Divide and Rule

Reservation and quota system

When I was a kid, my history book told me that what helped Britishers in conquering us was their policy of Divide and Rule. We might have got rid of the British reign, but the Divide and Rule is still here. What’s worse is that now it’s being used by our own leaders and often in the name of welfare. Nobody calls it Divide and Rule though. The new name is Quota System or Reservation.

The process is simple. Divide We The People into categories. And depending upon how big a vote bank a category is, fight tooth and nail to rob the rights of other categories and distribute it as alms among the ‘reserved quota’ vote bank and applaud yourself for being so kind and generous to people in need.

But do the ‘people in need’ really get the benefit of these quotas? As far as I know, the poor who really need help often aren’t even capable of sending their kids to school. Either they can’t or they won’t. So if their children aren’t even school educated, can they take advantage of reservation in colleges? No. Can they take advantage of reservations in offices? No. And if a person is incapable of bearing the expenses of higher education, what good is reservation to him or her?

Who takes advantage then? Those who are already affluent enough. I know several people around me whose children scored less, yet got admission in every course they applied for. Not just courses, but in every job that they applied for. And they join these jobs, work a little, get bored and leave because they know they will easily get another job. And these are the people who have big houses, several cars in their home and the best and the latest gadgets. Do such people really need the ‘help’ that the various quotas and reservations seek to provide? And when they get the advantage, do they really appreciate it enough to give their best to the course or job? Why would a worker who is assured of promotion make any efforts to give his best. He is going to get rewarded whether he works or not.

reservation system in india

Meanwhile, those underprivileged Indians who cannot claim the right to any quota and reservation have to struggle on to get even their rightful dues. A poor, meritorious student can get deprived of his seat in the course he has aspired and worked hard for, just because some other less intelligent  (and might even be more affluent) kid wants and gets it because he can claim a reserved seat.

No, I’m not against reservation. But I’m definitely against caste based reservation. There’s no caste or category in which all the people are poor and needy. And even if they are, poor and needy are actually the ones who fail to get benefit from such reservation.

Besides, quotas and caste-based reservation is just another form of racism. And hence, if racism is a crime, so is caste based reservation. If it is unfair to ill-treat the minorities, it is as unfair to ill-treat the majority. If it is unfair to deny rights to one person, it is also unfair to rob the just rights of another.

The people who get the most benefit from such quotas are those who are already affluent, or our vote and note hungry politicians. Politicians who are happily and eagerly dividing us so they can rule.

I understand that there are millions who need assistance. And reservation and quota system can indeed provide this assistance, if it is based on a juster foundation like merit and financial difficulties. Caste based reservations utterly fails to meet its motive and actually does more harm than good. I don’t know how much the quota system is succeeding in uplifting the poor. But it is going far in raising bitterness among people who feel themselves being robbed, their merit ignored, rights denied, all in the name of charity.

Doesn’t a financial and economic criteria makes more sense for imparting assistance? Help a poor child to go to school, then help them to achieve what they rightfully deserve in terms of higher education. Don’t just reserve seats for them. What use can reserved seats be for those who don’t even have means to walk up to them? Isn’t it much better to devise a system that makes all capable of getting good education and good jobs on their own merit, not as a charity? A good primary education and better financial assistance for higher education for poor and needy might work better for upliftment, not just of castes and classes, but of the whole nation.

It is highly unfair if a poor but meritorious student getting high grades is denied admission because a a quota candidate with poor grades has to be helped (notwithstanding that he is already a millionaire.). ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikaas’ can’t be done by ignoring the rights of the meritorious just because they don’t belong to any quota. In a competition for good education and good jobs, all deserve equal chance.

Once agains, I repeat, quota system is just another form of racism. And if racism is a crime, so is caste based reservation. Stop discriminating on the basis of caste. Stop dividing us! Help those who need help. But don’t rob the meritorious in the name of uplifting a caste or category of people. Stop being unfair in the name of social justice. No rule can be called justice if it leads to injustice for the deserving.

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4 thoughts on “Divide and Rule”

  1. Profound and thought provoking article. We were divided and ruled by mughals, then Britishers came and ruled and now we are dividing ourselves on the basis of such kind of demands. Reservation should be on economic basis and not on religion, caste etc… But it is sad the system is not on the right track. Basic necessity should be provided to poor first…

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. What you say is very true. It is really sad that neither need nor merit is being served by the system that claims to help in social welfare.

  2. Reservation policy is synonymous with sanctioning non-merit over merit and sympathy over respect. Ideal policy should be free school education for all. That should take care of illiteracy and lay a solid foundation for the able & diligent ones to capitalize upon..

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