Final Term Paper
Maratha Reservation and politics in Maharashtra.
Nilesh S Zagade
The Marathas who have traditionally positioned themselves as a warrior agriculturist cast, have a stranglehold on Maharashtra’s political leadership have always opposed reservations. Last few decades there are declining returns from agriculture that resulted a major impact on the larger majority of small and marginal Maratha farmers. The main demand of Maratha community is to Reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. Marathas demanding quota because education and accommodation in cities for education has become unaffordable. They also explaining to young person among the lower classes of Marathas has had no opportunities for higher education, no possibilities of migration to the cities for a better future, and certainly no avenues to new kinds of jobs. Several times in post-Independence India question have been raised on reservation and its true benefit percolated to sections that really need them. The politics of caste identity founded on reservation helps to push the economic problem facing the pore away from center (Pradipta Choudhari). This paper focus on raise of demand for Maratha reservation and political involvement around the issue. For this paper I will study newspaper article, Academic research papers, and books related to the issue.
Reservation Policy in India stands for setting aside jobs in government services and in public sector, seats in educational institutions, and in legislatures for backward classes like SC’s STs and OBC. The origin of protective discrimination policy in India is rooted in identification of certain groups in the society as underrepresented and marginalized. The first regions to experience political organization of lower castes were the small princely state of Kolhapur, the state of Mysore and the provinces of Madras. This was so far the first government order to provide reservation for certain sections of society, differentiating them on the basis of social, economic and educational backwardness. Second, In 1882 Jotirao Phule made a demand before Hunter commission for free and compulsory education for all along with proportionate reservation in government jobs. A critical movement in the history of reservation policy in India followed in 1932 with agreement between Ambedkar and Gandhi in Pune, popularly known a Poona Pact.
Indian constitution aim to serve interests of marginalized and deprived and deprived section to promote social equality and social justice. Constitution of India provide legitimacy to the principle of protective discrimination. Constitutional justification of the policy the state duty to strive for the welfare of the people in general and backward classes in particular. Under Article 16(A) and 320(4) and 333 positions in employment are reserved at all levels in the public services for the SCs and STs. Article 35 put the condition of the maintenance of efficiency of the administration for exercise of the reservation in jobs. Article 15(4) provide reservation of seats in the educational institutions. Further Article 330 and 332 provides reservation of seats in the Lok Sabha and State legislative Assemblies. As per 73rd and 74th amendment of the Indian Constitution seats are also reserved in Panchayat Raj institutions.
As state above the task of specifying and identifying OBC’s is arduous one which was left to the union and state governments. First, Accordingly in 1953, the Union government appointed Kelekar commission under the Article 340 of the Indian Constitution to identify and probe into their socio-economic conditions, which submitted its report in 1956, recommendations of which were not implemented by the Union government. Second, in 1978 Mandal commission was appointed to deal with the same issue that submitted its report in 1982, recommendations of which were implemented by Union government in 1990. It identified 3943 casted as OBS. The Supreme Court of India while adjudicating over a writ petition examined the issue in November 1992 and permitted the Union Government to reserve 27% jobs for the OBCs subject to exclusion of creamy layer among the OBCs. Finally, in 1992 V.P. Singh government decided to implement recommendations of Mandal commission for OBC reservations which spark violence in North India. The atmosphere especially through media, courts and universities was against the policy. The discussion was primarily centered on two issues, first that of sacrifice of merit and second appropriate criteria of backwardness. It was discussed largely that caste should not be considered as criterion of backwardness and deserving candidates irrespective of their caste must be given benefits of reservation.
The constitution of India directs the state to take special care to promote the interests of the weaker or disadvantaged sections of society and, in particular, the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. In pursuance of constitutional provisions the governments at the Union and State levels allocated funds for preferential welfare programs for the SCs, STs and Other Backward Classes (OBCs), provided for reservation of seats in educational institutions and jobs in government and all other organizations aided or managed by state. An outstanding feature of reservation policy in India is the reservations for the SC’s and STs in the Lok Sabha, in the Legislative Assemblies of the states and in elected councils of local government.
The Concept of Other Backward Classes:
Constitution of India decide to provide the reservation to the Other Backward Classes. The constitution mentions the term classes, not castes. However Backward castes in India are mainly those different communities which are known by the name of their hereditary occupation such as washer-man, barber, weaver, carpenter, potter, fisherman, blacksmith, goldsmith, oil-crusher and toddy-tapper besides a few middle castes primarily engaged in agriculture. Constitution defend the criteria for the identifying backward communities adopted by the First Backward Classes Commission of India included, firstly, Low social position in the traditional caste hierarchy of Hindu society. Secondly, Lack of general educational advancement among the major sections of a caste. Finally, inadequate representation in government services and in the fields of trade, commerce and industry. But as there is a legal restriction to keep reservation below 50 per cent and since 22.5 percent is already reserved for SCs and STs, the Commission recommended reservation of 27 per cent for the OBCs. The upper castes are about 15% of the population, the SC roughly 17% and the STs Make up 7% or so. The Backward Castes make the rest.
The Argument against reservation.
There are some argument for and reservation and against the reservation. Critics of the reservation policy most frequently argue that firstly, it undermines considerations of merit and competency in the services, secondly, it results into denial of opportunity to more qualified candidates, thirdly, it results into poor quality of government service, or poorer academic performance from the beneficiaries of reservation because it reduces the average competence standard of civil services entrants and reduces their incentive to perform well and their motivation to improve. Further it has been argued that it stimulates caste conflict in public institutions, thus harming teamwork and cooperation. More than half the state Government jobs are Reserved in Maharashtra, Scheduled Caste 13%, Scheduled Tribes 7 %, Other Backward Classes 19%, Denitrified and Nomadic Tribes 11%, Special Backward Class 2%. The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission had argued in 2008: Marathas are both economically and politically forward caste… Prakash Ambedka, says: Almost 3000 Marathas families in the state control 72 per cent of its land. And 171 families are politically dominant. A majority of the educational institutions held by Maratha leaders are for students of higher income families, poor people are left out he says. If Marathas are lacking in education and employment it also shows a leadership failure. According to a survey of over 9000 households in 300 villages by researchers for the University of British Columbia between November and May 2017, the Marathas are the majority caste in 41% of the villages, own the most land in 59% of the villages, are Pradhan’s in over 60% of villages where they can con contest, and when they own the majority of the land in an unreserved village, the Pradhan is more than 90% likely to be a Maratha.
The Argument For reservation.
The argument for reservation, suggest that the policy needs to be replaced by effective programmes to promote efficiency, merit and skill program among the weaker sections of society. Support reservation policy argue that it is a part of program to deliver compensatory social justice for communities that have long been denied equal treatment and equal opportunity. The argument of critics that policy undermines merit and efficiency in the organization is questioned by supporters with the claim that the whole process of selection in to services is not truly meritocratic. In Maharashtra natural resources re not equally distributed, it consist of four different regions the costal of Kokan, western Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Marathavada. Among these there is some regional variation. Until the reorganization of states in the Indian Union Vidarbha was attached to Madhya Pradesh and Marathavada formed a part of the erstwhile state of Hyderabad under Nezam. Economically and socially, these two regions have remained backward compared to Western Maharashtra which come under British rule much earlier. Also there are huge political and economic difference, in the Vatandar Marathas and non-Vatandar Marathas. The largest single group falling outside of the twentieth century Vatandar Marathas permitted Kunbi Marathas to claim full caste status and the term ‘Kunbi’ disappeared from common usage. They need to special attention. A senior NCP leader, who belongs to an OBC group, says Maratha reservation in employment and education will eventually become political reservation. The Maratha want to counter the growth of OBC in politics. A 27 per cent reservation has helped OBCs make inroads in village panchayats gram Sabha and corporation.
Political educational economical stronghold of Maratha community in Maharashtra.
Even a Fleeting glance at the State’s history reveals how deeply entrenched the community is in its political terrain. Of the 18 Chief Ministers in Maharashtra since 1960, as many as 10 have been Marathas, Including Y.B. Chavan, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Vasantdada Patil and Vilasrao Deshmukh. Even today, nearly half the State’s 228 MLAs are Marathas. Former chairman of the State Planning Board, – he points out the community also controls much of the state’s economy through the cooperative network. Most of the State’s sugar barons are Marathas. Nearly 70 per cent of the cooperative banks are controlled by them. They also control cooperative dairies, he said. The education barons who run flourishing medical and engineering colleges are also Maratha politicians. Their empire includes the Bharti Vidyapeeth, controlled by Minister Patangrao Kadam and Bihar Governor D.Y. Patil’s chain of collages.
Argument of Political leaders on Reservation.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis affirmed that the BJP led government in the state is “committed to providing reservation to the agitating Maratha community and taking the ongoing legal battle over the issue to its logical conclusion”.
“Reservation based on caste should be scrapped. The reservation should be given only for the economically backward.”—Raj Thackeray MNS chief.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar Meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pitched for “reservation for the Maratha Community without diluting quota for other communities”.
Tolaji Jadhav Meyekar who travelled from Vidarbha in Maharashtra to take part in the rally said, “We don’t have any problem with the Marathas demand for reservations, but it should not impact OBC reservations in any way.”
The Chief Minister cites a survey conducted by Industries Minister Narayan Rane to back the reservation. It clearly shows the community is socially and educationally backward he says. The survey claimed that while Marathas account for 32 per cent of population, only 12 per cent have access to higher education and 14.6 percent have government job.
Political gain for reservation
The Maratha social organization Sambhaji Brigade has announced that it will transform into a political party. It plans to contest the elections at the district level(zilla Prishad), and Brihanmumbai municipal corporation in early 2017, which is the richest municipal corporation in the country. Sambhaji Brigade is one of the many Maratha outfits that played an active role in the Maratha Kranti Morcha (Maratha Revolution March).
The opposition has been trying to gain political capital out of these marches, but till there is an election it is hard to say if it has succeeded.
Shiv Sena got the Highest Share of Maratha-Kunbi Votes in the 2014 Assembly polls. Siv Sena 29%, BJP 24%, NCP 17%, Congress 11%, others 19% percent of Maratha votes.”
Based on the all of the argument that mentioned that clear no one political leader opposing the demand of reservation, reservation should be based on need and economic backwardness.
No only Marathas in Maharashtra demanding for reservation. Also Patidars or Patels in Gugrat, Jats in Haryana and Kapus in Andhra Pradesh are also agitating for quota. All these castes are from the farming community and are relatively to be economically in better position. The reservation policy however, has been used in the State mainly in vote bank politics played around the castes and has failed in including the people at the bottom in the mainstream economy and society.
My argument regarding reservation to the reservation should not be the bases of the caste. To making my argument I want strong I want to bring our class discussion on caste that I feel relevant. That is to caste hierarchy and the class hierarchy not match. The caste of person not the criteria for defining the person is backward or not. There are another options, such as poverty, occupation. Reservation should be purely made on the basis of the economic conditions of the applicant and nothing else. Reservations are nothing but means to prosper the vote banks of politicians. They are hindering the country’s growth, development and competency in all aspects. The reservation policy however, has been used in the State mainly in vote bank politics played around the castes and has failed in including the people at the bottom in the mainstream economy and society.
1. The ‘Creamy Layer’: Political Economy of Reservations by Pradipta Chaudhury
2. The Politics of Not Counting Caste by SATISH DESHPANDE and MARY E JOHN
3. Backward Classes and the Census Putting the Record Straight by B K Roy Burman