Reservation In Promotion Needed To Ensure
Representation In Governance Structure
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
06 September, 2012
The bill for reservation in Promotion for SC-STs is cleared by the cabinet and will be introduced in Rajya Sabha today. Except for Samajwadi Party, all the parties have supported it. It does not reflect their good will but acceptance of understanding of situation in India. Reservations are meant to ensure representation of SC-STs in India’s power structure and must be seen beyond the narrow confines of politics.
The Central government has cleared the bill for reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes much against the wish of its highest legal officer and many others in the government. The question is why government should consider the advice of the legal officer all the time. The representative of the people will have to work for the people and understand what is happening on the ground and there is an all-party consensus on this issue except for Samajwadi Party which remain adamant in opposing the bill, perhaps to fulfill Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav’s long cherished dream of becoming Prime Minister of India, as 2014 will actually be the last chance to materialize the biggest dream of a politician’s life, to materialize.
It is shocking therefore when the opposition comes from Mulayam Singh Yadav who is projecting himself as the leader of OBCs and yet not able to understand the importance of this bill for not only the SC-STs but also the OBCs who may require it in future as their participation in the power structure is just beginning after the Mandal Commission recommendations were fully implemented. The OBCs in the Central services are now joining in and they too will need a similar bill in Parliament to protect their interests but with Mulayam Singh at the helm, he has openly and brazen facedly violated the spirit of the Dalit Bahujan unity.
Given Mulayam’s politics, no one should be surprised as how and when he takes a decision which do not form any base but purely political opportunism. When VP Singh government announced Mandal Commission recommendations in August, 1990 Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav was openly flirting with Chandrashekhar and Devi Lal and finally ditched that government. We all know the contribution of these two gentlemen for the cause of Dalit-backwards. Instead of supporting a government which became target of rightwing Hindutva votaries, Mulayam actually weakened that and withdrew his support, formed his own party. Fact is that Mulayam Singh has rarely talked about Bahujan because he hails from Lohiawad which is nothing but a political mobilisation of OBCs without seeking for wider and far reaching socio cultural changes. The fact is politics cannot change culture and society is visible today but it has to be other way round. An enlightened society will throw better political leader and that is why OBCs could learn a lot from the Dalits where cultural changes are much powerful and visible. Lohia, was neither Phule nor Periyar who guided the destiny of Dalits and backwards in many places and are icons for all those who wish India an enlightened India. In the history of Dalit Bahujan movement in India, they are the liberators along with Baba Saheb Ambedkar for humanity but in the narrow and casteist politics of Samajwadi Party, these names do not matter.
The issue of reservation in promotion was a treachery played by the department of personnel which wanted to eliminate it. There were several notifications under Deve Gowda regime when these notifications were issues silently in 1996-97 by the department of Personnel and our political leaders remained silent that time. Arun Shourie too worked on these when he was Minister for personnel in the NDA government known for his vehement opposition to reservations. Mulayam Singh and Ramvilas Paswan were ministers in Deve Gowda regime and privy to such notification which withdrew it but then our memories are too short. Therefore, the campaign and game against reservation in promotion is not new and many of our political leaders are part of it.
It is good that BSP chief Ms Mayawati tried to lobby in the Parliament for this by speaking to BJP and other parties for a safe passage of the bill. Perhaps, it was right time for her as she also did not do much for the SC-ST employees who under the banner of All India Confederation of SC-ST Employees have been putting up protests sittings and huge rallies. In this way, the only consistent person who has been campaigning for it is Dr Udit Raj and he must be complimented for giving us details of these anti Dalit legislations and notifications and making people aware of these dangerous acts and attempt to eliminate the reservation itself.
It is important that the issue of reservation is put in the IX schedule so that it cannot be challenged in the law of court, but these days given the nature of the courts, they are opening up everything creating more hurdles in the name of right to equal opportunity. But this happens only when the political system is week and there is no unanimity among the political parties. It is good that there is unanimity among the political parties.
The Supreme Court order has not stuck down reservation in promotion but it actually asked the government to provide data about the exact position of SC STs in services and it is this deliberate delay and bureaucratic mischief that the court struck it down unless a fair data is provided. This gave strength to all the kind of forces and with deliberate intentions cases have been filed in state high courts so that to build up pressure on the government to disallow reservation in promotion and very unfortunately Samawjadi Party has been instigating this. Uttar-Pradesh was the first state where the case was filed and the state government failed to provide any caste based data about its employees and hence the high court struck down the reservation in promotion in the state. Buoyed by their success, the anti-reservation forces went overboard and got the same provisions stuck in their respective states.
It is more ironical that when the country is asking for a caste based census so that the socio-economic condition of every community is explained legally and constitutionally and department of a personnel does not have cased based data about the employees. It can be made easily available in the case of Secretaries, Universities and other bigger institutions but then bureaucracy knows it well how to legally illegitimise the issue which will have wider implications on our governance structure and that is why these arguments of merit, efficiency and fair-play comes into picture.
It must also be understood that government jobs or reservations are not a poverty alleviation programme meant to remove economic hardship of the people. It is the share in power structure to those who have been denied it historically. Reservation is no charity which is being gifted but has been constitutionally debated many times. It is a history with Poona Pact and those who do not know the demands of the Dalits that time must understand it. It is also a fact that in Congress Party was formed by the caste Hindus not to get us freedom but to look good to the British Raj and seek reservation for Hindus in the power structure. The British Policy to discriminate against Muslims resulted in their steady decline in the government services by 1905 and the ascendency of the Hindus at the power level. One must not forget that the Shudra communities too were getting reservation in Madras Province before independence and Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj did the same in his province. For those who do not understand the importance of reservation must understand why all the priests in India’s temple hail from the Brahmin community. How do Brahmin control so called Hindu dharma and it is through temples and cultural subjugation. Why should a particular community be made to clean latrines manually? Yes, we will not talk about reservation as we speak the truth when it suits us and hence the social isolation and humiliation felt by millions of people in this country does not touch the heart of those who feel victimized by reservation.
It is important to ask a question to ourselves as why did we fight with British? Was it because they were less meritorious? I am sure, our elite who claim to have got us ‘independence’ know it well that British Empire was the world power not because of their craftiness but because of their greatness as a civilization. That is why all the leaders of our freedom movement actually came from the background of education in Britain. If we love merit so much then we should have allowed the British to remain in India, at least we would have got more brilliant students and teachers. But our leaders said, we wanted Swaraj, our own rule or self-rule. Ofcourse, the Hindu fanatic organization call for Suraj which means according to them will be ‘Ramrajya’, which according to us will be a rajya where Manusmriti decides about your future and discriminate among its own citizens on the basis of their castes and gender.
If we want Swaraj or self-rule in India, will it be possible without participation of 17% of Dalits, 7.5% of tribal, 27% OBCs and 15% Muslims in our power structure? How do you ensure these sections of society feel that this country owns them or that we live in our country and have self-rule, if the minimum of what should have been done to come to power is not available? We are told that reservation hurt merit. Well that is a debunked argument as these people rarely speak against private colleges levying high fees on students and accepting huge donations. Who can pay these donations and the answer definitely is those who have enough money in their pockets. Definitely, they do not hail from the communities that we call for.
If we had implemented our reservation policy properly then we should have had that much of representation in power. Ofcourse, Indian elite have opposed representation of Muslims in our structure making them vulnerable to every charge and compelling them to live on their own. Unfortunately, many among Dalits OBCs also join hands in this with the Hindutva group in opposing reservation for Muslims in the government services. Maybe, because of the clash of interest yet, India cannot call it an inclusive society if Muslims continue to feel isolated and ghettoized. The Pasmanda Muslims need quota with in quota provided for Muslim population and that reality of non-representation of Muslim need to be accepted by the government and political establishment of the country.
Let the department of Personnel give us details of what is the percentage of each of these communities. Leave alone OBCs who have started joining now and Muslims who are nowhere present in the structure, what is the status of SCs and STs who have been getting reservation since independence. If we were sincere, then there must be 17% SCs at every stage of the Central government and 7.5% of tribal everywhere but what is the reality? Initially, they would say that the right candidate is not available? At a conference one Muslim scholar made this point and I had to intervene telling him that Indian Dalits, Muslims, tribal and OBCs have enough Scholars to fill our government services and academic institutions. Things have changed drastically as students from these sections are now coming up despite all hardship and have succeeded. You cannot keep the doors of power and academia close for them now. They will knock and open it themselves if kept outside for long.
The scene is pathetic at every level. To hide their manipulative games, the debate is diverted to merit verses non merit which is nothing but another racist idea as if merit is the sole domain of the caste Hindus. Nobody is asking a man who is unqualified to become an engineer or a doctor. A minimum qualification is required and people pass it. Don’t we know the dirt inside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and other academic institutions and how Dalit students have been discriminated by the modern day Dronacharyas. The only difference today is that there are so many Dronacharyas who are ready to slit the throat of their Eklavyas but the unfortunately for them, the Eklavyas have grown now and not ready to offer their sacrifices for these racist Dronacharyas. It is time, when India need to grow and must show its diversity at every level of our social political and economic life. India cannot afford to lose its massive population of Dalit Bahujan to feed them without representation. Swaraj is not possible without participation of India’s vast population in power structure and governance and in the absence of it the so called freedom would just be called as transfer of power from the British to Indian caste elite who remain more dangerous than the British themselves
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter : freetohumanity skype : vbrawat Facebook : Vidya Bhushan Rawat email@example.com
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