Bengaluru: Reservations in India is a hotly debated topic. Should reservations be given based on castes or should anyone be extended the helping hand of reservations based on their financial conditions is a topical issue. 

Again, there are arguments that reservations may lead to inefficiency if it is based on castes alone. 

On this Engineers Day, we will give you some information about the views on reservations held by Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya (Sir MV). 

Also Read: Sir M Visvesvaraya’s birth anniversary: Here are some lesser known facts about the legend

Sir MV was appointed the Dewan of Mysore in the year 1912. At that point in time, there was a complaint that there was a domination of brahmins in the government sectors. So people from others castes (Lingayats and Vokkaligas) wrote a letter to the then Maharaja Nalvadi Krishna Wodeyar, asking him to take steps to rectify the situation. 

When the ruler sought the views of the Dewan (Sir MV), he said meritocracy should be the defining factor as the absence of merit would lead to inefficiency in administration. But it was not that he was against non-brahmins. He told the Maharaja that schools should be opened for such people in order to empower them. 

History notes that there were several letters exchanged between the two, and as the Maharaja was not convinced about Sir MV’s views on the issue, he apparently asked him to resign as the Dewan in the year 1918. 

Later, in the year 1919, a committee, set up by the Maharaja himself recommended that there should be a gradual increase of the backward classes by at least 50% in all government sectors in a period of seven years. However, the committee was also of the view that the ones selected must have the prerequisite qualification.

Incidentally, this was the first caste-based reservation made in pre-independent India.