By Priyanka Srinivas
In a country that holds a sixth of the world’s population, people must have faith in its legal system. But when the Indian constitution is revisited, reviewed, and recapitulated, the country that is home to the world’s largest democracy is also home to the world’s most perplexing bureaucracy. With laws that reward people for their religion, the rules are highly flawed and should be reassessed.
When people think of India, often they picture its food, celebrations, overflowing bazaars and poverty. Not many are aware that India hosts the world’s third largest Muslim population, has a significant Christian counterpart and that these religions are still minorities in comparison to the Hindu community.
The minorities in India faced tremendous segregation in the past. The Ninety-Fifth Amendment of the Indian Constitution was imposed in an effort to make up for that. It states that because these religions are minorities, they have benefits and advantages to advance in life due to the discrimination their ancestors faced in the past.
The government hoped to encourage equality between the minorities and the rest of India by reserving a fixed number of seats in universities, government jobs, and schools for these minorities.
However, this law has been in play for over 65 years. It is now time to get rid of this Amendment or add to it by replacing the word ‘minorities’ with ‘people of a lower financial background’. Hindus make up 79% of the population, Muslims, Christians and others, make up 21%. Surprisingly, of the 79% who are Hindu, 21% are of the lowest caste.
According to YouthKiAwaaz, an online broadcasting network in India, “nearly 50% seats are reserved.”
We see instances of this bizzare reversal of roles in the Northeastern states of India, where 80% of all seats are reserved, leaving only 20% for the so called ‘majorities’. Since when has the minority become the majority and the majority become the minority?
While it is true that reservation is beneficial to minorities, as it provides fair educational opportunities, this has been happening for a long time already.
No, the pain of the past can’t disappear at the snap of your fingers. Every country has a part of its history they wished never happened. Slavery in the United States, the Holocaust in Europe, and caste & religion based segregation in India.
We can’t change history, but we certainly can change the future and make it a better place for the coming generations. So they can look through a history textbook and be proud to be Indian, to see how far we’ve come.
Unfortunately, in an effort to blur the line that divided the majorities and the ‘minorities’, the government has created another. Discrimination based on religion should be something of the past, not the present and certainly not the future.
Reservation has been in play for 65 years now, and the inequality has to stop. It’s time to even out the rules so that everybody, no matter their religion or race, can work hard and reap the rewards they sow.
Not everybody can be satisfied. And in a country with a population of over 1.3 billion, it is almost impossible. Almost. We can strive to get as close to it as possible if the laws are rewritten in a more inclusive format.
A format that does not exclude opportunities by virtue of religion.
A format that uniformly recovers the effort an individual puts in.
A format that ties the fabric of a nation together.
History has divided this nation. It’s our obligation to open the chained gates of these barriers.
- Smita. “Reservation – A Boon or Bane for the Development of Indian Society.” Stylewhack, 17 Feb.
- 2018, stylewhack.com/reservation-development-indian-society/.
- Upadhyay. “Reservation In India: Understanding Its Past, Present And Solutions.” Youth Ki Awaaz, 21 Apr.
- 2016, http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2011/02/educational-reservations-india-solutions/.