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Why The Recent Jat Agitation Poses The Threat Of Wiping Out The Entire Reservation System

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Demonstrators from the Jat community shout slogans as they block the Delhi-Haryana national highway during a protest at Sampla village in Haryana, India, February 22, 2016. Rural Indian protesters blockaded highways and paralysed a northern state on Monday despite a deal giving them more government jobs, but there was relief for New Delhi's 20 million residents as the army retook control of their main water source. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi - RTX27ZU7
Image credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi.

The concept of reservations, whose meaning is so porous, requires a dictionary of interpretation and humility to comprehend, beyond reason, the very nature of reservation for the depressed class. The reserved classes, categorised as such in Indian society, are the depressed class who were deprived of sustenance, education, and social status. To uplift these sections, and to bring them into the mainstream, the government thus created a category within the society and adopted a concept of this kind.

Reservations, in this context, are special privileges granted to those sections which the government considers socially and economically deprived and not adequately represented in the mainstream society and politics. The basic principle of reservation is not to divide the society but to provide equal representation in mainstream society, economy, education and politics. It would not only be impudent but also selfish if we assume that the reservation system has disintegrated our society.

Reservation in India is a system wherein the government facilitates for a person of an underprivileged section education, jobs, scholarships, promotions, and representation to the Parliament.

The reservation system was for the first time introduced in 1932 by the then British Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald by providing separate electoral representation for the Sikhs, Indian Christians, Muslims, Anglo-Indians, Dalits, forward classes, and the lower classes, and even Europeans. Mahatma Gandhi, who was the most prominent figure of India’s struggle for freedom, had severely condemned the introduction of the Communal Award, which he felt could disintegrate the diverse nation and nearly fasted to death until the Poona Pact (1932) was made. The terms agreed to under the Poona Pact, a pact referred as an agreement between B.R. Ambedkar and M.K. Gandhi, guaranteed reservation for the depressed classes out of the general electorate.

Issues Evolving Over Reservation System

A lot of stress and strain has been caused due to the quota system in recent times under the guise of ‘equal opportunity for all’. Unemployment is one of the root causes in the issues pertaining to the review of this system. The unreserved classes are of the opinion that many deserving candidates from the general category are obstructed from employment and stopped in their path of reaching the shores of ‘schools of national importance’ since the reserved classes, who are less qualified, enjoy leverage through quotas granted to them. In order to support their argument for a review/abolition of this system they observe that the reserved category students often drop out from prestigious institutes such as IITs, IIMs, and other ‘schools of national importance’ leaving seats vacant which is a lost opportunity for those aspirants hailing from the unreserved class who failed to make it by only a small margin. But, do the ‘general’ students never drop out from such prestigious institutes? This comes under question.

The Jat stir for reservations poses a serious threat with the potential to completely wipe out reservation provisions prescribed for the depressed classes. Not every caste/community can be given such privileges. As defined in the Constitution, the depressed classes are SC/ST and OBC (Other Backward Classes). Mandal Commission, 1979, was set up systematically ascertain the socially and educationally backward classes and, subsequently, it submitted its report in favour of increasing the existing quota from 22.5% to 49.5% in 1980. A decade later, the recommendations of the Mandal Commission were implemented by the government. The Jat unrest, and similar demands by the Marathas in the south and Rajputs of Rajasthan to the west, has the potential to end the quota system across India.

However, provisions for non-entitlement to reservations are also laid down for sons, daughters, and spouses of those who hold constitutional posts, or are in the civil services of both grade A and B, civil posts in both armed forces and para-military, wealthy professional classes, vast land owners including big farmers and industrialists, and those whose annual incomes exceed 6 lakhs for two or more years consecutively. What will be the fate of the poor and depressed classes should the most affluent class of Indian society such as Marathas, Rajputs, Patels and Jats enjoy reservation?

Who Are The Beneficiaries?

Beneficiary groups of the reservation system:

Affluent communities and privileged sections of the Indian society and the higher castes are not entitled to special privileges. The beneficiaries in this system are those who are economically and socially backward including those who have been kept from getting a proper education. Enrollment in educational institutes and job reservations are one of the prime benefits for the depressed classes. They can then compete for the various government posts in both the reserved and ‘general’ categories whereas the latter can only compete for open positions. Unlike the general category, the age bar for the reserved classes for any designated post or educational institute is less rigid and the number of attempts to Group-A posts (elite services) is relaxed.

The followings are the certain leverages reserved for the beneficiaries:

a) Caste-based reservation: 49.5% of seats are made available to SCs/STs and OBCs in government run higher educational institutions and in the Parliament and subordinate elections until the Delimitation Commission discharge, which is 2026. Age limit for SC/ST is relaxed by five years and OBC category by three years that makes 35 years for SC/ST and 33 years for the OBC. Besides scholarships, provisions for job promotions for reserved classes were made constitutional.

b) Reservation for women: On August 27, 2009, Manmohan Singh the then Prime Minister raised the reservation for women in the panchayats from 33% to 50% after the amendment to Article 234(D) of the Constitution. Reservation of 1/3rd of the seats for women was passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010. The proposal for reserving 1/3rd of the seats for women has been tabled in the Lok Sabha. However, the bill has not yet been passed in the lower house. 33% of government jobs are reserved for women in Gujarat.

c) Miscellaneous reservation: Apart from the aforesaid, reservations are made available for victims of terror from Kashmir, migrants from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, physically challenged, kinsman of freedom fighters, sports personalities, ex-serviceman, NRIs. Reservation in educational institutions except IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), sponsored candidates by organisations, sons/daughters/spouse of armed forces personnel killed in the line of duty, repatriates, reservation of seats for ladies/senior citizens/pregnant women/physically challenged in public transport have also been made. A few seats for Jammu & Kashmir migrants are reserved in every government funded educational institute.

Silent Step To End Reservation

Over the years, a mass of indignant yet disgruntled job seekers and prestigious institutes aspirants from the unreserved class have been demanding that the government put an end to the quota system. It has now reached its zenith. The early submission of the BJP government to Jat unrest in only a few days’ time even before full knowledge of the damage that had been caused has only convinced people that the government is on a secret mission to annul the practice of reservations once and for all. Bringing every community under the reserved category will have no lesser effect than having no reservations at all. Giving leverage to all is no different from not giving it to none. What is the difference?

The pro-Hindu right-wing vehicles and RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) stalwarts have been continuously calling for the review of reservation system. People of Bihar worry that if the BJP comes to power, reservations might be taken away from the Dalits and from other backward classes. This is probably the reason why BJP was so miserably defeated in the 2015 state assembly election.

Vice President Hamid Ansari came under stringent attack from BJP and Hindu Vishwa Parishad last year when in his maiden speech at the golden jubilee celebration of the All India Majis-e-Mushawarat, he spoke of the inadequate induction of Muslims to the OBC category, and laid emphasis on affirmative action with reference to Sachar Committee report. The country is now at a point where its peaceful equipoise in diversity is being disrupted since giant political parties have been playing the communal card which, in fact, happens due to the existence of large vote banks across the country. Sooner or later, the depressed classes will be completely wiped out from the mainstream society if such events arise wherein every community has an identical pursuit. To submit to every community demanding reservations is far from practical. A complete wipe out of quota system would appear to be the only viable solution in such a scenario.

You must be to comment.
  1. krishna

    STEP 1 : Take reservation seat because you are a “caste”.

    STEP 2 : Demand equality in mainstream because your are a “human” now.

    STEP 3 : Complain to the system for treating you “differently”.

    Ironic , when your own behavior is hypocritical and the whole concept of reservation is flawed.
    Glad that Brain drain is happening and the madness is reaching its peak. Happy to be an “unreserved” tax paying normal guy who believes in providing facilities for the deprived instead of gifting them reservations.

  2. Ramphal

    I am a Jat, and I fully endorse wiping quota system.

    Ever since reservation started, there are only two ways to get good jobs, either you are brilliant, or you have reservation.

    Current educational system has pushed rural communities backwards. It is costly and not available in most rural areas. Jat are not the most brilliant minds, but they are hard working. And current system is continuously pushing them on sidelines.

    If there is no reservation, hopefully there will be some opportunities for the hard workers too.

  3. P malik

    Jat reservation is justified or not u can decide on these points . Landholdings reduced to average 1/2 acre ,
    Natural calamities attacking the crops at harvesting time constantly. The moneylenders exploit them when they are unable to pay the debts in time.Even PSBs empound their tracter etc on unability to pay the loans,whereas they are writing off loans of bussinessman and big corporate houses worth lacs of crores of rupees . everyone is aware of this gloomy side but nothing concrete is being done. Big margin are earned by businessmen whereas the actual kisans’ rates are controlled by Govt and buyers. In reality jats are workers and buyers are owner. At present their conditions deteriorated to an extent that they need immediate help from govt . Proper arrangements for good educations and employment security will be good steps to improve their lot.

  4. abhi

    How can such a cancer to society and development of india the reservation has become be helpful anyway in the near future? Everyone is quite aware of the oncoming clash of various castes and you are still saying that its not disintegrating society are you seeing the scenario with the eyes closed??? How can our government stake the development of india just to give upliftment 50% reservation is heck of a road paved to disaster you just keep agitating the talented ones to the point that they start giving their talent to other countries is this the real india we dreamt of why scholars have just the focus over this and no concern about detrioted development rate ,no Matter what be a your motive but in our country more than 50% doctor are of reserved category and are half trained because they never face the real competition and thus clinical mortality rates are higher in our country reservation in educational institution is ok but how can you give reservation to jobs that risks others life that beyond the scope of understanding its just dirty politics .The government should act wise now and should come with some other schemes their have to be some other

  5. KK Bose

    Do you all continue misguiding the Indian masses? Are you acting deaf to my 54 days Jathi Nirmarjana Bodhavatkarana Sandesa Yahra 2014 in which I held press conferences at each and every state capitals in India right from Kerala to Sri Nagar, and 95 days Jathi Nirmarjana Yathra 2015? I have established beyond any reasonable doubt that the word “caste” is used by Europeans to identify animals as there are different species among animals, such as, elephant, horse, cat, dog, etc., and to identify and differentiate them caste is used. There was not even the sound of ‘caste’ before 300 years or to say the entry of the British in to India. The name India itself was not there before 300 years. The word ‘Hindu’ was not there before 300 years. You must understand all these. No use boiling the blood.
    The Varna vyavastha is not Jathi vyavastha, understand very well. We have been fooled for all these years. ERADICATE CASTE SYSTEM.

  6. KK Bose

    Sanathan Dharma does not belong to Hindus, it belongs to the Bharatvasis.
    Cats and dogs can enter into temples in India, but not a human being as he/ she is an untouchable shudra SC, ST, OBC, Dalit, etc.

  7. KK Bose


  8. KK Bose

    During my 95 days Bharatyathra 2015 everyone agreed to eradicate the caste system:

  9. KK Bose

    Demanding to amend the Constitution (in Malayalam):

  10. KK Bose


  11. KK Bose


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