Two Steps “Backward”: Is Reservation the Only Way Forward for Marathas?

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Two Steps “Backward”: Is Reservation the Only Way Forward for Marathas?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

M

aharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ government has just passed a resolution granting 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community, which makes up 30 per cent of the states population. It marks what should be the end of an agitation that has lasted months, led by groups like the Maratha Kranti Morcha, organising demonstrations across the state, leading to incidents of stray violence. The decision to allot reservations has raised the question of whether Fadnavis is on the wrong side of history for giving in to the demands and perpetuating India’s tortured history with reservations, originally envisioned as a temporary measure.

India’s reservation policies first came into effect in 1950, making it one of the oldest affirmative action systems in the world. It was originally meant to last for only 10 years, but they persist to this day. It’s fairly clear that even for “upper-caste”, upper class, and traditionally dominant groups, being labelled “backward” is considered your best chance to get forward.

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