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Reservations for the Deprived Sections



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[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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A Case for Reservations for the Deprived Sections of the Indian Society
Dear Friends

The debate on the desirability, the basis and the means of reservation
for
the backward sections of the Indian Society has been so fiercely debated

over an extended period of time, that we have lost sight of the reasons
why
such reservations should be incorporated in the first place. If we can
logically prove the necessity of reservations then a majority of the
questions regarding the basis and means of reservation can be answered.

Let me try to put forward the reasons as to why the system of
reservations
should be incorporated into the system of governance in India.

As I see there are four major reasons why such a system should be
incorporated:

a) The Moral Reason
1. On the belief that all men are entitled to certain basic rights
conferred
upon him at the time of his birth. In India these basic rights have been

grossly violated over a period of centuries. Hence to rectify this moral

fallacy there is a necessity of proactive action by mutual consent to
enable
the future generations to enjoy the rights that they are entitled to by
virtue of being born as a human.

b) The Political Reason
1. On the belief that men desire a stable society that is not prone to
violent revolutions and that men can prosper intellectually and
materially
in such a stable society. The establishment of such a stable society
would
need that a political system is in place where every man's voice is
heard.
For if the voice of certain sections of the population are not heard
then
they will, by nature, resort to violent and destructive methods to
achieve
their aims which in turn will affect the welfare of the other members of
the
society.

In India certain sections of the society were not allowed to voice out
their
concerns or assert their options and to correct this error it is
necessary
to put a system in place which will enable them to raise their concerns
and
their grievances heard.

c) The Economic Reason
1. On the belief that each man has the right to desire for as much
material
comforts as he desires and that the existing governing system should
provide
him with opportunities to achieve the material comforts that he desires.

2. On the belief that every man can contribute more to the welfare of
the
society if he is equipped with a good education and possess useful
skills
and hence the society has a duty to provide education to its members for
its
own sustenance.

In India, the material comforts of certain sections of the society were
not
considered and hence it is necessary to provide a strong foundation from

which these sections will be able to strive and achieve the material
comforts that they need.
In India certain sections of society were forcefully denied education
and
society has lost because of this. Hence it is necessary to educate these

sections which for the benefit of society itself.

d) The Social Reason
1.On the belief that inequalities present on a social level will breed
hatred, jealousy and
   destructive tendencies which can lead to the collapse of the society.

In India there was a a tremendous inequality prevalent in the society
and
that the certain sections of the society were deprived of the benefits
which
they were otherwise would have obtained when man lives in a society.
This
deprivation has instilled a sense of exclusion in them which in turn
leads
to feeling to see the existing society being torn apart. Hence there is
a
need to bring these sections socially on par with other section of the
society so as remove the feeling of exclusion and cultivate a feeling of

togetherness necessary for the development of society. Now based on
these
reasons let us analyse some questions that were raised in the debate.

Let us consider the Moral Reason for Reservations:

The moral reason for reservations should be split into two parts.
First there should be a system of rules prepared by general consent as
to
what are the rights that a man is entitled to by virtue of his being
born.
Such a document is the foundation of any nation and India has such a
document in our Constitution on the section on fundamental rights.

Second there should be a governing system which will ensure that every
individual will in fact enjoy the rights set down in the constitution.
In
particular these rights were rigorously denied to the deprived sections
for
centuries. So we need a governing system to ensure that these rights are
not
denied to them again. This calls for such persons to sit on the
governing
body who will painstakingly ensure that these rights are enjoyed by the
deprived sections. This is then the case for reservations in the Law and

Order and the Justice Department.


Let us consider the political reasons now:

This is the most straightforward case in which special representation
for
those sections of the society that were forcefully kept away from
expressing
their opinions in public bodies and institutions. There cannot be much
dispute over this argument and indeed no strong opinion has been raised
by
the general public against reservations in elected bodies like
Parliament or
Legislative Assemblies.

Let us consider the Economic Reasons now:

This is probable the most contentious of the possible reasons of
reservation
and rightly so. While the case of political and social exclusion applies

exclusively to the deprived sections of the society, the same cannot be
said
on the economic front. Every section of the society is composed of
economically well to do and the economically deprived. There is no clear

economic stratification along caste or religious lines.  And by virtue
of
the fact that every individual is entitled to economic advancement, the
case
for reservations to the economically deprived along caste lines do not
stand
any merit.

What then is the possible solution to economic deprivation? It is simply
a
minimum level of material comfort and the opportunity for further
advancement, or in other words a Welfare State. Thus any argument for
preferential treatment to the politically and socially deprived sections
has
to be built on the top of a Welfare State, otherwise the preferential
treatment cannot be justified in totality.

Let us consider the Social Reasons now:

This is in my opinion the most difficult and the most important section
of
the whole issue, not simply because it is the crux of whole issue but it

does not have any straightforward solutions as in the political, moral
or
economic cases. For a person to be socially accepted without any
barriers
whatsoever is a question of altering the psychological perspective of
every
individual in the society, for which very clearly there is no physical
solution. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that when a member of

socially backward section of the society was elected as the President of

India, the image that remained in the minds of the most Indians was that
of
an individual from the deprived classes making it to the highest level.
And
so it will be for all other individuals from the deprived classes who
manage
to reach socially prestigious positions. A President, Prime Minister,
Cabinet Secretary, Doctor, Engineer or Architect will be viewed with the

stigma of caste attached to him by the majority of individuals. There is
no
solution for this. One can only hope that economic and political
development
of the deprived sections will with time erase the social tag attached to

them.





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