[Reader-list] Mandal Exposed: Part II

Aaditya Dar aadityadar at gmail.com
Sun Apr 9 17:03:47 IST 2006

'Mandal Revisited' is what a news channel had to say after the HRD
Ministry's proposal to hike the quota in all central universities to 49.5%;
I would, on the other hand, like to refer the Mandal Commission as MC (no!
the pun isn't intended, but must say some uncanny resemblance)

In this second part of my 'assembled' post I would like to bring some other
particulars to light, which should bring a new dimension on how one should
view the Committee's Reccommendations.

*Who was B.P. Mandal?*

B. P. Mandal was an Indian Parliamentarian, who was the chairperson of the
Mandal Commission, which was commissioned in 1978 and would change Indian
polity for the times to come. Mandal was born in Murho, Madhepura district,
Bihar (I think its Bihar, correct me if I'm wrong) He was even a chief
minister of Bihar but for only 48 days!

It also crucial to point out that Mandals belong to the Yadav caste, which
falls into- yes you guessed it right- the OBC category. So is it surprising
that an OBC would recommend reservations for his 'fellow brothers' and that
too for someone hailing from Bihar, which ever since time immemorial has
been a prey to caste politics? The answer is a simple No.

Anyhow, moving on- a sneak peek into Mr. Mandal's family background:B.P.
Mandal, son of Rash Beharilal Mandal, an extremely wealthy zamindar, who
owned acres of land. Villagers said he probably had no idea of how much land
he owned!

So, this is familiar to us, a wealthy zamindar's son manages to make it to
the parliament of India (I'm sure we all know how!) and then comes up with
27% reservations for his kinfolks. At this point let me make it clear, that
I am not at all against reservations- 22.5% was sufficient enough- but
49.5%is insanity. But, this post is not a form to express my opinion,
let me
carry on with revealing certain other interesting facts. And just for the
record, when Rash Beharilal Mandal died, B.P. Mandal amongst his other
siblings got possession of the countless 'bigas' of land, which he held.

*India- Castesim, Politics and everything else*

In my earlier post I have made it clear that the Mandal Committee wasn't
based on casteism, as argued by many. It worked on 11 indicators to define
social backwardness and then group various casts to from the OBC category.

It is also argued by many that, in India, land is concentrated in the few
hands (10% of rural households control almost 55% of cultivable land while
35.23% own hardly 2.07% of land). Industry too is highly concentrated in the
hands of the top business house. The case system still operates. Social and
economic power is monopolised by a small proportion of the population. Here
I must specify that the analysis made by the commission was based "on the
1931 census which had sought information on the caste status. Secondly, it
made a number of questionable assumptions while extrapolating the data
available for 1931." Cleary, more than seven decades down the line... if you
expect me to believe the above argument, its laughable!

The reality is known to all. The elections are around the corner and the UPA
cannot do without Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Its vote bank politics all the

Whats actually being happening is the following: "look at the latest
Government ploy of adding new casts to the central OBC lists of eight
states. As per the percentage of people living below the poverty line has
halved since the implementation of the Mandal report, it should have led to
progressive *exclusion* of the beneficiary castes from the OBC list. But
defying all logic, the Government has repeatedly enlarged this list, mostly
on the eve of elections."

*The Law behind reservations*

Reservations for the SCs, the STs and the OBCs has been made under article
15 (4) of the Constitution which empowers the state to make any "special
provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward
classes to citizens of for the SSs and the STs"

Also, worthwhile noting is that the Supreme Court judgement (Balaji Vs.
State of Mysore and Devadasan Vs. India) had stipulated that reservation of
more than 50 per cent would be violative of Article 15 of the Constitution.

The 93rd Amendment introduced a *new *clause to the Article 15 of the
Constitution "in so far as such special provisions relate to their admission
to educational institutions including private educational institutions-
whether aided or unaided by the state- other than minority educational
institution" This is the biggest concern, as this would mean that any appeal
or PIL filed would now be subject to the new law. (I'm not quite sure of
this, i treid to use some simple logic. Corrections welcome!) The Supreme
Court is the only the defender of the law; while the laws are made in the

So, while you have been reading this rather long article very patiently you
must be wondering, what the hell happened to the Mandal when they were first
submitted.As S.S. Gill recalls: it was in December 1980 that members of the
Mandal Commsiion, and I as its Secretary trooped into the office of Zail
Singh, then Home Minister and presented our report to him. As we come out of
the secretariat, B.P. Mandal, our chairman told me, "I know how much labour
has gone into the writing of this report. But let me tell you that today we
have performed its immersion (visarjan) ceremony." And truly for the next
ten years, the report lay in the home ministry's dusty vaults.

*Mandal Commission- a summary*

So let's get a few things in perspective here-

1970s- A wealthy zamindar's son rises to be a MP, heads a commission and
comes up with a couple of recommendations.

1980- The government under the leadership of Indira Gandhi rubbishes the

1990- Enter: Mr. V.P. Singh; he open's the Pandora's Box. Picks and chooses
the recommendation that would suit him the most.

The goal is clear: to gain political mileage, and capture votes.

What follows next are a series of protests and self immolations
acts.Despitea nation wide protest the quota system is put in place.

The result: The government falls in the next elections

Move to 2006: The Centre announces to increases reservations to almost 50%.
The timing of the announcement perfectly synchronised when the students at
IITs, DU and others are busy giving exams; and when five states are going to

With the constitution amended, law on their side and political parties on
one side- the battle lines are drawn.

The repercussions? Only time will tell…

aadityadar at gmail.com
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