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Here’s Why We Need Caste Based Reservations In Educational Institutions

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By Devyani Nath:

Since time immemorial, India has been a heritage of various religions, traditions, customs and cultures. One of the most practiced traditions is the caste system. The entire society is divided into different strati on the basis of the rule of “purity and pollution”. As a result, some strati are at a disadvantageous position in order to benefit from various opportunities like right to education, right to practice a profession, etc. In order to deal with this discrimination, the British Rule introduced a statutory provision known as reservation as per which a certain number of castes were identified as Scheduled Castes and proportion of seats were fixed for them in various public institutions and educational institutions. Independent India’s Government also upheld this provision and took various steps to strengthen the status of these disadvantageous sections of the society.


Over the decades, some of these Scheduled Castes benefited from this provision and gained a lot of intellectual as well as economical property. As a result, this reservation for them became just an easy way to climb up the ladder. But at the same time, some of these castes continue to perish because of “purity and pollution” rule. In urban areas, caste system was unsuccessful in paving its way through the dense concrete forest and up to a certain limit urban areas have not been infested by this. In other words, urbanisation led to dilution of this rigid practice of discrimination. Whereas, rural areas have been devoid of this sea change. They are still haunted by the ghosts of discrimination and as a result, a large section of people belonging to the disadvantageous section do not experience the benefits of education. Children, just because they belong to a lower caste, are not allowed to sit in the classroom and even if the authorities make it a point that these children receive equal education, parents of children of upper caste withdraw their kids from the school. Furthermore, this very caste system created an economical barrier because of which children don’t have enough resources to train and hone their skills in order to get into a good university. As a result, Caste based reservation in educational institutions is a very much needed step to help this section of the people.

As it is always said, every coin has two sides, and the same applies for reservation on the basis of caste system. There was a noble cause for introducing this provision but over the years, the same has started being misused by the people. Today, most of the people who benefit from this provision can be categorized as belonging to the “creamy layer” i.e. people who benefited from reservations in the past and are intellectually and economically well off. In order to deal with this issue, a specification should be added to this reservation of economic status. We should continue with caste based reservation but this should also be governed by economic factors like the proportion of liabilities and assets of the bread winner of the family. Furthermore, the government should ensure proper execution of the Right to Education Act so that every individual receives the same opportunities to excel in life.

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  1. Baldeep Grewal

    I personally don’t see how reservation will make any difference. Reservation is needed when seats are less and candidates are more. In order to ensure that a specific sect is not left out reservation is used. According to the Supreme Court ruling in April last year, 25 percent students in private unaided schools compulsorily have to be admitted from economically weaker backgrounds. The government sponsors these students and pays their school fees.
    Further, the purpose of reservation in elementary schools is defeated when the teachers’ ideologies are underdeveloped. Even if a child from a low caste gets admission into a very good school he/she cannot get a good education in an environment where they are repeatedly reminded of their ‘inferiority’ and are treated with anger, repulsion and resentment.

    1. Raj

      While I oppose reservations in Govt. institutes, I oppose them far more in Pvt. institute. That 25% reservations in private unaided schools was one of the worst transgressions of private rights we have ever had. Imagine if 25% of your private property was to be reserved for poor people and the Govt. would pay the rent. Or for any private aspect for that matter.

  2. Aditi Thakker

    With all due respect to your opinion, can you please explain to me how belonging to a certain caste gives you permission to be a below average student and yet get into good universities? Is this not injustice to someone who probably doesn’t rely upon their caste and just works hard for what they want. All government institutions in our country have reservation system. Any idea why our country hasn’t been able to rise and develop over the years? Caste over credibility, that’s why! This applies to all castes.

    For the ‘upper’ class parents changing schools for their children, don’t you think it is a matter of personal choice and nobody but their parents can decide where their children study. How is forced integration going to help?

    “Furthermore, this very caste system created an economical barrier because of which children don’t have enough resources to train and hone their skills in order to get into a good university.” Exactly this mentality is going to make sure that deserving people with higher grades and more potential are held back, while people from a lower caste take up their positions, based on caste. If they are really deserving, they wouldn’t need to ride on the caste factor. As for them not having access to opportunities to hone their skills, why can’t these opportunities be given to them while they are young? Why compromise during specialised education?

    What about poor people who are from a ‘upper’ caste? Nothing for them? The increased intolerance towards people from the ‘lower’ caste can largely be attributed to the additional benefits they get, just people they are born into that caste. On one hand they say all Indians are equal and then we have all these reservations! Talk about hypocrisy.

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