Daily Newsings: 6th May

Daily Newsings are musings on the daily news.

For today’s Newsing, we are looking at one of the ongoing electoral issues that the Congress and the BJP are sparring over — the issue of quotas.

On Sunday, Rahul Gandhi said at an election rally in Telengana that the BJP wishes to do away with reservations and quotas. On the same day, Amit Shah gave a “Modi Guarantee” that SC, ST and OBC quotas will continue. A week earlier, Modi himself had accused the Congress party of planning to take away the quotas of the SC, ST, and OBC communities, and instead give it to the Muslim community.

Why do we have reservation in our country in the first place?

The purpose of reservation was always to create an equal and just society, in which the interests of the minority and the oppressed are not overlooked. The idea is not unique to India. Belgium is a country for instance where both Dutch speaking peoples and French speaking peoples are equally represented in the Cabinet. If the minority voices are not heard in public spaces, which are dominated by the majority community, acts, policies and decisions may be taken which can further harm the prospects of the minority community.

A number of communities in India were historically excluded from places of worship and education. There was an understanding of people and places having a degree of purity. And lower castes were considered “impure.” If they entered the spaces of worship or education, the upper caste persons present would get defiled in addition to the place itself. This was one of the rationale behind excluding such communities.

In fact, this exclusion is not just a thing of the past. In fact, just this year on the first of January, a village in Karnataka shut down two of its temples and conducted purification rituals merely because a Dalit person had walked by the street. Click here to read the article I wrote in response to the incident.

The idea of representation of all is at the heart of the idea behind democracy. Therefore, reservations provide a means for all voices to be heard in the halls of governance, (public-sector) industries and education.

As Christians who live in a sin-infested world, we must realise that even good tools can be used to harmful ends. Reservation as a tool is being used as a political tool to manipulate the minds of voters. But even as we bemoan the political rhetoric, let us not throw the baby out with the bathwater and say that reservations as a whole are evil. Let us remember that justice and equity are the goals behind the reservation system.

P.S. Click here for another article I wrote about the reservation system in India

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