The worst sufferers of social discrimination in today’s India are the Other Backward Castes (O.B.C.) This is because, after the exit of the British, instead of equal opportunities, their share, in both the political and administrative power, had been almost entirely eaten by the higher castes, especially the Brahmins. As per the Mandal Commission Report, O.B.C.s are 52% of the total population of India. On the other hand, the population of the Brahmins and Kshatriyas is about 8 to 9% of the total. But in present parliament, these 8 to 9% people are represented by amost 52% of M.Ps., whereas 52% of people are represented by 8 to 9% of M.P.s. In a parliamentary democracy such representation makes all the difference. As a result of this imbalance, the entire power structure is grossly tilted against the O.B.C.
Tamil Nadu & U.P. – A study in contrast
Regarding the position of O.B.C. today Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh present a study of contrast. In Tamil Nadu the O.B.C. get its full quota in both political and administrative spheres. It keeps increasing with the passage of time. Thanks to the Dravidian movement which has taken inspiration from Satyashodhak Movement of Maharashtra.
Whereas in U.P., the O.B.C. are worst placed. There are some statistics available which say that politically, one Brahmin was equivalent to 23 backward persons. As per U.P. Govt., the percentage of gazetted officers of O.B.C. in 1946, 1955 and 1960 stood at 0.80, 0.47, 0.70 respectively. From this contrast, we can learn a lot for building our own political activity.
How the system stands:
The present social system can be summarised as follows:
Beneficiaries of the system 10 to 15%
Victims of the System 85 to 90% mainly Intermediate Castes (Shudras), Other Backward Castes (O.B.C.) Scheduled Castes (S.C.), Scheduled Tribes (S.T.).
This sketch of the Social System stands like a structure. In this structure the castes are the building bricks. A mere look at the structure will convince us that it is an epitome of inequality.
In this structure, castes are the building bricks. The above sketch is self explanatory. The beneficiaries of the system have cornered all the 5 major powers and sources of the powers, namely: (1)Political (2)Bureaucratic (3)Feudal (4)Economic and (5)Cultural. In the above, the castes shown as the intermediary castes which are not a part of the O.B.C. have also benefited and advanced even though they happen to be the Shudra Castes, religiously speaking. Whereas the victims of the system are losers all around and on every front.
Our Revolts in the Past
In the recent past, many rebellious spirits all over India revolted against this culture of the castes, The revolt of Mahatma Jotiba Phule, Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy, Sree Narayana Guru and Baba Saheb Ambedkar is outstanding. A plethora of literature is available about their revolt and the success they met. Here, we wish to take note of the means adopted by them to change this culture of the castes. Satya Shodhak Samaj by Mahatma Phule, Rationalism and Atheism by Periyar E V R and Buddhism by Baba Saheb Ambedkar were the means applied by them for affecting change. To-day while looking at the fate of these means, we feel disappointed. It appears that this culture of the castes has the strength and the strong backing to recover the lost ground. But nevertheless the efforts of our crusaders have resulted in the emancipation of the mind. It will be greatly useful for further expansion of our activity.
In a democratic set up adopted by us, the High Caste Hindus could not rule India without the consent of the Bahujans. Thus, to have access to this vote-bank, the ruling castes required the help of chamchas. Hence our problem here is that we need a political action to uproot the product of the present day political activity. Such a political action, therefore, will have to be altogether different from the present day political activity available to us.
Present political activity & outcome
To build-up required political activity of our own, we must know and understand the present day political activity and its outcome. After the exit of the British, the high caste started sharing power amongst them. The political and the bureaucratic power fell into the hands of the Brahmins. The S.C. / S.T. got 22.5 % reservation due to the efforts of Ambedkar; even though their representatives remained chamchas in the hands of the ruling castes. In the bureaucratic machine, they got opening at various levels. For the last 20 years, the are getting their full quota in the top administrative services of the Center. However the OBCs got no worthwhile share of either political or bureaucratic power. It was only after the Mandal Commission that the OBCs had any chance of having their proportional representation in educational and bureaucratic fronts. Yet, it is a sad fact that the 27% quota mandated by the Mandal Commission is not yet well implemented. And not to mention the fact that Mandal’s recommendation to provide same reservation in legislatures went unnoticed and unheeded. Clearly, the privileged castes know that if OBCs get their share in politics, bureaucratic power and all other positions, they shall stand no chance in maintaining their present undeserved position of power.
In the light of the past experience it can be concluded that the task for the future is tremendous, especially when we know the hidden and open backing this culture of the castes gets from the beneficiaries of the system. But to change this culture of perfect inequality into the one of absolute equality must remain our cherished goal. The present culture is controlled by beneficiaries of the system. But the changed culture of absolute equality must ever remain in the hands of the victims of the present system. It is a must to avoid sabotage and subversion.
Live, life as BC
Live life as BC with courage
Live life with self respect as BC
Oppressive politics shouldn’t change your life like play toys
Let your life not be a market commodity for oppressor castes
Wake up to the injustice against your BC community
For yourself, struggle for what you believe in sincerely
Struggle for the future of your children
Jai BC, Jai Jai BC, Jai Jai Jai BC!
TATA.SIVAIAH, president, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule & Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Educational Circle, Hyderabad Central University,