Simmering Fire of Caste Based Reservation

Col Shiv Choudhary (Retd)
The recent agitation for ‘Caste Based Reservation” by the Jat community in Haryana, took a very serious turn with every passing moment. It was sad to see the prevailing state of lawlessness and an apparent state of ‘Free for All’.  One may call it a momentous and necessity, a modern day flambyont Indian politician may term it right and yet some educationists may still title it as freedom of  expression. Whatever it may be named, the core issue remains that who is responsible for the current impasse and who all failed to control.
One can safely say that the accountability for the current happening squarely rests with some of the past and the present political leadership. I say this because we have a good political tradition of firstly giving a cause to people, encouraging pro party demographic pockets to latch on the given cause, make tall and false pre-poll promises, and then very happily, but sadly, postpone the solution. This is exactly what the politicians of the past and the present dispensations are good at. This short sighted approach can also be correlated to the emboldened activities related to Maoists, Bangladeshi refugees, BODO, AASU, Gujjar, Patels, Jats and many others groups/ castes presently dormant.These are just a few examples of restricted political vision and false propaganda.
Once you give birth to a cause for a narrow political gain, you are also furthering  its multiplication. Today, a situation prevails, where the current Haryana Govt. has failed miserably to sense what was in the offing. In fact, Mr Khattar, the hon’ble CM of Haryana, and his political think tank especially the DGP, looked blind and clueless during the last few days to the impending agitation. The opposition, as usual, got an opportunity to take pot shots and make hollow comments for calmness over their relation. End result; avoidable loss of human lives, colossal loss of Govt. and pvt. property, agonizing problems to the poor and unnecessary chaos to the innocent travelers. Whatever may be the background to this ongoing agitation causing destruction, whosoever might have ignited it, and how waxed the situation may be, the solution has to be found by the Govt. in chair.
May be to the disliking of the affected class and seasonal leadership visible in the state of Haryana, can someone really justify the modus operandi of the agitation. There are both views, for and against, and one must accept with an open mind. Does everyone falling within the said social class deserve reservation? Should it be based on changing living standards and economic status with added focus for empowerment of women and landless across all classes and castes? These are very important criteria for decision making and also extraordinarily challenging to convince any community. The moot reality is, when a group of leaders unleash a movement, more often than not, the same movement becomes decontrolled due to its fast pace. This has been perhaps the situation.
We are a 67 year old biggest democracy, fastest growing economy, largest youth manpower, widely accepted constitution, pool of global CEOs and dominating world wide  IT market. And yet we have failed to ensure social equality and abundance of jobs for inclusive development. Agreed, the genesis lies in the Mandal Commission report of 1992, but how and why did the political masters fail to lay a timeline to end the beginning albeit vote bank politics, is just a forgotten question.
Will it be grossly correct to blame the Jat community for the chaos Haryana had lent itself, and give a clean chit to the state and centre Govt. for the impasse? No, because the solution or happiness does not lie in therrid modus operandi witnessed by one and all especially the non beneficiaries. Yes, because the past political parties in power have tried to either please the Jat class cunningly and postponed the very efforts to find a solution. However, what is alarming today is, how the situation took a very violent turn, giving a rope to the bad heads.
Let’s analyze if the agitators were like one way traffic, or was there a visible Govt. machinery to oppose it? The police forces and the bureaucracy responsible for maintaining law and order, protecting Govt. property and controlling mobs, are not being questioned about their inaction, and non compliance to their constitutional responsibilities. Where and why did they disappear to discharge their duty, at least for a limited initial time? The obvious and unambiguous answer would lie in the inaction of the police, double standard of the self patting bureaucracy and poverty of political wisdom. Looks like these vital constitutional obligations were intentionally ignored due to internal social affinity squabbling.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir has enough of Jat population as propounded earlier, who too perhaps would not be oblivious to the current scenario in Haryana. What are their thoughts and of their existing leadership’s? Can they afford to be mute spectators? They must exchange communication, list out genuine demands and draw a workable plan. Whatever may be the collective wisdom, it must best serve the community and its core cause. At at no cost or compulsion, the justice needy, deserving, deprived, women and brethern affected by regular border skirmish, must get ignored. Thus the plan of action charted so must be judicious, community serving, sustainable and deliverable by the Govt. and not borrowed or copied from neighbors.This is perhaps not an opportunity to latch on to the blowing wind as that will be a horrid error of judgment  and self encircling. I am conscious I am sticking my neck out by saying that asking too much from the Govt., makes it equally difficult for the same Govt. to deliver. So donot go by the collective stage management, instead go by the selective wisdom.
Now that a temporary truce is likely to prevail with the Govt. agreeing to anact a law  and central Govt. having ordered a committee. Astonishingly, I found nothing new as these were mere repetitions. The responsibility bestowed upon Mr Amit Shah, the BJP national President (Not the Govt.) to set a committee further put my mind in a picquent situation. Simultaneously, it is the perfect time for the Haryana Govt., to restore calmness, socially so critical. The central Govt. has a definite and decisive role to play because of the geographical location of Haryana, demographic Pan India spread  and its strategic proximity to Delhi.
In the midst of uncertainties, two things shouldn’t happen in the next few days; one, the grant of general amnesty for all those responsible for causing loss and unfortunate deaths and secondly, the non accountability of so-called higher responsibility handling officers consisting of IPS and IAS cadres for their utter failure. The nation should remain assured that once the army is requisitioned yet for another non army like task, this disciplined entity will ensure its constitutional duty unflinched and not let down the expectations. We as responsible citizens of this nation need to learn, to not fall for the promises, parties make before elections in the typical indian political context, and instead explore peaceful, yet effective ways in getting our point across. Irrespective of the genuineness, the meek surrender of Haryana Govt due to its utter failure has opened a window for a pie, deservingly or undeservingly.


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