This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Sidharth Shankar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Is Reservation An Evil Or A Necessity?

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In this article, I will try to throw some light on how reservation isn’t as bad as it is shown by the anti-reservation section in our society and how you can make your peace with it. I know plenty of you must have already started hating me or thinking of cuss words for me but hear (read) me out with an open mind and then you can say whatever you want.

First of all, let me start by stating that reservation is an ‘unfortunate’ system. I am using the word ‘unfortunate’ to define it because of the existence of the caste system, which is the reason for reservation. Caste is an unfortunate and ugly truth in Indian society.

I will try to make you understand how reservation is unfortunately a necessity and how it does not affect you as badly as you think. I will start with the latter and I would expect you to read this as objectively as possible.

People use the low cut-offs of reserved categories, especially SCs and STs, to show how unfair it is for the general category students and how easy it is to enter into a good institution or get a job for people who get the benefits of reservation. But they comfortably omit the fact that the seats reserved for SCs and STs mostly remain unoccupied and still the major percentage of lower caste people are poor. If SCs/STs could get into IIM merely by leaving their answer sheets empty (as it is claimed by anti-reservation groups), then why are there still unoccupied reserved seats in these institutions?

Now, let’s talk about jobs. The majority of Central government jobs are occupied by people belonging to upper castes. So, there are more chances of you getting a job if you belong to an upper caste than people belonging to lower castes.

So, why do the upper castes feel cheated by this system? The answer is the lack of jobs. Our government could not provide enough jobs for the huge and exponentially increasing population of this country. And as a result, people vent their anger on reservation whereas they should be asking for more jobs for everyone, but of course blaming reservation is easier and perhaps more satisfactory.

Now, we come to the point of how reservation is still a necessity. I know most people will hate me for saying this, but this is, unfortunately, true. Reservation is a necessity. Here again, I would like to clarify that I agree that reservation is now used for political purposes and it is also misused by people who do not deserve it and I am all against such misuse of reservation.

Having cleared that, I would like you to take note of an observation on Indian society. Whether you like it or not, this is a fact that our society is divided into groups based on castes. Reservation came into existence to end the dominance of certain groups and give the neglected and oppressed groups a push so that they could become equal to the other groups.

Now I will be glad to imagine an India where castes don’t matter and people don’t show an affinity towards their own castes, but that is sadly not the real world that we live in. That is why it is necessary to give more chances to people from lower groups (castes) so that they have some representation in the society which is otherwise dominated by upper groups (castes) to maintain the balance and give oppressed a place in the society.

To make your peace with caste-based reservation, you need to have the compassion, sensitivity and a sense of brotherhood with the lower caste people who are still discriminated against and treated as inferiors in our country. And if you think that this isn’t true then I would give you a piece of statistics to put things into perspective. In India, dozens of sewage workers (almost all of them being Dalits), die while working because of the poisonous gases and thousands of farmers commit suicide every year.

But you can see how these two tragedies are treated differently by our society and media. While people mourn and care about the death of farmers (which is the right thing to do), no one gives a damn about the dying sewage workers.

So you see, it’s not just a few well-to-do people from reserved category that get benefits from reservations, as people tend to think. There are people who can leave this life of second-grade citizens with the help of reservation.

So, if you could manage to have some sympathy and sense of belonging with the lower caste people, for they are humans and your countrymen. India can never be a good country until there are people who are ill-treated because of their castes. Just compare your sorrow with theirs and I think you can find a way to make your peace with it.


Image source: Triratna_Photos/ Flickr

This was first published on the author’s personal blog.

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  1. Ravaliikka Banoth

    I wish everyone gets this clear and stop cribbing about the reservation. Instead, they should more concentrate on how they can eradicate discrimination among castes. we were the sufferers we are still we don’t our kids to go through the same. tired and sick of being ill-treated even if we are educated. we still are Dalits. That’s why we feel to be in abroad than being in India. at least there we are just Indians.

    Thanks for this article. 🙂

  2. ShankyRocks11

    An eye opener post. Reservation is not bad, but the way it is being implemented is not correct. Some people want to eliminate reservation but are not ready to eliminate caste system. They love and showoff their caste as if their caste is superior to all.

  3. Nimisha Shukla

    Ok so, reservation is definitely a necessity but it needs to be modified, instead of caste based reservation i think in the current scenario we need income based reservation. I know people who are poor and sc/st and who got into university and transformed their lives. I also know people who were general and rich and got into private universities running their businesses now. But the problem arises when i know a friend being sc/st both his parents in govt job earning almost 1-1.5 lacs a month and he still getting reservation at the same time i know someone who is general and daughter of my own domestic help who can never avail any benefits, today’s political system is largely running on the basis of economy ( not denying atrocities born by any sc/st) But in today’s world if we modify reservation on the basis of income, all low income groups will benefit from it, the sc/st coming in that would also benefit and the general population in low income groups will also benefit whereas high income groups will have the resources at their disposal. Reservation is a necessity, but it needs to get modified. Moreover the institutions need more seats for education and earning. That is for sure.

    1. Hari shankar Choudary

      Yeah it’s absolutely true bro this scenario is still no changed laws and rules must be change according to the changes in the society. We must not think about they are low or high caste we must give priority to their financial state.

  4. ANIMO

    Some parts of your views are incorrect, misinformed and distorted. Remember the death of sewage workers will not and will never benefit from the reservation system. They will never think about going in the IITs and IIMs. So they will never benefit from reservation ( Those who really needed it). The way you presented your article is that the media dont give a damn about backward caste people dying is totally inaccurate. The reason is political. In India, Open sewage work is illegal, but still, open sewage work is done by government itself, due to the lack of mechanical equipment. So ,death of sewage work is suppressed by the government through the media. This issue definitely needs to be cured, but claiming the cause of the problem to be something different wont really solve the problem, Will it?
    About IIM fact that you stated, but did you inadvertently realized that it is actually proving that reservation is not helping anybody other than the creamy layer of SC/ST/OBC. Same goes for the government jobs.

    The problem is totally different and needs a totally different approach. The dalit boy in the village who is not allowed to walk in the roads for his caste wont think about getting into IIM, and this is what people of India should understand. In urban cities, most of the new generation dont even know how to differentiate between caste. Ironically, they are getting exposed to caste due to caste based reservations. So, those who are commenting about how oppressed they are,( having internet connectivity and being well brought up), they are the ones who will be using the caste based reservation( THEY DEFINITELY DONT NEED IT, but their alibi for using reservation is their great great great great grandfather being oppressed) but the dalit kid in rural area will only be dreaming of a caste free India, rather than getting into IIM.

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