Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man How To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.
– Chinese proverb
Reservation- isn’t it handing over a fish to people from backward castes and not teaching them, how to fish? In simpler terms, we reserve seats for certain castes saying they don’t have enough resources to compete with mainstream population rather than providing them resources to compete. Isn’t it going to be a problem without a solution for ever? If we keep on giving such benefits, would a day ever come when we won’t need any quota?
So going back to the proverb, by allowing reservation, we are actually ensuring that one needs to give a fish to the man every day without fail to keep the man alive. Is this a logical solution?
Now, before we take off to discuss the ways to teach the man “How to fish?”, let’s understand “Why the man needs a fish and why are we giving it to him every day?”
Reservation System In India- A flashback
The idea of bringing in reservations came in 1932 when the British declared the Macdonald award as per which Dalits and other minority castes would have separate electorates. This was actually a part of their divide-and-rule policy to break India into Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Dalits, SC, ST and so on. Mahatma Gandhi protested against such a divide. Later as per Poona Act signed by Dr. BR Ambedkar with the British, the official reservations for seats in legislatures(parliament) and government jobs were initiated. So long story short, this is why we have reservations.
The reservation system was initiated as a trial method for initial 10 years after independence so that after this period the government can recast this system and come to a more logical solution for the racial bias problem. An ideal solution which strengthens the needy rather than opportunists. But the vote-bank from the backward castes was so huge that no government tried to contemplate a fair system and was mostly busy in saving the supporting wheels of their chair.
Where are we now?
At present, the overall reservation percentage in all Indian states is 49.5% except Tamil Nadu where the reservations stand up to 69%.
If you thought that was about it, you are mistaken. There are some other reservation criteria as well.
1. Kashmiri Migrants quota
2. Physically handicapped quota
3. Sons/daughters/grandsons/granddaughters of Freedom Fighters quota
4. Sports personalities quota.
5. NRI quota.
6. Defence quota
7. Management quota etc.
The reservation list is so long, that sometimes it gets difficult to remember all these quotas. But that’s not it. There have been protests for some other quotas as well[Jat, Gujjar, Patel, Patidar etc.]. Although these quotas haven’t been ratified by the government yet, but in India, you never know when a new quota gets added to the list.
So shall we scrap the Reservations altogether?
Well no! At present, the government can’t otherwise it would be unfair. Though we do need to take some steps to counter this issue. Instead of quashing all the reservations instantly, we need to focus on reduction of quotas percentage with every passing year. The end target should be to demolish this system completely. We need to start providing facilities to all backward castes, tribes and poor brick by brick, finally achieving a 0% reservation.
Reservations were introduced to help the backward castes and tribes get an equal chance to compete with everyone else. But we have hardly tried to validate if the people who really need these facilities are able to avail these or not. People get forged certificates for low-income and caste, and happily get a job if they fail to score well in school. It acts like a trump card for them which they would be able to use if they can’t get into something good based on their talent, they will claim it on the basis of their birth. For the same reason, an IAS officer’s son from reserved category gets into a top college despite being a below average scorer whereas the topper of the class from general category is deprived of such privileges even though his father’s earnings are no match to that of the IAS officer’s earnings. Is this being fair? Does this bring equality for every Indian citizen?
For now what a fair system should be like?
Empower the needy– The government should facilitate more schools and colleges in rural and remote areas. It has been almost 70 years of independence, and yet people from these areas are deprived of basic amenities and education.
Free education to every child till high school where the family income is low– Rather than providing reservation in colleges and government jobs, strive to provide them scholarships, free education to low-income people and their offsprings irrespective of caste. It’s simple, if the tube-light of your kitchen goes off, you don’t start cooking in your bedroom forever. You get that tube-light fixed. This isn’t rocket science really.
Implement Creamy Layer concept across the nation– Similar to OBC category, the government needs to implement the creamy layer check for castes and quotas that are entitled to reservation. Creamy layer helps the government to identify people who belong to reserved categories but have sufficient income (6 lakhs per annum for OBC) to incur all facilities to their respective families.
Single-use quota– Reserved seat availability should be restricted to single-use per family. If a person gets a job from the quota, then the future generations of that family should be ineligible for reservation. The person who got the job from quota should be able to afford education and basic necessities of his family, so shouldn’t get the benefits of reservation.
Recast all employment and educational admission forms to eliminate the category field– In today’s world, when India is progressing and developing rapidly in the 21st century, we shouldn’t keep on carrying our castes with our systems. Believe me, they are not that important. The rest of the world is surviving very well without such a division and India can too. There is no point in laying up a 10-20 story building if the foundation is not strong. Thus, our mindset needs to change. The distinction should be among good and bad, nationals and anti-nationals, human and inhuman people, not between every human being you see on the streets. We need to understand that until we banish the castes from the society and stop discriminating against backward and tribes, we don’t have the right to blame the government for being unfair. Because the government is actually trying to save them from your discrimination. The day the discrimination ends, there would be logically no need for reservation.
Reservation is a two-front war and needs to be fought on both fronts. Front 1 to be fought by our government by bringing in enough resources for remote and rural areas development and helping the backward tribes with an extra push so that they don’t remain backward till eternity. The second front has to be fought by every individual who is always eager to know and chit chat about everyone’s caste, by all those who discriminate against poor and backwards, by all those who are very well aware of their rights of equality but unaware of the same duty which is to treat everyone with equality.
Let’s bring in the change in ourselves from this moment itself. You can’t bring equality by treating others badly. You can’t be fair by being unfair. And the rule applies to all. Let’s start our journey towards a better, prosperous and fair nation- the nation with no bias. Say NO TO DISCRIMINATION AND RESERVATION and work towards building ONE NATION- INDIA.