Kranthi Kumar Mungamuri
Very recently, Telangana MLA Dharma Reddy (TRS), made a casteist statement over reservations by saying that “state is being ruined or destroyed due to lack of merit in government due to communities who had reservations” which led to a war of words between democratic, productive forces (SCs, STs and OBCs) and casteist forces. He also argued that upper castes are not securing jobs while others were getting positions without any merit. He made these comments while he was speaking at “Upper Caste State Maha Garjana”, a meeting organised by the Upper Caste Aikya Vedika and attended by upper caste groups such as Velama, Reddy, Brahmin, Vaishya and Kshatriya who are historically anti-reservations and anti-empowerment of the marginalized.
Dharma Reddy isn’t the first person to make casteist comments on reservations; there are many who have time and again come to the public domain and given their voices against reservations. With different colourful masks, Gandhians, Indian Marxists and caste Hindus have all done it. When we go back in history it’s very clearly visible that these are the communities that had kept out Bahujan masses from social, political, cultural, and economic institutions in the name of “Spiritual Fascism”. After independence, constitutional benefits were snatched by the upper castes in all government institutions by using their “Intellectual Goodaisim ” (Prof. Kancha Ilaiah, Post Hindu India).
What is very interesting in upper caste arguments around reservation is that despite serious theoretical research and empirical data being available, no caste Hindu has the courage to bring out the statistics to prove that their point is valid. It seems that Indian upper castes are deliberately avoiding mentioning scientific data in their speeches against reservations for two reasons: first, they want to project themselves as more democratic, selfless and well-wishers of the oppressed communities and the poor within reservation communities which is not there in the “Brahminical Gene”, and second, they want to attacha stigma to reservations while creating hatred among upper caste about constitutionally granted benefits for SCs, STs and OBCs. They have constructed a Brahminical world view that would protect their invisible castiest hypocrisy but when we analyse the pain, agony, humiliation, exclusion and discrimination of historically neglected communities in all spheres of life, their casteist nature is automatically deconstructed on its own around the reservation discourse.
Challa Dharma Reddy, TRS MLA, made derogatory comments against reservations without having any knowledge about the existing reservation system and its implementation at ground level. These remarks are 1. Reservations should be granted to the needy. 2. Upper caste people are not securing jobs but others are getting too many positions due to reservations. 3. State is being ruined due to lack of merit among marginalized communities who are claiming reservations. To prove these allegations are wrong, one argues that they are based on centuries of upper caste anxiety and frustration. Therefore, this paper deconstructs the upper castes and their frustration around reservations with the help of available scientific theory and data.
Most of the upper castes dance to their forefathers’ tunes in saying that “Reservations should be provided on economic basis” without taking historical oppression of Bahujan communities into consideration. To refute this argument, Prof. Vivek Kumar argued that marginalized communities were very systematically discriminated against and excluded from all realms of society and they were not even treated as human beings. Therefore the Constitution has granted reservations to the SC, ST and OBC communities to repair the historical injustice done to them. In this regard, he said that reservations are not a poverty alleviation programme to provide them on an economic basis; rather, it’s a part of the nation building process (Prof. Vivek Kumar, Basis and Significance Of Reservation, Velivada). Even after the BJP government granted reservations on an economic basis, Indian upper castes are still crying at the constitutional share of the SCs, STs and OBCs which reflects their Brahminical morality in Indian society.
Dharma Reddy also mentioned that “Upper castes are not securing jobs while others are getting positions without any merit due to Reservation System”, which is actually not true. Since a lot of scientific theory and data is available regarding representation of ‘Reserved’ and ‘Unreserved’ communities, we can refute their argument as baseless with the help of data. In one of his papers, Prof. Vivek Kumar argued that out of 49 central universities and one open Central University only one vice chancellor belongs to the Scheduled Tribes; while in Madhya Pradesh, out of 19 universities there is only one vice chancellor from the Scheduled Castes; and in Uttar Pradesh, out of 25 Universities, there is only one from the SC category. Data provided by the UGC to Indian Express under RTI, 1st April, revealed that upper caste communities (“General Category”) are over represented in all 40 central universities as Professors: 95.5%, Associate Professors: 92.90% and Assistant Professors: 66.27% and Non Teaching Staff: 76.14%.
The available data shows that even the Indian Judiciary is dominated by upper castes. Dilip Mandal has shown empirical data regarding Supreme Court Judges in his Twitter account. Out of the total number of judges (31), the caste-wise composition is: Brahmin-12, Kayastha-4, Vaishya-3, Khatri-2, Non-OBC middle castes-4, OBCs-2, Christian-1, Muslim-1, Parsis-1, SCs-1, and STs-0. The Karia Munda Parliament Committee reported that out of 481 high court judges, only 15 are from Scheduled Castes and 5 from Scheduled Tribes; as on 1-05-1998, none was in the judgeship of the Supreme Court even though most of the SC and ST candidates were in the consideration zone. Many media reports argued that “3 out of every 4 anchors in TV debates are upper caste” and more than 70% primetime debate shows and television channels draw the majority of panelists from upper castes. Even leadership positions are completely dominated by upper castes. In English television news, 89.3% are from upper castes and in Hindi television news, 100% are from upper castes (Oxfam India and News Laundry, a media watch website noted). Despite upper castes having over-representation in all institutions, making allegations that they are not getting jobs due to reservations is Indian Brahminical hypocrisy to derail Bahujan communities from starting a strong movement for their constitutionally due representation.
“State is being ruined or destroyed and made backward due to the reservation system as a result of voiding merit” – this is the statement made by TRS MLA Dharma Reddy in particular, but generally most of the upper castes often put forward this argument in the public domain. However, the fact is that all modern and secular institutions are dominated by upper castes viz. Polity, Bureaucracy, Media, Judiciary, Universities, NGOs etc. According to the 4th National Commission For SCs and STs’ report on Judiciary and Bureaucracy, 83% of Class 1 Government and Non-government services are dominated by Brahmins, Rajputs, Kayastha and other upper castes (Prof. Vivek Kumar: Caste and Democracy). If someone says that the state is being destroyed or remaining backward or inefficient, it’s the upper castes who are responsible for the “merit less” state and its backwardness due to their undemocratic domination in all public institutions.
The above mentioned scientific theory and data prove that the recent derogatory comments made in particular by Dharma Reddy, MLA from the TRS political party, and by upper castes in general since a long time are baseless. They don’t have any scientific theory and data to justify their argument, and make these allegations due to their anxiety and frustration erupting from their casteist mind when they see lower caste communities as equal to them in all public institutions. This reflects Brahminical immorality and hypocrisy aiming to deceive Bahujan communities from raising voice for their constitutionally due share and against stigmatisation of their identity and history. Historically these are the communities who built this nation with their sweat and blood with the help of nature-granted common property, which was snatched by Indian upper castes with the help of their inhuman religion. Now Bahujan communities have to proclaim that “Reservation Is Our Birthright” as a part of the Nation Building Project based on Equality, Liberty, Fraternity and Social Justice. The nation building project is not fulfilled without constitutional share in the form of Reservation Policy to fight back casteist forces in Indian Society.
Kranthi Kumar Mungamuri is a JNU student working with BAPSA.