10 Percent EWS Reservation And The Unreserved Shudras


After the central Government has reserved 10 percent seats to the castes of general category the Andhra Pradesh Government brought out a GO allocating 5 percent of the seats and jobs to only Kapu community of the state. The remaining 5 percent is meant for the other unreserved castes. As it is well known that the Kapus have been fighting for reservation on the lines of Gujjars, Jats, Patels and Marathas. Earlier the Maharastra Government has reserved 16 percent seats and jobs for Marathas within that state. That is over and above the 50 per cent SC/ST/OBC quota. How they will go about its implementation is not known.

The state of Gujarat declared that it would implement the 10 percent reservation immediately. But would it benefit the Patels who were agitating for so long?

What this package would do to Shudra unreserved castes is not really known. It would club the historically educated communities like Brahmins, Banias, Kayasthas, Kathris with the Shudra agrarian communities which lived in the rural hinter lands, with no access to quality English medium education.

The Shudra agrarian communities historically were illiterate tillers of the lands, cattle herders, artisans, who did not have the right to education till the British came to India. They did not have even the right to property till 16thcentury. A section of the Shudra land owners and some of them getting into the landlord category was about two hundred years. Their landholding continued with illiteracy itself for centuries.

Even the Shudra landlords were not given the right to educate their children in Sanskrit during the Hindu period. During the Muslim rule they did not get Persian language education also. Only after the British opened schools in India the Shudra social forces, whether landed or landless, have got the right to go to school. Mahatma Jotirao Phule of the Bombay Province was the first English and Marati educated Shudra in a structured school.

The definition ‘educationally and socially backward people’ in article in Article 15(4) of the Indian constitution applies even to Shudra landed castes, apart from Dalits/Tribals/OBCs .

It says “Article 15 shall not prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes”.

When that very definition ‘socially educationally backward’ in article 15 was not providing enough scope for reservation they also incorporated in Article 16 (4) “Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State”

The entire Shudra communities of India including the Patels,jats, Gujjara, Marathas, Kapus, Reddys, Kammas, all the Shudras of Bengal and so on come under the category of “socially and educationally backward” classes. Though they have a section of landlords and regional political power controllers among them , vast number of them still are agrarian labour and live in unorganized sectors.

If these community youth (girls and boys) are asked to compete with Brahmins, Banias, Kayasthas and Khatris of North India in the central services, who have the heritage of (now) English education, earlier Persian schooling and earlier to that Sanskrit educational roots ( they could be rich or poor in economic terms), the Shudras can never compete. This is what happened for all these Shudra unreserved communities in open category education and job sectors after the Mandal reservation came into force.

The unreserved seats in education, jobs in the Government sector were taken over by the Brahmins, Banias, Kayasthas, and Khatris in central services and educational institutions. The Shudra upper layer realized this in the recent past and started agitations for reservations.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s when the B.P.Mandal Commission was studying the castes and communities for the purpose of including them in the reserved category, the Shudra landlords from these communities thought it would be below their dignity to include their castes in the reservation list.

Many of them were considering themselves as ‘Neo-Ksatriyas’ as M.N.Srinivas said, they were on the course of Sanskritization or Brahminization. This is when some of them became vegetarian also. They became main recruitment source for the Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh, as it has projected them as great Hindus and asked them to give up meat eating.

As the feudalism slowly disintegrated and India moved into global capitalist market in the phase of globalization and liberalization the non-reserved Shudras fell backward. They realized that in the central structures like All India Services, Central Universities, Central Institutes of repute like IITs, IIMs even the former Shudra landlord youth could not get seats and jobs. One can verify this in all such centers even now.

The Hindu religion that claimed them as part has not been allowing them the priesthood status (as they were not dwijas—jenevu wearing Hindus) and not allowing them philosophical positions that interpret the Hindu scriptures. The RSS and its allied Hindu organizations used them as muscle power against Muslims and Christians but never fought for all round reforms in Hinduism.

The Sangh Parivar forces were very silently practicing Varnadharma, both in the organization and not demanding the religious schools and temples give them all religious positions.

The top positions in RSS like Sarsanchalk and other ideological leadership were carefully retained in the hands of Brahmins. The Banias were given a significant place because of their capital control.

For the Shudra upper layer 1967, in which year, some Shudra regional forces came to political power, to 2014 the RSS came to power with a total control of the national state power, it was a realization period. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah got the present positions because of their proximity to big industries of India. Without Adani and Amabani these two would not have come to Delhi. The RSS surrendered to capital more than Hindu gods.

After 2014 even the regions where the Shudras like Marathas (Maharastra), Yadavs and Dalits (in UP), Jats (in Hariyana ) and other lower castes (in Rajasthan) were removed from power and the RSS insider Ksatriyas, Brahmins, Banias were brought to power. Mohan Bhagwat (Brahmin), Modi, Amit Shah (Bania) and Yogi Adityanatha (Ksatriya in the yogi garb) all are being directed by the Indian big capital.

The Shudra landlord authority was finished. Global capitalist Hindu Brahmin-Bania-Ksatriya authority was fully established.

The RSS- BJP pro-capitalist agenda was benefiting the Banias and Brahmins as they were controlling the hardware and software industrial economy to the tune of 92 percent. And the globalized Mall service sector is also in their hands. The former landlord Shudras did not become industrialists nor were controlling the service sector. The agrarian sector, in which the Shudras operate, got completely tied to the industry and Mall economy. Their self employment potential got destroyed.

If the post Independent Government resource and private ownership industry was mooted by Dhirubhai Amabni (Bania) the Government helped software industry was mooted by N.R. Narayana Murthy (Brahmin) of South India.

The English educated Brahmin-Banias made use of the state sector and also the private sector job opportunities to their full. The media was also by and large in their hands.

For example, the Pranay Roy initiated private TV sector employed many English educated Brahmin-Bania-Kayastha men and women, but even the landlord Shudras around Delhi could not get into that sector. The print media situation is known. Their lack of English educational and concomitant social backwardness is the reason, apart from biases.

In this whole process sophisticated English medium education in the private high fee schools played a critical role. Even the landlord Shudras living in the hinter rural setting could not send their children to the urban high end English medium schools. They remained in the regional language and low standard education.

Slowly their landlordism slipped into rich peasant hood and after globalization took over they lost that richness out of peasant hood. Their sons and daughters got struck in the regional language education and rural rustic life.

The RSS recruited many of them into its fold and used them for vote mobilization and for the anti-Muslim campaign. Militant Hindutva leaders like Modi and Amit Shah became their heroes. But after they came to power, particularly after the demonetization and GST, both of them planned to serve the big industrialist and mass Mall service economy and made them realize that they are nowhere now.

This is when they realized that they are not Neo-Ksatriyas but Neo-OBCs. Their Sanskritization mask is being torn. They began to move into what I call Dalitization process. This is the reason why many Shudra castes want to move into SC category also. This is a disturbing trend for the RSS.

But the RSS/BJP medicine of 10 percent reservation does not benefit the unreserved Shudras unless they ask for categorization of that pool on population basis. In North Indian, more particularly, the Brahmins, Banias, Kayasthas and Khatris, with less than 8 lakh annual income are also very well English educated force. They are also huge in number. They take all the seats and jobs as it was happening in the 50 percent open category earlier. If the rich among them got seats and jobs then, even relatively poor will get 10 percent seats and jobs now.

The agitations for reservation, by the unreserved Shudras, would not get any benefit with this 10 percent EWS quota. The top leadership of the RSS/BJP knows this well.

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is a political theorist, social activist and author of many books, the latest being From Shepherd Boy to an Intellectual—My Memoirs

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