“It is against the fundamental principles of humanity, it is against the dictates of reason that a man should, by reason of birth, be denied or given extra privileges" -Mahatma Gandhi
Does India still need a caste based reservation system in education, profession and any other areas concerning livelihood?
In my first post of these series, “26 posts for a better society”, I took up the topic of Bigotry Be Bygone. Bigotry and untouchability, still prevalent in some form or other in Indian and world societies, have come down significantly in the present day. While the beginning was made in the 19th century during British rule , there has been significant strides towards the removal these stigmas from the face of our country, including providing constitutional provision to prohibit untouchability, post independence.
Without delving much into different statistical parameters on the subject, it can be concluded that there are considerable amount of opportunities provided for the “Scheduled Castes” and “Scheduled Tribes” – the supposedly weaker sections of the society for their overall economic development. It is worthwhile to note that our constitution also provided provision of caste based reservation only for 10 years after independence by which time it was assumed that country would be able to overcome the challenges it was grappling with earlier. Later however, there has been no traction on this issue with any political party taking interest to repeal or amend those provisions, keeping an eye on the vote bank politics as around 33% of the electorate are from these sections.
In my opinion, in the current context of India moving ahead and with the background provided earlier, we should be restricting to provide with reservation only on the grounds of economic condition and/or gender in some cases. We, as a society, cannot afford to take chances with meritocracy stagnating on account of financial constraints and undeserved reservations. Another significant consideration is inclusiveness in all walks of life. Increase of gender diversity along with differently abled people are significant approaches in the directions of education, corporate and political systems becoming to be much stronger and resilient.
I would also want to highlight that there should be a system so that the same families are not extended these benefits across generations. It is expected that with the necessary support provided in one generation, there won’t be any need or very little need for any further support requirement to be provisioned for the same family. The same sustenance assistance can be made available to other sections of the public who have a more immediate need.
These are some serious issues that we need to focus onto going forward. Otherwise I have seen situations where people are becoming doctors without the base of necessary merit and credentials to support their career. Medical profession - a significant enough profession to take care of lives should be also kept outside the purview of any kind of reservation other than merit.