Reservation and quota, how justifiable? « Khabarhub
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Reservation and quota, how justifiable?


09 December 2021  

Time taken to read : 6 Minute


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Here’s the situation: You are just admitted to a new prestigious college. You make new friends. You are chilling with them. Nothing serious.

Suddenly, one appreciably enraged upper-caste friend of yours comes up with the topic of reservation. Now he starts complaining about how he could have landed in a better college had there been no reservation.

They are oblivious of the fact that you belong to the ST community. They carry on disgust against the reserved category.

They bring up the point that an upper-caste friend of theirs is very poor yet he couldn’t get the reservation benefit, however, they do know several people who belong to the ST category and have an iPhone (MacBook/Car/Bike or anything materialistic). You now begin to feel sad. You feel this seems unfair. You realize that they might have a point.

Hey! I want to stop you right there.

Just because your friends have twisted knowledge about the reservation you don’t deserve to feel inferior. You don’t need to doubt your potential because they don’t know a thing about the generational impact of the caste.

Reservation is about representation. It’s about making a space for yourself in the domain, where your ancestors have been prohibited from entering. It’s about having a say.

Rebuttal: Reservation is not a poverty alleviation scheme. You don’t need a reservation because you got to get rich.

Reservation is about representation. It’s about making a space for yourself in the domain, where your ancestors have been prohibited from entering. It’s about having a say.

Here’s why reservation is significant. Being in this category, you can get the best of education, in the best of institutes, can work in the best of the companies, you can enjoy all the financial security which you wish for but at the end, you will have caste identity which they will look down on.

And, that is the brutal truth. This rationale of ‘ST friend of mine with MacBook’ stems from the fact that this one instance of ST category person having financial security defies their existing image of the tribal people.

It’s like, their mind revolts when they see this. How on earth, a reserved category person is supposed to have materialistic things. Aren’t they supposed to be poor? What is this outlier?

The idea behind reservation provisions is that our society must be founded on equality to ensure social order. It is a hard-won right enshrined in Nepal’s constitution that requires the government to ladder. So, I think this clarity has to be there.

So next time when your friend talks about it. Let them know that it was about our voices. Ask them the reason why there is no Adivasis Janajati in Judiciary, or media, or academia. Why were your ancestors not given access to this domain?

Today few among many intellectuals argue that removing the” creamy layer” will ensure actual representation and actual voice of people and the expectation of the constitution can be met only if the need is prioritized over caste or class for reservation,” reads the Supreme Court verdict, which raises several burning questions.

But those who have followed Nepal’s political process and reservation issues closely say the court’s verdict fails to embrace the spirit of the constitution and the ground reality.

Since discrimination in Nepal stems from the caste system, as it prevents various communities from access to state mechanisms, education and various other sectors, reservation and affirmative action should not be reviewed yet.

Women are asking for reservations. Have they ever raised the issue that relatively better-off women should not get a political reservation?

Because they are discriminated against based on gender, poor or non-poor. The reservation policy type of affirmative action is against discrimination; it is not based on economic consideration because the discrimination is independent of your economic standing and if it was made just the rich versus poor issue, then the dominant group that had enjoyed the patronage of the state, would again enjoy privileges and benefits at the cost of other groups.

The idea behind reservation provisions is that our society must be founded on equality to ensure social order. It is a hard-won right enshrined in Nepal’s constitution that requires the government to ladder. So, I think this clarity has to be there.

Additionally, the economically better-off also faces discrimination, in service and many other spheres. They also need a safeguard and that safeguard is the affirmative action policy.

Don’t give them economic advantages but one cannot extend this argument to say reservation should be withdrawn for the better-off. Henceforth one needs to understand the point academically too.

(Views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Khabarhub’s editorial stance).

Publish Date : 09 December 2021 08:21 AM

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