The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLCs formed a rumpus and walked out of the Legislative Council on the issue of Maratha reservation forcing the adjournment of the House. Maratha students were protesting at Azad Maidan, and BJP wanted to raise the question in the House but there were heavy counter arguments and finally, they walked out in protest. Earlier in the day, BJP leaders held a protest outside the state Assembly on the second of the winter session, over various issues including women’s safety and Maratha reservation. Pravin Darekar alleged that the state government is running away from discussions and is facing strong opposition. The two-day winter session of the state legislature began in Mumbai on December 14. Since then, the opposition is hell-bent on twisting this entire issue to their advantage. Maratha reservation is a serious issue and it needs to be addressed in time. If we want Marathi people and culture to survive and thrive then it is important that Maratha survive. Nowhere in India, has a single caste made up more than 30 per cent of the state population. Still not many outside Maharashtra knew (until this agitation) that this caste exists. For outsiders, Maratha is the same as Marathi, Maratha=Marathi. Yadav’s with just a single-digit population has been dominant in UP and Bihar. But despite such a huge population of Marathas, casteism is not dominant here like in UP and Bihar because of the tolerant nature of people. Maratha for namesake is one community. But it is made of so many social layers from ultra-rich political families to dirt poor laborers who just earn for the day.
52 per cent is reserved which leaves 48 per cent open and it is crowded with progressive people like Brahmins, the business class who can afford tuition, outsiders who are mostly educated people, leaving very little space for Marathas. And all this is coming now because life is getting harder and harder almost to the brink of collapse. Farmer suicides are mostly among Maratha farmers. But reservation shouldn’t be for rich Marathas, but purely based on economical certificates. The systems of reservation of India are a form of positive discrimination. It follows from the concept of equality of opportunity as enshrined in the Constitution of India. Reservation is the result of laws, guidelines, and administrative action by the different levels of governments in India, and includes reserved or exclusive access to seats in the different legislatures, to government jobs, and to enrolment in higher educational institutions. There are some differences between how it is enabled by the central Union Government and by individual States and Union Territories. The basis of the reservation is the perceived existence of some sort of historical or contemporary social and educational disadvantage. The target groups are identified based on criteria such as gender, caste, tribe, and linguistic minority status. It is the process of facilitating a person in education, scholarship, jobs, and promotion who has category certificates. Reservation is a form of quota-based affirmative action. Reservation is governed by constitutional laws, statutory laws, and local rules and regulations. Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC), and in some states Backward Classes among Muslims under a category called BC(M), are the primary beneficiaries of the reservation policies under the Constitution – with the object of ensuring a level playing field.
In the last 15 years, many poor Maratha farmers have glided towards the Shiv Sena. The Congress-NCP had been striving to grant Marathas OBC status since 2009 and settled for the new category. Marathas have dominated the state politics of Maharashtra since its inception in 1960. Since then, Maharashtra has witnessed a heavy presence of Maratha ministers or officials in the Maharashtra state government, local municipal commissions, and panchayats, although Marathas comprise only around 25 per cent of the state population.10 out of 16 chief ministers of Maharashtra hailed from the Maratha community as of 2012. When BJP came to power in 2015, they accused Maratha leaders in the Congress and NCP of orchestrating protests to derail its government’s investigation into several scams, now when BJP is in opposition, they are using the same issue to their advantage and trying to create unrest for Maha Vikas Aghadi. Maratha reservation has become a tool to counter each other in political corridors but no one wants to find a solution.
Maharashtra’s 18 Chief Ministers since the state was formed in 1960, ten have been Marathas. The community has also contributed more than half the state’s lawmakers (across parties), many of whom amassed great personal wealth and power, but failed to create jobs or promote education. A recent advertisement by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) for filling five vacancies of porters received over 2,500 applications. The required qualification was a Class IV pass, but those competing for the job included 250 postgraduates and nearly 1,000 graduates. Amongst them were young Maratha boys convinced that the reservation policy which excludes them is responsible for their unemployment. The varna of the Maratha is a contested issue, with arguments for their being of the Kshatriya (warrior) Varna, and others for their being of Shudra origins. This issue was the subject of antagonism between the Brahmins and Marathas, dating back to the time of Shivaji Maharaj, but by the late 19th century moderate Brahmins were keen to ally with the influential Marathas of Mumbai in the interests of Indian independence from Britain. These Brahmins supported the Maratha claim to Kshatriya status, but their success in this political alliance was sporadic and fell apart entirely following independence in 1947. Maharashtra government has provided 16 per cent reservation to Maratha & 5 per cent reservation for Muslims, state action cannot be based on religion The Maharashtra government cleared 16 per cent reservation for the Maratha community, seen by many as a dominant one, but their cast at large deprived of development and progress.