Continued at http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2012/10/with-affirmative-action-indias-rich.html
The title of the article suggests that the "quotas" or "reservations" system in Indian laws were originally meant to help the "poor" but are now applied without regard to income or wealth. That is not really the case. Poverty did accompany the lower societal status experienced by the lower-caste people in India. However, most of the legal quotas were set up without regard to income or wealth levels. Quotas were set up to tilt the balance of power - through special entitlements in education and jobs - in favor of the once-downtrodden lower-caste members of Indian society. In recent decades, of course, Indian society and India's economic growth have been far less discriminatory against lower-caste Indians. Thus, many Indians born to lower castes are now quite wealthy, rivaling and even surpassing the wealth once enjoyed in preceding centuries by Brahmins and other higher-caste Indians.
Another part of India's history that should have been explained in this article but missing is the fact that lower-caste Indians have become dominant not only in higher income and wealth, but also in political and bureaucratic power, in most levels of Indian government. In the 1960s and 1970s, people of lower caste indulged in both non-violent and violent methods to become elected to powerful political positions, demoting and ejecting higher-caste people from power. The result is that the quotas and reservations no longer have much need or relevance in today's more-meritocratic India. That is not to say that caste-based discrimination does not exist in India. It does continue in day-to-day life, with people of different castes living separate lives but even in social and cultural matters, caste-based discrimination is a lot less today than it was decades ago.
The rapid development of the lower-castes in India is similar to that of African-Americans in the United States: impressive and irreversible.
With Affirmative Action, India’s Rich Gain School Slots Meant for Poor
Published: October 7, 2012
Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/world/asia/indias-rich-benefit-from-schools-affirmative-action.html