Now both the Congress and the BJP are competing for forward caste votes by seeking reservation for the poor among them. This makes the Mandal formula a farce. The Mandal Report itself was inconsistent. According to it, Banias and Yadavs are backward in Bihar but forward in Delhi. Then why use caste? Electoral considerations inspired the entire movement of caste-based reservations.
Except for the Dalits. They are victims of untouchability, with no parallel in the world. Regardless of economic status, Dalits required affirmative action. Kanshi Ram did them a disservice by lumping the OBCs with them. The backwardness of OBCs arises from poverty, not from untouchability.
The cult heroes of reservation often felt unsure. When Ram Manohar Lohia propagated reservation, rural society was immobile. It was easy to identify caste with class. Nevertheless, Lohia was troubled. Once obc applicants for an electoral seat approached him when I was present. After they left, Lohia wryly said: "They queue up for tickets, never for going to jail!"
Charan Singh used caste for...