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04/17/08
Representation Through Reservation
Filed under: Columns
Posted by: @ 1:13 pm

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing”- Albert Einstein

 

The History of Reservations:

Caste Based Reservation in < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />India Started in 2nd Century BC. In Manusmriti -the law book of Brahmins all the laws were based on Caste and no Merit was ever considered. It divided people into High and Low Castes on the basis of their birth and not on the basis of Merit. Wealth, Political power, Spiritual leadership, Education, Ownership of Land, Trade and all lucrative aspects were reserved purely to the higher castes.

The Concept:

The correct term used for reservation in the Indian Constitution is Representation. Those who have benefited from reservation and are enjoying the fruits of reservation must first of all understand the true meaning of reservation. It is not given to anyone in his individual capacity. It is given to individual as a representative of the underprivileged community. The beneficiaries of reservations are in turn expected to help their communities to come up. Reservation is a democratic principle to provide representation to the castes hitherto remained unrepresented in the governance of the country.

Justice Reddy observed “While we agree that competitive skill is relevant in higher posts, we do not think it is necessary to be apologetic about reservation in posts, higher or lower, so long as the minimum requirements are satisfied.”On the other hand, we have to be apologetic that there still exists a need for reservation.”

Article16 (4) is not a poverty alleviation programme. Its singular aim is to redistribute power to those who have been kept out of the state apparatus so as to end their educational, social and economic backwardness and this class is not less than 77 ½ % of the population of the country.

-Justice P.B.Sawant.

The Intellectual Class:

Dr Ambedkar Said “In every country the   intellectual class is the most influential class. The masses are largely imitative and follow the intellectual class. There is no exaggeration in saying that the entire destination of the country depends upon its intellectual class. If the intellectual class is honest and independent, it can be trusted to take the initiative and give a proper lead when a crisis arises. Similarly an intellectual class may be a band of high-souled persons, ready to help, ready to emancipate erring humanity or it may easily be a gang of crooks or a body of advocates of narrow clique from which it draws its support.

Is the Intellectual Class doing this Work?

  

After thorough analysis, it is observed that this intellectual class does not take active part in any such activity of change of system. Not only that, it is also observed that this intellectual class looks at the society, to which it belongs with contempt and keep themselves away from it. Dr. Ambedkar had experienced this, at the fag end of his life and therefore on 18 March 1956 at Ramlila Ground, Agra he said with a heavy heart that, “The educated people have betrayed me. I was thinking that after education they will serve their society. But I find that a crowd of clerks had gathered around me, who are engaged in filling their belly“. This heart burning is a proof that educated and intellectual class is alienated from the society and is going away from its brotherhood. Because of this reason, atrocities and discrimination have increased on the people living in villages. The class, who was expected to lead the society, became the most obedient servant of the government, and the movement was left for half hearted and immature people.

What the Intellectual Class Should Do?

The ethos of privatisation and the excuse of global competition, superimposed on the traditional caste prejudice, will never allow reservations to happen, any more.

Dr Ambedkar had said during a debate in parliament on the question of efficiency of governance by the system of reservation that “A representative government is better than an efficient government”

He added this on the upper castes: “It is your claim to equality which hurts them. They want to maintain the status quo. If you continue to accept your lowly status ungrudgingly, continue to remain dirty, filthy, backward, ignorant, poor and disunited, they will allow you to live in peace. The moment you start to raise your level, the conflict starts.”

Those arguing against reservation must understand that 50 years of affirmative action is nothing as compared to 3000 years of subjugation. Those crying foul over Merit know very well that there is not enough fruit in the garden hence those who are already in want to keep out those who are already out.

Those responsible for implementing the policy of Reservation must undoubtedly understand that “Reservation is neither a policy matter, a political gimmick nor a matter of Charity. It is a Constitutional Obligation”


In a country like India where power, wealth and opportunities are the monopoly of microscopically small and scandalously over privileged community, political Revolution is the only Panacea as pointed by even Dr Ambedkar.

While the atrocities on SC-ST’s keep on rising and recorded as if they are the performance parameters of some blue chip company, While those who want to finish the whole idea of Reservation are working overtime, round the clock 365 days a year, the complacent beneficiaries are busy watching their favourite TV shows or criticizing the serious activists of the movement accusing them of selfish interests.

Dr B. R. Ambedkar had said on Tuesday July 31st 1956;  at his residence 26 Alipur Road, New Delhi at 05-50P.M. to his Personal secretary Mr. Nanak Chand Rattu…Tell my people Nanak Chand. “You people do not know what is troubling me and what makes me so sad. The first worry to my mind is that I have not been able to fulfill my life’s mission. I wanted to see my people a governing class in my lifetime, sharing the political power in terms of equality with other communities. I am now almost crippled and prostrate with illness. Whatever I have been able to achieve is being enjoyed by the educated few, who with their deceitful performances have proved to be the worthless lot, with no sympathies for their downtrodden brethren. They have surpassed my imagination; they live for themselves and their personal gains. Not one of them is prepared to do the social work. They are treading the path of their ruination. I now wanted to divert my attention towards the vast illiterate masses in the villages that continue to suffer and remained almost unchanged economically. But life seems short.…My lieutenants, in whom I had full faith and confidence to run the movement, are fighting among themselves for leadership and power, unmindful of the heavy responsibility that is going to fall upon them… Any how I have done a lot in spite of the abuses hurled at me from all sides and I will continue to do so till my death.”

So saying, with tears rolling down his cheeks, he looked at me and I had also no alternative but to look at him with tears in my eyes. …And with a pained expression on his countenance whispered: “Take courage, don’t get upset. Life is to come to an end one day or the other.” After a little pause, wiping his tears, raising his hand a little above his glowing eyes, he said: “Tell my people Nanak Chand: Whatever I have done, I have been able to do after passing through crushing miseries and endless troubles all my life fighting with my opponents. With great difficulty, I have brought this caravan where it is seen today. Let the Caravan march on and further on despite the hurdles, pitfalls and difficulties that may come in its way. If my people, my lieutenants are not able to take the caravan ahead, they should leave it where it is seen today, but in no circumstances should they allow the Caravan to go back?”

Jaibhim and Regards

Abhay Madhukar Dongre                                                            abhay_net1@rediffmail.com

References:

Some Information has been taken in verbatim from the articles of following. I express my acknowledgements to them.

1)     Questions and Answers on Reservation- Shri Jayant Ramteke

2)     Shri Abhijeet Kumar N-Secretary General- ITSEWA.

3)     Last Few Years of B.R .Ambedkar - Nanak Chand Rattu.

4)     Writings and Speeches- Dr B.R.Ambedkar

 

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