Sunday, February 21, 2016

Indians Fight Over Affirmative Action

From the BBC:
India’s constitution, adopted in 1950, inaugurated the world’s oldest and farthest-reaching affirmative action programme, guaranteeing scheduled castes and tribes – the most disadvantaged groups in Hinduism’s hierarchy – not only equality of opportunity but guaranteed outcomes, with reserved places in educational institutions, government jobs and even seats in parliament and the state assemblies.

The logic was simple: they were justified as a means of making up for millennia of discrimination based on birth.

In 1989, the government decided to extend their benefits to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) – those hailing from the lower and intermediate castes who were deemed backward because they lacked “upper caste” status.

As more and more people sought fewer available government and university positions, we witnessed the unedifying spectacle of castes fighting with each other to be declared backward.