Caste based reservations is biggest issue in India especially this has become a political tool, to create ruckus. In India, the Other Backward Castes (OBC) status is an affirmative action which provides reserved quotas in education and government jobs. In Gujarat, 27% seats are reserved for OBC, 7.5% for Scheduled Castes and 15% for Scheduled Tribes totalling 49.5% of all seats. The Supreme Court has capped the maximum reservation at 50% in 1992 judgement. In 1981, the Government of Gujarat then headed by Indian National Congress (INC) chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki, introduced the reservation for socially and economically backward castes (SEBC) based on recommendations of Bakshi Commission. It resulted in anti-reservation agitation across the state which spilled over in riots resulting in more than hundred deaths. Solanki resigned in 1985 but later returned to power winning 149 out of 182 assembly seats. He was supported by Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslims; called collectively as KHAM. It resulted in other communities including Patidars losing the political influence which later alienated the INC. The SEBC (later OBC) list initially had 81 communities which expanded to 146 communities by 2014.The agitation took inspiration from the protest held by Gujjar community in Rajasthan which ended in May 2015.
We must appreciate that in upper classes there are also economically weaker section. Agricultural land is being divided and sub divided among family members. The vendors, who are selling eatable items on the roads, are earning more than these upper class communities. Most of the Brahmins in cities are taxi drivers to security guards. Their income is low and children have no facilities anywhere. Brahmin community is considered as upper class but their condition is pitiable as they are struggling to offer two times meals to their children. Brahmins are respected by the people without giving any financial assistance to them. Their children also require government jobs. Is it crime to be born in the family of upper classes? Similarly in the case of Gujarati Patel or Marathas in Maharashtra all are victims of reservation system. Reservation is becoming curse day by day. Our politicians are reserving their vote banks in the name of reservation. If the jobs are not offered to those candidates who are on merit, naturally they will come out and protest. Many more Hardik Patels from every community, religion, states will come out with those people who are denied their rights of jobs.
It is in the interest of the people to abolish reservation system at all and the jobs should be given only on merit basis irrespective of their castes, or religion. If our government has failed to stop this reservation system, we should expect more riots, bloodshed, division, further sub-division among pubic on the name of castes and religions. Why candidates from upper class should sacrifice for those candidates who are very lower in the merits.
The Bombay High Court earlier stayed then Maharashtra government’s (Congress-NCP) decision to give 16 per cent reservation to Marathas in public service and educational institutions. The HC also stayed state’s decision to provide 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in public service, but allowed them reservation in education. After over 70 years of independence we are unable to overcome the reservation policy. Before this announcement Maharashtra had 52 per cent reservations, which had crossed the limit set at 50 per cent by the Supreme Court. With these fresh reservations the total percentage of reservations in the state has gone up to 73 per cent. A Public Interest Litigation has already been filed, claiming that the Marathas are not a poor and backward caste. Marathas are richest people in Maharashtra, but on the other hand there seems to be no argument against the 5 per cent reservations for Muslims, who most agree have a high population of poor and deprived people. The main controversy erupted over reservations for the Marathas, just to please Maratha vote bank.
Since the birth of Maharashtra in 1960 a majority of legislators belong to the Maratha community. The community also controls educational institutions, developmental boards and 168 out of the 200 sugar cooperatives in the state. It is no surprise then that people tend to believe it is a rich and powerful community and do not need any reservation. The tragedy of this community is that only 137 Maratha families are the dominant players in state politics. The disparity is so wide, that the rest of the Maratha community isn’t even half as rich forget being powerful. The reason being that there are 96 clans and most are backward and poor. The Kunbis, known as poor tillers, form a large part of this community. The problem within the Marathas is that Maratha politicians have failed their community. They failed to deliver the goods to the community and most of all include the poorest in the mainstream from early on. As a result, Maratha politicians encounter growing bitterness and want to appease their community by announcing reservations for employment and education. The politicians have hurriedly ignored the most pertinent issues. It is clear that the social stratification and economic distress faced by the Marathas engaged in agriculture is unlikely to be meaningfully addressed merely by demanding OBC status for the community. We can’t forget that Maharashtra is primarily an agrarian economy. Many agricultural peasants and small-time farmers have been reduced to labour, among them many clans of Marathas. even Brahmins of Maharashtra are living average life, but no one so far thought of giving them reservation or considerations, as they are the actual minorities.
Let the new generation come with their own charisma instead on depending upon such tactics! By offering such quotas, at one end the government wants to gain cheap popularity but at the same time the candidates, instead of competitive mind goes on easy routes which is not good for the youngsters. No government should try to offer such quotas! There has been some limit to populism. Politicians can go to any limits to get the votes to capture the power. Reservation is a magic formula for this purpose. Every class wants reservations as shortcuts and no body pleads for merit or efficiency, by making it a country of intellectual pygmies. Well, who cares? Better to have fixed reservation for all caste, creed and religion than for specific caste and religion. There are no religious minority in India.
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