Sunday, June 22, 2008

Caste - Justice Vs Opportunity

I feel no shame for the crimes of my forefathers. Reservations were a painful phase of every "open category" students' life - The inefficiency of caste based reservations and the wastage of valuable Government resources were fiery topics of debate, they were a cause of anguish for many hard working students, the result probably was exactly to make upper castes feel bad that they were born in that caste. In vengeance, the open category students detest the backward caste students even more - what kind of foolish social justice is this?

Ranking backwardness by any standard is wrong - race, religion, sex, caste, descent or patronage. Equal opportunity should be equal opportunity - in education - housing - jobs - benefits.

The Indian caste based reservation policy is only reserving opportunity as a solution to provide justice.
Social amalgamation of the untouchables and tribes was successfully implemented via reservations - but do we still have caste free society - no. Social Justice to the "backward" seems a legitimate step forward. For years we (the upper classes) exploited, oppressed and nearly crucified the untouchables (Harijans) and the tribal folk (Adivasis). How to mete out social justice in a modern democracy seems to be a forgotten question now. Its just a rat-race for quotas and percentages and petty political games.

Providing "Social" justice is more about social cleansing and healing of feelings than economic assistance. A reserved class IIT-ian or IIM-ite is still shunned by upper castes when she/he goes to temples or when in upper class company.

Each caste, sub caste and tribe has a case by case basis story in history and the only way to provide them social justice is to hear their case and raise their social standard. Economic help will never alleviate the "backwardness" as it was social and mentality based backwardness.

Let us separate the 2 domains economy and society to provide the necessary social justice - each caste should have educated representatives battle out social justice issues (not reservations, quotas or scholarships).

We have to make SC ST OBC DT NT all these categories feel proud that they belong to such and such caste (irrespective of whether they get jobs, get funds or get seats in top notch institutions) - they should be brought to the same level of upper castes not by economy but by pride. That will only happen if we launch a forum of caste based justice and decide on the right solution for each caste.
From the ashes of the reservation policy and Mandalization, we should construct a new social justice system - a true tribute to Dr Ambedkar's vision of caste free India.

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