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Monday, 8 September 2014

Preview of a book "Reservations in India : Myths and Realities". Mr. Anil Bharti

Preview of a book "Reservations in India : Myths and Realities". Mr. Anil Bharti has already declared this book as "KOODE KA DHER".  Some other friends have reprimanded me for publicising a book without actually reading it fully. I admit my fault that I posted the link without studying the complete book or at least its full preview available online on google books. Given the time constraints, I still haven't read the complete book. However, I share whatever I feel like after reading the online preview of the book available at the given link.
 
The writer has discussed several issues including Stigma of Casteism, Untouchability; OBC Reservation; Merit; Creamy Layer; Reservation in Judiciary, Private Sector and Self Financing Education Institutes; Judicial Activism and some other misconceptions like reservation in promotion etc.  I have read it partially as available in the preview at the given link.  Whatever, I feel like after reading parts of this book in the online preview available at the  given link are shared as follows.
 
Author comes down heavily on social evils like Casteism and untouchability.  Numerous cases of atrocities against dalits happening the present day India have been listed.  He notes that the constitutional provisions of reservation are the best means to end the social and economic inequalities that have persisted for over centuries.  On the issues like creamy layer, he quotes exclusive provisions made for SC/ST in the Constitution and Supreme court ruling in Indira Sawhney case wherein the court has clearly stated that the concept of creamy layer is not applicable to SCs and STs. He also draws attention to instances where even educated, empowered and developed Dalits are not spared from the scourge of casteism.  A news of a judge belonging to upper caste (Srivastava) purifying the seat in a court in Allahabad with Ganga jal as it was vacated by a Dalit judge encapsulates the issue of non-applicability of creamy layer concept on SC/ST.
 
On reservation in Private Sector, the author takes the arguments of people like Rahul Bajaj, head on.  He questions the hereditary reservation of top management posts in large companies listed on bourses, for the children of promoters.  He appreciates the new approach of people like Narayan Murthy of Infosys to hand over management rights to the professionals.
 
Judicial Activism : The writer quotes various court rulings which have upheld the reservation provisions for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes but also asserted authority of the Courts to make judicial review of such provisios. He observes that Supreme Court’s judgment in the M. Nagaraj case is true case of judicial activism. Is it the job of top judicial authority to monitor the implementation of reservation in each case, he questions. He further maintains that there is no dearth of law on reservation, only honest implementation is required.  Our politicians resort to more and more legislations after each judicial pronouncement. 
 
At page 31 of the book, the writer denotes “Reverse Discrimination” as a term coined by the Colonial regime.  He states that the British launched reservation for Scheduled castes and few minorities from 1935 as a part of their divisive agenda. Their purpose was never aimed at redressing the chronic social inequalities but to diffuse the growing unrest against them from all corners of society.  However, the provisions of reservation in the post independence period are aimed at addressing the age old social inequalities.
 
Here, it appears that the writer has disregarded the struggle of dalits and the role of Baba Saheb Ambedkar in securing the rights of downtrodden people.   He forgets the history that Indian National Congress was started on 28 December 1885 not with the aim of overthrowing the British rule in India but to have a share in the running of administration. The Home Rule Movement was launched to put forth Indian demands for Home Rule – Indian participation in the affairs of their own country.  Dalits did not figure anywhere in such participation in administration.
 
It was Baba Saheb Ambedkar who gave voice to the aspirations of the downtrodden.  Due to his prominence and popular support amongst untouchable community, he was invited to attend Round Table Conference in London in 1932. As a result a separate electorate for untouchables was proposed by the British Government but the same was fiercely opposed by Mahatma Gandhi. Finally Poona Pact was signed in 1932 which gave the right of reservation in place of separate electorate for scheduled castes.

 
However, in the later half of the book, the writer underlines the role of Dr. Ambedkar in the history of reservation right from his appearance before Simon Commission in 1928.  The writer exposes the double standards of Mahatma Gandhi, when he showed his acceptability of separate electorate for Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Europeans etc. but stiff opposition against similar provision for depressed classes.   At page 301, the writer holds the position taken by Dr. Ambedkar on separate electorate for depressed classes under the Communal Award as the correct one and believes that had Baba Saheb been successful in securing ‘separate electorate’ and ‘double voting system’ for dalits, they would have been a power to reckon with today. 
 
 
On the issue of merit, the writer seems to be confused. He appears to be taking sides with the anti-reservation lobby when he says that reservation in clerical posts is a different matter and the same in specialised fields of medicine and science and technology is a different one.  He admits that gone are the days when there used to be huge gap in merit of reserved categories.  In another chapter on merit, he supports the views the pro-reservationists and he quotes Dr. Amratya Sen, from his book “Meritocracy and Economic Inequality” that merit is a dependent idea and its meaning depends on how a society defines a desirable act. I did a little bit of research on google.com to see exactly what Dr. Sen has said in that book.   Dr. Amartya Sen has contributed a paper on “Justice in Meritocratic Environments” for the book “Meritocracy and Economic Inequality” written/edited by Kenneth Arrow, Samuel Bowles, and. Steven Durlaufi Editors. PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS. 2000.
 
The book “Reservations in India: Myths and Realities” concludes with the thoughts that in the new age of job diversification, there should be a slightly different policy for upliftment of SC/ST and OBCs.  The author points out that when Government Order on Communal Award was in force during British rule since 1923, its implementation was scrupulously monitored by the Government and wherever it was not implemented or posts not filled as per roster, necessary corrective steps were taken.  He finds it doubtful if such practice is prevalent now a days in Government considering the huge backlogs of vacancies. 
 
The book suggests equal education policy for all the children with same medium of instructions as it is the English medium adopted by the elite classes which wield complete control over bureaucracy and higher education system in our country.  As scheduled castes suffer from caste based discrimination, it advocates special care for needs of SC/ST students for quality education in special hostels with all facilities which can be ensured only by putting committed people at the helm of affairs.  For equal redistribution of resources, it advises follow the Malaysian experiment as our own land reforms programme has failed miserably due to lack to political will. 
 
The book appears to be suffering from some reference inconsistencies and grammatical and spelling errors which are worthless to mention.  Otherwise, I did not find anything affront to the concept of reservation for SC/ST in India through the preview of this book. If anyone has read the complete book, he may kindly enlighten us.
It is my belief that "ideas can change our lives".  So I never feel hesitation in picking up a good idea even if it is lying in a KOODE KA DHER.  
The signature  tag line on liberty being used by me is said to be written or stated by Charles Caleb Colton, an English cleric, writer and collector, well known for his eccentricities.  But I have nothing do with his eccentricities as long as I like his quote.
 Yash Pal
 New Delhi.

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