Monday, June 9, 2008

Do We Really Need ‘Reservation’?

-By G. Tallo

Gujjar intensified their movement for ST status. Bandhs and violence that ensued took toll of lives and properties. The economy of the country suffered huge loss. The stir hogged headlines for quite sometime.

Let us not blame Gujjar communities for what they demand and what they did. Let us also not blame Mrs. Vasundhara Raje, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, for the promise she made to the Gujjar, during the 2003 assembly elections, to garnered their support. Spell of the ‘reservation’ is hard to resist- we know that. It is so enticing to common people, so effective a tool for the political parties and so very essential for the successive governments in New Delhi to remain in-action.

I am told that the provision for the ‘reservation’ for SCs and STs was made in the Indian Constitution to reduce disparities, in term of social, economic, political and educational status, which existed at the time of the independence among the various communities of the country. This provision was to be valid for ten years. In these ten years, it was supposed that the government would take such remedial measures as to bring the disadvantaged communities to an equal footing with their more advantageous counterpart.

Ten years elapsed, twenty years elapsed…it is sixty years now. The disparities that existed sixty years back have widen further. The provision of reservation has been extended since and is still there. Rather it has been made more accommodative. Various categories of OBCs have also been included under the provision of reservation. Now it is turn for the Gujjar under separate category of ST. (For the Justice Jasraj Chopra Committee was not much convinced about Gujjar communities having ‘tribal’ characteristics.)

I sympathise with the Gujjar and for that matter with the other communities who are struggling and making sacrifices to get ST status. However, the fact remains that the so called ‘quota reservation’ is an eyewash and a deceptive ploy of the New Delhi. It is more to show the outside world and the people concern that the Government cares for the welfare of less privileged communities and is doing the needful.

I belonged to a ST community. I do not see much how ST status helps. District headquarters in Arunachal Pradesh are yet to be connected with all-weather roads, not to speak of rail and air connectivity. We are groping for basic amenities of life. It is so when the states’ native inhabitants are all STs. In our work place, in government organizations and PSUs, we suffer humiliation, not for our inefficiency, not for our lack of capabilities, but just for being ST. I wonder if we need ‘reservation’ in this globalise world. I for one would go for all-round development to reservation.

: Find out about G. Tallo here. His profile has been updated.


  • Moli

    Where do you expect our people to do their higher education when we don't have enough colleges to feed them...?? Practically speaking, we are lagging far behind the rest of the world, globalism to us is limited to cloths and computers, and right now I guess.. being reserved is a better option..
    Please do not doubt over this question (friends sometimes talk about it to me and I find that all they care is that they feel discriminated... but just for once see the benefits and use it for good)
    of-course we all have to face the other side of the coin..

  • wiian

    I hate this subject being discussed. If you were to ask me, I am neither for reservation nor against it. Nothing can convince me strong enough to believe that reservations be scrapped for good, yet the intellect in me anguish everytime I come across a fellow beneficiary who rather than acknowledge the status-quo as a means to progress himself leans back on it as an end in itself.

    The arguments for and against quotas can go long and disgusting but even the most vociferous of the dissenters wouldn't mind reservations to those who have lesser financial means. What prevents the people at helm to relook the present scheme of things? Well, no prize for guesses.

    The way, politics in India is, reservations will go to 100% some day than no-reservations ever. I would prefer to wait for that day when everyone will be in equal footing once again.

  • yasiyalow

    Hi wiian

    "....... Nothing can convince me strong enough to believe that reservations be scrapped for good, yet the intellect in me anguish everytime I come across a fellow beneficiary who rather than acknowledge the status-quo as a means to progress himself leans back on it as an end in itself."

    Well said.

  • Buru

    ST: YES--for the time being.
    SC: YES--for another 500 years(to undo effects of systematic discrimination for preceding 5000 years, continuing today)
    BC/OBC : NOT REALLY, as they are not socially deprived as such ,but beneficiaries of vote-politics.

    There is no simple reply to this, and we can spend a month elaborating on the pros & cons.

    Just for general info:
    (This may not be directly related to topic)
    Western Scientists have repeatedly carried out Intelligence Quotient tests on different racial groups ,and over the years this has been the general consensus:

    1.Highest IQ in the world is people of East Asian mongoloid descent( eg Chinese, Japs, Korean).
    2.Next Whites
    3.Next South-Asians (Indians,Pakis,Bangla,s Srilanka)
    4.Lowest IQ: black Africans.
    5.If ethnicity rather than race is used as criteria, Jews have slightly higher IQ than East Asians.

    Subgroup studies show South-East Asians( eg Thai,Malay,Viets,Filipino,Khmers,Burmese,etc) have average IQ higher than South Asians but lower than East Asians.
    James Watson(of Watson& Crick DNA-helix fame) recently caused great controversy by suggesting that blacks are inferior using above data.

    It is my observation that Tani-peoples physiognomy matches closest with Vietnamese, and a little less with the Southern Chinese.
    The point I am trying to make is -- throw this bomb at racists who try to humiliate you for being an ST.
    The above data is non-controversial scientific result.However the inference drawn is controversial( ie whether IQ test is biased for or against certain groups/ truly reflective of intelligence etc).
    So our people would not need reservations forever; maybe a few decades more?

  • G. Tallo

    @wiian & moli

    I appreciate your concern for the idea of scrapping ST status. But, I think you guys took ‘Do we really need reservation?’ at face value. There cannot be any debate over our ST status. It is unthinkable should our ST status be scrapped right now. There has to be a sound basis for it to happen. Unfortunately (I think) or fortunately (may be), for that ‘sound basis’ to exist in Arunachal Pradesh will take another 60 years or may be even more. Now coming to the question I raised… We the people of Arunachal Pradesh are nursing wounds; we were on first aid for last sixty years. I wonder if we really need first aid right now. I think we need full treatment for our wounds not first aid, though treatment is not in sight even in far horizon. (Hope I have not complicated further)

    @ yasiyalow

    … the intellect in me anguish everytime I come across a fellow beneficiary who rather than acknowledge the status-quo as a means to progress himself leans back on it as an end in itself.

    Agreed. Really well said.

    @ buru
    Agreed. BC/OBCs do not need reservation.
    Thanks for sharing information. I was actually looking for it.

  • Anonymous

    hi guys...
    i have never come across a discussion forum like feels good to know that the youth of our state have atleast stopped for a moment to look at where we are heading to...with regards to the ST status..i believe that we are now using it more as a comfort cocoon we wouldn't want to lose..i am neither pro nor anti about the whole "reservation" affair...i appreciate what wiian expressed about the "anguish in him"...i know that we dont have the right kind of infrastructure for higher education (taking into account everything) but what about the constitutional provisions..i think we could use it to bring about a positive change..and of course we have to make sure that this doesnt stay permanent because that is the "reason" that we have been given this benefit...feedbacks..anybody?

  • popisarmi

    hi, most of you seems think that you have reached a stage where you dont require ST status anymore! In reality we STs from NE are still far behind from that mainland general communities.They had these opportunities for generations, whereas we have just woken up! Just tell me one thing how many of your generations were literate? at the most 2 or 3? OR can any body justify a tribal from interior NE states/Andamans competing with mainland general community? Hello bros, i know its embarrassing sometimes,but have to accept it at least for our less privileged brethrens n for our coming generation!Anyways I am not discouraging you from your self esteem. Keep that up. So pl do ponder over it again before it makes you to think that you no more require ST status.We might eed that for next 100 years more but for the constitutional restrains!

  • Rome Mele

    I agree with you popi...


  • we need communist party

    This issue has been on the platter for way too long! I thought we the ST community had deprived this issue from any chances fof further discussion on this issue. Some folks are embarrassed to be tagged as ST, some of us seriously doubt the feasibility of this categorisation. well, comrades what we fail to see is the real reason which brought about this chaotic reservation system! Was it our fault we were ignored for centuries? Given a chance our kids can do wonders in every field. The problem is we seldom get a chance, and we would never get a chance in future as well if reservation goes. Incase of SCs and other categories they were victims of what we call discrimination which is inherent in Hinduism. We STs never belonged to some suppressed Hindu sub categories. We were just being kept under cover for some reason or the other. Incase of NE states mostly the China factor kept the Indian government from openning up and embrace it completely. For no fault of ours generations remained under the oblivion. Now, is the time for Indian government to pay back. 60 years is not enough it needs to be continued for atleast 100 years or more. If we shy away now, because we feel humiliated our future generations will curse us!
    when this so called 'Harrings' overwhelm us!

  • wiian

    well, why do children of an engineer or a doctor need reservation for that matter?

    The way things are shaping up in Arunachal, I see those who are rich still getting richer. Mind you, that's not the bad thing about it.

    Those who are poor are getting poorer. A natural corollary, I believe anyone can easily identify with.

    Constitutional provisions aside, reservations aren't going to be brushed off in distant future. Rejoice, if you must. I still believe, much larger strides can be made if the state government make best use of whatever litte amount of fund the central government has set aside for the state.

    On afterthought, I would do nothing to inflict upon myself, the curse of future generations of Arunachali's.

  • Anuj Uli

    I strongly believe in equality , whether be it in any form. The very word smacks of weakling in the society. What we really need is more and more quality and really not reservation.

  • Rome Mele

    I seriously doubt the concept of equality being challenged here, if reservations go along.
    Reservations isn't something that came out of mere social obligations but rather due to the immediate requirement to address the inequality that had plagued the indian society for eons.


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