Affirmative actions are hard to digest; especially when we carry a prejudiced approach and further compound that with a myopic out look. Reservations - whether for jobs or seats in academic institutions- have actually strengthened our society. How?
Well, a cryptic answer to that lies in the cliché: "The strength of a chain lies in its weakest link".
Having understood the benefits of such a noble policy, which in the face of it looks plain discriminatory, I extend a value based support to caste based reservations: A well reasoned rationale can be found in this article- by Mr Swaminathan A Aiyer, where he has debunked the myth of talent:
Hope you've got it! Having said that, I’d further add: the reservation policy- as it exists today- certainly needs a re-look. As it is a fact that the benefits are not reaching to the target audience and the same people who enjoyed it at the first place continue to enjoy it today.
SC-Supreme Court- has already asked to remove the creamy layer and that is yet to be implemented. This -affirmative actions -being in the nature of a positive discrimination are discriminations nevertheless and hence must have a definite time frame to run through. For, by default the others- who are not eligible for such privileges- become second class citizens and that would create further anomaly, if practiced without end.
Hence, the government in consultation with other major political parties should declare a firm date, beyond which Caste based reservation would not be continued as a state policy. That was the original intention of the framers of the constitution including the revered Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar. Even if that date is as far away as 100 years from its insertion, it should be declared, as it would bring clarity and definiteness.
What about Promotions in the jobs? When it comes to promotion, reservation kills comradeship and that is to be kept in mind. Wherever possible, people with better ability, not with reserved castes, should be promoted. For, we are talking about making a positive discrimination. After someone has enjoyed the fruit of reservation then the beneficiaries will have to pull their stock up and get assimilated in the main stream. If, for the sake of keeping the morale intact, for the candidates admitted through reservation, reservation in promotion is also thought of then that should happen within a reasonable limit; so that, the general category people will not feel short charged.
Neither there should be any reservation in very top echelons like scholarship for higher scientific research. For research we already have very limited resources and people who have reached that stage of maturity and intelligence only should get those breaks, irrespective of their caste, creed and religion.
Just to keep the record straight:
Now it has become a fashion to find fault with the father of the nation- Mahatma Gandhi- for all national failures, whether those or actual or perceived. Some claim that the policy of reservation is an offshoot of the 'Poona pact'. Well that may have been the case and then it has succeeded in its original mandate! What was that? To keep India united! Hence let's not forget, in India, 'Poona pact' is a historic event. It’s unfortunate that Mayawati & her coterie have started Gandhi bashing for the reason for which he should be applauded!
Gandhiji prevented a division of India (not Hindus, they were already divided) by making far larger concessions for dalits. Up till that time such magnanimity was unheard of! When we go through the details we are overwhelmed by the goodwill gestures shown and largess bestowed upon the Dalits by Congress having been forced by Gandhiji.
So, the people who find fault with Poona pact secretly desire a many way vivisection of India in the name of caste; lets be aware of it!
Like wise, after partition, Gandhiji's magnanimity in persuading the government to pay the agreed sum to Pakistan also hugely angered Hindu / Nationalist demagogues. Though Nathuram Godse claimed that to be the main reason for the assassination of Gandhiji a closer analysis proves that this is an after thought. This fact has been clinically exposed, to a good extent, in the legendary book "Freedom at Midnight: by Larry Collins and Dominique Lappiere. However, on an overall analysis it’s clear as day light that the Mahatma laid his life for “Unity of India” and that sacrifice weighed heavy and the fundamentalists could not raise their heads for the following 4 decades, which were very crucial for this fledgling state!
Where our actions are based on 'Love' we succeed in the long run and in contrary to that, actions based on 'Hatred' are immediately appealing and may bring some immediate results; yet, in the long run such actions lead a family/ community/ society towards its downfall.
'Affirmative actions' is a policy, which is based on love. Because of such a policy we've achieved steady progress and equity. Contrast this with the policy of "Varnasram" or casteism, whose cornerstones are exploitation and hatred and how, for centuries, that sapped our society in the past.
Friends, let's grow up!