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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:

May I point out, professor, that you forgot to quote the part that I
objected to in this rebuttal. Thankfully, there are archives. So here it
is again, for your consideration.

"Non-dalits may note that such a move will not in any way result in a
further reduction of their opportunities in education and employment."

My questions remain the same -

By that statement, are you trying to assuage non-dalit fears of further
reduction in opportunity? How about assuaging the same fears among Hindu
dalits, then? Won't the addition of non-Hindu dalits reduce their
opportunities? Should they be concerned?

What you are saying, in essence, is "don't worry, it won't take any
opportunities away from non-dalits". My take is that this is no basis
for judgement, because one can always find a group (Hindu dalits, in
this case) whose opportunities will be diminshed by the addition of new
members to the reserved groups. Let's say I am a Hindu dalit, and I am
worried that my job reservations are going to be reduced by the addition
of Christian dalits, then should I worry?

Your friend, incidentally, broke the law. You state his case as though
those reservations should have accrued to him by law, when in fact he
got a bogus certificate to get them.

My comments:

I fully agree that by treating a Christian dalit (Backward Caste
C-category) as a dalit (Scheduled Caste), there will be no loss for
non-dalits and some loss for dalits. Despite not being a dalit myself, I
know the general viewpoint of dalits on this subject from my 18 years of
administrative experience in students' admissions and staff recruitment
in India. The following statement, which I gave in my previous email,
summarizes their viewpoint.

"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."

I do not find anything illegal in the act of the dalit who became a
Lecturer in Sri Venkateswara University by converting from Christianity
to Hinduism. When a dalit could become a Christian, a Christian dalit
can also become a Hindu dalit legally through a registered Hindu
organization. The certificate given by the Hindu organization is no
doubt genuine. As his caste in the official records could be changed
from Backward Caste C-categoy to Scheduled Caste, he could be given the
job. I however consider the certificate he produced false because of his
continued loyalty to Christianity. This cannot be contested in a court
of law, as nothing bars a Hindu from going to church. Had there been any
illegality in his appointment, it would have been challenged in a court
of law. Jobs and seats are so scarce that any slight deviation from law
is contested in the court of law. Such a thing has not happened so far
in his case.

Ash Mahesh wrote:

My proposal was that the reservation should not be based on religion
(that much I think we agree on). Whereas I go on to say that some other
yardstick should be used (such as economics) you say that all religions
should be afforded the reservation, completely side-stepping economics.

Here's a simple choice for you, professor. Which of the following two
statements do you feel more inclined towards?

(*) all dalits, no matter what their religion, should get equal
treatment and opportunity. By this consideration, no distinction should
be made between rich and poor.

(*) all poor people, no matter what their religion, should get equal
treatment and opportunity. By this consideration, rich and poor should
be separated, since they NEED different levels of opportunity.

My comments:

The following statements in my previous email give my views on the rules
of reservation.

"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?"

The purpose of my article is to see how best we can avoid politicizing
religion rather than suggest an alternative to the rules of reservation.
I hope to delve on this topic at a future date.

The major problem faced by India is scarcity of jobs and too many job
seekers. IPI would be doing a great service by telling how enough new
jobs could be created, so that all our job seekers (whether rich or
poor, socially forward or backward) are fully engaged.

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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