India is probably the only country in the world where people clamour to be classified as backward. They clamour with pride, 'Make us backward or else...'
The most recent call for this inclusion is the revival of the agitation in Haryana with the Jat womenfolk taking the lead for reservations quotas.
Shades of 2016 and the mayhem that followed threaten to repeat themselves and one can only hope that timely action is taken to contain the violent fallout of a demand that now aims to up the ante and defrost the 10 percent grant given earlier in the wake of bloody rioting last year but put on hold by the Punjab and Haryana High court.
Even though the court declared Jats were not backward they wanted to be so and the past ten months have passed uneasily.
It is very difficult to explain to people anywhere in the world about the keenness to be called backward, a label that would be seen as largely insulting in any other context.
Fact is that there are not enough jobs to go round and the exponentially increasing list of OBCs, as they are called, to the already overloaded circuits of the scheduled castes and tribes has made the initial ‘pull them up by their socks’ sentiment of the reservation policy a travesty today.
Since the state governments are unable to generate jobs the promises to offer further extensions to the ‘backward classes’ lists simply has no basis and is an empty promise now reaching the farcical.
The reason for this is smack, right dab in our faces. In 1975 Justice Krishna Iyer stated in the case of State of Kerala vs NM Thomas that the creamy layer of the backward categories was making the most of it leaving their weakest brethren even weaker, not even leaving crumbs as they scoffed the whole cake.
The reservation into perpetuity has now become a menace and the layer is far more than creamy…it is pate and cheese and a cherry on top. These backward 'brahmins' are now earning in lakhs as multiple members of their families use the loopholes and the technically legal ‘bookings’ in jobs to rake it in. They are richer than all their tribe…and ours.
And there is no end to it, like okay you are now on the sunny side of the street so the umbrella is being taken back.
This issue has not been frontally addressed for far too many years and the pussyfooting around these potential vote banks by making them false promises benefits only those of their ilk who are licking their chops and are now filthy rich and successful.
Even their grand-kids now jump the queue despite their wealth and earning power. When does this apologist stuff stop?
Whether we like it or not that little wriggly thing in the dirt with a broken spine is merit and it has been crushed as this creamy layer makes merry.
People earning in lakhs continue to enjoy the pleasure of the backward bondage in such an exploitative fashion it even makes the American affirmative action programme come across as anemic in comparison.
The ‘one family one reservation’ option has never really been exercised even though it is bandied about and everyone pretends it is an active parameter.
As long as there is no time limit stringently put on it and reservations re-introduced to sanity other states, especially Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh might (will) face similar problems. The Patels, synonymous globally with business acumen have a similar peeve in Gujarat. This is almost impossible to comprehend.
When we move into third generation reservation and cannot get off this tiger, the writing on the wall is a sign of very troubled times.
Certainly not moving forward.
Perhaps the only ones truly losing out are those who are not eligible.
Updated Date: Feb 21, 2017 16:33 PM