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Samatha’s perspective on Current Burning Topics related to Dalits and Tribals

Thoughts on quota system AND its impact.
Latest Updates

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitely: country is NOT READY for removing the reservation system.
  • RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat : Country’s reservation policy should be reviewed.
  • BJP’s clarification on Mohan Bhagwat’s Statement: The BJP very firmly supports the constitutional reservation for the SC, ST, OBC, Backwards and Extremely Backwards classes; it believes that reservation is important for the social, education and economic development of these groups. The BJP is further of the view that if further measures are suggested for those who are economically and socially backwards, then the same is welcome.


Need For spreading the awareness about Reservation and Quota system’s objectives, benefits and impacts

  • Current Campaign by Patels demanding reservation for them or no reservation at all.
  • Most of the beneficiaries of the quotas like students, government employees are apologetic about their selection. They are believing the popular mindset that they have NO merit.
  • Beneficiaries are NOT actively participating in uplifting the lesser fortunate community members because of reluctance to be identified as a Dalit.
  • They are taking the reservation and quota system for granted. They are not acquiring the knowledge of the reservation system. They are NOT defending the reservation system even when there is an ongoing campaign against reservation system.
  • They are focused on the financial security of their immediate families. They should make attempt to look beyond self. Any one can help our community in whatever extent possible, if they think about it (at any time). One should NOT wait till complete financial security is achieved.
  • Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of the reservation system will boost their self confidence and self esteem.


Today, there is a cunning campaign going on to mobilize support for removing reservations in the name of demand for reservation to Patels. This demand is outrageous considering that Patels are one of the most affluent communities in the whole of India. They are the leaders in any business within Gujarat. Most of the Indian owned Motels in USA belongs to Patels. They are acting as if they don’t understand the rationale behind the quotas. Their real goal is dismantling the structure of reservation (Latest update: Our Finance Minister Arun Jaitely has admitted that the country is NOT READY for removing the reservation system).

It is important that you understand the reservation and the quota system. Please read below:

Generally, the upper caste do NOT acknowledge the value of many different tools to address the inequality of Indian Society. It is one-dimensional analysis to say development will solve all problems. Yes, development is creating lots of jobs, where you don’t need quota or bribes to get job. That is excellent. That is good news for the poor also. But, that is NOT enough. It is helping predominantly the urban educated. Let us NOT forget that.

Our leaders created mixed economy ( with both public and private sector participation) for a reason. They recognized the weaknesses of private sector only model. They introduced quotas (with a cap of 50%) in government jobs; But, allowed the private sector to function independently. Anybody who tried to get a job in a private enterprise 25 years ago would know that you needed to be in the right caste or right network or right circle. Its only the entry of multinational companies and the return of NRIs (who enjoyed the benefits of equal opportunities abroad) that we see less discrimination in the private sector. Still, it is difficult for a Dalit or a Muslim to get jobs in many sectors (if they don’t hide their caste or religion). Muslims are at a disadvantage here, because it is very difficult to hide one’s religion. But, Dalit employees are in perpetual fear of being found out. It does not matter whether you have the skills, the education and the training. They know that their own friends and co-workers could gang up against them; make their life miserable. Dalit employees working in government sector can not hide their caste at work. But, they also have to take many measures to conceal their caste identity in their neighborhood. Its simply not worth it to fight the society’s deeply ingrained prejudices on an individual basis.

Quotas in government jobs has helped the Dalits and OBCs to get a share of employment opportunities. One should remember that Merit is not one-dimensional. It is not just academic performance. Diversity is a very important factor. In addition to addressing the social justice, quota also brings people from different segments of society to government service. Remember, the main function of government service is about addressing the needs of the poor in the society. Caste is the most important factor of economic level for most of the Indians. Rich interact with the government at a minimal level. So, these candidates from different quotas bring their knowledge of ground realities of the Indian society. Don’t mistake these people as less intelligent. They happen to be very bright who fight so many social and economic handicaps to come up in life. Their academic performance may be relatively poor. But, they are more qualified to serve the poor. If they had the same resources (books, schools, coaching, money, networks etc), they would have performed very well in academics too. Quota only provides entry to the stadium for those selected under the reservation. One has to still finish the race. Some amount of training is necessary before the race begins, that’s all.

One gentleman made an observation that most of the so called meritorious candidates in government service are very likely to be corrupt. His observation was that most of those who came through the quotas were likely to be less corrupt. This person was very experienced and knew the practical world really well. There is a sensitivity to the underprivileged among these people which is important for any government service. This is also one of the required traits for any service sector job in addition to marks, qualifications etc.

I have heard numerous times that Quotas are not helping the poor really. They say only the creamy layer is cornering the benefits. Let us remember that this creamy layer has also come up from poor backgrounds. If you don’t have the creamy layer, who else will have the time to fight for their community’s cause? Will a poor laborer, struggling to feed his family, have the time or the training to raise the issues of the oppressed. These successful dalit persons give hope to many other less fortunate people in the villages; they inspire many of their relatives and people in their social circle to dream big. There is lot of power to this idea that one can come up in-spite of poverty, one’s caste, social discrimination etc. It has helped to create leadership for these communities which was virtually non-existent few years before. One of the ideas behind reservations is to increase the representation of the oppressed classes in all the institutions including Civil Services, Corporate Boards, PSUs, Banks, Legislatures, Research institutions, Industries, medical institutions, educational institutions etc. Its not only for the entry level positions but also decision making positions. Higher level positions require higher education levels, more skills, more experience, exposure to premier institutions like IITs, NITs, IIMs etc. To get into these decision making positions require more resource. Your parents need to support your education; You need to have a steady source of income; You need to know about the right books; You need to join coaching classes; You need fellow students to discuss; You need to join the right colleges where teachers can guide you; Many cases, you need to study abroad (particularly for management positions; To study abroad, you need knowledge of foreign universities; You need to get scholarships; You need a friend or a relative to help you initially ; Of course, you need a good grasp of English). These are possible MOSTLY only for the creamy layer. Your average daily wage laborer’s children will find it almost impossible to get into these positions; they may not be able to even dream of it. Many upper caste people complain of many reserved positions in higher positions going vacant. In addition to, intentionally not fulling these posts, there is lack of candidates because there is not enough people from depressed background who have the access to the required resources. One should not confuse this with lack of smart enough people. It is a simple matter of access to resources (money, family background, knowledge, books, teachers, guidance, friends, coaching, friends, network, influence, role models, sponsors etc). Mostly the creamy layer is in position to qualify for these positions. There are always exceptions, where somebody with absolutely no family support succeed. If you look closely, they also would have achieved it only because of access to resources ( non-monetary in nature, things like guidance from a well wisher, a NGO etc). Even though their qualifications may be little lesser compared to the polished, sophisticated upper classes, these candidates from depressed classes will learn on the job with some training and self study. They will bring a diversity of perspectives, experiences, attitudes, ideas, knowledge of ground realities, society’s harshness towards the lower castes, practical thinking, compassion, service orientation, readiness to work hard, life long habit of overcoming obstacles etc to their jobs. That is merit for you , folks; unacknowledged, but very valuable merit; particularly important for government services which need to address the economic and social inequality institutionalized by the caste system. They are more likely to be ready to work in the rural areas; that is where you need the presence of the government. Value of diversity and the cascading effect of hope and strength in the number of qualified people is under estimated. In the long run, the institutions benefit; the whole society benefits.

Quota system has worked so well that OBCs demanded it. Dalit muslims have been demanding it. Now, one of the most prosperous community of Patels are demanding it.

We have many different quotas, not just the ones based on caste. We have quota for sports people; quota for the military people; quota for rural people; quota for the women; quota for the senior citizens; quota for the rich (payment seats); 100% quota for Brahmins in temple priest jobs; quota for the local MLAs; quota for the MPs; quota for freedom fighters; quota for the minorities (in their respective institutions); quota for the powerful (management seats); quota for the people in network (references in private sector; quota for NRIs; quota for the people in border areas etc. All these quotas are doing their job because our society is inherently unequal compared to any other country. It has kept the country together. Society has become more vibrant.

Even, in terms of recruitment in private sector, I have realized that I am more cost effective by choosing people from disadvantaged backgrounds if they have the basic skills right. They have performed better than people from prestigious institutes like IITs or NITs. I have the conventional quota for these elite candidates. But, I have found the mix works great. I just needed to train these candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds. They have made me more successful. So, please don’t measure merit by only academic performance and interview skills. If you use these hidden quotas (based on disadvantaged backgrounds) , you are more likely to find gems at cheaper cost.

I appreciate Tatas in this regard. They reserve a portion of their contracts for vendors from disadvantaged backgrounds. It has helped their bottom line. PSUs(Public Sector Units) have been forefront in implementing quotas and most of them are performing well in the stock markets. Tamilnadu has been very successful in delivering medical care to the rural parts because of the quotas. Whole of South India has implemented quotas more effectively than the north. Today, it is the South India that is the major attraction for investors. Diversity of human resources and the number of skilled resources is the main reason. If society was only focused on academic performance based merit, only few from the upper classes would have been skilled. quotas has helped in building a huge number of skilled resources in India. This is India’s strength in this globalized world. Far from ruining the country, our country has prospered. So, don’t say development is the only mantra. Investment is not the only requirement for development, but availability of skilled resources is even more important. People who are refusing to acknowledge the value of quotas are being short sighted.

Quota is one of the most effective tools for Indian government to build skills on a large scale. Remember, these quotas that does not require wealth or connections is a major driving factor in increasing literacy rates because of the hope it generates in the minds of the disadvantaged. Society benefits indirectly by this large number of educated people. Remember, it is only the brightest among these who will get the government jobs. Ones who are less fortunate end up improving the quality in their respective occupations. This is the only way historic stagnation in the society could be removed. I have another way of explaining the importance of quotas and reservation. We have people suffering from all sorts of diseases. Government needs to come up with different schemes to fight this. It is NOT enough to have one scheme based on income levels. You need to target those with kidney problems differently. Those with Tuberculosis need to be handled with a different policy. Then, you have the AIDS patients. They face social stigma. They are highly vulnerable in society as well as jobs. It is very important for the whole society to have an effective mechanism to deal with these people. You can’t just turn blind eye to them. You can’t just wish them away. If you do, you will do it at your own peril. Government needs to come out with special schemes targeted towards these AIDS patients. Reservations and Quotas are similar tools to remove the harsh inequalities of Indian society.

People should realize that caste-based discrimination is real , alive and kicking. If you pay attention to news with open mind, you will realize the horror of caste-based violence. Most of the folks from upper castes are indoctrinated from childhood to treat oppression of Dalits as normal. Folks need to make efforts to be sensitive to the horrible violations of human rights in the name of caste. They should go visit the slums in the cities to see the degrading conditions in which the poor (mostly Dalits, who have chosen life in city over the dehumanizing conditions of the village ) live. Those who claim that India has moved forward and that casteism does not exist, should try to rent a house in the cities claiming to be a Dalit; They should go and stay in a village as Dalit for a short period. You need to experience the harsh realities.

General community who don’t come under any quota should recognize that they are eligible for a hidden quota of (50% of government jobs + 100% of private sector jobs). That’s huge. And they are the ones well placed to take advantage of it. Come on, don’t be greedy !!!

Nobel laureate and one of the world’s top economist ( who has lived MOSTLY in the capitalist world of US and UK) has acknowledged the importance of Quota system for Indian society. Read about it at below link:

Samatha has captured lots of discussions on topics like reservation and quota . Please read, understand, share and spread. Click below links for more information:

Mandal commission report says, “There is equality only among equals. To equate unequals is to perpetuate inequality.”

RESERVATIONS – TEN Questions and their Answers ( Thanks to Mr.Krishna Prabhu)
Q 1: What is reservation?

The word reservation is a misnomer. The appropriate word for it used in the Indian Constitution is Representation. It is not given to anyone in his individual capacity. It is given to individual as a representative of the underprivileged community. The beneficiaries of reservations are in turn expected to help their communities to come up.

Q 2: Why reservation?

The policy of reservations is being used as a strategy to overcome discrimination and act as a compensatory exercise. A large section of the society was historically denied right to property, education, business and civil rights because of the practice of untouchability. In order to compensate for the historical denial and have safeguards against discrimination, we have the reservation policy.

Q 3: Were Reservations incorporated by the founding fathers of the constitution only for first 10 years?

Only the political reservations (seats reserved in Loksabha, Vidhansabha, etc) were to be reserved for 10 years and the policy review was to be made after that. That is why after every 10 years the parliament extends political reservations.

The 10 year limit for reservations is not true for the reservations in education and employment. The reservations in educational institutions and in employment are never given extension as it is given for the political reservations.

Q 4: Why give reservations on basis of caste?

To answer this question we must first understand why the need for the reservations has arisen. The cause for the various types of disabilities that the underprivileged castes in India face / have faced, is the systemic historical subjugation of a massive magnitude based on caste system having a religious sanction. Therefore if the caste system was the prime cause of all the disabilities, injustice and inequalities that the Dalit-Bahujans suffered, then to overcome these disabilities the solution has to be designed on basis of caste only.

Q 5: Why not on basis of economic criterion?

Reservations should never be based on economic status for various reasons as follows:

1. The poverty prevailing among the Dalit-Bahujans has its genesis in the social-religious deprivations based on caste system. Therefore poverty is an effect and caste system a cause. The solution should strike at the cause and not the effect
2. An individual’s Economic status can change. Low income may be taken to mean poverty. But the purchasing value of money, in India, depends upon caste. For example a Dalit can not buy a cup of tea even in some places.

3. Practical difficulties in proving economic status of individual to the state machinery are many. The weak may suffer.

4. In caste ridden India infested with rampant corruption, even for an unchangeable status like caste, the false “Caste Certificate” can be purchased. How much easier will it be to purchase a false “Income Certificate”? So income based reservation is impractical. It is no use arguing when both certificates can be bought, why caste only should form basis of reservation. It is certainly more difficult to buy a false caste certificate than a false income certificate.

5. Reservation is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end. The main aim is to achieve the active participation and sharing by the “socially excluded” humanity in all the fields of the affairs of the society. It is not panacea for all ills, neither it is permanent. It would be a temporary measure till such time the matrimonial advertisements in newspaper columns continue to contain the mention of caste.

Q 6: Should there be a creamy layer criterion or not?

The demand from anti-reservationists for introduction of creamy layer is ploy to scuttle the whole effectiveness of reservations. Even now out of all seats meant for SC/STs in IITs , 25-40 % seats remain vacant because it seems IITs do not find suitable candidates. Just imagine what would happen if by applying creamy layer criterion the SC/ST middle class, lower middle class people who are in position to take decent education are excluded from reservations benefit ! Will the poor among SC/STs be able to compete with these ‘privileged ‘students’ trained under Ramaiah and at various IIT-JEE training centers at Kota ?
Of course Not.
This will lead to 100 % seats in IITs for SC/STs going vacant.

Q 7: How long should the reservations continue?

The answer to this question lies with the anti-reservationists. It depends on how sincerely and effectively the policy makers which constitute “privileged castes” people in executive, judiciary and legislature, implement the reservations policy.
Is it just on part of “privileged castes” people who have enjoyed undeclared exclusive reservations for past 3000 years and continue to enjoy the same even in 21st century in all religious institutions and places of worship, to ask for the timelines for reservations policy?
Why do not they ask, how long the exclusive reservations for particular community in the religious institutions and places of worship are going to continue?
The people who have acquired disabilities due to inhuman subjugation for 3000 years will need substantial time to come over those disabilities. 50 years of affirmative action is nothing as compared to 3000 years of subjugation.

Q 8: Will not the reservations based on castes lead to divisions in the society?

There are apprehensions that reservations will lead to the divisions in the society. These apprehensions are totally irrational. The society is already divided into different castes. On the contrary reservations will help in annihilating the caste system. There are around 5000 castes among the SC/ST and OBCs. By grouping these various castes under 3 broad categories of SC, ST and OBC, the differences among 5000 separate castes can be abridged. This is a best way of annihilation of castes. Therefore rather than making rhetoric about reservations leading to divisions in the society the anti-reservationists should make honest and sincere efforts to annihilate castes. Have these people made any efforts towards this direction? In most of the cases the answer is NO. The people making these anti-reservations rhetoric, all this time have been enjoying all the privileges that the Indian caste system offers to the “Privileged Castes”. As long as they enjoy the privileges of the caste system they do not have any qualms regarding it. But when it comes to making castes as basis for achieving social equality by providing representations these same people make noises. These are the double standards of highest order practiced by the ‘privileged’ people.

Q 9: Will not reservations affect the Merit?

As regards to how Merit is defined in a very narrow sense and what it actually means, following is the quote from an article by Prof Rahul Barman of IIT Kanpur.

Reservations of more than 60 % have existed in the 4 states of southern India and around 40 % in Maharashtra since last 50 years. On other hand in the north Indian states the 15 % ‘privileged castes’ have been enjoying 77 % of the seats in educational institutions and in employment (assuming that 23 % reservations for SC/STs are totally filled, which is not the case). The World Bank study has found that all the 4 south Indian states are much ahead of north Indian states in terms of their human development index. It is a common knowledge that all the southern states and Maharashtra are much ahead in fields of education, health, industrial development, in implementing poverty alleviation schemes, etc. than the north Indian states. This shows that reservations have indeed helped the southern Indian states in making progress on various fronts. Whereas lack of adequate reservations is responsible for the lack of development in most of the north Indian states.

Q 10: Have existing reservations for SC/STs been effective or not?

The reservation policy in the public sector has benefited a lot of people. The Central government alone has 14 lakh employees. The proportion of Scheduled castes in class III and IV is well above the quota of 16 per cent and in class I and II, the proportion is around 8–12 per cent. So, the middle and the lower middle class that we see today from the Dalit community is because of reservation.

Friends, fight for the quotas. We don’t have a level-playing field in India.

Welcome to Samatha

This is a forum for articles related to dalit issues and dalit news. Focus is on dalits in india.

(Sonia Gandhi)
Wealth creation does not take place in vacuum and economic regulation is only the tip of the iceberg. Social stability, communal harmony, secured frontiers and stability were some of the elements of wealth creation. Focus of the government is to ensure all these elements are in place. Collective effort is important. Success should not be measured in billions of dollars but in bringing about a change in the lives of others.

( Martin Luther King)
When evil men plot, good men must plan; when evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind; when evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love; where evil men will seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.

( Martin Luther King )

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

( Martin Luther King )

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

( Kancha Ilaiah )

The abolition of caste requires a social revolution initiated and lead by the organic forces that were victims of the very same caste system.

( Mandal Commission Report )

There is equality only among equals. To equate unequals, is to perpetuate inequality.

( Hillary Clinton )

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