Tag Archives: poverty
In the recent debates on reservation some people have suggested that let us now give reservation to so-called upper castes according to percentage of their population. I do not agree with this argument. I think those who are mooting this idea are doing in frustration or out of their ignorance about the logic and basis of reservation. By even mooting this idea we dilute the principles of reservation and spread the idea that reservation can be granted to anyone. One should not forget and misunderstand the logic of reservation. There are very significant, fundamental and structural principles on the basis of which this reservation was conceded to SC, STs and to some OBCs after intense debates in the constituent assembly and centuries of movements by SCs, STs, and OBCs. Few of them were:
- They have faced thousands of years of exclusion and discrimination and were not accepted as even human beings.
This exclusion and discrimination of thousands of years was cumulative in nature, that is, it was not in one aspect of life but it was in most of the spheres, for instance in social, economic, political, educational, religious, residential, occupational, etc.
The founding fathers of the Indian nation thought that even after these people were accorded human rights enshrined in the democratic constitution of India and there will be penal provisions according to Indian Penal Code one will not be able to obliterate this exclusion and discrimination against these people and there should be some special provisions for them in the realm of Politics, Bureaucracy, and Education.
There is an element of social justice in the reservation of SCs, STs, and OBCs. It involves historical corrective of injustices done to SCs and STS.
There was no time limit fixed for reservation for SC and STs in Bureaucratic Jobs and in Educational Institutions. Only political reservation under article 330 and 332 of Indian Constitution, which reserves seats in Lok Sabha and in Vidhan Sabhas of different States were for 10 years. However, these reservations have been given new life with different amendments.
The most important point is ‘Reservation for SCs and STs’ is directly connected with the issue of representation. It was because they did not have any representation in any sphere of life, that is, in social, economic, political, educational, etc. sphere for thousands of years and therefore they were supposed to get representation in these Institutions.
Therefore, reservation is not poverty alleviation programme. The founding fathers of nation did not think to remove poverty of scheduled caste persons through reservations. In fact there are so many poverty alleviation programmes begin run in India. One such programme is MNREGA, the other is Prime Minister’s Rojgar Yojna etc. They always thought to grant SCs and STs Self-representation through reservation.
In the light of the above we cannot concede reservation to Upper Castes. Second we cannot concede reservations on economic basis.
By – Prof. Vivek Kumar, JNU
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.
In South Asia poverty persists alongside growing wealth. A disproportionate number of those in extreme poverty are Dalits. Poverty, inequality and caste are deeply enmeshed, yet there is little appetite to address caste oppression in the international development community.
Caste-based discrimination remains one of the world’s worst and least addressed injustices, affecting the life chances of many millions of people and involving violence, untouchability and humiliation. This is despite the fact that South Asian governments have made caste discrimination illegal, and introduced various provisions and protections for Dalits.
In recent years, Dalits who have protested, claimed their rights, or struggled for dignity have often faced brutal reprisal. The issue of caste injustice has been silenced in wider national and international communities. It is assumed that caste inequality is an internal matter of culture and religion and that it will be erased by the forces of market economy and modernisation.
But the evidence seems to be against this. Research shows how caste is an ongoing aspect of modern economies, shaping labour markets, access to services, health, education, opportunity and well-being.
As the development of Sustainable Development Goals refocuses international attention on social inclusion and human rights for all, it is time to examine the relationship between caste and development.
It is in this context that a group of UK INGOs in collaboration with SOAS South Asia Institute decided to organise a one-day conference to shed light on the issue and generate debate:
- Is caste a continuing force in South Asian economy and society?
- Does caste injustice create economic discrimination today?
- How do the effects of caste and gender intersect?
- How has caste discrimination been challenged?
- What role do international development agencies have?
Our speakers include prominent academics and practitioners from the sub-continent who will share their insights with an audience from the UK/international development community. The event will bring together key world-leading researchers on caste, economy and development, the principal campaigners exposing the reality of caste-based discrimination and caste-gender intersections, and leaders and experts from organisations working practically for development with economic justice and Dalit human rights.
The conference will throw light on a subject that has been kept in the shadows. It will offer expertise for shaping appropriate policy on caste injustice, poverty and development by different development agencies.
This is a conference of vital importance to every organisation with an interest in development in South Asia – and beyond, since in today’s interconnected world caste-based discrimination is an issue of global importance.
It will be an interactive conference, with plenty of opportunity to contribute your own thoughts and experiences.
Caste – out of the shadows
Date: 5 September 2015Time: 9:00 AM
Finishes: 5 September 2015Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Brunei GalleryRoom: Brunie Gallery Lecture Theatre and Suite
Type of Event: Conference
Book and get more information from here.
Jai Bhim Comrade, shot over 14 years, follows the music of protest of Maharashtra’s dalits. India’s Dalit (oppressed) castes were abhorred as “untouchables”. It captures the brutal reality of oppression against dalits and people’s struggle. In 1997, a statue of Dr. Ambedkar in a Dalit Rambai colony in Mumbai was desecrated with a garland of footwear. As residents came onto the street, police fired resulting in the death of 10 residents. Vilas Ghogre a poet and singer, hung himself in protest. Through poems and songs, it covers that moment and goes on to explore events that unfolded in the aftermath. (Synopsis from Wikipedia)
Watch the full documentary from –
Almost everyone is talking about new T.V. serial ‘Satyamev Jayate’, Aamir Khan and dowry system. Though I have not seen a single episode of this serial but I think I am somehow connected with the discussions because my parents are worried about my marriage and are searching a ‘perfect match’. Few weeks ago; I and my friend, Ravi, were talking about the marriage and why shouldn’t we? Everyone is getting married; many of my and his college friends got married and even produced offspring! My friend seemed quite worried as he was ‘turning 30’ within weeks and was still unmarried. We were discussing, teasing and chuckling over all the aspects of marriage, yes all the aspects, if you get me right. While discussing we reached to a point where ‘dowry’ came to picture.
“On my marriage, I will never ask for dowry or even a single paisa.” I only need a good girl, who can understand me. I said to my friend.
“Yes, then you will never get married. Why don’t you need money, you are an engineer so you have price tag. If you will not ask for dowry, get your facts right that you will probably not get married.” He nonstop told me a story that one of his engineer friend said to his future parents-in-law that he don’t want a single paise as dowry and his future parents-in-law got suspicious if boy really work as an engineer or not or if something is wrong with the boy? And finally his parents-in-law-to-be broke the marriage.
Further trying to be serious my friend told me that there is no need to demand, there are ways devised since our forefathers to extract money from the girl’s parents. You just need to be up to date and move with the world!
I couldn’t understand the meaning of ‘up to date’ and asked him to let me know how to be up to date and move with the world?
He replied, okay, now suppose you want money and you are not able to ask it directly from the girl’s parents. You don’t even need to say it, you just mention your bank account number few times and give your bank account number, all will be set and her parents will understand! And yes, while giving bank account number don’t forget to say. “Main to Sadhu aadmi hu, paise ko hath nai lagata.” (I am a saint and I don’t touch money!)
Next, before marriage just tells your parents-in-law that if you want that your daughter don’t travel on feet, you know that how hard it is to walk these days in sun, if you want that your daughter don’t travel in crowdy buses, please give car to her. And yes, Maruti is not a good brand these days and has lost its share value, I love General Motors. Don’t forget to mention – I don’t need car and I can do it without it, or I will only be driver for your daughter.
There is no nation of Indians in the real sense of the world; it is yet to be created. In believing we are a nation, we are cherishing a great delusion. How can people divided into thousand of castes be a nation? The sooner we realize that we are not yet a nation, in a social and psychological sense of the world, the better for us. – Dr B R Ambedkar
As all of us welcome year 2012 and greet each other with open arms, I visualise a dream. I have always said that I am a dreamer. Yes, I do have a dream, a dream (Begumpura) that Guru Ravidas saw about 650 years ago for everyone or a dream (Utopia) that nourished by Dr Ambedkar or I have a dream that Martin Luther King Jr. saw for the blacks of America. Here is my dream for Dalits of India almost along the same lines what Guru Ravidas, Dr Ambedkar, Martin Luther King Jr. and many others saw for better world.
I have a dream that one day; Dalits will break the chains of caste discrimination and free themselves from the chains of slavery that has ruined Dalits for thousands years. Yes, it’s my dream to see casteless society. I do also dream that Dalit houses won’t be set on fire or Dalits won’t be boycotted anymore. Dalits won’t be killed for the same name as of upper caste people or Dalits won’t be forced to change their names or Dalits won’t hide their names to escape caste discrimination. I also dream with open eyes that untouchability will become history and there will be no untouchable.
I have a dream that one day; for Dalits justice won’t be delayed or justice won’t be just another word or justice won’t be alien to Dalits. I anticipate that Dalits won’t be told to wait, wait and wait bit more for justice; a wait that always meant never. A day won’t be far when everyone will be treated equal and will live with dignity and pride. That will be the day, when Buddha will smile upon India again!
I have a dream that one day; Dalit women won’t be paraded naked, raped or forced to commit suicide for nothing wrong. Not only the Dalit women but whole women society will not be forced to do menial jobs. Women won’t be disrespected, exploited, neglected or won’t be treated as a sex-object only in Indian society. I dream that one day, equality will come in all spheres and women suffering will come to end.
I have a dream that one day; Dalit students won’t be made to sit separately in classrooms, or won’t be discriminated and forced to commit suicide in schools and colleges. A day will come when Dalit students won’t be purified via sprinkling cow urine on them and Dalit students’ seats won’t be left unfilled in schools and colleges. No Dalit student will be forced to do cleaning work in schools, no student will deny food cooked by Dalit cook and Dalit students will be able to use the same playing grounds as other caste students do.
22 Vows administered by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar
on 14th Oct. 1956 at
Diksha Bhoomi, Nagpur (India)
1. I shall not consider Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh as God nor shall I worship them.
2. I shall not consider Ram and Krishna as God nor shall I worship them.
3. I shall not believe in Gouri-Ganesh and other Gods and goddesses of Hindu Religion nor shall I worship them.
4. I don’t have faith incarnation of God.
5. I believe that, Buddha is incarnation of Vishnu, is a false and malicious propaganda.
6. I shall not perform shraddha, nor shall I give pind-dan.
7. I shall not practice anything which is against and different from Buddha’s Dhamma.
8. I will not perform any rituals to be performed by Brahmins.
9. I believe that all human beings are equal.
10. I shall make efforts to establish equality.
11. I shall follow the Eightfold path as told by the Buddha.
12. I shall practice ten Paramitas as told by the Buddha.
13. I shall have compassion and living kindness for all living beings and protect them.
14. I shall not steal.
15. I shall not tell lies.
16. I shall not commit any sexual misconduct.
17. I shall not consume liquor/intoxicants.
18. I shall lead a life based on Buddhist Principle of wisdom, Precepts, and compassion.
19. I denounce Hindu religion which is Harmful for my development as a human being and which has treated human being unequal lowly and I accept Buddha’s Dhamma.
20. I am convinced that Buddha’s Dhamma is Saddhamma.
21. I believe that I am taking new birth.
22. I commit that henceforth I shall act as per Buddha’s principles and teachings.
“I have never claimed to be a universal leader of suffering humanity. The problem of the untouchables is quite enough for my slender strength. I do not say that other causes are not equally noble. But knowing that life is short, one can only serve one cause and I have never aspired to do more than serve the Untouchables.”
“The basis of my politics lies in the proposition that the Untouchables are not a sub-division or sub-section of Hindus, and that they are a separate and distinct element in the national life of India.”
“My social philosophy may be said to be enshrined in three words: liberty, equality and fraternity. My philosophy has roots in religion and not in political science. I have derived them from the teachings of my master, the Buddha.”
“I also take refuge in the words of the Buddha to be your own guide. Take refuge in your own reason. Do not listen to the advice of others. Do not succumb to others. Be truthful and take refuge in the truth. Never surrender to anything. If you keep in mind this message of Lord Buddha at this juncture, I am sure, your decision will not be wrong. “
“With great Difficulty, I have brought this CARAVAN where it is seen today.Let the CARAVAN march ON and further ON despite the hurdles, pitfalls and difficulties that may come in its way. If my people, my lieutenants are not able to take the CARAVAN ahead, they should leave it where it is seen today, but in no circumstances they should allow the CARAVAN to go back.”
For more detail click at https://drambedkarbooks.wordpress.com/about/
For Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s Books, please visit