This article was published in the Huffington Post on 26 Feb 2016. Here is the link.
But we do need to ask ourselves, as citizens of India, if we have played our part well. Much social friction and hostility occur due to building up of resentment over time. As was obvious during the Patels’ agitation, people from upper castes resent what they consider the unjust misuse of reservations by affluent sections of the lower castes. The most common and spontaneous argument provided against this is: well, what about the injustice suffered for hundreds of years by the backward castes?
In my view (especially as an individual also belonging to a backward caste, but non-Dalit), that argument is indeed valid when used by lower-caste families who are still oppressed and live a life of unjust destitution. But with the funny way India runs, these people actually seldom get a chance even to speak. Those who do speak are often affluent and socially powerful lower-caste people — those who have already come out of such destitution. It would also be appropriate if the latter spoke for the former, but as it turns out, the latter speak principally for their own sake. In my eyes, one of the most shameful aspects about our country is how well-to-do lower-caste families, despite having enormous privileges, still insist on utilizing their ‘quota concessions’.