CHENNAI: A hierarchical system of social discrimination practised for nearly 2,000 years has made this country a land of caste and conflict. This divisive pyramid of oppression is very much in existence today in social and political life.
In government, judiciary, the industrial and agricultural sector, and in business, explicit discrimination continues on the basis of caste.
All reform movements originating in this country have been in the nature of resistance to brahminical religious oppression. Tamil Nadu forms the epicentre of this resistance. Here the Dravidian ethos is aligned with the human values of Jainism and Buddhism.
Social engineers such as Ramalinga Adikalar, Ayothee Dasar and Periyar inculcated the virtues of humanism and universal brotherhood in successive generations to such an extent that any political or social organization formed in Tamil Nadu has to adhere to these standards.
The Tamil Nadu mechanism of caste-based reservation spans more than a century. The state scores high among large states in human development index with inclusive development primarily because of its reservation policy, as stated in National Human Development Report 2001 released by the Central government.
The report states that Tamil Nadu has a legacy of social reform movements that have taken the state in the desired direction. The demographic transition achieved in Tamil Nadu has largely been a cumulative effect of gradual improvements in population, literacy rate along with social mobilization.
There is always a false campaign that reservation brings down merit. Tamil Nadu had proved it wrong in all sectors of education and employment. The increase in cut-off marks for government medical colleges for all categories shows that a chain reaction has set in breaking caste barriers. The gap between various categories is very little.
Comparison with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on which the Centre spends Rs 500 crore every year helps illustrate the contrasts. More than half the medical doctors who have graduated from AIIMS so far are not in India. They are serving the UK and the US health systems. But more than 70% of medical doctors educated in Tamil Nadu government medical colleges, through reservation system, are in government service.
The infant mortality rate (one of the indices of human development) for Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh is more than 60 per 1000 live births. The same infant mortality rate for Tamil Nadu is less 24 per 1000 live births.
Any health programme implemented in Tamil Nadu is a huge success because the reservation policy has produced health professionals from all communities. This has led to effective delivery of health and educational reforms to all sections of society.
All political parties in India have come to a consensus regarding caste-based reservation. Even the RSS has accepted this mechanism as a tool for social engineering and empowerment. It takes maturity to understand that this caste-based reservation is a social upliftment manoeuvre rather than an economic plan for the socially distressed.
The mode of caste-based reservation will become irrelevant only when our society renounces caste from its civilian life and removes it from social intercourse — from marriages to social gatherings of any form.
Any step by the judiciary, legislative or the executive to tamper with this caste-based reservation tool without making any attempt to eradicate the foundations of the caste system will raise doubts in the minds of socially disadvantaged citizens.
They will only see this as a campaign that does not use religious doctrine or the argument of equality and merit but maliciously inverts the idea of social justice to challenge reservation.
t would be instructive to quote Babasaheb Ambedkar here: "We are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics, we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If you continue to deny it for long we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must move this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy."
(The author is a physician and a rights activist)
ஸ்ரீராமதாஸ் மகாலிங்கம் Reservation and privitazation came during the same time 1991. I would attribute the success to public participation in privitization ..
Reservation has been there since the day The Constitution was written!
Secondly, Tamilnadu implemented 68% reservation in 1980 under MGR and that was made 69% under Kalaignar in 1989.
But people against reservation will still cry foul and claim all this success had nothing to do with reservations!
It's just the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf!
Long before 1947, education and govt service was cornered by a few and denied to the rest. Check ICS stats. Check the education stats under the British. Reservations came in the 1920s in Madras Presidency to fix this anomaly.
No community was packed off! For how long will this lie be perpetuated?! It's ok for the elite to seek greener pastures but not ok if the masses of Kerala do it? Go check the businesses run by Keralites in the Gulf and the subsequent investments into Kerala.
Capital was cornered by the elite and nationalisation of banks had to happen to break that. Now the same elite is using dubious means of crony capitalism to literally loot the banks.
States like Tamilnadu and Kerala did effective land reorganisation which led to more wealth being spread over the population.
The point is simple, when the system was creating govt jobs reservations were opposed by the ones who cornered most of those jobs. Now the organised private sector which sucks up all the financial credit in the system has had it too easy for too long. Reservations will come in private sector too.
Privatisation is fine as long as it's in everyone's hands and not just the elite.
The Brits won the lands and nothing wrong in Brahmins adopting to the needs of the new rulers and studying in the so called Macaulay system and working under them. It is survival and the common sense thing to do.
The problem is the denial of this by current day right wing Nationalists and intellectuals who propagate lies surrounding that whole period; namely Macaulay system ruined India, right wing elite were against the Brits, etc.
Amarthya? You mean Smarthas?