By Aakash Sinha
Reservation! As the word is uttered we see mixed reactions from the people of India. Why not? Eligible ones have a big smile on their face, for others it is just an Indian political tradition that must go on. Not a single aspect is left without the controversial word “Caste Reservation”. Education, scholarship, jobs, promotions- it’s everywhere. We say, India is fast growing, developing nation, then why we are still unable to phase it out? Why no political involvement is seen in handling it? Well, it’s interesting to know the answers.
Walking into history of time somewhere around 1901, first time reservation was introduced in Maharashtra to provide free education in the province of Kolhapur. After independence in 1982, Supreme Court of India announced quotas for SC (Schedule Caste) and ST (Schedule Tribe) in the field of education and jobs at the public sector, initially for 5 years. Transforming the motto of reservation, political parties made it a way to attract voters of this category and it kept on increasing until it reached 50% (After the constraint given by Supreme Court Of India). India was divided into General, OBC (Other Backward Caste), SC and ST in 1990 after Mandal Commission.
How does it affect the society? To remove the caste inequality, seats were reserved in educational institutions. Starting from the basic education in schools to the professional education in colleges, it’s a part of our life. But here the question arises, why is it so? Let us take the case of two students, one from general category and another is a SC, ST or OBC. While admitting to the school, the other student got the benefit of reservation. Now both students studied together with the same teacher in the same environment. So now I think that they are equal with the same knowledge. Alas! The story doesn’t end here. The other student is eligible for more favours. During the admissions to government colleges (IITs, AIIMS, IIMs etc.) the reserved category student will get admission but the more talented guy will be sitting outside and watching the game. What type of equality is it? Wait! Wait! It doesn’t stops here. It is further continued during jobs (different cut-off’s for different category). Now I think it should stop. My God! It also engulfed promotions after entering into govt. jobs (already benefited by reservation). A shocking fact: only 0.7% of scholarships or student aid in India is based on merit, the rest are reservation based. This way it is harming a part of society while blessing the other.
Why it still exists? Thinking upon this much debatable topic, I think all credit goes to the political class. Politicians will never want to be trapped in the controversy related to it. Why? The answer is “Power”. India has political parties of several hues and colors . If one party tries to sort out the situation other will oppose it to make use of the mistake done by the latter. Thus, the situation remains the same.
At present much of India is still fragmented by caste. But two decades of economic liberalization, government policies and increased awareness among people themselves have kick-started the process of change.
It is unlikely that there will be a complete transformation soon, but some say that for a country shackled with centuries of discrimination even a start is good news.
You can only bring the change!
Aakash is pursuing B.E , Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Sir M. Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, Bangalore. Twitter:@aakashsinha1994