The media is agog with this unexpected Supreme Court’s stay on the implementation of the government’s decision to reserve 27% seats for Other Backward Classes, more popularly called OBCs in central educational institutions, including top schools like IITs, IIMs, and AIIMS since it came yesterday sometime.
I have expressed many a times that any identification and differentiation of the people on the basis of castes must end, if India wishes to be a modern great global economy, and that it must wish above everything.
I was very happy with the report of an initiative of Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation. About 5,000 people, including several Dalit and Hindu leaders, pledged to work against untouchability and discrimination through a seven-point action plan at the first truth & reconciliation conference held in New Delhi.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation, addressing the conference, had said, “Discrimination is not sanctioned by religion. Every Hindu should be educated about the fact that many sacred texts were written by Dalits maharashis in Hindu literature. Notable examples are the two great epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata written by Dalit Maharishis Ved Vyas and Valmiki. Fear and communication gap between communities is keeping us apart. We must reconcile differences.” The seven-point action plan focused on ensuring temple entry for Dalits, collective celebrations of festivals including community feasts, abolishing the practice of separate utensils for Dalits, empowerment of women from economically weaker sections of society, providing educational facilities to weaker sections, spiritual and religious education to Dalit children and equality and justice for all. As a symbolic implementation of the plan, leaders partook in a community feast. Dalit leader and president of the Indian Justice Party, Udit Raj welcomed the initiatives and advocated that the posts of the head of maths be filled by priests from every caste on a rotation basis.
Why should any honest Indian or, if I say so, Hindu disagree with any of the seven points? I don’t think there is any rationality in perpetuating the caste system that is the unnecessary and damaging burden from the history. Let the country men including the Hindus agree to dismantle it, if not with one stroke, over a timeframe. Caste based society kept India slaves for centuries and certainly none would like to get that exploited again and again by the vested interests to keep us at the bottom of the pyramid.
Some pertinent questions need answers.
Should the caste system with its damaging historical past be the main identifying factor of the society? Do and will the people of India and particularly the next generations like to perpetuate their identification by their castes?
Why was the census based on the caste dropped after 1931? Even if it was by a default, it must be considered as a wonderful decision to integrate the society.
Should the Indian constitution be amended to provide for a single-issue headcounts or referendum?
Does the unanimous backing of the parliament members for reservation, or for that matter on any issue of shellfish interest of the members such as office of profits bill mean the wills of the people of India?
However, I wonder why could those opposing quotas for OBCs not find even a single MP to support their cause and oppose the bill that is getting so much of indirect moral support from judiciary.
Is the judiciary doing what is just technically correct and judicially prudent or is it the ego war between the judiciary and the legislature to prove its supremacy?
The court might have certain justification for stay such as lack of authentic data on the size of OBC population, extent of backwardness, as well as the centre’s adamant refusal to exclude the creamy layer from quotas. However, the decision would have come much earlier to avoid the anxiety among those OBC students who are standing a chance to get admitted in absence of the stay.
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