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Re: Dalits and Christian dalits



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[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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Ash Mahesh wrote on 17 May 1999.
Government in India interferes in religion in more than one way, and if
we considering any proposals to change that, we should take that up more
comprehensively than this. My preference is that all caste-based and
religion based quotas be replaced with economically-based ones. True,
there are many non-Hindu dalits, but there are also many poor upper
castes, at least a few rich dalits, and so on. The whole quota system
stinks. It leaves a few people disgruntled, and others with the
perennial taint of having "made it" spuriously.

My comments:
Although I fully agree that all caste- and religious-based quotas should
be scrapped, I don't agree for their replacement by economically-based
quotas. Merit should be the sole criterion. The only care we should take
is to ensure that meritorious socially- and economically-backward
candidates are not denied of their rightful claims. Special training and
scholarships should however be provided by the government for these
candidates to compete well with the socially- and economically-forward
candidates. The present rules of reservation have been introduced soon
after India became independent. These rules have not in anyway helped in
the upliftment of the vast majority of dalits. They have only helped a
small section of dalits to become economically and socially forward.
This section has now become so influential and powerful that their
families and relatives grab all the opportunities provided to the dalits
and do not allow them to percolate to the vast majority of dalits who
are real poor and backward.

They cite the backwardness of this vast majority of dalits as a case for
the indefinite continuation of these reservations. It is stated in the
IPI draft manifesto that these reservations should continue. Is there no
better solution than this to uplift the dalits?

Ash Mahesh wrote:
This is completely besides the point, and in fact betrays the real
problem. What are you trying to do - assuage non-dalit fears of further
reduction in opportunity? How about assuaging the same fears among
dalits, then? Won't the addition of non-Hindu dalits reduce their
opportunities? Selling divisive stuff is a dangerous game, one can't
assuage all opinions if the premise is that one must belong to
predetermined and UNALTERABLE groups. Economic mobility is a much better
basis.

My comments:
My suggestion that a dalit should not be deprived of the benefits
conferred to dalits simplify because of a change in his religious faith
is purely based on objectivity. I know of a Christian dalit who could
not be appointed as a Lecturer in Sri Venkateswara University until he
managed to get a false certificate from a local Hindu religious
institution that he got admitted into Hinduism. The vast majority of
dalits do not wish to treat a fellow dalit not to be a dalit on the
basis that he changed his religious faith, got into a job, or became
rich.
The denial of the rule of reservation to the creamy layer of dalits
could not be so far implemented because of this reason. How can then we
deny the benefit of rule of reservation to a dalit simplify because of a
change in religious faith?

Prof. R. Jagadiswara Rao, Ph.D. Chairman, Rayalaseema Vikas Parishad 63A
Vidyanagar, Tirupati, AP 517502, India (Presently in the USA on a visit)


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