India’s Pernicious Politics of Backwardness Mera Bharat Mahan Saturday, December 08, 2007
Economist, author, and disinvestment minister under the BJP Government Arun Shourie is among India's best thinkers. Most everything he writes is worthwhile reading. This article India’s Pernicious Politics of Backwardness from the Asian Tribune is a review of his book Falling Over Backwards: An essay against Reservations and against Judicial Populism.
In his book, Shourie not only slams politicians for promoting reservations, but also faults the judicial system for legitimizing the aims of the politicians. Shourie claims that politicians and the courts have subverted Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India, which refer to discrimination and equality of opportunity, respectively (the link is to a Word document; to quickly locate the referenced Articles, use View > Document Map and select "Right to Equality"). IMHO it seems that the clauses within Article 16 provide a means to enable caste-based reservations.
There is no one solution to casteism. I do favor promoting education and training among all so that they can compete on a level playing field. I also agree with Shourie's recommendation to make the individual not the group "the unit of State policy." In this case, it should be verified that an individual suffered discrimination in hiring on the basis of caste by examination of systematic hiring practices: if discrimination has been discovered, provide for remedies for the individual, rather than extend caste reservations.