Shame on Us

Over the past few months our region has been a witness to things that as citizen of this Free Liberal nation makes me hang my head in shame.

70 years since independence and preceded by the clarion call of Mahatma Gandhi against untouchability, we the citizens of India who in the comfort of our drawing rooms question the benefits of the reservation policy go on and practice the same the same old dead/inhuman customs on fellow citizens.

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News in Dainik Bhaskar dated 21.2.2017

In one case the parents refused to send their wards to a government run Aanganwadi Centre just because the in charge was a Dalit. They didn’t want her to cook and touch their children and wanted her transferred to someplace else. This happens not in some village but in the urban, educated neighbourhood of Udaipur. What is the kind of example these parents are setting for their children? And they still speak out against reservations??

In another case an elected Sarpanch and his associates were not allowed to eat with the rest just because they were Dalits. This happened to an elected Panchayat Official, imagine what would be the treatment meted out to others untouched by such official post/ status??

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News in Dainik Bhaskar dt. 2.5.2016

We claim ourselves to be an educated, emancipated, free thinking society and this is how we treat the marginalised sections with not an iota of guilt or regret. The problem is in our mindset, in our social milieu that no education , money can ever replace.

When we speak out against reservations we get into the victim mood but this victimhood is far-far rem

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News in Dainik Bhaskar

oved from reality and the numbers are here to prove this imaginary loss:
• Inspite of 27 % OBC reservations their representation is a mere 12 % in Central and State Govt. Services and an abysmal 4 % in Class I Jobs.
• In more than 716 Universities and 38,056 Colleges there are a mere 7.2% Dalit Teachers and 2.12% ST Teachers.
• Out of the total 850 Judges in 21 High Courts of India there are only 24 ST/SC Judges.
• There is a vacancy of 68 % in the Teaching Staff of Central Universities in the SC Category.

We still want to talk against or even revisiting the Reservation Policy??

What about the treatment we mete out to them and till the time there is them and us and not us, all the above questions that are not even worth visiting.

And till that very time we should be ashamed, ashamed for failing our forefathers, ashamed for failing Gandhji , ashamed for failing our brothers and sisters……

Ashamed !!!

Jai Bhim

download 5Today is the day India celebrates the 125th Birth Anniversary of The Great B R Ambedkar – Babasaheb !! The legacy that he left behind still continues to guide and steer the political discussion across the spectrum. I wouldn’t delve too much in his achievements as Wikipedia will provide enough of that https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._R._Ambedkar . This is about my idea and notions on Him as felt and experienced over the past decades.

Coming from a privileged background and with little awareness about the depravity download (4faced by the millions of fellow citizens my world view and especially that on Babasaheb was eschewed and flawed and having studied in an English Medium Premium Boarding school of India my interactions certainly didn’t help my case. The first time I heard or at least became aware of his legacy was during the Mandal Agitation when schools were closed, students immolated themselves protesting against the implementation of the recommendations of the commission. The sympathies lay with the protesting students and against the reservations.

Luckily for me since, childhood our family didn’t make too much of an issue of the caste or creed that we belonged to, we were proud practising Hindus and that is it. The further breakups of the caste in the four Varnas were bought to the fore only when we studied history in school. download 1Moreover the reading of Arun Shourie’s book Worshipping False Gods in later years further reinforced my opinion on Babasaheb. It was only during my college years in Mumbai in the Nineties that I saw the way people revered him and placed him on the same pedestal as God. Later interactions and reading did help in clearing most of my false notions and face up to reality about the magnitude and life changing body of work for underprivileged sections of the society. The respect grew multifolds when I read some of his arguments made in the Constituent Assembly where our Constitution was being deliberated upon.

I wouldn’t go into the merits of the reservations that he strongly espoused because that has been covered in my earlier blog I support The Reservations !!. I only wish to see that the political class especially the one using his legacy and imagery do not deviate from his ideals and his name is not used to fill their own coffers.

The Dalits whose rights he championed constitute nearly one fifth of the Indian Population as per the 2011 Census against whom in spite of the safeguards crime is committed every 8 minutes with an abysmal conviction rate of mere 5.3 %. In spite of the reservations and educational facilities the dropout rate in higher classes is a whopping 50.1 %. The Government has done quite a bit for them but all this isn’t helpful unless we remove the biases from within. We have miles to go before we achieve what we set out for.

428235_10151189732356717_994702135_nAn incident that i have personally faced in not so distant past is about my Friend and political activist Late Dinesh Tarwadi who belonged to the Valmiki Community. He went on to receive a Political posting with a rank of a minister in Govt of Rajasthan. We used to go on political tours together and attend meetings and eat together. I was told by some of my political well wishers not to roam around with him due to his castes, well luckily for me I was beyond this kind of nonsense and paid no heed to them. The friendship was however sadly cut short by his untimely death.

The real celebrations of Babasaheb will only be possible when the biases are removed from both the sides. As he said “Caste has killed Public Spirit. Caste has destroyed the sense of Public Charity. Caste has made Public Opinion impossible. Virtue has become Caste-Ridden and Morality has become Caste Bound.”

I support The Reservations !!

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The Patel agitation once again opens up the debate for reservations. My wall on FB has some posts against reservations and not a single one for it. Maybe I and the company I keep didn’t have thru the feeling of deprivation in respect of the caste and the class we belong to.

Reservation is a legacy that we carry forward given to us by the founding fathers of Independent India in our Constitution. And there was a reason for providing the same to the backward classes, SC/ ST of our nation who had been deprived of basic Human Rights that we now take for granted. The reason was to provide reservations in Govt Jobs / Education Institutions to the deprived classes who did not have the wherewithal to match up with the privileged sections and to give them an opportunity to uplift them from utmost inadvertence.

Backward Classes:

The Constitution talks about Backward Classes and not castes which some argue should be beyond castes and be linked to economic status. But in a country where a person with a pucca house /  Cooler /  and two wheeler manages to get a Below Poverty Line (BPL) Certificate and the Income Certificates are easily fudged how would this ever succeed ?? Where as in the case of castes we know for sure that in India since time immemorial there was no scope of social and economic mobility of these deprived castes. They were bound to do jobs and live in conditions that cannot be ever justified.  So in an Indian Scenario there cannot be a better co-relation to the measure of backwardness and the castes one belongs to. Yes there are bound to be exceptions to this norm, but the merits far outnumber the demerits.

Time Limit:

One argument that has always been put forward was that the reservations were initially just for 10 years and what is the sanctity of it till date. The purpose of the reservations was to lift them out of the social and economic deprivation.  And the question we need to honestly ask ourselves that have we really achieved that purpose. The answer is a big NO. Yes we do have some people who have benefitted from this and are able to escape the drudgery that they were subjected to but again that would be miniscule in comparison to the their entire population. So till the time the benefit does not reach the last such person it was intended for there shouldn’t be any roll back in the foreseeable future.

Quota V/s. Merit

A child form a traditionally reserved class can never be at the same footing at the one from a class that has been historically privileged.  Look at the difference of the school they both go to, the home environment they come back to and the difference in the extra resources that is at the disposal of the parents. So when the naysayers talk about Quota Vs Merit, how do they justify merit achieved through studying in a private school, attending the best of classes, using their well established networks and if all else fails securing admissions by paying capitation fees. How can we talk about merit when they don’t have to work while studying to supplement their family incomes and can concentrate on studying?

The only grey areas for me are the questions of creamy layer and the inclusion of newer castes in these categories. The reservation was meant to uplift individuals and give them an opportunity to pull their classes out too. However they have failed to do their duty and have passed on the benefits to few. The life cycle of these reservation over the years have made possible for a peon from a reserved category to see his grandchild as IAS/IPS, but the question is does he need it ne further?? Now after 65 years of adopting our Constitution and providing reservations is there a possibility of excluding those who have benefitted from the reservations and providing for the ones who have remained untouched by these benefits. Also is it justified to add castes that were previously excluded from these reservations?

The above are the questions that can be argued for and against, the law of the land would be supreme and the Supreme Court of India would have to ensure that there are no additions and subtractions in the list merely for political and short term gains.

I had to personally only once face the reservations and that also a just a few months back while trying to enroll myself for PHD in the University and never before. But the question I do ask myself would I still be a supporter of reservations and willing to lose out a seat for a reserved category when it is a question of my children. Well all I can say that will cross the bridge when I come to it and hope I will still stand firm to the ground like now.