By Mohammad Anas, Aligarh Muslim University, Kerala.

Reservation! A debatable topic that has always been and shall always be an issue of concern in our country. This number game is harming the society more than it is benefiting us. The idea of caste based reservation system was envisioned by William Hunter and Jyotirao Phule in various forms in 1882 and implemented by Chatrapati Sahuji in 1901. The term was changed to “Depressed Class” in 1932 by Ambedkar and later to “Scheduled Caste/Tribes” during the framing of the constitution in 1950.

While framing the Constitution, the section on reservation was included as it was felt that a certain class of society needed help. The idea was that a vast majority of the poor were from a small caste group and they needed a social net so that they can be accommodated into society as full fledged members. Thus reservation found its place in our Constitution as a way to uplift these classes. It was already decided that this reservation section is being included for the next ten years and then alterations shall be made as per the prevalent scenario at that particular point in time. However as visible what started as 2% is now 20% and still rising. Our forefathers included this section in the Constitution to add an essence of equality but this essence has not yet been achieved.

The Mandal Commission was established in 1979 by the Central Government to identify the socially or educationally backward people. It was also set up to consider the question of seat reservations and quotas for people to redress caste discrimination. It used social, economic, and educational indicators to determine backwardness.

Still we have not been able to eradicate untouchability, honour killing and the caste system, female foeticide is still prevalent in many regions, and certain sections of the society are still deprived of the facilities that they deserve. Looking at all this, it is evident that reservation has not helped us in attaining the desired equality in the society which was foreseen by the drafting committee while framing the Constitution. Here talent gets wasted because a person with a good academic record fails to get admission in a university and a person with average or poor academic record takes his place because of reservation. If we see the ratio of unemployment, it is still the same both in the general as well as other classes. The main reason of reservation failure may be attributed to the political parties. All they do is, light the torch of reservation and burn our country with it. These leaders use reservation as a sword to sway their way into winning. These insane leaders are the reason our country is still handicapped. They keep on increasing the ratio of reservation for the SCs, STs and the OBCs to gain a certain majority of votes. It is their cheap strategy to win seats. No attention is paid upon bettering the state of living, providing the needy with monetary help, leading them to urbanisation, helping in their development and providing them with educational facilities. Had they worried about the actual uplifting of our society, then 68 years after Independence, no region would have been neglected and all the tribes and clans would have been a better part of our present society and might have been enjoying urbanisation.

Our forefathers, Mahatama Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Dr.Ambedkar, all dreamt of an India,as a prosperous country where there is harmony and equal opportunities-for everybody. But the political parties believe in a different motto. All they do is divide and rule. One goes to support the OBCs, while the other stands to support the SCs, STs, etc. If these parties were genuinely worried there wouldn’t be any need for reservation, at least not of this sort. I am not saying that there should be no reservation but it should be in a way that is morally and justifiably right. It must be according to the ratio of each society. Also, it is not a universal truth that General Class is born intelligent and rich and the SCs, STs, OBCs and others are born poor and dumb. The scenario is entirely different from the time of Independence. Now other classes have also gained a respectable position in the society. These quotas leave less seats for the General class due to which they use fake certificates of SC/ST/OBC to get a job or admission in institutions.

In schools, we are taught that everybody is equal but as soon as we step out of class XII, the cloud of quotas surrounds us. In the Uttar Pradesh Technical University entrance exam about a total of 80% reservation is for SCs,STs, OBCs, military quota, handicapped quota, girls quota and 20% seats are available for the general class, one of the highest percentage of reservation in the country1. If this situation prevails for a while longer, the day is not far, when we will be witnessing an additional quota for reservation i.e.; THE GENERAL QUOTA.

Quotas must be there on the basis of income and not caste. For instance, a rich individual, who is an SC, enjoys quota and an extremely poor person of the General Class has to put sticks and stones together so that his child may get admission in various institutions. Therefore quotas must not be as per caste but as per income. Also “THERE IS NO” hard and fast rule that the reservation quota is necessary everywhere. The government must focus on the basic development by providing educational and monetary help in order to prepare every child and person to face competition on their own. Equal chances must be given to everybody as it is the only way to discover a genuine talent. Had there been quotas in the selection of a Cricket team then the Indian team might not have won any World Cup. Therefore it is very important that every class must feel equal and these provisions may only bring a feeling of brotherhood and hard work. Equal opportunities should be given to everyone and each person should work hard to find their place in jobs as well as educational institutions.

A prosperous country is the one where no talent goes waste and where the public has full faith in their Constitution.