Have You Ever Read In Between The Lines Of Caste-Based Politics?

Posted on February 21, 2013 in Politics

By Gitanjali:

There’s a hue and cry when crucial bills like FDI in multi-brand retail or the Lokpal Bill need to be discussed. Politicians argue, fight and slam the government and their supporters for ruining this country by allowing FDI in growing sectors like multi-brand retail. They fear the Lokpal Bill because of the transparency and accountability that it will bring and try to keep the Bill frozen. But all the parties (except one in this case and that too for its own electoral reasons) came together to support the Bill that stands to provide reservation quotas for the backward castes in promotions. The polling in Rajya Sabha showed a whooping majority of 206 voting for it and just a minuscule 10 members voting against it. Consider this against the 102 who voted against FDI in multi-brand retail and the 123 who voted for it.

Our political parties will probably be never done and over with caste-based politics. Despite 65 years of independence, our law makers are interested not in issues that concern the economy and welfare of the nation as a whole, but in ensuring that their seats of power remain in their family, they ensure this by assuring that the backward in the society always remain backward. It is said that, “give bread to a man every day and he’ll never learn, but teach him to make bread and he’ll learn to earn a living.” By providing reservation over reservation and other sops, the government and all political parties are trying to ensure that the backward classes of society do not improve in skills and knowledge but always remain ignorant and blissfully helpless.

It is a pity that despite the efforts of all the governments from 1952 onward, the backward sections of our society have still remained backward and are not merged with the general fabric; the vision of the makers of the constitution has gone unfulfilled and not understood clearly. But the case is not so entirely; many from the backward communities have benefited from the reservations provided during the early years of formation of our country and are today economically and financially well-off. Their children today have good education and all facilities as well as any other person.

The only thing that probably still keeps them divided from the main society today is the caste-based reservation. Because of the existence of such quota in admissions and jobs, people tend to discriminate. Every time a person from a socially backward caste gets admission in a good institute or gets a well-to-do job, the general remark would be ‘he/she got it because of reservation.’ This sentiment arises because the general public misses out on a lot of opportunities because of almost half of everything being reserved for someone else who generally tends to come from similar economic and educational background.
Constitution makers intended the upliftment of the weaker sections of the society because of the social stigma that they faced and which prevented them from benefiting economically and academically. But today there is a mad rush among people to call themselves socially backward because of the sops available. Many communities want themselves to be listed under the Other Backward Castes or SC/ST category so that they can get an easy route to education and employment.

While Indian educational institutes and the government and government-run companies may suffer from inefficiency arising due to lack of proper expertise and qualifications as a result of implementation of the quota system, India will see more of brain drain as efficient minds and hardworking hands leave the Indian shores. If FDI is opposed by political parties stating that it is similar to inviting East India Company to India again, the quota of Promotion Bill is equivalent to letting the Britishers plunder our wealth and take it to Great Britain.

It is a shame that our politicians play such dirty games to ensure that their vote-banks remain intact. This new bill if passed will override Article 335 of the Constitution that says that the claims of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes have to be balanced with maintaining efficiency in administration. It was based on this that the Supreme Court overruled Mayawati’s attempts to bring in such a rule in Uttar Pradesh.

In a country like India, where economic disparities are large, the government should ideally take steps to help the economically disadvantaged. With improvements in technology and better identification of the needs of citizens through Aadhar and other schemes, the government can definitely do a better job at identifying and helping the economically disadvantaged (of all castes and creed) climb up the socio-economic ladder. We as citizens should also do our duties and be moral and not run for fake caste and income certificates. The enlightened youth of our country should take a pledge that they will not misuse the benefits given to them. It is only when we grow above such petty caste based issues that India can progress and develop on all fronts.