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'This move is Modi's political desperation'

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf
January 09, 2019 19:02 IST
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'The BJP has lost 5 states and Lok Sabha elections are due in less than 90 days.'
'The reservation bill is a jhunjhuna (lollipop) for the upper castes.'

IMAGE: Swarn Sena activists staged a 'Bharat Bandh' against the SC/ST Amendment Act, September 10, 2018. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Narendra Damodardas Modi government has opened a Pandora's box weeks before the 2019 general election by announcing 10 per cent reservations for the economically backward in the open category, something not recognised under the Constitution of India for the purpose of reservations.

This new quota is expected to benefit indigent sections among the forward castes.

The move has been welcomed by many, but there are others who feel it was not right as the upper castes are already in positions of power across the country.

Ratan Lal, professor of history at Delhi's Hindu college is one of them.

"You are born in your caste and will die in your caste. You can change your class, but not caste," Professor Lal tells's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.


In the Indira Sawhney case the Supreme Court had rejected reservations for the economically backward from among the upper castes. Against this backdrop, will the Modi government's quota hold up in a court of law?

That Supreme Court judgment clearly said that not more than 50 percent of reservations should be given in jobs and education. And this move by the Modi government is political desperation.

The Constitution clearly says that reservations must be given on the basis of socio-economic backwardness and untouchability, and now they are tweaking that.

On one hand, there are no jobs and the government is talking of reservations.

Moreover, SCs/STs, in spite of reservations, are not getting their dues -- and who is taking away their rights?

It is the upper castes, they are snatching away their rights as they are over-represented.

SCs/STs and OBCs do get reservations, so how can you say that the upper castes are snatching away reservations?

Come to Delhi University and check the facts. How many SC/ST professors are teaching? They have not filled the vacancy of 22 percent which is meant for SC/STs.

Now since they are not filling up SC/ST quota of jobs, they have come up with this new idea which will dilute the entire reservation process.

This is a new Raj Leela (political dance).

And in such places work is going on which is being done by general category people. It means that they are over-represented in all sectors.

Do you have any data to prove this claim of yours?

The government must have all this data. Tell them to come up with statistics as to how many group A, group B officer posts have been fulfilled in the SC/ST category.

Moreover, if they really want to give reservations to upper caste economically backward people, why do they not give it in the private sector?

You have to understand that reservation is representation, and representation of 85 percent of the population has not been done in our country.

Now if the government is saying that this reservation is on an economic basis, then what was wrong in not giving reservation to Jats?

(BJP national president) Amit (Anilchandra) Shah said during the Telangana election that not more than 50 percent reservations can be given and in spite of that the TRS government was announcing 10 percent reservation for Muslims. So how come they are adding 10 percent more and announcing reservations now?

The answer is the BJP has lost five states and Lok Sabha elections are due in less than 90 days.

The reservation bill is a jhunjhuna (lollipop) for the upper castes. This is unconstitutional.

SCs/STs have been discriminated socially, historically.

Has any upper caste bridegroom been told to dismount from a horse in India?

Has anybody from the upper castes faced an untouchability problem?

The government must do a socio-economic survey and find out which caste has how much wealth, land and money.

They do not have any scientific data and without any data they have announced this upper caste reservation.

This government has failed miserably. There is anger against the Modi government so they want to divert this anger by bringing in the reservation bill.

You sound like you want to divide this country on the basis of caste.

Who is dividing the country? The country is not made in the air, but made because of the people.

People are dying of hunger. There are no jobs and the government is distributing natural resources licences to private business houses.

So who is dividing the country?

And when the backward people, farmers, labourers ask for their rights, how can you say we are dividing the country?

Let us wait for one or two days and see what the government does. But if they are so interested for social justice and upliftment of poverty, then let them socialise industry.

Why should one man hold so much property? Let them have the same hospital and same health policy for everyone.

Under the Modi government, government jobs have reduced.

Minister Prakash Javadekar said he will bring in an ordinance regarding the 200-point roster (external link) but the Modi government did not bring in any such ordinance.

Now this case has gone to the Supreme Court. These things even the upper caste people know as the Modi government is doing all this for vote bank politics.

Don't you feel it is not fair that against a student who gets 90 percent, a student who gets 60 percent get college admission because he is from a backward caste?

Who got reservations in India? It was the Brahmins.

English was not our language and the Brahmins got this rule of third division and passing marks of 35.

For four generations they studied English and now they talk of merit.

There cannot be equality between two unequals. Why are big private schools being constructed for rich people? Is this country for the poor or for rich people?

Why are you cursing a Brahmin boy of today for what his ancestors may have done?

Because he is getting the benefit of the legacy of his forefathers.

You please try to understand this point. His family has accumulated capital, knowledge, and is now destroying government education.

When the time came for poor Dalit children to get educated they privatised education. We are not departing from the past, but these are linkages to the past.

Don't you think economically backward Brahmins and upper castes should get reservations?

Some 90 percent poor people in this country are Dalits and Adivasis. They are 85 percent of the total population and are under-represented. 15 percent of upper caste people are over-represented in jobs. This is the conclusion.

This new bill gives additional 10 percent reservations, it is not snatching anything away.

First, you fill the vacancies in the 50 percent quota. Don't go by what is written on paper, but talk in practical terms.

How many professors, vice-chancellors in this country are from the backward community? Show us some statistics.

I am a teacher at Delhi University. SCs/STs reservation was implemented in 1997. In 2007 OBCs got into Delhi University.

For the last 10 years there are no new appointments. Why has it been stopped. And, more importantly, who stopped it?

Why aren't these things spoken about?

The HRD minister said he will bring an ordinance. Where has that gone?

When it comes to SCs/STs rights everybody forgets because India belongs to the upper castes and all institutions are in their hands.

You sound like someone who suffers from a victimhood mentality.

I am seeing it and not talking in the air.

In every institution SCs/STs and OBCs are being suppressed and upper caste people are ruling on top.

Everywhere, this is happening. I am arguing my case that this is not fair, it is not a feeling of victimhood.

Is that why the Modi government is not releasing the socio-economic caste based census?

They will be exposed as it will be proved that wealth, land, money, jobs and education mostly are in upper caste hands and SCs/STs have nothing in their hands.

Let them do this census for Brahmins, Thakurs, too. Who is stopping them?

Just like the Election Commission does voter rolls they should do this kind of census too. They have all the machinery.

Therefore, I say this reservation for upper castes is only a lollipop from the Modi government. They are not serious about the welfare of the people of this country, but only of some industrialists.

Till date they have done a caste census only of SCs/STs and OBCs and those figures too they are not publishing.

Let them do a census of every caste and you will find out who has how many cars, houses and land.

Why do you talk of caste so much? We are in 2019.

Even after 50,000 years this kind of discussion will go on.

It is like that saying 'Jaati hai ke Jaati nahi (Caste does not go ever).'

Caste is by birth and you bring your sanskar due to your family.

You are born in your caste and you will die in your caste. You can change your class, but not caste.

I don't see that in a city like Mumbai.

You should have the kind of eyes to see such discrimination.

Whenever there is a vacant position people are on the look out trying to fix their caste people in that position.

You come to Delhi and you will find out. This is a universal phenomenon in India.

People do not get jobs only on merit, but caste, region. Religion also works.

This must be very discouraging for a young Indian.

They know it and they are aware of it. I am a teacher. Children are taught in their homes.

Who teaches them all these things like 'This guy is a Dalit and you should not sit with him'? Everyone knows.

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf /