Book Review of

Merit: The Aryan Bluff’’

S R Talukder, Merit: The Aryan Bluff, New Delhi, Blumoon Books, 1997.

This is a very small book, which I read long back. Presently, I’m unable to trace-out this book with me, as some friend must have taken from me. That’s the reason for unable to share the further details of this book like number of pages it has and price, etc.

This book is a very significant contribution to the Debates on Policy of Reservation in India. The author joined his extraordinary skills and zeal, in doing research on this work, and put forward his analysis in an interesting way and to most possible extent in unquestionable way. The author takes place, in this book, in favor of Reservation extension to the various marginalized sections, though opposed by the upper castes.

In India, it is basically observed and recorded in the main literary discourses on reservation policy that the policy of preferential treatment or reservation policy towards the marginalized sections started with the implementation by some of the Princely states like Mysore in the South India or by Sahu Maharaj of present day Maharashtra region or by the Madras Province of the British India; in all these areas reservation policy to the marginalized sections like untouchables, backward classes, tribal’s, etc were provided with great commitment and vigor before Indian independence of 1947.

Even after grant of independence to India by the British in 1947 these preferential treatments are continuing with constitutional and further legal protections. But, there are huge voices of dissent against to these preferential treatment provisions by the Upper castes. Taking into consideration the dissent voices of the upper castes, the author point out with path-breaking research and rhetoric and proves that in India the upper castes were the first to use reservation benefits, during British India regime, who failed to compete with the British in educational standards, etc. The Indian upper castes got various series of concessions and preferential treatments for their educational uplift and employable opportunities in India, based on their requests or begging from the British Indian officials. By putting forward all those details, the author argues that the present day upper castes are not having excellent talent and in fact, they failed to compete with the other sections of the society like British, etc. But, forgetting this fundamental fact, the upper castes are arguing against reservations of the marginalized sections!! Thus, by providing facts how the upper castes lacked merit and later-on able to manage well, the author presents his argument, either directly or indirectly how the present day reservation is also much required for the marginalized sections!!

This fundamental path-breaking argument with evidences is not put forwarded in the main literary discourse on reservation policy. This dimension is totally missing and it is only pointed that the reservation policy in India started due to the efforts of Dr B R Ambedkar or Sahu Maharaj, etc. I regard this book as a must source to the persons doing research on reservation policy in India, and also to the persons who talks about reservation policy either in support or against in even lay perspective!!

The argument of the author requires taking main space in the debates on reservation policy in India.