Rights write

Meghalaya dominates the cover of a new book on reservation and minority rights, says Rajdeep Dutta

 OXFORD BOOKSTORE, Kolkata in association with Penguin Books India launched “Taking Sides: Reservation Quotas and Minority Rights in India” by Rudolf C Heredia, a research fellow at Indian Social Institute, New Delhi. The book was unveiled by Ranabir Samaddar, director, Calcutta Research Group.

     In his work Heredia bats for laws that must ensure all members of a society have liberty and equal rights. He feels in the pursuit of justice in the society the most vulnerable sections must be considered. The Indian society must look after its deprived and oppressed sections like dalits, tribals, women and religious minorities, for dignity, security and freedom to prevail. He firmly believes in affirmative action to be taken rather than preferential treatment.

     The book – Meghalaya dominates its cover – is about the biggest challenge India is facing today is the question of reservation for the nations minority communities. Although the Constitution of India affirms equal justice for all, the manner in which legislatures and courts operate often compromise these rights in the name of political pragmatism. As a result, the voiceless and vulnerable members of society dalits, tribal’s, women and religious minorities continue to be excluded and marginalized. Taking Sides outlines a credible roadmap to aid the quest for an inclusive and just society. Examining this churning debate from several points of view, Heredia makes a persuasive argument for justice premised on liberty, tempered by equality and moderated by fraternity, a justice beyond politics.

     At the launch, the author said that he believes in the thoughts of Amartya Sen’s Justice of Capability. Sen had mentioned in his ‘Idea of Justice’ that Justice of Capability states that a person’s ability and opportunity to generate output keeping in account the person’s capability. The author was not in favour of John Rawls’ point of distributive justice as mentioned in his ‘Theory of Justice’. Distributive justice states social distribution of goods in the society.

     Emphasizing on this he said, “That women doing their household work is good but they not being allowed to work outside by men is not justice.” He also added that the current rape laws don’t have any significance as there are not many female parliamentarians who opposed it. He quoted Aristotle and said, “Equality among equals is justice but equality among unequal is not justice.”

     Sammadar made a very strong point that justice for the common man is when injustice is taken care of but actually that is not what we call social justice. He said social justice can only happen when the cause is known, it is looked into that it doesn’t happen again and justice against women is given importance.