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Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Printable Version
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Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Bodhi - 04-11-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Even though the Supreme Court allowed 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes in Central educational institutions, it has raised questions on the effectiveness of such a policy for bringing equality in the society.

"<b>There is no deletion from the list of other backward classes. It goes on increasing... is it that backwardness has increased instead of decreasing? If the answer is yes, as contended by the respondents (Centre and other pro-quota parties), then one is bound to raise eyebrows as to the effectiveness of providing reservations or quotas</b>," Justices Arijit Pasayat and C K Thakker said.

"<b>The inequalities are to be removed. Yet the fact that there has been no exclusion raises a doubt about the real concern to remove inequality</b>," they said while pointing out that since the concept of OBC came into picture there has been no deletion of any caste from the category.

The court asked the Centre to deliberate whether the reservation policy followed since Independence had been effective in achieving the desired result.

"If after nearly six decades the objectives have not been achieved, necessarily the need for its continuance warrants deliberations," the court said.

"It is to be noted that some of the provisions were intended to be replaced after a decade but have continued. It directly shows that backwardness appears to have purportedly increased and not diminished," the judges said adding that <b>the affirmative action had got somewhat complicated in India on account of caste politics.</b>

http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/apr/11quota1.htm<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->



Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Guest - 04-11-2008

OBC quota judgements online


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Guest - 04-14-2008

<b>Quota in private institutions: Govt's move unlawful </b>

Abraham Thomas | New Delhi (Pioneer, April 14, 2008)

Bhandari verdict a hurdle for UPA

Once quota for Other Backward Classes is approved for Central educational institutions, the Government "will likely target" private unaided institutions.

This prediction by a judge in the five-member Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court that recently upheld the OBC quota law in Central educational institutions has assumed significance with the <b>Congress declaring on Saturday that the Government will now bring private unaided institutions under quota umbrella.</b>

Justice Dalveer Bhandari held that reservation in <b>private unaided institution is violative of basic structure of the Constitution and hence unconstitutional</b>. Justice Bhandari's comments are significant because the remaining four judges on the Bench left the question open to decide in another appropriate petition filed by an affected unaided institution.

On an issue other judges preferred to skip, Justice Bhandari saw reason to decide. He said, "The Government will likely target unaided institutions in the future. At that time, this Court will have to go through this entire exercise de novo.... <b>Therefore, looking to the extraordinary facts, I have decided to proceed with this aspect of the matter in the larger public interest."</b>

Justice Bhandari held, "Imposing reservation on unaided institutions violates the basic structure by obliterating citizens' Article 19(1)(g) right to carry on an occupation (an essential fundamental right)."

While the Government could afford to ignore the single judge's view being in minority, the fact that other judges have left the question open is indeed a cause of worry. In his reasoning, Justice Bhandari relied upon previous judgements of the Supreme Court delivered by an eleven-judge Bench in TMA Pai Foundation case (2002) further affirmed by a seven-judge Bench in PA Inamdar case as recently in 2005.

Quoting Pai, the single judge held, "Selecting students or employees goes to the heart of an organisation's autonomy. The essence of an unaided educational institution is the freedom to manage its affairs."

If the Government was to impose reservation in private unaided institutions, Justice Bhandari visualised four major problems that would occur. <b>"At least four problems will likely arise: One, academic standards suffer; Two, attracting and retaining good faculty becomes more difficult; Three, the incentive to establish a first rate unaided institution is diminished; and ultimately the global reputation of our unaided institutions is severely compromised."</b>

Cementing his views with the Inamdar decision, Justice Bhandari said, "The State cannot impose quotas on unaided institutions. To do so would nationalise seats." He even quoted portion from Inamdar judgment that said, "The State cannot insist on private educational institutions which receive no aid from the State to implement State's policy on reservation for granting admission on <b>lesser percentage of marks, i.e., on any criterion except merit."</b>

In conclusion, the single judge was quick to add a caveat assuming that the non-inclusion of unaided institutions from the reservation ambit under the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act 2007 speaks about the legislature's understanding of the Pai and Inamdar judgement. Yet, with political rumblings proving it a farce, the single judge's note of caution is sufficient indicator to order a rethink.

http://dailypioneer.com/indexn12.asp?main_...t&counter_img=1



Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Capt M Kumar - 04-19-2008

<!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> I promise to the readers of this article
full paisa receipt for their time:
<!--emo&:o--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ohmy.gif' /><!--endemo-->
COLUMN

Two cheers for democracy
Jaithirth Rao
Posted online: Saturday, April 19, 2008 at 0049 hrs Print Email
See the quotas demand as a political movement with a natural trajectory

Jaithirth Rao
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That old market for votesFollow every pug markConservatism's centreBest of bad choicesPhiphty-phiphty nation

The “reservations” debate has been with us for centuries and is really about political power. Government jobs have been the focus of India’s ambitious classes for ever. Akbar’s enduring popularity with all sections of Indians rises from the fact that he opened up court appointments and Mansabdari positions, formerly reserved for Moslems, to previously derided Hindoos also which upset sections of the erstwhile elite and the Mohammedan clergy. The official historian of Pakistan, I.H. Qureshi, maintains that this single act of Akbar’s was most responsible for weakening imperial Moslem power in India. One of the first resolutions of the Indian National Congress was the demand that more Indians should be appointed to government jobs, especially in the coveted Indian Civil Service. Dadabhai Naoroji was a persuasive critic of discrimination against “qualified” Indians. The British used subtle tactics like holding the ICS examinations only in England, insisting on horse-riding expertise for qualification, etc, in order to exclude Indians, going against the spirit of Queen Victoria’s proclamation which promised equal access to all subjects of her empire. It was only in the second decade of the 20th century that a single examination centre in India (Allahabad) was set up following incessant nationalist agitation.

British administrators argued that such inclusive measures in senior government employment benefited only Indian upper classes (the creamy layer of that time) and not the poor peasant who was better off under impartial British District Commissioners. And guess what, in the Bombay Presidency, Shahu Maharaj of the princely state of Kolhapur came to a similar conclusion. The only Indians who seemed to be benefiting were Parsees and Brahmins (mainly of the Chitpavan persuasion)! He along with others started a movement to ensure that Indians outside of this creamy layer benefited. The Maharaja of Mysore and the Justice Party in Madras formalised their opposition by setting up quotas to limit Brahmin monopolies in government employment.

With colonial rule came the linking of education and political clout. Earlier land ownership or the bearing of arms determined who was powerful. Under Pax Britannica those who had degrees and who spoke English climbed the ladders of power and influence. Clever Indians noticed this right away. When Jagannath Shankersett and Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy persuaded Bombay Governor Elphinstone to start a modern school in Bombay, several leaders of the upper caste Prabhu community wanted to exclude lower caste children (presumably the ancestors of today’s OBCs) from the school. The excluded lower castes were not any less clever. In Madras, some far-sighted Brahmin had managed to include proficiency in Sanskrit as a pre-requisite to admission in medical colleges, presumably to help his jaat-waalas along. Again it required an agitation to drop Sanskrit from medical college entrance requirements.

After Independence the progressive government of free India insisted on a large and compulsory weightage for a viva-voce interview in the selection of IAS, IFS and IPS officers. The beneficiaries were well-connected (usually upper caste) candidates. After years of representations this requirement was dropped to the relief of the newly emerging OBC candidates for senior government jobs.

Higher education remained possibly the last bastion. Admissions to institutions of higher education, heavily subsidised by the Indian tax-payer, represent the portal that opens up wealth and power. To expect that there would not be a political movement on this front is naïve.

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of India are an oppressed minority similar to African-Americans in the United States. Quotas for them have been seen as a moral imperative to correct past injustices and redress present deprivation. Their numbers are not large, and for years on end their assigned quotas have remained unfilled. The OBCs represent something quite different altogether. If not the majority, they represent a plurality bordering on the majority in contemporary India. This situation has gotten exacerbated as upper classes have gone in for lower fertility rates in keeping with the universally observed phenomenon of the relationship between prosperity and demographic sluggishness. The OBCs are asking for power — and if power which earlier came through government jobs now comes through higher education (leading to private sector and entrepreneurial vocations), then that is what they will ask for. Appeals to merit, to economic criteria for reservations, to the exclusions of the creamy layer, etc, while having some impact, will not override the politics of the issue. In other words, reservations are a vote-winner.

The sensible response to the reservations movement is to see it as a political movement with a natural trajectory. The British insistence that an army officer purchase his commission (hoping to exclude poorer classes who might be tempted to start another Cromwellian revolution) was abandoned after the disastrous Crimean War proved that moronic rich officers who “buy” commissions can be a menace to the country’s defence. They extended the franchise to the poor through the Great Reform Bill to counter the possible radicalisation of the populace.

Our responses too have been in the best British traditions of evolutionary constitutional democracy — acceding to political realism. From Naoroji to Shahu Maharaj to the present Supreme Court, we have understood that the real issue is political power. Employment and higher education patterns will need to adapt if an explosion is not to happen. The dexterity with which we bend and manipulate purist arguments and carry on with the broad Indian journey towards prosperity and justice is being tested. So far, we have met the test rather well. One can definitely give two cheers for Indian democracy!

Now we need to widely publicise the behaviour rather than the words of the OBC leaders. Mr Karunanidhi sent his daughter to study in a private English medium missionary convent school. Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mr Lalu Yadav have both sent their children to elite private English medium boarding schools. The next movement should ask why all OBCs should not have similar opportunities. Since they cannot afford the fees, why can we not give vouchers and bursaries to poor OBC parents so that they too, like their leaders, can choose better schools rather than be stuck with low quality non-English medium government schools? A school choice programme will not only improve our human capital dramatically but could be the ultimate vote-winner!

The writer divides his time between Mumbai and Bangalore jerry.rao@expressindia.com


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Guest - 04-21-2008

Social Stratification Among Muslims in India.

Taken from "Social Stratification Among Muslims in India" by Zarina Bhatty in Caste: Its Twentieth Century Avatar, edited by M. N. Srinivas, Viking, New Delhi, 1996.




Muslims in India are sharply divided into two categories, Ashrafs and non-Ashrafs. The former have a superior status derived from their foreign ancestry. The Ashrafs, or those who claim a foreign descent, are further divided into four castes, Sayyads, Shiekhs, Mughals and Pathans, in that order of rank. The non-Ashrafs are alleged to be converts from Hinduism, and are therefore drawn from the indigenous population. They, in turn, are divided into a number of occupational castes.

In Kasauli the term 'zat' equivalent to 'jati' in the Hindu caste system, is used to refer to caste, and the Ashrafs and non-Ashrafs are collectively referred to as 'oonchi zat' (high caste) and 'neechi zat' (low caste) respectively. Interactions between the oonchi zat and neechi zat are regulated by established patron-client relationships of the jajmani system. The patrons, who belong to the oonchi zat, are referred to as the jajmans, and the clients, comprising the various occupational castes of the neechi zat, as kamin. The kamins, who are attached to the dominant Ashraf lineage in a hereditary relationship, provide specialized services to its members for customary payments in cash or kind. The kamins are provided house sites by their jajmans and can also get land on lease from the jajmans for cultivation.

Like the Ashraf castes, which are ranked hierachically, the non-Ashraf castes also relate to each other in a hierarchical manner. In their case the superiority or inferiority of a caste is determined by the relatively pure or impure nature of the occupation associated with each. The dominant lineage of the Kidwais enjoys a uniformly superior status to all the non-Ashraf castes. The Kidwais claim to be Sayyads but the other Ashraf castes of Kasauli doubt the authenticity of their claim, and believe that Kidwais are a sub-caste of Sheikhs. The Kidwais' claim to Sayyad ancestry is however not openly challenged because of their economic superiority. The non-Ashraf castes exhibit a duality in their status, as each caste is superior or inferior to other non-Ashraf castes but always inferior to Ashraf castes.

Among Kasauli Muslims, the first and foremost criterion for grading non-Ashraf castes was the degree of impurity or pollution implicit in the nature of their occupation. In addition, there was another related criterion, viz. physical proximity of a non-Ashraf caste to Ashraf castes while performing services for them. Mirasis (singers) were thus higher than Nais (barbers), and both higher than Dhobi (laundrymen). Mirasis were higher than Nais because Mirasi women sat among Ashraf ladies to sing and singing had no polluting connotation. Women of the Nai caste who massaged Ashraf women and Nai men who cut hair performed services in physical proximity to the Ashraf caste but were rated lower than Mirasis because both services were regarded as impure. On the other hand, the Dhobi not only washed dirty clothes, which was a polluting occupation, their services did not require physical proximity to the Ashrafs and hence they were still lower in the caste hierarchy.

Things are not only impure or pure, but some things are more impure than others. In the course of practising their traditional occupation, castes which habitually handle very impure things are lower in status than those which handle things which are not so impure. These ideas hold good for the non-Ashraf castes in Kasauli. Human secretions (particularly nightsoil), dead animals and animals eating filth (pigs), are regarded as the most polluting, and occupations associated with them occupy the lowest rungs in the caste hierarchy. These castes are also regarded as unclean. In their case, group pollution also attaches to individual members of the caste.

Consequently, physical contact with individuals of these castes is avoided not only by Ashrafs but also by non-Ashrafs. Among the Muslims, if a person accidentally touches an individual of an unclean caste, the former must purify himself by a simple bath, particularly prior to performing a religious function like saying 'namaz', reading the Koran or entering a mosque. There is a difference here between Muslims and Hindus, and it lies in the fact that, unlike among Hindus, no elaborate rituals are prescribed for Muslims for purifying themselves in the event of physical contact with an individual from an unclean caste.

A person can be polluted not only by touching an individual of an unclean caste but also by coming in contact with an impure substance. Among Muslims all human secretions are 'naiis' or oollutine. Thus a woman during her periods is 'najis' irrespective of her caste and must abstain from saying 'namaz', ritual fasting, entering a holy place or partaking food on which the 'fateha' (Koranic verses) have been recited. A man and woman are both 'najis' after sexual intercourse. If a child wets a person he (or she) becomes 'najis'. Here again 'nijasaf, the state of being 'najis', is removed by having a bath. A distinction is made here between personal pollution caused by contact with human secretions and group pollution related to an occupation which involves direct physical contact with human emissions and waste, as in the case of Dhobis or Bhangis. Personal pollutioin is not transferred to another person whereas a person belonging to an unclean caste like the Dhobi or Bhangi can pollute others by touch.

Frederick Barth approximates the Swat 'Quoms' (social groups) to Hindu castes. He considers a 'Quom' to be too rigidly separated to be described as class. He also asserts that Swat Muslims practise a ritual-based system of social stratification, for Swat Quoms who deal with human emissions are ranked the lowest (Barth 1969). Bhattacharya in his study of Bengal (India) Muslims also claims that the concepts of purity and impurity exist among them and are applicable in inter-group relationships, as the notions of hygiene and cleanliness in a person are related to the person's social position and not to his/her economic status (Bhattacharya 1978).

Status differentiation implicit in the caste system finds expression in restrictions on marriage and eating together. In Kasauli caste endogamy is strictly adhered to, both among Ashrafs and non- Ashrafs. The four Ashraf castes are divided into two endogamous groups. Sayyads and Sheikhs inter-marry with a tendency towards hypergamy and so do Mughals and Pathans. Marriage alliances between Ashrafs and non-Ashrafs are still inconceivable and not a single instance of this is known to have occurred in living memory in Kasauli. In another predominantly Muslim village in the same district, a marriage did occur once between a non-Ashraf man and an Ashraf girl. But social disapproval was so persistent and intense that the couple was forced finally to migrate to Pakistan. In another district married a Muslim woman as a second wife. She was alleged to have belonged to the Dhobi caste. She was treated well by the husband who, in terms of clothes, jewellery, etc., provided for her equally (according to Koranic instructions as he understood them), but she was never socially accepted by the Ashrafs. On ceremonial occasions she had to retire to her quarters before mealtime, as Ashraf ladies would not eat with her. It was also understood that children born of her would not get Ashraf spouses, and as a matter of fact, they did not.

Ashrafs and non-Ashrafs do not eat together in Kasauli. Between the two endogamous subdivisions of Ashrafs there is no restriction on eating together, but their interaction is so limited that, in practice, it rarely occurs.

Caste in Kasauli represents a cluster of statuses social, political, economic and ritual. The last, in conjunction with social and economic status, has been dealt with in some detail on account of the controversy that centres around it. The political aspect of caste finds expression through the institution of the caste panchayat (a committee of elders) and a well-entrenched concept of biradari (literally, brotherhood).

Each non-Ashraf caste in Kasauli has a caste panchayat which regulates both intra-caste and inter-caste (among the non-Ashrafs) interactions and personal conduct. Caste panchayats have the right to settle disputes relating to property or personal matters, such as petty theft, boundary encroachments on individually owned land, divorce, disputes over dowry and the custody of children. Caste panchayats are also empowered to punish, the punishments ranging from fines to expulsion from the biradari. The latter, which is an extreme punishment, is referred to as stopping hukka-pani, which amounts to barring the offender from sitting and eating with fellow caste members, and further includes a severe economic sanction which prevents the offender from following the caste occupation.

The concept of biradari and caste panchayat are almost inseparable as the economic and political solidarity of a caste is expressed through the biradari and is regulated through the panchayat. Thus there is, for instance, a Julaha (weavers) biradari or a Kasai (butchers) biradari, neither of whom admit into their fold weavers or butchers who may professionally perform their functions but do not belong to the Julaha or Kasai castes. Such persons or families continue to belong to the biradari of their origin a fact that stresses the strict caste basis of biradari.

Hamza Alavi (1976), in his study of villages in the Punjab province of Pakistan, refers to biradari as having apolitical dimension because one can be expelled from it. But he attributes greater significance to the expression of kinship solidarity through the biradaris because of the inclusion in biradaris of both maternal and paternal kin who are engaged in the same occupation. In Kasauli too, each caste being endogamous, biradaris, by virtue of caste endogamy, are composed of both maternal and paternal kin. But, besides safeguarding caste solidarity, biradari panchayats also play a well-defined political role in regulating personal conduct with the help of established biradari norms, and in dealing with inter-biradari matters.

In Kasauli, Ashrafs too have biradaris the Sayyad biradari or the Sheikh biradari, for instance but these exist mainly to define the boundaries of their caste, for there are no panchayats. Biradari solidarity, however, is expressed on ceremonial occasions, when all members of the biradari are invited. Keeping the honour of the biradari is as important as it is among the non-Ashrafs. In the absence of a panchayat, an Ashraf biradari does not have an organ for expressing collective disapproval let alone punishing those committing offences against the caste code. Nor are disputes resolved by the biradari, with the result that they are taken to the law courts.

Thus it was found that Kasauli Muslims functioned on a caste basis, each group or sub-caste being endogamous, and membership of the group being determined by birth. Further, all groups were hierarchically arranged, the hierarchy being determined by ancestry and by the nature of the occupation associated with each group. Conformity to the system was ensured by exerting economic and political pressure through caste panchayats, and caste solidarity was maintained through biradari sentiments. Relations and interactions between the two major segments of the society Ashrafs and non-Ashrafs were governed by the jajmani system.


http://www.anti-caste.org/muslim_question/...ty_article.html


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Guest - 04-22-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>IIM quota: Contempt plea against Govt in offing </b>
Pioneer.com
Abraham Thomas | New Delhi
<b>The UPA Government's decision to push OBC quota in post-graduate courses is set to face serious legal hurdle with a contempt petition likely to be moved in the Supreme Court against the Centre for violating the majority judgement fixing graduation as the benchmark to measure educational backwardness</b>.

In view of the majority mandate given by the court, experts on the subject believe there is a valid ground to challenge the Government's notification. "We are going to file a contempt petition in the Supreme Court and seek stay of the notification issued by the HRD Ministry," said advocate ML Lahoty.
 
Lahoty had appeared for the petitioner, the Youth for Equality, before the Constitution Bench that decided the validity of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2007. He indicated that the petition is its final stages of draft and is likely to be filed within this week.

Senior advocate KK Venugopal agreed that majority view of the Bench was against bringing post-graduate courses under quota ambit. Going with the majority view expressed by Justices Arijit Pasayat, CK Thakker and Dalveer Bhandari in the five-judge Constitution Bench, Venugopal said: "Clearly it forms a majority and the decision of the Government can be examined appropriately under a writ petition."

Venugopal explained that when the bench fails to reach a consensus, the majority view prevails even if the contentious issue does not find a mention in the conclusion agreed upon by all judges. "In the event of any inconsistency when majority judges lay down a ratio on which common consensus is not formed (by the Bench), according to me the ratio will control," he said.

While three of the five-judges stated that that educational backwardness "shall" be measured up to graduation, Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan said that the yardstick to measure educational backwardness cannot be matriculation or Plus 2, though he stopped short of setting any benchmark. The other judge refused to comment on the issue.

<b>Justices Arijit Pasayat and CK Thakker had together held the view that once a person is graduate, he is educationally forward and hence disentitled for reservation benefits under Article 15(5), meant for socially and educationally backward classes, referred to as Other Backward Classes (OBC).</b>

They said, "...With the limited availability of jobs and the spiralling increase in population, secondary or matriculation examination can no longer be considered to be an appropriate benchmark. It has to be at the most graduation." In conclusion, they held, "While determining backwardness, graduation (not technical graduation)... shall be the yardstick for measuring backwardness."

Applying this view, another judge Justice Dalveer Bhandari, sitting in the Bench penned down in his separate judgement that post-graduate courses do not merit reservation.

<b>"Once a candidate graduates from a university, the said candidate is educationally forward and is ineligible for special benefits under Article 15(5) of the Constitution for post-graduate and any further studies thereafter."</b> Giving reasons, the judge said, "Today some entry-level Government positions only accept college graduates." He wrote, "For admission into Master's programmes, such as, Master of Engineering, Master of Law, Master of Arts, etc, none will be a fortiori eligible for special benefits for admission into post graduate or any further studies thereafter."

<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Guest - 05-10-2008

<b>Builders say no to quota in layouts</b>


Hyderabad, May 9: <b>Developers are up in arms against the state government directive to allot space in private layouts and apartments to lower and middle income groups and economically weaker sections.</b>

The government had recently issued a GO on 20 per cent allotment of space to these sections in properties developed on one acre or more in Huda limits.

Builders say social responsibility cannot be enforced on them in such a manner and the reservation proposal was not feasible. They want the government to withdraw the proposal. The Andhra Pradesh Builders Forum President, Mr C. Shekhar Reddy, said if the government was genuinely interested in providing accommodation to poor and middle class sections, it should provide more incentives.

“We are paying crores of rupees every year to the government in form of taxes and other charges,” he said. “Since the government does not provide any concessions on any of these charges, it has no right to demand concessions from us.” The government had made the proposal to bring about more “class equality” in elite residential colonies.

Sources said the government was not amused at the prospect of exclusive rich colonies coming up in Hyderabad and surrounding areas. But builders said the government proposal lacked sincerity since Huda and the Andhra Pradesh Housing Board were acting as real estate agents, raising crores of rupees through auction of government land. The ‘quota for poor’ directive was given in the guidelines issued recently in the revised master plan of Huda.

As per the guidelines, 10 per cent space should be allotted to weaker sections with a maximum plinth area of 220 square feet for each unit. Likewise, 5 per cent of the total built up area should be developed for lower income groups with maximum plinth area of 440 sq. ft for each unit, and another 5 per cent for middle income group with 660 sq. ft plinth area for each unit. For layout development schemes in 10 acres and more, the builders have to reserve five percent of the total area and give it “free of cost” to Huda.

Another 5 per cent land has to be reserved for housing accommodation to economically weaker sections, 10 per cent to LIG and 10 per cent for MIG. In case of land pooling schemes or townships in 50 acres and more, the developers have to surrender 5 per cent of land to Huda and allot space to other sections.

“On what basis is the government asking us to give 5 per cent land free of cost to Huda?” asked an agitated builder. Mr Jaiveer Reddy of Ashoka Developers said a delegation of builders would meet the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, and urge him to withdraw these stipulations. According to Mr Rao of Manbhum Constructions, housing projects in one acre or more within Huda limits would come to a standstill because of these regulations.

<b>“When the government has agencies such as Huda, APHB, SC, ST, BC and minorities corporations, why shift the onus on the private sector?” he asked.</b> The builders pointed out that the directive to sell flats in such complexes to the poor and middle class did not make sense since they would not be able to afford them. “If these sections are not able to buy the units, will the government purchase them?” asked Mr Shekhar Reddy.

However, a senior official in Municipal Administration and Urban Development said that the stipulations were approved by the state cabinet.<b> “The state government is only implementing the Centre’s guidelines under Jawaharlal Nehru National urban Renewal Mission,” he said</b>. “The private sector also has to share social responsibility. But we are open to suggestions.”



Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Bodhi - 05-13-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Court raps government on Sachar Committee report</b>

New Delhi, May 12 : Terming it an "unconstitutional move", the Delhi High Court Monday asked the central government <b>why only the Muslim community has been chosen for implementation of the Sachar Committee report while other minority communities were left out.</b>

A division bench of Justice T.S.Thakur and Justice Siddharth Mridul, while issuing notice to the central government, observed: <b>“Poverty is a common enemy. It does not come to one community in particular.”</b>

Posing questions to the government, the bench asked: “Does the Sachar Committee recommend facilities to other communities as well?”

“This is an unconstitutional move by the government,” observed the bench.

The court was hearing a public interest petition filed by the Rashtriya Mukti Morcha, a volunatry organisation, which alleged that the committee report and the government's follow-up action were unconstitutional.

The government, however, rejected the view that it was giving any special treatment to any community.

The government set up a committee, headed by former Delhi High Court judge, Justice Rajinder Sachar, to look into the social, economic and educational status of Muslims and suggest ways to improve it. The committee's report was presented to parliament Nov 30, 2006.

Advocate P.N. Lekhi, who filed the petition, sought to know whether the Sachar panel report had not treated Muslims "in a manner inconsistent with the treatment given to other recognised minorities".

The public suit also raised the question "whether it was tainted with the logic of racial compartmentalisation and communitarianism, whether it did not promise the rise of political Islam in India in violation of the constitution, and whether Muslims, who had 'ruled' the peninsula, could be treated as a minority."

<b>Lekhi said any promotion of Muslims as a religious minority would result in "destruction" of the secular polity promised by the constitution and was thus against its basic structure.</b>

http://www.newkerala.com/one.php?action=fullnews&id=59258<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Sachar: HC asks Govt aren’t you appeasing, what about majority?
NEW DELHI, MAY 12

The Centre today came in for some searching questions from the Delhi High Court on implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations for welfare of Muslims when a Bench asked the government “is this meant to appease some community?... <b>a lot of money is spent in a welfare state, is it that you (Centre) spend it only for one minority community?”</b>

The Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P P Malhotra, was briefing a Bench of Justices T S Thakur and Siddharth Mridul on the “targeted intervention” intended by the Centre, including basic amenities and job opportunities for “90 identified minority concentration districts and opening of more branches by public sector banks in Muslim concentrated areas”.

Midway through the briefing, Justice Thakur, the senior judge on the Bench, interrupted the ASG with a query on the Centre’s actual intention behind setting up the Sachar panel.

“Is this meant to appease some community? <b>If you intend to fight poverty, cut across religions and communities and fight. Never mind whether it is a Hindu poor or a Muslim poor,” said Justice Thakur.</b>

“When you say in your Action Taken Report on the Sachar recommendations that <b>‘we will spend more for this minority community... does it mean that you will spend less for the major community?”</b> he asked.

Reminding the ASG that “we live in a welfare state”, the Bench observed: “There are Sikhs, Muslims and Christians here... Why are you not doing it (welfare measures) for the majority community?”

Malhotra contended that Muslims were more in print in the report because they were “India’s biggest minority community” — a justification oft-repeated by the government counsel during the entire duration of the court hearing.

The Sachar Committee, set up to report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community, submitted its report in November 2006. The “major decisions” proposed by the government, as per the summary text submitted in court, include improving deficient civic and economic opportunities in “338 identified towns and cities with a substantial population of Minorities, including Muslims”, an inter-ministerial group to monitor a programme to better their skill and entrepreneurial development, expand the outreach of upper primary schools, particularly for Muslim girls.

“The Sachar Committee report is for all. <b>Of course, there are certain Muslim dominated areas where there is no development at all,” the ASG said.
To this, the Bench said: “So are you saying there are no Hindu slums?”

“Tell us Mr Malhotra, in our Constitutional framework, can a welfare scheme say we concentrate only on the benefit of one community and not for all?... A lot of money is spent in a welfare state, is it that you (Centre) spend it only for one minority community?” the Bench asked the ASG. </b>

The ASG assured the court that “special care is taken care of all minorities” but drew the line by adding that “political issues be best left to the public to decide during elections. Courts cannot decide”.

http://www.indianexpress.com/printerFriendly/308756.html<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Guest - 05-13-2008

Seems like only Judges are only intelligent people left in administration in India.


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - acharya - 05-18-2008

How Congress ripped Constitution apart


While dealing with a PIL, the two-member bench of the Delhi High Court raised some pertinent questions. Is the UPA Government not appeasing the minority community and only ignoring the majority?, was one raised during the hearing of the implementation of Sachar Committee recommendations for Muslim welfare.

The court asked: "Is this meant to appease some community? A lot of money is spent in a welfare State, is it that you (Centre) spend it only for one minority community?" Justice Thakur, the senior judge on the bench, interrupted the Additional Solicitor General on the Centre's actual intention behind setting up the Sachar panel: "If you intend to fight poverty, cut across religions and communities and fight. Never mind whether it is a Hindu poor or a Muslim poor. When you say you will spend more for this minority community... does it mean you will spend less for the majority community?"

The bench wondered why, out of all minorities, only Muslims had been chosen. Government counsel contended that the PIL was politically motivated and the court should refrain from deciding on such issues. "This is a political issue which cannot be decided in court. It is to be decided by people in the election."

The bench observed: "This is an unconstitutional move by the Government." The constitutional position according to Articles 266 and 283 of the Constitution is that not even a rupee can be drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India, especially for a particular community. It also goes against Article 15 which says that the State cannot discriminate between the citizens on grounds of religion, caste and gender.

This year, Finance Minister P Chidambaram made a mockery of the Government's constitutional obligation in paras 43, 44 and 47 wherein he mentioned the Sachar Committee recommendations while allocating funds to Muslims.

It seems that this UPA Government does not care at all about constitutional provisions. I am not referring to what happened in Goa, Bihar and Jharkhand. One of the cases went to Supreme Court and the Governor had to resign and status quo ante restored. In yet another case, the Supreme Court declared the IMDT Act unconstitutional. It is noteworthy that more than two crore Bangladeshis infiltrated into various parts of the country with active support from the UPA Government.

The Supreme Court termed it demographic invasion of India but who cares? The Central as well as State Governments continue to safeguard the interests of the infiltrators.

Similarly, regarding the minority character of Aligarh Muslim University, HRD Minister Arjun Singh unilaterally declared an increase of seats for Muslims in professional courses. The Allahabad High Court declared it unconstitutional. The Andhra Government announced five per cent reservation for Muslims in Government jobs and educational institutions. It, too, violated the constitutional provisions. But the Government did it. Ultimately, the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. But the Andhra Government stubbornly selected a number of Muslim castes and enforced it. The Congress damned the Constitution. The list is endless. I don't remember if a month passed when something was not doled out by the Government to Muslims. Why?

The Congress ruled the country unhindered for more than three decades with votebank politics combining Muslims, Harijans and the slogan of "Garibi Hatao." Wherever the non-BJP alternative was available, Muslims shifted their vote from the Congress. Meanwhile, Kanshi Ram consolidated scheduled caste votes in an unprecedented way and they, too, deserted the Congress. What happened when these two blocks shifted away from Congress en masse is best exemplified in UP.

All that now remains there is a skeleton. After coming to power, the first concern of the mandateless conglomerate lead by the Congress, was to re-capture the Muslim votebank by hook or by crook.

It gave birth to the Sachar Commission. Its report reads like a compilation of complaints and demands from Sir Sayyid's time to 1946. The report fudged data to suit the master's dictat.

In nine major States, India Muslims are better off than Hindus. Percentage-wise, more Muslims live in cities with better civic amenities. Their child mortality rate is less than the Hindus'. Their life expectancy, too, is better than Hindus.

Muslims are backward in Bihar and West Bengal but who is responsible for it if not those who ruled these States for more than 45 years? In half of India, Muslims are better educated. But Sachar was ordered by the Government to prepare a report wherein appeasing Muslims could be justified and he obliged his masters.

The Government wanted to extend it to the Armed Forces also. But this did not materialise, thanks to the three heads of Defence Forces who were against caste and religion-based data in the forces.


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Guest - 05-27-2008

Which thread is used for Gujjar agitation ? I am confused about this. Who decides which community belongs to SC or ST or OBC etc ? Does this fall under center, state or judiciary ? And when Gujjars are saying they are ST then why are people not accepting it ?

http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/may/27rajriot1.htm

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Gujjars shoot down Rajasthan's missive

May 27, 2008 11:46 IST

The Gujjar agitation showed no signs of abating with its leader Kirori Singh Bainsla turning down Rajasthan government's proposal for additional quota for the community even as security forces kept a close vigil on the protestors holding bodies of some of those killed in police firing.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] recommending four to six per cent reservation for Gujjars in the category of denotified class of tribals/nomadic tribe, Rajasthan Parliamentary Affairs Minister R S Rathore said in Jaipur.

Gujjars could also be considered as economically poorer than OBC, he said quoting the letter after a state cabinet meeting.

Dismissing as a "farce" Raje's letter, Bainsla, convenor of Gujjar Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti, said at Karwadi that it "does not talk about granting ST status to Gujjars and our agitation will continue with full force".

With security forces taking steps to cut off supply of essential items to the hundreds of protestors in Karwadi where 10 bodies have kept in metal trunks, the Gujjar agitators have formed a 'tiger force' to check "suspicious elements".

Youths in their twenties have been picked up by the community members to patrol round-the-clock and ensure supply of food and other items.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Bodhi - 05-27-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Who decides which community belongs to SC or ST or OBC etc ? Does this fall under center, state or judiciary ?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Rajesh ji, Per my understanding, constitution of India (and therefore parliament with approval from President) decides which community is under which schedule.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Article 342 Scheduled Tribes

(1) The President may with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State or Union territory, as the case may be.

(2) Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any tribe or tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal community, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification.

http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/in00002_.html
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Now, gujjar's are under OBC category. In Rajasthan, only ST is Meena.

There was a commission set up a few years back by Raj govt to study the demands of the gujjars and reality. The commission submitted its report saying gujjars are a) not a tribe, and b) doing much better than meenaa-s and others.


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Bodhi - 05-27-2008

also see this - Justice Chpra Report: http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/dec/18rajriot.htm


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Capt M Kumar - 05-29-2008

<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo--> Gujjar Mahasabha asks Bainsla to call off agitation

PTI | Jaipur

Posted online: May 28, 2008

A grouping of Gujjars in Rajasthan on Wednesday asked the community leader Kirori Singh Bainsla to call off the agitation for ST status and hold talks with the State Government to settle the issue.

Bhairon Singh Gujjar, President of the Rajasthan Pradesh Veer Gujjar Mahasabha, in a message to Bainsla, asked the agitating Gujjar leader not to "stoke the passion of the people, spread a caste war and become another Jarnail Singh Bhindaranwale."

Gujjar told Bainsla that if by retaining the bodies of those who were victims of violence "you could get the ST status for Gujjars, then I am prepared to sacrifice my body and you can take it."

He appleaed to Bainsla to hand over all the bodies under his possesion so that last rites of the innocent and poor killed in the violence could be performed with dignity.[COLOR=blue]


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Guest - 05-29-2008

<b>Reservation system needs 'relook': Bainsla</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, spearhading an agitation to press for ST status for his community, on Thursday suggested <b>it was time to exclude some castes which have already benefitted from quota and include new ones that "deserve and require" it.</b>

Acknowledging that the quota space itself was getting increasingly crowded and keeping in mind the court ruling that reservation cannot exceed 49 per cent, Bainsla told reporters here that the "entire reservation system needs a relook".
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - acharya - 05-31-2008

Hindu Money In India Co-opted for Islam

Posted by jagoindia on May 31, 2008

Hindu Money In India Co-opted for Islam
Vinod Kumar

The revelations in Sandhya Jain’s article ” Nationalization of the Hindu temple” (Pioneer, Oct 7, 2003) about using money from Hindu temples for Madarasas development and Haj subsidy (and churches development) are no doubt disturbing but are they a surprise?

Not really. May be to a certain extent but is this a new phenomenon?

It is true, as Ms. Jain writes that these monotheistic creeds are not only at variance with Hindu dharma, but their very raison d’etre is expansion by the eradication of Hindu dharma and culture. It is a classic example of one digging one’s own grave — to put it in simple language that a common man can understand.

Having said that, why are these revelations not surprising or not new? Not many Hindus realize that ever since Islam appeared on the Indian subcontinent, Hindu money has been used to support Islam. At times not only in India but abroad too.

When Islam first appeared on the West coast of India, Hindu kings gave grants of land and villages to the new Muslims to build their mosques, practice and preach Islam. There is no example of any Muslim king ever giving such grants to the followers of other religions and specially to the Hindus.

When Islam came to India as a victor with Muhammad bin Kasim, Hindu temples and treasuries were plundered to fill the treasury of Islam in Baghdad. The loot was several times what was spent on the military expedition to conquer Sindh. But if once a temple is plundered and destroyed, it is no longer a source of revenue. So when it was realized that the famous temple at Multan was a popular place of pilgrimage and source of great revenue, contrary to common practice of temple demolition, it was left standing. But to prove his Islamic credentials and to send unmistakable message as to who was the King, a piece of cow’s flesh was hung from the deity’s neck.

The wealth from the Hindu temples and taxes to the extent of 50% of produce continued to support the Muslim conquerors and rulers.

The Hindu wealth attracted wave after wave of Muslims from all across what is today known as Middle East and Central Asia. Muslim chroniclers like Ibn Batuta and others have left vivid accounts of such migrations and how Muslim immigrants were offered highest paying jobs at the Muslim courts and in the Muslim army of Indian Muslim rulers. Generous and regular grants were also sent to foreign Muslims rulers and Islam’s Holy places.

Let us not harp upon the past and jump to the present times.

In the last century:

In Hyderabad, the princely state of Nizam, 80% of the state’s land was owned by the Hindus and from 95 - 97% of state revenue was derived from the Hindus. Hindus were overtaxed. And how was this revenue spent:

During the 1930s the Ecclesiastical Dept. spent an annual average of Rs. 300,000 on Islamic charities, Rs. 15,000 on Christian charities and Rs. 3000 on Hindus charities. Other large sums were expended on Islamic institutions abroad.

Between 1926 and 1932 RS. 10,000,000 was given to Aligarh University, Rs. 500,000 to London Mosque, Rs. 100,000 to Jama masjid in Delhi, Rs. 100,000 to a mosque in Palestine, Rs. 80,000 to a Muslim association in Turkey, and Rs. 232,000 to the travelling expenses of Muslims going to Mecca.

Even the British, to some extent, financed the Muslims at Hindus expense.

B R Ambedkar in his study of partition issue after M A Jinnah had given a call for the partition in his March 1940 address to annual convention of Muslims League at Lahore session went on to observe:

At least 50% of India’s army were Muslim and these came mostly from the North West frontier area and the Punjab — principally from the areas that was demanded as Pakistan and predominantly Muslim. The government of India’s total revenue was Rs. 121 crores and of this, about Rs. 52 crores were spent on the army — an army he went to question if it could be depended upon to defend Hindu India were it to be attacked by the Muslim army from Afghanistan either alone or in combination with other Muslim nation?

Apart from the money spent on the predominantly Muslim army, the Muslim provinces contributed very little to the Central government but were a drain on the Hindu provinces. Thus even during the British rule, the Hindu money was used to support the Muslim provinces.

Hindus did not have much control as to how the British or the Muslims spent money and wealth generated by the Hindus.

Ambedkar believed that after partition the Hindus will have control over their own destiny and Hindu money will not be used to finance Muslims and Hindus will be better off. But evidently even after partition, no doubt the Hindus are better off, but Hindu money is still being used to finance the Muslims and even in activities that are directly opposed to Hindu ethos and Hindu dharma.

But now, we cannot blame the Muslims or the British.




Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - acharya - 06-04-2008



Comment

Misrepresenting caste and race
back to issue

ON 26 February 2007, the United Nations Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in charge of the International Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, held a meeting with a delegation from the Government of India (GOI). India had signed and ratified the convention in 1969 but has not yet given accession and succession. According to Article 1 of the Convention, the term ‘racial discrimination’ meant ‘any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.’ The stand of the GOI has been that while it is committed to eliminating discrimination in all forms, it did not consider caste as part of ‘racial discrimination’. Two key claims of the GOI are that, ‘caste is not race’, and that ‘caste is not based on descent’.

The GOI delegation included the Solicitor General of India, the Permanent Representative of India to the UN, and anthropologist Dipankar Gupta of Jawaharlal Nehru University who argued against viewing caste as race. By framing the discussion as ‘caste is not race’, the GOI constructs a straw argument since no one in CERD claimed that ‘caste is race’, or even that the caste system was racial in origin. The real question is ‘How similar are the discriminations based upon caste and race?’ In reiterating the straw argument, Professor Gupta makes four claims that misrepresent race and caste, and falsely imbues the GOI position with a scholarly basis.

First, Dipankar Gupta argues that caste cannot be equated with race since ‘there is no phenotypical resemblance between members of the same castes.’ Such a view misrecognizes ‘race’ since it assumes that members of the same ‘race’ share phenotypical resemblance. However, it is now established among professional anthropologists and biologists that there is no concordance among human ‘races’, which implies that there is no single phenotypical trait that distinguishes all members of a so-called ‘race’ from members of another ‘race’. Members of any ‘race’ do not share either skin colour, or eye colour, or hair texture, or facial structure. Scientists agree that there is no abrupt change from one skin colour to another, and instead use the notion of ‘clines’ as opposed to ‘race’ to capture human variation. As Professor Alan Goodman, a biological anthropologist says, ‘Race is not based on biology, but race is rather an idea that we ascribe to biology.’ This is why the term ‘race’ is within quotes to signify that it is a socially constructed category, instituted by law and socially reproduced by popular prejudices. Professor Gupta’s position seems hopelessly outdated.

Second, Professor Gupta makes the startling claim that ‘caste is not about descent’ and hence cannot fall under Article 1. According to him, ‘descent means genealogical demonstrable characteristics,’ and ‘in the caste order people came of multiple descents. In fact, in the caste system people had to marry outside their lineage within the caste.’ The term ‘descent’ is at the core of anthropological studies of kinship, and is not restricted to ‘lineage’. A lineage is only one kind of descent group (the smallest) in which ancestry can be demonstrable since it spans living memory of a few generations. However, descent also includes other larger groups such as ‘clans’ (gotras in India) and ‘phratries’ in which a claim to a common ancestry is made but cannot be demonstrated. Marrying outside of one’s own lineage and clan are common practices in India and elsewhere, but caste is really about marrying within a group, as Gupta admits above. Ambedkar famously wrote in 1916 that the ‘superimposition of endogamy on exogamy produces caste.’ Castes are simply ‘large-scale descent groups’ as many anthropologists have pointed out. Castes are larger than clans and hence are very much based on ‘claimed’ ancestry, usually a mythical ancestor appearing in origin stories. Indeed, Gupta’s own work (Interrogating Caste) demonstrates this widespread existence of castes claiming a remote ancestor. Professor Gupta’s position is not substantiated logically, conceptually or empirically in scholarship.

Third, Professor Gupta cavalierly claims that ‘each caste equally discriminated against other castes.’ While this still leaves one to wonder how this distinguishes caste from race, Gupta’s position neglects decades of scholarship that has distinguished between institutional casteism or racism based upon power and individual or group prejudice. While it is quite feasible to argue that in a casteist (or racist) society, everyone can be prejudiced, it is simply not true that everyone’s prejudice has equal impact. Would Professor Gupta equate the daily humiliations, lynching, and rapes of dalits by all castes who wield power over them, with the presumed prejudice that dalits might hold against other castes? Discrimination requires attention to institutions, and not only subjective notions which Professor Gupta focuses on in his testimony. Thus, his evidence that ‘no caste accepted the notion that they were inferior’ is quite irrelevant since there are too many castes who not only think they are ‘superior’, but actually have the power to act upon their prejudice in systematic and violent ways. In a casteist society that stigmatizes particular castes and privileges others, the latter are raised to think that the resources of the country belong to them as a birthright and are willing to act violently to protect it.

Finally, Professor Gupta empties caste of all power (and discrimination) by portraying caste as a matter of cultural traditions claiming that ‘people in the caste system were proud of who they were and their traditions and position in the country.’ It is almost as if he is being far too accommodative of those ‘upper castes’ whose ‘caste pride’ and ‘position in the country’ is based on the humiliation of other castes. His position that ‘caste members did not want to escape their caste’ also makes a mockery of historical attempts by individuals from stigmatized castes who prefer to ‘hide their caste origins’ in the face of contempt of so-called ‘upper’ castes. It also mocks groups who have claimed new identities over time by leaving Hinduism altogether (for example, neo-Buddhists, Christians, and others). For all those who Professor Gupta sees as revelling in ‘caste pride’, there are many more who are weary of caste identities, and resist its inscription upon their bodies. In denying this, he also denies the patriarchal nature of caste.

Balmurli Natrajan



Why caste discrimination is not racial discrimination

IN my view the allegation that caste is a form of racial discrimination is not just an academic misjudgment but has unfortunate policy consequences as well. It is for that reason that I felt it was important to set the record straight even though there is a kind of seductive charm in finding easy parallels between caste and race. But unless we can see beyond these superficialities, the cause of combating caste can be prejudiced, and the clock turned back on the advances made so far.*

To begin with, both caste and race are social constructs. That there is something physically demonstrable, even phenotypically, has long been disproved. Even the myth of the fair skin Aryans charging down the mountains in waves to crush the dark Dravidians is now in disrepute. For a long time many scholars were votaries of this Aryan invasion view even though the evidence for it was always scanty and dubious.

However, the similarities between segregation under racial apartheid and untouchability in Hindu India prompted many certified specialists to wonder whether casteism could be seen as another form of racial prejudice. In my earlier work on this subject I had shown that caste identities and prejudices are manifested differently from racial ones, and I will go over the ground once again very quickly.

Caste identities get stronger the more local one gets. In other words, nobody is a Brahman or a Kshatriya or a Vaishya. They are either Kanyakubj Brahmans, or Rarhi Brahmans, or Rajputs, or Jats, or Agarwals or Guptas or Soods. These too are pretty broad categories. Identities that operate on the ground usually have a very limited range, sometimes no more that 200 miles. I have recently come across an instance when Koeris in Jaunpur district of East UP did not know about the existence of the Kurmi caste who were in large numbers barely 60 kilometres away.

Race identities, on the other hand, do best when the sweep is a wide one. It does not matter in apartheid societies whether a ‘white’ person comes from Holland, England or Germany. Such an individual would be accorded a superior status against those considered to be ‘black’, regardless of which part of the world they come from.

Further, even in antebellum America a black could be a nanny or a cook. In a traditional Hindu setting it would be unthinkable for a person of a supposedly ‘low caste’ occupying such a position in the home of a privileged person. In fact, commensal restrictions were so strict in the past that many castes refused to take food even from Brahmans. I have documented all of these instances in my book Interrogating Caste (Penguin: Delhi, 2000). In fact, most of these facts are not new and have been known for some time, except that few paid them the attention they deserve.

Racial prejudice does not make exceptions for those who are children of mixed marriages. In the United States, till as late as the early 1960s, the one-drop rule prevailed in the designation of a person as ‘black’. According to this principle, even 1/64th black blood would disqualify individuals from being considered as ‘whites’. This prompted Gene Lees to ask in the Jazz Newsletter if black blood was so strong that it could neutralize generations of white breeding. In inter-caste marriages the child does not carry the parents’ caste identity in equal proportions, but belongs to a totally different category – the outcaste. In fact, Yagnavalkyasmriti justifies the abhorrence it advocates against untouchables by claiming that they are children of mixed caste unions.

Members of so-called low caste communities do not share these upper caste textual views at all. In my work again, I have elaborated the origin tales of low castes and shown how every one of them claims an exalted status that is equal to, if not better than, the best. This is how it is everywhere in the world. There is no community that admits that it is essentially ‘bad’ or ‘impure’. The belief that low caste people participate in their own subjugation and acquiesce to their reviled status is a position that only certain Brahmanical texts recommend but stands refuted on the ground.

The question then is: why do certain castes function under such degrading and humiliating circumstances? The answer is a simple one, but it eluded us as the exotic aspects of caste so overwhelmed our senses. Caste hierarchies were maintained not because those in the Hindu fold agreed unanimously on the hierarchy, but largely because the stratification on the ground was upheld by the power and wealth of village oligarchs who functioned best in a closed natural economy. Once this rural economy began to crumble, castes that were hitherto seen as ‘low’, or even ‘defiling’, stood up and claimed a higher status, but without giving up caste.

This is where ‘caste patriotism’ comes in. Look at the matrimonial columns of any leading Indian daily. Marriage preferences are listed caste wise and this is true for scheduled castes as well. There need be no puzzlement on this especially if we keep in mind the fact that while others may consider a caste to be low, members of that community never bought into that view.

An appreciation of this fact brings into view another significant difference between caste and race. In race societies there is the widely acknowledged phenomenon of ‘passing’. This might seem reprehensible to many black intellectuals, but it has been written about in great detail by a large number of American scholars. Blacks would on occasions strive to ‘pass off’ as whites. It is also true that light skinned black people get a better deal even in contemporary western societies than dark skinned black people. In India, on the other hand, we have come across tragic instances, in recent times, when families conspired to kill their own children who dared to marry outside their caste. This outrage is not limited to so-called ‘upper castes’ but has occurred among the scheduled castes too.

This is why in caste societies, no matter how low a particular community may have been considered once, the fight today is not to deny one’s background, or to ‘pass off’ and merge with a dominant group, but to claim that this background had always been misunderstood, misjudged and misrecognized. Those who were traditional tanners or leather workers, for example, are not aspiring to marry into Brahman families but are pressing for a group elevation of their status. Many claim to be Brahmans of a certain kind, but not of the kind that are around and do not want to merge with them. Several artisan castes, like the Lohar, Patharwat, or Brazier believe they are Vishwakarma Brahmans but will not marry a Saraswat, Chitpawan or Gaud Brahman. This resistance against merging and losing one’s identity in a larger, and more established, formation is equally true of those who claim, or aspire, to be Kshatriya or Vaishya as well. I have already mentioned how scheduled caste people search specifically for matches from similar caste backgrounds, as can be easily gleaned from matrimonial columns in national dailies. Predictably, nobody wants to be a Sudra, and given what we have said so far, there should be nothing surprising about that!

All of this should alert us to any easy equation between caste and race, or between caste discrimination and racial discrimination, or even between caste identity and race identity. Descent and race may have some connection as the child supposedly partakes equally of the racial traits of both parents. The situation changes when we turn to mixed caste marriages as the child belongs to the caste of neither parent. Yet in terms of descent, the person is still a descendant of both parents. Thus while the child may, as in this case, have no caste, yet s/he remains a member of the descent group and, probably, also of the corporate group. This truth should not be lost sight of.

I should at this point make clear that descent is not the same as clan, or gotra. Descent kicks in only when the genealogical ties are demonstrable. The relationship between members of the same clan cannot be genealogically demonstrated. They are putative but not real ties. Hence jati origin tales cannot demonstrably link people to the same ancestor and, for the same reason, the Hindu gotra does not become a descent group. To take the point further, may I also remind my readers that no caste, including the subaltern castes, would accept a marriage within the same gotra. In fact, some of the most heinous instances of killing one’s own kind have happened because the young couple belonged to the same gotra and this could not be tolerated by families on both sides.

As was mentioned earlier, caste identities are fine-grained, multi-faceted, and extremely local in their realization. This is what prompted a famous scholar to comment that in caste there is an obsession with ‘minor differences’. It is not as if Brahmans or Kshatriyas, howsoever loosely conceived, are on one side and the lower castes on the other. This kind of divide would mimic a racial division. Caste intolerance and prejudice goes down the line. The better off and the more powerful one is the greater is the possibility of actually exercising this prejudice socially. The so-called ‘backwards’ have been some of the worst perpetrators of caste atrocities. Swami Achyutanand importuned the British authorities in the late 1920s to protect the ‘untouchables’ from these backward classes, who were often worse than the Brahmans. Thevar caste prejudice is feared in Tamilnadu as much as Gujar or Kurmi arrogance is in Uttar Pradesh. Further, as I.P. Desai had once noted, there was ‘untouchability among untouchables’ as well.

The fight against casteism should then be conducted in a fashion that is different from the way the struggle against racism is waged. This is why from the very beginning, under the stewardship of Dr. Ambedkar, the policy of independent India was to extirpate casteism, and it was felt that ‘reservation’ would aid this process. Dominant forms of ‘affirmative action’ in America, on the other hand, seek primarily to represent different races and colours but not to wipe out race. In India we thought on a much bigger scale and our reservation programme was set to eradicate caste and not stop short in terms of representation. Unfortunately, there are many today who value representation highly, without realizing how far they are moving away from the vision of Dr. Ambedkar.

Our struggle against caste prejudices and discrimination is far from over. Let us not muddy the waters further and make our job infinitely more difficult by making facile linkages between caste and race. As I have tried to show, any lowering of our intellectual and political guard on this issue will not only obfuscate matters but might encourage inappropriate policy interventions.

Finally, I would like to end with a quote from J.B.S. Haldane whose reflections on race are very instructive to all those who seek to extend the scope of racism. According to Haldane:

‘As for the word race, it has so many different meanings, as to be useless in scientific discussion, to very useful for getting members of the same nation to hate one another (emphasis added).’

Dipankar Gupta



* This is a summary of my speech at the CERD conference in Geneva on 26/2/07 as the proceedings were recorded. For more details contact UN Human Rights Commission, Geneva.

http://www.india-seminar.com/2007/572/572_comment.htm




Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Guest - 06-19-2008

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<b>5% quota for Gujjars, 3 other communities; 14% reservation for upper castes</b>
The Rajasthan Government on Wednesday announced that it would provide 5 per cent reservation to Gujjars and three other backward communities under a special category and also impress upon the Centre to consider giving Scheduled Tribe status to the Gujjars. <b>Other than Gujjars, Banjaras, Gadia Luhars and Raiksas </b>would come under the new category and have reservation benefits in educational institutions, State services and contesting elections to panchayat raj institutions and local bodies. 

In another major decision, <b>the Government announced giving 14 per cent reservation to upper castes, including Brahamin, Rajput, Vaishya and Kayastha, under a new category of Economically Backward Classes </b>(EBCs).

The agreement was announced at a joint media conference by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Kirori Singh Bainsla, leader of the Gujjar Arkash Sangharashan Samiti (GASS). But the Chief Minister made the announcement of the 14 per cent quota for the upper castes at a separate Press meet, which was held soon after the Gujjar agreement was announced.

A significant part of the agreement is that no Gujjar organisation would now come out with new demands. If any Gujjar outfit does that, it would be opposed by GASS
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Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - Guest - 06-19-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Economic quota makes sense </b>
Pioneer.com
Anuradha Dutt
Reservation based on economic and educational backwardness needs to be evolved

The National Commission For Scheduled Castes is reported to be on the verge of approving Justice Usha Mehra Commission's proposal for SC sub-categorisation. <b>The move apparently is meant to ensure equitable allocation of reservation among sub-groups since an elite pocket in the larger body of these people is accused of having appropriated the maximum befit till now. The same charge applies to other backward classes (OBCs), with dominant groups such as Jats, Yadavs and Kurmis said to be overshadowing the most backward classes</b>. Many among the former are wealthier than the upper castes on account of large land-holdings, while the poor among the twice-born lag behind. Clearly, reservation needs to be extended to all castes, as per the principle of social justice.

In the good old days -- before then Prime Minister VP Singh's implementation of the Mandal Commission report in August 1990 -- social fissures largely mirrored a class divide that could be overcome via upward mobility. Caste was relegated to the background in the urban psyche though, presumably, it retained a hold in the rustic backwaters. And there, too, its hold was far less virulent than it is today. Nothing illustrates this better than the Maoist movement in West Bengal in the late-1960s and early-1970s, when students and other young people from privileged backgrounds launched a war against class enemies -- rich landlords, industrialists, Government functionaries -- in their bid to establish a classless society. The downtrodden then were landless labourers, tribals and the wretchedly poor and oppressed.

Intellectual discourse in universities and coffeehouses revolved around high-minded idealism. Caste was not a factor since the crusaders for justice were driven by the ideal of economic parity, like revolutionaries in France and Russia during feudal times. This class war was insidiously replaced by a caste war by the late-1980s. That was a time, marked by the ascent of regional leaders, whose sudden rise was spurred by parochial sentiments, hinging on their caste and jati, and vast land-holdings of the concerned groups in their respective fiefdoms. Many of these satraps sported a socialist tag, finding refuge earlier in the Janata Party in the latter part of the 1970s. Their stint in power at the Centre was brief, from 1977 to 1979.

These regional chieftains sided with Congress renegades, headed by Mr VP Singh, and again regained some relevance in the late-1980s. Their party, the Janata Dal, ruled at the centre from 1989-90. Their casteist colours surfaced when Haryana strongman and Jat leader Devi Lal flexed his muscles at a huge farmers' rally. In a bid to counter him, Mr Singh hurriedly announced implementation of the Mandal report, supporting reservations for OBCs, which included Jats. The violent upper caste reaction to this decision and subsequent spurt in the campaign to restore the Ram janmabhoomi temple at Ayodhya led to the fall of the Janata Dal Government. But the casteist chieftains, whether Uttar Pradesh's and Bihar's Yadavs or Haryana's Jats, had managed to consolidate their position, with their communities solidly behind them. And, the Mandal report implicitly endorsed identity politics.

The focus thus shifted from class to caste, with the Supreme Court approving the suggested 27 per cent quota for OBCs in 1992, and again in Centrally funded educational institutions just a few weeks ago. The saving grace was that the verdict excluded the 'creamy layer' from the ambit of reservation. Now with Gujjars holding the country to ransom over their demands, the disastrous consequences of prioritising caste in policy-making are amply evident. Obsession with caste reflects a primitive feudal mindset that can easily derail development goals.

If reservation cannot be done away with in the existing set up, then new criteria, based on economic and educational backwardness, and cutting across caste lines, need to be evolved. A relevant excerpt from an essay, 'The Constitution and Reservation', by former Supreme Court judge Justice PB Sawant is given here:

<b>"Reservation has been provided in the Constitution for 'classes', not individuals. If individuals have to be provided with reservation on the economic criterion, then those satisfying the said criterion and belonging to any caste and social group, irrespective of any distinction, will be entitled to it... for such reservation will fall into the general category and all will be entitled to it, whether there is reservation on other grounds or not... Since economic criteria, whatever these may be, will run common through all the social groups, it will be contrary to the right to equality and, therefore, unconstitutional to keep them confined to any particular social group or groups."</b>

And that seems a fair solution.
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Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 4 - shamu - 06-19-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Jun 19 2008, 02:20 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Jun 19 2008, 02:20 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Raje caste-s out winning formula
In another major decision, <b>the Government announced giving 14 per cent reservation to upper castes, including Brahamin, Rajput, Vaishya and Kayastha, under a new category of Economically Backward Classes </b>(EBCs).
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I think this is a master stroke. Now every state can increase the reservation to 100% after inclulding this category.