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Mohan Bhagwat should be debating why dalits, adivasis and OBCs have not benefitted from reservations 

The RSS chief wants a debate on reservations. He certainly is welcome to discuss why despite reservations, dalits, adivasis and OBCs are deprived of their share in central Govt jobs

Photo by Indranil Bhoumik/Mint via Getty Images
Photo by Indranil Bhoumik/Mint via Getty Images

Udit Raj

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat wants to have a debate on reservations. It is not for the first time that he has spoken his mind on the subject. On earlier occasions too, he has been outspoken with his views. At the Jaipur Literary Festival, yet another top leader of the RSS, Manmohan Vaidya, also spoke in similar vein but was quick to retract his statement when he realised that it could lead to a political backlash witnessed in the last Bihar Assembly election.

But while Bhagwat and his ilk want a debate on the desirability of putting an end to reservations, a debate is actually needed on why the goals of reservations have not yet been fulfilled. The sad fact is that though reservations have been there almost right from Independence, its objectives are yet to be fulfilled.

There should therefore be a debate on why out of 89 secretaries in the Government of India, there is only one from Scheduled Castes, only three from Scheduled Tribes and none from OBCs. There should be a debate why in Class I jobs in the central government, Scheduled Castes occupy 13.4% of the posts, Scheduled Tribes 6% of the posts and the OBCs merely 13% of the posts despite the statutory reservation of 27%. The SC and ST population together, of course, constitute 25% of the Indian people.

When one looks at Class II jobs in the government, the situation is slightly better with Scheduled Castes occupying 16% of the posts and Scheduled Tribes holding 7% of the jobs. But the OBCs once again fall far short of the 27% mark at 14.77%.

Similarly, out of 1,125 professors in central universities, only 39 belong to Scheduled Castes which comes to 3.47% and representation of ST is 0.7% while OBCs are totally missing from the ranks. Among associate professors, the Scheduled Caste representation is 130 out of 2,620 and its percentage comes to 4.96 and Scheduled Tribes are 34 (1.3%).

The question arises: Are the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and the Backward Castes not part of the Hindu community? The RSS always talks about welfare of the whole Hindu community. They may have problems with Muslims and Christians but are SC/ST/OBC not the sons of Mother India (Bharat Mata)? Their high-pitched sloganeering of Bharat Mata Ki Jai stands for what? Does it mean a piece of land or the people inhabiting it?

They need to explain who, on the land of Mother India, share how much of resources, power and governance? Nobody stops them from coming out with a clear declaration that in their social-religious hierarchy, each would get according to his/her ranking in the varna system specified in Rig Veda and other scriptures. But whenever they are cornered about what is stated in the scriptures, they are either evasive or blame someone else for interpolation.

The RSS has learnt the flexible art of manoeuvring to be and not to be. The fact remains that no SC/ST or OBC has reached the decision-making ranks of the RSS at Nagpur.

When it comes to sharing power and resources, the RSS is quick to harp on merit and ability. In its political posturing, it pretends that there is no caste and everyone is clubbed as Hindus. In furthering its agenda on the communal divide, the RSS declares there is no caste and all are Hindus.

In the beginning, the RSS and its other outfits did not respect the Constitution. The RSS ideologue, MS Golwalkar, said that the Indian Constitution was a compendium of provisions of various constitutions of the world and there was no Indianness in it. On December 11, 1948, a huge gathering was organised by them at Ram Lila ground, New Delhi and the effigy of Dr BR Ambedkar was burnt. They opposed the Tricolour too and hoisted it at their Nagpur headquarters only after 2002.

Why was the RSS opposed to the Indian Constitution? One of the reasons was that the provision of reservations always irked them. The Indian Constitution demolished the social hierarchy which was unacceptable to the Brahminical elite. They never accepted it and their opposition to it has been steadfast.

If the RSS had been given the opportunity to frame the Constitution, either they would have adopted Manusmriti or a modified version of it. Had it not been so, they surely could have taken the initiative to discard the scriptures and religious books which demean SC/ST/OBC and women.

When VP Singh announced implementation of the Mandal Commission’s recommendations, their covert action led to a huge uproar all over the country and it created fodder for them to launch a country-wide chariot march under the leadership of LK Advani.

When in 2006, the then Union HRD Minister, Arjun Singh, after the 93rd constitutional amendment, provided reservation for OBCs in medical and engineering colleges, similar protests were engineered by the RSS.

Both the BJP and the RSS have been smart in overtly soliciting the support of SCs, STs and OBCs as ‘Hindus’ while working against the social, cultural, educational and financial interests of the backward communities.

The irony is that the backward communities do not understand the designs of the RSS and the BJP. Why has the RSS not agitated over the fact that despite reservations for OBCs granted in 1992, it is yet to be implemented?

In the second term of the Narendra Modi government, there is no one from the OBC communities as a Cabinet Minister unless the Prime Minister is taken to be one.

Empirically, one can easily reach the conclusion that the RSS is as inimical to the OBCs as it is to minorities like Muslims and Christians. But their problem is that they cannot afford to make their hostility for the OBCs public because they need the OBCs to be on their side.

Recent surveys show that Hindu upper castes hold disproportionate wealth, owning as much as 41% of the wealth of India against 27% of the Dalits who own 11.3%.

At the moment, there is not a single judge in the Supreme Court from SC/ST. Not a single accredited journalist is there in the country from these communities. Has the RSS ever called for a debate on why there is such poor representation of these communities?

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