04 October Wednesday

and Social Equality

Web Desk(Kannur)Updated: Friday Apr 8, 2022

Issues related to reservation have been periodically cropping up in various parts of the country. Various groups are agitating in different states for their sectional demands. RSS and BJP have especially been assiduously utilising these issues, not out of any love for the weaker sections, but as a part of their social engineering strategies to penetrate into different castes and communities to strengthen Hindutva ideology. Judicial intervention also creates more controversies and problems. On the whole, while the utility of reservations is declining after the onset of neo- liberalism, the clamour for more reservations is increasing.

 In spite of the various provisions and Articles provided in the Indian Constitution, realisation of social justice for weaker sections is still a far away goal because of the lack of political will in the Indian ruling classes. After the assumption of power  by Communal Manuvadi BJP at centre, the communal forces are trying to scuttle the utility of reservations in many dubious ways. These attempts must be fought back.

The CPI-M views reservations as the minimum relief offered to those sections of society who have historically and socially suffered the worst oppression in the interest of protection of capitalist relations. We support reservations in jobs and education for the SCs, STs and OBCs as a temporary relief, supports demand for reservations based on genuine social backwardness, the demand of extending reservations to those sectors and departments of government and to private sectors where they don't exist now. We support the demands aimed to redress inequities in implementing reservations, reservation in promotions, the principle of categorisation wherever intra-category inequities between member castes in availing the benefits of reservations become palpable and the introduction of  creamy layer/ economic criteria for OBC reservations. At the same time, we are not in support of the demand for creamy layer/economic criteria for the SC, STs as there is no appreciable/ sustainable internal differentiation in these communities.

We oppose the provision of caste-based reservations for upper and dominant castes. But, as an exception, support the extension of reservations for economically weaker sections (EWS) among upper- and dominant castes, as it may help in mitigating the anti-reservation sentiments and thus help in preserving class unity. Reservations should continue without a time frame and till social equality is attained.  

Reservations have catalysed spread of education among socially disadvantaged communities and provided some scope for social mobility for them. But they have not benefited all the needy sections who are still suffering backwardness of various nature. Even the limited usefulness of reservations has been fast diminishing after the advent of neo liberal economic policies.There are demands for reservations from new sections and for categorisation of existing quota of reservations for equitable distribution.

The small elite/educated middle-class that emerged benefiting from reservations, instead of working  for the upliftment of their own people, is engrossed in their own promotion and betterment. Identity politics serve their purpose best and they bargain with the ruling classes. Indian ruling classes successfully created the false hope that weaker sections can escape their social inequality gradually through reservations. The state relinquished its fundamental obligation of providing basic services like health care, education, jobs, land and other assets etc..   

Reservations and other policies pursued in the name of social justice by the Indian ruling classes initiated a contradictory process of change in the existing caste system. They affected the partial dissolution of the traditional basis of the caste/social group and helped their consolidation on a new basis of identity formation.

This contradictory process is actually a transformation/readjustment of the caste system to the needs of capitalism and thereby increasing the grip of the ruling classes on these social groups. That is why the struggle for elimination of the caste system has now merged with that of the overthrow of the capitalist system.

Overall, for the ruling classes, the reservation system has become one of the important peaceful instruments to reproduce and perpetuate capitalist relations; for the revolutionary movement, its contradictory nature poses tremendous complexities in building class unity.