Time and again, Reservation makes it to the headlines on a new but important form of media – ‘social media.’ This new media impacts conversation at tea stalls, dinner tables, college debates and travel talks. People own this media, hence they feel an urge to believe what they come across here, especially since traditional sources of information (especially electronic media) have lost their credence or are in general considered as ‘bike huye’ (sell outs).
But in this zeal, people sometimes fall prey to the vicious propaganda of some (un)smart people and end up becoming either a victim or oppressor. In the wake of the recent Dalit protests aimed at securing their constitutional rights and annulling attempts of the majoritarian government to weaken an Act related to their security against some atrocity, the government tried to bypass the anger and heat of movement by running old propaganda, again, against reservation. Perhaps, it seemed more convenient to them to divide people on the lines of ‘pro-quota and anti-quota’ than actually paying heed to the demands of marginalized sections and working out a solution to pacify the situation. In all the last 4 years of this government, reconciliation has never seemed to be their cup of tea. Instead, they chose a path that failed poor common people at all the crucial moments.
I am not here for the Mahimamandan (glorification) of some government, but to voice the Youth Ki Awaaz as ‘an educated, not just literate, lad’ who believes he has an obligation towards our country, community and people. I hope to do so by taking cognisance of the ground situation and drawing up legitimate conclusions from there, while calling out the well-funded and organised divisive propaganda of ruling by the communal and anti-minority sections of society. It is the responsibility of the ‘educated lot’ in this country to dispel the myths associated with the reservation policy and stand for its relevance in Indian society in the present and future context.
Now, I need to make two important confessions. One, I am a general category student but I support reservations for minorities. Two, I am a jobless graduate, underline it – BEROZGAAR. Like many people, I badly need a job because of a severe financial crisis at home but I cannot see it coming at the cost of the rights of minorities. What I am clear all about is this – my fight is not with that guy from some marginalized section, who has been subjected to discrimination all his life, but with the one who is not creating more job opportunities or more possibilities, one who is assigned to do so, one who promised – in some unprecedented grandiloquent tone – to do so while trading for votes in 2014 campaign.
I mean, are we serious? The government is again making a fool of us by provoking anger against minorities at a time when we should be questioning the government for its failure at providing jobs to millions of unemployed youth and providing better spaces for shaping their future. We are just busy at calculating the harm reservation has done to this country and some specific communities based on a farce, narrow and opportunistic understanding of the subject.
Friends say that it has been 70 years since the reservation policy was implemented, so they question its relevance today, but glaring inequalities in society tell us otherwise. People belonging to marginalised sections have been forced to do jobs like manual scavenging, removing animal and human carcasses, or being slaves of upper caste masters. Some use even this as an excuse to question reservation saying that if it did nothing in 70 years, it is obviously futile and should be scrapped altogether.
Now to clarify these entirely selective and distorted hypotheses, the bottom line of the argument will be – when I speak in favour of reservation, I am against caste hierarchy because it is this same brahminical caste hierarchy that speaks up against reservations and, possibly, against Dalits as well.
Sadly, Indian governments belonging to any party could not grasp these essentials of social justice and always bowed down to upper caste fundamentalists. They could never resist or even question feudal brahminical manuwadi versions of pure and impure, leading to the catastrophe of untouchability, hence ruining every aspect of reservations including its true purpose of annulling the casteist mindset. The current government, dancing on the fingers of upper-caste fundamentalists from Nagpur, seems to be breaking all previous records by normalising atrocities on minorities through a propaganda of instilling existential fear into the minds of upper caste communities. This ‘new normal’ is too dangerous for our country to handle.
Yes, reservations could not bring social security for Indian Dalits but it did ensure some, small but sure. It provided economic security to people by having their representatives at the state and centre levels and also at government offices as bureaucrats. However, when even the power of post could not avoid casteist remarks and further oppression in case of disagreement, that is where reservations appear like a necessary evil or maybe ‘Sanjeevani’ i.e. panacea.
Overall, the Indian political system could not live up to the expectation of our forefathers, who envisaged a caste-free India designed by affirmative action. Instead, the caste system has been further entrenched, all thanks to the oligarchical style of our political leaders.
Thankfully, the roots of the caste system are being challenged every moment by intellectuals, students, activists and civil society members in this country. What I want to tell my fellow mates is, – yes, we all need jobs and we have an elected government with all the responsibility to provide us jobs, as their own election manifesto claim. Two, marginalized sections of this country deserve our respect, support and our sensitivity to their cause, as an enlightened society we all owe this to them. I support reservations on the true economic scale as well but never at the cost of reservations for minorities.
Cannot close it without mentioning Babasaheb: “You cannot build anything on the foundations of caste. You cannot build up a nation; you cannot build up a morality. Anything you will build on the foundations of caste will crack, and will never be a whole”
Caste is alive, so are the reservations
Your mind is blind, so are your actions
Your resistance is fierce, so are my appetites to move forward
Crystal clear is the fact caste has to go first
So will reservations follow the course.