Are Reservations just?
You are waiting on a hot harsh day in a long queue for a meal and you hardly make any progress. But your hunger and thirst is harder than your paining soles to bear with. A fat old stout man comes in a sedan and bypassing the queue goes directly to the window and fetches his meal. You wonder and rant that it is unjust.How about if you are told that all this was done in name of justice. Caste based reservation isnt much different than the above example. Right from the day when India got its independence, reservations have been part and parcel of social justice, we try to achieve. 65 years ahead, we still have this system in place and its span and web only going wider. What does that tell of its success? I don’t think a very positive picture emerges out of it.
Reservation system aims to create social justice by giving a little more room to socially backward classes in availing various opportunities. But backwardness and poverty are more of an economic phenomenon rather than a social one. One is poor or backward not because he was born in a family or in a particular place but because of his economic conditions and environment around him. As such, a reservation system based on economic position (like “BPL”) more suits the purpose. Also the validity of such reservation needs to be under continuous scrutiny. One cant use and exploit ones position over a period of five generations to be compensated against his other fellow citizens. The point of compensation is another subject that needs to be thought about by policy makers. A student who due to his environment couldn’t qualify the medical exam uses his reservation to get himself a seat in the medical school cant be expected to be at par with other students who are their exclusively because of their merit. Such a doctor tomorrow is responsible for handling valuable lives. And death doesn’t care for reservations. Hence, it would be more logical and just to improve the infrastructure especially educational in the far flungs of the country so that the people living in such areas be brought up at par in their skills and knowledge. Reservations cant be and shouldn’t be used as a leverage against economic stagnation and backwardness.
With each reservation seat, the countries majority feels being discriminated against. Overtime this can cause social rift in our already divided society–the last thing we can ask for.
I m not against so called “reservations”. A welfare state needs to provide such measures. But the bases, validity and effects need to be rethought.