Reservations must be ended in national interest, says Anand Dave, president Akhil Bharatiya Brahman Mahasangh
Anand Dave, co-ordinator, Save Merit, Save Nation movement and president of the Akhil Bharatiya Brahman Mahasangh, was in the limelight during the Bhima Koregaon protests when he had opposed the celebration of the victory of the British against the Marathas at Bhima Koregaon. Dave spoke to Nadeem Inamdar about the movement for elimination of caste-based reservations and promotion of merit in all spheres of education and employment.
What is this movement about?
This movement is in the national interest where all like-minded people from different professions, cities and states, different religious beliefs and faiths have come together on a common platform to demand an end to the reservations. ‘Save Merit, Save Nation’ is of the view that if reservations must be given, it must be given to the economically backward sections. Caste-based reservations must be done away with. A poor person from any religious belief must be given assistance in accordance with the secular traditions of the country.
Can you please elaborate?
Forty per cent of the society has been excluded from reservations and there is a need to give top priority to merit. The economically weaker sections from the open community must have access to government schemes just like the reserved category. Reservations in education must be ended and the economically weaker sections must be given their quota on economic grounds exclusively and not on any other grounds. An alarming situation has arisen due to increase in the reservations quota and the government should be fair towards the open category, which solely believes in merit. Merit should be the criterion for the government. We want to promote merit for a progressive India and there is provision for equality in the opportunity for all as enshrined in the Constitution. The policy makers must take our genuine and merit-based demand into consideration in the national interest and provide equal opportunity for all the communities.
Isn’t this an upper caste movement against reservations?
Yes, this is an upper caste movement which is talking about merit-based empowerment of the open category students who have not got benefits for so many years. We have to think beyond caste so that we too can get benefits which we did not get during the past 70 years. Today, we as Brahmins, Marathas, Jains, Sindhis, Sikhs and Muslims have come together on one platform demanding reservations which are based on the economic criteria and not on caste.
But Dalits suffered oppression for centuries and the reservations are a measure of social justice. What is your view?
We are not against Dalits. All we say is that if there is an opportunity, the first preference be given to the Dalits, then Scheduled Tribes and OBCs (Other Backward Castes). After that, and only after that, if the opportunity exists, then it be given to the open category. Our demand is that reservations must be based on economic criteria and not on caste.