Tag Archives: Dalit Bahujans

RESERVATION – 10 Questions and Answers


Q 1: What is reservation?

The word reservation is a misnomer. The appropriate word for it used in the Indian Constitution is Representation. It is not given to anyone in his individual capacity. It is given to individual as a representative of the underprivileged community. The beneficiaries of reservations are in turn expected to help their communities to come up.

Q 2: Why reservation?

The policy of reservations is being used as a strategy to overcome discrimination and act as a compensatory exercise. A large section of the society was historically denied right to property, education, business and civil rights because of the practice of untouchability. In order to compensate for the historical denial and have safeguards against discrimination, we have the reservation policy.

Q 3: Were Reservations incorporated by the founding fathers of the constitution only for first 10 years?

Only the political reservations (seats reserved in Loksabha, Vidhansabha, etc) were to be reserved for 10 years and the policy review was to be made after that. That is why after every 10 years the parliament extends political reservations.

The 10 year limit for reservations is not true for the reservations in education and employment. The reservations in educational institutions and in employment are never given extension as it is given for the political reservations.

Q 4: Why give reservations on basis of caste?

To answer this question we must first understand why the need for the reservations has arisen. The cause for the various types of disabilities that the underprivileged castes in India face / have faced, is the systemic historical subjugation of a massive magnitude based on caste system having a religious sanction. Therefore if the caste system was the prime cause of all the disabilities, injustice and inequalities that the Dalit-Bahujans suffered, then to overcome these disabilities the solution has to be designed on basis of caste only.

Q 5: Why not on basis of economic criterion?

Reservations should never be based on economic status for various reasons as follows:

1. The poverty prevailing among the Dalit-Bahujans has its genesis in the social-religious deprivations based on caste system. Therefore poverty is an effect and caste system a cause. The solution should strike at the cause and not the effect
2. An individual’s Economic status can change. Low income may be taken to mean poverty. But the purchasing value of money, in India, depends upon caste. For example a Dalit can not buy a cup of tea even in some places.

3. Practical difficulties in proving economic status of individual to the state machinery are many. The weak may suffer.

4. In caste ridden India infested with rampant corruption, even for an unchangeable status like caste, the false “Caste Certificate” can be purchased. How much easier will it be to purchase a false “Income Certificate”? So income based reservation is impractical. It is no use arguing when both certificates can be bought, why caste only should form basis of reservation. It is certainly more difficult to buy a false caste certificate than a false income certificate.

5. Reservation is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end. The main aim is to achieve the active participation and sharing by the “socially excluded” humanity in all the fields of the affairs of the society. It is not panacea for all ills, neither it is permanent. It would be a temporary measure till such time the matrimonial advertisements in newspaper columns continue to contain the mention of caste.

Q 6: Should there be a creamy layer criterion or not?

The demand from anti-reservationists for introduction of creamy layer is ploy to scuttle the whole effectiveness of reservations. Even now out of all seats meant for SC/STs in IITs , 25-40 % seats remain vacant because it seems IITs do not find suitable candidates. Just imagine what would happen if by applying creamy layer criterion the SC/ST middle class, lower middle class people who are in position to take decent education are excluded from reservations benefit ! Will the poor among SC/STs be able to compete with these ‘privileged ‘students’ trained under Ramaiah and at various IIT-JEE training centers at Kota ?
Of course Not.
This will lead to 100 % seats in IITs for SC/STs going vacant.

Q 7: How long should the reservations continue?

The answer to this question lies with the anti-reservationists. It depends on how sincerely and effectively the policy makers which constitute “privileged castes” people in executive, judiciary and legislature, implement the reservations policy.
Is it just on part of “privileged castes” people who have enjoyed undeclared exclusive reservations for past 3000 years and continue to enjoy the same even in 21st century in all religious institutions and places of worship, to ask for the timelines for reservations policy?
Why do not they ask, how long the exclusive reservations for particular community in the religious institutions and places of worship are going to continue?
The people who have acquired disabilities due to inhuman subjugation for 3000 years will need substantial time to come over those disabilities. 50 years of affirmative action is nothing as compared to 3000 years of subjugation.

Q 8: Will not the reservations based on castes lead to divisions in the society?

There are apprehensions that reservations will lead to the divisions in the society. These apprehensions are totally irrational. The society is already divided into different castes. On the contrary reservations will help in annihilating the caste system. There are around 5000 castes among the SC/ST and OBCs. By grouping these various castes under 3 broad categories of SC, ST and OBC, the differences among 5000 separate castes can be abridged. This is a best way of annihilation of castes. Therefore rather than making rhetoric about reservations leading to divisions in the society the anti-reservationists should make honest and sincere efforts to annihilate castes. Have these people made any efforts towards this direction? In most of the cases the answer is NO. The people making these anti-reservations rhetoric, all this time have been enjoying all the privileges that the Indian caste system offers to the “Privileged Castes”. As long as they enjoy the privileges of the caste system they do not have any qualms regarding it. But when it comes to making castes as basis for achieving social equality by providing representations these same people make noises. These are the double standards of highest order practiced by the ‘privileged’ people.

Q 9: Will not reservations affect the Merit?

As regards to how Merit is defined in a very narrow sense and what it actually means, following is the quote from an article by Prof Rahul Barman of IIT Kanpur.

Reservations of more than 60 % have existed in the 4 states of southern India and around 40 % in Maharashtra since last 50 years. On other hand in the north Indian states the 15 % ‘privileged castes’ have been enjoying 77 % of the seats in educational institutions and in employment (assuming that 23 % reservations for SC/STs are totally filled, which is not the case). The World Bank study has found that all the 4 south Indian states are much ahead of north Indian states in terms of their human development index. It is a common knowledge that all the southern states and Maharashtra are much ahead in fields of education, health, industrial development, in implementing poverty alleviation schemes, etc. than the north Indian states. This shows that reservations have indeed helped the southern Indian states in making progress on various fronts. Whereas lack of adequate reservations is responsible for the lack of development in most of the north Indian states.

Q 10: Have existing reservations for SC/STs been effective or not?

The reservation policy in the public sector has benefited a lot of people. The Central government alone has 14 lakh employees. The proportion of Scheduled castes in class III and IV is well above the quota of 16 per cent and in class I and II, the proportion is around 8–12 per cent. So, the middle and the lower middle class that we see today from the Dalit community is because of reservation.

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17.1 % increase in crimes against Dalits, what governments are doing?


The crimes

  • Dalit girl beaten brutally because her shadow fell on upper caste man. Two Dalit boys killed for not having change for Rs 4.
  • Dalit girl’s hand burnt for asking upper caste man to lower volume of music. Dalit man crushed because an upper caste man didn’t like his mobile ringtone.
  • Several Dalit women and girls gang-raped. All of this in just last one month.
  • In 2013, overall, there was a 17.1% increase in crimes against Dalits.

Toothless prevention

  • The Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Tribes Act has not curbed violence against Dalits.
  • Number of cases pending under the Act: 84.1%.
  • Only 5% of total cases result in conviction, and the rate is declining steadily.

Suggested reforms

  • Dalit coalition NCPSA has suggested major amendments to the current Act.
  • Key changes: There should be no need to prove caste as a motivating factor in crime. Hard to prove intention. Identity of victims should be enough.
  • Officers should be held responsible for failing to act when crimes against Dalits are reported. Official apathy is a key reason Dalits don’t get justice.
  • The scope of the Act should be broadened to include socio-economic boycott, destruction of property, limiting access to opportunities, humiliation of men and women, etc.

Government inaction

  • UPA 2 Cabinet cleared the updated Bill in 2013, but it couldn’t be passed in Parliament.
  • Ordinance was passed, but Modi govt allowed it to lapse. Then sent it to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Committee cleared it late last year with minor changes, but govt hasn’t moved on it yet.

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Source – CatchNews

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18th July (1880) in Dalit History – Mahatma Jyotiba Phule wrote against the widespread consumption of alcohol 


18 July 1880: Taking a serious note of widespread consumption of alcohol, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule wrote a letter to Plunket, president of Pune municipality’s acting committee.

Mahatma Jyotiba Phule was a member of the Pune municipality from 1876 to 1882.

The letter read:

The municipality has spent a vast amount of money on appointing staff and running the health department with the aim of maintaining public health. Pune city was not familiar with the sight of liquor shops. But now liquor shops are seen even in crowded areas, thus sowing the seeds of decline in public morals. This nullifies the municipality’s aim to maintain public health. With the opening of liquor shops, alcoholism has increased, and many a families destroyed. The vice of alcoholism has gripped the city. To control the spread of this vice, at least to a certain extent, I suggest that the municipality should impose a tax on liquor shops in proportion to the damage they do. I believe no municipality has imposed such a tax, though the central government has done so. The municipality should make enquiries about this. I shall be grateful if my resolution is placed before the general assembly.

The letter created a stir. Dnanprakash newspaper lauded Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and said following in his support: “The issue to which Jotirao for the first time has drawn the municipality’s attention is of great importance. He deserves to be congratulated for his action.”

Mahatma Jyotiba Phule received an acknowledgement for his letter from the president of the municipality. The letter was placed before the committee in the first meeting itself and the following resolution was passed:

The president should decide whether to put this before the committee or not. According to the resolution passed by the central government on 22 October 1877, no tax can be imposed on alcohol. But the assembly hopes that it will be possible to reduce the number of liquor shops in Pune.

The acting committee’s resolution and the original letter were handed to Mr Ritchnell, president of the municipality, who sent them on 27 July 1880 to Henry Dickson, an excise officer, for his comments. Dickson returned them on 30 July with the following comments:

We humbly state that during 1873-77 there were four liquor shops in Pune. Since 1877-78, six new ones have opened, bringing the number to ten. The District Governor had given permission to open new shops because where there are no liquor shops, illicit liquor is prepared. The action was taken to discourage brewing of illicit, harmful liquor in Pune. In 1874, 15617 gallons of liquor were sold. In 1879 the sale went up to 22912 gallons.

The District Governor was convinced that alcoholism in Pune was rapidly on the increase. On 8 August 1880, Ritchnell assigned the case to the public superintendent who sent the following reply, on 27th August:

The reason alcoholism is on the increase is that previously the rich were not addicted to it, but now they are. It however may not be true that they have their fill of country liquor.

Ritchnell sent all the correspondence to the Pune municipality with the remark: It cannot be claimed that alcoholism has increased on account of the increased number of liquor shops. The question is whether anything can be done to put a stop to the spread of this vice.

In its resolution regarding Jotirao’s letter, the municipality expressed the desire to put in effort to reduce this vice from spreading. He was not the first to protest against alcoholism in Maharashtra. In 1852 the people of Satara had sent an application to the government to close down all liquor shops. In 1869  an officer named C. W. Bell  published an account of the government’s excise policy, which stated:

Towards the end of the Peshwa regime, alcoholism had gone up. Taxes earned from it had increased. Offenders were sentenced to severe punishment.

Influence of Jotirao’s work and leadership began to be felt widely in Maharashtra. He became the mouthpiece for the grievances of the downtrodden. There was no leader quite like him. He paved the way for the new era of social activism.

18th July6

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Did you know? A Dalit is 27 times more likely to be trafficked than anyone else


[Tweet “Today in India, a Dalit is “27 times more likely to be trafficked than anyone else.””]

[Tweet “Dalits suffer at each and every place in India but governments don’t care much about Dalits. “] We demand that Dalits be protected and supported.

Trafficked

 

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Documentary: The Death of Merit – Manish Kumar (IIT Roorkee)


When a student from the lowest strata of society fights against all odds to prove her merit and reach the best educational institutions in India, are those institutions proving themselves meritorious enough to recognize her worth, to accommodate, let alone nurture her aspirations?

When a Dalit or Adivasi student becomes an engineer, doctor, business graduate or scientist, it should be a cause of pride for not just the family or the community but for the entire nation. Instead, why do our nation and its educational institutions reward their merit with discrimination, humiliation, violence and death?

This documentary is third in the series of our efforts to document caste-based discrimination prevalent in Indian higher education system resulting in large number of suicides of Dalit students in the Indian campuses.

Manish Kumar Guddolian, 20 years of age, was pursuing his IInd year, Integrated Dual Degree Programme, Department of Computer Science & Information Technology, at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee.

The only son of a Junior Warrant Officer at Indian Air Force, Manish committed ‘suicide’ by jumping off from 5th floor of his hostel on 6th February, 2011.

The documentary is based on the testimonies of Manish’s parents and other family members who have yet to come in terms with his death and are fighting against the collective might of IIT Roorkee and Roorkee Police that, as usual, want to relegate their child’s death to ‘a weak student getting depressed for not able to cope up with rigorous academic environment of highly competitive IITs’ .

However the truth is Manish committed suicide, unable to bear the constant castetist assaults and abuses by his own batch-mates, criminal attitude of his hostel warden and IIT Administration that instead of acting on his complaints forced him to live outside IIT Roorkee, and perhaps also due to the complete shattering of his faith on IIT Administration that was supposed to treat all its students as equals and without using caste-lenses.

The Death Of Merit – Manish Kumar (IIT Roorkee) Part – I

The Death Of Merit – Manish Kumar (IIT Roorkee) Part – II

For more detail please visit http://thedeathofmeritinindia.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/the-death-of-merit-manish-kumar-iit-roorkee/

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