Of the Policy of Reservation and all

via Dr. TS Girishkumar published on June 5, 2006

Perhaps it is the time to think in terms of the policy of reservation, as followed by the Government of India now. And perhaps it is also time to think about it seriously. Indeed, there are many things going on about this particular issue, and for the politicians, this policy of reservation had long become something akin to a ‘holy cow’, that no one wants to touch it. And may I ask, why?


Appeasing the minority had long become a curse for this country, and every politician foolishly thinks that the minority can become their vote banks. No one wants to bell the cat is one thing, and no one wants to offend the minority is the in thing now. It had become so. This is the political side of the story, which every one knows, but my question is about what have we achieved through such a policy for all these years.


What had happened through this policy of reservation? Did it help the supposed beneficiaries through all these years of independence? Prima facie, the policy of reservation seems a good one, and the right thing to do. Yes, there are many underprivileged Indians, who deserve a helping hand. Did this policy help them in any way?


Certainly not. As the Malayalam saying goes, the Sankaran still is on the coconut tree, he had not come down.


The Government had committed a fundamental mistake in their policy of reservation. They adopted Caste as the criterion for determining reservation benefits. This had strengthened the caste structure in our society, and created a new class, the elates among the so-called low castes. All social reformers of this land wanted the caste system to end, and in fact every sincere Hindu wants the caste system to end. The Mahatma strived towards the same goal, but in his own way. Veer Savarkar wanted the end of caste system, and he had realised that the caste system is curse to Hindu society. It weakens the Hindu society, and in turn, weakens Indian Nation. When we have to speak of internal challenges, the caste system is indeed the most serious one to Hindu society. With the upcoming of the low caste elates, all the benefits desired for the low castes started going to them, and with any criteria, these low caste elates do not deserve them at all. Ultimately, no substantial changes comes to low castes, and what ever is done for their betterment, never reaches them. In a word, the policy of reservation strengthened the caste system, but did not benefit the desired ones. It also resulted in the creation of pressure groups in the name of castes, and leaders who reap the benefits of being born in low castes. They will never want the caste system to wither away.


And how about the upper castes? Are they all comfortable? Officially they are, no doubt. But a simple looking around shows that the story is totally different. Many of the so-called upper castes live in misery, and no government is for them.


And what, may I ask, is caste? First of all. There is no universality with the idea of castes. We do not have same or similar caste through out the country. There are different castes in different parts of the country, and to my mind they do not mean anything. They do not mean anything, and they have no reason to become a part of ones identity as people think and feel. Can any one answer this question, “what is caste?” let us not confuse between caste and ‘Varna’, Varna is quite different, it is a quality concept and the division of society according to Varnas is very scientific one. One acquires Varna on the basis of what one becomes, on the basis of what one acquires. The theory is this: “Janmana jayate Sudra, Karmana jayate Dvija:” This means that by birth all are born Sudras, and it is only through Karma that one becomes a Dvija, or Brahmin. Thus according to the quality one acquires in life, one becomes a Brahmin, a Kshatriya, a Vaisya or Sudra. A person’s son need not acquire the Varna of his father, it depends on what he becomes. But then caste is a different thing, and people do carry it as a part of their identity. I understand that religion is a part of ones identity, as there are certain common norms and codes of conduct etc. for people of the same religion. But how about caste? Until some one says that this is his caste, it is not known. In my experience, I also did not find any difference in the behavior of a person, when he has understood at least the elements of Hindutva. For a person who is not initiated into Hindutva, his behavior is unpredictable to my mind, and it certainly does not make any difference what he claims his caste to be. Thus caste is not a criterion of a persons identity, religion is. But then, for the people of Kerala, caste is given primacy over religion, which I call as an anachronism. I shall bow my head to any one who could enlighten me on how caste can become a part of an individual’s identity.


The one important curse of Hindu society had been the caste system through ages. All meaningful Hindus ought to fight caste in any form. One ought to remember, emphasis on caste in any form destroys the stability of the Hindu society, and we must resist it. Once Shri VP Singh played with caste based reservation policy, and it created such problems. Now it is Arjun Singh, and this indeed is playing with fire, that is the attempt to destabilise the Hindu society. All sensible Hindus must resist anything in the name of caste, let us always remember, that caste is not a reality, it is only illusory, and is a big illusion that clouds the Hindu minds. Let us fight it with all our might.



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