Sunday, August 31, 2014

Caste Away!

Recently over a conversion with my teen age son, who yet has not been exposed to realities of the world, courtesy his over caring parents, asked me “baba, what is this reservation thing, its in every day news papers?’. I was trying to think what & how to explain the scene, so thought of best way i.e. to write down & when I started writing I myself realized the complexity of the issue. Sharing the same with here….

“When we choose a mobile network, do we check whether Airtel or Vodafone belong to a particular caste? No, we simply choose the provider based on the best value or service. Then why do we vote for somebody simply because he belongs to the same caste as us?” ….Chetan Bhagat.

No need to introduce the famous IIT’n turned writer who is famous for his motivation speeches as well for his social views. Each day a common man from so called open category like me read a news paper & there is something about reservations may it be on caste or religion! This is one subject which is never spoken openly in our country like man –woman relationship which science calls sex. As if a person is having views against reservation then he is tagged as anti lower class or anti social or hypocrite; and if a person is speaking for reservation then he is against development of new India or old fashioned or must be from lower caste!

Now before we go deeper in to the issue of reservation, we need to understand what’s the concept reservation is? As well what is lower caste & what is upper caste? Well, our country has been made of numbers of religions, thousands of castes & equal numbers of tribes; it’s so confusing that even God can’t be sure about exact numbers of castes we have here. I really wonder who in first place derived the caste concept. As tribe one can understand that before civilization comes in picture when there was no religion, the tribes exists. But religion came along with so called civilization came & I personally think castes are generated by the rulers for being able to rule on such a heterogeneous structure of society. As if you see the names of the castes they are mostly generated from the kind of job the people used to do. For example how Chmhar i.e. cobbler can be caste of some one? As agreed some guy may be doing that work for his earning but if the next generation starts doing some other job how they can be called as Chamhar? Same logic is applicable to other such castes too.
Tribe’s yes one can understand as if someone has been born in some tribe obviously he will be tagged as tribal. But then again except a very few tribes like korku/ gond & even jarwas in Andaman Nikobar, are these the days of tribes? As every day under the name of urbanization & growth we are not only destroying habitats of thousands of animal species but even the human species too! At the same time growth, development, mechanization all these things are replacing humans which for generations doing specific jobs, so we are displacing them also.

Here the reservation term came in picture. When nearly      67 years back we became independent, entire Indian’s then were one against the British rulers, so there was no question of any reservation for any caste or tribe or religion. We all were equals while fighting with the British, so from where all the castisum came in so called secular India? After independence British were gone & first time in the history of this large diversity wise rich country there was democracy, as or else we were always been used for being ruled by one family or some foreign ruler but never democratic we were! So  then people started realizing that only some castes or class or religion people have access to all good things in life, may it be power or knowledge or education! Then the wise in our Govt came together & came with a solution that there should be some privilege should be given to the underdogs which for ages have been deprived from the knowledge or education, which in a way is key to development or growth. So it was suggested to give such people who are from certain castes or tribes, a special quota in education as well all Govt jobs, so they can start from a step ahead in comparison to the so called upper castes! This was the first time when the term reservation came in picture as this quota for some castes & tribes which were backward in comparison to other castes was called as reservation!

Very little our wise rulers then, knew that this good intention decision is going to take most ugly turn in future of this so called non-secular country & there would be a time when this caste factor will become a key to all the forth coming developments of this country including even elections! As then itself thy have made a mistake by categorizing human on behalf of their birth & not on actual living condition. I am neither against nor for on the reservation subject, as this isn’t the object of the sharing. What I am trying to analyze is has the reservation really helped this country on two aspects i.e. one, whether the country as whole has been benefitted by the concept of reservation & second is has it really helped to the castes or tribes for which this has been implemented?

Sadly if we keep for a while the first aspect aside, even the second aspect i.e. upbringing so called backward castes & tribes hasn’t been experienced, that too even after nearly 60 years of implementing the concept of reservation! Well,   60 years make nearly two generations & even if agreed as these castes were underprivileged for ages & two generations is too small a time span for changing the positions, yet the outcome is not encouraging, as with liberization the opportunities have been also increased much more than the social format of life then! No more we have some family or a king ruling entire State with his lords only having access to make fortune for their own families. So considering this fact I will say the concept of reservation on basis of caste & tribes has been failed completely. As what our present system has produced is, now there are only three castes or tribes in this country, one is rich, second is middle class & third is poor!

Recently I was taking study of history of my younger son where I stumbled up on French Revolution. There the cause of revolution is all the powers & benefits of the growth have been centered to first estate & second estate of the State i.e., King & Takers or the Holy Church. And the third estate which includes all other segments of the society including clerk to professionals to farmers, were getting poorer under the burden of taxes, where as all the works has been carried out by the third estate people; so they revolted & that’s French revolution! I think with all the reservation & castes system in place we have still landed in pre- revolution state as rich are getting richer & poor are getting poorer & no matter which caste upper or lower, you belong to or there is reservation or no reservation, the disparity between the two classes is increasing. It’s like those who have got opportunity via reservation on basis of caste are no longer thinks anything why they got this advantage & instead passing that to other needy ones they have joined what earlier so called upper class people were doing i.e. be merry & make fortune of their own families only! So what’s the difference now in both castes? I will say nothing, as with the power & education they also have joined the upper club & that’s the biggest defeat of reservation policy!

It’s high time to analyze the reservation norms & so called creamy layers within the castes criteria as need is to see that a platform should be there where all will be equals! In the process of giving reservations now we have been gone so deep like a person caught in “Quick Sand or Marsh Land”, that now every religion, tribe & caste is demanding reservations & unfortunately we have only 100%  to share but thousands of castes, so what we are going to do? As in process of pleasing every caste with the carrot of reservation for votes, we never realized that we have only one carrot & numbers of takers for it! And this has been leading to riots amongst the castes which were living happily with each other for ages.

Reservation on basis of your birth, which is in control of nobody, was a boomerang & now it’s showing that real victim of this weapon is entire country! Nowadays election candidates are also being chose on the basis of his or her caste & voters numbers from that caste & we call our self a secular country! You open new paper on any day & you read some or other caste or religion is demanding reservation & on that others castes which are already enjoying the reservation protests not to touch their quota & then accommodate new castes in reservation. And rulers are using the reservation carrot without applying any mind to cash the votes! Things have worsened to such a level that some percentage reservation quota is being offered to next generation of Policemen, to get job in police department. Going on the same line tomorrow politicians will also seek the seats in Assembly for their sons or daughters! Have we ever thought what will be end of this race for reservation? In the entire process have we lost faith in real talent or merit? Is the reservation only way to improve? Our politicians & senior bureaucrats visits other developed countries for the industrial & urban growth, have they ever studied how socially these counties has achieved the success as a nation?   

Rich & poor were always two basic castes of the society, so how other countries have managed to breech the gap between these two basic castes, have we ever thought about it? Unfortunately it’s our rulers who don’t want the caste system went away, when in actual the country should have only one religion & one caste & that will be of humanity! And from that angle we should have reservation policy, so as one day there shouldn’t be need of any reservation to any single citizen of this country whatever caste or religion he may be from! I think high time every individual should think from this view & for that let’s speak openly about this aspect first! Or else the track on which our vote hungry rulers are taking us there won’t be anything left to ask reservation for as there will be no country in itself to take burden of any reservation! And before it’s too late, it’s every individual’s duty to believe in our capacity & give justice to it & for that we don’t need any caste card or any reservations! That’s real need of the country!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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