The debate on affirmative action in India is long and not always geared to the desired aim: creation of equality of opportunity. Just like Indian secularism, reservation system in India has always a different political aim to make the system more unequal than what it is. Indian secularism, rather than making the state independent of religion, is intended to provide special privileges to certain religious groups. Similarly Indian affirmative system is politically designed to provide restricted rights not equal rights to some chosen people.
The affirmative action in India has started perhaps by Vice-Roy Curzon in 1905 by banning the employment of Hindu Bengalis in the government services; the official argument was that they were too advanced and taking away job opportunity from others particularly the Muslims. Later it was extended in the military services by giving preferential treatments for Muslims and Sikhs branding them as martial races. Reservations in government jobs were introduced in 1918 in Mysore in favor of a number of castes and communities that had little share in the administration. In 1909 and in 1919 similar reservation system was introduced for the Muslims in British India. In 1935, for pure political reason the British government has provided job reservation for the backward castes.
The real idea was to divide the population of India into several warring groups along religious, ethnic and caste lines by giving special rights so that future India would be divided and weak. A number of prominent politicians had acted as the agents of the British Raj to implement that line of action; the most prominent of them was Dr.B.R.Ambedkar. Although today he is considered to be one of the founding father of the Indian nation, writer of the constitution of India and the cult figure of the backward castes with four universities named after him, during the pre-independence years he took no part in the freedom movement. Instead just like E.V.R Perier of the Tamils, C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyar of Kerala, Jinnah and Mohammed Iqbal, he was one of the staunch ‘Empire Loyalists’ hand in glove with the British to divide up India along caste, religion and tribal line. The followers of the same person today include even the Indian communists, who, forgetting the essential of Marx-Lenin, are supporting job reservation along both castes and religious lines.
Equality of opportunity is the basis of a true democracy and as such affirmative actions are needed to equalize the opportunities among the people who are endowed differently. Even in the US, affirmative actions were promoted first by President Johnson since 1974 to promote American blacks, who were deprived of most opportunities. However, it was not a success. The countries where it was most successful are Japan, the Soviet Union and other former socialist countries of East Europe along with Cuba and Vietnam. India should take a lesson from them to implement a proper affirmative action to equalize opportunity in our society.
Affirmative action in the Soviet society:
The success of the Soviet society regarding affirmative action was observed by Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote:
” Throughout the ages, civilized communities have contained groups of nameless people. They toil most, yet theirs is the largest measure of indignity. They are deprived of everything that makes life worth living. I had often thought about them, but came to the conclusion that there was no help for them. …..In Russia at last. Whichever way I look I am filled with wonder. From top to bottom they are rousing everyone up without distinction” (in Letter from Russia).
Immediately after the revolution, Lenin proclaimed the affirmative action known as korenizatsiia to