The Gowda Saraswath Brahmin (GSB) community
supported providing discriminatory reservation when it
was introduced by the government of India, to those
belonging to SC, ST, and OBC categories in the fields
of education, jobs, and many other spheres of life.
But now after more than five decades of such positive
action by the Government of India, the GSB people
have become weary of this reservation policy.
Although it is true that the GSB people enjoyed many
benefits because of their caste in the past, the GSB
community is no more placed at an advantage because
of their caste at present.
GSB caste is not a Schedule Caste nor a Schedule
tribe. It is not even an OBC i.e. Other Backward Caste.
It is included in the general category which means the
people belonging to this caste do not need the benefits
of reservations. Often the people belonging to general
category are 'Forward people'.
Although GSBs are included in the general category
there are many members in this community that are
The reservation policy pertains only to the economic
backwardness and not to the racial backwardness. The
race and the caste are inter-related if one goes deep in
the history of evolution of different castes in India. The
important castes in India were Brahmin, Kshathriya,
Yaishya and Shoodra.
The Kings who were from the Aryan race and many
of the soldiers were included in the Kshathriya caste.
The merchants and the land-owners who belonged to
Aryan-like races were included in the Yaishya caste.
Brahmin caste people also were from the Aryan-like
races but the families belonging to the Brahmin caste
were poor in terms of material assets but rich in
knowledge. Shoodra is not a caste at present. Those
belonging to the erstwhile Shoodra caste are now
recognised by names which are included in the
Schedule caste and Schedule tribe lists.
The reservation policy was initiated in India after
Independence and not before. After Independence in
1947, the Indian Parliament passed resolutions and
made amendments to the Constitution passing Acts to
facilitate reservations for backward people in education
and in jobs. The government of India identified the
names given to groups of people based on their
occupation as the castes. These names were
recognised as caste names. Most of the people who
belonged to non-Brahmin and non-Kshathriya castes
are in the list of Schedule castes (SC). Those groups
who had avocations like live-stock breeding, forest
produce business, black-smithy, washer man, oil-man,
pot-making, hauler, cleaner, copper-brass utensils
making, gun and gun-powder manufacture, and sundry
labour usually belonged to the Schedule tribe (ST) list.
Those non-Brahmin and non-Kshathriya castes who are
not listed in the SC or ST lists are now proposed to be
listed in the Other Backward Castes.
The reservation policy of the government brought in
a significant economic upward movement in the lives of
SC, ST and OBC people. There was reservation
introduced in the election of legislators for the central
governing body known as the parliament and in the
state governing body know as the state assembly.
|CASTE AND RESERVATION
By Mohan Shenoy
Adyar Gopal Parivar
|News Items published on this website in the past
|Caste and Reservation
By Mohan Shenoy
Later it was introduced in the lower governing
bodies such as those of district, town, and village. This
reservation policy resulted in the power of governance
pass on to those people who belonged to SC, ST and
OBC categories since they formed the majority among
the population of India.
Therefore the Brahmin and Kshathriya caste people
retained their higher status only in name. Very few
Brahmins or Kshathriyas were able to get the top posts
in the central or state governments.
Thus the Brahmin caste people had to compete with
SC, ST and OBC people for seats in educational
institutions, for jobs in government and for election as
office bearers in local governing bodies. They
commonly lost because of the reservation policy and
not due to lack of merit.
Although the SC, ST and OBC have risen to higher
levels, and do not appear to need affirmative action, the
reservation policy has not been discontinued. The
policy-making is on democratic methods and therefore
the SC, ST and OBC majority in policy-making bodies
such as the parliament and state assemblies voted for
continuing the reservation policy decade after decade.
There is no chance that the reservation policy will be
ended in future, even after a century, it seems, i.e.,
even in the year 2100.
Now it is common knowledge that the Brahmins and
Kshathriyas are not all 'forward people'. Only a name of
the caste does not signify if there are any weaker
members within the community. There are many
weaker members in the GSB community and if a survey
is taken it will be realized that there are more weaker
members in the GSB community now than there are in
the SC, ST or OBC communities. Only a survey using
the same parameters of living standards for all people
regardless of their caste can reveal the truth. The
members in our GSB community now need support in
the manner that SC, ST, and OBC communities are
We take pride in being called a forward community
and do not wish to seek reservation on the basis of our
caste. But we do not want to be discriminated because
of our caste, and not be counted for admission in
educational institutions or for providing jobs, in spite of
being eligible and being economically and educationally
backward. The present generation of SC, ST and OBC
communities have sufficiently advanced ahead of GSB
people to compete with in seeking seats in educational
institutions and in jobs, etc., owing to the reservation
the former communities are granted. For example a SC
student will get the seat if she or he has obtained 75%
marks while a GSB student who has obtained 90%
marks will be denied a seat because of reservation.
Therefore instead of increasing quotas for those people
who were formerly backward and weak, the reservation
policy should be gradually tapered off and ended within
a specified period of time.
As I said before, it is unlikely that the majority of the
SC, ST and OBC legislators and others who want their
votes to stay in power will not scrap the reservation
policy for years and years to come.