Some of the key underlying concepts of renaissance like equality, non-discrimination and fairness are actualized when social justice and participation in power are ensured.
We come to realize the need for keeping renaissance as a ceaseless phenomenon, when we recognize that the exclusion of several racial and caste sections from corridors of power is not an accidental errors of predecessors, but planned efforts that are repeated. It is at the same time when there is a celebratory claim about a successful women's wall that the Kerala government has given directions to its public administration department to issue the final notification for Kerala Administrative Service (KAS) with provisions that will upset the reservation system, a corner stone of social justice.
The government is sticking to the position that reservation is not possible in two thirds of KAS and has rejected the memorandum for reservation from CPM's own class and popular organization, Scheduled Tribes Welfare Council, the report by Law Secretary BG Harindranath and the orders of Scheduled Caste Commission and Minorities Commission. But with general political awareness about the state, one can easily see whose interests are intended to be protected by sticking to this position. All the political parties that are at present deeply engrossed in social reforms either through the protection of customs or their obliteration, are uniformly mute on the demand that reservation should be implemented in all the streams of KAS. All the parties of LDF and UDF should break their unjustifiable silence and declare their stance on this issue. In fact, for identifying who the real champions of reformation are, there is no better yard stick than the approach to job quotas.
The government stands adamant that in streams two and three - reserved for government employees - merit will be the sole criterion and quotas cannot be applied. The government's explanation is that since employees have enjoyed the benefit of reservation once, giving it to them again will be against law. But with this, 67 per cent of the posts will fall outside the purview of reservation. If any one from Dalit or backward classes has to claim benefit of reservation in KAS, he has to resign from service and compete under open category. All this when a central government order of June 2018 says that even in promotions reservation can be granted; and here is a Left government which claims that quotas cannot be applied in KAS appointments, which are conducted through competitive tests, as opposed to promotions.
With KAS coming into being, omotions to IAS cadre and appointments of various department heads will be made through KAS. These are cadres where real participation in power and social justice have to be ensured. For despite being legally binding reservation has been long denied with the inititive of bureaucratic overlords. If 67 % of the top layer of Kerala's civil service is going to be filled without reservation, the inequalilty going to happen in the upper echelons of officialdom is going to be appalling, with still more atrocious social reprercussions.
The lesson imparted by the evolution of KAS is that the high-born segment of authority are vigilant to grab the posts from reservation - unless they are protected like one's pupil. And the seeds of that were sown by none other than Public Service Commission (PSC). Those who rule the roost in PSC are past masters in topedoing reservation, with doctorate in upsetting rank lists through semantic jugglery. That is the reason why despite legal safeguards, proportionate share of jobs remains a mirage for Dalits and backward communities even now. Without demolishing the high caste bias in the hegemonistic upper echelon of PSC, the wall of renaissance will not be complete. Unless political parties are made free from the bullying of forward class organizatdions, 'renaissance' will remain with no entry to the secretariat - awaiting new agitators under the hot sun in the sidewalks of the capital.