Reservations for minorities have always been controversial. At least, you would think so if you looked at the national media. Somehow, it is never considered worthy of debate by politicians and policy makers. Consider this, for example: the Article of the Constitution (Article 16(4)) requires that constitutional amendments that extend/amend the policy of reservations be debated every ten years; this ‘debate’ lasts approximately ten minutes. Once in ten years. Clearly, then, politicians in this country think reservations are still essential (whether for the sake of the minorities or not is a question I won’t try and answer here).
I have to say that the principle of affirmative action is sound: Given that caste in India (or race in other places) is an entirely artificial construct (or a completely superficial difference, for race), and that there is nothing to differentiate between people of different castes or skin-colour, one has to ask oneself why one/some group(s) of people is/are significantly under-represented in education, employment or something else. The answer, patently obvious, is that this group of people has faced undue subjugation in the past which has left them unable to compete with the general population that hasn’t faced this sort of discrimination.
Now, nobody is saying that every group of people has to be exactly proportionately represented in everything. (Come to think of it, if there isn’t any discrimination, ‘group of people’ has very little meaning.) The point here is that given that there is nothing substantive to choose between these groups, there is no reason why some group should be consistently under-represented across the board. This is the same principle behind trying to implement representation for women in Parliament. About 15% of India’s lawmakers are women. There is no reason why this should be so, other than that women in this society are treated like crap.
And then there’s this:
Jats in Haryana – that state where people first kill off as many female infants as they can manage, and then buy wives from eastern UP – have gone on a rampage asking for reservations in education and jobs. They’ve blocked a national highway, torched vehicles, the whole shebang. (This happened last year in Rajasthan too, it may be remembered. The Gujjars of Rajasthan went on strike – by which I mean they swung at everything they could – asking to be named a Scheduled Tribe, instead of a backward caste…)
Jats are among the more privileged of Punjab and Haryana’s castes – economically, socially and politically. And they want reservations in education and jobs. Even if this weren’t the case, it takes a certain level of a certain kind of stupidity to think that the best way to show lawmakers that you are underprivileged is to indulge in massive violence, block highways, burn buses and destroy public property.
The Stupid. It burns.