Representation is the key

PatelProtest-JanakPatel-2 People from the Patel community hold placards and shout slogans during a protest rally demanding reservation in Ahmedabad | JANAK PATEL

The main purpose behind our Constitution allowing caste-based reservation is 'representation' and not economic prosperity as misunderstood by the masses. To make it simple, let us take the example of a village well, where people of low castes are not allowed to draw water. Now, to curb this discrimination, the village panchayat reserves an hour in the morning for the discriminated lot to fetch water from the well. If the reservation policy is changed to include economically-insufficient villagers, then the whole scenario will go back to the square one as the low castes will once again be not allowed to draw water from the well, but this time, by their less-privileged counterparts. Thus we need to differentiate between economic backwardness and social backwardness as the basis of reservation.

Women reservation in various sectors is another example where ‘representation’ is the key to reservation. When we will have more women MPs, as political parties are working towards women reservation in the Parliament as well, I am sure India’s policy making will become more sympathetic to its women.

For now, we also need some changes in the way caste-based reservation is implemented in India. A family that has turned prosperous due to its one or two members availing reservation can be excluded from the list of further beneficiaries.

Sehar Tahir

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