I thank your reader Sri Mani Manik for enlightening me on the percentage break up of the population of Bharat. I am NOT a schemer to calculate the percentage of each category of our people and plot against any particular section.
To be frank, I am more of an activist than a writer now-a-days. And my concern is to help the needy to the best of my capability irrespective of caste considerations. However, since I know our vanavasi brethren are more exploited and marginalized by all of us, my work revolves around them. Presently, I am officiating as the president, Vanavasi Seva Kendram, Chennai Mahanagar-Tiruvallur-Kancheepuram region (besides, I am also working for people living with HIV/AIDS–women are the easiest target of the infection, woman victims of acid attack, etc.).
We conduct medical camps regularly for the benefit of vanavasi brethren in our allotted region for all sorts of ailment. We have health volunteers to educate them on health and hygiene, and to find out related problems prevalent among them. We also provide nutritious diet alternates to meet their deficiencies. A substantial portion of our personal income also go into these, in addition to collecting funds and materials from like minded persons.
Our unit is now working for setting up a free boarding and lodging, clothing and personal care facility at Tiruvallur for about twenty Irula boys who are to continue their studies in higher secondary schools after passing out from eighth standard (we have secured a suitable premises to run the hostel). As the president of our unit, I am spending more of my time in raising funds besides utilising money from my own income. Our Tamiznadu Kendram is running middle schools on Karumanthurai in Salem and Coimbatore to provide free education with hostel facility to vanavasi children.
Personally, I am more concerned about providing such facilities to Irula girls for their education but it takes time for want of a full time committed lady to take care (however, I give priority to girls and women in providing medical care, as there is no room for any complication in this).
I am NOT trained to divide our brethren according to percentage and my concern is to identify people need based. As such, I admit that I am a layman and NOT an intellectual as somebody has described me and that I don’t understand the intricacies of this percentage wrangles. My impulse does NOT function according to statistics but on practical experience. I have no grudge against the so called Backward and Most Backward brethren, and I have no reason to attempt for an alliance between my brethren of the so called forward communities and SC and ST brethren to sandwich our poor Backward and Most backward in between!
However, I have a disturbing question in my mind: Is percentage the scale to measure every aspect of human endeavour and efforts? If so, what is the percentage of economically sound people in the 15.4 % category? This is essential to know because economic condition makes a big difference among people. And what is the percentage of the people among those who could achieve economically sound position on the basis of their academic qualification? I have seen so many from these categories flourish and prosper not because of any academic qualification but through other skills and business acumen. This applies to my brothers comprising 56.6 % also and I have seen many FCs serving under prosperous BCs and Most BCs successfully running business and small and medium level industries. I have also seen many BCs and MBCS shining in software and IT industries settled abroad (I know the offsprings of many DK and Dravidian movement leaders have settled in the UK and US and blaming that FCs have deserted their homeland after securing higher education is NOT fair. Our governments do NOT provide suitable job opportunities to scientists and technocrats, as every thing goes by one’s capacity to garner support politically; as such blaming successful students as ungrateful may not be right).
My brother Sri Mani Manik says that the percentage of backward castes is 56.6. If so, I wish to know the percentage of each backward caste among that 56.6% so as to avoid bias in extending reservation to each backward caste according to its percentage. Also, on what ground a particular caste is decided as backward? For SCs and STs, there is no complication in deciding on their backwardness because they are despised and neglected by rest of the communities including the so called most backward classes. Now, had there been any survey and authentication for the determination of backwardness? Please do NOT cite Mandal or any other commission, as they had no access to wholesome facts and figures. Is NOT one caste included in the backward and then promoted (?) to the most backward category according to its strength that is “vote power” and at the whims and fancies and the greed of political parties to increase their seats in the legislature?
Today, while having my lunch, one brother who happens to be from a backward caste and also from rural background regretted that they had no opportunity to know about the availability of competitive examinations for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) etc. If that were the issue, care should be taken to give wide publicity on the availability of such courses and the school/college authorities should also be asked to educate students on these matters. Lack of information cannot justify reservation in vocations and selection.
My consideration is NOT based on percentage but derived from human right and commonsense approach, identifying the needy in its real term. I know such needy are in the so called forward, backward and the most backward also but considering my limited capabilities, I concentrate on finding ways and means to improve the lot of Dalits and Vanavasis, who are branded as SCs and STs, the most objectionable terms to refer to the part and parcel of our society.
I may be excused for taking so much of your space and valuable time of your readers.
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