Ram Awadhesh Singh: Reservation is our natural right

‘Why is Jayaprakash Narayan silent? Reservations are being opposed in his name and economic status is being suggested as the basis for giving reservations. Why is he silent when the movement demanding reservations on the basis of socio-educational backwardness has gathered steam? What is the reason? Perhaps he has been numbed.’ Thus wrote late MP Ram Awadhesh Singh in the inaugural issue dated 23 March 1978 of ‘Badlav’, a magazine he published and edited

Why is the entire press against the ongoing agitation demanding reservations for backward castes in government jobs in Bihar? Why are all the dwij leaders opposed to it? These are important questions. Until now, the Dwijs led all pro- as well as anti-government agitations and movements in north India. The Dwij leadership opposed as well as supported the government. The agitations and movements were Dwij-versus-Dwij affairs. Coincidentally, for the first time, the leadership of an agitation seeking change in government has slipped out of the hands of the Dwijs. Shudras are leading this agitation. This rankles the Dwijs. They are shocked. They must be thinking “if only we would have been leading this movement”. When it was promised in the election manifesto of the Janata Party, when there was a provision for it in the Constitution, when the Supreme Court had ruled in its favour, reservations were bound to be implemented. When reservations were bound to be implemented, had a movement and a struggle been launched under the leadership of the Dwijs, they would have got another opportunity to grab power and another chance to beguile the non-Dwijs, the Shudras and the backward castes. But a Shudra leadership emerged and things became too hot for them to handle. Now, they don’t know what to do. They are now leading the other side. They have no option except leading the movement against reservations. But they are a bit disappointed that they could not lead the agitation in support of reservations.

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