English_Master February 2, 2016 No Comments
CASTE IS RELEVANT The strong anti-reservation sentiment that has come to pervade our society, particularly the privileged sections, has brought forth strange arguments against the scheme of caste-based reservations contemplated under the Constitution. One argument is that economic backwardness rather than caste should be the basis of reservation. More recently, a view has been expressed that a backwardness index rather than caste should be used to provide reservation. Behind all such pleas lies a surreptitious attempt to deny caste the pivotal role that it has played historically in render­ing certain sections of society back ward, and instead equat­ing social backwardness with economic standing. No one can deny that backwardness very substantially arises from lack of access to economic resources and facilities like quality edu­cation and employment opportunities. However, two aspects are conveniently overlooked in this economic argument. First, caste has been a significant determinant of life chances. If members of certain castes are educationally back­ward or concentrated at the bottom of the occupational hier­archy, it is because the rules of the caste system barred mem­bers of these sections from access to education. Moreover, because these sections were crucial to the generation of eco­nomic surplus which those occupying the higher rungs of the society enjoyed, they were confined to lower,...
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