Caste politics is one of the ugliest forms of politics India has ever seen. Creating rift between members of Indian society apart, it is against the ‘Idea of India’ too. The ‘Idea of India’ is a unique binding force that holds tatters and shackles of the contemporary society by slotting every single individual in it. This force is what that holds Indians together in times good, bad or ugly.
The recent demonstration orchestrated in Gujarat by Hardik Patel, a student leader in his early 20s, has put to front an issue that has been boiling for decades. He demanded reservation for the students hailing from Patel community.
With the immergence of politicos who are now taking sides either for or against the notion of reservation for ‘Patels’, one of the most powerful and wealthy castes of the state, the soup started boiling again. Most of Gujarati business honchos come from the same community; most of them being diamond barons and big-time cloth traders, report published by Indian Express said.
This is not for the very first time that a locally organized large-scale public demonstration demanding reserved status has rocked us. Even Jats of western UP and eastern Haryana demanded similar provisions for them in the past as well. The demand was, however, not heeded to by the government. Being an economically empowered community itself, the government ruled that Jats don’t need reservation.
The issue of abolishing reserved seats came to front that time too. As is said, “Time and tide wait for none,” the issue made way to backburner with the changing world scenario. The public conscious forgot the issue gradually with the advent of new developments in different walks of life. Days passed by, so the issues did!
While some people believe that abolishing reservations in all its forms might do the trick, there is still a section of intelligentsia that opposes the fundamental idea behind reservation waiver. For they feel that the abolition of quota seats would deprive the students (from weaker sections of society) and they might face difficulties in getting what is believed to be a part of their rights. This apprehension is what one would blame as the root cause behind the rift between reserved and unreserved classes of our society.
Caste hatred is on its all-time surge in the country with the immergence of Hardik who created mega-ripples with his appearance. He launched a series of demonstrations and other high-impact associated campaigns pressing for his demands.
Though, the Gujarat and Central governments joined hands and contained the issue somehow before the soup could soil adjoining regions as well, still the provincial tremors of this incident are yet to show up .
The recent ruckus created by the ‘informal’ civil-disobedience displayed publically by Hardik Patel and his supporters in Gujarat has posed threat to the secular fabric of Indian democracy. Many seasoned politicians were seen biting their nails when they saw magnitude of the crowd that stood by Hardik’s (a rookie in professional terms) side during the protests.
Keeping in mind the upcoming Bihar assembly elections the Indian politicians, in their bid to mobilize and polarize votes, have started their usual mutual mudslinging. There is a section of politicians, who are rubbishing the demands made by Hardik saying, “Why does a highly developed community need seats reserved for its members?” while the other section, supporting the cause, alleges injustice done to Patels by the government.
The issue gained momentum when Bihar CM Nitish Kumar supported the cause of Hardik and his supporters. That too, the support came from a public rally organized for electioneering. The Grand Alliance (comprising JD (U) and RJD) too seemed bifurcated on the issue with several other top leaders holding opinions contrary to that of Nitish’s.
Likes of former NDA convener and JD (U) Supremo Sharad Yadav have publically criticized the use of mass violence for pressing for any demand while Nitish has an opinion that no stone must be left unturned in one’s bid to get what is fair. Nitish also extended his unconditional support for the cause.
In Bihar, a state that has large population of ‘Kurmis’, who are also said to have the same lineage as the Patels do, the issue has greater significance when it comes to Bihar polls. Nitish, who shares the same Kurmi ancestry as the Patels do, will never let anyone capitalize the issue and hence is supporting the cause.
There is also a section of ‘pro-reservation’ political analysts who propound that the ‘Hardik havoc’ is sponsored by the BJP and RSS, who want to waive-off reservation system. They also allege that demotion of ‘Mandalraj’ (reservation) would lead to ‘Kamandalraj’ (Brahminical system). So, the entire Bihar Assembly Elections – 2015 has now turned to a ‘Mandalraj Vs Kamandalraj’ this time with all the political outfits focusing on their respective vote banks.
Meanwhile, there is another section of political pundits who rubbish the above notion claim that the Centre does not have any vicious design with regards to reservation policy and maintain that the government will try its level best to uphold peace and tranquility.
Be it a case of vote bank politics or the case is that of ego clashes, the only thumb rule that needs to be upheld is that the booth level voter must always be in a ‘win-win’ situation. They should always be considered ‘top of the pyramid’.
The Bihar elections will now reflect the political intent of the Bihari voters but will also indicate their stand on reservation too. It will decide the fate of reservation too.
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