It is very disheartening that our politicians are bent upon creating disharmony among people with the singular motive of sustaining vote-banks (“UPA puts its weight behind caste quota”, Feb. 5). Caste-based reservation in education as well as in jobs is an utterly illogical provision. It is irrational to continue to provide subsidies, age relaxation benefits and career promotions even after the completion of graduation. Rather than achieve equality among all citizens, the prevailing system has ironically created resentment in the minds of lakhs of deserving candidates against the privileged, purportedly ‘socially backward classes’. The fact is that reservations based on a system of meritocracy will rankle no one and benefit all in the long run.
The Congress’s explicit declaration of support to a caste-based reservation system will add fuel to the very identity politics whose effects the quota system seeks to neutralise. It reinforces the caste divisions prevalent in our society and will ensure the prolonging of caste-based discrimination in the minds of people, even if the roles are reversed — with the formerly privileged feeling unfairly treated. The idea behind caste quotas was to eventually shrink and erase the age-old social gap among people. Having entered the age of globalisation, one feels the perception of societal restrictions does not hold as much relevance as it might earlier have done. Premjeet Kumar Barnwal,
Persons from SC/ST and OBC families have been known to have landed plum jobs abroad in the competitive free market without having been accorded any caste-based preferential treatment. This indicates that the sop of reservation is not all that useful or essential. It is plain to see that the Congress has appropriated the issue as a poll plank and relies too heavily on its trump card for electoral success. Deprivation and poverty are common to all castes. Money power and muscle might have been the historical causes of oppression and subjugation, and not necessarily caste-based discrimination. Economic deprivation should be a much more appropriate parameter for reservations today.