Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IT IS MODI ALL THE WAY - PART 13- RESERVATIONS PART 2 - AFFIRMATIVE ACTION VERSUS REVERSE DISCRIMINATION


IT IS MODI ALL THE WAY - PART 13- RESERVATIONS PART 2 - AFFIRMATIVE ACTION VERSUS REVERSE DISCRIMINATION


Reservation, a case of Affirmative Action and reverse discrimination are two sides of the same coin, as far as India is concerned. Origins of reservation date back to the British Rule in India, who as I sated earlier, saw the local culture inferior to theirs and imposed their writ on the local populace, who were suffering centuries of penury and isolation from the world. India is no different.



Is persecution in the name of religion, ethnicity, race, community, caste or gender unique to India? If it was not unique to India and post-independence many affirmative actions have been initiated by both the citizens and governments to rectify the anomaly, why were reservations perpetuated and in fact were extended to more sections in the society that the pendulum had swung the other way and more and more caste groups are vying for reservations or for fixing economic criteria to reserve seats in educational institutes and employment, mainly in Government Sectors? First, let us consider the first point, is persecution unique to India?


DEFINITION OF PERSECUTION



As part of the Nuremberg Principles, crimes against humanity are part of international law. Principle VI of the Nuremberg Principles states that


The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:...


(c)Crimes against humanity:


Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.


The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which is binding on 111 states, defines crimes against humanity in Article 7.1. The article criminalises certain acts "committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack". These include:


(h) Persecution against any identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph [e.g. murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture, sexual violence, apartheid, and other inhumane acts] or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.


Despite strict International laws and codes, crimes against humanity were and are perpetuated in many nations. India does not stand alone discrimination on caste basis. In India too, in some advanced states the discrimination is limited to class and not caste. But, there is no gainsaying the fact that some castes suffered utter humiliation in the hands of upper caste landlords and two of these macabre practices were untouchability, colonization of some caste groups outside the villages, towns with no water, sanitation, electricity etc., But here too the practices differed from state to state and region to region. Not going into the historic reasons for this discrimination, we shall limit to the phenomenon that existed in other countries.


It was race apartheid in South Africa practiced by the white population against those with black and brown skin, that irritated Mahatma Gandhi to launch full scale war there on the discrimination. It was caste apartheid practiced in India that prompted Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to launch all-out war on the macabre systems practiced in India. Ironically, these two Messiahs rarely saw eye to eye on many issues including the race and caste apartheid. This is  the irony that is called "India".



Ref: GENOCIDE Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century. By Leo Kuper. 255 pp. New Haven: Yale University Press.



More on this.




WHEN PEOPLE PERSECUTE A PEOPLE


Courtesy: New York Times.





By TELFORD TAYLOR; Telford Taylor is the author of ''Munich: The Price of Peace,'' which won the National Book Critics Circle nonfiction award in 1979. 





"Leo Kuper, professor emeritus at the University of Southern California, has published a useful study of the subject, with extensive historical detail in an analytical framework. "...... with theories that may explain the DISCRIMINATION phenomenon and with social and ideological ''justifications'' for its perpetration;



The analytical portions are more impressive from a psychological than a legal standpoint, especially in discussing the social and political situations that stimulate discriminatory behavioural  patterns (colonization, decolonization, change of governments, racial and religious ''pluralism'') and the mental processes by which perpetrators of discrimination justify their conduct to themselves.


These include ''shaping a dehumanized image of the victims'' or analogizing the victimized group to a cancer or bacillus that must be eradicated in order to preserve the dominant social group.

(The Headline was changed for the purpose of this blog)



It is clear from the foregoing that, in many societies, the psychological disorderly behaviour of the haves in treating the have-nots has resulted in discriminatory behavioural patterns. This led to perpetuation of colour, creed, race, caste, gender, religion or whatever name we call it by. It is a world-wide phenomenon and is not unique to India. Many societies suffer from this psychological disorder though many civilized nations like India acted fast to reverse the tendency. Reservation was one such affirmative action on the part of Indian authorities. But, the excessive use of this action led to frustration among the economically backwards in both the reserved and unreserved classes, that slowly started feeling the heat of "Reverse Discrimination". Let us go into the history of this aspect in the future blogs.



But some countries, still practice this apartheid in one form or other. Let us take only a few examples







IRAN





An example is Iran. Iran's Spiritual leaders enjoy unbridled powers even above the supreme leaders of the country as per constitution and the military establishment too.



Article 110 of the Iran Constitution lists all the powers granted to the Spiritual Leader, appointed by
his peers for an unlimited duration. Among others, the Spiritual Leader exercises his control over the judiciary, the army, the police, the radio, the television, but also over the President and the Parliament, institutions elected by the people.

Article 13 of the Constitution gives a special status to three religious minorities named

“recognized religious minorities”:








Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian Iranians are the only recognized religious minorities, who, within the limits of the law, are free to perform their religious rites and ceremonies, and to act according to their own
canon in matters of personal affairs and religious education.”


But, despite Constitutional Guarantees to these groups, they are mostly discriminated against.

In a report presented by the FIDH and the Ligue de Défense des Droits de l’Homme en Iran,  this issue was discussed threadbare and it confirms that even in 20003, the discrimination of religious minorities existed.

INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT

An Indian government inquiry into the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 has said that some Congress party leaders incited mobs to attack Sikhs. It found "credible evidence" against a current Congress minister, Jagdish Tytler, who denies any wrongdoing. 

Source: BBC  News



Persecution of Hindus refers to the religious persecution inflicted upon Hindus. Hindus have been historically persecuted during the Islamic rule of the Indian subcontinent and during Portuguese rule of Goa. In modern times, Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh have also suffered persecution. Most recently, thousands of Hindus from Sindh province in Pakistan have been fleeing to India voicing fear for their safety. After the Partition of India in 1947, there were 8.8 million Hindus in Pakistan (excluding Bangladesh) in 1951. In 1951, Hindus constituted 22% of the Pakistani population (including present-day Bangladesh which formed part of Pakistan). Today, the Hindu minority amounts to 1.7 per cent of Pakistan's population. (Unknown Source)

The Bangladesh Liberation War (1971) resulted in one of the largest genocides of the 20th century. While estimates of the number of casualties was 3,000,000, it is reasonably certain that Hindus bore a disproportionate brunt

Senator Edward Kennedy wrote in a report that was part of United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations testimony dated 1 November 1971, "Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops, systematically slaughtered, and in some places, painted with yellow patches marked "H". All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad".

Despite this, the secular governments in India allowed unreasonably large illegal immigrants into India, thus changing demography of the whole of North East India. This is not a case of Affirmative Action but of Reverse discrimination of the majority Hindus in these areas.

PAKISTAN

Persecution extends beyond those who perceive themselves as Muslims to include those who are perceived by others as Muslims or to Muslims which are considered by fellow Muslims as non-Muslims.

"In Pakistan, for example, the Ahmadiyya regard themselves as Muslims, but are seen by many other Muslims as non-Muslims and "heretics". In 1984, the Government of Pakistan, under General Zia-ul-Haq, passed Ordinance XX, which banned proselytizing by Ahmadis and also banned Ahmadis from referring to themselves as Muslims. According to this ordinance, any Ahmadi who refers to oneself as a Muslim by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, directly or indirectly, or makes the call for prayer as other Muslims do, is punishable by imprisonment of up to 3 years."

Unknown Source. (The author of this blog does not authenticate veracity of this information).

Persecution of Atheists in the hands of believers, of Jews in Germany etc., of Bahas in Iran, of Hindus by Muslim rulers in India and later by the British in India and now in Pakistan and Bangladesh, of Sikhs in India (the infamous Jallianwalla Bagh massacre, the Operation Blue Star, the 1984 riots in Delhi) are examples. Persecution based on army service in Israel (Unconfirmed) is an example. Gender discrimination is prevalent in many countries not excluding India.



The information supra confirms that, persecution, by whatever name it existed, it existed universally. Religious persecution was the worst form of it that the Hindus too suffered a lot.

The above list is only illustrative and not exhaustive and there are N number of nations where persecution on the basis of gender, religion, faith, ethnicity, race, caste, employment still exists. A case in point is today's influx of huge number of refugees to European Union countries from the Middle East. Greece, under heavy economic strain, reported the highest numbers of refugees. On one side we have blood thirsty bigots and on the other side, we have immense human suffering. The European Union can neither refuse nor absorb the sea of suffering humanity under European Union asylum rules. Should the world allow this to continue unabated and still blame our country for human rights violations? Our liberal and activist and pseudo intellectuals should think twice.

PERSECUTION OF LOWER CASTE GROUPS TOO IS NOT UNIQUE TO INDIA

There is no gainsaying the fact that lower caste groups were subjected to major ill-treatment in many parts of India. This was not uniform. Practices differed from region to region. This happened mostly post Mughal Rule and after the British stepped in. When East India Company took over, the hitherto landed classes like Zamindars and their advisers were appointed in high positions because of their administrative acumen and knowledge. This led to a class struggle and the British took advantage of the growing disenchantment in the poorer and neglected classes with nomenclature "untouchables", the backward, the landless and the deprived. They divided the society in the name of caste, they pitched for caste and religion based reservation as an affirmative action instead of investing huge funds in educating the masses and encouraging them in businesses and politics, along with the rich classes/caste groups. This kept the deprived as deprived perennially, poor as poor, illiterate as illiterate and in some parts untouchables as untouchables. Those who got the patronage of the State in the name of affirmative action reappeared as a New avatar, the Neo-Rich deprived classes. This further led to class struggles in these communities.  This suited the rich classes and the neo-rich, to enjoy British hospitality and the British, to divide and rule. Few were given plum posts from deprived communities but the backwardness in these and other caste groups remained. This policy suited Congress to remain in power for six decades and splintered the body politic into small caste-based parties unique to each state. The pot was kept boiling. Now, it took another turn and these parties want the pot boiling still, though the fuel changed colour. We will deal with this in future blogs.

Was or is caste unique to Indian culture and deprivation of some castes unique to India? Was the racism as practiced by the Whites on the other colour-skinned people not as ominous or more ominous than the caste system practiced in India? Was the New England or Scotland bereft of the malaise when the British widely publicised India as a "caste ridden society?" Are the fatal racist attacks in the USA even today or the big brother attitude of USA not more fatal than the caste discrimination as prevalent in India as of date, with affirmative thinking by the our cultured people and by affirmative actions by the government, for whatever reason they did it? Then, why do we fight among ourselves and why do the so-called casteless societies interfere in our inherent culture and defame us? Part of the blame goes to the over-active activists and perverted intelligentsia that take pleasure in India-bashing day in and day out. Or else, how can one can explain the perversion of about 120 Left wing intelligentsia in USA in appealing to the best companies not to allow an Indian PM on the US soil quoting perverse reasons like "Human Rights" violations? How did these allow a Nehru, who oversaw the worst homicide in the name of partition, an Indira who trampled upon the individual freedom in the name of emergency? Or how could they excuse the 1984 genocide, the Operation Blue Star? How could they excuse Rajiv for interfering in the internal affairs of a neighbour? It is high time, we stop fighting among ourselves and find solutions to our problems instead of appealing to nations not to grant VISA to our respected citizens or asking them not to allow our leaders on foreign soil. National pride is more important than misplaced ideology.

NATIONS WHERE SOCIETY HAS BEEN OR IS STILL DIVIDED ON CASTE LINES

The foregoing is an example of persecution of people based on many factors. The most bizarre persecutions happen because of class struggles, land struggles and the widening rich-poor gap. Nations that addressed this problem affirmatively prospered, as the USA. (Still it requires to do more on this). Nations that tried to divide the people on race and caste, religion, ethnicity etc., collapsed. India is one example, that, instead of addressing the root cause of discrimination went on adding to the problem by dividing population on caste, including more castes under the deprived communities etc., to create vote banks. This led to frustration in the economically backwards in both the reserved and unreserved communities, as well as EBCs in other religions. Now, they started feeling the heat of "Reverse Discrimination", discrimination based on the caste group, religious group they belonged to, despite they being poorer than those who are enjoying the fruits of affirmative actions by the governments to rectify the scourge of persecution perpetuated by the so-called upper classes or rich classes in society. This resulted in the birth of a "neo-rich" and "neo-poor" classes in all religions and caste groups. The resultant effect is birth of agitations by small disgruntled groups in various parts of the country. Though, there is no immediate threat to Nation's unity on this aspect, the wounds remain and trouble the body politic now and then. Even though the issue is not so serious as doomsayers predict, early action to end reverse discrimination is called for to quell the disenchantment early.

Let us examine the case of nations where the caste system exists as of date.

1. Nepal follows Indian example of four castes or Varnas, whatever one prefers to call. There are no reservations.

2. In Pakistan endogamy is prevalent historically in some parts . There are Shias and Sunnis within Muslims.  There is a preference for endogamous marriages based on the clan-oriented nature of the society, which values and actively seeks similarities in social group identity based on several factors, including religious, sectarian, ethnic, and tribal/clan affiliation. Religious affiliation is itself multilayered and includes religious considerations other than being Muslim, such as sectarian identity (e.g. Shia or Sunni, etc.) and religious orientation within the sect (Isnashari, Ismaili, Ahmedi, etc.)

From Wiki.
(source not known, the author does not authenticate this information)


Both ethnic affiliation (e.g. Pathan, Sindhi, Baloch, Punjabi, etc.) and membership of specific biraderis or zaat/quoms are additional integral components of social identity. McKim Marriott claims a social stratification that is hierarchical, closed, endogamous and hereditary is widely prevalent, particularly in western parts of Pakistan. Frederik Barth in his review of this system of social stratification in Pakistan suggested that these are castes.
Source: Wiki
But there are no reservations for any group.
3.Srilanka and Indonesia closely follow the four Varna system. There are nor reservations.
4.In Japan, caste system is prevalent and it is said that
"Japan had its own untouchable caste, shunned and ostracized, historically referred to by the insulting term Eta, now called Burakumin. While modern law has officially abolished the class hierarchy, there are reports of discrimination against the Buraku or Burakumin underclasses. The Burakumin are regarded as "ostracised."] The burakumin are one of the main minority groups in Japan, along with the Ainu of Hokkaidō and those of residents of Korean and Chinese descent.

and
William H. Newell (December 1961). "The Comparative Study of Caste in India and Japan". Asian Survey 1 (10): 3–10. doi:10.1525/as.1961.1.10.01p15082. JSTOR 3023467.

Other nations where caste system existed or still exists are China, Mangloia, Korea, many African nations. Even the advanced countries like Spain suffer from the scourge of untouchability.

For centuries, through the modern times, the majority regarded Cagots of western France and northern Spain as an inferior caste, the untouchables. While they had the same skin color and religion as the majority, in the churches they had to use segregated doors, drink from segregated fonts, and receive communion on the end of long wooden spoons. It was a closed social system.The socially isolated Cagots were endogamous, and chances of social mobility non-existent.

Ref:
"Sean Thomas (28 July 2008). "The last untouchable in Europe". London: The Independent, United Kingdom." (Noteworthy is the date of the publication)

If you observe the history of nations, it will be clear that India has been the only nation where citizens voluntarily accepted a constitution that provided for affirmative action and the governments, for whatever reason, tried to eradicate the scourge slowly but steadily. Still, we receive brickbats from our so called liberals.


Affirmative steps that can be initiated immediately to rectify the latest anomaly will be presented in the coming parts. But, it is preposterous to support the likes of a Hardik here or another Tom, Dicky and Harry there, in our quest to find lasting peace and removing misconceptions both in the reserved and unreserved classes. There is no " My way or No way" in finding everlasting solutions. And this is not a political issue concerning a few parties that played the dirty game all these years but a national issue concerning the whole nation. Thorough research into the historical facts, evolving scenarios and feelings of all classes of people is necessary. And, the most important factor to be considered is the neo-rich in the communities that benefitted from affirmative action who feel they are above the others and have started to ill-treat the neo-poor in those communities. Opinions of these groups and the already economically backward sections in the hitherto kept-out communities play a larger role; not a few disgruntled youth playing into the hands of the foxy, wily groups both native and foreign.

Reservations for oppressed classes, per se, was not wrong in the situation prevailing in the '40s and even now. But extending them to the same families for generations and  some of them more affluent than the neo-poor in the reserved communities or poor in other communities to gain political capital was wrong. allowing mushrooming of regional parties/outfits with caste names was wrong. Allowing reservations in promotions was wrong. All this led to a sense of alienation in the really economically deprived classes and landless sections in all castes and religions. This anomaly has to be rectified. Affirmative action is needed. Totally abolishing reservations or including all under reservations is not a solution. It further ruptures the wounds. Extending benefits of reservations to only deserving on the economic criteria will be the first step. Opening up Private Sector in imparting high quality education to the poor in all castes will help in rectifying the knowledge gap. I suggest, the it should be made mandatory for rich private sector to compulsorily invest in such institutes of higher learning. National parties should come together to amend the Representation of People's Act to cancel registration of caste based parties forthwith, with caste or religious prefixes. These are but a few. Let us discuss more in future blogs.

Reservation or no reservation all should flourish in a growing economy. World is looking to us for guidance. We are unable to look within ourselves. A long-lasting non-political solution is the best way with review clause every ten years so that those who already came out of the poverty are moved a step above the social ladder and more poor will get benefit. A states-manly approach is needed by all parties concerned. Blaming a single individual due to our pathological hatred for all that is good in him will not. Help him to help yourselves. Bring pressure on pseudo secular groups first. Then approach the powers as a unified society.

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      SARVEY JANAHA SUKHINO BHAVANTHU.

ADHANA SADHANA SAANTU

LOKAHA SAMASTHAHA SUKHINO BHAVANTU



NEXT BLOG: REVERSE DISCRIMINATION- STEPS TO ADDRESS IT WITHOUT DISTURBING THE RESERVATIONS TO THE LOWEST STRATA OF SOCIETY