This happened a couple of months ago. A friend of mine and I discussed upon the reservation system in India. I apparently stated – “It’s highly regrettable that the law of caste-based reservation in the public sector of India which was introduced to empower the ones who are socially oppressed has turned into a demon now. It haunts people from the general category.” After listening to me, my friend gave me a disgusting look and aggressively questioned, “why not”? He said – “Dalits or the so-called untouchables from our forefather’s era were the victims of favouritism. They were beaten up so badly physically and mentally by the business-rich-class that their life and existence became an utter misery. They died of poverty, shame and shrinking self esteem.” He further said – “This is the time when they should be give justice. This is the time for the upper-class of the society to learn a lesson for what they did to our forefathers.”
After listening to him, I clearly discovered, my friend was from the quota-based class. However, I felt sorry for him. I kept a hand on his shoulder and acknowledged the heartbreaking emotion he and all such people go through. Then I told him, “We are no more in our forefather’s era. We belong here, to a nation of 21st century and we all deserve equal job opportunities, irrespective of our caste or community.”
It’s not hard to understand, why community or cast-based reservation is a taboo for India today? They say the reservation system in the government educational institutions for the oppressed class is significant because they come from a weaker financial background and they need a boost of morale. Fair enough! But think about this – do all the SCs, STs, BCs etc. come from a slim financial background? The counter point may arise that the religion or community based reservation is important because there may be oppressed ones who require motivation for stable existence. Fair enough! But it’s hard to figure out – is it more important to concentrate on one certain section of the society, while ignoring others, without evaluating its repercussion to the unsaid equality norms? What about the ones who don’t belong to the quota-based category. Let’s talk of Brahmins. Brahmins and Pandits supposedly come from an upper sect of the society. They are often called the descendants of God. Now going by the so-called logic of reservation, can the government claim that 100% of Brahmin and Pandit population is financially sound and rich and don’t need reservation? See, you just said a big NO in your mind. This is because the caste has nothing to do with financial status. They are simply unrelated.
Our system must understand that people who come from higher-caste communities can have a weaker financial background too. I personally know many such, who can’t even afford their meal of the day. What about the children who belong to general quota and they give in their sweat and blood to accomplish highest scores and yet they are not offered college admission OR a job letter because of reservation squeeze? And then we have more stories of suicides and depression and what not. What caste, religion or community are we talking about in today’s world?
Our nation should not be represented by our religion or community or dalits or scheduled caste or scheduled tribe or upper class – we should rather be represented by our nationality. That’s what we truly are. If there is anyway we want to empower the citizens of the society – we should not do so through caste-based reservation, but through reservation based on financial status or health status. I strongly believe a child who belongs to a poor financial background or is physically or mentally challenged, needs education or a job more than a child who belongs to a specific caste or community. Ultimately it’s all about education and only education. Everything else including jobs will follow. Although I believe education should be a free service for every citizen of the country – because it’s our basic need and much deserved right. But I won’t plunge into another debate. So let’s keep it simple. Once all the children of my country are educated, trust me, quota for jobs will not be required anymore – finding a job will therefore be about healthy competition and an equal opportunity for everyone.