Unemployment and reservation are the issues that are intrinsically connected with the very existence of the youth. Their importance in the lives of the young can be seen in the fact that because of these two reasons lakhs of youth are undergoing the agony of mental stress, leading to even suicide. For the government this may be a matter of mere statistics and for the politicians a means to gathering votes, but for the youth it is a matter of their life and death.
The status of being unemployed torments all in equal measure irrespective of caste or creed. Statistics tell that the number of the unemployed is increasing every year and by the year 2006 it had gone to twenty crores. The government is spending about 200 crores every year on their registration and training but is unable to provide them employment. Out of about 5 crore applicants for government jobs only about 70000 are able to get jobs. The position of women is not much better. Out of 1 crore 7 lakhs women applicants only 27000 are able to secure employment. For this reason the people are feeling disenchanted with the government and its offices.
But while the people are tired of the government, the government is not tired of the people. After all, the future governments are to be formed on the vote strength of these very people. So to appease and lure certain sections, it has raised the issue of reservation. The real motive behind this reservation policy is known to everybody. Howsoever the ministers and politicians may harp on social harmony, the reality is different. Social harmony comes only by believing in and practicing the dictum of "All castes and creeds are one … All humanity
Historically reservation for the first time was introduced in the Madras Presidency in 1918 for some select communities. The 1935 Poona Pact introduced reservation in the legislative bodies. When India became independent, the policy of reservation was adopted as a provisional measure. But it has continued endlessly. In 1989, V.P. Singh government accepted Mandal Commission Report on OBC reservation which had been submitted in 1980. In 1989-90 the whole country witnessed anti-reservation agitation. In 1992 the Supreme Court removed the legal hurdles in its implementation. In 1993 reservation was extended to central government services and now the present government has introduced it for admission to IITs and IIMs. There is increasing demand that reservation system be extended even to the private sector. Presently 50% and even more positions are reserved.
Today a great debate is on about the pros and cons of reservation, whether it is right or wrong. Everyone has his own viewpoint on this issue, his own logic. They all may be right in one way or the other but if we scrutinize the diverse views the sum total is that the thinking horizon of almost all of them is narrow and parochial. The arguments revolve around the caste, religion and vote factors but the human aspect remains unaddressed; whereas the human consideration should take precedence over the caste consideration. We are human beings first and then only Hindu, Muslim, high caste or low caste. Each one of us feels hunger the same way, each one of us needs clothing and shelter. Items of comfort or luxury may not be required but the basic necessities of life should be available to everyone. This is the pain of the unemployed. Of whatever caste or creed they too need means of livelihood.
Coming back to reservation, this issue is directly linked with employment opportunities. Even while not being critical of it, this humble plea can surely be advanced that the basis of reservation needs rethinking. Not all the upper caste persons are rich, nor all lower caste people deprived or poor. Media reports often highlight the opulent living styles of scheduled or backward caste ministers and politicians; reporters calculate how many crores have been sunk in their bathrooms alone. Then there are the so called deprived sections who are always engrossed in exploiting others. They are so powerful that no one can dare to maltreat or exploit them. Why should their sons and daughters get the privilege of reservation meant for the really deprived?
The young generation simply wants that the matters of employment and reservation should incorporate human element. If this is done, the logical conclusion would be to make economic status the basis of reservation. One more idea could be to increase the quantum of reservation from 50% to 100%, i.e. in the reservation ambit all communities of the country be included and their representation determined according to their population strength. This whole reservation conundrum is such that there is very real and daunting danger of vertically its splitting the whole society into caste compartments.
Social harmony and equality is important for the unity and progress of the country, but it is a wrong presumption that this ideal can be through reservations. It has definitely not been achieved during the last 60 years since independence. To achieve this objective it is essential to break the obsolete traditions and wrong beliefs prevalent in the society. The Yug Nirman Mission is doing this very work silently. Social equality will be ushered in by bread and marriage relations, not by reservation. In the Yug Nirman Mission, bread relations between different castes are the normal thing; inter-caste marriages are also increasing. This is the way to spread social harmony. In this mission even the Brahmin parijans
enthusiastically perform tasks that are normally associated with lower castes. Conversely, the scheduled caste and tribe workers wear the yagyopavit (the sacred thread) and perform brahminical duties.
The policy makers of the country should know that the young generation will never forgive their cunningness. Talent is a national asset and employment opportunity a national obligation. Talents are not born in specific castes only; wherever they are they should receive patronage and opportunity. It was the tragic truth
of a bygone era that some Eklavya was cheated into gifting away his thumb, or some Karna was taunted disparagingly as sutputra (son of a low caste charioteer). But the time-spirit spares none. The deceiver of Eklavya, Dronacharya, himself had to die through deceit, and that too at the hands of his favourite disciple Arjunas relative. Those who treated Karna unfairly had to become victims of unfairness themselves. The glory of Eklavya and Karna, on the other hand, remains undiminished even today.
Wisdom demands that past mistakes not be repeated, nor current policies be made with a vindictive attitude. Be it Arjun, Eklavya or Karna – all should get equal opportunity whatever be their caste, class or creed. It would be better if the youth of the country themselves come forward to frustrate the evil designs of the wily and shortsighted persons across the political spectrum. They should neither segregate themselves into castes nor allow the divisive forces to succeed.
It is the duty of the youth to ensure that wherever be the talent it receives fullest opportunity to blossom forth. Similarly wherever be poverty or hunger, no effort should be spared in removing it. For this we should not keep looking up to the governments only, and must formulate our own suitable plans of action and self-reliance.