Our Dividing Rulers

Before I share my words of wisdom with you, it’s my duty and ingrained rich Indian culture that I should inform you about the way I have divided the reading rights of the page. The readers who are looking for an auspicious date to read my article can read the heading of the write up, readers who are fighting to read this can read every second word, readers who mean business and would like to buy this masterpiece can read the punctuations and last but not the least (canned laughter) the ones who would prefer to clean this piece up can read all the tabs and all the blank spaces. All the Others whom I might have left out can now read the remaining 27% of whatever is left.

I don’t know how many of you have actually reached till this line to reap the real benefits but if you have, I must highlight here that it is this practice that our government has termed positive discrimination, a must in any independent secular state. The government hopes you won’t get confused here with the policy which the ex-rulers of the country had used to divide and rule us for nearly two hundred years; it sincerely believes that you would actually look beyond the obvious and read into the subtleties, the fine print that since we were always divided might as well play kabbadi with the democratic rulers now.

In my belief this is a plague to our country from the pre-independence era and it has left us paralyzed since. The British had used the two terms ‘caste’ and ‘tribe’ to classify the Indian communities. The castes were the people in the civilized areas that they could see and the tribes the ones that lived in the far off places. This list made by the British is what was used by the Indian government to choose people who were entitled for the positive discrimination. And it is this that we swear by ever since.

The equation is a totally confusing one. The people who are from the so-called lower castes are considered to be in need of a push socially, politically and on the education front so they get all the backing from the government in the form of quotas (and keep getting it till their fiftieth generation). The ones from the so-called privileged higher castes get to compete for all the seats be it in educational institutions or government jobs (their fifty generations swearing at the quota gifted peers). But at the end of the day you still see mostly the backward classes doing the menial jobs and the forward classes progressing further and further as doctors, engineers and law makers. The screwed dynamics makes you wonder where is it all heading. Are we putting the wrong catalysts? Or are we waiting for the wrong results?

To add to the existing puzzle comes the next clue of the other backward classes. Why this new entry to the list? Weren’t they backward for the last sixty years? If they were fine being the others till now, then why suddenly the urge to become forward? Are they the players for some new party being added to the democratic kabbadi?

Ok. Let’s say this is all in an idealistic world and all this is actually in the positive sense with no ulterior motive, the question that pricks you next is why hasn’t any class become forward in the last sixty years of independent governance? Why these policies of reservation are open ended infinite loops? Why isn’t there any criteria defining when they become uplifted? Why is it that only the lineage is sufficient to define you as backward? And the final query being that if 15% quota is for scheduled caste to be in sync with their proportion of the Indian population, 8% for scheduled tribes to match with their percentage of the Indian populace then why 27% for the other backward classes if they make up almost 50% of your Indian census? Who decided on these numbers? Apart from the astrologer of course.

Like most Indians I would swallow the sorry state of the country as a bitter truth of life but am not able to abandon the small hope that now since you have already divided us, the least you can do is rule us better.

Ipshita Saha

[Image courtesy: http://www.indiabuzzing.com/wp-content/uploads/politician-and-criminals.jpeg]