and happy life, but no one will even peep into the miserable life of the upper caste, economically backward person. She and her family will remain backward forever this way.

Let us take another example of educationally backward people. Again two people – one belonging to the upper caste and the other one to the lower caste. Both study in the same school, same coaching and their fathers and mothers have equal jobs and salaries (not exceeding the creamy layer but enough for their daily requirements and to educate their children well). Both get equal marks in some entrance exam. The lower caste one gets the best institute in the country but the upper caste one adjusts in some low profile college which was generous enough to accept the general candidate with such marks. Here, the upper caste person remains educationally backward, not because his knowledge and intelligence were any less, but again because he took birth in an upper caste family.

This caste based reservation is suffocating the general candidates, is snatching their chances. According to the Supreme Court’s decision, more than 50% reservation can’t be given. But undoubtedly, many SC, ST and OBC candidates are very much talented and such candidates occupy the general seats. Hence the chances of a general candidate to get good education and job decreases even more. A less deserving reserved candidate is given preference over a more deserving general candidate. Isn’t this exploitation of the rights of a general candidate, of humanity, of right to equality?

There are many cases where the general candidate has suffered. One such case is of a student Lijo Joy from Kerala whose story recently surfaced over Facebook. According to the post, the student said that he has been ‘forced to take up agriculture’ as even after five rounds of seat allotments he has failed to secure admission in any college even after securing 79.9% marks in Higher Secondary, while his friends who scored as low as 50% marks are going to college due to reservation. He said that he realised that here mark is not the criteria for getting into college; one is reservation and the other is money; and since he doesn’t have either of them, he might be going through this.

Another such case is of Tina Dabi, who cleared the prestigious UPSC CSE – 2015 in her very first attempt at the age of 22, which is really commendable. She became the topper not because of reservation but merit. And her marks in Mains were so high that she was counted as a general candidate in her final result (decreasing a seat for general candidate from the remaining 50%). And it’s not just her, but many other much talented reserved category aspirants too who occupy the general seats. Also, she belonged to an upper middle class family. But according to another candidate who was a serious aspirant of CSE – 2015, Tina Dabi got 35 marks less than him in the Preliminary exam but the candidate didn’t even qualify. However, Tina Dabi did because of the reservation benefits. Who knows, maybe that candidate could also have been the topper had he got the chance.

Such stories are really disheartening. General candidates go through depression, commit suicide and feel underachieved. Sure, giving opportunities to make backward people rise was important, but not at this cost. This is pure injustice, to humanity and to democracy. Even those politicians who are doing various things to benefit our country, refrain from this sensitive topic – reservation. The others do anything and everything to gain votes and support of the reserved quota candidates. Rather than finishing this reservation system, more caste based reservation is being given in many other fields.

Those who were poor, irrespective of their caste are still poor. Even those reserved category people who were in very backward places of our country, are still suffering like before due to lack of information and resources. If something wrong happens with a reserved category candidate, the first thing that our media shows is, it happened because she/he belonged to the reserved category. But if something wrong happens with some general candidate in the same place, no discussion over caste comes up. Isn’t this nonsense? They say that one should not discriminate anyone on the basis of their caste and religion, but the bitter truth is, this reservation system is increasing the differences and sometimes hatred too. This blind caste-based reservation is leading us to nowhere but even more blindness.

Another articles of this series-

Reservation in Constitution of India – What was the aim to achieve?

RESERVATION IN INDIA – (Part 1) –The need of reservation before 1947

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