The Mandal movement of ex-PM V.P. Singh was a cheap electoral gain tactic. This time now it is Arjun Singh. The provision within the constitutional framework of 50 per cent reservation (besides IX schedule) for social justice should be directed at grass-root empowerment, not to benefit the well-versed people on caste basis (as is evident by non-implementation of creamy-layer formula in its true spirit).
The premier institutes, that have their face value at international platform, have negligible number of seats to offer welfare to OBCs, keeping the fact in mind that OBCs are not deprived of their right to equal opportunity to compete in entrance examinations of these institutions.
The reservation in these institutions will not only degrade the value of the reserved category people, but also of those students who have genuine competence level to excel professionally at international level.
The 93rd Constitutional Amendment was brought into picture to fulfill the vacuum created by the Supreme Court order that private colleges of professional courses, which have common entrance exams with central/state government-run institutions, were not providing OBC/SC/ST quota.
Here (1) the numbers of seats were substantially high.
(2) It was an attempt to bridge the gap between poor and rich, as most private professional colleges have high fee structure, which could have benefited only rich students.
(3) Mostly professionals from these institutions were to be absorbed in national infrastructure building where average and mediocre people can be absorbed along with outstanding performers.
If you see, as the intention was to uplift OBCs and STs in real sense, we heard little hue and cry when the 93rd Amendment was passed. Now, there is an all-round criticism from every non-political forum, because it is simply being misused for petty political gains.
Now it seems the reservation lollypop has become the only way to appease the targeted weaker sections.
If we talk about 33 per cent women reservation in Parliament and legislative assembly, we indirectly endorse women as a weaker section, which is against the spirit of women empowerment, where women are fighting for equal social and political rights.
Fifty per cent Muslim reservation at AMU (later on cancelled by the High Court), a brainchild of present HRD Minister and five per cent Muslim reservation by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister to appease Muslims, are unconstitutional political tactics. Why should upper-caste Muslims get reservation. It is discriminatory against the upper-caste Hindus. Even if reservation is being offered to Muslims to provide them level playing field, Dalit Muslims should be included in Dalit quota and backward Muslims should be accommodated in OBC quota.
Then comes the 93rd Constitutional Amendment. There is nothing wrong in it. But why not empower OBCs in other ways to enable them to explore their potential at a common platform. The division of Hindu society in upper castes and OBCs is vague. There is no dearth of talent, intellectual capacity, community attitude and resourcefulness of most OBC category as compared to the upper caste. Most of the OBC intellectuals feel that after a point, containing them within 27 per cent will be harmful to their community. Their quality is being compromised. The trust of the employer or the consumer is being lost in them for their calibre. Most of the communities included in OBCs are at par with upper-caste people. Politically and socially they are performing even better than their upper-caste counterparts in many parts of country especially the north India. This reservation mess can end only when the people of their own beneficiary community will come out openly against it. Can we not make a non-political social front to boost the morale of OBCs and uplift their self-esteem to deny the privileges of reservation at the cost of self-respect of their community? There is no doubt that certain OBCs, SCs and STs are really downtrodden. They require support and promotion from government to survive. We must try to explore the possibility to form one group of SCs, STs and most under privileged OBCs and increase reservation quota for SCs and STs from 22.5 per cent of now to 25 per cent or 30 per cent and rest of the Hindu communities to merge as a single elite Hindu society.
[The author can be contacted at C/O Dr P.K. Srivastava, Raghav Hospital & Maternity Centre, Balrampur-271201 (UP)]