When we broke free from the colonial chains of the British, India did it with some style. India captured the imagination of the world largely due to Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement. The non- violent resistance was the most potent weapon for the repressed and marginalized Indian society. The world watched the eloquence with which we won our Independence. However, this was to be short lived and during the partition of India, the chameleons prevailed.
The country had to move on and it did so with new hopes, and dreams of shaking its colonial stench. The constitution of India drew inspiration from many countries and the lines unity in diversity still smells like a breath of fresh air. With the death of Gandhi, India lost its ideals and slowly factions arose and dissenters multiplied. Politics prejudiced, and people plastered, Bharat was struggling amidst a nation weeping for hope and guidance. The rest is, as they say, History. Have we fashioned ourselves as benchmarks of goodness or the nation of scoundrels and connivers? The debate rages on.
With my limited knowledge, a very harrowing act changed the course of India’s history. In 1979, with the formation of the Mandal Commission report India decided to implement reservations for the downtrodden and socially deprived people. Ever since these implementations, India was never going to leap forward into a nation that ‘could have been’, instead of what it is.
These reservations targeted backward classes and decided to provide them with opportunities to compete with their richer counterparts. However, what it ideally did is to aspire for a backward class chit; to gain freebies and advantages the government had to offer. Naranyan Murthy, put it very succinctly and lucidly, “Aspirations build civilizations”. The Indian populace aspired for a backward class status, lamentably.
Our politician’s parochial visions led us into the Pandora’s Box and that is where we reside till date.
In 1947 India had 1400 castes and today we have more than 4000 castes. You can often hear the meritorious woefully crying, “The things I could do to become a Dalit”. The day you sacrifice merit for mediocrity, one is pulverizing the aspirations and ambitions of a nation. How can you expect quality from our leaders when 25 or 33 % of them are not the best society has to offer? This was never going to be a short term act. It lingers on since 1979 and though we plead for reforms, we get more reservations.
A backward certificate can get you; free food, free employment, free education, sometimes free money. Where is the need for working hard? Where is the motivation? We have a right to pursue our happiness and we labour for it. We don’t deserve happiness without the pursuit to happiness. The bottlenecked politicians don’t think so. 1979 changed it all for us. Only a revolution can change this. No political party will address these issues, because as people we are a bigoted lot who indulge in pathetic mediocrity and embrace it.
Reservations should have been made based on economic backwardness and not a system India needs to abolish; caste system. Today, the caste system haunts us and the root of all problems is because of caste evils. Harmony can never be achieved in slicing and subjugating people. Now we have no unity and plenty of disillusioned diversity.
After 60 years of Independence, if Gandhi saw the India today; he would hang his head down in shame and cry, just like you and me. 03:30 A.M.