A study on the antireservation
policy of the Indian Ruling Class
- Dr. M.S. Jayaprakash
[The writer is a Historian, Social and Human Right Activist, Retired Professor and Head of the Department of History, Kerala University]
Wherever there were oppressed classes and oppressors, there had occurred bloody revolutions aiming at Social Justice. France, Russia, China, South Africa etc. are all glaring examples in the annals of history. However, in India where oppression has been so deep and wide affecting at least 80% of the people, there hasn’t been a single bloody revolution in the entire history of this subcontinent ! Here it is to be noted that freedom movement was not a national revolution as such. Unlike in other parts of the world, in India the oppressed classes are traditionally, considered by the so called upper – castes as low – castes. They have been, deliberately and based on a well planned – conspiracy, kept in the oppressed condition. Freedom movement was only a strategic move under the leadership of ‘Manu Vaadis’ to restore power to the traditional hands packed in a different mould namely democratic government, from the alien powers. The slavery continued even after securing freedom from foreign powers. In fact the traditionally oppressed majority found themselves having jumped from the frying pan to the fire. This majority was actually longing for liberation from the clutches of internal oppressors – the upper –caste brahminical microscopic minority, and not from the alien powers. In many respects the foreign rulers were blessings in disguise as far as the oppressed majority was concerned. This speaks volumes about the harshness of the oppression the majority out – castes were being subjected to by the privileged minority upper – castes. The horror generated by the Chathurvarna Caste system was so intolerably impacting on the majority out castes that they actually preferred the alien rulers to the native Hindu Raajas.
Though a bloody revolution was practically impossible in the India that time, a bloodless – intellectually and ideologically – driven revolution was taking place in India under the influence of Christianity and Islam, particularly Islam. A traditional out caste, an untouchable, once he embraced Islam suddenly found himself liberated from the yoke to which he was inextricably tied by the inhuman caste – system. This awareness that they experienced themselves by just changing their faith, inspired and impelled tens of thousands of out – castes ‘Hindus’ to embrace Islam and Christianity. The relatively impartial and intellectually honest approach and attitude of the British rulers also contributed to this bloodless revolution. It was this liberal – impartial attitude that inspired the great saint – social reformer of India Shri – Narayanaguru to tell to Gandhiji in an eye-ball to eye ball meeting at Shivagiri : “ Britishers are our Gurus (preceptors). So we don’t want to hear any thing bad about them”. Shri Narayanaguru was the impelling force behind this great social revolution. It was this revolution that converted the ‘lunatic Asylum’ – a descriptive phrase – used by no less a person than Swamy Vivekananda, to describe the caste – ridden Kerala of those days.
However, this great social movement could not be converted into a great political movement of the oppressed majority, owing to the reactionary – pseudo elements who colluded with the upper – caste brahminical forces for petty personal benefits! The brahminical forces could undermine the movement by generating false patriotism and fraudulent revolutionary ideals. Those intellectually dishonest reactionaries successfully seduced the pseudo – revolutionaries into their fold while at the same time keeping them still deprived of the special privileges that were reserved only for the brahminical class. Once again, as in the past, the majority consisting of Dalits – backward classes now stand before the oppressors with their begging – bowls ! They are the victims of the brahminical trickery as ever. In order to achieve true Social Justice, this backward – dalit forces must get united politically as one without getting carried away by the brahminical charm.
At the national level, these reactionary forces that were all along at the helm of affairs in India, systematically and intelligently suppressed all moves for Social Justice. All such moves were nipped in the bud adeptly and adequately. When the issue of separate constituency was mooted to be incorporated in the Minto Morley Reform of 1909 proposal, these reactionary forces opposed it, tooth and nail. The question raised by Jinnah as to how to be at harmony with these people who washed their hands after shaking hands with him (with muslims) is still relevant though in a different context.
The main agenda of Simon Commission who came to India in 1928 was Social Justice since the majority population of India were untouchables and they needed special protection – was the recommendation of the Commission which was accepted by the British Government. It was in anticipation of this agenda that the brahminical stalwarts inspired the out castes in the name of patriotism and together opposed the Simon Commission with the cry of ‘go back’. It is the present generation of those reactionary forces, today oppose reservation for the oppressed classes who remain backward for no mistake of theirs. When the anti reservation protest was staged at Delhi by the upper caste youths, the BC and Dalit students, raised the slogan – “Aryans, Goback”.
In the Round Table Conference, in 1930 the British rulers even enacted a special law for the empowerment of Dalit Community in consideration of their pathetic conditions. The brahminical forces undermined this somehow and called Ambedkar a British stooge ! They undermined virtually every move that had the potential to uplift the Dalits and other – backwards while at the same time extracting maximum favours from the British administration at the cost of the people and this country. They never ever bothered, what happened to the country. They betrayed the country without the slightest compunction. Now they play the same role, in the garb of patriotism !.
Gandhiji himself declared a fast – unto – death against Ambedkar, playing second fiddle to the brahminical forces ! Gandhiji has never ever protested this way, even against the Britishers during freedom struggle. Ultimately, through the Poona Pact they defeated the Ambedkar Mission. This has ever been the attitude of the upper caste forces in India towards the Dalits.
In 1936, it was when share of power was demanded that Muhammed Ali Jinnah was stamped a communalist and a separatist, while infact Jinnah was although against a division. Jinnah for the first time raised this issue when he was driven to the wall by the upper caste Hindu forces under the leadership of Gandhiji. Jinnah’s reasonable proposals for share of power were continually declined by Gandhi and Co. This stubborn attitude of the upper caste mind – set was entirely responsible for the division ! Even if a division was inevitable, still the backwards must not come to power. This was the attitude of the brahmincial upper castes.
Right to reservation was incorporated into the Constitution of Independent India at the behest of Ambedkar. However the several governments that came to power through democratic process undermined the full implementation of reservation for Dalit – and backward communities under one pretext or another. Even when they were forced to implement it under practical political compulsions, the implementation process was stalled or slowed down by administrative and other interventions of the upper caste strategies. The Kaakakalekkar Commission Report on reservation in 1953 was practically undermined by the same strategy. Then there was a long silence. The extremely dejected back-wards remained silent helplessly for 26 years! Compelled by political realities another commission was appointed in 1979 viz. The Mandal Commission and the commission submitted its report to the Indira Gandhi Government in 1980. Indira Gandhi did not take any action to implement the report and kept it in the shelf for ten years. In the ninetees when the V.P. Singh’s Government initiated positive measures for its implementation there was a huge violent back lash from the brahminical – reactionary forces . Even attempts for self immolations were staged by the upper caste Natak Companies in order to force the Government. to stall the implementation process ! Once again they were the people who were benefitted. They, through the backlash, could obtain the creamy layer introduced into the reservation for the first time. Finally, when the commission report was implemented, it was implemented in a crippled condition, depriving the backwards of its full benefits.
Mandal Commission Report consists of three equally important parts like a tree may be viewed as an entity of three segments namely the roots, the stems and leaves flowers – fruits. Here the flowers – fruits may be considered as 27% reservation in the Government Services. In the Indian conditions education, particularly higher education, is inaccessible for the economically backwards. This obviates the necessity for uplifting the backward communities economically. So a programme was chalked out by Mandal with a view to solve the economic backwardness of the backward communities – which included the establishment of separate banking institutions exclusively for the backward communities. This recommendation was not implemented, thus avoided the roots and stems of the Mandal Recommen dations. Adequate representation must be 52% in accordance with the population of the backward communities but it was reduced into 27%.
Mandal recommended reservations in all the departments and services of the government related to technology, employment etc. But practically nullifying many important and vital suggestions in the report, implementation was restricted to only civil service and posts. Out of about 50 lakhs posts, 15 lakhs are in the defence. Contrary to the recommendations, this has been declared out of reservation.
Thus 27% was reduced into 18%. Government also declared several other areas out of bounds of reservation like technological, research and development, higher education, medical, engineering, aeronautical etc., as a result of which practically the percentage declined to 12 from 18. It was on this 12% that the ‘creamy – layer’ gimmick was imposed, because of which the practical net implementation was reduced to a mere 5%. The backward communities have not fully realized the impact of this betrayal. It is in addition to this that the financial strain imposed by the corrupt Village – Taluk officials in the name of creamy – layer.
Science and technology institutions are the monopoly of the upper caste segment. In the higher education professional areas, 50 percent of the positions are held by the Brahmins who constitute hardly 3 percent of the population! In general, the forward class segment who constitute only 15 per cent of the total population practically hold 78 per cent of the positions !, where as a mere 22 per cent is the practical share of the backward segment who constitute 85 percent of the Indian population.
Now the million dollar question is as to what is the contribution of the so called ‘spokesmen of merits’ to the field of Indian – Science and technology ? They have not so far been able to devise a single technological know-how that is suitable to the native soil of India for its development. We need our own technology which alone can solve our problems that are unique to India and Indian conditions. In Kerala, there is a Coconut Research and Development Institution of the Government of Kerala whose main entrusted task was to develop suitable technical know – how to tackle the several diseases afflicting the coconut trees in Kerala that were threatening the major agricultural crop in the state. Even after about 40 years of research at the expense of crores of rupees, the ‘brainy – fellows’ have not been able to develop an effective technology to tackle this problem ! This so called scientific community always looked at the foreign – particularly western technology for solutions since they are destined to work on imported brains. However, in Kerala, of late, they have located a solution that is suitable for the people of Kerala as well as they themselves namely to destroy the trees afflicted with the diseases at the cost of Rs. 10 per tree. Yes, that is being implemented.
One must analyse and evaluate the concept of Social Justice – failing to take root in our society. We are entrusting the vital task of implementing Social Justice with the same people who have been torpedoing every move towards – Social Justice in the past and in the present. The entire social history of India is impregnated with such instances and episodes. These reactionary forces have been constantly and continuously at work in order to impede any forward movement from the side of the backward classes. This conspiracy is so deep rooted and widespread that it requires a systemic and systematic approach to alter it. We have to create an awareness that is integral in the minds and hearts of the dalit – backward classes so as to electrify them and instigate them to a rethinking. We can and we should no more trust our proven traditional – enemies, we can and we should no more entrust our interests with our time tested incorrigible foes – the brahminical upper castes. We should make use of our franchise to elect true representatives who are committed under solemn vow to protect the interests of the under privileged at any rate. We must have our representatives in every constitutional bodies and other institutions in proportion to our numerical strength. Only then the concept of Social Justice can be and will be realized.