Analyzing the ‘OBC-Minority’ Sub-Quota--Part III

Khalid Anis Ansari

Continued from here.


4.5% Sub-Quota for OBCs within Minorities: The ‘policy’ and ‘technical’ dimensions

Let me state right at the outset that the recent 4.5% sub-quota was not a demand raised by the pasmanda movement but rather is informed by the second recommendation of the Ranganath Mishra Report which is as follows: “[…] we recommend that since according to the Mandal Commission Report the minorities constitute 8.4 percent of the total OBC population, in the 27 percent OBC quota an 8.4 percent sub-quota should be earmarked for the minorities with an internal break-up of  6 percent for the Muslims (commensurate with their 73 percent share in the total minority population at the national level) and 2.4 percent for the other minorities […]” (Justice Ranganath Mishra 2007, 153). That is why the statement of the Minister of Minority Affairs in Lok Sabha on 28th December 2011 is misleading when it suggests that: “For several years, members of other backward classes belonging to religious minorities have been demanding that a separate quota should be earmarked for them out of the 27 percent reserved for OBCs” (Ministry of Minority Affairs 2011). Quite clearly this was never a pasmanda demand but is much closer to the second recommendation of the Ranganath Mishra Commission to be considered in case the first recommendation of a blanket 10% reservation for all Muslims faced any ‘insurmountable obstacles’! With this opening remark let me first of all examine the major objections to the sub-quota raised by various sections.


Analyzing the ‘OBC-Minority’ Sub-Quota--Part II

Khalid Anis Ansari

Continued from here.


The Muslim Quota Debate

The recent lower caste movements within the non-Hindu religions like Islam, Christianity and Sikhism have foregrounded the presence of caste-based differentiation and discrimination within these communities in the public sphere. As far as the Muslims are concerned the caste cleavages within them were duly recognized by the Sachar Committee Report when it remarked quite unambiguously: 'Thus, one can discern three groups among Muslims: (1) those without any social disabilities, the ashrafs; (2) those equivalent to Hindu OBCs, the ajlafs, and (3) those equivalent to Hindu SCs, the arzals. Those who are referred to as Muslim OBCs combine (2) and (3)" (Sachar, 2006, p. 193; emphasis added). Apart from these three groups there is a small section of Muslim adivasis (STs) as well.

As earlier mentioned the backward (ajlaf/shudra) and dalit (arzal) caste groups among Muslims have been organising themselves under the rubric of the Pasmanda Movement since 1990s and have challenged the ashraf hegemony in Muslim politics. One of the most contentious issues on which the pasmanda and ashraf Muslims have struggled against each other in this period has been the issue of reservations for Muslims (K. A. Ansari 2011). In this context the ideologues of the pasmanda movement have consistently argued that the ashraf (upper caste) Muslims cannot be included within the reservation policy for OBCs as they do not qualify as a 'socially and educationally backward community' (SEBC) required for the purposes of granting reservations under Articles 16 (4) and 15 (4) of the Indian Constitution. In contrast, the ashraf sections have either raised the demand of a separate quota for all Muslims or have tried to sneak into the existing OBC lists through various means (Yadav and Ansari 2011). Both these moves have been strongly contested by the pasmanda organizations. But before taking this discussion further it would be pertinent to point out at the guidelines and positions of the Supreme Court on this contentious issue as expressed in the Mandal (Indra Sawney) Judgment (1992).


'I Have a Dream' for Dalits of India

Pardeep Attri

(Pardeep had penned down this inspiring dream for the new year, but it is equally appropriate for the Republic Day-- Round Table India)

There is no nation of Indians in the real sense of the world; it is yet to be created. In believing we are a nation, we are cherishing a great delusion. How can people divided into thousand of castes be a nation? The sooner we realize that we are not yet a nation, in a social and psychological sense of the world, the better for us. – Dr B R Ambedkar.

As all of us welcome the year 2012 and greet each other with open arms, I visualise a dream. I have always said that I am a dreamer. Yes, I do have a dream, a dream (Begumpura) like the one that Guru Ravidas saw about 650 years ago for everyone, or like the dream (Utopia) that nourished Dr Ambedkar or I have a dream like the one Martin Luther King Jr. saw for the blacks of America. Here is my dream for Dalits of India, almost along the same lines as the dreams Guru Ravidas, Dr Ambedkar, Martin Luther King Jr., and many others saw for a better world.



Analyzing the ‘OBC-Minority’ Sub-Quota


Khalid Anis Ansari


The recent announcement of a 4.5% sub-quota for backward sections within minorities in the overall Central OBC quota by the UPA government on 22nd December, 2011 in the wake of elections in five states, including the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, has drawn in a number of reactions, some valid and others not. Even though the media has often presented the sub-quota as one for the Minorities, or in extreme cases a quota for Muslims by default, thereby providing wind to the wings of the votaries of a hegemonic bipolar politics (Congress vs. BJP) revolving on a secularism-communalism axis, there can be nothing further from the truth. As we know a number of backward caste groups from the minority sections were already included in the Central OBC list and were availing the benefits of reservations from 1993 onwards. What the UPA government has done is to club together all these already recognized and enlisted backward caste groups within minorities (especially, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs) into a 4.5% sub-quota, thereby by default reserving the remaining 22.5% for OBCs within the majority community (Ministry of Minority Affairs 2011). While this move has been received with much speculation by the intended beneficiaries so far, it has also met a number of criticisms from the BJP and a few other OBC groups. There are broadly two aspects to this debate: one, the policy (or technical) dimension, and, two, the political dimension. But before I take up these two aspects, an indicative description of the larger transformations in Indian democracy would be helpful in making sense of this recent move by the Congress Party.


Caste atrocity in Lathor: Over 50 Dalit homes burnt by upper castes


Jadumanilion Boudha & Dhammachari Ratnakumar

An incident involving a small boy led to horrific caste violence in Lathor, Balangir district of Odisha, leaving 50 Dalit families homeless and destitute. On January 22, 2012, at around 3.00pm, Ganesh Suna, a 9th class dalit boy went to a shop to buy a new shirt, which he wore over the shirt he was already wearing. After he left the shop, the shopkeepers Bharat Meher and his brother Daya Meher, called him back and accused him of being a thief and beat him. When the boy was returning home helplessly, he met an old man Gouranga Suna and told him about the incident. Gouranga Suna asked the shopkeepers: why did you beat the boy? If he has stolen the shirt we can pay the money for that but you should not have beaten him. But, the shopkeepers did not listen to him and instead beat the old man (Gouranga Suna) too with their footwear. The old man reported to his family members, and then 4-5 youth from the Dalit community went to the shop and fought with them. These are the facts as they occurred at the beginning of the incident. And this set of events seems to have fueled the feeling of hatred of the upper castes (Savarna) against the Dalits (Asavarna).


In reaction to this incident, the upper castes took advantage of being in a heavy majority over the Dalit minority, and attacked the Dalits with their weapons, sticks, and muscle power. Because the Dalit were in a minority, they could not face the violent force of the upper caste mob. So they tried to save themselves from this brutal violence and ran way from their homes. Some Dalit men went into the forest, some went to the nearest villages and some women saved themselves in other untouchable Ghasia Vasti (Scavenger colonies).


In this way, the upper castes created terror among the Dalits. The violent upper caste mob even looted gold ornaments and expensive materials from the Dalit homes. They burnt all the certificates of the students and other kinds of valuable documents. At the same time, they abused all the Dalit women with derogatory language. The upper caste traders, like Marwadi Agrawals, even distributed liquor and petrol freely to burn the Dalit houses. Meanwhile, some Dalits tried to register an F.I.R., in the Lathor police station, but the police refused to register the case and were unable to handle the catastrophic situation. The violence in the wake of the incident became very serious, and so uncontrollable that no one was able to stop the upper castes; the mob even beat up a local news reporter of Kanak TV and threatened the Dharitri reporter, Bhubaneswar Barik. The upper caste mob marched on the roads and blocked all traffic; they burnt tyres on the road and dug up the road so that all vehicles and communication towards Lathor was stopped.


Buddhism and Politics in Uttar Pradesh: Recent Developments (Part II)


Shiv Shankar Das

( Continued from here)

shiv_shankar_das_copyThe promotion of Buddhist cultural symbols in public sphere by Mayawati led government is driven by the following three strong factors.

1. The Ideology of Kanshi Ram (1934-2006): Cultural Change is a Durable Change

Kanshi Ram's ideology to emancipate the Bahujan Samaj is very important to understand the present nexus between Buddhism and politics. He defines three ways to emancipate the Bahujan Samaj, viz. 1. social action (awakening to induce arousal which is a short term solution), 2. political action (to strengthen an independent political party for 85% people of the country, the dalit-soshit sections, which would be a long term solution) and 3. cultural changes and control (a durable solution by which anti-caste culture should be promoted by the dalit-soshit people)12. In his own words: 'to usher in the  Bright Age, will be the toughest task before us, before this generation or even before the coming generations. It will need a complete cultural change and an altogether different control (controlled by the victims of the present system). Only such thing can bring about a durable solution.'13


"I am not a slave and don't make me a slave"- Annan Pasupathi Pandian, a tribute


Ravi Chandran

(With editorial suggestions from Kuffir)


This article is an attempt to bring together information about the Dalit revolutionary leader Pasupathi Pandian, who was brutally murdered a couple of days ago (January 10, 2012). Since only bits and pieces of news material is available on him, I tried to gather some information from the internet and by talking to a few Arunthathiyar friends. Most of the news reports refer to him as a reputed Dalit leader, however, a few Dalit leaders reject that claim and say he was just a rowdy. This is a small attempt from my side to throw some light on Mr. Pasupathi Pandian's life from an Arunthathiyar perspective.

Every individual has a history which is influenced mostly by the society surrounding him/her. Therefore it is very important to construct or look at a person's history-- where he lived, what he saw and experienced.


Buddhism and Politics in Uttar Pradesh: Recent Developments


Shiv Shankar Das


Abstract: The present research note highlights the relationship and the reasons behind the association between the lower caste politics and Buddhism in Uttar Pradesh, the most populated state in India next only to China, United States, Brazil and Russia. There are three reasons behind this association. First, the currently ruling Bahujan Samaj Party's founder Kanshi Ram's ideology of cultural change, secondly, the vision of lower castes' champion Dr. B. R. Ambedkar to make the country as a Prabudh Bharat (Buddhist India), and thirdly the compatible and advantageous growth rate of Buddhist community in the state due to conversion of lower castes.

Since a long period, the image of Uttar Pradesh has been that of a backward or 'sick state' in terms of economic and social development. Few developments indicates that it has started to take a new twist, as recently the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) credited the economic growth of Uttar Pradesh as on par with even the most developed states such as Gujarat, and others.1 Many vital economic parameters indicate the promising face of Uttar Pradesh. The planning ministry revealed that UP was among five states which had higher growth rates than their 11th Plan (2007-12) targets. Its GDP grew at 7.28% as against a target of 6.10%.2 In 2011, it was also awarded “best performing state in agriculture” by the Union Government. The state was rated as the best performing state in food grain production, clocking 47.138 million ton during 2010-11 and was given a cash prize of Rs. 2 crore, along with a trophy and a citation.3


Of Laws, Cows and People’s Mutinies: Will the beef ban in BJP-ruled states fuel a new Mutiny?


Cynthia Stephen

The Gau-Vansh Vadh Pratishedh (Sanshodhan) Vidheyak (Prohibition of slaughter of cow-progeny Bill) just passed in Madhya Pradesh empowers the government to prosecute any person found slaughtering a cow or even transporting the calf for the purpose of slaughter. Anyone found guilty of this act would face seven years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs 5000.

cow_judge_copyIn March 2010, the Karnataka assembly passed the The Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2010 by voice vote after uproarious scenes, and a four-hour acrimonious debate. All sections of the opposition were against the bill, which caused much consternation in Karnataka. One of the largest popular mobilizations in recent years was held in the Tasker Town grounds in March 2010 by a broad cross-section of progressives, minority groups and farmer's groups to protest the bill just as it was being discussed. It was passed by both houses but has not become law as the Governor has sent it for Presidential assent. According to the Deccan Herald, the bill prohibits slaughter of cattle, sale, usage and possession of beef, puts restriction on transport of cattle and also prohibits sale, purchase or disposal of cattle for slaughter. The offence is punishable with imprisonment not less than one year which may extend up to seven years or a fine between Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 or both; second and subsequent offence would attract a fine of not less than Rs 50,000 up to Rs one lakh along with imprisonment penalty.


4.5 Percent OBC Religious Minority Sub-quota: A Disservice To Secular Nationalism


Ashok Yadav

01. Overwhelming majority of population who have been discriminated against and oppressed on the basis of their caste identity since time immemorial and the history of bloody religious conflicts before, during and after independence in 1947 make social justice and secularism the two pillars on which the entire democratic structure of our country rests. In fact, social justice and secularism are twin concepts which can be separated from each other only by putting at risk the democratic polity. The action of communal forces to take out rath yatra after decision to implement Mandal commission recommendation by V P Singh government highlights hostility of communalism against social justice. The action of the then Bihar Chief Minister to arrest the rath yatri and resultant consolidation of his politics of social justice further highlights the interdependence of social justice and secularism and the support these two principles provide to our democratic polity.



Janlokpal bill: a brahmanic and patriarchal script (part 2)


Anu Ramdas 

Continued from here

Myth making traditions are uncannily similar in wars and movements of the dominant classes, even before the enemy has been clearly identified, weapons get fashioned. That the JLB is a weapon against the national 'enemy' is very clear. But who is this enemy? In other words, who are the corrupt against whom this massive weapon is to be deployed?


It is much easier to find the corrupt in the JLB than finding out what the authors mean by corruption. We meet the enemy on page 7. The corrupt here are neither the ones who are stripping our forests and ravaging the earth for ores, nor the forces that perpetually underpay and exploit women and the working classes, not those who keep significant numbers of citizens undernourished, starved, unsheltered, unclothed, deprived of basic rights and services, not those who make our stomachs churn with ostentatious 9 nine day wedding bashes, and definitely not the mafia and criminal gangs cited earlier. It turns out this document's creators have identified one category of workers: The public servants!


Janlokpal bill: a brahmanic and patriarchal script


Anu Ramdas

The Jan Lokpal bill is under 35 pages. The creators of this document successfully manufactured a 'revolution' out of this. The corporate media sold it as such, and some academics called it a 'movement'.

Media and academia largely did not comment on the contents of the document. Their preoccupation was with the leaders on the dais and the people on the Ramlila grounds.

In a caste ordered, rigidly patriarchal society like ours, exclusion of dalitbahujan men and women is the default status when socio-political changes are framed by upper-caste, male-dominated power groups, such as Kejriwal's team. Unless contested, this group of unelected civil society actors will not concede their male and caste privileges. Hence all their formulations have to be meticulously examined for their apparent and hidden biases against women and non-dominant castes.



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