Archana Sigh & Arvind
Mr Markandey Katju in an article for FirstPost worried about the cause of Scheduled Castes, saying reservations are psychological crutches for them and the caste system is perpetuated by reservations. He wrote this article in reply to the article of Kailash Jeengar, Asst Professor of Law, Campus Law Centre, Delhi University, titled The Supreme Court must note that reservation is a fundamental right which was published in The Wire.
Katju’s article reminds us of a quote by Dr Babasabeb Ambedkar where he said: “How can the Brahmins afford to be Voltaires? A Voltaire among the Brahmins would be a positive danger to the maintenance of a civilization which is contrived to maintain Brahmin supremacy.”
Bahujans should not engage themselves in explaining the importance of SC, ST, OBC reservations to upper castes because they cannot think beyond protecting their own class interests. But the common person thinks Katju is part of the judiciary, and that is how he is read and heard. So when he gives such kind of statements it is quite clear that he wants to protect the interests of upper castes in general and Brahmins in particular. He plays such psychological games quite often. And it is not the first time he had said such things: remember, he has defended the caste system in the past too. If the Indian Constitution is followed in its true spirit his privileges as a former justice will be forfeited for defending such a heinous social system. Mr Katju has made arguments which are full of hatred and brahminical superiority complex.
Long ago, we had decided not to reply any upper caste person in the debate of reservations but since Katju is talking a lot of nonsense we are writing a point by point rebuttal to the whimsical statements made by Mr Katju in the above mentioned article. Here we go. Bold parts are the arguments put forth by Mr Katju.
1. There is no provision in the Indian Constitution stating that caste-based reservation is mandatory
We would like to remind Mr Katju that the history of affirmative action is older than the Indian republic and it is not an exception to India. There have been provisions in the affirmative action policy to help the socially backward castes in the British times and before that as well. The instance of Shahuji Maharaj is well known to everyone, about how he made the provisions in his state for the representation of the bahujan communities in the administration. It was such an affirmative action policy which provided Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar with a scholarship to study abroad.
The concept of Right to Equality, which contains the Right to Equality of Opportunity, would stand void if the state fails to recognize the fact that the comparable should be compared, and you cannot compare the incomparable. So, if the constitution commits to the right to equality as available to all its citizens then it is the duty on the part of the state to provide a level playing field to exercise this right. The policy of reservation only acts as the enabler for creating this level playing field so that equality of opportunity comes into effect. In fact, the framers of the constitution recognized this and that is why they inserted the terms of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes so that the state takes cognizance of the needs of these communities.
So saying “The provisions in Articles 15(4), 16(4), and 16(4A) are only enabling provisions” is making the right to equality merely a shloka, as we know many brahminical texts are apt examples for that.
2. Mr Katju further says – OBC reservation is pure fraud
Such kind of statements expose the hatred that not only he but also the whole Brahmin community carries in their bellies for the bahujan masses of this country. In the article where he stated that OBC reservation is pure fraud, he accepts the merit of reservation of SCs to an extent (makes self defeating argument later in article for SC reservation) but rejects the OBC reservations. He explained this by the logic that OBC tenants of then zamindari system (Yadavs and Kurmis ) got lands after the abolition of the zamindari system so they are no more backward. This argument again shows the hatred against the bahujan masses. He cited only two OBC castes Yadavs and Kurmis (later puts “etc”) and concluded for all of the OBCs. He must be aware of the fact that these castes would not even make the one percent of the whole OBC category, because, firstly, there are more than three thousands castes which would form the OBC, and secondly, the OBCs make more than 50% of the Indian population. It is another fact that the state has shied away from conducting the caste census as it will expose the gory reality of the Indian caste system. So you can see the audacity to make such a statement flows from the Brahmin privileges and supremacy that he sits on.
Mr Katju did not bother to go into the Mandal Commission Report but still could conclude in two paragraphs that OBC reservation is pure fraud, such is the merit of the Brahmin. A brahmin can dictate things without any evidence and still can get away without any consequences.
Mr Katju preaches that the students of poor should be given books free of costs as one of the special measures to provide level playing field in the competitive exams.
He further cited following reasons to justify that caste based reservations to SCs should be done away with:
3. Reservations can only benefit less than 1 percent of Scheduled Castes while creating an illusion that all are benefited. Scheduled Castes in India are about 22 crores, but reserved jobs for them would be only a few lacs. So very few will get the benefit of reservations and even these will be mostly from the ‘creamy layer’.
Smartly, judiciary and governments have brought in the concept of creamy layer to divide the OBCs. The concept of creamy layer among OBCs has made it look like that the rights/shares of the OBCs were taken away by some OBCs (creamy layer fellows). This creamy layer has clearly erased the fact that the present inequality present in the society is the result of caste system. And Mr Katju has tried to extrapolate it for the Scheduled Castes too.
It is noteworthy that the courts of the country have been saying that the reservation would be judged based on the three parameters namely, inadequacy of representation, backwardness and the impact on overall efficiency of the system, although this trio came in the light of reservation in promotion case. The governments have not furnished the data and courts keep asking for it. So they both throw the ball in each other’s court while denying the constitutional rights of SCs, STs and OBCs. Mind you, there has not been a single study to find out the effects of reservations until now, but still Mr Katju got the divya gyan to say that only one percent of the SCs were benefitting from reservations. This is how the Brahmin logic works and it shows that Brahmins are- खुद ही पक्ष और खुद ही विपक्ष !
4. Reservations are doing great harm to the Scheduled Castes for two reasons:
(a) They act as psychological crutches for the Scheduled Castes, thus weakening them. In other words, an impression is created among Scheduled Caste youth that they need not study and work hard because even without doing so they will get admission or a job.
Scheduled Castes must throw aside the crutches of reservation and say in a manly way that they will work hard and show by competing with upper castes on merit that they are not intellectually inferior to upper castes.
(b) Reservations are serving the policy of divide and rule of the political rulers, as they create animosity between SCs/OBCs and upper castes. An upper caste youth who got 90 percent in his exams may be denied admission/job, while an SC/OBC who got 40 percent may get it, by virtue of reservation. This naturally creates heart burning in the former. India’s massive problems can only be overcome by a mighty united people’s struggle which will totally transform the country and bring it into the ranks of the developed countries, but for that unity among the people is absolutely necessary, but reservations divide us.
The logic given here can very well show what kind of judicial pronouncements Mr Katju would have made in his career. Someone should tell Mr Katju that it is his Brahmin mind that acts as psychological crutches for his logical deficiency. The SCs and STs who have availed reservation are challenging the upper castes’ hegemony, and that is why they are made to bear the brunt of upper caste hatred. Even bahujans who clear the exams without any relaxations are made to feel guilty that they belonged to a particular caste or tribe — this is the result of brahminical hegemony not the constitutional protection of affirmative action.
Mr Katju is so gyani that he could perceive what an SC student feels like. He goes on to say that SC students don’t read because they feel reservation will get them seats without any studies. What does he smoke when he makes such statements? It is the Brahmins who can afford not to do any labour but still get the perks. The temples are best examples of it.
Mr Katju further says, reservations serve as a policy of divide and rule between non-upper castes and upper castes. The concept of cause and effect is perhaps an alien thing for the former justice. But I doubt that he understands this concept. The audacity with which he could ignore the fact that it is the Brahmins who have divided the people into not just hundreds but thousands of castes and made each caste obliged towards Brahmins. This caste system denied the majority of people their basic human rights. So he should understand that it is the caste system that is a classic case of divide and rule policy, not reservations which have tried to provide some protection to the SCs, STs and OBCs. The judiciary has itself been insincere in safeguarding the SCs and STs from injustice and has acted to nullify the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The Indian judiciary has been trying to protect the upper castes’ interests through the concept of meritocracy (which actually is a new name for the concept of purity/pollution) and has been creating hatred for SCs/STs by using this concept. But when the government introduced the reservation for Upper Castes ( EWS reservation) the concepts of merit, efficiency and proof of inadequate representation of Upper Caste poor(?) in administration and educational institutions were never questioned by judiciary or academia or the manustream media. This is how the Brahminical system works in synchronization to protect their interests.
Mr Katju spends quite a time spitting brahminical ideas on the internet. He should also look in to the websites of various organizations where the cut off marks for various exams can be seen. That way he would be able to give correct examples for the cut offs of unreserved and reserved categories.
5. Scheduled Castes must realise that they cannot succeed in their struggle for social amelioration if they are isolated. They must join hands with the enlightened section of the upper castes, and fight along with them. But this will be difficult as long as reservations continue.
Mr Katju is suffering from the Brahmin syndrome, that is why he suggested to SCs to join hands with enlightened upper castes. The upper castes have not left any stone unturned to keep the bahujan masses as their slaves. And the suggestion of Mr Katju is clear exposition of brahminical entitlements which upper castes of the country claim from the bahujans. What the likes of Mr Katju should understand without any delay is that the sun of their supremacy has started setting. Sooner they stop talking garbage, better it would be for everybody’s sake.
6. Our politicians use reservations for their vote bank politics. So the real purpose of reservations is not to benefit the SCs/OBCs but to benefit the politicians.
Here Mr Katju fails to understand that there is nothing like “our politicians” in the country. He has never opposed political reservation but he always develops heartburn in the name of reservation in jobs and educational institutions. This shows his intent. The political reservation has never been a bone of contention for upper castes because that ensures their hegemony. It never goes against their self interests, because they can easily control the reserved category legislators through the party whip on all the important policy making decisions. Whereas, reservations in jobs and educational institutions leave the upper castes helpless because here they have SCs/ STs/OBCs looking into their eyes directly reclaiming the human dignity that was denied them for centuries. So the argument that the purpose of reservations is not to benefit the SCs/OBCs but to benefit the politicians is misplaced and baseless.
7. Caste reservations have further perpetuated the caste system, instead of helping in destroying it. Caste is a feudal institution, which has to be destroyed if India is to progress, but reservations further entrench it.
Mr Katju should know that the caste is not just a feudal system (which is just an economic system) but much more than that. Caste resides in the mind. It is an idea and it is a reality. Caste can only be destroyed when the brahmincal ideology is replaced by the constitutional values of equality, fraternity and justice. The likes of Katju are not new to the bahujan movements. History is full of enlightened upper castes who have strengthened the Brahmin hegemony in the name of upliftment of untouchables/dalits or adivasis. Mr MK Gandhi was such an enlightened upper caste fellow who did everything to defend Manu Dharma.
The upper castes have always placed the burden to justify reservations on the bahujan, and have shied away completely from questioning their own actions which have deprived the bahujan masses of their basic human rights. So the bahujans need to shift this burden of justifying merit and reservation to the upper caste oppressors; simultaneously they need to proclaim their rights by demanding proportionate representation in the every arena, either they be public or private institutions. Also the bahujans must recognize enlightened upper caste individuals like Katju and show them their place. It is the high time that bahujans demand affirmative action policy be applied in the higher judiciary and private organizations. Otherwise, there would be the menace of more Katjus in the near future and the Indian Republic will literally turn into a Brahmin Republic.
1. Reservations are psychological crutches for Scheduled Castes, have only perpetuated caste system instead of destroying it ( https://www.firstpost.com/india/reservations-are-psychological-crutches-for-scheduled-castes-have-only-perpetuated-caste-system-instead-of-destroying-it-8594811.html)
2. OBC reservation is pure fraud ( https://indicanews.com/2020/06/14/obc-reservation-is-pure-fraud/)
3. The Supreme Court Must Note That Reservation Is a Fundamental Right ( https://thewire.in/law/supreme-court-reservation-fundamental-right)
Archana Singh is an IT professional interested in anti-caste discourses. Arvind is an IIT-B graduate.