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Decoding Reservation in India: Is it a Constitutional Flaw or Unnecessary Favor?

The idea of 'reservation' has generated contradictory views from teachers and students all around the world

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Representational image. Pixabay

November 12, 2016: The word ‘reservation’ came up with the idea of representative government, where for the first time numbers mattered. The inequality of Indian society has solidified the need for numeric representation. The caste based representation, no doubt created a more confident lower class mass with their greater involvement in the public sphere. Reservation in education has evolved as a major challenge for lakhs of students. Far from providing an equal opportunity it has an electoral agenda. Education has been politicized based on reservation.

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However, the backward class proportion is still underrepresented. Article 15 (1) of the Constitution says, “State shall not discriminate any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them”, it also provides for compensatory or protective discrimination in favor of certain sections of the disadvantaged people. Article 15(4) of the constitution stipulates that notwithstanding the provision stated above, the state can make “special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes”. Thus constitution itself provides contradictory clause.

The idea of ‘reservation’ has generated contradictory views from teachers and students all around the world. ‘Caste should no longer be the eligibility criteria for reservation, rather income should be’ said HemangoAkshayHiwale, an M.phill aspirant in Jamia Millia Islamia University. Prakash, another student of same university claims reservation as a ‘good thing but in present scenario in India need to be reformed.’

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In August 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that for admissions at super-specialty level in medicine and engineering faculties, no special provisions like SCs, STs, BCs were permissible. Even among the quotas there are also sub-quotas. For example, in Andhra Pradesh, 15% of the seats in each course of study reserved for Scheduled Castes are in turn allotted, in proportion to their population, to four categories of SCs classified as A, B , C and D.

This affirmative step has so far brought with it social justice. US Carnegie Mellon University, published a study in American Economic Review, which shows that reservations do place those who do not qualify for affirmative action at a disadvantage, 53,374 scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, other backward classes and general category students are at a loss.

Reservation in the past decades has increased the numbers of scheduled castes and scheduled tribe families with highly educated members, who can encourage and provide support for younger family members to continue their education. Thus, reservation in education as of now is more of a luxury scheme for these classes as the benefit is only confined to a limited population, whether they need it or not. The real needy ones are at a loss to whom the information or the financial access is debarred.

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Instead of favoring reservation, the government should increase the number of universities and government jobs for the benefit of its people. Nationalization of education can also be a solution to this issue. When the discrepancies within the universities are omitted; i.e. equal access to education without compromising the quality of education the disadvantaged students in remote areas will get justice. The proliferation of universities in villages with good teachers can also be an alternative.

Reservation should not be treated as a vote bank or an emotional quotient but a practical measure to help the lower section of the society. It should be kept in mind that the extended favor to the marginalized section might create an insufficiency for the other classes. With the critical Indian class structure, it should be kept in mind that any reform of upliftment will be judiciously measured before its implementation.

by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon

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Social Media Tends to Scrutinize Female Stars More Than Male Stars, Says Richa Chadha

Actress Richa Chadha, known for her opinions, says she has observed how, at times, mainstream and social media tend to scrutinise female stars more

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Although she was criticised by a section of the media in her initial days, she holds all her critics in high regard. Pixabay

Actress Richa Chadha, who is known to be vocal with her opinions, says she has observed how, at times, mainstream and social media tend to scrutinise female stars more than male stars. Although she was criticised by a section of the media in her initial days, she holds all her critics in high regard.

Richa told IANS: “Mainstream media as well as social media tends to be unfair towards female stars, and female stars get trolled and criticised more than their male counterparts. I can say this from my observation of the way media constantly questions Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Swara Bhaskar, Sonam Kapoor and other female stars for their choices – whether it is fashion, political opinion or lifestyle. Do they question the male stars enough as well?”

Citing examples of films that have released this year and earned commercial success, the “Fukrey” fame actress mentioned: “How many times has the media questioned male actors on films that are jingoistic and encourage warmongering? During the press conference of my film “Section 375″, I was asked about my opinion on the flood-affected areas. Do they ask these questions to the real people who actually can bring change – I mean the authorities and politicians?”

In “Section 375”, she plays the female lead and received a lot of positive reviews from the critics. However, in her initial days, she experienced both sides of media coverage but she learnt to handle everything gracefully.

On negative media coverage, Richa said: “I am very cordial with my critics because how they write about me is their prerogative. In my initial days, I have had press call me ugly. They called me names for my appearance in a film where I was not required to look glamorous. An article was written on me, titled ‘10 things that one hates about Richa Chadha’ by a publication. If a journalist tries to belittle me, I would rather grow a thick skin, instead of taking the negativity to my heart.”

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Instead of trial by media, it should be trial by law: Richa Chadha on #MeToo. Flickr

“There is a difference between critiquing and being mean to someone, and I know that,” she added.

Over the past few years, Richa has also been trolled – whether in 2016 for her comment on the commonality between herself and Pakistani actor Fawad Khan at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, or when random social media users called her names. However, she always gives the trollers back.

Richa is gearing up for “Panga” next year, and her gameplan is very much in place.

“I will be continuing experimenting with my work and I will be in a good space in the coming future, also because this is what the wisdom and experiment teach you. These days actors get encouraged to do experimental work but I have been doing it since my early days,” said the actress who portrayed a grandmother in the film “Gangs Of Wasseypur” when she was just 24 years old.

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Asked about where she gathers confidence from, Richa said: “There are women before me like Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, and Deepti Naval who have shown the courage of doing experimental films and of course they are inspirational for us.”

“Also, I am happy the way women are getting appreciation beyond their age. You know, when people say there is one Meryl Streep, I disagree, there are also Helen Mirren, Nicole Kidman, and Judi Dench, and everyone is nailing it in the films they do! Because age has nothing to do with performance,” she smiled. (IANS)