Text: Archana Masih | Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
The debate continues. Anti- and pro-reservation camps hold their ground as a decision is awaited on the law providing 27% quota to Other Backward Classes in central government-run educational institutions.
While the anti-reservation agitation united the middle class upper castes on the issue that caste could not form the basis for quotas, pro-reservationists accused the media of biased reportage during last year's agitation. They claimed reservation was justified.
On a quiet public holiday at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi -- the heart of the anti-reservation stir last year -- two doctors and a lecturer make the case for reservation.
Belonging to the reserved category, they claim that in the last 50 years, the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes have lost 1 crore (10 million) jobs due to the unfairness of the implementation of the reservation policy by the ruling class.
"Can you imagine the magnitude of injustice to the Dalit community? Had it been given to the justified and rightful people, there would be a remarkable change in society," says Dr R K Prasad, a former Senior Resident Medical Officer at AIIMS.
"We decided that intellectually we will puncture their arguments," says another Senior RMO, Dr Kapil Yadav.
"Reservation is needed for one or two generations but the creamy layer aspect of the 27% quota has ended the cultural meaning of reservation," says Dr Rajesh Paswan, the first Dalit lecturer at a 100-year-old college in Khurja, Uttar Pradesh.
The trio take stage.
Image: Left to Right, Dr Sukhbir, Dr Yadav, Dr Paswan and Dr Prasad outside the Ambedkar library at AIIMS.
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