The Facts You Don’t Know About Reservation/Quota

“Udayji, I have been following your website for the last five years and I am blessed to read all your excellent articles. However, you have not touched upon the most controversial and burning topic in India. You have shown great courage to call a spade a spade always. Then why don’t you write on the ill-fated Reservation Policy and caste-based quota system in India? Isn’t it destroying India’s development? Isn’t it encouraging brain drain? Isn’t it leading to total corruption of system? What’s your stake on reservation?” gist of a message from Subramanian Iyer, Chennai (He permitted me to use his name).

“There is no point in discussing or talking about the Reservation Policy in India. Nobody is ever going to stop it. It will continue. Though it was originally envisaged for ten years, no political parties have the courage to touch it. Currently 80% of the population enjoys the benefit of reservations. Who doesn’t want it? The only way out is to expand the scope of reservation to 100%! Nothing else can be done about the quota system. So why waste time in discussing about it?”

“Does that mean India need only Dalits and Tribals (Adivasi)? What about the present day ailing and struggling communities like Brahmins?” Subramanian was fuming.

“In fact, reservation is NOT at all beneficial for Dalits and Adivasis – they are still struggling!” I said.

“How come? India assures quota for SC/ST caste,” he sounded angry.

“Subramanian, you are totally mistaken here. Please go by facts, not by emotions. SC/ST = Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It is just a list. It is NOT a caste.”

“But, Udayji, they are all low caste Hindus, right?”

“Gross mistake again. All SC/ST are NOT Hindus. According to government sources, all religions – Hindu, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism have SCs, STs, Other Backward Classes (OBC) and forward Castes among them. Even Jainism and Zoroastrianism have all castes except SCs, as per government list.”

“So caste system in India is not confined to Hindus?”

“Not at all. There are 4500 castes (denominations) inside Christianity. There are many caste-like divisions in Islam too. So, caste is not particular to any religions in India…”

“Udayji, do you support reservation based on economic status? I am absolutely against caste-based reservation. It only spreads more hatred among castes and discrimination. But I still support reservation on economic basis.”

“I don’t think economic reservation is a good idea. After all it is India – just one percent of total population pays income tax in India. As far as we have a corrupt admin system prevailing in India, it won’t be difficult to obtain an income certificate of your choice from any local admin authorities.”

“Do you agree for introducing the concept of creamy layer in reservations?”

“Are you an idiot or what? You said your community doesn’t have reservation. If they exclude creamy layer from reserved class, where will they go? To the general class only! That means your opportunities would further be narrowed down. You people are so emotionally moved that you don’t use common sense.”

“What about OBCs? Do you agree reservation for them?”

“I don’t support any sort of reservations. Everything should be based on merit or humanity. My opinion is the same as the self-immolation survivor Atul Aggarwal during Mandal protests 26 years ago…”

“What was his opinion?”

“He said ‘its bullsh*t. Give free education and financial assistance to disadvantaged castes. Why punish someone who was born into an upper-caste family?’ Reservation shouldn’t be based on caste, creed, race and religion. It should be based on humanity.”

“So you are not for OBC reservation,” he repeated the question.

“Hmmm. OBC is just another prank. Take for instance the case of Kerala, which is the most literate state that boasts highest social development index. There are three prominent communities in Kerala which are most powerful in terms of social, economic and politics – Muslims, Ezhava and Latin Catholics (Christian). All three together take away whopping 60% of reservation in the name of OBC!”

“Oh, but religion based reservation is anti-constitutional, right?”

“Yes, of course. But who will tell them? Who has the courage to go to court? Practically, Muslims have approx 24% reservation in Kerala. Christians have nearly 12 % (Latin Catholics – 8%, Christian-converted Nadars – 4%). I think Ezhava has 28% reservation. This percentage varies in many departments and systems, so these figures can change.”


“Unfortunately, those in the list of SC/STs are NOT getting the benefit of reservation anywhere. They have just less than 10% of reservation in Kerala.”

“Udayji, how can you say SC/STs are NOT getting benefits…?”

“SC/ST is a bucket. There are 53 castes in this bucket in Kerala. On all India basis, there are nearly 1200 castes in SC/ST group. Now you calculate the share of reservation that each caste can get – it would be very negligible! Dalits and Adivasis do not have reservation on their own!”

“What do you mean by ‘reservation on their own’ – I don’t understand the phrase…”

“Ezhava caste has a reservation on its own – Independent caste-based reservation. That means this reservation is limited to Ezhavas. The reservation for Muslims will ONLY go to Muslims. Same is the case of Latin Catholics and Christian Nadars. That’s why each and every caste in India – Jats, Gujjar, Patidar, Meenas – fighting for OBC reservation, and NOT to be included in SC/ST list. All castes want individual reservations.”

“So, SC/ST is not benefitted?” he asked again.

“SC/ST reservation works like a general quota. All 1200 castes are fighting for this small cake, while politically powerful communities enjoy all benefits! There is NO reservation exclusively beneficial for Dalits and Adivasis…”

“So OBCs and minority religions are the most beneficiaries…”

“You cannot generalize that too. Muslims and Christians have double benefits in India. They not only get fruits of reservation, but they also have MINORITY STATUS! That’s huge. No other OBCs have minority status. For instance, in Kerala, Muslims have eight medical colleges, exclusively for them under minority status – where they can enroll and recruit followers of their religions. Same goes for Catholics. For a balancing act and to keep their mouth shut, the government has provided license to equal number of education institutions to Ezhava too. This is how the political power is silently shared between them…”

“So, two minority religions are the real beneficiaries of reservation and government policies…”

“That’s also a mis-conception. We know a major chunk of Muslims are still struggling in many parts of India. It’s all about business. Minority status is just a business. You can also get it.”

“How is it possible? The Semitic religions (I cannot call them minorities as there are many other religions in India which are really microscopic minority) are majority in many states. Still they are given Minority Status,” Subramanian said.

“Yes. In fact, minority status is NOT purely religion based. Syrian Christians do not have it. Minority status is given ONLY to certain castes in the Semitic religions.”

“How can a caste get Minority status?”

“It is very simple. Get a franchise of any Christian denomination by tying-up with them. For instance, call it “Cloud Nine Church”. If you invest 10 crores, you can easily convert at least 10 million poor people into this Church. All those new-converts would be blind with beliefs and follow you. You can then negotiate with the government and political parties for minority status. They will allot you educational institutions. The revenue from Churches and affiliate institutions will be bonus! What industry will give you more ROI (return of investment)? This is pure business and NOTHING to do with Christianity. Same goes for Muslims – ordinary Muslims are not much benefited by reservation or minority status!”

“Can any caste get OBC status too?”

“Yes, just open your eyes and look around. During Mandal commission report (1980) the number of OBC in India was 3743. Now it is nearly 5200!”

“How do they get it? Isn’t there any criteria for that?”

“The Mandal Commission adopted 11 criteria which are grouped under three categories – social, educational and economic to identify OBCs. If you strictly follow those criteria, NOBODY can come under OBCs now. The OBC inclusion is purely based on vote bank Politics. No wonder, castes like Jats, Gujjar, Patidar and Meenas are in war path today to get included in the OBC…”

“What about historical reason as they claim for inclusion of OBC or SC/ST?”

“It depends upon your cut-off point in the History. If you take the history for less than 1000 years, Muslims were ruling class in India, so they can not come under OBC. The historically oppressed clause doesn’t fit in. If you take another cut-off point in history, India was ruled by Mauryas and Nandas before Islamic rule. They were Shudras, so they do not fall under OBC category. If you further dig into history up to Mahabharata War, the fishermen community (Veda Vyas decedents) and Yadav (Krishna’s community) were ruling class…It goes on. The two communities that really deserve quota are Dalits and Tribals. Unfortunately, they are just scapegoats”

“Hmmm. Udayji, you are very blunt to state facts. But you should write about injustice towards Brahmins…”

“Reservation is NOT a Brahmin-Dalit issue. There has been NO (in the past, present and future) issues between Brahmins and Dalits. You are totally blind. Try to see the larger picture. The OBCs and Minorities use Dalits as shield to fight for reservation. Look around you – in any demonstration, they would put a couple of Dalit leaders in the front row – in case of firing let them die – and take away the benefits. Dalits are being totally exploited and taken for a ride by other powerful OBC communities…”

“But what about Brahmins? Aren’t they cruelly treated?”

“Whose mistake is that? If Brahmins were a powerful community like Jats, Ezhava, Muslims or Latin Catholics, would it happen that way? When people play victim card there should be a villain to show. Since they cannot touch any other community they make Brahmins as scapegoat. It’s just a matter of political situation. Brahmins fell for such tricks and are taken for granted.”

(For overseas readers: India’s reservation policy is the process of reserving certain percentage of seats for a certain class such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Backward classes, Minorities etc. in government educational institutions, government jobs, etc.)

Udaylal Pai
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