Does Reservation for SC/STs Help in Maintaining Caste Divisions in India?

India has been grappling with the issue of caste for centuries, and even after 75 years of Independence, it remains one of the most pressing issues in the country. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a prominent leader of the Dalit community, was one of the proponents of caste reservations for the untouchables and the socially backward communities who were oppressed and boycotted from progress. This was done to ensure that there is equal representation among them in government jobs and institutions. However, the question arises: does reservation for SC/STs help in maintaining caste divisions in India?
It cannot be denied that reservations have played a crucial role in uplifting the low caste Hindus in India. After 75 years of handholding, there has been a great leap in terms of education, job opportunities, and financial upliftment among them. However, what has not been erased from them is the caste identities that make them appear socially backward. This raises the question of whether reservations have only served to entrench the caste divide in India.

It is a fact that many people hold on to their caste identities only to avail of reservations. If reservations were lifted, they would no longer remain within the caste hierarchy. Therefore, it is safe to say that the reservation quota in India has caused more chasm than benefit. It has also led to more protests and political vengeance among different sub-castes who are competing for internal reservations.

Moreover, today, the Muslims are the new marginalized community in India. Their representation in government institutions is much lesser than the SC/STs, and their educational backwardness is much greater than that of the SC/STs. Therefore, the idea of reservations for all Indians must be re-examined. The poor Indians who do not have access to education and jobs must be given monetary and placement help for progress.

Instead of divisive reservations, the government must focus on providing free education for all. Free quality education for all, regardless of their caste or religion, is crucial to ensure equal opportunities for everyone. The government must also work towards providing job placements for all Indians, instead of providing reservations that only divide people.

The demand for reservations amongst sub-castes of the SC/STs has been a persistent issue in India. The calls for determining quotas within quotas have led to protests and unrest in various parts of the country. However, this approach is not sustainable and will only lead to further division and inequality. Instead, we need to focus on providing equal opportunities for all and providing special help for the underprivileged sections of society. Meritocracy must be prioritized over mediocrity, and there must be a fair and impartial approach towards all. Only then can we truly create a just and equal society for all Indians.

It is essential for Indians to hold on to just one identity in public domain that involve education and job placement – that of being Indian. People who are poor need equal opportunities and rights for government jobs and education. This approach will go a long way in bridging the caste divide in India and promoting social harmony.

In conclusion, reservations for SC/STs have helped in uplifting them, but it has also led to the entrenchment of caste divisions in India. The focus should now be on providing equal opportunities for all Indians, regardless of their caste or religion. The government must invest in free education and job placements for all, rather than divisive reservations that only lead to chaos and confusion. It is time for Indians to hold on to just one identity as a citizen – that of being Indian – and work towards promoting social harmony and progress. Our identities of languages and religions must not interfere with the progress of the citizens.

Written by
Umar Shariff
President, DIET


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