Bharti Dhondge is a name that rings no bells and yet she will go down in history as the woman who became corporator for a day in the Municipal Corporation of Bombay! It took this woman five years to fight and win a legal battle whereby she challenged the validity of the caste certificate of her opponent. She won a day before new elections were declared, hence the one-day-crown. She now hopes to get a ticket from her party but that is another story.
To may this might seem a irrelevant incident but in fact it is not as it questions the whole matter of caste certificates. In a recent socio economic survey of pwhy we realised that over 80% of our kids belong to some reserved categories or the other. Needless to say not one has the required document to prove it and most of them are actually embarrassed and even aggressive when asked to spell out their caste.
Something is not wrong in a land where the politics of reservation has been heralded as pro poor and held as harbinger of justice for all. It does not take a rocket scientist to conclude that its success depends on ensuring that each and everyone falling within the category should be in possession of the required proof of his or her identity. It would seem logical that the onus of giving id proofs should lie with the law makers and enforcers themselves.
Nothing is farther away from reality as we discovered lately. Obtaining a simple caste certificate is a herculean task. Actually it s an impossible one. The powers that be have ensured that. No simple, unconnected, poor individual can meet the complex prerequisites. Where will the poor should find two class I gazetted officers willing to sign his form?
On the other hand, getting a fake certificate seems to be much easier as is proved by the Bharti Dhonge case. All you need is to know the right person and have sufficient funds to pay the price.
For the policy like the reservation policy to be relevant, the sine qua non condition has to be the issuance of documentary evidence by the state to each and every person falling within that category. Anything short of that is suspect.
One can now understand why our political masters insist upon not excluding the creamy layer. Were that to be, there would be no takers left for the reservations goodies!
Once again this brings to fore the fact that to redress many of the problems that plague our society, it is necessary to take the bull by the horns. In this case rather than demonstrate on the streets and only give more fuel to the politicians to divide society, maybe one should start a campaign to ensure that caste and class identity are issued to each and every one and empower the have nots to stand in line for every benefit doled out.