Unconstitutional State

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A leader of a backward class and also a state introduces inapprehensible changes in promotional reservation; the supreme court of the nation which has already rebuked such a policy, decries it unconstitutional, yet again. The government of the day attempts to change the constitution on its head and unsurprisingly the upper house of parliament clears such striking bill with near unanimous political consent.

Reservation is important. Our constitution states its case well. But so is the Supreme Court. There is strong reason for its existence, not allowing politicians to abuse power for one. Astonishing the number of lawyers occupying prestigious positions in the house of parliament these days, ironic how nonchalantly they undermine the decisions of their very own mecca. I don’t believe we indulge in the right usage of ‘merit’ as a society at all, but does quota in ‘promotions’ to high government posts provide credible justification to counter the evident ‘pseudo-merit’ in society; will it promote equality, the kind that is really required? Is our sacred government even attempting to do that with this bill? Does it all sound implausible and absurd, just to me!?

As the State loses support from the awakening middle classes, the politicos rise to the challenge and delve deeper into the rot of vote-bank politics. Afraid to relinquish power, they know exactly how to garner the minimum number of votes and secure their future seats, but what of those who aren’t backed by power, don’t have the influence, don’t belong to a backward class? Our nation it seems is a lab, its people lab-rats, policies are experiments, the constitution a whimsical code, the apex court a flexible enforcement tool, and the experiment conductor we call Government – the only real benefactor. This is the only explanation I’m able to conjure up; such is the level of my confidence in our government’s policies, no less its intentions.

Why are we just bothered about the numbers; enrolment ratios; research papers submitted by Indians; SCs/STs in schools or governments? Are we monitoring / going to monitor the quality of the numerous schools the HRD ministry intends to setup in SC/ST regions? Allocating more funds and public-private partnerships for increasing the number of schools is a start, sure, but it doesn’t guarantee more success or representation to the backward or anyone, nor does quota in promotions; providing quality education however, does. Quantities are important but not if they’re devoid of quality and this I believe applies universally. Whatever happened to better education to the backward; more incentives for top educationists to bring quality education in backward regions, better teacher allocation to eliminate backwardness at the grassroots, greater salaries, dignity and respect in the teaching profession? (India is in dire need of teachers, quality notwithstanding) Shouldn’t we be addressing these challenges? More quality education in a region will automatically translate to greater empowerment and more representation. We do almost nothing to promote quality education where it is most required and we flood the suburbs of our urban centres with grand elite educational institutions to profit from the ‘business’ they generate (the HRD ministry deserves a whole another blog by itself). We then deplore the poor representation of certain classes and shout out for quotas even in promotions. Are we not concerned about the quality of our education and of our polity along with the immensely prized equality? I find puzzling contradictions between the policies enacted by and the rhetoric of our government.

Freed from Imperialism only to fall prey to Statism, despicable is the state of the world’s largest democracy. In need of some inspiration, we truly are.

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2 comments

  1. Tito Das · December 19, 2012

    Still not sure if I’m for or against reservation. But there exists a strong case for reservation, in whatever form it may be at whatever level. Why so? Because till the society – includes, you, me and anyone with any sort of privilege, stop looking down on one lower caste people sub-consciously.

    Ideally, there should be no reservation, but to get to that ideal situation, first everyone in India needs to respect everyone equally. A street cleaner, a cobbler, a driver, a jamadaar’s son/daughter needs to get access to the best education without prejudice in school and then we will not require reservation. All that will only happen when we treat all these people as equals not just say they are equals. Still to this day, matrimonial columns are full of caste based advertisements. If and when these people change, then we will need no reservation. Isn’t that discrimination in its purest form?

    Caste-ism is a deep rooted ill in Indian society and till such time its removed, till such time that a sweeper’s job is looked down upon, a dalit is looked down upon, there will be no progress for this country, reservation or no reservation. If we want the politicians to level the playing field in a fair way, first we the society need to level out the playing field. The lowest of the low does perhaps some of the hardest manual labour in our country and yet they are paid the lowest. An electrician, a cobbler, a plumber are all sustainable and quite high paid jobs in the West. Yet here, it is all treated as menial because the lower castes, (Vaishya’s and Shudra’s) do that job for centuries.

    Remember, India is a democracy – a government by the people, for the people of the people. Reservations calls of the politicians, be it for vote bank reflects on our society. A society that wants to show superficially that it is progressive when it comes to accepting the lower castes. Yet we want to define and divide everyone by caste. Time to stop blabbering now and I’ll come to my point. To bring change in the parliament, first we must change.

    • bharat2288 · December 19, 2012

      Although I agree with everything you said, my intention was never to question the concept of reservation. In fact I mention how it is important, as described in our Constitution. Unfortunately, most of what you said is true of the average Indian mentality, so reservation is imperative.The question is of use / misuse of policies, without regard to judgement(s) by people of repute, who asked for some solid data prior to introducing quota specifically in promotions. Whether we change ourselves and alter our thought process is something each individual has to ask him/herself, irrespective of what we choose, to change or not to, the government of the people, by the people cannot, or should not be allowed to abuse power, that is not something the people have sanctioned? Or have they? Something else that is dubious: why stop reservation at 49% why not take it to 95%? I mean to say there needs to be a justification for any percentage, no? What is the reason government gives us for 49, why not 75 or better yet, 95?

      You talk about dignity to the sweeper, there is no dignity of a teacher in today’s day and age. I haven’t met a single person in the last 10 years whose dream it was to be a teacher. Look at the Scandinavian countries, the teaching job is revered there. There should be dignity in any sort of labour, period, and I think I endorse that. Also, I didn’t introduce the caste divide, I personally don’t consider anyone backward, it is how our constitution / our government defines certain group of people, it is the foundation based on which our politicos exploit. For me the ‘backward’ is economically backward; people who don’t get enough light to work enough to earn a living or have to struggle for their food. Whether SC/ST/Dalit or a Punjabi khattri like me we should have equal opportunity to have food, shelter, water, healthcare and earn a living. People who don’t have these opportunities definitely are backward, notwithstanding where they lie on the caste spectrum. And reservation in ‘promotions’ is certainly not the solution. Reservation for entrants surely is necessary for adequate representation (and there needs to be a much more transparent way to determine what is the quota percentage), but we lack in execution of real policies that help actually empower the economically backward. We are still caught up in trying to play one caste against the other. We face dire economic problems which also need to addressed, I just don’t think that’s being worked on enough. Reservation is not a permanent solution, grass root empowerment is. It is time the political class of our country lays more emphasis there.

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