Senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue M.G. Vaidya has argued that caste-based reservation given to the Scheduled Castes (SCs), the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs and educational institutions should be done away with as caste is “no more relevant.”
Speaking to The Hindu in the context of the Patel community’s agitation for reservation in Gujarat, Mr. Vaidya said, “There is no need for caste-based reservation now, because no caste has remained backward. At the most, continue it [reservation] for the SCs and STs, but only for 10 years. Abolish it [caste-based reservation] completely after that.”
The senior RSS leader also trashed the claims of the Patel community in Gujarat and other “dominant communities” in other parts of the county for reservation.
“All the trade in Gujarat is controlled by the Patels. Do they really need reservation? In Maharashtra, Marathas are demanding reservation, whereas most of the Chief Ministers of the State have been Marathas. Jats and Gurjars are also pitching for reservation in other States. Are they really backwards? Even the governments entertain such demands to nourish vote banks,” he claimed.
Favouring the change of criteria for reservation from caste to economic status, Mr. Vaidya said that caste-based reservation has “strengthened” caste divisions rather than eradicating them.
“Concessions have become rights now. Does the son of a Chief Minister or a Collector need reservation,” asked the former spokesperson of the RSS.
Reservation based on economic criteria would benefit the poor and needy among Muslims, Christians, Marathas, Brahmins and other communities, he said.
Mr. Vaidya, however, agreed with Hardik Patel’s contention that either reservation should be given to everyone or it should be abolished altogether.
“He [Hardik] is right in this regard. People are backward these days not because of caste but because of economic conditions. If the criteria of reservation is changed from caste to economic status, then there won’t be permanent reservation. Caste-based reservation is making people remember their caste. How can you eradicate it [caste], if you are making them remember it since their birth?” asked Mr. Vaidya, whose son Manmohan Vaidya is the current chief spokesperson of the RSS.
The RSS ideologue also contended that atrocities against Dalits, at least in Maharashtra, did not take place because of caste hatred but because of land dispute and other reasons.
“What is the relevance of caste? I am a Brahmin but do I practise Purohit Yoga? Does my son do it? Only politicians need caste and have kept it relevant for vote bank politics. It is dangerous for the nation as it divides communities,” said Mr. Vaidya, while expressing concern over the current political situation in the country.