Reservation or representation

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The Supreme Court’s hearing on reservation in promotion has provided enough ammunition to the status quo lobby as the media reported the incident with ‘catchy’ headlines. India Today headline ‘Does the great grandson of an IAS officer need quota in promotion’, was very much like the Times of India, which looked very ‘satisfied’ or ‘internally pleased’ at the exasperation of the chief justice and other judges on the issue. Interestingly, the same judges have rarely spoken against the family domination with in their own fraternity. Most of the judges in our courts actually hail from one family or others and that would not be more than 30-40 families.

Frankly speaking reservation is not a poverty alleviation programme. The whole reservation issue also expose various ‘secular’ lawyers who have come up with the idea that once you are there at the entry level then you dont need it in promotion. How does the government think that there would not be any discrimination against the Dalits or OBCs after they enter into the structure. There are various ways and methods to do so and people face it.

India is a hugely diverse country. It is a continent and our government, bureaucracy, opinion makers see it from the north Indian brahmanical minds as if they alone have the capacity and qualities to ‘control’ the entire nation. Each wing of the government somewhere control something in our bureaucratic structure. Relationship and connections matters in most of our elite structure and now the political formulations too are based on it. After some time, the 543 seats will be reserved for the 543 families of Lok Sabha members and no outsiders would be able to contest. It is a reality of today. Bhakts of all varieties must notice that they will find it difficult for their ‘different’ gods to fulfill their ‘needs’ if they are an aspirant for a Lok Sabha ticket.

While I agree to various observation related reservation and I know that there are thousands of young, brilliant minds in the SC-ST-OBC-and other marginalised communities who are there to take over once opportunity is given to them, hence one should not feel that there would not be any representation and you can ask question that new people should be allowed. The giving up of quota must be voluntary otherwise it violate an individual’s right to appear in a particular examination or post based on his qualification and represent his community. The reservation in the services is not merely a favor by the government to ‘poor’ and ‘marginalised’ but in fact a representation of the community. The person is there so that at times if the community interests are violated, he could speak about the same. I know many might say that it is a controversial statement but the fact is those historically denied justice and dignity need to be protected and promoted.

I would call for a caste census of Indian bureaucracy, judiciary, academia, media and industries. This must be then matched with the caste census in India and see what is the status. When I say caste census, I would also like to say divide caste in clear categories and not merely Savarnas and non.. name them in particular so that we know who stand where.

There is a credibility crisis among our lawmakers and structures of democracy which are there for the name. The reservation issue create heart burn among the savarnas who had monopolised the structure. Among the Savarnas it is the brahmins, Kayasthas and Banias who have the cake. Others flow in their line in the name of their Savarnahood. In each broader category, there are one or two communities who have taken the cake leaving others far behind. We all have our arguments but one fact is there, if this society were not that prejudiced, we would not have questioned them.

Let Supreme Court think, why is the Muslim representation absolutely nothing in our structure. Are they not the citizen of India ? 14% of India’s citizens are denied their basic fundamental right and representation not just politically but also in our services. Since it was left to the ‘meritorious’ system, it systematically disempowered them from all sectors and our courts have not been able to take a suo moto action that.It is clear that if there were no quota, SC-ST-OBCs would not have made to these places as they are today. It means that the powerful brahmanical structure want to dismantle quota through various means. Despite quota, we do not have SC-ST officers at the Secretary level. A brahmin is made Cabinet Secretary/Principal Secretary after retirement and no eyebrows are raised. There is some discontent among the serving bureaucrats but mostly have kept quiet. At the end it is the ‘biradari ka mamla’. Can you imagine a Behinji or Akhilesh Yadav making an OBC or a Dalit civil servant who is retired as cabinet secretary or principal secretary and if they do it, do you think the the lap dogs in the media would keep quiet?

It is these reasons that Baba Saheb Ambedkar wanted representation in power structure. It is time, we all talk about proportionate system. Each wing of our democratic structure must proportionately be represented by its people, diverse castes, regional balances and religious minorities too. India can not be a strong and democratic society if all segments of our society are not fairly represented in our various structures like media, judiciary, academia, polity, industry and administrative structure. Let us have proportional representation everywhere as it will satisfy everyone but we know who will be unhappy with this… only those who have acquired disproportionate share in power structure. It is they who are now feeling the jolt and trying to discredit reservation system. We agree with them that reservation is not doing good so let us speak about proportionate representation to ensure justice and fairplay for all.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat