By : Hemantkumar G. Padhya

The reservation or quota has been the hot and controversial topic in India during British Rule and since after independence of India. There were many peaceful and bloody agitations took place all over India in past on this issue of reservation. The present agitation started on 6th July 2015 by influential ’’ Patidar Patel’’ community of Gujarat known as ’Patidar Anamat Andolan’. The peaceful demonstration which was turned into a violent agitation later is started under the leadership of a young activist named Hardik Bharatkumar Patel belonging to Patidar Patel community. The ‘’Patidar Patel’’ community has not been granted OBC Status alike other farming community of Patels by state and federal government.  Although Hardik Patel who belongs to an Upper Class or Forward Class might not be a scholarly and highly intelligent student but he has seen, heard and experienced the unjust discriminatory and disadvantageous system of Reservation not only to his community members but also to all the members of Upper casts like Brahmins, Baniyas etc. as whole. When he saw that a girl from Other Backward Community   qualified for a state Government Scholarship in July 2015 with far less marks on Reservation Quota but his sister was disqualified for the same scholarship with far higher marks because his sister and his family belong to Higher Class status, classification or category decided by the Government of India. Hardik, who was once a secretary of students’ Union’ and staunch Students Activist during his University life and as a local president of Viramgam youth wing of ‘Sardar Patel Group’, was very mush upset, disappointed and frustrated about this discriminatory, unfair and unjust experience happened to his own sister and many of his fellow brothers and sisters in academic and employment fields. Hardik’s frustration is not just a personal frustration of an individual but it is a hidden volcanic frustration and dissatisfaction of every young male and female students belonging to Higher Classes or Castes, who themselves or their friends or relatives have become the victims of this unfair Reservation System or Scheme prevailed in education and employment in public sectors of Central and State Government of India. This is an agony of deprived Indian youth belonging to Higher Class or Forward Class or Advanced class.  Hardik Patel decided to take up the issue himself and formed ‘’Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti’’, a non-political organization with the main aim and intention to make a demand to the state Government to consider and include the Patidar Patel community in the OBC quota for the Reservation. He gathered huge support of the youth of his community in very short time and he and his fellow community members agitated against Government of Gujarat and central government  for their firm stand on not to grant their community   OBC status on some technical grounds laid by supreme Court in similar  case of Jat Community early this year. He arranged massive agitation in the capital and many cities of Gujarat State. The peaceful demonstration in forma of  ‘’Maha Rally’’ attended by millions at Ahmedabad or Karnavati and other cities in Gujarat on 25th August 2015. The peaceful agitation rally later turned violent and the bloody revolution which took eight lives, paralysed public life, caused enormous damages to public and private properties. The Government had to call the army to restore law and orders in many cities of Gujarat.  This peaceful agitation and violent demonstration have now added the fuel into the smouldering issue of Reservation once again and it has transformed it into a Towering Inferno. This was not a new phenomenon as many peaceful agitations turned violent in the history including many agitations of Mahatma Gandhi too.       

The reservation policy has a root in a communal divide and rule policy of British Government of colonial era. As a result of the three Round Table Conferences held between 1930 and 1932, the Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald granted an award of a separate electoral representation for different castes and religious community in British ruled India.  This award was known to be ‘’The Communal Award’’ among Indian Nationalists. Mahatma Gandhi and many Indian leaders opposed this award of division of Indian society on the ground of their casts, creed, communal minority, tribes, social status, religions, sub-religions and mix-race. Mahatma Gandhi protested against this Communal Award by fasting in Yerveda jail while serving his prison sentence there but he later agreed with all other suggestion except the separation of Hindu and untouchable or Dalit with the provision of  providing special reservation to Dalits within the single quota of  Hindus and Dalits together.  This poisonous seeds of communal division sawn by British and later agreed and supported by Mahatma Gandhi  for the interest of divide and rule policy of British  has been nurtured and raised with new agenda by Ruling as well as all other political parties of Independent India for their own interest in a different prospects.

It is absurd and inappropriate to say that Gandhiji and the congress led first government of Independent India is responsible for bringing the reform to eradicate untouchability and worked towards the better opportunities for the lower-class or Dalita or Harijan or depressed class in India society as several attempts were made in past all over India by many social reformers, religious and social organizations and many Indian Princely states well before 19th century. After the Indian Independence, the Government of India established reservation scheme to up lift the poor, uneducated, illiterates, depressed and unprivileged people of the so called or classed as backward or lower cast society.  There was a fundamental necessity to provide such special status of reservation to those deserving community who were on the lowest social and economic conditions in India. The most of Indian people from Upper cast or advanced class or forward class also understood the situation and they saw the need of some special help for the people like  Adivasis, Dalits, Harijans and other backward communities.  They wholeheartedly supported this wellbeing scheme of reservation for the up lift of their fellow brothers and sister who were left behind in the field of education, economy and representation.       

The reservation is the policy was decided and enforced by the Government of India In 1950 to provide special facilities to up lift the members of certain communities or classes or castes of India who were economically poor and educationally backward.  These communities were illiterate, less fortunate, under-represented, disadvantaged and socially deprived.  The other main reason to facilitate those groups with reservation was to protect them from any discrimination and social exclusion and bring them into the main stream of the society with equal opportunity.  Reservation is the quota of certain percentage legally and constitutionally awarded to certain Backward Classes of India in the field of education, employment  in civil services and political representation.  These peoples from backward classes were designated in main two categories in the beginning which are Scheduled  Class(SC) for Dalits,  Scheduled Tribes (ST) for Adivasis.  The third category of Other Backward Classes (OBC) was included later. It was decided and announced by ruling Janata Dal Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap singh on recommendation of Mandal Commission to grant special status to remaining disadvantaged communities who does not fall into previous two categories. This decision created widespread opposition and protests by Upper or Forward Class youth all over northern part of India and the plan was put on hold.  OBC Reservation of 27% was upheld by Supreme Court of India on 10th April 2008 after the Interim Stay imposed with observation that “Reservation cannot be permanent and appear to perpetuate backwardness”. OBC is the new reformed structure of the reservation called ‘’socially and Economically Backward Castes (SEBC)’’. The Government of Gujarat headed by Congress Party under the chief Ministership of Mr. Madhavsinh Solanki introduced the SEBC on advice and recommendation of Bakshi Commission in 1981.  The SEBC was strongly opposed by the Upper Class or Forward Class people of Gujarat. The anti-reservation agitation created a big havoc in Gujarat which resulted in the death of more than one hundred people. These strong agitators forced the chief Minister Mr. Madhavsinh Solanki and his government to resign and the SEBC plan was put to hold but later revived as OBC scheme.  Although Indian constitution and many reformers denounce the cast system, it has been a very powerful tool to mobilise Indian electoral democracy and all Indian political parties revolve around the mighty Vote Bank of different castes. This has forced the inclusion of many castes into OBC category later and the trend is gradually increasing day by day. The Government of India has also provided a special reservation status for SC, ST and OBC people in public employment in Central and State Government under Article 15(4) and 16(4) of Indian Constitution.  According to the survey carried out by National Sample Survey Organization in 2007 suggests that the proportion of SC, ST and OBC classes are 19.59%, 8.63% and 40.94% subsequently with 30.80% for all other remaining castes who do not qualify for reservation.  

The Reservation provided to less fortunate castes or classes by the Government of India is in three main sectors which are education, employment and electoral representation. The percentages of the reservation changes from one state government to another but it is usually reviewed and increased periodically. All the political parties of India have always exploited this reservation scheme for their own benefits and turned it into a Vote Bank politics by increasing the percentage of reservations to appease the BC, ST and OBC class at the costs of the Upper Class. The people who have been granted BC, ST and OBC status also have now realised the political value of their class and have started to exploit the political parties and politicians for the reservation in private sectors for their better interests. The people who are classed as Upper or forward Class people like Brahmins, Baniya, Patels  etc. now strongly believe that there is no end to increasing percentages of Reservation and growing demand by other community on the border line to consider them to grant OBC Status. Due to this unjust Reservation policy which taking over the most seats in universities and places in public employment sectors of federal and state Government, many people of many castes from Upper Class Status who are on borderline of the division are anxious to get their status changed to OSC, ST or SC class by hook or crook for encashing the benefits of Reservation System. As a result of this situation many casts are fighting with each other to be considered and declared as Backward .  Jat, Meena, Gurjar and now Patidar Patels have jumped onto the battle field to claim their  victory and share.. The borderline communities like Patidar, Jat , Meena and others have no choice but to fight for their reservation with a selfish moto  or to demand the abolition of Reservation policy with the help of other Upper Castes who never ever have any chance to be considered for Reservation criteria.             

Many wise Indians are now in opinion that the Reservation Quota System is unfair system and it must end immediately and replaced by fair and just system which could stop the Indian society battling on castes and classes system for special privileges which is now out dated, unfair and unjust. The statistic shows that the admission given to those backwards class students in higher education like IIT, IIM, Medical and engineering fields etc. on Reservation Quota who had no merit to achieve even 40% in qualifying examination has proved to be a waste of time, resources and the allocated seats as most of them dropped out in year or two and hardly very few student who might be brighter out of whole quota could complete their study. In such situation, it seems a big discrimination and injustice to those Upper class students who could not get admission even though their merit and their achievement of marks in qualifying examination would be more than 75%. If the Reservation Quota is also made competitive on merit basis such loss would have not occurred and no one would have raised any question or objection to the reservation quota system. There are many faults, loopholes and weak points in this Reservation Scheme which has to be addresses and rectified soon.   

The increasing benefits to BC, ST and OBC lured many communities who are on borderline of OBC Status like Patidar Patel  community of Gujarat,  have now started a vigorous campaign to grant them OBC Status showing their electoral power and frustration towards Reservation Policy which is wholeheartedly blessed, backed and guaranteed  by all political parties. Politically influential Jat community of nine Indian states has been claiming and battling for their backward status for Reservation since many years have recently lost its case in Supreme Court  but their agitation has not ended yet.  The Gurjar of Rajasthan succeeded in twisting the arms of Rajasthan Government after their nine years fierce battle. The Rajasthan Government has recently granted Gurjar Community with an unconstitutional new SBC Status and provided 5% Reservation which was against the ruling of Supreme Court which prohibits  crossing the boundary of 50% reservation in total. Muslim Community is also demanding separate Reservation Quota in Education institutions and employment. After ’Patidar Anamat Andolan’ in September demanding OBC status for their community, The Nishad or Mallah Community has started an agitation in eastern part of Bihar State and they organised a rally on 4th September 2015 demanding their status to be changed from OBC to BC status. There is a lucrative marathon run for Reservation Quota among many different communities, castes and creeds to achieve the best prize and nobody knows who the next community to join this marathon is!  The issue of caste-based reservation is getting out of hands day by day and Government of India must act before it is too late.

After nearly sixty five years or at least nearly three generations, the Upper Class have now felt cheated and have realised that they have been the worst  looser due to Reservation scheme as their chances to get admission to colleges and Universities are now very slim even though their children have passed the examination with distinction as the students of SC, ST and OBC can easily get admission on Reservation Quota even though they have acquired 40 percent in examination. Moreover, the economic condition of the parents or families of those third generation students of Backward Class are now far better than even those of Upper or forward class  students. Now days, the Indian youth from Upper or forward classes are afraid and worried that they have very rare chance to get job after finishing their studies.. If they were lucky to get the job, their chances of getting a promotion is almost impossible due to this unfair system of Reservation which is only based on one criteria of just the class or community of an individual rather that his or her own  ability, capability, experience and qualification. This reservation system has been now abused by many people of SC, ST and OBC classes whose grandfathers and fathers benefited from the scheme and now they are in strong financial position  to support their children alike Upper Class family but they do not feel obliged to give up their reservation rights and financial help from states  just because they are born in those designated classes to qualify the reservation. There are many examples where people born in a family of a millionaires or billionaires belonging to  SC, ST and OBC class enjoy all the benefits  of Reservation system without any shame or remorse ! Many people from SC, ST and OBC classes got educated and acquired high positions with enormous salary in state and federal government under the provision of Reservation and became well off alike Advanced Classes but their children and grandchildren are still expecting and receiving the benefits of Reservation at the cost of others. Many people from SC, ST and OBC classes joined the politics with or without any higher education and became Members Of Parliament, Members of state Assembly and even Ministers  under reservation scheme   and made enormous amount of money which could be far more than many forward class peoples but they and their family members are not willing to give up their self- proclaimed Birth Rights of reservation even though their families social and economic condition has improved far more than  many people of Upper Class since many decades. The system of Reservation started with a good faith and welfare intention to help poor, backward, illiterate, deprived, supressed, unprivileged and needy people of Indian casts, classes and creeds has become an issue of exploitation, division, prejudice, conflict and struggle in Indian society. It has now lost its motto, aim, good will and sympathy in socio-political life of India. Reservation has now become never ending everlasting and permanent policy of Birth Rights of BC, ST and OBC classes at the cost of Upper, Advanced or Forward classes. The mismanagement and the politicisation of Reservation issue have created a big division and rift between main two defined classes of Reservation and the different castes and creed of India. 

Reservation has now become the birth rights of all the castes or classes who enjoy the fruit of the system for many decades. The BC, CT AND OBC Reservation has become a lifetime and everlasting Royal Passport for the beneficiary Communities or castes. They would not like to apart themselves from the golden facilities provided by Indian government until the end of this world. It is a great misfortune that almost all Indian politicians and political parties have no desire, intention and commitment to abolish this unfair, unjust, mismanaged and discriminatory Reservation System because it is a life line of their Vote Bank and appeasement policy.

Reservation was the necessity of that time and it has lasted more than sixty five years and almost four generations which is more than sufficient to up lift those people listed as SC, STC AND OBC. Even ShrI Bhimrao Ambedar, the father of Indian constitution, was in opinion to provide the reservation facility for couple of decades only to up lift the poor and disadvantaged Dalits and Tribal Communities. The subsequent ruling party and all other opposition parties of India continued to review the reservation every ten years and never bothered to abolish the reservation after over six decades for their petty interest and vote Bank Politics.  Many upper Class Indians have seen and experienced the evil of reservation in education  employment. Although  the reservation system was started with a good faith, intention and social justice, it has lost its meaning, morality and limits over the period. The politicians and all political parties of India saw this social reform and improvement and development strategy created for backward class most  beneficial for their own political gain and turned it into a vote bank politics. The benefactors of this reservation scheme gradually have considered the reservation as a weapon for their rights and they have misused their voting power to demand forcefully and in many case violently too. They demanded whatever they want from the Government to profit their caste or class without any consideration for others.

The Reservation has become the official licence for selected People of SC, STC AND OBC classes to get Higher Education, better  jobs, promotions , surety and security without possessing any ability, capability, deep experience, skills or proper higher education. Most of the thousands of upper class employees in government jobs who possess vast experiences, skills, higher degrees and more seniority in their jobs have no hope to get promotion under present policy of reservation quota and appeasement policy for minorities. Those NON-SC, NON-STC AND NON –OBC or so called upper-class or forward class people who have no choice but forced to work under their juniors who may be far less experienced, less educated and less capable to justify the position  because they have almost no first rights to demand or get promotions to higher posts under this Reservation rules. The most disadvantaged groups of past are now becoming the most advantaged groups today due to unfair and unjust reservation policy.  This politicized Reservation tagged with appeasement and vote bank policy in present form is discriminating and snatching away the fundamental rights of eligible candidates in education and employment and this must be stopped..  

The rights of underprivileged in the society are protected by equal opportunity laws and financial grants are offered to poor and needy irrespective of cast, creed and religions in many countries of the world but they do not have any provision of certain percentage of seats specially reserved for poor, needy and underprivileged people   and for any ethnic or religious minorities.  The time has come for India to abolish the reservation scheme completely as more than enough periods of several generations is given to BC, ST AND OBC to up lift their status with the help of The Reservation Scheme. ‘’One Class  One Help’’ Scheme under one category of poverty and financial hardship, irrespective of any caste, sub-cast or any other class or religion, must be granted to all poor and needy people of India to up lift them from poverty and illiteracy to compete for their employment and higher education  on their ability, merit and  capability rather than any kind of present reservation scheme which is causing  bad feeling, discrimination, splits, hate, jealousy, greed  and conflict between all casts, creeds and classes to achieve or loose special benefits awarded under the reservation scheme. Present Reservation Scheme must be replace with uniformed equality  Scheme for the people of all casts, classes and religion on the ground of their financial conditions only to get them educated to compete in the field of education and employment in any sector. Such a scheme would only resolve the burning problem of reservation which is causing grievous harm and damage to the unity and stability of Indian nation.

India is sitting on the fuming volcano of Reservation and God knows when it is going to erupt with full force to cause massive destruction. The right time has now come to take affirmative and sensible action sooner than later, otherwise the agitation started by Hardik Patel and his community members to demand for the reservation for their community  would soon be  transformed into a full scale Anti-Reservation agitation all over India backed by all peoples of upper classes like Brahmin, Baniyas and many others demanding abolition of Reservation Scheme altogether. ‘’One Class One Help’’ meaning’’ No Reservation’’ is the only correct and rightful solution to resolve the growing problem of Reservation Scheme. The Reservation Quota Scheme must be abolished and a new uniformed ‘’One Class One Help’’ scheme must be introduced immediately. ‘’One Class One Help’’  scheme must be basedand evaluatedon single criteria applicable to all needy and poor people of all castes, communities, religions and minorities according to the merit of a student without any form of reservation. There should be a special provision of extra financial help in form of a special scholarships or awards for able, capable, meritorious students from the family of a poor financial background to enable them to further their higher studies. Such scheme without any class, caste, creed, tribal and minority factors must be supported and implemented immediately in one voice by all political parties of India in parliament leaving their vote bank politics and agenda aside for the better and bright future of India.

The Reservation Quota Scheme must be abolished and a new uniformed ‘’One Class One Help’’ scheme must be introduced immediately. ‘’One Class One Help’’  scheme must be basedand evaluatedon single criteria applicable to all needy and poor people of all castes, communities, religions and minorities according to the merit of a student without any form of reservation.






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