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Re: Dalits and Christian dalits

[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
___Help make this manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!___
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

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

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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