I ran into a very interesting quote by Dr. Ambedkar, specially in the context of the recent debates (generally opposing it though) on reservations in institutes of higher education IITs and IIMs (besides other institutes under the Central government):
Higher education, in my opinion, means that education, which can enable you to occupy the strategically important places in State administration. Brahmins had to face a lot of opposition and obstacles, but they are overcoming these and progressing ahead.”
“I can not forget, rather I am sad, that many people do not realize that the Caste system is existing in India for centuries because of inequality and a wide gulf of difference in education, and they have forgotten that it is likely to continue for some centuries to come. This gulf between the education of Brahmins and non-Brahmins will not end just by primary and secondary education. The difference in status between these can only be reduced by higher education. Some non-Brahmins must get highly educated and occupy the strategically important places, which has remained the monopoly of Brahmins since long. I think this is the duty of the State. If the Govt. can not do it, institutions like “Maratha Mandir” must undertake this task.”
The statement “I think it is the duty of the State” is very interesting and can be interpreted in different ways, including advocating reservations.
The moot point, however, that Dr. Ambedkar makes, a la Gramsci, is the importance of capturing places of strategic importance. In our times, this need not only be in the State Administration.
In the era of a globalized marketplace, it also means providing a foothold in that marketplace.