Reservation For OBC Is A Must
18 April, 2006
Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh declared government's intention
to fix a quota for the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) in the premier government
educational institutions like the Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs)
and Indian Institute of Managements and other institutions of higher
learning. While one know very well the intentions of Arjun Singh and
his Congress Party, which was in the forefront of anti-Mandal agitation
in 1990, it is important to analyse the nature of protest and fury of
the upper castes in India. Why the same upper castes who burnt themselves
today keep silent. Whether Arjun Singh and his party is just working
on tokenism and refuses to learn lesson that the cry from the Dalit
and backward today is political power which has not yet been over despite
the fact that they had chief ministers and ministers. The administration
remains strongly in the hands of the upper castes.
A Revisit to events
in 1990 : A hero became villian
On August 7th, 1990 when
Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh announced that his National Front
government was going to implement the Mandal Commission Recommendations
in Education and jobs, there was not much fury in the beginning. Slowly,
a slanderous media campaign was launched particularly to attract circulation.
A middle class newspaper like Indian Express and its loud mouth Editor
Arun Shourie became mouthpieces of the upper caste contempt to the Dalits
and backwards. Shourie, worked not as an ethical journalist but as a
hired lawyer who has to defend his case. Upper caste students and their
parents went on rampage in North India. Suicide were committed by the
innocent students as young as 8 years of age who might not have known
what Mandal was and what was the meaning of reservation for the downtrodden.
Clearly, two big brahmanical parties of the country, the Congress and
the Bharatiya Janata Party used this opportunity to target the government.
Lal Krishna Adavani decided
to go on a Rathyatra to unite the Hindu society, which was 'divided'
by V.P.Singh and his actions. There was a wave of anti Muslim sentiments
in the middle classes. Advani became hero who revived the Hindu society
and VP Singh became 'dushman number one' of the upper castes in India.
Yes, the prime minister of the popular votes of India became the target
number one because of reservations. All his merits became non functional
once he ordered the implementation of the Mandal recommendations.
Commentators after commentators
condoned the Hindutva and their thugs, their misdeeds and anti national
act of spreading hatred and violence but none of them could ever muster
the courage to support a prime minister who dared to go ahead against
all odds. Yes, one may not agree with VP Singh and his style of politics
but one need to see his track record as an efficient minister and an
honest Member of Parliament. It was for the first time in history of
India that a government fell because it defended a shrine and committed
its constitutional duties. Yes, Ayodhya's October 1990 events led to
fall of V P Singh government. It is not for nothing that he decided
to stay away from the parliamentary politics, disown prime ministership
and is persistently being seen with the growing mass struggles in India
when the so-called mainstream politicians are busy with their castes,
religious sentiments. How many of them come and support Narmada or the
cuase of dying farmers. When the slums were being dislocated none of
the politicians dared to come out and challenge the court. But these
things do not matter for the journalists who have decided that they
have to oppose anything, which brings social justice.
V.P.Singh is nowhere in mainstream
politics but his Mandalisation process has spread all over. That is
the great achievement because the composition of our parliament has
changed. Dalits and backward communities are asking for their share
in power. The political parties have to listen to them and come to the
reality. Today, thanks to Mandalisation process among the Muslims, the
one time social justice hero Laloo has to go.
15 years later when Arjun Singh informs the journalists about the reservation
policy, there is not much war by the upper castes though there is resentment
by the 'meritorious' industrial houses who run on a monarchical basis.
Again, the same talks of merit being affected and non-availability of
the students from the backward and Dalit communities. It is amusing
how people change their stand. Industrialists like Rahul Bazaz, known
for the shameless Hindutva lineage, remarked that reservation in the
private sector would damage the credibility of big companies in India.
The Bazazs should tell the world why most of the business works in India
is done by the Bania community. North East South West, it is the Marwadis
and Banias who have captured the major institutions with Brahmin their
Gurus. The opponents of reservation should also inform why the scavenging
work is fixed for the Valmiki community in India. Why is this 'Intellectual
property Right' over certain work while ignoring others. Social scientists
should also explain why no other community person is seen as doing scavenging
work or carrying night soil over head. This meritorious upper caste
would then hang their head in shame.
What is happening is most
astonishing and show double standard. In 1990, the Dalits were in the
forefront of supporting the Mandal Commission Recommendations meant
for the backward communities. Today, a number of 'Dalit' intellectuals,
who would like to parade Dalit capitalists in Delhi, are asking for
a creamy lawyer theory to implement the Mandal Commission Report. An
example is being given here of the lone dissenter why should the dissenter
argument be taken into account. Mandal gave a report and government
accepted it in toto. A person like S.S. Gill who was member secretary
of the Mandal Commission today condemns VP Singh for implementing it
with political motivation. It is amusing when commentators write of
political motivation. Why should not any work done with political motivation?
Did not the backward communities voted for the government? It is also
important to analyse as why some of the Dalit intellectuals are crying
for fixing quota for the Most Backward Communities (MBCs).
Arun Shourie, who spearheaded
anti Mandal agitation through his reckless writings and was later rewarded
by the Sangh Parivar for persistently abusing the minorities through
his newspaper columns, would never had imagined that Mandal would eat
his own party. He might never have foreseen the growing assertion among
all communities after it. Why was India burning in 1990 and quiet in
To be sure, in 1990, the
people realized that the government that time was determined to give
the Dalits and backward their due share in power. One need not to remind
that Ministers like Ram Vilas Paswan and Sharad Yadav had become very
powerful proponents of the Mandal Mantra. The government did not stay
there only. It was bringing a bill in parliament for labour reform particularly
related to labours participation in Management, bill on electoral reform
under Dinesh Goswami, autonomy to Prasar Bharati apart from putting
Dr Ambedkar's statue in Parliament and honoring him with Bharat Ratna.
Every of these acts had loud messages. It is this time that the Buddhists
converts got right in job reservations. Mandal in 1990 changed the politics
of the country. It gave an unprecedented and lethal weapon for the Dalit
backward and Adivasis to come together. Every party had to understand
the power of Mandal. Over the years, despite talks of globalisation
and Hindutva, Mandalisation process continued. In the process, the upper
caste leadership of the Hindutva gangs have to play second fiddle. Right
from Uma Bharati to Kalyan Singh and Narendra Modi, caste his forced
the Sindhi Lal Krishna Advani to ponder over his own future and he is
again on another Yatra, knowing fully well, that he has lost his caste
battle. The upper castes are silent and protesting just in front of
the cameras. A few papers that do not sale much are again trying to
instigate people to protest but those who get everything at home cannot
protest. Secondly, they know they have their own government and their
opposition. A government which just pretend to work for the Dalits and
backward and has no real intention to do so. Most of the people know
that in Manmohan Singh's safe hand their interest are safe and would
be looked after. After-all, Arjun Singh's own track record for social
justice is laughable and his politicization of Ministry of HRD is well
known. The tricks of anti Hindutva do not work all the time in the same
way as the anti Muslim card of Advani failed miserably.
Why Opposition to
reservation for backward communities
One needs to understand the
psychology of opposition to Mandal. Reservation for Dalits was never
implemented properly before 1990. Every time it was informed that due
to lack of non availability of the candidates, seats remained vacant
and quota was filled by the upper caste particularly those close to
the people in power or with big bags. The 1990s changed that the backlog
has to be filled with the candidates from the same community. Therefore
1990 is a watershed in the history of India and implementing the Mandal
Commission Report VP Singh might have become the most hated politician
of the country despite his impeccable credentials, yet, the politics
of India has changed.
15 years later when Narsimha
Rao crookedly with the help of the Hindutva brigade tried to undo what
the Mandal had done. He went overboard to implement the privatization
process and added fire to the Hindutva. Therefore, both the demolition
of Babari Masjid and growing privatization were part of the Narsimha
Rao era which some of our pen pushers termed as glorious. One need not
to inform the readers here how Narsimha Rao died. Not a single tear
was shed for him.
When the jobs are nowhere
and everything is gone private, then why are the upper castes angry
at reservation for backward communities? The fact is that seats for
Dalits were rarely fulfilled and we had seen huge backlog. There has
been no protest. It was easier to curtail the protest of the Dalits
because of their numbers and social background. Now, the reservation
for backward communities being a reality, the powerful backward communities
will hit and break the bone of the upper castes. That is the fear of
these. They know that there are enough students from these communities
who will join the great institutions of technology and managements.
Today, these pen pushers
pretend that reservation should only for the Dalits. Similarly, Dalit
opportunists also dance to the tone of their brahmanical masters when
they condemn reservation for the backward communities. It is a fact
that many of the backward communities should not have been there in
the list. But that is not a way to justify that there should not be
It is completely lie to say
that Dalit and backwards are not doing business today or they lack ability.
To say that there is no discrimination in India on the basis of caste
is again a great lie which only insensitive caste Hindus can tell the
whole world. Four years back I investigated a case of a very bright
Dalit student Jyoti Prakash Vishwas who passed out from R.K.Mission
School in Kolkata and was working as an engineer in a central government
public sector company. His Bengali bosses used filthy language against
him and suspended him on various charges, which were found absolutely
untrue by a team of human rights activists including me. Vishwas was
not allowed to join a well paid job in a reputed private company. His
wife who was working with Government of West Bengal was not given medical
compensation as per company's rule. After our fact-finding report came
out, the management tried to strike a cordial note. Vishwas who by then
had never knew what exactly was Dalit movement and discrimination realized
what is the identity of a bright Dalit scholar. Two Years, when he left
Delhi, Vishwas one day send me a mail from Saudi Arabia where he was
working as an Engineer. He wrote: "Sir, I thank you for standing
with me in my struggle against injustice. I know Dalits would not be
able to get justice as long as they are part of Hindu system. I have
decided to embrace Islam, a faith which give me strength and inner peace."
Those votaries of 'merit'
should understand clearly well that things are not as easy as they think.
A few days back when I was in Chhatishgarh and a Dalit student from
National Law University Raipur came to me and informed me about the
harassment he faced in the University. Despite the fact that he was
the only candidate in his course of M.Phil/Ph.D/LLM, it took 3 years
for the board of the college to accept his M.Phil and then deny him
right for Ph.D. Yes, I talk about Abhishek Priya Anand, a student who
completed his M.Sc from Hyderabad and qualified and ranked 8 th in the
merit in the National Law college entrance test, today face a caste
prejudiced Vice chancellor and his bureaucracy.
Will the Indian merit mongers
ever think why they want to shut every door for the Dalits and backward
communities? If Dalit converts to other faith, the Hindutva brigade
is up in arm against it. There is no reform movement with in Hindu dharma
where they can get justice. The jobs, which were reserved for them,
have been privatized. Educational institutions rarely fulfill their
quota. So demeaning are the upper castes that they are ready to get
forged certificate of Dalit quota to get admitted in the University.
In Delhi, a prominent doctor of a famous medical college got his MBBS
degree on passing an entrance test under the SC quota. He produced a
false certificate of adoption by a Dalit father. The fact was that his
father's servant happened to be a Dalit. This upper caste doctor used
his leverages and asked his servant to 'adopt' him to get admit. A Similar
case of admission has been found in Lucknow by a Brahmin girl.
Creamy lawyer theory
is dangerous at the moment
Unfortunately, some of the
Dalit intellectuals have also jumped in to condemn the quota for the
Dalits. These commentators are talking in terms of creamy lawyer theory.
Question is let the government first implement the reservation only
then creamy lawyer theory could be implemented. If the creamy lawyer
theory could be implemented in the Mandal, then the same should be true
for the Dalits also. And the same should be true for the upper castes
also in the general seats. It is a dangerous preposition. It is a fact
that the power elite of a community are the first to get the benefits
of education and quota. Did not the Brahmin got it from the upper castes
initially? There are so many of them but many of them have little representation
in power structure. Same is true about Dalits and backward communities.
Of course, the politics of
quota is dangerous. Arjun Singh's intention has been like that of his
party. I am sure he know it well that Dalit and backwards are thoroughly
politicized and are not going to be just 'vote bank' of any party. They
are today running with confidence and asking for a share in power. While
the political parties may not have implemented the reservation fully,
the Most Backward Communities in Uttar-Pradesh have learnt a lesson
from Bihar. The MBCs have already revolted against the political elites
of the state and asking for their fair representation in power. Today,
power is the real need of the people.
As far as jobs are concern,
let the government bring a white paper on reservations and give us ideas
as how long will it take it to complete its backlog. When can we see
17.5% IAS officers from Dalits, 27.5% from backward communities and
7.5% from tribal? Once the government fulfill its promise we can think
of new ideas to give representation to MBCs and oppressed Dalits particularly
women from these sections of society.
Reforms mean debrahmanising
In a welfare state, the government cannot shy away from implementing
reforms. Where are government reform for land, forest and water? If
reform mean giving precious national assets to a few cronies of the
power elites then the government has to be ready to face protest of
various forms. Reform means that the government demolish its brahmanical
structure. Reform truly mean debrahmanisation process of India. It means
India's corrupt caste structured village structure is hit from below
the belt. For that a strong land reform measures need to be carried
out. Our corrupt and caste-iests Industrial magnets are not ready for
the same therefore face resistance from the people. Reform means that
the upper castes should learn that time for hegemony has gone and it
is time they learn to live together and respect diversity of India.
Reservation are going to stay as long as government does not reform
itself and Hindu system remain caged in the age old myopic vision of
division of work based on caste. Let us truly reform our society and
work for a truly democratic India where every community participates
in power and every person go to school irrespective of caste and creed.