A grand father and his grand son have had the same opinion on a pertinent issue that has been plaguing the nation for a very long time. They have even expressed the very same opinion not anywhere else but once in front of the chief ministers of the different states of India and another time in the parliament of the democratic socialist secular sovereign republic that is India.
The grand father had opposed communal and caste based reservation to the core and same was one by his grand son too.
The grand father said:
“The recent meeting we held here, at which the Chief Ministers were present, to consider national integration, laid down that help should be given on economic considerations and not on caste. It is true that we are tied up with certain rules and conventions about helping the schedules castes and tribes. They deserve help but, even so I dislike any kind of reservation, more particularly in Services. I react strongly against anything which leads to inefficiency and second-rate standards. I want my country to be a first class country in everything. The moment we encourage the second-rate, we are lost.
.. But if we go in for reservations on communal and caste basis, we swamp the bright and able people and remain second-rate and third-rate ? I am grieved to learn how far this business of reservation has gone based on communal considerations. It has amazed me to learn that even promotions are based sometimes on communal or caste considerations. This way lies not only folly, but disaster. Let us help the backward groups by all means, but never at the cost of efficiency. How are we going to build the public sector or indeed any sector with second-rate people? “
The grand son echoed similar feelings some thirty years later in the parliament of India thus:
“Does the government subscribe to the Mandal Commission view that political constituencies should be carved out on a caste basis? Are we going back to the Round Table Conference for having separate electorates? That was designed to break our country”.
“The concept of “Other Backward Castes” has always been a joke. I know for a fact that Reddys are included, Vokkaligas are included, Kammas are included, Lingayats are included, Gounders are included, Chettiyars are included. Are these Backward Castes? Do they need help?”
“Do we want the benefit that the Government is giving to be cornered by the Ministers or the sons of Ministers or the families thereof? Do we want the benefits that are being given by the Government to be cornered by big landlords and people who have a lot of property? Why do we not exclude the people with a certain number of properties from such benefits? Do we want these benefits to go to high senior Government officers who have already got that privilege? The Government is aiming these benefits at a particularly privileged group and not looking at the really poor”.
“This government is creating a vested interest in casteism and the country is going to pay a very high price for it”.
The grand father spoken about here is none other than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He wrote a letter to the Chief Ministers of India on 27th July 1961.
And the grand son is none other than Rajiv Gandhi. He made the said speech in Parliament on 6th September 1990.
Now we have a different set of Congress men who want to behave like the British. Britain wanted to create serious divisions in the Indian society and hence drafted the “Poona Pact’ of 1932. The said pact was to carve out separate electorates for the Scheduled Castes. Mahatma Gandhi went on a fast unto death to force the British to withdraw the said pact. That was taking the concern of the country seriously.
You can’t blame the current breed of Congress stalwarts too. They are headed by an European and probably because of that they want to entertain similar divisive strategies as were enacted by the earlier British regime.
Earlier we had the Sachchar committee report that wanted special privileges to the minorities. Then came the new messiah called Arjun Singh who supported reservation for minorities in State funded universities. Currently after the Supreme Court has stayed the implementation of the OBC quota order, Arjun Singh said that the government would do everything constitutionally and legally to ensure reservation. The irony is that this reservation project is neither constitutional nor legal.
Now that we have seen that Nehru and Rajiv had opposed reservations, is it not time for the Congress to dis-own the duo and remove them from the Congress pantheon?
( I had written this article in 2006 for another magazine. I have reproduced the same and find that the situation has not changed since .. )
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