“Jiski Jitni Sankhyaa Bhaari, uski utne kee Bhaagidaari!” – Manyawar Kanshi Ram jee 

caste census in india

“Equitable representation of each group/community (in all power structures of the society).”

“How can anyone (in the right mind, today, in the age of democracy), question the soundness of the above slogan (which is the essence of democracy)?”

What do “Democracy” with “universal suffrage” mean?

The word “democracy” has been derived from “demos,” which means “the people” in the Greek language, and the word “keratin,” meaning “to rule”. Thus democracy means “people’s rule/power”.

Today the concept of “Universal suffrage” has been accepted in most democratic countries. It extends the right to vote to all adult citizens, regardless of wealth, income, gender, social status, race, ethnicity, political stance, religion, caste, degrees earned by individuals or their performance in some competitive exams, or so-called merit or intelligence, or any other restriction/qualification. And it endows all adults with “one person one vote of equal value.” A straightforward corollary of the said proposition ( about “one person … equal value”) is: If all adults have equal power, it must translate into a proportional representation of various groups in conformity with the group’s numerical size.

But power does not lie in the political arena alone. The power lies in bureaucratic, educational, judicial, police, military, media, land and economic institutions, etc. as well, aside from political institutions. Hence in all institutions, all groups must be equitably represented (at all power levels) for a truly democratic society.

Further, all officers of a democratic government occupy a position of power for the sake of the welfare of the people. What would be a better way of doing that, than making these people themselves responsible for bringing about welfare to the people, distributing uniformly the power to do welfare to the people themselves? If that responsibility is given to the elites, they are more likely to try to keep the deprived even more deprived, lest the underprivileged, and/or their progenies, may become equal to the elites and start competing with elites and their children for plum jobs of responsibility. There are ample examples that show that the elites of a society are not only less interested in the general well-being of the masses, but they are also more interested in keeping the masses deprived, oppressed, and less educated.

In the USA, the rich are, by and large, more likely to be Republican, least interested in the general welfare of the people, and least supportive of things like Medicare for all, social security, free quality education for all, and so forth. Likewise, the privileged/dominant/upper castes in India can be seen to have joined BJP-RSS in hordes, possibly 95% of them. No one can doubt that BJP-RSS is the most reactionary force in India today. They are gutting most public institutions in India, closing down more and more government schools and colleges. Except for sporadic periods of time, the above-mentioned tendency of the elite being regressive, reactionary, and conceited abound in history.

Dr. A.K. Biswas, has a well-researched article: “Mass Education of Bengal: A critique on bi-centennial Birth Anniversary of Vidyasagar” in online Mainstream Weekly. (http://mainstreamweekly.net/article10094.html)

In the above-mentioned article, he has clearly described how Indian elites (privileged/dominant/upper caste individuals) have always been against education for the masses. In fact, ‘Dhol Ganwar Shudra Pashu Nari Sakal Taadana Ke Adhikari,’ and other such maxims in the Indian scriptures are a testament to the fact that elites (Brahmans) among the elites (the dominant castes) have been most retrograde, harkening us back to the dark ages. In light of all of these facts, why should we continue to use the kind of tests in which these elites, by virtue of their environment, money, connection, and power, are likely to have a leg up over other common people?

There are a number of authors in the West who are questioning the glorification of “meritocracy”. Here are just a few:

“The Meritocracy Trap: How America’s Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite,” by Daniel Markovits, 2019.

“Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy,” Christopher Hays,

“The Meritocracy Myth,” Stephen J. McNamee, 2004, 2009, 2013, 2018.

“Against Meritocracy: Culture, power, and myths of mobility,” Jo Littler, 2018.

We could quote many things from the above references to justify the fact that “merit” should not be the prime consideration in handing out positions of power to individuals. An unfortunate aspect of the above-mentioned references is that they have not suggested the criteria for handing out positions of power to individuals. All four of the above-mentioned authors have lived in countries that do not have a good version of list-PR (list-party-Proportional Representation system of election), and they have not studied closely. (The first three are Americans, while Jo Littler is British.) I think that if they had studied list-PR critically, they might have concluded that a good version of list-PR may be a good tool for handing out positions of responsibility and power to the people in society. Electing individuals to legislatures has already been proven to be far better than the other common way of holding elections, variously called, FPTP (first-past-the-post system), Plurality system, and Winner Take All (WTA) system. A good version of list-PR, suitable for handing out positions of power can certainly be synthesized for handing out other positions of power. We will critically analyze and try to synthesize a good version of list-PR in another article.

By embracing the slogan “Jiski Jitni Sankhyaa Bhaari, uski utne kee Bhaagidaari,” whole-hog, Rahul Gandhi has not only shaken the hate-based BJP-RSS Raj, but he has also opened a new chapter in the ongoing independence movement of India.

“Der aaye, durust Aaye” = Came (home) a bit late, but came in good shape! All power to Rahul Gandhi!

For feedback, please respond with the subject title: “Jiski jitni sankhya bhari!”

Dr. Satinath Choudhary is a retired professor of Computer Science

email: [email protected]

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