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Last Updated: December 24, 2011  341 views

Reservation on the basis of Religion

in: Politics

With an eye on 18.5 % Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh, the UPA government has decided to provide sub-quota of 4.5 % to minorities within the 27% quota currently reserved for the Other Backward Classes (OBC). By offering reservation to the minorities, the Congress hopes to split the MY (Muslim-Yadav) equation, the main political weapon of Mulayam Singh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh. This reservation will be applicable to the central government jobs and admission into educational institutions like IIMs and IITs. Interesting point is that, OBC Muslims were already under the 27 per cent OBC quota but they were not getting the benefit so the government fixed a minority quota.

The decision was based on recommendations of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities headed by former chief justice of India, Ranganath Misra. The decision will come into effect from 1st January 2012. According to BJP, this is not just a violation of the Indian Constitution but also an attempt to take away the rights of OBCs, it will divide people on the basis of caste and religion and cause civil war in the nation.

“This is cheating our Constitution. This government wants to cause a civil war in the country in the name of caste and religion,” Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP leader.

Not only for Muslims but also for all the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, reservations are a menace. All these communities do suffer from economic backwardness so there is a need to overcome that but reservation is not the best solution. Rather, Government should take effective measures to improve educational facilities, industrial trainings, population control etc. It’s better to prepare them for competition rather than giving them begging bowl of reservation. There is one more interesting point. According to the United Nations, the group that’s identified as a minority is one that by religion, language, ethnicity or culture constitutes less than 10 percent of the population of a state. So according to this rule, Muslims should not be eligible for reservation.

In my opinion reservation without time limit, is worse than corruption. The seats are reserved in jobs and colleges, most of the time it is done in good faith to support certain backward and poor classes of people in society to uplift their educational and social standard thereby improving their financial stability. But there has to be some time limit on the reservation. After some years the reservation or quota system should be abolished.

The basic idea of reservation completely violates the equality of opportunity. Appointments on posts of national importance are made not on the basis of merit but on the basis of caste. It leads to deterioration of public services. If you critically analyse the impact of reservations, you will find that it has been mainly used for political benefits rather than social benefits. It’s due to reservation, India is still trapped in the caste paradigm, even after 64 years of independence.

Now the Government has introduced reservation on the basis of religion. This will not only a great threat to the secular and composite fabric of India but also set a bad precedence of cynical vote bank politics. Today Congress is giving 4.5% reservation for Muslim votes, what is guarantee tomorrow some other government would not increase it to 9% to get similar benefits and might start a chain reaction among other religious groups as well.

I would like to conclude with the quotes of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

“If you seek to give safeguards to a minority, you isolate it… Maybe, you protect it to a slight extent but at what cost – at the cost of isolating and keeping it away from the main current.”