An Absurdity Called Reservation
The quality or state of being ridiculous, illogical or completely unreasonable.
e.g. Thousands of people from a dominant, and economically far superior caste of a state gather together, crying discrimination and blocking the highways using their imported SUVs besides hundreds of tractors and trolleys, looting and burning down shops and other buildings, damaging public vehicles, and even manhandling the general public. Now, that is absurd.
What’s more absurd though, is the government’s decision to bend backwards and grant their wishes. That is exactly what has been happening in the neighboring state of Haryana; absurdity. Having said that, what’s also true is that one man’s chaos is another man’s order; what’s hell for a fly is home to a spider. So, I’ll try to be unbiased and just lay out a few facts about the Jat reservation issue, and let you be your own judge.
The present status
Jats in Haryana are similar to Patidars in Gujrat and Gujjars in Rajasthan; undoubtedly, the dominant caste. Barring a few, all of them have the fours essentials required to lead a comfortable life in the state- namely, political clout, muscle power, cattle, and land. They are one of the most economically forward agrarian communities in the country.
Why the protest
Since the green revolution, the Jat community has been accustomed to a lavish, luxurious lifestyle, owing to the vast agricultural lands they hold. Two back-to-back droughts and intermittent rains however, have tilted the scales against them. The rural economy is stagnated and the whole agricultural community seems to be in a state of distress. Having lived in their comfort zone so far, the Jats are finding it hard now to continue with their lifestyle, hence the protest. The situation would have been far better off for them, should they have realized the importance of education earlier. They would have easily gone out and grabbed a job; unfortunately, that’s not the case either.
Rarely has it been witnessed ever in the history of India that a bill is passed unanimously within 15 minutes of it being introduced. Haryana assembly has achieved that feat, when it passed the two bills introduced by the non-Jat Chief Minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar- Haryana Backward Classes Bill 2016, and the Haryana Backward Classes Commission Bill 2016. According to a 1992 SC judgement, the reservation in any state should not exceed 50%. With the new bill being passed, the quota percentage in the state would reach 67%. In order to work around this and to avoid a situation where the bill is declared as illegal, the BJP-led Haryana government has decided to request the Centre (also BJP-led) to include the new quota law in the ninth schedule read with Article 31B of the Constitution.
If this Jat quota stir has taught us anything, it is that in India, if you are unhappy with your current situation, you don’t need to worry a bit. Just gather lots of people like you, go out, burn a few vehicles, raise a few slogans, loot and burn shops and buildings, block the roads and highways, even emergency and army vehicles, kill a few, injure a few more, and tell the government that if they want you to stop, they’d better give you what you wish. Otherwise you will be forced to intensify your ‘peaceful protest’. With the government bending down and accepting the demands of the Jats, what’s to stop the Patidars, the Gujjars, and a whole lot of other unheard of communities from taking the same route?
It’s disheartening to see that the ultimate aim behind introducing job quota- to remove the caste system- is not only so mercilessly killed, but it is instead being used as a tool to aggravate the casteism by politicization of caste groups. Rather than helping those from economically backward segment of the society, this system is forcing them to fight others who are more powerful and influential. Rather than blindly keep increasing the span of reservation and granting the quota to whoever gets up and demands it, the government should work on removing the evident weaknesses in the reservation system, besides looking to create more jobs.
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