(Prof S Simhadri)
Janta Dal-headed National Front government, under VP Singh, Prime Minister of India, announced implementation 27% OBC reservation in employment at the national level. Mandal commission gave 40 add recommendations of which reservation for OBCs formed one of them.
The announcement of OBC reservation struck like a bolt from the blue to the politics of Congress and BJP. In fact, the whole elite benefited from the fruits of the Indian nation, took to weapons of thought and action opposing OBC reservations. The civil societal and BJP-Congress combine pushed the students into the streets resorting to self-immolation.
The media headed by Arun Shouri and his ilk went agog throwing aspersions on the productive castes and communities as inefficient and unmeritorious. Therefore the children of backward (SC,ST,OBC and Minorities) are unworthy to be in the institutions of national development. The elite portrayed the OBCs as second class citizens and they take the nation backward.
The political parties headed by Congress and BJP opposed OBC reservations and debated against backwards in the Parliament. Rajiv Gandhi like his ancestors, Nehru and Indra Gandhi, opposed reservation for OBCs and argued for economic criteria for giving reservations. BJP also stood against constitutional criteria of social and educational backwardness and campaigned economic criteria for reservations. BJP went ahead taking out Ayodhya Ram Janma Bhoomi Rath Yatra led by LK Advani organized by Narendra Modi to oppose OBC reservations.
Communists saw the strength in reservation but CPM looked for the creamy layer in OBC reservation. BSP headed by Sri. Kanshiram organized protest for the implementation of MCR. They gave a slogan like ‘Arakshan Lagoo Karo, Varna Kursi Khali Karo’. Socialist and Bahujan movements fought for OBC reservations.
In fact, socialists stood by caste-based criteria and supported Mandal recommendations. They were the ones who fought for OBC reservations right from the 1950s with an ideological expression in terms of ‘Pichda Pave Sau Me Saat’. Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan, etc brought pressure on Janta Dal headed government to implement Mandal Commission Report. Mulayam Singh Yadav expressed unhappiness to then Prime Minister, VP Singh for not implementing the MCR in toto.
Mulayam Singh Yadav as Cheif Minister of Uttar Pradesh threatened Advani with arrest if his Rathyatra enters Uttar Pradesh State. Later Advani chose to enter Bihar first and he was arrested by Lalu Prasad Yadav, Chief Minister of Bihar. BJP withdrew support to the Janta Dal government at the national level for implementing OBC reservations on Nov 7, 1990. The Kamandal movement tried it’s best to divert the attention of Mandal movement for implementation of Mandal Commission Report.
The nation got divided Virtually. Social elite opposing OBC reservation and social classes constituting Dalit, Adivasi, Backward, and Minorities supporting the implementation of MCR in toto. This has galvanized the nation and it led to a Mandal Revolution.
Supreme Court with a nine-member constitutional bench upheld the central government’s order providing 27% reservations to OBCs. Besides this, the supreme court settled the much-vexed problem of defining OBCs since the days of constituent Assembly, 1946. The court found MCR’s definition as a scientific one and its criteria of social and educational backwardness to define OBCs based on Article 16(4) of the Indian Constitution as correct.
However, SC also felt the need for a creamy layer among OBCs. BJP appears to be using the creamy layer to negate whatever little benefits that OBCs get in employment and education. Once again anti-Mandal, forces appear active in carrying forward their unfinished agenda through Ram Janma Bhoomi Rath Yatra of 1990. It is established that Mandir empowered forwards. In order to power Backwards, the social classes need to unite and take forward the Mandal agenda of Social transformation for empowerment, equality, dignity, and Representation.
Mandal, in his report, says, “A battle against social backwardness is to be fought in the minds of backward classes”.
Let us commemorate ‘August 7’ as ‘Mandal Day’ as we celebrate ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Republic Day’.
(Prof.S.Simhadri, State President, Samajwadi Party, T.S; Ph: 9490568899, Whatsapp: 8688943120)