Why caste-based reservation is a logical social-justice measure

From the perspective of the oppressed and backward castes and tribes of Tamil Nadu, there can be no doubt that caste-based reservation is the way ahead to ensure social justice in society. Read below the translation of a booklet published in Tamil by Coimbatore-based Periyarite magazine ‘Kaattaaru’

What is reservation?

For thousands of years, education was denied to the majority of the population of our country on the basis of one’s birth. All the mighty kings who ruled the Indian subcontinent were bound by Manu Shashtra, the rulebook of the Hindu religion that proscribed education of the Shudras. Non-Brahmins were oppressed in many ways. Not only education, but also positions of power and lucrative jobs were denied to them.

“Reservation” is a mechanism to give education and jobs to the oppressed on the basis of their caste – yes, that very caste on the basis of which they were earlier denied education and jobs.

What is proportional reservation?

A “proportional reservation policy” entails reserving opportunities in education, employment, promotions and political representation for each caste group on the basis of its proportion in the total population. Both in India nationally and in states like Tamil Nadu, we have general reservation and not proportional reservation.

A protest march demanding reservations

Is it right to provide reservation based on caste?

In the US, African Americans (blacks) were oppressed for centuries based on their race. Today, affirmative action provides them advancement opportunities based on the same race.

In the Indian subcontinent, after the brahmanical invasion, people were divided and denied their rights on the basis of caste. It is logical to remedy an injustice on a certain basis if the injustice was meted out in the first place on the same basis. Only thus can equality be restored.

Why do we need caste certificates during school admissions?

Let’s consider the case of a house robbery in which a man loses many valuables. When he files a police complaint, the police record his name and address so that they can return the stolen things to him, whenever they are recovered.

In the same way, while implementing the reservation policy, it becomes necessary to correctly identify whose rights have been robbed for thousands of years so that the wrongs committed against this specific set of people can be remedied.

Doesn’t asking for caste certificates in schools help casteism grow?

The places where we are born and live are already divided on the basis of caste. Our towns and villages are divided into “agraharas”, the exclusive settlements for Brahmins; “colonies” or “cheris”, the ghettos for the oppressed; and the rest of the area for the other caste Hindus. Even streets are identified with castes. Merely by looking at a pupil’s address, one can guess his or her caste. Do they ever allocate these reserved dwellings using caste certificates? No. These partitions are imposed upon us at birth.


Even today, in many villages, teashops serve tea to the oppressed castes (Dalits or Scheduled Castes) in disposable cups and to the others in reusable glass tumblers. They have different benches for each caste group. Do those teashops ask for caste certificates? No. They identify someone’s caste based on his appearance.

Even those who claim that caste certificates help casteism grow, resort to mentioning their caste when they seek to marry off their children. Do they not ask for brides or grooms from their own caste? Do their brokers and online websites ask for caste certificates? No.

A man doesn’t get reprieve from caste even after his death. Even graveyards and cremation grounds are reserved for each oppressed caste. Do they check caste certificates before they cremate or bury the deceased? No.

Thus, right from our birth until our last journey to the graveyard, caste is thrust upon us without anyone asking for or checking our caste certificate. Wouldn’t this caste oppression exist even if caste certificates were never asked for in schools? Caste certificates being asked for during school admissions have no role in increasing casteism or caste oppression. Casteism exists and breeds without requiring any caste certificates.

Caste existed even before the origin of the modern school system

The inquiries about caste and the use of caste certificates in schools may have gone on in our society for no more than a hundred years. Thanks to the long struggle taken up by organizations like the Justice Party and the Self-Respect Movement during the 20th century we got reservations, for which caste certificates are required.

For more than 2000 years we didn’t have any public school or university in our country. Only during the British rule in India, we got educational institutions. But the caste system has been fully enforced and practised since the 1st century AD, if not earlier. So then, what has developed the caste system in India during the last 2000 years? Even when there were no schools and no caste certificates during the time of kings, how did the caste system grow? Only to pre-empt such reasoning, the brahmanical media, the media that lacks historical knowledge and understanding, falsely projects the practice of the asking for caste certificate in schools as the main issue.

Ban Avani Avittam, alias Yajur Veda Upakarma, and other caste festivals

Every year, Brahmins hold a ritual celebration called Avani Avittam, aka Yajur Veda Upakarma. On this day, Brahmin boys who have turned 8 that year, undergo a ritual for the first time in their lives: the Brahmanical caste symbol of the sacred thread is tied around their upper bodies and they are thus considered to be born again as Brahmins. The thread serves as an identification mark for a Brahmin. This day has been even declared a public holiday in some states of India. However, the celebration, whose main purpose is to let people openly declare their caste to the world, has not been criticized by anyone; it is rather glorified by declaring a public holiday.

The pseudo-intellectuals from the cinema world, the press, and the TV who wonder how caste will be annihilated if we continued to ask for caste certificates in schools, never ask a Brahmin how the caste system will wither away if they continue to wear the thread that serves as a visible marker of their caste and differentiates them from others. Has anyone uttered a word as to why such a casteist celebration has been declared a public holiday?

Many casteist festivals in the rural areas play a vital role in provoking caste-communal riots. For instance, in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu, in September, Pasumpon Thevar’s Guru Pooja is celebrated by a specific caste, which invariably leads to inter-caste violence. The courts have been ordering implementation of Section 144 or even a curfew to prevent riots year after year. Has anyone asked for a ban on these casteist festivals?

Does asking for caste certificate promote equality?

Nevertheless, there are people who question the system of demanding caste certificates in schools. These very same people practise and uphold the caste system without fail. They perform rituals and customs, from birth to death, to emphasize their caste.

Even if schools did not demand caste/community certificates, there would be castes in society. In order to eradicate caste-based atrocities and to create an egalitarian society, it is important to ask for caste certificates in schools. Moreover, the purpose of caste certificates in schools is to identify people who have historically lost their rights. Therefore, this method never promotes caste; on the contrary it underlines historical injustice and thereby promotes equality.

Does reservation demolish quality and talent?

The government never provides “reservation” to students who fail examinations. Then how does “reservation” spoil “quality” and “talent”? Every year, Tamil Nadu announces medical college admission cut-off marks to admit students. Students are admitted in medical colleges only on the basis of the provided cut-off marks.

2012 Cut-Off Marks in Medical Colleges of Chennai

 Chennai Medical CollegeStanley Medical CollegeKilpauk Medical College
Open Competition (OC)200.00199.50199.50
Backward Classes (BC)199.75199.50199.25
BCM (Backward Classes - Muslims)199.50199.25199.00
MBC (Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities)199.50199.25199.00
SC (Scheduled Castes)198.50198.00197.25
SCA (Scheduled Caste –Arunthathiyars)198.50198.00197.50
ST (Scheduled Tribes)198.00197.25196.00

There is only a difference of 0.25 or 0.50 marks between the students of the General Category and those of reserved categories. Logical people will understand that this hairline difference, of 0.25 marks, certainly cannot affect “quality”. A similar phenomenon is observed in admissions to engineering courses at Anna University colleges.

It is a misconception created by Brahmins and their parasites that we demand reservation based on caste even for non-qualified candidates.

Ashwini Deshpande, professor, formerly at the Delhi School of Economics and now at Ashoka University, and Thomas E. Wiesskopf, professor at University of Michigan, have carried out research on the performance, quality and production of the Indian Railways, India’s largest employer. The result of this primary research on the First Category and Second Category officers from 1980 to 2002 was published in the World Development Journal in November 2009.

The results published at the International Politics and Economical seminar organized by PERI (International Political Economic Research Institute), at the University of Massachusetts, drew the attention of the developed countries. The results of the research were also published in leading newspapers in India. Employees recruited under reservation quotas to decision-making and managerial positions were found to be performing better than other employees. This research punctures stereotypical arguments that emphasize that “quality and talent” are undermined by reservation.

The Mandal Commission revealed the fact that Brahmins dominate appointments at higher levels in the central government. Even though Brahmins, endowed with “quality and talent”, dominate the central government, India owes 46,000 crore dollars to foreign countries. Each dollar is worth more than Rs 60. Because of the “ability and quality” of Brahmins, India is in debt. Yet, Brahmins keep voicing their concern about how reservation could affect “quality and talent”.

Say ‘no’ to reservation based on economic category. Why?

Primarily, there should be a statistical study on the functionality of our education system in a society which has, as part of its traditions, denied people rights based on their castes. The Manusmriti says, “Bring anything to Shudras, but not education”. The Cheras, Cholas and Pandiyas denied people right to education based on their caste.

All over the world, the rich dominate the education system. The domination exists even in the committee that decides the educational policies, and higher, decision-making positions in government and private institutions. The Mandal Commission’s data has proved that in India, it is not the domination of a particular class but the supremacy of Brahmin families in the above-mentioned positions of power.

The social divide/difference will be crystal clear if we make a comparison between an equally ranked/salaried Brahmin family and a Non-Brahmin family.

  1. There are no illiterates in a Brahmin family. They never use their thumb impression as signature. But, in a Non-Brahmin family, at least some members will invariably be illiterate, especially women in their native villages. Across the country, the people who use their thumbprints to sign are always Non-Brahmin. This is clear evidence of educational circumstances of children differing from one caste to another within the same class. Though they are illiterate, some Non-Brahmins possess wealth.
  2. Family members of Brahmins may be settled in developed countries or in northern states. These connections help a Brahmin family to get the required education and job opportunities. It is very rare for a non-brahmin family to be in West. If by chance some Non-Brahmins have settled in foreign countries, then they usually can’t support their relatives back home.
  3. A Brahmin’s family will have members or relatives in higher echelons of the government and private sector, which means the circumstances are favourable for higher education and consequent job opportunities. Despite the fact that a Non-Brahmin family may be well off, they certainly do not have the connections mentioned above, ie their educational and employment prospects are not so good.
  4. Even though a Brahmin family may have been significantly affected by poverty, its members will never do hard manual labour like ploughing, lugging huge loads or working at a stone quarry. Due to poverty, only Non-Brahmins do manual labour.

The differences mentioned above are not based on economic status, but on caste. The severity or level of difference may vary among various Non-Brahmin castes. But in order to provide social justice and eradicate the above-mentioned differences, reservation must be allotted on the basis caste, after conducting a caste-based census.

Student scholarships are awarded on the basis of the candidate’s economic condition. Well-off backward classes thus are not eligible for these scholarships. Certificates showing low incomes are often forged, thus denying opportunity to the deserving. Unlike government jobs, agriculture and businesses involve sharp rises and falls in incomes, which are not taken into account while granting scholarships.

Similarly, the recently introduced reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS) denies opportunity to the deserving among the backward classes. Brahmins and their sycophants oppose the caste-based reservation system because, they say, it undermines “talent”. On the other hand, they demand reservation on economic basis. Will it not ruin talent and quality?

Until caste-based inequality ceases to exist, caste-based reservation must continue. According to Article 16(4) of the Constitution, this is the scientific approach to maintain social justice.

American reservation is based on race

In the United States, the blacks were denied fundamental rights based on their race. Affirmative action for the blacks involves restoring the rights of the blacks and no one else.

In like manner, restoring rights that were once denied on the basis of caste, again on the basis of caste is the only scientific, socially just approach.

Americans never makes such senseless comparisons of the wealthy blacks versus poor whites, unlike Indians who compare wealthy low-caste people with poor Brahmins. They never confuse a “poverty-eradication scheme” with “race-based reservation”.

Therefore, the use of economic yardstick to rectify historical race-based and caste-based discrimination goes against social justice and the scientific approach of restoring alienated rights.

Will reservation eradicate the employability crisis?

Reservation is not meant for economic advancement. Its purpose is to restore the rights of those who have long been deprived of education and a role in State administration. Therefore, reservation can never eradicate unemployment. The private sector, which in India does not provide reservation (positive discrimination), accounts for 90 per cent of job opportunities. Poverty elevation and the resolution of the employability crisis, for both Brahmins and Non-Brahmins, depend on the fate and functioning of the private sector. At the same time it needs to be kept in mind that a Brahmin’s poverty never forces his family to live on the pavement. A Brahmin’s poverty never forces his family to plough the fields, work as a porter, or do other manual jobs and hard labour.

Reservation undermines the essence of the Varnashram system. Job opportunities through the reservation system lead to a change in the social psychology of the non-brahmin people who have been oppressed and enslaved for thousands of years. The idea that “education is inappropriate to our caste” had been drilled into us. Reservation puts an end to this kind of backward thinking and inferiority complex that has been created by brahmanical hegemony.

Should a movement for the annihilation of caste, simultaneously and paradoxically, support caste-based reservation? How long should reservation last?

A similar question can be posed to a genuine communist party that strives for a classless society. Is it correct to fight to retrieve the rights of the people of a specific class? Won’t this cultivate and reinforce class – its identity, values and associated antagonisms? The class system will remain in existence in varied veiled and overt forms until the emergence of a classless society and the struggle to get back rights of the people based on class has to be continued until a classless society emerges. Like the fight against the class system, the continual fight for caste-based rights is the only practical approach until genuine caste parity is achieved. Based on their population ratio, the oppressed people have to be positioned in education and employment, which include all departments. Reservation should prevail or must be followed until positive discrimination is not required to ensure this representation.

If reservation is properly enforced, the need for reservation will automatically disappear. For instance, in Tamil Nadu, the difference between engineering and medical colleges’ admission cut-offs of the open category, backward classes and scheduled castes has been significantly reduced. As shown through tabulated data above, an inquiry into old batch and current batch student admissions to MBBS and BE courses provides the evidential information. If this healthy converging trend is allowed to continue, then, in the foreseeable future, reservation is likely to become irrelevant in the state.

Achievement of caste parity merely through employment-reservation in government services is impossible; 90 per cent of the country’s job opportunities exist within the private and corporate sectors. There is no reservation in these private sectors at present. The reservation policy has not been synchronized across the job market. If that were made to happen, within a short period reservation would become meaningless and could be discontinued. Therefore, reservation must be thoroughly implemented in education and in jobs in the government and private sectors.

Is it correct that the upper classes among the deprived castes are the beneficiaries of reservation and that the lower classes do not benefit?

Today, the sociological truth is that the benefits of reservation in education and employment to the “deprived castes” are now increasingly accessible only to the upper classes among them. Hence, reservation benefits must be prioritized to the first-generation students and learners in rural schools.

In addition to this, we should sense the necessity to resist the oppressed and backward castes’ mindset against the reservation policy. If an oppressed-caste and backward-caste person turns out to be an administrator or a police superintendent, then only his/her family members will get the economic benefits. But, this progress has immense positive psychological impact. The person, who has benefited from reservation, feels that every oppressed-caste and backward-caste person can attain high status in society. Even though his community won’t benefit economically, the “our ruler is ruling” feeling becomes a massive encouragement to them. It helps overcome the defeatist thinking inflicted by brahmanical hegemony that “education is inappropriate for our caste”. Hence, this social revolution brings closer the end of the psychological state of being slaves.

Can we provide reservation to Brahmins and other allegedly advanced castes?

Social justice is achieved when there is reservation for Iyer, Iyengar, Rediyar, Chettiyar and Mudhaliyar according to their population ratio. But, in the present scenario, Brahmins (Iyer and Iyengar and others), who are 5 per cent of the total population, have been enjoying 70 to 90 per cent of education and employment opportunities in India.

Other general- or open-category castes and the allegedly advanced castes like Chettiyar, Mudhaliyar and Rediyar are not like Brahmins who dominate the entire education and job scenario. They are justified in asking for reservation.

Not only oppressed castes (Scheduled Castes) but backward castes are also entitled to reservation. Can you explain?

There is a stereotype. Backward-caste people are often told that reservation is meant solely for the oppressed castes. In educational institutions, scholarships are given only to oppressed-caste students. In addition, free hostels are available only for oppressed-caste students. Too many bytes of biased information like this are regularly diffused among backward-caste people.

Reality, however, is at variance with this propaganda.

Backward-caste people have traditionally had some power and authority unlike the oppressed castes. Right to land and the opportunity to do businesses made most backward castes economically advanced. Most oppressed-caste people are poor. Therefore, more oppressed-caste students than backward-caste students get educational scholarships.

At the same time, the Tamil Nadu government operates free hostels for both backward-caste and most-backward-caste students. To see for yourself, visit the website http://www.tn.gov.in./ta/department/4

The Tamil Nadu government runs:

  • 721 free student hostels for the Backward Classes
  • 580 free student hostels for the Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities.
  • 14 free hostels for Minorities.
  • 290 Kallar schools for Kallar society (caste) people in districts like Dindigul, Theni and Madurai

Backward-caste people should not fall for the perception that the government gives all the rights and benefits only to the oppressed castes.

If both caste groups fight jointly for their rights, they will be able to get their rights back faster. Faced with this unity, Brahmins and their parasites, who deliberately engage in fallacious propaganda, won’t succeed in their game.

RSS says that Christian and Muslim students are the only beneficiaries of reservations. Why does the RSS say that the government’s welfare policies are not given to Hindu students?

In recent years, the RSS and its leading organizations have been disseminating a lot of fabricated information.

We have already seen what the websites of the Government of Tamil Nadu and the Government of India say.

There are 721 free student hostels for the Backward Classes, 580 for Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities, whereas only 14 for minorities.

There are 1,301 hostels for the backward and oppressed castes. Those staying in these 1,301 hostels are entirely Hindus.

The larger picture is that there is 69 per cent reservation in Tamil Nadu. Except for 3.5 per cent for minorities, the remaining 65.5 per cent benefit people who are Hindus. We can verify this situation in schools, colleges, and government offices.

Therefore, what the BJP and RSS sound out is an absolute unscrupulous lie.

Is it necessary to provide caste-based reservation in premier higher educational institutions like the IITs?

On 23 November 1954, the Union Ministry of Education directed every state’s chief secretary’s office to provide proper representation in education and employment services for the oppressed castes.

In 1982, reservation for the Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes in higher education institutions was increased to 22.5 per cent. There is also a government order that the same 22.5 per cent reservation be followed in employment in these institutions.

A Devendrakula Vellalar march demanding exclusion from the SCs and inclusion among OBCs

On 5 April 2006, Arjun Singh, then union minister of human resource development, announced in Parliament that 27 per cent seats in higher educational institutions would be allocated to backward castes (Other Backward Classes, OBCs) in higher educational institutions. Despite strong opposition, a government order to that effect was issued on 3 January 2007.

However, even today, many higher education institutions in India, especially the IITs, IIMs and central government universities, have not implemented the government’s order.

Among 449 professors and associate professors in Jawaharlal Nehru University, one of the most prestigious universities in India, there is none from the backward castes. This information was obtained through an RTI application filed by Kiran Kumar on 8 December 2015.

The table below gives the number of people from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe working in some key central universities, again obtained through an RTI application:

University

 
Professors + Associate Professors
TotalSC+ ST
Banaras Hindu University346 + 6800 + 0
Delhi University305 + 6440 + 0
Jawaharlal Nehru University161 + 2880 + 0
Allahabad University59 + 1510 + 1
Pondicherry University69 + 1380 + 1

How do the IITs and IIMs fare in this regard? The following information was obtained through an IIT application on 12 September 2012.

Educational Institution

 
Professors + Associate Professors
TotalOBC
IIT Mumbai7786
IIT Delhi5785
IIT Madras35939
Jawaharlal Nehru University4490
IIM Lucknow (Non-Teaching)
Group A401
Group B15210

In 2014, the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Higher Education department carried out an extensive research on higher educational institutions and published the results of their research. The research covered 757 universities, 38,056 colleges, and 11,922 autonomous educational institutions all over India. These included central universities, higher educational institutions, state-government-run universities, private universities, private colleges, and government-aided private colleges. Out of 14,18,389 teachers, 1,02,534 were SCs, 30,076 were STs and 3,52,160 were OBCs.

Total number of teachersSCSTOBC
14,18,3891,02,53430,0763,52,160

Total number of teachers: 14,18,389

SC+ST+OBC (Total): 4,84,770 (34.2%)

Source: All India Survey on Higher Education 2014-2015, MHRD

The oppressed and backward castes and tribes form the majority (90 per cent) of India’s population. They have been given reservation for many years but even now they make up a little over 30 per cent of India’s professors.

These statistics are evidence of the seizure of power and education by the barely 10 per cent Brahmins and other high castes. The immediate requirement in this situation is to implement the reservation policy in every higher educational institution.

What percentage of reservation is allotted to us in higher educational institutions? How to defend our reservation rights?

The central government grants 15 per cent reservation to Scheduled Castes (SC), 7.5 per cent to Scheduled Tribes (ST) and 27 per cent to Other Backward Classes (OBC). This policy thus applies to all higher educational institutions established by the central government, including the 23 IITs, 19 IIMs, 31 NITs and 24 IIITs. Detailed information on the admission procedures for these institutions, including reservations, is uploaded on MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) website. The link is http://mhrd.gov.in/iits


We should download essential data from the websites and inform our next generation. Moreover, the status of reservation must be tracked using the Right to Information Act. If our rights have been infringed, we should inform the Dravidian organizations that fight for our rights and we should volunteer for demonstrations.

Is there any reservation in developed countries like America?

Many developed countries have their own versions of reservation:

USA: Affirmative Action
UK: Equality Act
Canada: Employment Equity Act
China: Affirmative-Minority Nationality Act
Norway: Affirmative-Women Act
South Africa: Employment Equity Act

For more than a thousand years, the oppressed and backward castes have been denied education and job opportunities based on their castes. Long ago, we lost our rights based on our castes. Now, using caste as the basis to retrieve our rights is undoubtedly the proper way.

Many countries that give special rights (reservations) to certain sections of their population today once denied those very sections those very rights.

Is reservation necessary in the private sector?

The public sector accounts for only 2 per cent of the jobs. So if caste equality is to be achieved then reservation in the private sector is indispensable.

Even the fate of reservation in the public sector is in peril. In order to transfer the control of public-sector bodies to the private sector the officials deliberately submit reports that these bodies/companies have been functioning profitless for years. Consequently disinvestment happens. As a result of the conversion of these public bodies into private-sector companies, the reservation in these bodies is also scrapped. Our job opportunities are thus snatched from our hands.

Even the private sector implements reservation in America

The United States, a “developed country”, provides reservation for blacks even in the private sector. Reservation in the United States is not only limited to job opportunities; it is also followed in the business contracts, and business advantages of private companies.

The US and other European countries have reservation in their multinational companies.

One of the world’s largest and most productive multinational companies, Microsoft, provides reservation to the disadvantaged. The world’s biggest networked restaurant, McDonald, has reservation. Sweden’s car manufacturer, Volvo, also follows reservation.

Reservation in the US’s private sector

Fortune 500 CompaniesManagers/Officers (%)
Ford Motors18.20
General Motors23
Exxon Mobile16.90
IBM21.56
Boeing18

Harvard University

 1994 (%)1999 (%)
Researchers28.3033.90
Professors9.5413.67
Trainees30.3137.50

Newspapers

 Editorial staff (%)
Wall Street Journal17.10
USA Today18.70
New York Times16.20
Washington Post19.50
Los Angeles Times18.70

Source: Tehelka, 19 June 2004

Because of the lack of reservation in the leading 1,000 private-sector companies in India, Brahmins dominate.

CategoryBoard Members%
Brahmins and other high castes 

8387
 

92.7
 

Backward Castes

 
 

346

 
 

3.8

 
Scheduled Castes3193.5

Source: Economic & Political Weekly, August 2012

As you will see below, in the central government too, the decision-makers belong to the high castes:

GroupTotalOBCSCST
Group A

 
74,8668,316 (11.11%)10,434 (13.94%)4,354 (5.82%)
Group B

 
1,88,77620,069 (10.63%)29,373 (15.56%)12,073 (6.4%)

Source: Data obtained from 55 departments and ministries of the central government under RTI Act on 1 January 2013

Brahmins and other high-castes occupy the decision-making positions in both the central government and multinational companies. As a result, the same multinational companies, which have reservations in other countries don’t have reservations here in India. The Brahmin and the other high-caste power brokers never authorize them to implement the reservation system.

The largest trade and commerce organizations in India are FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM. These bodies and an overwhelming portion of the trade sector is opposed to the idea of providing reservation in the Indian private sector.

At least the multinational companies that follow a reservation system in foreign countries should offer reservation in India. We should retrieve our right to education and job opportunities, of which we have been deprived.

Is it fair to demand reservation in private companies that invest their money for a business?

It is absolutely a wrong perception. None of the private and corporate companies ever invest their money to capitalize a business. The companies either borrow money from banks, which they often do not return, or/and invite the shares (investments) from people of all categories. After they receive money through people’s shares, they initiate the business.

In addition, these companies get thousands of acres of land in Special Economic Zones (SEZ), tax concession in crores on imports and exports, income-tax concessions, waivers on electricity and water bills.

The private and corporate companies thus initiate their business only from our shares (investments) and a larger share from the government (people’s tax money). Therefore, certainly, there is nothing wrong in demanding reservation in the private sector.

Does that mean we support capitalism?

Communists dismiss the structure of the Indian government because it is not a proletarian government. They define this government as a corporate government, as a capitalist government. But the same communists have entered electoral politics to be part of the “capitalist government” and to win the state elections and rule.

Even organizations that do not join electoral politics also survive under the corporate government’s rule. They utilize the courts and facilities provided by the State. But that does not mean that all Communists accept this kind of government.

Similarly, we demand reservation in the private sector and become part of private organizations, but that does not mean we support the policies of multinational companies.

The ‘creamy layer’ method identifies economically advanced families, to keep them out of the purview of reservation. The method is absurd. How?

The “creamy layer” refers to the economically advanced families from backward castes. Candidates who come from these families are not eligible for reservation.

Creamy Layer’ Krishna Iyer

In 1975, Kerala was the first state to implement this deceptive plan. In the State of Kerala vs N.M. Thomas case, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer defined this system. It was praised for its kindness towards humanity.

In 2007, the central government determined the income limit of Rs 250,000 per year. Then the government raised the limit first to Rs 600,000 and then to Rs 800,000 per year. The latest development on this front is that the National Commission for Backward Classes has proposed that the annual income limit for the creamy layer be increased to Rs 1,500,000.

On paper, for decades now, 22.5 per cent of reservation has been provided to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in education and in job opportunities in the central government. However, the actual beneficiaries do not even constitute 10 per cent.

Even though, the backward classes have been assigned 27 per cent reservation in the central government and higher educational institutions for close to three decades and for more than a decade, respectively, they have not actually been provided even 5 per cent reservation. We have shown that this is a fact with numbers.

First of all, 22.5 per cent quota for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and 27 per cent quota for the backward castes need to be filled. It is true that certain communities are only being initiated into education. But the concept of creamy layer won’t even let that happen.

Most importantly, Brahmins and other high castes that have occupied entire administrations and educational institutions for thousands of years should be considered the “creamy layer” and if anybody is to be denied education and power, it should be them. They are the most appropriate “creamy layer”.

Is there any ethic in Brahmins’ opposition to reservation?

No. Brahmins oppose the reservation system in education and job opportunities on the ground of “quality/talent”. Yet they do not worry about the “quality/talent” for the job of a temple priest. Here, they argue that “Brahmins” are the only people qualified for this job.

In 2016, they went to the Supreme Court appealing for their caste-based rights! Therefore, no ethics is to be expected in Brahmins’ opposition to reservation.

‘Reject reservation; business sectors will support you to develop your life,’ RSS’s dangerous exhortation to the Devendrakula Vellalar community. How?

Brahmins are experiencing a reduction in their supremacy because of reservation. In January 2014, they conducted the Brahmin Youth Organization’s Tamil Nadu state-level conference in Trichy where they demanded 10 per cent reservation in education and job opportunities. They regularly hold district-level conferences.

In recent years, the economic status of Patel castes has risen phenomenally all over India. There are numerous owners of national and multinational companies who belong to Patel castes. Even though the Patels occupy powerful positions like chief minister, minister, legislative assembly member, and parliamentarian, they are aggressively fighting to get caste-based reservation.

Kappu, Balija, Gowara, Ondaari, and Thelaga – the economically dominant castes in Andhra Pradesh – have been demanding since 2013 that they be categorized as backward castes and given 22.4 per cent reservation (in proportion to their population) in education and jobs.

Vettuva Gounders have been demanding separate reservation for themselves. Pillaimaar, Vellalar, Sengunthar, and Mudhaliyar castes have also been demanding 20 per cent reservation.

Thus, all over India, including in Tamil Nadu, those who are economically stable compared to the oppressed castes (SCs), are also demanding reservation. Trader communities want to strengthen their economic dominance, so they want establish their dominance in government institutions.

Tamil Nadu’s oppressed and backward castes got caste-based reservation for the during the Justice Party rule, the golden period of the Dravidian Movement. Because of that, we have progressed in terms of education and jobs to a certain extent.

Although the Constitution allows implementation of 15 per cent reservation for the oppressed castes in public institutions, the brahmanical dominance is so strong that even this 15 reservation has not been implemented in the last few decades since it came into effect. Those who oppose reservation thus want the brahmanical hegemony to remain intact.

We have seen extensive research data on higher educational institutions in India provided by the Higher Education department of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). The data reveals that among all Indian states, Tamil Nadu ranks first in the implementation of reservation policies.

The numbers of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and backward classes in the faculties of Tamil Nadu’s higher educational institutions are as follows:

Teaching StaffScheduled CastesScheduled TribesOther Backward Castes
2,03,22317,2846191,18,540

Source: All India Survey on Higher Education 2014-2015, MHRD.

Tamil Nadu leads in terms of the number of beneficiaries of reservation in the faculties of higher educational institutions. Maharashtra has the second largest number of SC beneficiaries followed by Telangana. In terms of OBC beneficiaries of reservation, Telangana is second and Maharashtra third.

Tamil Nadu thus remains in the forefront in giving reservation to people from oppressed castes and backward castes in university faculties.

Teaching StaffScheduled CastesScheduled TribesOther Backward Castes
2,03,22317,2846191,18,540

Source: All India Survey on Higher Education 2014-2015, MHRD

Some states have heavily underutilized reservations. This is also true of reservations in admissions in universities.

Yet, it’s Tamil Nadu’s reservation policy that the RSS wants to abolish and it has started manipulating communities to bring its plan to fruition. Nadar, an influential caste group capable of even operating a bank, the Tamil Nadu Mercantile Bank, is now claiming reservation! The downtrodden Pallar community has rejected the SC status, and hence reservation, given to them. The RSS is at work behind the scenes, demanding that the Devendrakula Vellalar community, that would include the Pallars, be added to the Most Backward Classes (MBC) category. Pallars do not have economic, educational or political power, or representation in government institutions. Such a move would be regressive and adversely affect both the Pallars and the reservation beneficiaries from other communities.

Does brahmanical supremacy exist even today?

All over India, Brahmins culturally dominate the “lower castes” from birth to death. In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that only Brahmins have the right to be temple priests in accordance with Agama Shastra.

Brahmanical supremacy extends to government offices, multinational companies, justice departments, political power centres and the media.

Bureaucracy

Brahmins dominate all ministries and departments that wield the power to plan and decide for the welfare of the country.

GroupTotalOBCSCST
Group A74,8668,316 (11.11 %)10,434 (13.94 %)4,354 (5.82 %)
Group B1,88,77620,069 (10.63 %)29,373 (15.56 %)12,073 (6.4 %)

Information obtained under RTI Act on 1 January 2013

Industry

CategoryBoard Members%
Brahmin and other high castes838792.7
Backward Castes3463.8
Scheduled Castes3193.5

Source: ‘Economic & Political Weekly’, August 2012

Banking

General Managers (Total: 436)Deputy General Managers (Total: 1216)
OBCSCSTOBCSCST
5 (1.1%)14 (3.2%)7 (1.6%)14 (1.15%)72 (5.9%)16 (1.3%)

 

Source: Information obtained under RTI Act on 1 October 2015

Judiciary

Caste1950-70 (%)1971-89 (%)
Brahmins4045.2
Other High Castes57.142.9
Scheduled Castes04.6
Scheduled Tribes00
Backward Castes2.96.8

According to the survey in the year 2011, out of 21 high courts, there was not even a single judge from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in as many as 14 high courts in the country. Among 31 judges in the Supreme Court, only one person belongs to the Scheduled Castes. It took 59 years after Independence, in 2007, for the member of an oppressed caste to be appointed chief justice in 2007.

Brahmin supremacy in government

Beginning at Independence and until 2014, Brahmins served as prime minister in 51 of 67 years.

The total population of Brahmins in India is just 5.6 crores, which means about 5 per cent of the total population. In 2014, the Manmohan Singh-led government had five Brahmin Cabinet ministers.

This is what the Narendra Modi-led Cabinet that was sworn in in 2014 looked like:

TotalBrahmin and other high castesOBCSCST
2412521

Source: Times of India, Indian Express 27 May 2014

There were 12 people from the high castes, including Rajputs and Kayastha. The total population of Brahmins and other high castes is 16 per cent. But they occupy 50 per cent of the Cabinet ministerial positions.

Fourth pillar of democracy: The media

A survey of 315 leading senior journalists in the Indian media was carried out. These journalists are the decision-makers in their respective publications. They decide which news is to published and which issue is to be debated. Print media, television, and websites in English and Hindi were all considered. New Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) carried out this research under the supervision of Professor Yogendra Yadav, who has served at the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the National Advisory Council (NAC) on Right to Education Act (RTE).

CategoryBrahmin and other high castesOBCSC/STMuslimsChristians
%884032.3

The research shows that 5 per cent Brahmins dominate 49 per cent of the media. The upper castes account, including Rajputs and Kayastha, for 88 per cent. Ironically, in the English news media, Backward Castes account for only 1 per cent of these decision-making positions and Scheduled Castes, none.

We have proved with sufficient evidence that there is Brahmin supremacy, in the year 2016, in politics, economy, bureaucracy, judiciary, the media, and banking. Brahmins dominate even the space and nuclear programmes, the military, and scientific research bodies.

Backward-caste and oppressed-caste people consider each other enemies. We fight each other. Until we stop this, brahmanical domination will continue.

What are the reservation categories in Tamil Nadu? How are they being implemented?

In Tamil Nadu, there is 26 per cent reservation for Backward Classes (BC), 3.5 per cent for Backward Classes – Muslims (BCM), 20 per cent for Most Backward Classes (MBC), 15 per cent for Scheduled Castes (SC), 3 per cent for Arundhathiyars and 1 per cent for Scheduled Tribes (ST).

As a result of brahmanical conspiracy and opposition, the 69 per cent reservation is never fully implemented. Supreme Court intervenes and restricts our rights.

The oppressed and backward castes and tribes and minorities, Dravidian organizations and Dalit organizations should unite throughout Tamil Nadu and India to fight steadfastly for the retrieval of our rights.

Reproduced from a booklet published by Kaattaaru. Compiled in Tamil by Athi Asuran and translated into English by Evano.

Documents sourced from:

Periyar Study Centre, Dravida Kazhagam, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Backward Classes, All India Federation of Backward Classes.


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