Reservations in India
Reservations have created great controversies and helped Indian political leadership perpetuate the ‘divide & rule’ policy of the British. Maximum violence was witnessed post the implementation of the Mandal Commission by VP Singh in 1990. Patel’s demand for reservation in Gujarat recently has brought the topic to national attention. An attempt has been made in this blog to assess whether reservations have done harm or good to the Indian society.
Reasons for Granting Reservations
The overt reasons for grant of reservations are equitable representation and social upliftment of weaker sections of the society. The overt bases for grant of major reservations are the following:
Caste & Religion as Bases for Reservation
These are the two most controversial and emotive reasons and form the backbone of ‘vote bank’ politics.
Gender and Status as Domicile as Bases for Reservation
These are also controversial reasons but of a much lesser degree. The logic for these reservations is quite sound. Female reservations in elected bodies have done a lot of good, particularly in highly patriarchal societies.
Other reasons for Reservations
Some other major reasons for reservations (non controversial) are given below:
- Terrorist victims.
- Single girl child (in Punjab)
- Migrants from the state of J&K.
- Sons/daughters/grandsons/granddaughters of freedom fighters.
- Physically challenged.
- Sports personalities.
- Dependents of armed forces personnel killed-in-action.
- Reservation in special schools of Government Undertakings/ PSUs, for the children of their own employees (e.g. Army schools, PSU schools, etc.)
Impact of Caste/Religion Based Reservations
Interestingly no audit has till date been conducted by any government to assess the impact of reservations. The reasons are (purely my views):
- Reservations once granted will be continued till (almost) eternity, hence why waste effort to assess the impact- be it good or bad!
- Reservations are a great part of vote bank politics hence the political leaders who initially benefited by these will continue to benefit if the backward do not progress!
- Reservations are not about equal opportunity, but about distributing the spoils of state power & wealth with the vote bank caste that brought the political leader to power.
Hence the views in the blog will be based more on my experience, rather than factual data.
Benefit of Caste/Religion Based Reservations
- Marginal upliftment of the backward castes & religious people is the only benefit.
Harms Caused by Caste/Religion Based Reservations
- Divided Indian society further.
- Caste has become more important than merit in Indian society.
- Perpetuation of vote bank politics.
- Demands by more & more groups for reservation.
- It is my conviction that the Mandal Commission benefited politicians, bureaucrats, judges and government servants have raised the level of corruption in India.
How to Remove Caste/Religion Based Reservations
It is quite obvious that reservations have done great harm to our society. The difficult question to answer is as to how do we remove them?
Regular protests by general category people & social media campaigns do come to mind. However, I do not see this curse going away from India in the foreseeable future. So I just request the general category people to prevent further reservations through protests and
pray to God to grant us the serenity to accept the things that we cannot change!