When I was in class 12th preparing for my board exams, I told a distracted boy sitting next to me in Economics class to study, else he will not get into a good college. He seemed abnormally relaxed and said- ‘You worry about yourself. I will get admission in the best colleges. I am an OBC you see.’ I was shocked. He was from a very well-of family, owned an I-phone, had driver at his beck and call. Did he need reservation? Moreover, did he deserve reservations? I put that thought behind and dint think about it for a long time. Until the day the admission process started in Delhi University. I missed getting into my dream college by just one mark or 0.25%. And I saw people who got 5, 10 and even 20% less than me getting through because of reservations or the ‘quota system.’ I was shattered and the recuperation took a few months.
Reservation system started post-independence with a very good objective of uplifting the socially backward sections of society (Scheduled castes, Schedules tribes, Dalits) to give them equality of opportunities. Even the great leader B.R Ambedkar, the person who wanted them in the first place, wanted them to end in 10 years. However, after every ten years they were reinforced for the next 10 years. In 1982, the Constitution specified 15% and 7.5% of vacancies in public sector and government-aided educational institutes are a quota reserved for the SC and ST candidates respectively for a period of five years, after which the quota system would be reviewed. In 1989, the VP Singh led government ordered implementation of recommendations of Mandal Commission of augmenting 27% reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBC’s). Thus ensuring 50% reservations in educational institutes and government jobs.
Today, this system is being misused by many people in many different ways– people illicitly getting fake SC-ST certificates made to avail the ‘privileges’ of the quota system. Economically prosperous backward class candidates get into colleges at the expense of deserving candidates. Over the years many of these castes got control over land and accumulated wealth. Thus I ask- What sort of social parity is it to prefer a rich SC, ST, OBC kid over a poor Brahmin kid? The reservation system is doing more harm than any good by further demarcating the society. At one hand we talk about equal status for all castes and religions and on the other hand we don’t shy away from availing the ‘privileges’ given to certain castes and religious minorities. Isn’t that hypocrisy? By giving undue reservation, we produce a workforce which is inefficient
I am not against the idea or rationale behind of reservations. I am against Caste based or religion based reservations . Of course we need reservations for people who are downtrodden- downtrodden in the true sense. If caste is the only ground for Social Backwardness, how can giving jobs or education remove social backwardness? As evident in Southern India, the members of royal families, ruling classes, land-lords, and rich businessmen are considered to be backward by the Government because of their castes. Thus, the need is to have reservations based on economic status and the family income. A person who is underprivileged is the one who deserves such sort of reservations and it should not matter whether she/he is a Brahmin, Dalit, Muslim or Christian or belonging to any other caste or religion.
An egalitarian society should never discriminate people on any basis, be it religion, region, caste or creed. Its only when we as a nation, do away with caste and religion based reservations and provide them to people who actually need and deserve it that we can take a step forward in reaching the ideals of equality, non- discrimation and secularism enshrined in our constitution.