the majority is the creamy layer

i have gone back to this paper (that i found here, ), Caste and democracy: Reservations and the return to politics by Susie Tharu, M. Madhava Prasad, Rekha Pappu, K. Satyanarayana, quite often in the past few months. yes, it does articulate some scholarly insights that seem to reflect some of my own not-so-scholarly views. abi's answer prompted this latest excursion:
Thus an entire range of contributions is marked by one shared presupposition: that there exists a coherent and hegemonic political subject who is interested simultaneously in maintaining the standards of merit and excellence naturally assumed to be of primary interest to a majority, and rendering social justice to the rest (assumed to be a “minority”) through policies of positive discrimination. In keeping with this strict policy orientation, these arguments rarely pause to question the categories such as majority and minority that are fundamental to the very possibility of such an orientation. While some have noted that the ‘general category’ itself functions as reservation for the upper castes (Ghosh), the political significance of the fact that this “majority” which is fabricated by negation and represented symbolically by the 50 percent limit on reservations, is an artificial majority without demographic or political foundation, is rarely discussed.
the debate was over a policy that the majority needed to be convinced about: the government was convinced, but the majority would rather believe in the courts, in this particular instance. so the court spoke for them. where does the minority come into the picture?

the debate was about the efficiency of the policy:
The primary orientation of the debate is toward policy, and the discourse is strewn with terms like costs, benefits, efficiency, and with demands for more accurate information about population segments, and a multiplicity of other factors that affect access to opportunities, etc. They remain within an academic-bureaucratic framework where the question of the right policy measures is already assumed to be the shared ground on which to stage the debate. They have differences about what policies should be adopted, but rarely do they question the assumption that what we have here is basically a question of policy.
i guess the americans, ranged on opposing sides, were as vocal about their government's policy on iraq. and the chinese, though not overtly, are as engaged over the autonomous region of tibet. but somewhere in the back of their minds, the iraqis and tibetans do figure, i'm sure. what occupied/s the minds of the majority in india is deprivation, not obcs:
The shift from discrimination—which points to social divisions with structural consequences—to deprivation—a lack that may be compensated—is symptomatic of the policy approach. The policy approach does not examine social divisions or inquire into the consequences for an understanding of Indian society/democracy. It attempts to find a solution to a crisis. The fundamental question is: how do the state and its advisors perceive the crisis generated by the struggle for reservations, and, by contrast, how might it be perceived from the point of view of a democracy to come? (italics mine)
the americans wanted to deliver democracy to the iraqis (by invading their country), the chinese want to take the tibetans along on the road to progress (by flooding the region with prosperous chinese)- what does the majority in india wish to address through reservations? deprivation, not caste. and the court has sought to reassure the majority that they shall indeed address deprivation: check this news report on how the majority is still not convinced that the government, a political creature, will implement the verdict 'in its right spirit' (they would dilute the creamy layer!):
If there is one community, then within that community what would count as an indicator of social distress or disadvantage to be remedied would be economic, i.e., that which can be brought under a common measure. If on the other hand there are many communities, and their separate existence is taken as the starting point, then the application of a common measure is out of the question. A single community – such as a homogeneous national community – would take account of the distress of its own members and seek to redress it. It would not then be a matter of providing for reservations, but of acting to relieve distress with effective measures. If then, there are reservations in a nation-state, we can read this as a sign that there is no unified community that coincides with the national population.
there were two major arguments thrust before the court: a) many of the castes included in the lists might not be as deprived as they were in 1931, b) many individuals among those castes were not as deprived as in 1980. primarily, the court was asked to verify claims of deprivation. the court ordered a review, every five years, of the level of deprivation of castes in the list [seeing merit in argument (a)] and the exclusion of the creamy layer [upholding argument (b)] . clearly, the objective was to prevent the few from cornering the rights of the many (what was the evidence before the court to substantiate this fear?)

why didn't the court ponder over the question: how can the majority be prevented from cornering the rights of the castes/communities that have been compressed into a deprived minority? the need for reservations itself constitutes sufficient evidence on that issue. that question was not answered in 1993 too. nor in 1947.

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