Bihar has been a sick State of India for decades on. That is why it earned the sobriquet ‘bimaru pradesh’, a title which has stuck to it now for quite some time and for valid reasons because the State has continued its dismal run of decadence and regression.
Bihar has been most recently in adverse limelight because of the caste census conducted by it in the month of January, 2023. The census was ostensibly done to uplift the backward caste State persons in the name of social justice. It was reported in the news media that the State Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had got the census conducted at the instance of political ally Rahul Gandhi in the I.N.D.I Alliance — a cobbled patchwork of ideologically disparate political parties out to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next General Elections which are at hand.
What surprises me is the unabashed behaviour of otherwise ‘seasoned‘ politicians like Nitish Kumar who are out and out to divide people , placate people and exploit people for garnering their votes. In the name of democracy which stands for equality, these politicians are playing the rotten reservation card which treats people unequally. This is really a travesty of fairness and justice in a democratic polity. As if the existing reservation in educational institutions, government jobs and electoral constituencies for SC, ST, and OBC were not enough, new types of backward caste groups are being identified through the constitutional mechanism and these are being branded EBCs or Extremely Backward Classes. It is like an advanced constitutional commitment of bribes to the electorate to induce them to cast their votes to the present political party in power in the next hustings.
Killing democracy through the democratic machinery
No wonder, Bihar which has been a hotbed of casteism and political opportunism in the arena of governance has been a State with rampant crime and corruption and mired in misery. Corruption has been the hallmark of State governance for almost three decades. It has witnessed a constant efflux of people to other States in search of livelihood.
In an otherwise resurgent and rejuvenated Bharat under PM Modi’s dynamic and charismatic leadership, Bihar still looks like a poverty ridden State. It looks like a decadent State in a country now witnessing highest level of economic growth globally and progressing rapidly on all fronts.
Casteism has been the bane of Bharat for a long, long time. It has been the prime factor behind disunity and lack of cohesion in the society which led to the prolonged subjugation of the country by foreign powers. Why are we still encouraging it for narrow political gains at the larger cost to the nation?
Are many of us still slaves to our deeper selfish instincts? Yes, we are — because we do not seem to care for the larger collective entity called the nation and we are still badly bound to caste groups by way of narrow caste and community affiliations.
This has to change and change it must. The above change will not come magically or instantaneously.
It has to be engineered–by education, indoctrination and acculturation. The Bharatiya society of its glorious era was not caste ridden. Not castes, but it was Varnas that existed in the society and these Varnas were based on individual attributes (gun, karm, swabhav) which were changeable and cultivable. It was the ideological rot in our society which led to such and connected problems.
That reservation is a vicious provision is clear from the fact that the idea of caste based reservations was first conceived by the British rulers in 1882. In 1933, the then British Prime-Minister Ramsay Macdonald presented Communal Award that made constitutional provisions for separate electorates for castes and religious minorities. But unfortunately problems were exacerbated when this was followed by the Poona Pact, where decision was taken on single Hindu electorate with caste based reservations.
Reservation is meaningful to a certain extent only on grounds of economic backwardness and that too for a limited, defined period. Reservations should not continue ad infinitum.
The solution to the problems leading to reservations and accentuation by continuing the same indefinitely lies in radical education of our youngsters on the Sanatana lines. It lies in propagation of the innately secular and just Sanatana ideology. It lies in slowly discarding the constitutional and legal provisions introduced by our country’s colonial time rulers under their nefarious divide and rule policy.
There are no short cut or quick fix solutions.