STATE SANCTIFIED RESERVATION V. HERITAGE SPONSORED NEPOTISM

By- Abhishek Rohatgi

The death of actor– Sushant Singh Rajput has sparked a nationwide debate about nepotism in the cinema industry. Though the case is still under investigation, it has been speculated that the young actor committed suicide after facing a boycott from the Bollywood fraternity due to the fact that he was an ‘OUTSIDER’.

In simple terms, Sushant did not come from a Bollywood family. This theory of nepotism has spread like wildfire across various social media platforms and has since highlighted a very important facet of nepotism after people from different walks of life have shared their experiences – The ubiquity of nepotism in all walks of life.

We have seen instances of nepotism in Indian politics, popularly known as ‘CHACHA-BHATIJA-WAD’, where the heirs of a political party belong to the same family. We have witnessed nepotism in the Legal fraternity where internships are offered on the basis of who’s who instead of the merits of the applicant. But the question that is yet to be answered is – Is nepotism wrong?

The author feels that the answer to this question cannot be completely Black, or completely white, rather, it will be shades of grey, and certainly more than just fifty.

Let’s try to draw an analogy here. For example, it is very common for business empires to devolve on the kin of the owner after his death. Are thesekin of the previous owner, the most competent successors for the empire? Not always!  But this is something so common that no one really counts it as nepotism anymore.

Let’s take another example, Parents bequeath their property on their sons and daughters, is this not nepotism,again!? The answer is a YES! It is the love of one’s own kin that is the root cause of nepotism.

If you can place your children on a higher pedestal than others when it comes to succession, why cannot other people do the same when it comes to resources that are at their disposal during their life time!?

This brings us to the substratum of this Blog – What about the State sponsored nepotism in form of State sanctioned reservation!?

There has been a long-standing debate about the morality of the State sanctified reservation granted to the members of the Scheduled Tribes and Castes along with Other Backward Castes in Public employment.

The idea of reservation was to end inequities between different communities which were a result oflong-term historical injustice, and to provide equality of opportunity to the disadvantaged sections of the society.

The Constitution of India has been amended a number of times to provide for this reservation. A catena of judicial pronouncements has sanctified this practice, albeit with certain limitations, and provided a proper structure for the whole process.

The whole idea of this practice was to correct the historical wrongs that had been committed against certain communities.

Although started with a noble intention, reservation has become a tool of minority appeasement in hands of political masters who have acclaimed themselves as the ‘MASIHA’of these communities across the country.

As a consequent result, what was supposed to be a temporary arrangement for the upliftment of the downtrodden, has become a subject of scathing criticism from the society.

The ideals of Social Equity and Equality of opportunity have been largely defeated. The continuation of reservation has antagonized the unreserved section of the society and has indeed furthered the gap between the communities.

As a consequent result, reservation has become the anathema of the very idea it sought to address and has further perpetuated class divide, not only between the Reserved and the Non – Reserved section of the society but has also led to differences amongst the reserved communities and the intra-community divide.

It has been noted that the benefit of reservation is largely limited to the already well-doing section of the reserved communities and the benefit of reservation fails to percolate down to the people of the worse-off section of the community, who should have been the real beneficiaries of reservation.

The ideology behind reservation and nepotism seem to be poles apart to a naive eye, but they are not that different. Reservation and nepotism perpetuate the same idea – The generation today, must gain advantage from the hardships of their ancestors.

The author aggresses that the idea of reservation is Nobel in the sense that it seeks to provide equity in opportunity, although failing miserably in the pursuit of it, the idea of nepotism cannot be held to be wholly unjustified either.

The author fails to conclude either practice as completely black, or completely white. There are shades of grey and more than just fifty

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