Politics of Reservations

a poster depicting politics of reservations
Ancient Indian society was based on caste system and some castes were given a status higher than others. Namely, there were four main castes or Varna – Brahmin, Kashtriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Members of each of these castes were assigned a specific function. However, the social status of a person in the Vedic period was not determined by birth. But, gradually caste became an inherited status – it means the son of Brahmin would be a Brahmin and the son of a Shudra would be a Shudra. Thus, the society gradually came to be a caste-based society.

The so-called lower castes started facing unprecedented exploitation at the hands of so-called higher castes. Members of lower castes developed a kind of socio-economic under-development, which dragged them into backwardness.

However following India’s independence in August 1947, members of the Constituent Assembly adopted social equality as one of the main objectives to ensure justice for all. They took many steps to secure social equality for all. One of those steps was listing so-called lower castes as Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) or Backward Castes (BCs); and providing them with certain special benefits in the form of reservations in jobs, legislatures etc.

The provision of reservations was originally set for a period of 10 years. But, considering it a vote-gaining popularity-winning system, almost all parties supported its extension again and again, and it is in force even today, more than six decades after it was implemented.

The system of reservations for people belonging to particular castes is regarded as a helpful system to ensure the welfare and development of the downtrodden or exploited people. However, the repeated extension of the provision of reservation of jobs for SC, ST and OBC people has started gaining opposition and criticism by many. The issue of reservations vs. anti-reservations has been a hot topic of discussion ever since the highly-controversial Mandal Commission Report was accepted by the National Front Government of Prime Minister V.P. Singh in 1990, which had triggered violent protests in the National capital and many other places across India.  
 
Let’s have a look at arguments against the provision of reservations in Indian Constitution: 

1. Politics of castes or casteism is unhealthy and harmful for a Democratic country like India, but the provision of reservations in Indian Constitution has indirectly helped boost the politics of casteism.

2. Originally, the provision of reservations in Indian Constitution was adopted for a period of 10 years. But it is still in effect, for more than six decades.

3. The controversial provision of reservations is obviously against the principle of equality because it gives undue value to a people of certain castes. A person belonging to SC, ST or OBC manages to get a job even as he/she secures lower percentage of marks in a competitive examination than a person of a general category.

4. Providing SC, ST or OBC people (who also commonly called “Dalits”) with special privileges, protections and rights is also against the spirit of democracy.

5. Reservations have failed to protect the social-economic interests of so-called SC, ST or OBC people. Instead, this policy has made them dependent on the crutches of reservation. Many of them don’t work had just because they have special privileges at their disposal.  Moreover, it has given rise to a new type of inequality. Some members of SC, ST or OBC categories or Dalits have been able to received repeated benefits from reservations, while many others failed to get any benefit.

6. Reservations in jobs discourage talent, which is essential for any country to progress.  It violates merit system, and compromises on quality and discourages talent.


Let’s also have a look at arguments in favor of reservations in jobs: 

1. People belonging to SC, ST or OBC categories or so-called Dalits are still backward. Hence, the provision of reservations should continue.

I disagree - When the policy of reservations has failed to ensure social-economic equality for so-called Dalits, how can one say it will be able to benefit them in the next few decades?

2. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution describes Social, economic and political justice as the foremost objective to be secured. Thus, special privileges or protections should be given to SC, ST or OBC people or Dalits.

I disagree – How reservations in jobs can help SC, ST or OBC people when they are not equally educated or trained or they lack required talent or skills. The policy of reservations is not only hurt the nation’s progress by way of discarding real talent, but also hurting SC, ST or OBC people or Dalits by making them unduly dependent on undue government support. Moreover, it is unduly supporting a slim creamy layer within Dalits.

3. According to the Constitution, India should be characterized by political, social and economic democracy. Thus, government should make efforts to attain this objective with any means, including reservations in jobs for the backward.

I disagree – reserving jobs is not the only way to ensure political-socio-economic equality for SC, ST or OBC people or Dalits. People without talent or with lower-than-expected talent will only retard the nation’s growth, which will eventually make the nation’s citizen, particularly Dalits, poorer and worse. If federal and state governments really want to give Dalits equality, they should provide them with equal opportunities in the fields of health and education. They can provide Dalit children free food and free books. Laws like “compulsory education for all children” should be implemented strictly, and talented kids can be granted scholarships. But, I would insist that there is no substitute to talent.

It is but natural that those who are enjoying the benefits of the controversial reservation system are in support of it. Political parties, including Congress and BJP, have been supporting it because they regard it as a means for keeping their vote-banks intact.
       

3/25/2016
Politics of Reservations
a poster depicting politics of reservations
Ancient Indian society was based on caste system and some castes were given a status higher than others. Namely, there were four main castes or Varna – Brahmin, Kashtriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Members of each of these castes were assigned a specific function. However, the social status of a person in the Vedic period was not determined by birth. But, gradually caste became an inherited status – it means the son of Brahmin would be a Brahmin and the son of a Shudra would be a Shudra. Thus, the society gradually came to be a caste-based society.

The so-called lower castes started facing unprecedented exploitation at the hands of so-called higher castes. Members of lower castes developed a kind of socio-economic under-development, which dragged them into backwardness.

However following India’s independence in August 1947, members of the Constituent Assembly adopted social equality as one of the main objectives to ensure justice for all. They took many steps to secure social equality for all. One of those steps was listing so-called lower castes as Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) or Backward Castes (BCs); and providing them with certain special benefits in the form of reservations in jobs, legislatures etc.

The provision of reservations was originally set for a period of 10 years. But, considering it a vote-gaining popularity-winning system, almost all parties supported its extension again and again, and it is in force even today, more than six decades after it was implemented.

The system of reservations for people belonging to particular castes is regarded as a helpful system to ensure the welfare and development of the downtrodden or exploited people. However, the repeated extension of the provision of reservation of jobs for SC, ST and OBC people has started gaining opposition and criticism by many. The issue of reservations vs. anti-reservations has been a hot topic of discussion ever since the highly-controversial Mandal Commission Report was accepted by the National Front Government of Prime Minister V.P. Singh in 1990, which had triggered violent protests in the National capital and many other places across India.  
 
Let’s have a look at arguments against the provision of reservations in Indian Constitution: 

1. Politics of castes or casteism is unhealthy and harmful for a Democratic country like India, but the provision of reservations in Indian Constitution has indirectly helped boost the politics of casteism.

2. Originally, the provision of reservations in Indian Constitution was adopted for a period of 10 years. But it is still in effect, for more than six decades.

3. The controversial provision of reservations is obviously against the principle of equality because it gives undue value to a people of certain castes. A person belonging to SC, ST or OBC manages to get a job even as he/she secures lower percentage of marks in a competitive examination than a person of a general category.

4. Providing SC, ST or OBC people (who also commonly called “Dalits”) with special privileges, protections and rights is also against the spirit of democracy.

5. Reservations have failed to protect the social-economic interests of so-called SC, ST or OBC people. Instead, this policy has made them dependent on the crutches of reservation. Many of them don’t work had just because they have special privileges at their disposal.  Moreover, it has given rise to a new type of inequality. Some members of SC, ST or OBC categories or Dalits have been able to received repeated benefits from reservations, while many others failed to get any benefit.

6. Reservations in jobs discourage talent, which is essential for any country to progress.  It violates merit system, and compromises on quality and discourages talent.


Let’s also have a look at arguments in favor of reservations in jobs: 

1. People belonging to SC, ST or OBC categories or so-called Dalits are still backward. Hence, the provision of reservations should continue.

I disagree - When the policy of reservations has failed to ensure social-economic equality for so-called Dalits, how can one say it will be able to benefit them in the next few decades?

2. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution describes Social, economic and political justice as the foremost objective to be secured. Thus, special privileges or protections should be given to SC, ST or OBC people or Dalits.

I disagree – How reservations in jobs can help SC, ST or OBC people when they are not equally educated or trained or they lack required talent or skills. The policy of reservations is not only hurt the nation’s progress by way of discarding real talent, but also hurting SC, ST or OBC people or Dalits by making them unduly dependent on undue government support. Moreover, it is unduly supporting a slim creamy layer within Dalits.

3. According to the Constitution, India should be characterized by political, social and economic democracy. Thus, government should make efforts to attain this objective with any means, including reservations in jobs for the backward.

I disagree – reserving jobs is not the only way to ensure political-socio-economic equality for SC, ST or OBC people or Dalits. People without talent or with lower-than-expected talent will only retard the nation’s growth, which will eventually make the nation’s citizen, particularly Dalits, poorer and worse. If federal and state governments really want to give Dalits equality, they should provide them with equal opportunities in the fields of health and education. They can provide Dalit children free food and free books. Laws like “compulsory education for all children” should be implemented strictly, and talented kids can be granted scholarships. But, I would insist that there is no substitute to talent.

It is but natural that those who are enjoying the benefits of the controversial reservation system are in support of it. Political parties, including Congress and BJP, have been supporting it because they regard it as a means for keeping their vote-banks intact.