Scheduled Castes in India
In India, the caste system has a very old and ancient existence. The caste system as it existed in its original form was just a division of the society according to the profession of the family. It is a fact that a child even today mostly follows the profession of the father, and, there is nothing wrong with this system. The scheduled class in India was the caste that did the lowest of work, or rather menial work like sweeping; cobbling etc.
As is very normal with any system as time passes, it degenerates and even at times changes shape. The scheduled caste people were always treated with hate by the high caste and this persisted for centuries. In the 20th century this maltreatment of the schedule castes by the people of the upper- castes was brought to the forefront by Mahatma Gandhi. He was pained to see the pitiable condition of this caste and fought for their rights. He wanted these people also to be treated like human beings like all others belonging to the other, higher classes. With this struggle being taken up by no one other than the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, this became a very important topic of discussion in the corridors of power, and an important problem to be solved.
Once the scheduled caste topic took the center stage it gathered momentum and even after independence the topic has not left the stage. After our independence; when the Constitution was being framed, a lot of advantages were considered for this class. A number of privileges and relaxations for them were made and they continued to take advantage. Special concessions were granted to them by the Constitution, the biggest being the concept of reservations for them in every field. This was all done with the correct perspective in mind. It was done as it was rightly understood that till then, this class had been left behind others, in every programme of development and so, they were behind the others. In order to bring them in the mainstream of growth all sorts of concessions were awarded to them. They got reservations in schools, colleges, jobs and even promotions. Besides all this, their candidates would be cleared in an examination in 30%, when for all others pass marks would be 40%. All these privileges were given to them with a good intent of bringing them to the level of others. However, this was all supposed to be given to them for only ten years after independence but, all this and even much more still exists, after fifty five years of independence. This class is still getting all the privileges but, their entry into the mainstream of development is still a dream. In so many years at least three generations have come out but, by and large their plight remains much the same as it was before all this was given to them. This has had a very bad effect on other sections of society. Seeing them taking so many advantages at the cost of the higher classes several other low castes have also put up their claims to these same privileges, and they cannot be denied to them. These favours, the Government is bound to provide to all who ask for them as, they cannot differentiate. Once the system is in place it cannot be partial. Either it has to be scrapped totally or, given to all who ask for it.
Thus, the Scheduled caste in India is as it stands a class by itself, a class apart, a special class which has all the privileges above all other citizens. This caste of theirs is turning out to be a blessing in disguise, as, they continue to take the advantages meant for only ten years, as a permanent measure.