Youths for Equality
We have committed the atrocious crime of being young men. Young men with dreams, aspirations, zeal and hard work. We've committed a sin of planning our future, weaving ambitions knowing fully well that we live in a country where our Honourable Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh does not think it fit enough to answer Mr. Santosh Gangwar's(an OBC MP) query on increasing plan outlay for primary education among backward castes/ classes in the Parliament. We have committed a sin of being born in a country where the government does not seem to be concerned with the school drop out rate of 79.88% for Scheduled Caste children. The reason being perhaps those children don't have a right to vote. This is social justice in India in simplified terms. We've also perhaps committed a sin that we are being discriminated against quite similarly situated young men/ women of our age. We are not only a conglomeration of general category students, OBC students and SC/ST's we are also Indians and hence to question these distortions and anomalies we have joined Youth for Equality. We propose to present our viewpoint on reservations.
SOCIAL JUSTICE LAW AND RESERVATION
Reservation as a policy in India is like a cure for disease called deprivation which led certain classes of citizens like scavengers to lead sub-human conditions resulting in loss of status and dignity which ultimately led to loss of substantial equality for them. The disease ate up their political, social as well as economic anatomy. This was sought to be compensated by providing appropriate measures so as to help them and raise them to an equal status and to provide dignity .One of the measures of this composite package was reservation. However, the national interest of efficiency, competing in a global environment was considered and crystallized Under Article 335 of the constitution. It is in this background- considering the abysmal social status of our fellow brothers and sisters of SCs and STs- that we support reservation for SCs and STs.
It is not that reservation for SCs and STs are based on the ground that they are not positively placed in the society, it is rather based on the ground that they are disadvantageously and negatively placed. This social, practical and constitutional reality finds its reflection in the SC/ ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 which protects the SCs and STs from the unfortunate perpetration of crimes against them by both OBCs and the General castes.
Reservation is not a right, it is an enabling provision in our Constitution. Though the present Union cabinet would like the whole nation to believe that it is duty bound to provide reservations, our ministers are actually misleading the media and the nation. On the other hand article 21 is a compulsory provision. The cure of reservation for the disease called deprivation will very naturally mean for an ICU treatment in case the patient is critically ill i.e. the SCs and STs, who are poor and socially deprived. That is what we understand by reservation. The Common Diseases Ward can have all kinds of patients but to waste a seat in ICU for them is denial of common sense. Either you are critically ill for ICU or you are not, and the OBCs don't deserve ICU treatment! They are like any general category deprived person and their backwardness is similar across all castes if any; called poverty. On 30 th November, 1948 Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly while replying to the motion of reservation said, "Let me give an illustration. Supposing, for instance, reservations were made for a community or a collection of communities, the total of which came to something like 70% of the total posts under the state and only 30% are retained as the unreserved. Could anybody say that the reservation of 30% as open to general competition would be satisfactory from the point of view of giving effect to the first principle, namely, that there shall be equality of opportunity? It cannot be in my judgment. Therefore the seats to be reserved, if the reservation is to be consistent with sub clause (1) of article 10,must be confined to a minority of seats .It is then only that the first principle could find its place in the Constitution and effective in operation." This 1st principle was the principle of unreserved unregulated equality for which Youth for Equality today fights and takes inspiration from Dr.B.R. Ambedkar. Nowhere did the Constitution makers imagine that there could be 'Inter Generational Retribution' in our country as is happening now. The scheme of reservation in the Constitution entails removal of reservation when a class does not require it as per its social status. Constitution in fact entails the narrowing of the list and expansion of merit( article 334 fixes a time-frame).
It is on the basis of the above stated background that we totally oppose any extra-proposed reservation for the OBCs.
REALITY AND OBJECTIVE REVIEW
The rulers themselves do not need protection! The question to be asked is how many belonging to the proposed reservation category are holding offices such as Ministers of the Union, CMs of the states, Ministers in the states, MPs , MLAs and offices of local governing bodies. If the number is substantial then in the present scenario they are "the advantaged," " the rulers," and the "superiors" and we are competing for seats purely on basis of merit- "the disadvantaged," "the subjects," and "the ruled". The unfortunate truth of this country written by the politicians is that merit will be ruled by mediocrity just because the tyranny of majority in competitive vote bank politics (based on party lines) wants it to be. This tyranny doesn't care about basic tenets on which the founding fathers based our Constitution. Today the fact is that we have 12 OBC chief ministers ruling the nation .is it backwardness?
It is in this light that we find our stance to be reasonable and we demand objective classification of backwardness based on the scientific evaluation as per realities of 2006 on the basis of exclusion of castes from any privilege which they already may be enjoying if they have already reached a status which is no longer 'negative'. To provide for further reservation in any form for them will be giving them the right to "dominate" which will be a fraud on Constitution perpetrated by the majority in violation of the 'basic structure of the Constitution'. The word " status" as used in the Preamble to the Constitution is the guide to evaluate any word following it in the Constitution in this connection. When a class has status and dignity as of date, which can't be termed negative, to provide reservation to it will be murdering equality. The fact that Hon'ble Patna High Court struck down reservation for two particular castes- that are the ruling castes from any perspective- in Panchayat election has to be taken note of.
We have to ask here who are the OBCS ? What parameters are we following as of today to bring certain communities under this umbrella of reservation? Do they have any nexus with the politico - socio-economic reality of today? In our opinion, no! The sociological factors today are in opposition to that of the past. The government has to make public the objective criteria on which its subjectivity lies. It has to tell the nation why unity, merit and efficiency are being killed? The political class has to tell the nation why three generations of the same family need reservation? We have a right to ask why a family earning Rs25000 per month can be termed backward when it has at its disposal all luxuries of life? Why should an agriculturalist of a caste having due status be termed backward when it already owns 25 acres of land? How many families in India have an earning of 15000 per month? It has to tell humanity as to why it is infringing our equality! It has to tell the nation as to what measures it is taking in consonance with Act 21 A to universalize primary education at ground level! On asking these questions, the answer we get is a shameless silence.Do you know that only 3 states have acted on it? Politicians curb equality so Youth for Equality has come up as the voice of young men and women.
THE RIGHTS OF SC/STs BEING GAMBLED
Arjun Singh on a television interview with Karan Thapar conceded that reservations and privileges for OBCs and SC/STs will be absolutely same. Is it not a crime against SCs who have to rise against OBCs as well as merit category students? The OBCs are not in same situation as SCs and some castes indeed are in ruling positions .Even among the OBCs caste as a homogeneous criterion can not be taken- what can be taken as a homogeneous criterion is economic "status" measured through income, only then we can have social justice .Caste as a criterion has to be reviewed or else in the debate for social justice school drop-out rates and compulsory education for the children of "have-nots" among the reserved category will never feature nor will the governments make rules for implementation of a compulsory provision of primary education under article 21 A while enabling provision of reservation will dominate policy .In the end we will have uneducated children of empowered and rich castes and we will celebrate social justice . The debate for social justice has to move from quotas to sound schooling and from a policy of haves to children of have-nots and for this Youth for Equality is ready to put in its share. But the million dollar question is whether there is political will to strengthen the have-nots of the reserved category adequately to compete with the haves .The answer from the political class is 'no' which clearly indicates the failure that the proposed measure will be and also raises substantial doubt about reservations being the best model of affirmative action. If you doubt us then ask any Scheduled Caste child-uneducated, illiterate, malnourished and tactically abandoned by social justice patriarchs- for whom no statement has come in this whole debate from any politician of repute. Hopefully we have succeeded in explaining the gamble called reservation for the OBCs and the injustice within social justice.
What do you do when while sitting in a BA class you are told that doors for you in MA or an MBA is being closed. Your right to life and livelihood itself is in trouble holes after holes are punched in your right and reducing it to a mere mirage. You want to oppose, agitate in every possible manner, as it is a question for your existence, Life and Livelihood in the larger scheme of things. You strike work, you strike in your colleges, and being an unwanted you prove to the world how wanted you are and the doors should not be closed on you. This is what we students and doctors have done, are doing and will do. Students came out on Jay Prakash Narayan's call during emergency and nation protected democracy, students came out on call of "Quit India" and the father of nation gave us independence and now students have taken the call of Dr. Ambedkar and the nation shall get Equality.
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