The demand for reservation in promotion is growing as Supreme Court ruling on the issue is misinterpreted and there is plethora of fictitious PILs in various courts denying SC-ST officers their due share in promotion. Now they have taken up the street. It is time government look seriously on the issue and pass a legislation otherwise the anger may spill in the street and would be difficult to contain.
It was a contrast which we witnessed at the Jantar Mantar yesterday which was historical since our constitutional forefathers adopted the modern Indian constitution. There was the launch of a political party in the name of 'Aam Admi' yet where everyone at the stage was 'khas' or special. In the media galore, the launch was to make people believe that their time has come and now they have to throw away the 'politicians' from Parliament. I am sure, after some time, if they are not able to do so, hopefully, they will not say time to demolish parliament itself. They have attempted their best to demolish the institutions of democracy and place dictatorial and unaccountable forces over it. A perception was built around individuals but a country cannot be built on the individuals but on developing institutions. The Aam Aadmi party pretended to work for constitutionalism which they negated during their entire campaign so far as they tried to discredit every institutions build up so far for their petty political gains.
Contrary to this, thousands of the government employees gathered at the Ramleela ground under the ages of All India Confederation of SC-ST employees for their various demands related to reservation in private sector as well as reservation in promotion which has become a controversial subject given the orders of various High Courts recently. The issue of Dalit-aadivasi representation in our structure has always been a bone of contention for caste Hindus as they do not realize that 'swaraj' unambiguously means our own rule and if a majority of people who are rightfully natives of this land do not have any access and participation in power, how could that be called and claimed as 'self-rule'. It is also important for people to understand the Poona Pact and why rejected that as he was more focused on genuine representation of Dalits in our parliament and assemblies so that they could raise the issue of their community. Unfortunately, Poona Pact did not develop an independent Dalit leadership but the one which was promoted by the powerful caste Hindu lobby. The fact is that today any effort to provide representation is highly resented and loudly opposed.
The Dalit Aadivasi population in this country constitutes nearly 25%. Our political leadership provided reserve seats for SC-STs in Parliament. This representation was in the name of Dalits but not really with their intentions because a majority of them are elected on the votes of those who are vociferously opposed to reservation for SC-ST employees in the government services. It has resulted in the criminal silence of the SC-ST political leaders who are elected on the tickets of those parties who are inimical to the interests of Dalits and tribal in the country. Is not it an irony that over 150 Members of Parliament belonging to this sections of society have rarely raised the issue in parliament except when the ruckus happens outside the parliament. It is this vote of non Dalits that has kept the SC-ST political leaders of Samajwadi party completely quiet despite the top leadership of the party openly defying logic and opposing reservation for the Dalits. It is clear that the Samajwadi party and its leader know it well that even the reserve seats only those Dalits will be elected who do not raise their issue in parliament. That was the purpose of Poona pact which denied Dalits a credible leadership who could care for them and raise their issues in parliament.
It is not without reasons that so many of the SC-ST employees gathered at the parliament Street to press for their demand. In the entire judiciary, they do not have a representation except for Justice K.G.Balakrishnan a few others who made it to top position after much hue and cry. We all know that judicial appointments at the highest level are not exactly 'merit' based but 'connection' based. They are political appointments which completely ignore the cases of SC-STs simply in the name of 'merit'. It is unambiguous why the ruling elite denied two important services to Dalits when the reservations in the government services were provided. These two important places were judiciary and armed forces. There is no All India Judicial Services and if they existed, we would have seen 17.5% quota applicable in that for Scheduled castes and 7.5% for Scheduled Tribes. In the entire Central government services, it is rare to find SC-ST officer beyond certain level of Joint Secretaries. The condition of reservation in Delhi University, JNU, IIT and other institutions is shameful as in the name of meritocracy it is the brahmanical crookedness that works to deny the SC-STs their share.
Reservation does not mean a second graded qualified person. It is not an anti-poverty programme like NREGA etc., which many feel when they talk of 'economic' criteria of reservation. The fact is that reservations are representation of the SC-ST in power structure and it should be seen in that way. It is not a favor to them but a constitutional guarantee for them by the political leadership of India. The problem is that our youngsters do not read history and analyze the current situation on a completely different basis delinking the current events with history. It is important that they understand the historical aspect of reservation.
Those who consider reservation as dirty word should not demand reservation elsewhere. How can those who oppose reservation for SC-STs suddenly agree to give it on economic basis or to women, freedom fighters, to many others? Why does not the idea of merit come? Why we never raise our voices against privatization of education and its institutions which are becoming 'den' of the power elites and promoting 'dronacharyas' in the colleges and universities. With more privatization, the state has virtually abdicated its responsibility towards its marginalized sections of society. Their jobs are under the threat and hence it was important that the All India Confederation of SC-ST Employees Union to raise the issue of reservation in the private sector particularly for those who build up their huge empire on the government subsidies and grants. Indian corporate must respond to its social responsibility and it cannot be small charities but also support in fellowship in education and providing jobs to SC-ST youths.
The leader of All India Confederation for SC-ST Employees Union, Dr Udit Raj must be complimented for uninterruptedly working to unite different sections of society and taking this battle from street to Parliament. It is important that his voice be supported when a majority of SC-ST Members of Parliament have kept quiet on the issue. Fortunately, BSP has raised the issue in parliament and sought Prime Minister's interventions on the issue of reservation in Promotion. It is a genuine demand and government must bring a law as fast as possible as our democracy cannot work through bureaucratic hurdles and guidelines of the courts all the time.
The issue of reservation is not simple as it is a power struggle. Those who have enjoyed power for generations cannot leave it that easily. The heart of India's upper caste sink on the issue of representation of the marginalized because they have grown in feudal atmosphere where some feel they have right to rule while others should always be ruled. It is not for that unknown reason that a man in India who changed its destiny and one of the tallest and most honest in our political life named as V.P.Singh is a figure of hatred for the caste Hindus for his 'Mandal' sin. We forgive goons, moan on their deaths, assemble in large number but we cannot stand for a minute to remember the man who wage a war against corruption in India and stood for the rights of marginalized. V.P.Singh's support for the cause of the marginalized in India made him the biggest villain of Indian system in post independent India yet the seeds that he has sown are growing and will write history in future where his name will be written in golden letters. It is another fact that at the moment, the caste Hindus and their communal minds are working closely with the corporate to deny the marginalized their rightful share in power and coopting the spineless political leadership of the reserve constituencies for their own purposes. It is hoped that the government will act on it so that Dalits and Aadivasis do not need to take up the street again and again to demand their due share. The day these sections of society take up the street battle, it would be very difficult for any government to stay in power and contain the anger.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat
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