SUBTITLES : SANDHYA P C Friends, Politics of Reservation I am trying to examine this topic on the basis of concepts such as citizenship, community and modern nation. you all know that,, maybe in independent india, reservation is a very sensitive issue which has caused so many discussions and disagreements, even riots. for the same reason when approaching this subject, we have to keep certain vigils. because, reservation has been contextualised in such a way that it can very easily topple into a one-sided debate. in such a way that as soon as one hear the word reservation, one decides – whether reservation is necessary or not. such a type of contextualisation – layers of meanings – exist surrounding the word ‘Reservation’ for the same reason, as people who try to analyse and inspect things independently and objectively, I would like to say that this subject has to be approached with certain caution. As part of this, related to reservation- its politics, the social science behind it is what I want to talk about. Reservation is one of the most controversial issues in present India. One of the peculiarities of reservation is that, it is when the anti reservation riots become strong, that reservation is discussed in India. never when things are calm, India discusses reservation. it is always in the context of a strong anti reservation struggle, that reservation becomes an important topic for discussion and presents before us. that itself has to be problematised I think. when indian nation is calm and quiet, a healthy discussion seems impossible about reservation which itself is a mechanism of indian nation, but when an anti reservation riot becomes strong, then addressing the context of that riot – that means addressing the anti reservationists the nation and its citizens speak – this is how the discussions about reservation appears most of the time. Now, in India, the chief of RSS in india, Mohan Bhagawat stated that reservation has to be re examined. Not just that, as you all know, the Patel community in Gujarat, are in a struggle demanding reservation for them. This way, when we take reservation for discussion in a real situation of anti reservationism, we are actually addressing – not the issues of those who are beneficiaries of reservation, not the legislature of reservation but the ideologue of anti reservationism. When we discuss that way, questions such as what is reservation as a constitutional mechanism never comes into our discussion. This is one major limitation faced by the discussions around reservation. So, I am not planning to address this context. not the context of anti reservationist. On the other hand, within indian legislature, the principle of reservation form and why it became a constitutional mechanism, what is its importance, that s all I want to talk about. and not the usual discussions about the statistics of how much percentage of the job opportunities goes to which all communities such numbers are what usually gets talked about. I don’t want to go into those numbers. on the contrary, how did this mechanism called reservation form in indian history, what is its importance thats all I want to share with you as a preface to this speech. I think, outside the strong understandings about india, in the history of the formation of the Indian nation, there has been engagements from different streams. One of the major realisations about Indian is, Indian society, in the colonial phase, and before, was highly diversified. food styles, dress, beliefs, language, religion, caste and many such social establishments diversified the space called india. its not just the case of india – nations all over the world has been formed from diverse societies – that is the history of the world. but as far as india is considered, these are not just divisions, these are not just differences, these diversities are arranged into a progression , into a pyramid, and india is a society with a hierarchical inequality. This is the major factor which makes india different from other countries in the world. we can see inequality in every part of the world. but in india, its not just inequality – that inequality has a special formation. this is the reality that we have to understand as a basis when we start a discussion around reservation. that means,in a hierarchical manner, imposing aristocracy as it goes up, and filthiness as it climbs down – it is to such a pyramid that Dr B R Ambedkar has compared indian caste system. if we are seeing caste merely as something that existed in the past, then we won’t be able to understand how caste becomes functional in our society. caste is not simply a problem of the mindset as we often think. a major hurdle that we face in the discussions around caste is, – just like we mentioned earlier about reservation, as soon as a modern human listens to the term caste,he becomes uncomfortable. a discomfort suddenly grip us, we understand it as something that beyond our comprehension, and we attempt to keep caste outside our discussions and conversations, caste starts addressing us as a moral issue. As soon as it becomes a moral issue, the debate is reduced to whether I want it or not. If I decide I do not want it, I can reach the decision that caste does not exist. On the other hand, caste is a social reality which exists outside us, outside the realm of our mind if we don’t understand it this way, we can never understand how caste has processed indian society’s mindset through centuries. caste as we might think, is not an issue of the mentality of human beings. on the contrary, within indian society, how one should use his thought, his body language, his attitude, even how his emotional expressions should be – another person decides all this . this is caste. of all the kinds of slaveries in the world history this has the most fatal social implications. while approaching the question of justice, of reservation, we have to have this in our mind. so , the issue of graded inequality is not a mere issue of inequality between two human beings. on the contrary, binding individuals in cells they can not break down is called graded inequality. an individual alone cannot break down these cells and move forward – no matter how brilliant he is, he can not shatter these cells and move forward on his own. graded inequality should be understood as a social structure that limits one’s progress in the system. If we can understand graded inequality in that way, we can understand that even the morality of the people in this graded inequality is graded. A major peculiarity of indian society is that it doesn’t distribute natural human justice among its people. our moral values are graded in such a way that it fails to distribute justice among its social members- this is the moral dilemma that an indian is facing in history. this is not an issue of a lacking in a caste or a religion or an individual, on the contrary, in history, the indian communities has lived within graded inequality, an indian mind, indian morality itself is graded. if you ask what is the problem of being graded, we mistake the intellectual and emotional world of the supposed elite for the ‘real’ world, and we become insensitive towards those in the bottom of the pyramid. let us take a small example from kerala. more than a hundred tribal children has died in Wayanad*. why didn’t Kerala burst into a riot? What stopped the moral anger of Kerala would have burst out? This is not an issue of me blaming the Keralites. what i am saying is , kerala does not count a tribal child as part of its self. Adivasi has not become a part of self for Kerala, for the Malayali. I am very sure, if just three children starve to death in Trivandrum city, without doubt, anger would have burst out. What I am saying is, the depth of moral dilemma that a malayalee is trapped in, the depth of moral dilemma an indian is trapped in, we have to understand that. Famous historian Satish Deshpande has said this about caste.. he said, “Everyone knows what is caste. But none knows how it functions.” this is the situation. We all know about caste. but if someone asks how it is affecting my life, no one has answer. This is the crisis we are in. So I would say, In india, unlike elsewhere in the world, a constitutional mechanism like reservation formed because, India, unlike other societies of the world, is a bunch of people who carry a different moral awareness, social awareness, a justice awareness. What i am trying to say is, since our moral sense itself is graded, we are unable to distribute natural justice to everyone. Let us take an incident from the reformational period in Kerala. Kerala is known elsewhere for its high – 100% literacy rate. at the time this literacy movement was happening in Kerala, while people were trying to educate people from their own community, they were also insisting that others should not get education. this is the dichotomy of the history that we came through. When the nairs of kerala was going to school, they insisted the ezhava s must not enter schools. we have to know that while supporting own caste’s education, but opposing the next castes education, this kind of a bizarre formation of history has happened in kerala. So, our sense of justice has the same architecture of this graded inequality. the problem of this kind of a society is that justice will not be distributed evenly. the argument that those with merit can accomplish in life becomes inapplicable to india because india s sense of justice and india s sense of social values are based on the graded inequality. that is why, a mechanism such as reservation, i.e. an argument for right of representation, was formed in indian history. not only the people who are eligible for reservation, different other communities in india too at the time of formation of the modern nation, were into major struggles for establishing their human rights. this is the second thing I want to talk about. indian sense of democracy was not formed only by anti british struggles. anti british struggles are just a part of it. but, the actual source of energy for the democratisation of india lies in the grand struggles for justice that happened within india . so many communities led grand struggles for justice which actually formed the sense of democracy in india. democracy was a concept totally unknown to indians. Indian society did not know at all what democracy was. India, at no historical juncture, thought that the other person’s rights has to be honoured. India does not have such a moral conviction. on the contrary, denying the other person s right is my duty – this was the principle of indian society. One thing about caste is, Caste does not operate just on the logic of the savarna-avarna struggle. caste can operate in the lowest strata of the society too. A Pulayan thinks that Parayan is lower than him. Parayan thinks Kuravan is lower than him. Caste is, this all-encompassing moral conviction of society- this is the Brahmanical order. I don’t think at all that sending away 3% of the population, Brahmins, will solve the problems for India. Brahmanical – means, thinking that dishonouring other s right is my righteous duty , a body composed of such a sense of moral becomes restless – this kind of a situation is what I call the Brahmanical order. Do you know? this situation – not contemporary, its from early days, but it exists even now , its unlikely that it has changed – there is a thing called inter-dining. after having meals together with an untouchable – might be on the basis of friendship- that person vomits. His body can not take it. We should think, how that kind of a self works. as soon as one comes to know that a pulaya student entered the school, Kerala history has mentions about a grandfather who fainted. why would that man faint? we should think. He thinks that , if this pulaya student enters the school the world will come to an end. Sudra should not learn, learned shudra should be kept at a distance, his is his moral consciousness. he thinks the world is coming to an end and he faces a cardiac arrest. So we should consider very seriously, how do these values corresponding to caste costruct us as individuals. In this kind of a society, justice doesn’t naturally happen. In this way, within india, against these kind of regressive rituals, against the graded inequality known as Brahmanyam, numerous valiant efforts were conducted which actually generated a sense of democracy in india. In this struggle, i.e., the struggle to democratise india, one of the most important factors was representation. the argument that we too need representation. Its not just dalits and adivasis of kerala and india, but most of the diverse communities had said the we too need representation. but his has a contradiction with the principles of democracy. Dr B R Ambedkar says, representation of opinions, is just one factor of democracy. Someone else may represent my opinion, or an opinion such as mine. hat is one mode of operation of democracy. That is how we have others who talk for us. Ambedkar said, that this itself is not enough, but in such a diverse society we have to make sure that if all kinds of people are coming forward to express their opinions. this is a very important fact. That means, we have to make sure that people from every strata of the society are able to reach different walks of our social life. only then we can ensure an even distribution of justice. that, forever, some people will keep representing dalits and adivasis, is just a partial method of democracy – that method is not being rejected here.. hat method is just partial, but for it to be complete, we have to make sure that all kinds of people reach different walks of our social lives – this is one of the important founding visions of indian philosophy about democracy. i.e., in india, when a modern india takes shape, in the crucial governal positions of that modern india, representation of different kinds of people from india has to be ensured – such an argument formed inside india because, india was never a place where justice was evenly distributed. So, grand efforts to ensure representation of all kinds of people.. After formation of pakistan a major portion of Muslims went to Pakistan, but Muslims as part of national freedom movement in India have always raised argument for their representation. Right from the beginning of the initial decades of 20th century, the dalits of India, in the leadership of Dr B R Ambedkar, has raised argument for their representation. Why would a people raise a requirement for special rights? because they are subjected to certain special forms of oppressions, they are affirming certain privileges . I am a person who is skeptic about statements such as all human beings are equal. I don’t think so at all. But I wish that everyone becomes equal. but, when we understand of the diversity of our society- Dr B R Ambedkar, Muslim communities, regional or linguistic communities, all of them has argued for their representation. Their demand for representation is not at all against democratic principles. On the other hand we have to understand that such demands are only nourishing democracy. In such a way, its in a juncture of attempts by different communities for representation, for justice the formation of a mechanism called reservation takes place. in 1932, Hindumahasabha and Dr B R Ambedkar following a fast unto death by Gandhi, goes into an agreement, which results in the foundational principle of reservation as we see in india, today. I don’t want to go into the history of it, but what I want to talk t o you about, is what kind of social political impact it has made. What happened in 1932 was, Britain decides to transfer governance to India. the Minto Morley Act, in 1919 and Monday Ruchemford act, all this comes into prominence, and Britain decided to give Dominion Position to India. What happens in india.. How does the mechanism of History kick into action.. Then, all the depressed class organisations in india came together and told Britain, You don’t leave India. Do not leave India. If you leave India, these Savarna Brahmin communities are likely to trash us. So we need your presence. We might suddenly feel this is anti nationalism. But only when we become capable of addressing the question of lack of justice inside the indian society, we will understand the meaning of that sentence. It wasn’t a mere anti nationalism, on the other hand, if justice has to be ensured inside india, beyond the mere anti british logic, one would have to figure out the internal democracy mechanism in india. That is why (Narayana)Guru said, The British gave me Diksha. He is accepting the British. if we look at that sentence in the broader sense, its not a mere British servitude. What he is saying is, we should all pray that britain should win in the world war I. Because, the British gave me Sannyas. The disciple asks the Guru, what does guru mean by they gave Sannyas, did they give you Diksha? Guru says, Once upon a time, an Avarna named Sambuka went on Tapas for knowledge, and Rama slaughtered his head. That means, now, to overcome this Hindu sense of Justice, its the british who opened a space. If we have a sense of the reality of india, we can understand this. Else we will end up branding Guru as a British Spy. We have to deconstruct the simplistic notions of nationality in order to understand the logic behind reservation. So, some communities of india arguing for special rights does not become a crime because, india is not a place which is naturally fair towards all. o, in this kind of a space, to make sure justice reach everyone, a mechanism called Reservation is perceived.. Its first agreement happens between Gandhi and Ambedkar. Britain declares the Communal Award which was about ensuring the right of representation to untouchable communities in india. Gandhi goes on a hunger strike against that. I don’t want to go into the details of Ambedkar vs Gandhi conflicts, but this is an important realisation. Gandhi says, I won’t let anyone break the Hindu Religion. I Wont Let You Break Apart Hindu Religion- So no special rights to the scheduled castes. Why would have gandhi said that he won’t allow anyone to break Hindu religion? That too has a deep connection with the nationalist movement. Placing heritage of hindu gods, hindu beliefs, hindu vedas and upanishads as the basis of indian nation, was done in the nationalist movement. it was the orientalist discourse which started this. from there, this hindu thing seeps into the nationalist movement. So, many of the secular democratic concepts that we talk about today, are working within a hindu framework. We don’t even realize how this happens. Until the 19th century, not even a single brahmin thought that vedas and upanishads belonged to everyone. they never shared this knowledge with anyone either. but in the 20th century, we started thinking that something called ‘hindu’, had been formed. and the basis of that formation was vedas, upanishads so and so, and thus the nationalist movement gives rise to a hindu national majority. Gandhi was a voracious advocate of this brand, Thats why Gandhi said that he won’t let anyone break hindu religion – because, if the untouchables part ways with special right, if the depressed castes part with special rights, hindu religion will end up as a minority religion. So the first anti reservation movement was started by gandhi on this same logic of hindu majority. Gandhi was its promoter. The one who started this anti reservation war. It is strongly related to the logic of nationalist movement and that is why even now, anti reservation war spreads very quickly and produces a mass opinion. This Hardik Patel is a very young man – of 21 yrs age. His movement makes an impact onto an international audience. What I am saying is, hence, against the special rights of dalits in india, the very first war was led by Gandhi, who was the last word of the nationalist movement of India. But afterwards, the idea of a separate electorate was discarded, and ensuring representation through a more general kind of reservation the one as we see now, takes form. after its formation, the legislature and many debates over it ensued. The reservation as it is now was not anything even near to what Dr Ambedkar envisioned. The reservation as it is now was formed as a result of an agreement between Ambedkar and Gandhi. Ambedkar always argued for the self representation of these communities. Right now its not self representation but a common representation. When things reach constitutional assembly – india is transforming into a nation. Couple of things that happen at this time – One, the indian constitution makes a declaration in its preface – that all indian citizens are equal in the eyes of the constitution. Its citing this declaration of equality -that a very common argument in the anti reservation debate arises. if everyone are equal, then why should reservation and special rights be given to some communities? This is what the anti reservationists spreads. But if we go through the discussions that happened in the indian assembly regarding this, the modern nation was ready to accept two facts at the same time – One, that all citizens should be treated as equals and they should not be discriminated – but at the same time, if a state is convinced that a certain community in that state is underdeveloped or backward, the state has the rights to form special packages intended for the development of that community. This is mentioned in the 16th section of constitution. both these are mentioned in the same place- i.e., no discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, varna etc, at the same time, if the state is convinced that a certain section of the society is lagging behind because of caste, or religion etc, the state has the right to form special programs for the protection of these communities. There are two important things that we have to consider regarding this. One, we often think that this has some grave contradiction with the concepts of modern citizenship. – I am already a free citizen.. So why should the other person get reservation and I don’t get it? Here, we have to examine the indian citizenship. Equal citizenship to everyone in India, is just a promise from the constitution. It is being enforced through the courts. But the Indian society is not at all a space in which the equal citizenship operates. The rights of human beings in india is formed not merely by treating them as human beings – on the contrary, because of birth into certain communities, one gets more rights, and because of birth into certain other communities, one is denied of any human rights. In the current context of fascist regieme, all muslims born in india become obliged to prove their patriotism over and over again. So, we should not think that equality is a title that automatically transfers from the constitution into ourselves – there are social structures in india, obstructing it and blocking it. That is why, in the conference dedicating constitution to India, Dr B R Ambedkar said.. in 1949, Nov 26, he said in his speech, we have worked hard to put together this constitution. India is entering into a contradiction now. A Polity which offers political equality to everyone, and a society which is full of inequality and injustice. If we are not able to solve the social problems, then we people ourselves will reject the constitution on which we have spent so much effort. Only when we see this contradiction existing in our society, we can understand that while declaring equal citizenship, ensuring justice to those sections who are denied justice because of historical reasons, is the duty of the nation and there is absolutely no contradiction in this. But we ‘free’ citizens always feel, that group rights anull individual rights. But we have to understand one thing about india – that as real as the individual in india, is group identity. We must look at it in that way. For example take the adivasis in kerala. If we say that the tribal in attappadi and we who live in trivandrum are equal, there is a deceit in that statement. Not just deceit, I would say that there is a conspiracy against the tribal in that statement. That is the problem with that. So if we ride on such falsities, the most affected will be the downtrodden people. We should understand that vision as a new political philosophy relating to the constitutional democracy. It is not at all about just giving jobs to some people. If, In a country, differences exist among its people, and if, just because of those differences a major section of people are expelled from social, economical and cultural rights, what can a modern nation do? Reservation is the answer to this question. A nation, very consciously has to understand this issue, and discriminatively protect those communities and ensure justice- that is what reservation actually tells us. Against this reservation scheme, within just six months after the release of the constitution, questions arose. We should understand its history. Section 16, gets questioned within 6 months. Do you know who questioned it? Its one Mr Chembakam Dorai Rajan and one Mr R Sreenivasan from Chennai. They are Tamil Brahmins. Now you might think I am accusing Brahmins. But they will do that. we have to know that. I am stating this case as a proof of how the modern citizenship goes hand in hand with the savarna. There is just this one thing that they say when they file this case. By giving quota to certain sections of the society, our right as citizens has been denied. So the court please intervene and make a resolution. The court said, their argument is correct. The Prime minister then is Javaharlal Nehru, and the law minister is Dr Ambedkar. Immediately, the first correction of the indian constitution takes place. To preserve reservation. This, we have to know, is the history of reservation. So what happens when a court says this? What is its sociopolitical implication? India enters into a notion that, reservation is, taking someone’s justice unlawfully, and giving it to somebody else. That reservation is actually something unnecessary. What happened through this is, modern citizenship – as I said earlier, citizenship is directly granted to people by the constitution- , modern citizenship, becomes a position of the savarna man in india. Everyone outside are positioned as castes. Scheduled castes, Scheduled tribes, are all marked as castes. They become eligible for reservation because they are imprinted upon, marked by, caste. Thus, reservation is something that continuously reproduces caste, and reclaims it, such a notion was established through this case this has been the observation of writers who studied this case carefully. Hence, the first case against reservation comes up on the argument that it defies my rights as the citizen. As a matter of fact if we fail to notice this complexity of indian citizenship, we will all stand with this Doraisami. We will all join in the logic of this Doraisami. It is when we realise that the citizenship in India itself is riddled with complexities, and that there are lesser citizens and those who are not even citizens, that is when we can see that the argument of absolute citizen works as the return of savarna’s power through the status of citizenship. I was talking about the actual mechanism of how reservation was formed in India, and its the social reasons.. The arguments against reservation, such as individual vs group right..Thats where we are now. even now, it is a usual argument among people who are against reservation – that reservation destroys merit. This has never been proved though. Nowhere has it been proven that, reservation destroys merit. But our society strongly argues that reservation is for people without merit. we have to know that , reservation is not about giving to those without merit. Reservation is needed where, even if there is merit, entry is denied. Even if the merit is proved, entry is denied – in such situations, its ensuring that entry. It can be conversely proved. We just have to take the constituencies without reservation. How much is the presence of these people? Well, all of us are progressives and revolutionaries right? In Legislative assembly elections comes in kerala, 14 scheduled caste people will definitely enter the assembly. But Rajya Sabha has no reservation. How many people from scheduled caste are there? Just two or three people, in these about 50 years! What is blocking them? What is the barrier? so its not as beautiful as we think. Even in Kerala, that much sense of equality is not functioning, that is what we have to understand. If reservation was there, at least a few people would have gone.. They might not bring revolution or save india – that is not the purpose of reservation either. There is no guarantee that all those who go there will be gentlemen of great character. Reservation just means taking him there. He might steal or might be corrupt, just like anyone else. Well, He has to get opportunity for that too. Its only when we look at the areas without reservation, that we will understand the importance of reservation. On what logic is it said that its given to people without merit? That the cut off is 5 marks less? 10 marks less? Merit is a construct. It is a sociological construct. It is not biological. There is a saying in Malayalam – that there are no blockheads among the brahmins. That is nonsense. There are many idiots among the brahmins, there is no doubt about that. But its our belief. It is our belief that all brahmins are intelligent and all dalits are fools. That is why there is no saying that there are no dorks among dalits. There are many such beliefs in our popular knowledge that these guys are gentlemen and are meritorious. Did you know that a Deshasta Brahmin had challenged the Nairs of Kerala, this is mentioned in Robin Geoffrey’s book, they have argued for representation in Kerala – you know about the Malayali Memorial. Through the Malayali Memorial, the Nairs complained that Brahmins are taking away all the jobs and they needs to be given access to jobs That time a deshastha Brahmin challenges the entire Nair community in Kerala – You Nairs stop blabbering, if just one among you can go to chennai and complete a BA degree, I will shave my moustache.. That is the history of Merit in Kerala. And its the same challenge that everyone else is now posing towards the scheduled castes. that is what i am saying – this is a chain. It is a sociological construct – this merit. It is a complex issue how to translate merit. Just because one has the merit, it can not be translated. There has to be some medium to propagate it. I can not just take my skill and place it in front of you. You don’t possess such a platter. Even to carry out corruption, there has to be a medium. If one carries out corruption without a proper medium, he will be caught immediately. If I am given 10 Crore, I will be arrested tomorrow itself, because I don’t even have a proper home where I can keep it. If this same money is given to a businessman, within hours, he would convert it into assets. That is how Madhu Koda got caught. He was a tribal minister. He did some fraudulent job and made some money. He didn’t have anywhere else to put it, so he put it in co operative bank. And he got caught. We all know that Chidambaram has made crores of rupees. But he doesn’t have to put it in co operative bank. If he gives it to three businessmen, it will transform to asset in his name. Madhu Koda does not have such a set up and madhu Koda will get caught. And we will conclude that Chidambaram is a gentleman and Madhu Koda is corrupt. So, only if we analyse and make sense of the mechanisms that happens in social transactions, the medium, we can realise the senselessness of the arguments against reservation. I told you earlier, about 60 of india’s major national newspapers – I have the accurate data on this.. If we take reservation as just an issue of merit.. this is another case of absence of reservation, just like Rajyasabha. – About 37 of india’s leading English and Hindi newspapers based in Delhi, in about 315 of their key posts, a survey was conducted and according to the statistics that came out of this survey.. not even one dalit or adivasi was found in those positions. Not even one in those key posts. Do we really think that all these communities are mentally retarded? Why doesn’t any of them become an editor? Shouldn’t we conclude that indian society, is not as democratic as we think? On the contrary, if you say, we are all meritorious so we became editors, they are good for nothing so they couldn’t become editors, I can not agree with that. I understand it as a result of the hierarchical sense of justice that india maintains for centuries. That is why , we are unable to find even one person into these 315 posts until now. My opinion is that,just the fact that the presence of these communities are there only where reservation is in effect, proves the necessity of reservation. Now the second issue, the issue of merit. I already told a story about merit. I will tell one more thing about this merit. After about 60 years of governance of the indian republic, as a matter of fact many issues have surfaced. We can not yet say any of these issues are going to be solved. Was it because Scheduled Caste people ruled us? Ok let us admit that SC people are not capable. But this is an area where the SC s hasn’t stepped in. Then why don’t they show their ‘merit’ there? So this is pure fraud, its a lie. Not just that, lets take the example of marks scored in the examinations. We will understand if we take the history of IPS. When not even one indian was able to pass, the cut off was a lowered to 30 marks and that is how the first IPS officers were made in India. We have to know this. So no one need to threaten anybody citing a 5 marks exception. In indian history, everyone including these brahmins have taken this concession in their claim to be ‘meritorious’. We have to know that merit is a sociological construction. Talking about merit, parents shell out huge amounts to train their wards for entrance examinations. Students who can not afford this kind of money, might be brighter than these lot but has to go out. Then one shouldn’t say stuff like, my child is very bright that s why we got in. Spend money, train children and let them win, but don’t claim that it is some great sociology. There is no sociology in that. Its a constructed thing. The other one didn’t have money, so couldnt get in, that s all. Problem is, why don’t we understand that only the admissions has reservation? There is absolutely no reservation while attending the exam. The SC child and Brahmin child writes the same exam for MBBS degree. They have to win that exam to become doctors. If one fails, none thinks that , its OK if he failed, since he is SC let him be a doctor. If he fails thats it.He becomes a doctor only after getting through the exam. Now this all is common sense, but the argument is that these people are worthless so keep them away. This argument is just a continuation of the graded inequality. Its because of the closed mentality of the indian psyche that doesn’t allow to acknowledge others, that the anti reservationists use such fabricated logic. In earlier times, there was a survey that came out from the seven IITs. This is a statistics from 1983. You know that iITs are institutes that create highly proficient indians. In its about seven branches – It was established by India Govt. It was after the suggestions from Tata to form a Committee to produce supremely trained engineers and technocrats, that the govt spent crores of rupees to put in place these establishments. There is no reservation for faculty and non teaching staff positions there. So there was this survey conducted there in 1983. They are all very capable..intellectuals, liberals, socialists and all that. So after the survey, it was found that 800 SC s work at the seven IITs. 796 out of them were scavengers. Toilet cleaners. You should know, how a deadly a place india is. How fatal .. It is in such a situation that we say reservation is unnecessary. ..and four LD clerks. that completes the 800. So even in an ‘ideal’ place like IIT, when we place the scheduled castes, the graded inequality of Chaturvarnya is quickly reproduced. So in such a society, without a positive discrimination, we cannot give justice to these people. We have to understand that. There is no need of further complicated discussion or debate in this. The only thing that matters is, in a society in which such discrimination exists in multiple forms, if the democratic nation has the responsibility to give them justice, a positive discrimination is necessary. That is what is called reservation. How many got jobs through reservation, did all their problems get solved, did all of them become gentlemen, Let me just say a couple things more then i am going to wind up. What is the aim of reservation? Even the creators of constitution didn’t think that reservation is going to solve all the problems for SC/STs. And that is not possible too. To remedy their poverty, their problems.. not at all. there is only one purpose to reservation. The door is closed in front of him. when entry to 90 is granted, let 10 SCs also go through, that is all. be it for murder, fight, dinner or dance. that is all it means. it is about a nation giving justice. so, in all fronts of India, reservation is a must. it is the only way to make sure that the diversity of indian society reflects in all fronts. The diversity must reflect there. Only then we can consider the democracy as a celebration of people. at times in some discussions, it is asked, you received reservation for all these years- didnt your problems resolve because of that? what i m sayings, its not to solve anyone s issues! it is not to resolve that issue that you imply. there e is only one purpose to reservation. give entry to those communities which are likely to be excluded. none is claiming that through that all their problems are going to be solved. Let me tell another thing that we always get to hear related to reservation – the argument about creamy layer. The argument is that, in the communities which receive the benefit of reservation, its the rich-the creamy layer of that society, that takes away all the advantage. So , don’t give it to them- this is another argument., Here we have to look at that concept named community. Community is not the same thing as caste, as we often misunderstand. it is not something very ancient either. Community is a reality. But in the political discourses, when the political ideologies of modernity was formed, citizenship, nationality, and national citizen made their entry, the community was sidelined as something secondary. So political ideologies of modernity is formed placing community in the secondary level. So what is community? We have to know that community contains all kinds of sections. Such as ezhava community, Pulaya community, Dalit Community, Adivasi community … all members inside these are not poor. Everyone are not affluent too. Everyone are not educated. Everyone are not illiterate too. Everyone are not good human beings. Everyone are not bad too. Hence, a community is composed of people of all sorts. A community interest takes shape when the interests of the rich and poor in it converges in some way. Do you know that out of the 20 people who took part in the first SNDP meeting, 13 were Ezhava traditional doctors. That points to a capital inside that community – An affluent man like Alummoottil chaannaan comes forward to talk for this community the community became visible when the rich and affluent people from that community started talking about the rights of that community. Its one peculiarity of india. Its not about a war between the rich and the poor. it is when the educated and wealthy people from a community starts talking about the injustice the community faces, that is when the community becomes visible. before that they are not visible. we have to be clear about this. when do dalits become visible in kerala? its when a generation of educated dalit youngsters come up, that they become visible. their issues come into the public space. this happens because of the peculiarity of indian society, and this is not a closed argument of only dalits representing dalits. Because in the current system, no one else will talk about it, and they become visible when all elements of that community come together. In this context, any demand to expel this affluent people from benefits of reservation, indicates that we are failing to understand the graded inequality. how much ever money he makes, he cannot break this grade. let him grow as much as he wants, but he will have to carry the burden of that grade. as long as he carries that grade, reservation will be needed. for example, one important thing about reservation is, its not us who decide caste. on the contrary, its the others who decide our caste. even if we claim that i don’t have caste, the other one won’t let us get away with it. as long as he doesn’t agree, we cannot break out from caste. we have to also realise that caste does not just beat us down, it has its advantages too. for some sections, caste is an ornament. just look at our offices – if brahmins are there, they will be respectfully called, swami. why is it so? I haven’t understood yet. But that s is how things are. Thus, at micro levels, caste subordination and caste consciousness is working in our day-to-day lives. Now here, a community is an entity consisting of its rich and poor. that is a modern entity for sure. In that, if we say the rich shouldn’t be given (reservation), that implies that money can overcome caste. Can you show that anywhere in India? In indian history, give just one such instance.. just one example for making money and overcoming caste. it s not there. its impossible to transcend caste. There might be financial transactions, there might be travel and explorations, but caste will follow him. i.e., K R Narayanan can be the first citizen of india. but he won’t be able to shed his Parava title. even if he sheds it, people of Kottayam won’t allow that. that is the ultimate truth. Kottayam people will continue to say, “You know, he is a paravan”. so, an identity that i won’t be able to shed, how can I transcend by making money? How will I break out? I am subjected to that discrimination – that is its reality. So, there are two things when it comes to this creamy layer. One, you know one thing about reservation – get education, get entrance training, people who can afford these things are the rich people of that caste. There is an argument that all the seats given to the SCs are hijacked by the creamy layer. Let us just reverse this scenario and ask a question – what kind of people from Nair community – has access to entrance and stuff like that? the poor? its the rich people from there too. and that is what is happening here too. but we are unable to get a grip on this. its the affluent among nairs who spend 5-10 lakhs to put their child through training for a professional degree seat and its the same affluent category that works here also. but here we feel as if its a crime. that is one issue with the graded inequality. That is, even the argument that creamy layer has to be excluded from reservation, is a reflection of the wound on our morality, inflicted upon by this graded inequality, of our immoral state of being. I will wind up after mentioning one more thing. If you look at the arguments against reservation, politically and sociologically, they will all turn out to be fallacies and propaganda If we take the reality of our society, reservation is, actually, a necessary constitutional mechanism and it is since this mechanism is in place, that india hasn’t gone into a civil war. We have to see that india as a modern nation, did not go into a civil war because accommodative measures such as reservation were in place. I would say, if Veluppilla Prabhakaran in Srilanka had spent some time to go through and study works by Dr B R Ambedkar or Indian Constitution, he wouldn’t have created such a terrible fate for the tamils living there. On the contrary, he would have been able to find some answers. When Dr B R Ambedkar went to see gandhi for the first time, the first sentence that he uttered was, Gandhi, I don’t have a motherland. He was a man who shed tears and said, I don’t have a motherland to return to. We have to understand what that means. A community so terribly attacked, traded along with cows and buffalos, how can I think its my India? What is there to be proud of? this is a huge issue. this had the potential to lead india into a civil war. But, by bringing in such a constitutional mechanism, these communities were brought into a feeling that they were also part of this nation. That is what saved India from a possible terrible internal civil war. For the same reason, reservation is a contribution which has greatly advanced the very ideological world of democracy, as a political philosophy. Its a philosophical contribution. We have to know that its sense of philosophy has such depths and breadths. I would like to mention two more things said by anti reservationists. This was said by anti reservationists. There is a book by Uma Chakravarthy called Gender in Caste. I remember reading this from that.. when the anti reservation struggle was raging in Delhi, the female students in Delhi University raised a banner there. it said , “we don’t want jobless husbands”. when the anti reservationists said they didn’t want jobless husbands, they meant all the jobs are being taken away by the SCs and OBCs, all the savarna lads are going to wander around jobless, and they didn’t want these jobless savarna lads. then we could ask, hey, there are people with jobs, the SCs and OBCs are there with jobs, so why don’t these girls feel they could marry them instead? this is where the problem lies. why don’t they feel they can marry them(SC & OBC)? no, such a thought won’t occur to them. He (Savarna lad) has to get a job and then marry her. This is how caste surrounds and conquers even our ambitions.. desires. In a place where these kind of desperate situations exist, we have to realise anti reservation struggles as a war cry against democracy. As aspirants of democracy, we have to uphold that principle, which in itself, sets and example to the world. One more thing I want to add.. This is something that appeared in matrimonial. It says, caste and religion no bar. And in brackets, excluding SC. Not ‘excluding non creamy layer SC’. That means, howmuchever rich you are, don’t apply if you are SC. We have to realise this is the matrimonial that appears in Kerala. What does ‘excluding SC’ mean? My elder brothers are somewhat rich. They hold reputed positions. it’s clear they too are excluded. The SC who lives in housing colonies also need not apply. Summary – Are you an SC, you need not apply. This is the stuff of caste. So, something that declares that SCs must not enter into the sensitive market called marriage, works here in Kerala. I have two daughters. What should I do with them? In this democratic Kerala, I have to find only Dalit youngsters for my daughters, thats the state of matter. What I am saying is, please don’t say that, my children who has no entry in the marriage market, has entry in the job market. This is what I want to convey to the anti reservationists. My younger daughter is awaiting results of CA final exams. The elder is MA B Ed. I have done MA Philosophy. what is my disqualification for an entry into that market? There is only one . That I am from SC community. if we are living in a time where we have no entry into even an open market like marriage, a measure such as reservation is essential, it should be there in place, and it should be understood as a constitutional mechanism which makes sure of the representation of different communities, and it is the brightest, brilliant, radiant facet of indian democracy. here I wind up, thank you all. Please introduce yourself and ask questions.