As a Result of Jyothibha Phule’s Works, Reservations were Introduced in 1902, in the State of Kolhapur, by the then King – Sahu Maharaj, though his Cabinet Protested. 

The brahmins like Tilak, claiming themselves to be Social and Political Leaders, and going around, arrogantly behaving calling themselves to be the Indian Bourgeoisie, protested.  Sahu Maharaj pointed out to them, the need necessity and States Responsibility to Develop the Backward Communities, especially the Criminal Tribes like the Baeds, Nayaks, Pindars, who considered killing one Tilak Bearer, was equal to the Good Deed of Feeding Hundred People! 
Reservations were then introduced, in the neighbouring States of Mysore, Madras and Bombay Presidency, and also in Cochin and Trivandrum.  Those Reservations were the Reasons for the overall Development, Literacy, Education, Efficiency, and Economic Progress of the Southern States. 


The History and Evolution of Reservations in the Princely State of Mysore, is interesting.  Reservations in the State in Independent India, and Post State Reorganisation Karnataka had seen many the ups and downs and Road Blocks, and in the process contributed to the evolving future of Social Justice in the Country and World! 

British took over the Reins of the State of Mysore, in 1831, after the Fall of Tippu Sultan in Srirangapatnam.  British ruled Mysore directly, till 1881.  A Representative Assembly was Constituted for the Mysore State, after Rendition of the State to the King.  That was the first State Assembly and Legislative in the Country. 
After the Rendition of the State of Mysore to the King, a Dewan was Appointed to Assist the Mysore King.  It so happened that all the Dewans appointed in the initial years were only from the then larger Madras Presidency – Tamil or Telugu brahmins.  That was naturally an irritant, and the Mysore brahmins, resented that domination of the brahmins from Madras Presidency, in the affairs of the Princely Mysore State everywhere – in the Services, Appointments, and Education.  The Tamil and Telugu brahmins were there everywhere, especially in Maharaja’s College, Mysore. 

The Maharaja of Mysore, in 1910, conceded the Demands of Mysore brahmins, and Appointed Visweshvaraiya a brahmin Engineer of Mysore, as the first Dewan from Mysore.  This in turn opened the gates of domination by the Mysore brahmins – 100% in higher services, and 82% in all jobs. 

Representations to the Mysore brahmins, their growth and domination in all the State Services and Education, gave raise to strong Voices of Protest by many of the then Backward Classes, and Claims for Reservation to BCs.  The Lingayats, Muslims, Mudaliars, Veera Saivas and Vokkaligas were in the forefront of the Demand for such Reservations.  In fact, they Demanded an end to all brahmin Monopoly. 

Important Backward Castes, had in fact, started in 1905 Veera Saiva Education Society, and their Mutts opened their Schools; and in 1906 Vokkaliga Sangha started their own Schools and Hostels.  The King also ordered opening of Non-Vegetarian Messes in Govt Colleges and Hostels.  This small step, went to a long extent in greatly helping the meat eating backward classes to have higher education. 

Having conceded the demands of Mysore brahmins for Representation in Services, and Appointment of Visweshvaraiya as Diwan, the King saw no Reason in denying the Demands, and refusing Reservations to Backward Classes.  The King, in 1918 Appointed Millers Committee, headed by Mr Miller, Chief Justice of the High Court of Mysore to look into the Claims of BCs.  In protest, Vishwesvaraiya resigned from his position as Dewan.  Miller after examining the Demands of BCs, in his Report submitted in 1919, Recommended Reservations for the BCs. 

CJ Miller Recommended – 

1.       Seventy-five percent Reservations 

2.       Time Bound Target to Achieve at least 50% share of Jobs to BCs! 

3.    Appointments not on the basis of Marks, but on the crucially important Characteristics of Sincerity, Honesty, Courage and Compassion 

4.       Fellowships and Scholarships for BC Students 

5.       Free Sites and Land grants for Schools and Hostels  

The Maharaja agreed with the Chief Justice Miller, and provided Reservations for the BCs.  The BCs in Mysore then meant, everyone other than the BAEs – brahmins, Anglo-Indians and Europeans.  Muslims also got the Reservations.  And the Reservations provided for the Muslims in Mysore, continues in Karnataka till date, though it is made to appear a very big Controversial Issue, elsewhere in other States in the Country today. 

The Reservations for BCs so upset the brahmins, that even the Representative of Mysore brahmins Vishwesvaraiya, in Protest, resigned and left his Office of Dewan of Mysore. 

The Reservations for the Backward Classes, brought about considerable changes in the social fabric of the then Mysore State.  It rightly loosened the Grips of the brahmins, to a considerable extent.  But, it sadly benefited powerful backward classes like the Vokkaligas, who took large and undue benefits from the Reservations for the BCs.  Added to that, in the Name of Economic Backwardness, influential brahmin communities with the right connections, and powerful BCs with good contacts and better influences forged ahead, particularly during the Decades of Planned Developments, after Independence.  These distorted and skewed Developments, created a lot of Social Unrest in the State with the Most Backward Classes, demanding Justice. 

With Reorganisation of the States in 1956, Karnataka was formed by amalgamating the Five different Regions of Kodagu, Madras Karnataka, Hyderabad Karnataka, and Bombay Karnataka with the old Princely Mysore State.  That required many Administrative Adjustments.  Those, and other Interventions of the Courts like that in Balaji Case Judgement, had badly and sadly derailed the journey towards Social Justice, and stalled the overall Development of an Equitable and Egalitarian Society in Karnataka. 

The Chief Minister of Karnataka, Devraj Urs in 1972, constituted the first Backward Classes Commission – Havanur Commission. 

Havanur Commission had Judicial Powers, to – 

1.       call and summon anyone and take evidence 

2.       examine any document 
Havanur submitted the Commission’s Report in 1975, and said that Reservation – 

1.      is not for full Employment 

2.      is not a Programme to Abolish Poverty 

Havanur Commission said that, the only Objective of Reservation is to Provide Representations to Backward Classes, for ensuring Participation and achieving Equality between Castes, and providing Jobs for all the Communities and Castes. 

If the Royal Millers Committee of Princely State of Mysore, headed by the Chief Justice was the first in a State, Havanur Commission had clearly brought out, stated, and established the basis and foundations, on which are laid out the Principles, on which the entire edifice of Reservations Raise! 


Mahatma Jyothibha Phule’s Pioneering Work, had its impact beyond his State, and created Waves of Ripples all over the Country, particularly in the Southern States and the adjoining Bombay Presidency. 

The Non-brahmin Movement in the Madras Presidency, grew into a very big powerful Social and Political Force.  The Non-brahmin Movement in the Madras Presidency, was then spearheaded by the Justice Party of Madras Presidency.  They were all along agitating against the brahmin Domination in the State.  Realising the Monopoly of the brahmins in Education and Jobs under the British Rule, they started to Demand for the Shares of Non-brahmins in Education and Jobs. 

The Works of Justice Party of Madras Presidency, had its wide impact on the People.  Hence, when the Provincial Elections were held in the Country, it was the Justice Party that won the Elections in Madras Presidency. 
The Madras Presidency, then spanned virtually the whole of Southern India – covering many parts of the present day Kerala and Karnataka, almost the whole of the present State of Tamil Nadu, most Parts of Andhra’s Rayala Seema Area and the whole of the Coastal Area then stretching into the present day Orissa up to Berhampur. 

The Justice Party, which won the Elections in Madras Presidency, assumed Power of Provincial Governance in the Presidency, on 17th December 1920.  Making use of the Political and Administrative Power of Governance in their hands, the Justice Party issued a GO No 613 on 16th September 1921.  That GO of Madras, popularly known as the Madras Communal GO, apportioned all available Opportunities – full 100 Percent, under the Control of the Provincial Government, amongst all the identified Block of Communities.  The No of Jobs and Percentage of the Share apportioned, to the identified Communities, in a block of 12 Jobs were – 

1.            Non-brahmin hindus               5 Opportunities          44 Percent 

2.            The brahmins                        2 Opportunities          16 Percent 

3.            Muslims                               2 Opportunities          16 Percent 

4.            Anglo-Indians and Christians                 -                                    - 

5.            Depressed Castes (SCs)       1 Opportunity               8 Percent 

Total Jobs                           12 Opportunities        100 Percent 

One can see that the brahmins got an high percentage of Opportunities – 16%, but were definitely confined to only 2 out of 12 Jobs, or one sixth of the Opportunities.  That was naturally, very strongly resented by the predatory brahmins, and the Implementation of the GO was effectively blocked by them from being enforced.  However, they had to ultimately yield later, and the GO was enforced in 1929.  Implementation of this Roster of Opportunities during the 30s and 40s, opened up the Gates of Opportunities to many Non-brahmin Communities, but sadly resulted in a few dominant non-brahmin castes with wealth riches facilities advantages and their own powers, monopolising most of the Opportunities of Education and Jobs, for the Non-brahmin hindus. 

Periyar EV Ramasamy Naicker, or Periyar EV Ramasamy, popularly known as EVeyRa, or EVR or Periyar, or Periyar EVR, or as EVR Periyar highlighted this new monopoly, and made a powerful Demand to allocate separate Share to the hindu Backward Castes.  At last, in 1947, during the Time of the then Premier of the Madras Presidency – Omandur P Ramasamy Reddy, a friend of EVR Periyar, who held Periyar in high Esteem and Regard, Periyar EVR had his way. 

A new Communal GO was issued in 1947, apportioning all the Positions afresh, in a Block of 14 Positions, to Six Categories of identified Communities – 

1.            Non-brahmin hindus 6 Positions     44 Percent 

2.            Backward Caste hindus        2 Positions     14 Percent 

3.            The brahmins                        2 Positions     14 Percent 

4.            Depressed Castes (SCs)       2 Positions     14 Percent 

5.            Anglo-Indians and  Christians     1 Position         7 Percent 

6.            Muslims                               1 Position         7 Percent 

          Total Jobs                           14 Positions    100 Percent 

Then also, it could be seen that, the brahmins got an high percentage of Opportunities – 14%, and they along with the Non-brahmin hindus, as a block of DCHs got away with a very high 58 %  – 14 plus 44 percent.  But they were all confined to only 8 Positions, 2+6 Positions out of 14 Positions, or more than half of the available Opportunities.  Now it is the same 2% brahmins and their other 7 % DCH Friends and Lawyers, who are protesting and fighting against Reservations, particularly that for the OBCs, and demanding an unreasonable Cap of 50% to all Reservations.  So unjust unreasonable and intolerable are the brahmins and the DCHs. 

It was that Communal GO, which saw some SCs adorn High Offices and Positions, such as the Mayors of the Corporation of Madras, and in many other Important Positions, in the then Madras Presidency.  

It was that same GO, which was Challenged in the Champagam vs State of Madras, and was Struck Down by the High Court of Madras, and the same negation was also upheld by the Apex Court in Delhi.  The Case was that, a Girl named Champagam could not get a Medical Seat to get Admission in a Medical College for a MBBS Course in the State of Madras. 

Interestingly, the Case Champagam vs State of Madras, was not filed by the concerned girl Champagam at all.  But, it was done by the intolerant brahmin communities.  It was that Intolerance of the brahmin communities, the brahmin leaders, the brahmin advocates and lawyers, the brahmin courts, and the brahmin judges, which Resulted in the First Constitutional Amendment, right in the Year 1951 itself.  That, to the Constitution of India, adopted so solemnly with lots of Promises to the People of India, only on the 26th November 1949, and brought into right effect and Force wef 26th January 1950.  Thus we see a clear pattern and sequence, in the series of brahmin intolerances, chain of subversive activities, and brahmanic sabotage against all the Social Development, Educational Progress, and Economic Growth of the Nation.  Then, there can be no Doubt for the overall Backwardness of the Country. 

Here we must also Note that, a similar Problem of a DCH handicapped MBBS Doctor, not Managing an Admission to an MD Course of Studies in Gujarat, triggered the Caste and anti-Reservation Protests in Gujarat, and other neighbouring States in the Eighties. 

Those Anti-Reservation Protests ended, only with the shock waves produced by Meenakshipuram Conversions in Tamil Nadu, where a Couple of Families, both Men Women and Children, fed up with the caste hindu intolerance oppression and atrocities converted themselves to Islam, and became free Muslims.  That, in fact reportedly spurred the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi, who had earlier empathised openly with the DCH Doctor, and the anti-Reservation Agitation; and had reportedly observed that Reservation is a Crutch, and that it had gone too far; to wakeup, and get into action.  Thus, the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi, was forced to come out, at least in the Public, on to the sides of SCs and STs, and stand behind the Reservations for SCs&STs.  Not only that, but it is reported that she called up many heads of the Religious Matts to do something for the SC&ST Dalits to keep them trapped within the so called hindu influence and under the brahmin control, and not let them go out towards the Muslims, or even the ways of Baba Saheb Dr BR Ambedkar.  She feared that, while the first would strengthen the Pan-Islamic Movement across the World, the later would do more damage in weakening the brahmin power and survival.  This had made many hindu religious matts take up some social health and educational programmes for SC&ST Dalits, with State Funds under the cover of promoting Peoples Movements, Voluntary Organisations and NGOs.  Sadly that had not only kept the SC&ST Dalits, but many BCs also trapped under the control of brahmins with a dangerous fascist fundamental agenda, specially directed against all Minorities, particularly against the helpless poor Muslims in the Country. 

The situation now appears to be very hopeless for the SC&ST Dalits, what with the widening differences between the SC Dalits and ST Dalits; the gaps between significant groups of ST Dalits in different States developing into big gulfs; dangerous cracks appearing amongst various ST Dalit Groups within various States; and the unsavoury rifts between adjacent SC Dalit Groups even in Cities and right in the Work Places, Govt Offices and Educational Institutions.  Added to that are the deliberate silent steps taken by the DCH Officials Politicians, Political Parties to weaken Reservations and turn it redundant.  Increasing Liberalisation Privatisation, in the name of Globalisation, Opening up of the Economy, and Structural Readjustment; dismantling of PSUs, Banks, Insurance, Industries etc; shrinking Employment in the Public Domain; and restricting Reservations and its Scope with various black negative Orders and Court Decisions. 

The above are all big threats no doubt, but are also potential Opportunities to Mobilise and Rally the SC&ST Dalits around Baba Saheb Dr Ambedkar’s Ideology.  The present helpless situation offers a big opportunity for the SC&ST Dalits, to realise and rightly understand in full, the brahmin subversions and sabotages.  The SC&ST Dalits thus have an opportunity to get enlightened, and free themselves away from the brahmanic controls.  Can the SC&ST Dalits then emerge free, with an alternate agenda as a powerful political force on their own, with natural alliances with like minded backward classes like the MBCs and backward marginalised Minorities?  In any case the contradictions amongst the DCHs, specially between the brahmins and vaishyas for domination, the competition for wealth between the vaishyas and kshatriyas, the antagonism over share in administration amongst the brhmins and the kayasths are unbridgeable, and are bound to burst out.  That would throw out all the SC&ST Dalits, off on their own separate course with the MBCs and Minorities.  That is inevitable.  How the SC&ST Dalits, MBCs and Minorities are going to manage the Reservations, and the Movement towards Social Justice, Equity to begin with and Equality ultimately, brushing aside the selfish elements amongst themselves, only time will tell! 

by: N. Manohara Prasad


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