Not Reservation but Liberation
Das | 24 May 2006

Recent proposal of HRD Ministry for the implementation of OBC quota is not a move against upper caste people of our country but it is a move in favour of liberation of 90% traditionally deprived popul

Almost all the institutions in our country are (75% if not fully) reserved for upper caste people only, although we do not consciously consider it to be any kind of reservation. All the premier institutes are full of upper cast people despite the fact that upper cast is a small proportion of our population. Why is it so? It is so because cast and class are highly significantly correlated everywhere in our country. I am not saying that upper caste people cannot be poor or cannot be deprived otherwise, but the proportion of poor people among SC, ST, OBCs are many times higher than that among the upper caste population (NSS 59th round). Traditionally inheritance of private property has been taken place in our country primarily on the basis of caste. (Land reform has not taken place anywhere excepting West Bengal). Other kinds of deprivations such as regional deprivations are also largely dependent on it.
For privileged people it is just not possible to understand the kind of fight one has to put to be at par with the privileged class who comes from socially, regionally, economically and gender wise deprived background. We need to recognise that gap and until and unless the State is failing to bridge the gap by providing equal opportunity to everybody to grow up, it has to provide reservation. The State (here State is the system not merely the Government) has discriminated against the 90% population of our country on the basis of caste by making them uncompetitive with the rest.
True, reservation alone wont be able to solve the problem of discrimination. Although it cannot bring about any solution to much more deep rooted patriarchy, seats are required in buses until patriarchy is there. Personally I am also not in favour of any kind of reservation. That is why I am opposing the already existing more than 75% reservation for the upper caste alone, which covers merely less than 10% of our population. There is no single empirical evidence of reduction of overall quality due to implementation of quota for the lower castes. It is logical also because philosophically absolute amount of lived experience is directly proportional to the friction in life. By the broader definition of merit (just not the exam marks) lower cast people cannot be less meritorious in any sense. If we believe that then somewhere we have to assume that grey cell counts of our brain is necessarily hereditary, depends on blood and so on.
I can understand the sentiment of the people of West Bengal where caste based social discriminations are lowest in the country but still casteism is very much there in West Bengal, too (Ref: Amartya Sens Pratichis report on primary education). Mandal commission (II) report takes care of the creamy layer taking the whole advantage problem to a great extent. Therefore, I don’t consider the present proposal for the implementation of Mandal commission report to be a move against upper caste people of our country but I consider it to be a move in favour of liberation of 90% traditionally deprived population by providing them (though partially) equal opportunity to come up. Moreover, it is not a gift of Arjun Singh & Co. to OBCs, but it is a result of the history of prolonged class-caste struggle of our country.