Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Peoples’ Concerns vs Preoccupations of the Ruling Class: Towards a viable political strategy

PeoplesConcerns vs Preoccupations of the Ruling Class:
Towards a viable political strategy 
-S.P.Shukla, National Advisor, All India Peoples Front (AIPF)

  • What are the issues of critical significance for the people and what is the preoccupation of the ruling classes, (which includes not only the ruling party and its allies and adherents but also the main official opposition, its supporters and the whole lot of beneficiaries of the present order, including large sections of the print and electronic media)?
  • First the preoccupations of the ruling classes: On  the economic side, deceleration of the rate of growth of GDP and the widening fiscal and current account deficits constitute their main concern. While the ruling party’s embedded economists, seek to establish that the roots of the trouble lie largely abroad, their critics in the official opposition point to the “policy paralysis”, on the one hand, and all-pervading corruption, on the other. In other words, there is no divergence on policy goals. The critics merely say that they would create greater investor confidence and accelerate the process of “reforms”.
  • Both are blissfully blind to the fact that two decades of “economic reforms” have brought us to this pass!  Let us take some parameters for comparison. The current account deficit (i.e. what the country’s economy owes to the rest of the world in a given year on current transaction basis) has now reached an unprecedented level of 4.8 percent of GDP. In 1991-92 when the balance of payment “crisis” was used as the lever to justify the U turn in India’s economic policies, the magnitude of the current account deficit was almost half, that is, 3 percent. At that time, the inflation was in the region of 10 to 12 percent as measured in terms of consumer price index. And the rupee had to be devalued by 19 percent. Now the consumer price inflation has been ranging close to 10 percent for the last one year and no respite is in sight.  And the rupee has been tumbling down rapidly, reaching the lowest ever value in terms of US dollar. The depreciation has reached 20% in the last few months of the current year. True, the FE reserves are far larger now, enough to cover the import bill for five to six months. But that would not provide adequate insurance against the rapid slide of the rupee, particularly as a vicious speculative attack on rupee cannot be ruled out. At that time the wholesale change of policies was justified to remedy the situation. That remedy seems to have aggravated the disease! Yet the mantra of “reforms” continues to enthrall the ruling classes.
  • “Reforms”, in a nutshell, call for drastic reduction in public expenditure;  aligning the domestic prices of imported essentials like fuel with the global prices ( both of which affect the masses far more adversely than the better off sections); opening up the economy further and further to the global finance capital; ensuring that losses are borne by the state (i.e. the people) and profits are guaranteed to the capital through the so-called “Public Private Partnership”; and , above all, legitimizing, facilitating and encouraging the loot of natural resources (land, water, forests, minerals, spectrum) by the private capital, mainly the speculative capital. All this in the name of releasing “animal spirits” of the business class. It does not need any profound knowledge of economics to see that these policies will only aggravate rapacity, plunder and venality.
  • While the ruling party continues to defend the indefensible policy of reforms and all that it spawns, the opposition merely seizes the symptoms of corruption and adopts a “holier- than-thou” stance, despite skeletons tumbling out of its own cupboard! Both are unanimous on the goal; their only difference is about who wields the power to push the process further and appropriates the resultant booty.
  • On the political side, there is complete unanimity between the two when it comes to the question of dealing with an iron hand what is described as “the terrorist threat” to national security. Both have promoted and legislated draconian laws to deal with the situation. Both compete in the ultra- nationalist sloganeering. In giving a free hand to big capital in resource-rich tribal areas and in crushing all tribal discontent and resistance with a heavy hand, there is no disagreement among them.  When it comes to the terrorist threat  essentially originating from the Islamophobic policies of the US-Israel combine, both are equally shy of going to the root of the problem lest that may annoy the bosses in Washington. The only difference is that while the ruling party professes its pragmatic secularism, the opposition has no qualms in using the conjuncture to push its divisive communalism in an aggressive fashion. But in actuality, governments of the states ruled by either of the two adopt the same chauvinistic, anti-democratic, oppressive policies and practices.
  • On the side of the international relations, both have clearly accepted the lode-star direction of the US strategic and economic interests. Some differences arise in the immediate neighbour-hood, mainly out of their different domestic political histories and trajectories. 
  • The most tragic consequence of this bi-partisan near-unanimity is the growing alienation of Kashmir which also casts a deep shadow on the very integrity of our polity.
  •  The other dangerous consequence is the growing jingoism vis-a-vis two most important neighbours viz; Pakistan and China. Equally, this has led to a policy vaccum vis-a- vis West Asia which is in deep turmoil.  Iran, our traditional, large and economic source of oil supply has been alienated, if not antagonized. And a closer cooperation with Shanghai Cooperation Council has been avoided. And when worse comes to worst, our timid and low key stance on Syria will further alienate us from the strategic Arab world. The external dimension of the bipartisan consensus has severely damaged the national interest in the immediate as well as medium term.


  • Growth in GDP is a necessary but not sufficient condition for people-centric development.  What is the main concern of   people-centric development? Where sixty to seventy percent of the workforce depends on the agrarian economy; where two-thirds of the population lives in the rural hinterland; where ownership of land is extremely skewed, with 8 percent of holders owning 56 percent of land and 92 percent holding the remaining 44 percent of land; Around 40 percent of rural households do not possess any land other than homestead. Among those who have farm land 80 percent are marginal and small farmers ; where  two-thirds of  cultivable land is rain-fed with no assured source of water; where access to water, better implements, and other inputs is largely determined by the scale of operation; where farming is a loss making proposition for the overwhelming majority of peasantry; where even the better-off section of farmers is caught in  the double jeopardy of increasing input costs and un-remunerative/ volatile output prices and driven to despair and suicide; and where adequate avenues of alternative off-farm employment are not in sight: obviously the agrarian question is the most important concern  of people. And that finds no place in the preoccupations of the ruling classes.

  • The Twelfth Plan document wishes away the question. With its obsession with raising the rate of growth, reducing twin deficits, generating “investor confidence”, attracting flows of global capital and the goal of acquiring global competitiveness, the Question of Land seems alien to its thinking. The land is treated as just one input, one resource at the disposal of capital and market.  The rapid shrinking of arable land and its serious long term consequences are overlooked. The undeclared but easily decipherable path that underlies the thinking is the adoption of contract/corporate farming as the eventual solution.  Inevitable decimation of peasantry that this would bring about is not on the radar of the Planning Commission.
  • Only palliatives are proposed in the name of new act on land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation.  Higher monetary compensation in line with the prevailing market rate for the land acquired; token provision of jobs/compensation/ shares in the enterprise eventually set up for those displaced/affected; eventual access to a fraction of the developed land; an attempt to eschew multi-cropped land; and mandatory provisions for resettlement and rehabilitation are contemplated. The approach is essentially defined by the dynamics of market. Its main objective is to legitimize the process of loot of land by speculative capital.  Besides, this approach misses the woods for the trees. The problem of Land Acquisition is only a subset of the larger Question of Land. No piecemeal approach will do.
  • What is needed is a National Land Use Policy which is people-centric, scientific, environment friendly, livelihood enhancing. Enough data and analyses are already available which should make it possible to delineate such a policy for different agro-climatic zones in the country. We need to set up a high level Commission whose task will be to lay down such policy norms. The whole question of land acquisition will fall in its place, once such norms are set and appropriate policies are adopted on land use.
  • One pre-condition for the success of such an approach is that there must be an immediate moratorium on transfer of agricultural land to non-agricultural purposes either through the mechanism of land acquisition law or through the market process.
  • Simultaneously equitable redistribution of land must be brought back on the political agenda, particularly in regions where large scale absentee landlordism prevails under one pretext or the other and where huge land holdings are owned by the corporate for plantation or similar purposes.
  • But redistribution though necessary is not enough.  It is essential to find an institutional solution to the problem of fragmentation of landholdings which was always there but which has now acquired a crisis proportion.  Pooling of land is the only lasting solution. A massive mobilization in favour of cooperative farming is necessary.
  • Simultaneously, creation of suitable avenues for absorption of surplus labour released as a result of pooling of land will have to be organized. Such avenues can be created through co-operativising both the procurement of inputs and processing of output. Clearly, this would require a fundamental redirection of the present mode of industrialisation which is geared to global competitiveness. Instead the new mode will be yoked to productive use of released surplus labour. It will be part of a wider vision of social solidarity.
  •  Closely related is the question of water, forest and mineral resources. Present policies have resulted in large scale displacement of people dependent for their livelihood on forests, mineral bearing lands and rivers, ponds and coastal waters. The policies unabashedly promote such displacement, on the one hand, and, on the other, encourage loot of such natural resources which belong to people. The market is allowed to determine the dynamics. Simultaneous initiatives will have to be taken in these areas to restore peoples’ sovereignty over these resources and promote policies which will enhance livelihood creation, conserve environment and promote social solidarity.
  •  Galloping inflation and burgeoning unemployment are inevitable consequences of the policy of “reforms” set in motion two decades ago. They have made the life of working people increasingly intolerable. The ruling classes have been the greatest beneficiaries of the dispensation of “reforms”. Their only worry is that the bubble of unprecedented prosperity that they have enjoyed so far is somehow made to survive.  To that end, they would not mind sacrificing all policy space and tying the economic destiny of the country to the goals and requirements of the global capital. They are not only blind to the misery of the masses; they are also blind to the burgeoning crisis that is engulfing the core of global capital.
  • What is needed is a complete break with the policies of “reforms” and adoption of a new path of people-centric development. At the core of such path will be a radical resolution of the question of land and peasantry. Restoration of peoples’ sovereignty over natural resources will be the guiding principle. Enhancement of livelihoods, protection of environment and assurance of a decent living standard and a life with dignity for all will constitute immediate imperatives. 


  • On the political side, there are four main concerns of the people.  They revolve around the central concern: The idea of India which inspired the long freedom struggle is under serious threat.
  • The latent or patent communalism practiced by the ruling classes has resulted in a deep sense of insecurity and alienation among the Muslims. The last two decades have witnessed steep deterioration in the communal situation. Political opportunism practised by the mainstream political parties is certainly responsible.  However, there is other, more fundamental reason. US-Israel combine has conveniently created and sustained the bogey of Islamic terrorism on a global scale to mask its imperialist designs on the oil-rich West Asia. It is also an economic and strategic necessity of the US ‘military-industrial complex’ to promote the concept and practice of a global war on terrorism, as it comes handy to interfere with the regimes in the third world and provides a strong stimulus to the US economy, particularly after the end of the cold war era. The Islamophobia systematically generated by US-Israel combine has its willing takers in the retrograde Hindutva politics. The revival of majoritarian communalism poses a serious challenge to the integrity of polity. This challenge has to be met frontally and unambiguously. First and foremost this requires that we as a country disengage ourselves from the strategic objective of US-Israel combine.
  • Adivasis too are getting alienated fast. It is true that they have borne disproportionate burden of the development process ever since independence. However, in the era of economic reforms, they are being dispossessed of their livelihood, their habitat and their very life on a scale which has had no parallel before. Consequently, there has been a strong reaction. In some places their discontent has taken the form of challenging the Indian State. This has provided an excuse to the ruling class to treat the discontent as “threat to national security” and use its armed might to eliminate the challenge.  Neither the armed challenge to the Indian State nor the armed might of the ruling class constitute the answer to the deep alienation of the Adivasis. What is needed is a decisive break from the present path of growth pursued by the ruling classes which has posed a threat to the survival of Adivasis with dignity in their traditional habitat.
  • Dalits continue to suffer atrocities, discrimination, insecurity and denial of access to life of dignity, despite the Constitutional dispensation and various enabling laws and measures. The most backward sections of other backward classes too suffer exclusion and deprivation. It is necessary to carve out a sub-regime of reservations for most backward classes. The policies of reforms, however, are increasingly making measures such as reservations in public sector jobs less and less meaningful.  Even so, the upwardly mobile sections spawned by the reforms are clamouring for ending reservations in government jobs as well as in educational institutions.  Recent court pronouncements are virtually nullifying progressive measures such as reservations in promotions. The social contract envisaged in the Constitution is coming under stress.  A decisive break from the policy of reforms and a move towards a new paradigm of people-centric development based on social solidarity will provide a conducive environment to relieve this stress. But it must be recognized that no struggle for transformation of our society and polity will be meaningful unless it adopts the annihilation of caste and caste injustice as a goal in itself. 
  • The situations of deep alienation and seething discontent have been exploited by the ruling classes to strengthen their armoury of black laws and anti-democratic measures to intimidate and suppress all democratic dissent which is an inevitable consequence of the economic, political and diplomatic policies pursued by the ruling classes. The space for democratic dissent is being circumscribed and narrowed. Police apparatus is being used to suppress the rising political challenge to the establishment. The people are being denied the only means of protest that they have against the injustices of the prevailing economic, political and social order.
  • The current political scene is marked by loss of credibility on the part of the ruling combine of political parties as well as the opposition. The regional political outfits are trying to exploit the situation to their advantage. Barring the parties of the Left, whose parliamentary strength has been reduced considerably, none of the regional parties have any alternative political vision. Therefore, even if they benefit because of the weakening of the main political combines and thus succeed in acquiring greater share of power after the upcoming General Elections, little can be expected from them. On the other hand, unstable and opportunist combinations may only strengthen the prospect of the main combines after disillusionment with such experiment. That would only give a further lease of life to the ruling classes. However, with the rising discontent among the popular classes, such dispensation can not last long.  In the circumstances, there is a clear possibility that the ruling classes adopt more and more anti-democratic measures in the name of maintaining “law and order” and “stability” and prolong their hold on power. 
  • The other possibility is that the discontent of the popular classes is organized politically on the basis of a clear alternative vision and programme rooted in peoplesconcerns, through a radical, inclusive and broad democratic political formation. Indeed, this is the only ultimately viable political strategy .What is more, the people at large are seeing through the hollowness of the bi-partisan policy consensus which has brought the country to the present state.  There was some positive feeling in the middle classes towards the so-called “Reforms” in the early days, more as a reaction to the irksome aspects of the dirigiste regime. Now that feeling has virtually evaporated, in the wake of the tumbling rupee, raging inflation and little growth in productive employment. While the ruling class leadership and the media are still pursuing the myth of “more of the same”, growing sections of the middle classes are denigrating the main architect of the “Reforms” as never before. This combined with the plight of the working people worsening by day seems to open up a widening niche for such a political strategy.
  • It is time that all parties, movements, groups and individuals who are in broad agreement with the foregoing analysis and are willing to adopt the political strategy get together to create such a political platform.

                                                                                                                                                          27.06.2013/ 02.09.2013



Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Only an armour can make women feel safe now – Dr. Shura Darapuri

The furore after the December 16 gang rape brought us on the verge of believing that we were living in an awakened India which showed zero tolerance towards all kinds of violence against women.
It was felt that such roars of protest would eventually prove a deterrent to the prospective rapists, and women would for once know, what it is like to breathe fearlessly in a ‘free country’. But their hopes and aspirations were not to last for long and they soon found them shattered with series of rapes ensuing thereafter like an ‘epidemic’.
Almost every morning, while drinking tea, the eyes tend to look for news that ‘do not speak about a rape’. But invariably almost every day, one finds news of modesty of girls outraged with the blink of the eye.
On January 26, we show off to the world our military strength. But it is found that with all the legislations, arms and ammunition put together, we fail to protect the dignity of sisters and daughters of our country.
Certain sections of ‘academia’ in a frustrated attempt, tirelessly indulge in futile long discussions and debate about women’s attire, whether they should be allowed to wear ‘provocative’ jeans and skirts in public or not . Instead of working on developing a mechanism which may make it the responsibility of each and every individual to prevent such cases, they do not hesitate even for a minute to shift the entire blame on women’s shoulders for their miserable state.
It is to be pointed out that a woman’s life right from infancy — if ‘allowed to be born’ — till death remains threatened! There are shameful incidents of innocent toddlers being made victims of a sexual assault! Then going by the advice of so called ‘intelligentsia’, a dress code for toddlers and newborn babies also may be devised. The assault on women may not be always sexual. Only few a weeks ago a JNU student was attacked with an axe by another student of her class. Almost every day, along with rape cases, acid attacks are reported with immense regularity. Brides are burnt every now and then for dowry by greedy in-laws.
One wonders what attire would befit such women. If provocation is regarded the culprit, then ‘purdah system’ of the early times, when there were no jeans should be greatly publicised. Purdah system also did not allow girls to move out of their house freely. It prescribed their confinement at home. It might have saved them from the ‘evil eye’ of the outside world but then the question arises, were they equally safe at home? In the 21st century, in spite of regular reminders on the occasion of ‘Rakshabandhan’ to brothers and other close relatives of their duty to protect their sisters, one finds painful incidents of incest relationship on an increase, with fathers, brothers raping their daughters and sisters. One shudders at the thought of women in veil in the earlier times.
One may again ask the so called custodians of women’s honour what attire may be prescribed for such women and girls. After the 16th December incident, we have yet another shameful case of the gangrape of a photojournalist in Mumbai. In between, there have been uncountable incidents of rape of small children, toddlers, dalit women, tribal women, many of them going unreported. The news of a rape no longer ‘horrifies’ but leaves one worried. That is because, our universities may not have found a top rank in the world, but our services whether judiciary or police are made of men of both vigour and wit. They qualify for these prestigious services only after going through highly competitive examinations and rigorous training. They have greater obligation and duty towards the nation.
It is paradoxical that in spite of the presence of efficient judiciary and police force, the women of the country still live under constant fear of all kinds of assault on their life and integrity. In no way, they find themselves safe outside or in the sanctity of her home. Laws have been made stricter but not strict enough to deter the perpetrator. They, in no way, feel threatened by highly trained and armed police force. Women are advised every now and then to learn to protect themselves by carrying pepper powder and hairpins. Self-defence training institutes have suddenly found a lucrative business. Lingeries are devised to prevent rape. It is hoped that they will soon be made available to poor dalit and tribal women on affordable prices.
But considering the vulnerability to crimes of diversified nature, most useful and appropriate attire for women of 21st century should be an ‘armour’!
(The writer is associate professor and head of the department of history, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow.)

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Indianisation of Public Services and the claims of the Backward Classes -Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

Indianisation of Public Services and the claims of the Backward Classes
-Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
(An extract from Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches Vol. 2, published by Education Department, Government of Maharashtra -1982,  Part II, Dr. Ambedkar with the Simon Commission , Section V- Public Services, pp- 394 to 399)
128. (iii) Indianisation and the claims of the Backward Classes.—It is notorious that the Public Services of the country in so far as they are open to Indians have become by reason of various circumstances a close preserve for the Brahmins and allied castes. The Non-Brahmins, the Depressed Classes and the Mohammedans are virtually excluded from them. They are carrying on an intense agitation for securing to themselves what they regard as a due share of the Public Services. With that purpose in view they prefer the system of appointment by selection to the system of appointment by open competition. This is vehemently opposed by the Brahmins and the allied castes on the ground that the interests of the State require that efficiency should be the only consideration in the matters of appointment to public offices and that caste and creed should count for nothing. Relying upon educational merit as the only test which can be taken to guarantee efficiency, they insist that public offices should be filled on the basis of competitive examinations. Such a system it is claimed serves the ends of efficiency without in any way prohibiting the entry of the Backward Classes in the Public Services. For the competitive examination being open to all castes and creeds it leaves the door open to a candidate from these communities if he satisfied the requisite test.
129. The attitude of the Brahmin and allied castes towards this question has no doubt the appearance of fairness. The system of competitive examination relied upon may result in fairness to all castes and creeds under a given set of circumstances. But those circumstances presuppose that the educational system of the State is sufficiently democratic and is such that facilities for education are sufficiently widespread and sufficiently used to permit all classes from which good public servants are likely to be forthcoming to complete. Otherwise even with the system of open competition large classes are sure to be left out in the cold. This basic condition is conspicuous by its absence in India, so that to invite Backward Classes to rely upon the results of competitive examination as a means of entry into the Public Services is to practise a delusion upon them and very rightly the Backward Classes have refused to be deceived by it.
130. Assuming therefore that the entry of the Backward Classes in the Public Services cannot be secured by making it dependent upon open competition, the first question that arises for consideration is, have the Backward Classes a case for a favoured treatment ? Unless they can make good their case they cannot expect any modification of the accepted principles of recruitment by considerations other than those of efficiency pure and simple. In regard to this important question I have no hesitation in stating that the Backward Classes have a case which is overwhelming.
131. First of all those who lay exclusive stress upon efficiency as the basis for recruitment in public services do not seem to have adequate conception of what is covered by administration in modern times. To them administration appears to be nothing more than the process of applying law as enacted by the legislature. Beyond question that is a very incomplete understanding of its scope and significance. Administration in modern times involves far more than the scrutiny of statutes for the sake of knowing the regulations of the State. Often times under the pressure of time or from convenience a government department is now-a-days entrusted with wide powers of rule-making for the purpose of administering a particular law. In such cases it is obvious that administration cannot merely consist in applying the law. It includes the making up of rules which have the force of law and of working them out. This system of legislation by delegation has become a very common feature of all modern governments and is likely to be on the increase in years to come. It must be accepted as beyond dispute that such wide powers of rule-making affecting the welfare of large classes of people cannot be safely left into the hands of the administrators drawn from one particular class which as a matter of fact is opposed to the rest of the population in its motives and interests, does not sympathise with the living forces operating in them, is not charged with their wants, pains, cravings and desires and is inimical to their aspirations, simply because it comes out best by the test of education.
132. But even assuming that administration involves nothing more than the process of applying the law as enacted by the legislature it does not in the least weaken the case of the Backward Classes. For, officers who are drawn from a particular caste and in whose mind consciousness of caste sits closer than conscientious regard to public duty, may easily prostitute their offices to the aggrandisement of their community and to the detriment of the general public. Take the ordinary case of a Mamlatdar, administering the law relating to the letting of Government lands for cultivation. He is no doubt merely applying the law. But in applying he may pick and choose the lessees according to his predilection and very possibly may decide against lessees on grounds which may be communal in fact although they may be non-communal in appearance. Take another illustration of an officer placed in charge of the census department in which capacity he is called upon to decide questions of nomenclature of the various communities and of their social status. An officer in charge of this department by reason of his being a member of particular caste in the course of his administration may do injustice to a rival community by refusing to it the nomenclature or the status that belongs to it. Instances of favouritism, particularly on the grounds of caste and creed are of common occurrence though they are always excused on some other plausible ground. But I like to quote one which pertains to the Vishwakarmans of the Madras Presidency. It is related in their letter to the Reforms Enquiry Committee of 1924 in which they complained that " a Brahmin member of the Madras Executive Council Sir (then Mr.) P. Siwaswami Ayyar—when he was in charge of the portfolio of law, issued a Government Order objecting to the suffix ' Acharya ' usually adopted by the Vishwakarmans in their names and seeking to enforce in its place the word ' Asry ', which is weighed with common odium. Though there was neither necessity nor authority to justify the action taken by the law member, the Government Order was published by the law department as if on the recommendation of the Spelling Mistakes Committee. It happened to our misfortune that the non-official members of this Committee were drawn largely from the Brahmin community, who never knew how to respect the rights of their sister communities and never informed us of the line of action that they were decided upon. It was dealt more or less as the stab in the dark."
133. This is inevitable. Class rule must mean rule in terms of class interests and class prejudices. If such results are inevitable then it must raise a query in the minds of all honest people whether efficient government has also given us good government ? If not, what is the remedy ? My view is that the disadvantages arising from the class bias of the officers belonging to Brahmin and allied castes has outweighed all the advantages attending upon their efficiency and that on the total they have done more harm than good. As to the remedy, the one I see is a proper admixture of the different communities in the public service. This may perhaps import a small degree of inefficiency. But it will supply a most valuable corrective to the evils of class bias. This has become all the more necessary because of the social struggles that are now going on in the country. The struggles between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins, between Hindus and Mohammedans, between Touchables and Untouchables for the destruction of all inequalities and the establishment of equality, with all their bitterness, cannot leave the judges, magistrates, civil servants and the police without being influenced in their judgement as to the right or wrong of these struggles. Being members of the struggling communities they are bound to be partisans, with the result that there may be a great loss in the confidence reposed by the public in their servants.
134. So far I have considered the case of the Backward Classes on grounds of administrative utility. But there are also moral grounds why entry into the public service should be secured to them. The moral evils arising out of the exclusion of a person from the public service were never so well portrayed as by the late Mr. Gokhale. In the course of a telling speech he observed, " The excessive costliness of the foreign agency is not however its only evil. There is a moral evil, which, if anything, is even greater. A kind of dwarfing or stunting of the Indian race is going on under the present system. We must live all the days of our life in an atmosphere of inferiority and tallest of us must bend in order that the exigencies of the existing system may be satisfied. The upward impulse, if I may use such an expression, which every school-boy at Eton or Harrow may feel that he may one day be a Gladstone, a Nelson, or a Wellington, and which may draw forth the best efforts of which he is capable, is denied to us. The full height to which our manhood is capable of rising can never be reached by us under the present system. The moral elevation which every self-governing people feel cannot be felt by us. Our administrative and military talents must gradually disappear, owing to sheer disuse, till at last our lot, as hewers of wood and drawers of water in our own country, is stereotyped." Now what one would like to ask those who deny the justice of the case of the Backward Classes for entry into the Public Service is whether it is not open to the Backward Classes to allege against the Brahmins and allied castes all that was alleged by the late Mr. Gokhale on behalf of Indian people against the foreign agency? Is it not open to the Depressed Classes, the non-Brahmins and the Mohammedans to say that by their exclusion from the Public Service a kind of dwarfing or stunting of their communities is going on ? Can they not complain that as a result of their exclusion they are obliged to live all the days of their lives in an atmosphere of inferiority, and that the tallest of them has to bend in order that the exigencies of the existing system may be satisfied? Can they not assert that the upward impulses which every school-boy of the Brahmanical community feels that he may one day be a Sinha, a Sastri, a Ranade or a Paranjpye, and which may draw forth from him the best efforts of which he is capable is denied to them ? Can they not indignantly assert that the full height to which their manhood is capable of rising can never be reached by them under the present system ? Can they not lament that the moral elevation which every self-governing people feel cannot be felt by them and that their administrative talents must gradually disappear owing to sheer disgust till at last their lot as hewers of wood and drawers of water in their own country is stereotyped ? The answers to these queries cannot but be in the affirmative. If to exclude the advanced communities from entering into public service of the country was a moral wrong, the exclusion of the backward communities from the same field must also be a moral wrong, and if it is a moral wrong it must be righted.
135. 135. These are the considerations which lead me to find in favour of the Backward Classes. It will be noticed that these considerations are in no way different from the considerations that were urged in favour of Indianisation. The case for Indianisation, it must be remembered, did not rest upon efficient administration. It rested upon considerations of good administration. It was not challenged that the Indian was inferior to the European in the qualities that go into the make-up of an efficient administrator. It was not denied that the European bureaucracy had improved their roads, constructed canals on more scientific principles, effected transportation by rail, carried their letters by penny post, flashed their messages by lightning, improved their currency, regulated their weights and measures, corrected their notions of geography, astronomy and medicine, and stopped their internal quarrels. Nothing can be a greater testimony to the fact that the European bureaucracy constituted the most efficient government possible. All the same the European bureaucracy, efficient though it was, was condemned as it was found to be wanting in those qualities which make for human administration. It is therefore somewhat strange that those who clamoured for Indianisation should oppose the stream flowing in the direction of the Backward Classes, forgetting that the case for Indianisation also includes the case for the Backward Classes. Be that as it may, I attach far more importance to this than I attach either to Provincial Autonomy or to complete responsibility in the Provincial Executive. I would not be prepared to allow the devolution of such large powers if I felt that those powers are likely to fall in the hands of any one particular community to the exclusion of the rest. That being my view I suggest that the following steps should be taken for the materialisation of my recommendations:—
(1) A certain number of vacancies in the Superior Services, Class I and Class II, and also in the Subordinate Services, should every year be filled by system of nomination with a pass examination. These nominations should be filled on the recommendation of a select committee composed of persons competent to judge of the fitness of a candidate and working in conjunction with the Civil Service officer referred to above. Such nominations shall be reserved to the Depressed Class, the Mohammedans and the Non-Brahmins in the order of preference herein indicated until their numbers in the service reach a certain proportion. (2) That steps should be taken to post an increasing number of officers belonging to these communities at the headquarters.
(3) That a Central Recruitment Board should be constituted as a central agency for registering all applications for appointments and vacancies and putting applicants in touch with the offices where vacancies exist or occur from time to time. It is essential to put the man and the job in touch if this desire is to be achieved. The absence of such a Board is the reason why the efforts of the Government of Bombay in this connection have not achieved the success which was expected of them.