Biased Forms Of Reservation in India

About two thousand years ago there existed the system of social, educational and economic reservation, a completely biased form of reservation, which only included about three percent of the total Indian population, only the Brahmins. We all are aware that in this rigid Varna system there was zero social flexibility, and even today, this bane of Hindu culture is making itself provident. And Reservation is meant to correct this under-representation caused due to centuries of discrimination.

Economic backwardness is not considered as the only ground for availing of quotas, because a person can possibly alleviate from his economic status, but it is impossible to alleviate from historical discriminations.

A poor Dalit in our society is just not equal to a Brahmin, and this is not limited to remote villages.

For instance, in 2012, a study found that despite six decades of entry level quotas in government jobs, out of the 88 secretary-level posts in the central government, not one was filled by a Dalit.

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This happened not only because of monetary problems but because of social discrimination.

But now, there are several low caste members in our society who have managed to come up in society, yet their children and their children continue to take up most of the reserved seats. These people are known as the creamy layer. A poor Brahmin boy is clearly more disadvantaged than them, and it is obvious that these people should be excluded from the quota system, making way for the more deserving. Unfortunately the creamy layer still gets to lay their hand on the quotas because of vote bank politics.

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For such cases, reservation should only be allowed to be used for two generations, so that they can make way for the needy.

Aam Aadmi Party which is especially made for the cause of the common man, believes that there should be reservation, but not only for the economically but also for the socially backward. A poor man, who is mostly poor because of the scars of the rigid caste system and social rejection, can only afford a government school for his child and well, we all know the pathetic condition of primary education received at a government school. A child who is barely encouraged to study, cannot be expected to clear a competitive exam, which these days is the only way for good jobs. If she/he doesn’t get a good job, the whole hierarchy of the child’s family shall dwell in poverty.

There are mostly three solutions to this problem, either make education free and brought at par with private school education, have reservation or bring in an altogether new system. The ruling governments have not seemed keen to take any interest in improving the quality of education or try to make a change, therefore they have chosen to follow what was already being followed- reservation.

Yet, reservation is important in its own way to bring equality. Again, had it not been for those sections of the society which despite their overcoming of disadvantages still utilize reservation, today perhaps our country could finally have all people at par. But there are still those who argue that reservation has diluted merit, that’s what they say. Well, why don’t these very people go about parading against paid seats or management quotas, which is reservation purely for the privileged?

Somehow that seems fair to them, but correcting years and years of injustice seems unjust.

If reservation seems to not offer any great solution it is necessary we come up with new solutions. For example Purushotam Agarwal, a professor at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, came up with the idea of what he called Multiple Index Related Affirmative Action Scheme. Under this scheme, different number of points based on different aspects were allocated and added to the marks of a student. Example, five points for uneducated parents, five if SC or three points if the student had to attend a Panchayat school. Although it was considered, it never became concrete.

Whether or not we agree with Professor Agarwal’s method of affirmative action, the point remains that affirmative action is needed in this country. Instead of screaming hoarse for the abolishment of quotas, we should come up with alternative solutions to empower those communities that have for centuries been at the receiving end of injustices. AAP will always be welcoming to collaborate with anyone who truly wants work for India’s betterment.

Works cited

  1. Dubey, R. B. (2008). Reservation policy and its impact on scheduled castes: A study of selected states. Mittal Publications.
  2. Jodhka, S. S. (2003). Caste and democratic politics in India. Permanent Black.
  3. Thorat, S., & Attewell, P. (2007). The legacy of social exclusion: A correspondence study of job discrimination in India. Economic and Political Weekly, 42(41), 4141-4145.
  4. Deshpande, A. (2012). Reservation and politics of identity. Economic and Political Weekly, 47(17), 25-28.
  5. Kothari, R. (2014). Reservations: A study in constitutional and political history. Orient Blackswan.
  6. Thorat, S. (2012). Reservation policy: Why it is necessary and why it should continue. Economic and Political Weekly, 47(17), 17-20.
  7. Desai, S., & Vanneman, R. (2015). India Human Development Survey-II (IHDS-II). ICPSR36498-v1. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research.
  8. Sengupta, S., & Jha, M. (2014). Social justice and the Indian welfare state: The Nehruvian influence. Routledge.
  9. Ghatak, S. (2018). Affirmative action in India: The case of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Routledge.
  10. Guha, R. (2018). India after Gandhi: The history of the world's largest democracy. Pan Macmillan.
Updated: Feb 29, 2024
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Biased Forms Of Reservation in India. (2024, Feb 29). Retrieved from

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