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: Oct 2008
: India
: 35
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Arrow Caste politics through reservation technique in India

Indian society is a caste-ridden society. Caste has been a dominant factor and has been a medium of stratification of society since ages. In the pre-independent period, the British used to exploit caste interests and sectional loyalties to divide and rule over the people for materializing their vested interests .The Congress during that period after attaining independence, however made provision for equality of status and opportunity for all, to maintain an even platform in socio-political upbringing of Indian society .The framers of the Constitution incorporated provision for Universal Adult Suffrage, Equality etc.

Although the framers of the constitution guaranteed for a casteless society yet the introduction of reservation policy by them have always inscribed castiest tendency in the functioning of Indian politics.It was initially meant for promoting the cause of welfare state and upliftment of economically and academically weaker sections of society.But, the same reservation technique has been regularly used by political parties in power to reap their own benefits , as a legacy of British politics and administration.

Since democracy is a popular government rested on peoples vote, they started pursuing those social groups , which stood at the lower hierachy of the society, but numerous in number. While there was hardly any opposition for the reservation of Scheduled castes and Schedule Tribes in the legislature and jobs, the reservation for other Backward Classes(OBC) but since 1993, through the Mandal Commission, under V.P. Singh has received stray reaction, in the form of youth unrest, particularly in Northern India. After the recommendation passed by the Mandal Commission, a large number of teenaged youth immolated themselves as a mark of protest against the decision. The death of an youth called Rajiv Goswami is still burning in memories.

Consequently, stages emerged for bringing down the V.P. Singh government. The Narsimarao Government, however, proceeded to implement the recommendation of the Mandal Commission on the basis of Supreme Court Judgment by keeping the ‘Creamy Layer ‘of the OBCs out of the purpose of reservations in Central jobs. This minimized agitation by the upper caste to a considerable extent.

The ghost of Mandal Commission also made it presence felt with the declaration of Union Human Resource Development Minister, Arjun Singh, which stated for 27% reservation increment in Central Universities, IITs and IIMs and Private Sector.The decision was mainly to grab the opportunity arriving out of August 2005 judgement of Supreme Court disallowing quota in private institutions.

The main purpose of the quota sit increment has been to grab the large chunk of Dalit and Other Backward Classes’ vote which has to be redesigned as potential vote banks to attract their drifted allegiance. But, these decisions initiated by ruling party fail to understand the negative impact of such discriminatory practice in our society .Reservation can always aggravate caste antagonism between reservation ‘haves’ and reservation’have nots’.When Indian youth was being taught , throughout their academic process, to be united irrespective ofcaste , creed, religion, etc., these castiest reservations has incorporated caste consciousness in their psyche.

The IITs ,IIMs and Central Universities have always been respected for being Centres of Excellence possessing the best resource .But , such reservations has deflated the of confidence of meritous non-quota candidates , as caste is acquired by birth and cannot be derived.