Saturday, December 29, 2007

Response to comments on my previous blog and this one

Having returned from a short vacation I feel rejuvenated to write more. In this blog I will try to clarify some of the comments/querries that have appeared in response to my blogs.

As regards the question - who is opposing ST status for the adivasis, if it was meant to be one, I have already discussed in my earlier blogs. But I may mention here that there appears to be a tacit endorsement of the opposition by some non ST people through some umbrella organizations.

As regards the decreasing share in the ST pie, it is for the government to do the adjustments in the quota between various categories. If not, despite the decrease, the pie needs to be shared between various tribal groups. This would empower the marginalized adivasis of Assam with the same benefits that are available to other STs in Assam. Conferring ST status will also enable them to contest elections in reserved constituencies.

The Gurjar claim for ST status is different from the claims of adivasis of Assam. To the best of my knowledge, while Gurjars are not a recognized tribal group any where in the country, the adivasis of Assam are recognized tribal groups in Jharkhand, Bengal, and Orissa.

As pointed out by Mr. Alok, ‘class difference’ within the tribal groups is evident but it is not unique to the tribes. Class difference is a generic phenomenon and is evident even in the so called communist countries. This class difference may partly be attributed to the different level of development of the states in which the tribal population is distributed. However, what concerns me more is the indifference that exists among the “upper class” within the tribes towards their less fortunate brethren. Perhaps, the distributed and detached upbringing of this class of tribals is partly responsible for this apathy.

Regarding Meenas cornering 30% of the Civil Services, I think it is a matter of personal choice. The ‘upper class’ among the Jharkhandi tribals are the ones whose development is generally missionaries led. To this set of second or third generation educated tribals a government job is increasingly becoming a taboo – not worth the effort; thanks to the widening gap in the remuneration between the private sector and the government sector. This is the generation which does not bother much about reservation and ST status. That also partly explains their indifference towards the less fortunate tribals. The argument that this class of tribals is snatching away opportunities at colleges and institutes from less fortunate brethren is true but unfair because the same applies to all categories including the General Category; such is the nature of competition.

Personally, I am not averse to the idea of an income criterion for all categories. But there is a caveat; the employers have to be more equitable and just in recruiting staff. There is evidence of caste & religion based discrimination in recruitments (See S Thorat & P Attewell’s article published in Economic and Political Weekly of 13-19 October, 2007)

Manoj Tirkey
http://manojtirkey.blogspot.com/ - POLEMICS - Diversity of views
http://edzucate.blogspot.com/ - ACADEMIA - An academic discourse

1 comment:

The Ragpicker said...

Dear Mr. Tirkey,

Your response to my comments was to the point. One fact that you have rightly talked about is - the indifference that exists among the “upper class” within the tribes towards their less fortunate brethren. This is a very true observation. In my opinion for some cases the word 'indifference' can be replaced by the word 'derision'.

Also, you have rightly mentioned - To this set of second or third generation educated tribals a government job is increasingly becoming a taboo – not worth the effort; thanks to the widening gap in the remuneration between the private sector and the government sector. To this observation of yours I would like to add the fact that though the well-to-do are not inclined towards government jobs they have taken the benefit of ST status to get admission to leading engineering and management institutes. So, after getting a place in an MNC they may keep boasting about their fat compensation, foreign travel and glitzy lifestyle the reality is that they have snatched an opportunity from their less fortunate brethren.

Thanks
Alok