The debate on casteism is back!
Reservations have had a place in India for over a century, much before they were written into the Constitution as a leg up for socially and educationally backward sections. In 1902 Pune’s Chhatrapati Maharaj reserved seats in educational institutions; the Mysore Maharaja and the states of Madras and Travancore too ensured representation for the very backward in all senses of the term because of highly stratified social structures and the practice of “untouchability” that had left large sections of the population backward for centuries.
They recognised that it was only by actively trying to lift up these sections by offering seats in educational institutions and in employment, that some kind of level playing field could be established.
Since the 1989 Mandal Report was accepted and reservations entered the political universe of North India, each time an attempt has been made to widen the debate – last in 2005 — there has been a huge backlash on the grounds that it is the defeat of ‘merit’.
The National Commission of Backward Classes recently, wrote to the ministry of social justice to bring in a bill to provide 27 per cent job reservations for other backward classes in the private sector.
In a country like ours there are such vast discrepancies in the economic system. We have the largest number of abjectly poor people in the world, including the largest number of those who are illiterate and malnourished.
While all of us acknowledge that, the corporate sector needs to be a partner with the government to promote economic growth with social justice, but does that mandate Reservations in the Private Sector ?
Whats your take on that ?