In Social Media one regularly comes across shared postings with originations from communities such as Índia against Reservation’, Índia against Caste based reservations’, Índia against Caste and Reservation’.
The logic of their argument goes like this. India does not have respect for merit. As a result, a lot of the meritorious positions are lost to non-meritorious. The meritorious are hard working unlike non-meritorious. The reserved take over seats and positions which they do not deserve. As a result the deserved are losers and reserved are beneficiaries. The only place where their merit gets recognized is in other countries. India, it claims remains backward as it does not recognise the meritorious and offer them positions. Other countries move forward because they offer positions to the deserved from India.
Using this logic, they try to critic the Reservation and Affirmative policy adopted in India. They try to shed crocodile tears about the situation of the ‘meritorious ‘’and ‘deserved’ which they claim to be bad in comparison to ‘reserved’. They try to argue that ‘meritorious’ and ‘deserved’ despite their hard work do not get deserved positions. While the ‘reserved’ despite not deserving get into higher positions.
Firstly, the logic put forward by such anti-reservation communities are highly casteist and elitist. They automatically assume that ‘talent’ and ‘merit’ is a preserve of the few. They do not think that talent and merit is dispersed irrespective of one’s caste, class, religion, race and gender. They assume it resides in the upper caste. Hence the logic is highly brahmanical and elitist.
Secondly, flowing from this logic is their assumption that ‘talent’ is genetically determined. Through this logic they undermine the social factors which ensure that ‘talent’ remains a preserve of the few. Preservation of Çaste system to ensure that certain powerful occupations remain the preserve of only a few is never questioned. They believe more in old ‘Manusmriti’ than the Modern Constitution’. Human genome project only proves that there is a fundamental equality among individuals, social groups and nationalities.
Thirdly, their crocodile tears over the issue of merit are a pure hypocrisy. Their postings hardly critic the ‘reservation’ policy followed in India in favour of the upper caste for centuries. They hardly talk about compromises on ‘merit’ when upper class or upper caste try to get seats through capitation fees’, ‘donations’ in educational institutions. Instances of usage of ‘upper caste affinities’ or ‘bribe’ to get into positions are hardly critiqued. This contradicts with their stated claim that they are not against class based reservation but only caste based reservation. If such were the case, they should be equally opposed to the usage of money for getting benefits. Instances of upper classes using power of wealth for better positions are ignored.
Fourthly, their critic is only against reservation but not caste system per se. They hardly talk about annihilation of caste. They prefer to continue to live with their caste identities. Issues related to marriage and ones occupation continues to be decided on the basis of caste. Instances of inter-caste marriages, honour killings taking place in the name of inter-caste marriages, dalits being beaten in the name of cow protection are hardly critiqued. Hence their critic of caste suffers from hypocrisy.
Fifthly, the talk of reserved categories being beneficiaries of reservation and upper caste being losers is against all the available facts. Human development indicators only show that a higher level of poverty (based on multidimensional poverty index) exists more among the reserved categories. In relation to human development indicators, the reserved categories fall behind other categories. The data on distribution of professions across various communities only reveal that higher posts continue to be preserve of the upper caste elite. This is in contrast to positions where unclean positions continue to reside with reserved categories.
Sixthly, given the fact that much of the employment in India is in informal and unorganized sector lends no logic to their arguments. These spaces with little social security continue to be occupied by reserved categories. Even within organized and formal employment, employment opportunities in government are declining rapidly. Hence scope for affirmative action in public employment is becoming less meaningful.
Finally, declining opportunities of employment and inadequacy of economy to generate jobs are the crises points and not ‘reservation’. Surprisingly instead of fighting for creation of an economy which creates employment opportunities, critiquing reservation system or fighting for it does not lend solutions.
Given these instances it can be said that the role of anti reservation communities in social media continue to be that for reversal of affirmative action and its replacement it with upper caste elitism. It can be said, that it stands against all the modern tenet of equality. Affirmative action is only to bring equality whereas critiquing it stands for preservation of elitism and casteism.
Jayashubha works as a Teacher. She did her M.Sc in Organic Chemistry and concerned with social issues.